Scotland's Momentous Decision on September 18th

Travel: A Survival Guide to Edinburgh Slang and Scots Words

If you ever go to Edinburgh and find yourself in one of its countless excellent pubs, you may want to strike up a conversation with one of the grave looking, old guys at the bar drinking pints. If so, you will want to be able to hold a conversation while also not making a fanny…

Ginkaku-Ji temple gardens, Kyoto © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.co

Ancient word of the day: Apricity

Apricity was a term originally coined by English lexicographer Henry Cockeram to denote the "the warmeness of the Sunne in Winter". This photo I took during a particularly chilling end of autumn day in Japan in Ginkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto. Note how the sun falls in cascades of enveloping warmth onto the golden tinged leaves. Apricity…

Poetry and music from the film 'Wings of Desire' (Der Himmel uber Berlin)

Poetry and music from the film ‘Wings of Desire’ (Der Himmel uber Berlin)

One of my favourite films of all time is the Wim Wenders film The Wings of Desire known in German as Der Himmel uber Berlin. It won the Best Film at Cannes in 1987. Some of the magic  of this film comes from the music (Nick Cave, U2), the acting (Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin) and…

The Sensual World of Polish Poet Anna Świrszczyńska

The Sensual World of Polish Poet Anna Świrszczyńska

Anna Świrszczyńska, also known as Anna Swir wrote poems in direct, evocative language that spoke passionately and directly to the heart. She wrote affectionately about the female body, love, pain, loneliness, terror, war, childbirth, child-rearing and the passing of time. She focused a lot on the flesh - its elasticity and potential while young, along…

Give Your Best Self to Your Family. Ten Life Lessons We Can Learn From Maya Angelou http://wp.me/p41CQf-ax

Ten Life Lessons We Can Learn From Maya Angelou

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.” – Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou has been one of the most influential literary voices of our time. Born in 1928 she has been in turns a poet, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, historian, film-maker and civil rights activist. She worked for Malcolm X…

Travel: Eileann Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland. Copyright Content Catnip 2010

Ancient Word of the Day: Kawaakari

Kawaakari (Japanese) The glow of a river or stream in darkness or dusk, the gleaming surface of a shadowed river (Japanese 川明かり). Kawaakari can refer to the reflection of the moonlight off flowing water, or the gleam of late sun at dusk. Obumbro (Latin) To shadow over and over: to make dark with shadow; to…

On a dark night, Kindled in love with yearnings–oh, happy chance!– I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest. In darkness and secure, By the secret ladder, disguised–oh, happy chance!– In darkness and in concealment, My house being now at rest. In the happy night, In secret, when none saw me,…

Beautiful maps & beautiful Welsh tales: The Mabinogion

Beautiful maps & beautiful Welsh tales: The Mabinogion

The Mabinogion is a magical and mythical Celtic classic from the  thirteenth century or earlier. It's thoroughly Welsh and is considered a masterpiece of medieval literature. Although written down during the middle ages, experts think these stories may date from the dawn of Celtic civilisation in Britain. The Mabinogion has given rise to all of…

Seven Tips for Writing Top Notch Travel Articles http://wp.me/p41CQf-5h

Ancient Word of the Day: Grimmelings

Although similar to the gloaming, grimmelings is a slightly different natural phenomenon at both ends of the rotating sun's traverse across the sky. Grimmelings - The first or last gleams of the day (Scots, esp. Orkney). From the Norwegian "grimla", to glimmer before the eyes, to twinkle or blink. Also "grimlins". Or “the harlot’s hour”:…

When chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet; As market days are wearing late, And folk begin to tak the gate, While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' getting fou and unco happy, We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles, That lie between us and our hame, Where sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her…

It is the time when crimson stars Weary of heaven’s cold delight, And take, like petals from a rose, Their soft and hesitating flight Upon the cool wings of the air Across the purple night. It is the time when silver sails Go drifting down the violet sea, And every poppy’s crimson mouth Kisses to…

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat held for it by a row of ancient trees; you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight, one journeying to heaven, one that falls; and leave you, not at home in either one, not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses, not calling…

Adventures on the Isle of Skye

Travel: Roaming in the gloaming in the land of melancholy, with the Polish bear by my side

A personal note Around six years ago, I had the most romantic trip of my life when I went to the Isle of Skye, Scotland with the Polish bear. We cozied up in the most comfortable little croft in all of the Scottish isles. Located in Borreraig, the farthest point of the Isle of Skye…

Remember, don’t be frightened

“So don't be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Lake Menteith in the fading light of a winters night

Travel Poetry: The Crackling Thunder of Frozen Lake Menteith

I wrote this poem in 2011 during a particularly bewitching snow-storm on Lake Menteith in Stirlingshire, Scotland. I had borrowed a pair of old, worn out and blunt ice-skates that were a size too small. And together with my friend, we set out to skate on the lake and also record the audio of the…

Words and Music: Miss Hollywood & Shanghai

Words and Music: Dave Clarke’s World Service & Shanghai

I wrote this poem because I came across an album I hadn't heard in years, it reminded me so much of Shanghai where I lived briefly as a teenager that I had this all rush into my head and I needed to get it out. So here is a memory purge of my time in…

Neist Point on the Isle of Skye

Words and Music: Stases & Neist Point on the Isle of Skye

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b6h4hYBSgM [I will write a poem about a place that I've been each week with music to match] Neist Point on the Isle of Skye Swirling batons of time Erasing thoughts and hushing life and death On a clear day you can see all the way to Iceland it's said In any case there to…

Scotland's Momentous Decision on September 18th

Words and Music: The Disintegration Loops & Edinburgh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjnAE5go9dI [Here is a poem about a place I've been and seen and drunk in, along with some music to match] Edinburgh City of dreams and sloping pagan peaks in a city Gigantic sea-shanty sized voices with looping arr sounds Turbulent winter snow drifts Warming whisky tumblers filled with smoky graceful ease Like a cream…