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.
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.
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.
If one had the power to give a child a single gift but no other, the gift to choose would be a love of reading.
In my 84th year the time for ambition is long past. Nobody gets a return match between himself and his destiny.
T20 cricket, the way it has developed, is unbalanced in favour of batsmen.
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.
Age has slowed me down but at least no day goes by without reading bringing me the fascinating and penetrating insights of other minds.
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.
I find it hard to understand why most people never, literally never, read poetry.
I wonder what it would be like to exclude sport completely from one’s life for, say, one year?
Recently I read two poems which I want to share without much commentary – partly because they speak for themselves.
There is a never-ending battle against those who think – no, who are sure – they know what is best for us.
I like to tell the story of Tony Judt. Tony Judt was a writer on recent world history whom I greatly admire.
Everywhere in the world the ordinary man in the street has been brainwashed into supposing that the only thing that matters is economic success.
My wife’s garden is as much a work of art as a painting by a master spirit or a poet’s inspired sonnet or a perfectly composed piece of music.
I do not get the impression that the governance of the world is good or that it is getting better.
In a book written on Voltaire I learn of his beloved mistress Madame de Chatelet.
Concern is constantly expressed about break-downs in the nation’s infrastructure. Previous long-term economic malaise led to wide-spread structural deterioration which is with us still.
When I was young I was ready and eager to follow the advice given by Terence, the Roman poet, a long, long time ago: “I am a man,” he wrote, “and therefore anything that any man does should interest me.” Then life stretched infinitely before me and it seemed there would be time for everything: time to visit every land and sail every sea, time to try every sport, time to read every book, time to love all the girls, to investigate all the mysteries, time indeed to check out the entire universe.
Karl Popper, one of the greatest thinkers of his, or any, age, was modest in expressing his philosophical findings.
I know from our newspapers, and from many a conversation, that our political masters and mistresses are going at each other in Parliament and elsewhere as they always have and, apparently, always will, except for Sam Hinds who I find maintains a calm dignity even in his most adversarial communications which no one else seems able to achieve.
The saddest sight in Guyana is the children you see on the pavements begging, idling, cursing, selling cigarettes and sweets, most of them on their way to perdition of one sort or another.
When I was a boy there was an old, tall, craggy-faced priest from Scotland who used to preach on Sundays at the parish church in Tunapuna in Trinidad.
Local election campaigning is presumably underway. The exchanges will not be civil, to say the least.
I wish I could convey in particular to young people, whose mental appetites seem whetted so easily these days by the transitory and the trashy, the quiet depths, the delights, the leaping excitements of great poetry.
The Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge is one of the most famous science buildings in the world.
A friend asked me how important a part poetry plays in my life.
At eighty-two years of age one must expect to factor attendance at funerals into one’s monthly (weekly?) schedule.
Running anything – whether it is a national government, vast state industry, world-circling multi-national, small family business, or private club – involves making choices.
When I was a young and bursting with energy and exuberant life-force I was eager to travel far and wide, more than ready to range around the world discovering new places and meeting people of every kind, outlook and temper.
Not long ago, in one of his endlessly interesting and instructive ‘So It Go’ columns, Dave Martins lamented the lack of recognition given to our heroes and heroines.
It makes no sense trying to measure the joy which our grandchildren Jacob and Zoey give to my wife and I.
Christmas is about the unique drama of a miraculous birth intended to save all mankind.
I regret I write with grimness in this festive season. Perhaps it is good to remember that for countless millions in the world this is, as T S Eliot reminded us in the greatest poem ever written about the birth of Christ, “Just the worst time of the year.” So this column records an event which I vividly remember once cast a shadow for me over the festival of goodwill and love and peace.
Nothing can compare with the beauty and warmth of life at home. Bred into bone, steeped into blood, is the everyday sweetness of living in Guyana with its river-light and forest green and soft air and garden quiet in the sun and rain.
A great part of Brazil has been in the grip of one of the worst droughts in its history: reservoirs running dry, water strictly rationed, particularly in Sao Paulo.
We should beware the over-mighty state. A state that gathers all powers to itself drains initiative away from where it does most good ‒ at the local level, at the level of the small group, the family, the individual.
For God’s sake, what is going on? Remember: A young Pakistani girl is shot in the head for trying to educate herself and others like her.
Reading is a good friend, whether the wind blows good or ill. There is not a single day it does not yield knowledge of interest, insights of value, moments of surprise, shocks of recognition and even visions of splendour.
The list is long in Guyana of problems needing solution and the list isn’t shortening.
Do you find, as I do, that as time passes you accommodate a vast sludge of useless information which remains stored in the brain for no purpose whatsoever?
Many companies in Japan have a special room for their employees which is called, in free translation from the Japanese, a “letting off steam and bile” room.
I have been thinking of my father. Since he died in 1995 at the age of 89 I have not written very much about him.