The recent wave of lethal crime will have heightened the sense of life’s fragility in all of us.
We have emerged from a very fraught period. The 2015 election was beautifully run until the time came to convey the results to a tensely waiting world.
An excellent thing about America is that no one dissects America better than Americans.
We will be completely justified in trusting the outcome of this election. A month ago I wrote a column pointing out that in a volatile, vitriolic and divisive campaign the nation was blessed in having a well run, unmanipulatable electoral process in which we could all depend to produce a free, fair and accurate result.
I am reissuing the personal manifesto I have issued in previous general election campaigns and will no doubt continue to issue until time runs out on me.
When I was a schoolboy we had a games-master named Mr. Wilkinson who had served the College for all eternity.
There is nothing more valuable in man than an ability to write well.
I urge all those who can afford it – many thousands of you if you consult your heart first and only then your bank book – to make a gift of a new life for a destitute or homeless Guyanese child.
I have written often enough, and fervently believe, that cricket is an important element in our lives binding us closely together as West Indian nation – though I have to admit that recent West Indies cricket has displayed hardly any resemblance at all in the skill, camaraderie, spirit, pride and commitment to the game which once, win or lose, filled me with joyful anticipation, exhilaration and a sense of heightened patriotism.
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.
I note with much pleasure that Viv Richards has been named by a very distinguished panel of 50 outstanding cricketers and writers about the game as the greatest ODI player of all time.
Are women, here at home and in our larger home, the West Indies, quietly but definitely taking over?
Politically, Guyana is not so much a divided as a completely sundered country from end to end and from year to year it seems for evermore.
A friend asked me how important a part poetry plays in my life.
We are too obsessed by success, by deeds of glory and heroic feats.
Manifestos – by which we are shortly to be seriously afflicted – are viewed with grave scepticism by mostly everyone except those who painstakingly compile them.
And I am not referring to the menace of al Qaeda, IS and assorted deranged constituencies which cast a pall of horror around the world.
There was a famous occasion in Trinidad a few years ago when an audience, bored out of their minds by an interminable function, decided to take matters into their own hands and exited the seemingly endless and agonizingly dull proceedings.
Not the mindless killers they employ and brainwash but the brutal masterminds themselves know exactly what they are trying to achieve.
Gradually over the years keeping a diary has become a ritual in my life.
Recently I was sorting through old files and papers in my library in the process of sending them for deposit at the Special Collections Division of the UWI Library in St Augustine.
I was speaking not long ago to an old, dear friend, the Canadian Philip O’Meara.
So many Christmas poems from which to choose. E U Fanthrope’s lines: And this was the moment When a few farm workers and three Members of an obscure Persian sect
In a long life I have become accustomed to the usefulness of reading.
So much begins with parents. So much continues in the training grounds. The teachers who taught and inspired us.
So much begins with parents. Their daily, persevering, unending love and interest and example teach lessons which reach deep into us; we are nurtured and our minds and souls are formed into shapes and disciplines that last all our lives.
The title I gave to one of my collections of poems is ‘Between Silence and Silence.’ I have always thought it sad, and occasionally a matter of momentary despair, that each of us emerges from oblivion into life, without permission given, and after a really very brief period of existence is hustled back into oblivion.
The great unabridged Oxford English Dictionary contains half a million words. Among all these one of the two most difficult to define is ‘happiness.’ It is easy enough to find a purely verbal definition such as ‘a feeling of pleasure or contentment’ but that is superficial.
In my home, a step down off the dining room, overlooking the beautiful garden my wife has created, I have my studiolo.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 Al Qaeda attack I remember writing that America should take care not to over-react to that singular act of terror.
Some of the best poetry has been written by people on the verge of death.
I consider myself reasonably well read and passably well-informed. I try to keep up with what is going on.
If you do not read poetry you miss much. You miss star showers around your head and arrows near your heart.
The world is suffering from giganticism. Bigger is considered better and biggest best.
Even in the worst of times – and who can doubt that the daily, brutal, unstoppable exploits of uncaught criminals have made this time one of widening and deepening fear and frustration – reading comes to the rescue by revealing other worlds of experience where cruelty and mindlessness and man’s inhumanity to man do not continually have the upper hand.
I have been writing about Shivnarine Chanderpaul for more than twenty years, even before he played Test cricket.
I have far exceeded the Biblical span of three score years and ten, so I realize clearly that this overtime gifted by the Gods must be most carefully husbanded.
Perhaps there has never been any time in history when terror, horror, cruelty and brutal suffering, much of it inflicted by men themselves, have set their curse upon so many lands.
The father of policing in Britain, and therefore of policing in Britain’s colonies, was Sir Robert Peel.
History often saddles people with reputations that are undeserved. Take Florence Nightingale. The biographical facts show conclusively that she was pushy, domineering, and bitchy to an appalling degree.
One might have thought that as time passes the heart might harden as arteries harden and the sense of loss grow less acute as the five familiar senses most certainly tend to do.
In Guyana reciprocated animosity has not even come close to plumbing the awful depths which exist in so many other countries and, God willing, such hideous animosity never will prevail.
Intermittently through the year, and especially during memorable times up the immense and soul-redeeming Essequibo, I like to read Shelley – as we all should do from time to time since he is pre-eminently the poet of hope.
Too many of my good friends are overwhelmed with work which prevents them living more peaceful, varied, interesting and fulfilled lives.
When you are long retired from the hurly-burly, you become more reflective. So looking back I wonder whether anything I have done is of any real significance.
I do not think the young, intelligent and opened-minded Minister of Education will mind me delivering again a little, well-meant lecture to her.
If ever a country needed more civility in the discourse conducted between its political and other leaders it is Guyana now.
One must be thankful that there are things to read other than the blood-filled and vitriol-laced pages of the daily newspapers.
This too shall pass. The utter shambles into which the administration of Guyana’s cricket has fallen will one day end.
Bill Shankley, manager of Liverpool Football Club in the English Premier League, was once asked whether a game his team was about to play was a matter of life and death.