Leadership as multi-tasking

Leadership as multi-tasking

You get to steer the ship because you can handle multiple tasks at once. Here, John demonstrates his leadership skills: tiller in one hand, pork pie in the other, and lemonade secure between his knees.  A CEO in the making, or at least an Admiral. The Arthur Ransome...
A waste of an island

A waste of an island

Wonderful notion this, from one of the best of Ransome’s enchanting children’s books. Of course if you land on an island, you should light a fire, or what good is the landing? ‘They had landed on the island near which they were anchored.  They had...
Metheglin

Metheglin

Metheglin is ‘a spiced or medicated kind of mead’, apparently a Welsh specialty.  John Drury mentions a letter from George Herbert (1593-1633) to Anne Clifford, Countess of Pembroke, to thank her for a gift of it. See also John Donne’s comment on the...
Gleam-footed horse

Gleam-footed horse

You can see the gleam of its hooves, as I once saw in a perfectly preened and prepared pedigree horse whose hooves had been polished with oil.  But its hoof-gleam is the least of it, this glorious creature speaks, having had a voice put in him by the preeminent...
More plentiful than …

More plentiful than …

An ambiguous metaphor for plenty, since it is entirely subjective whether you consider hope to be plentiful or not.  In other words, this is only a relative plenty. See other hope related metaphors and similes, such as Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot or Vasily...
Six ways to get lost

Six ways to get lost

This is from The Little Clay Cart, a Sanskrit play probably composed around the 2nd century BC, and commonly attributed to a possibly mythical king and playwright called S(h)udraka.  I liked the rambling explanation of the simple word ‘lost’ through half a...
A different way of crying

A different way of crying

Mia Couto’s book is about a man who nearly destroys his family through his fury, both manifest and inarticulate; and about the resilience of his sons in surviving it. I found this simple statement surprising and wise – it takes a lot of strength and...
A new breed of cultural object

A new breed of cultural object

I loved the unashamed enthusiasm of this statement, Rebanks having dedicated his life to preserving both this rare, tough breed of sheep, and the way of life that goes with it.  Also the novel idea (to me), of a breed as a cultural object. The breed is Herdwick and...
All the details of the tree

All the details of the tree

A fine injunction to a writer, first to face truth and then to give unhidden all the details. Neither is easy.   ‘Face truth, wrapped in a puzzle. … You’ll tell Your tale in writing?  Make sure that you give Unhidden, all the details of the...
Forerunner

Forerunner

‘Forerunner’ originally meant those who ran ahead of a royal progress to mark with white chalk the doors of houses to be requisitioned for the royal entourage.  In his poem ‘The Forerunners’, George Herbert (1593-1633) uses this meaning as a...
Sticking like a burr

Sticking like a burr

I’ve heard people describe someone as sticking like glue, or like Velcro, and burrs were the original inspiration for this modern sticky material. Woodnoth, then, was a bit of a boring hanger-on of the poet George Herbert. ‘Woodnoth sticking to Herbert...
The press and vice

The press and vice

An extraordinary and vivid image of sin as something that forces pain to infiltrate every vein.  Given the more pious age in which Herbert wrote, and his own great piety, I found this arresting and thought-provoking. It also neatly concatenates the two meanings of the...
A poet on poetry

A poet on poetry

A surprising combination of qualities to look for in fine poetry (and other writing). Hard to think of poetry which comes closer to embodying all three than the meticulous, mysterious and fresh-voiced verse of George Herbert. ‘The three qualities I admire in the...
Thoughts on modern life

Thoughts on modern life

I found this passage striking and moving, perhaps putting its finger on the pulse of much contemporary malaise. It feels a valid and thoughtful statement though you can take issue with certain elements; such as whether pre-modern life was any better for most people,...

Pin It on Pinterest