Salt of the Angolan Earth: Strange Grave, Brilliant Witness 

During Africa’s struggle to be free, and as Angola’s Portuguese colonial system crumbled, a scramble brought rival forces into the field fighting for advantage in the independence that was sure to follow.  I ventured into that maelstrom from neighboring Congo to assess what relief supplies might be useful to the victims of that strife in … More Salt of the Angolan Earth: Strange Grave, Brilliant Witness 

The Pillars of Hercules: Tangiers’ Brocade of Beauty and Struggle 

Hercules, the ancients say, in his wandering and labors came to the western limit of the Mediterranean where a great mountain, the Atlas, lay athwart his path.  Not one for nuance, some say in the fury of madness, he smashed a passage through the ranges, and so appeared the straits of Gibraltar, the headlands left … More The Pillars of Hercules: Tangiers’ Brocade of Beauty and Struggle 

Train to Marrakech: Epic Grandeur, Sharp Tutorial

Is there any corner of Africa quite the equal of the Barbary Coast –  what the modern world knows as Morocco?  Its northern shore, a rocky buttress ‘gainst the turquoise tide of the Mediterranean.  Where Punic and Roman ruins sit astride the bluffs and valleys.  Where the High Atlas shelter the Amazigh, the Berbers, once … More Train to Marrakech: Epic Grandeur, Sharp Tutorial

Pebble on the Tongue:  Can Filigree Strings Yet Carry Us Aloft?

While meandering home from the Canadian Maritimes some time ago, we stopped at the suggestion of family by the College of New Jersey in Trenton to view an art exhibit about the beauty and travail of Afghanistan.  There we stumbled on the video of an extraordinary scene composed by Lida Abdul, who, exile that she … More Pebble on the Tongue:  Can Filigree Strings Yet Carry Us Aloft?

Pebble on the Tongue: “If You’re Lucky …”

To say that travels will move you, is a tautology, self-evident on the face.  But Kate Daniels,  lyricist of the gritty, personal truths of the American South has penned a line that captures the traveler’s rarest take-away, the most powerful gift of a ‘traipse’: If you’re lucky ….It will bring you to your knees. Kate … More Pebble on the Tongue: “If You’re Lucky …”

Pyrotechnics: There Are Fireworks, and Then There Are Fireworks

Say ‘fireworks’ to most any soul on the planet – child or adult – and there will follow a fountain, a vivid geyser, of story.  The pyrotechnics celebrated in lore and poetry are rooted after all in spiritual struggle: their boom and flash created to drive away shades of misery and misfortune.  But they end … More Pyrotechnics: There Are Fireworks, and Then There Are Fireworks

Pebble on the Tongue: From the Basement of Suffering

Given the loss and suffering that marks these days, here is the sense of a moment recounted by Sadako Kurihara, poet of Hiroshima: In Hiroshima, in a basement, mid stench and death, a young woman goes into labor. A woman, herself moaning with pain, steps forward. “I can help with the baby. I am a … More Pebble on the Tongue: From the Basement of Suffering