The Origins of Travel: Grace Under Pressure

  We are often told that travel is freedom. It’s a romantic view of what is essentially leisurely migration. I don’t see it that way. Not anymore. Wanderlust: one of the most beautiful words in the English language (and typically of Germanic origins) is an evocative word that breathes mountain air and wistful breezes. But…

For Whom My Children Grieve

  The blown sand heaps on me, that none may learn Where I am laid for whom my children grieve . . . O wings that beat at dawning, ye return Out of the desert to your young at eve! – Rudyard Kipling –   Karen Knudsen Copenhagen She looks literally dead, Anna thought as…

My Fallen Rover

  The cliffs were a cavity in the face of the earth. Dark and volcanic, boundless like the very night sky. In fact, they look like the night sky of millions of years ago, fossilised. If archaeologists were to excavate it they would unearth shards of extinct stars. “Are you ready Alfred?” She screamed as…

The Voyages of a Devoted Reader

Literary Travel Guide to Europe and the Americas   Travel guides. Is there anything more miserable, more cliché-making, complacent and sheepish than those small, compact dictionaries-of-places that you can conveniently, nay embarrassingly, carry in your pockets? All you need to scream out ‘tourist’ even louder is a sun-hat, bermuda shorts and sandals. What happened to…

Cenote of Maya Blue – Part II

“Can’t you just stop smoking!” I asked from the pits of reason. Men can be pre-disposed to certain cancers and fates, but they’re pre-disposed even more if they succumb to it! – I thought to myself almost angrily, as if I were arguing with my own father. “It’s too late now, kid.” He laughed an…

Cenote of Maya Blue – Part I

  The smell of the suckling pig flew into the air like the musical aroma created by a butterfly’s flapping wing. If you go close to it as it marinates in the banana leaves you could smell the potently acidic citrus that comes from the bitter orange that drowns it. Angelica moves past me and…

Dear Mother Landfill

    The sun that hides behind the snaking fumes, the woods that sleep beyond the mounds so hideous, and the very sky somewhere above; none of them know where the football is buried. Fernando – don’t tell anyone watching him, but yesterday was his 11th birthday – digs his hand into the rubbish that…

The Ghostly Cries of Istanbul

She had barely run out the door when her mother cried out to her: “it’s just a plane!” But the girl didn’t hear her, or anything, only the shrill engine of the plane; she saw her mother’s hand reaching out to her, but she turned away and cried: “bombs! Bombs are coming!” “Is this a…

Day of the Dead

In the Xicotencatl, somewhere in the soul-deserting streets of the Coyoacan neighbourhood, Alicia found La Santa Gula. It was the only place in the whole of Mexico City where she could hope to speak Maltese. Her Spanish was pitiful, lazy, and speaking it elicited painful memories that used to be happy. No: she changed too…

Cosmic Thoughts – Light

Originally posted on Art Inspired by Nature Blog:
The lights we see from stars and planets emit a beautiful array of colours. But light isn’t just about illumination. Light is the very DNA of a celestial body’s chemical make-up. By using spectroscopy, astronomers can deduce what elements are present on a planet or star. Each…

The Ghost in the Arena

  The Ghost in the Arena     Writing is a blood-sport. And in many blood-sports you tend to find the influence of religion. Think of the superstitions of bullfighters. Or the outspoken religiosity of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Or the Zen-like spirituality of karate. Faith brings these fighters, who frequently flirt with death…