One of the greatest poets who ever lived

At a time when one is still shaken by the death of Derek Walcott – the thought which diminishes us that he will never again decipher the beauty of the world for us – let us celebrate poetry – “the bread that lasts when systems have decayed.” And today I do so by recalling a poet whom Walcott loved – I remember talking with Walcott about him when Walcott visited Guyana a few years ago.

Fast bowling

“You have been watching West Indies cricket for 70 years – give me three outstanding memories,” a friend asks me.

For your soul’s content

Leave aside the interminable bungling and set-in-stone ill-will which to one’s endless dismay characterise Guyana’s public space – and concentrate instead for your soul’s content on the many wonders which cross the mind on a daily basis.

Notice

Many people go to the ends of the earth to find beauty. And certainly beauty can be found at the ends of the earth.

The hero’s journey

Good poems are instantly recognizable. They startle, shock new life into old ideas, impress on the mind patterns of beauty and truth previously unnoticed.

Values to live by

By what values should we strive to live in order to achieve a community in which differences are accommodated, a community where there is diversity of discourse but a recognition of the common good regardless of politics, religion, race and personal beliefs?

The art of good administration

I remember a very long time ago, in the era of Prime Minister, not even then President LFS Burnham, when I was a Director in the sugar industry, I had occasion to enquire from an official at the then State Planning Commission about a request made months before for  approval for the introduction of a new incentive scheme in the industry.

The need to save sugar

I worked in the Guyana sugar industry for decades, ending my career in 1999 as a Director of GuySuCo specifically in charge of marketing.

A great artist

The photography of Bobby Fernandes has been a grace and glory in this land for decades.

Food for thought

The world of reading – I mean actual ‘flesh and blood’ books alive in my hand – is full of countless wonders and perceptions and images that spark the imagination as long as one is alive.

Truth at risk

It is no longer in the natural order of things to tell the truth in public affairs.

Redirecting ourselves

There was once a visitor to Dublin, lost somewhere near the city centre who stopped and asked a passer-by for directions.

Those who sweeten life

Even at this Christmas time, the spirit grows weary with the weight of woe in the world at large and at home in Guyana.

When truth no longer matters

The great poets are easily recognizable; in a moment the minds knows, the heart feels, the spirit senses a quality involving silence and attention.

The ability to do, make, understand and explain

The debate on improving educational standards never ends. And in this debate I am glad to see it is generally realised that new school buildings and classroom furniture are only a very small part of what matters.

Poets’ advice

I have been re-reading Seamus Heaney, great Irish poet and Nobel Laureate. He was a wonderful, life-enhancing writer.

Confronting power

Most people are cowards.  Most people don’t want to trouble trouble lest trouble troubles them.

Witnesses to evil

I am sometimes accused by bloggers, and often gently told by friends, that I am inclined to view life, and particularly life in Guyana, through a glass not darkly, but one beautifully rose-coloured.

We must take more care of the children

It is terrible how easily we bear the suffering of others. If only for one hour a day every man in the world could feel the hunger in the gut of a starving child in Bangladesh or Ghana or the Sudan, or the daily agony of what is happening to thousands of Syrian refugees perhaps the world would become a better place.

We need a new constitution

When one thinks about it, the concept of “Government” is a strange one for it assumes as its fundamental premise that certain men and women – human beings like you and me – can and should be allowed to take upon themselves the right to direct the rest of us what to do, presumably for our own good.

Human independence versus divine providence

If you think about it carefully it seems impossible to reconcile two things which most people would very much like to believe – one, that they enjoy free will and in some ultimate sense are masters of their fate, and, two, that the God of all creation is omnipotent and has a master plan for us all.

Get the old men up

Headlines which constantly remind us of lethal crime heighten the sense of life’s fragility in all of us.

The need to make hard choices

Consider yourself fortunate if you are right 51% of the time. Listen to the old Galician Jew, settled at last in his old age in a little house in an Israeli kibbutz after a hard lifetime including a brush with the unimaginable horror of Auschwitz.

If the world were to end next week

When I was young, and benefited not only from a fresh and eagerly absorptive mind but also from a strong belief that an eternity of life stretched in front of me, I loved to read big books, books of immense length.

Do not tell me what I want to hear

Sveinsson Knut, Canute the Great, King of England from 1016, King of Denmark from 1018 and King of Norway from 1030 until he died in 1035, was perhaps the most successful and effective of the early rulers of England.

What matters most

In my 84th year the time for ambition is long past. Nobody gets a return match between himself and his destiny.

How Donald Trump succeeds

I find it hard to believe that Donald Trump – whose candidacy was declared a year ago seemed a bad joke – is the Republican nominee for the presidency of the United States.

Licket no longer

I have changed my mind about limited over cricket. When this slash and burn form of the game began to emerge prominently I was accustomed to dismiss it as a superficial and corrupt version of the great game.

Despair

Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz survivor, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died recently at the age of 87.

Reading makes you think

Age has slowed me down but at least no day goes by without reading bringing me the fascinating and penetrating insights of other minds.

Governing for the best

One of the things I enjoy the most is to browse in good bookstores and buy a stock of books to read and add to my library.

Life

I like to tell the story of Tony Judt. Tony Judt was a writer on recent world history whom I greatly admire.