Ndiyindoda, now

Posted on: July 8th, 2014 by robert No Comments


“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls. The most massive characters are seared with scars.” Kahlil Gibran

I was in Egypt when my father arrived in a dream for the first time since his death two months earlier.

I awoke with a jolt. Sadness rose up within me as the dark hotel room, illuminated by the bluish light of the TV screen, came into focus through a well of tears. The thin, white curtain blew inward from the open window in the dim corner of the room like a ghost.  One of those international news channels was reporting on breaking news, its sound turned down but still audible. Nelson Mandela was dead.

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The Familial Paraclete

Posted on: September 1st, 2012 by robert No Comments


"Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily."  Francois de La Rouchefoucauld

"Why should dog, a horse, a rat have life, And thou no breath at all?"   King Lear, Shakespeare

My grandmother spent her final years frequently succumbing to sudden emotional displays which involved great big heaving sobs. This was after a lifetime proudly claiming she was unable and even incapable of crying. Often she'd express tremendous envy at people on television who could easily yield to tears. The reason for such unexpected lachrymose moments towards the end remained a mystery to us since they represented just another uncharacteristic trait which developed after a stroke robbed her of her mental faculties – including the ability to communicate. Coherence had completely left her. What remained was a jumble of words and immense frustration, which we all abjectly felt but were unable to remedy.

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RIP Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

Posted on: December 15th, 2011 by robert No Comments


"I suppose I should close now because I've said all I wanted to say for myself... In the meantime we have the same job we always had, to say, as thinking people and as humans, that there are no final solutions, there is no absolute truth, there is no supreme leader, there is no totalitarian solution that says that if you will just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you would just give up, if you will simply abandon your critical faculties, a world of idiotic bliss can be yours. We have to begin by repudiating all such claims - grand rabbis, chief ayatollahs, infallible popes, the peddlers of mutant quasi-political worship, the dear leader, great leader, we have no need of any of this. And looking at them and their record I realise it is they who are the grand imposters, and my own imposture (has been) mild by comparison."


In London, the spring hadn't advanced in the way it had in Sligo, as indicated by clusters of daffodils and snow drops, gathered on the grassy banks beside the road to Lisadell House. It was odd really given that from Knock, the countryside was still covered with a blanket of frost, and the trees and fields shimmered in silver which created a remarkable Winter wonderland, seen through gaps in the steamed-up car windows.... Read More