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Nepalese Notebook: September 13th, 2014

September 13th, 2014

Upper Jagat 1340m.

The country people are remarkable for their stature and muscle though none of them are very tall.  A boy of no more than 8 or 9 years old came up the trail today carrying a bag of damp sand from the river bottom; it must have been at least 50 pounds and as tall as him because he had to bend over with the tumpline almost perpendicular to the ground to be able to move forward.  Further down we saw the father and another boy filling up more bags to be taken in turn, and these, as we found out, were for house-constructing and repairs.  A woman in the village before, where we stopped for refreshments, spoke in a rather lively tone of voice about how she wanted to have 12 children with her husband, already had 3, and was pushing 31 years old. After we passed the hot springs of Tatopani where we cleansed our hair and face, the more prevalent signs of Tibetan culture began to appear, most notably the women wearing vibrantly coloured aprons of knitted woo…

A Poet's Journal: November 1st, 2013

November 1st, 2013


On this, the day of souls, I was lead by an unknown urge to take up Taylor's Holy Dying, and enamored by the purity of style and expansive learning, I have yet been able to put it down.  Only yesterday had I started an article on the Algonquin Feast of the Dead, and it is with the greatest pleasure that everything since has been enveloped by the stillness of thought.  Eternal glory and eternal doom and the run of faith have all but instilled themselves in the habit of mind, and it is with difficulty that we find ourselves upsetting them in merely going about our daily lives.
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: October 28th, 2013

October 28th, 2013

In the last moments of sleep this morning a treatise came before my dreaming mind upon the subject of certainty and uncertainty and how we were to distinguish each in our modern world.  The beginning was admirable and had such a sober confidence to it that the rest of the work seemed to take energy from it, but upon waking, my recollection of all the arguments vanished.  It is often quite befuddling to think upon those things we neglect and to ask ourselves the meaning.  For to remain at the beck and call of the mind forces us to consider what kind of person we shall be, whereas if we did not, we would always dream and soon forget that the kind of person we are is bound to the appearance of what we neglect.
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: October 25th, 2013

October 25th, 2013

Found a pair of goat horns on the trail today so massive and weather-beaten as to make one think of an old satyr bounding across ridges and hiding in the crevices of mountains.  All the hawthorn berries have gone from the trees, but the holly vibrantly red, for the two seem not to grow far from each other in these parts.  A resin taken from a pine of some sort a few days ago has finally tempted me to chew on it, and the texture, like a soft candy at first, soon turns to the consistency of gum, but the flavor lasts longer and is much more agreeable.  The south wind has died down after two extremely windy days, and somewhat cooler; the fish flash against the bottom of the river at low tide.  Low, slanted sun-rays--a wonderful, autumnal feel to the day.
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: October 23rd, 2013

October 23rd, 2013

Reading is never so great as when it is inherent in the other senses of the body.  What I mean is, there is often a music echoing around us, for the most part cumbersome and annoying, but never far from mixing with our tasks, so that what had started in a bitter dissonance of thought, now draws us into an unexpected world of confirmation.  In the hours of reading this music begins to draw away, leaving the words to settle upon the dying rhythm, and finding entrance into the story, gives a clear and distinct voice to the path of imagination, only then opening the inevitable charms of the work before us.
Douglas Thornton