Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A Change of Perspective

I've spent some time reflecting on whether or not blogging is a creative and meaningful way to spend one's time, and I remain undecided. Perhaps it depends not only on the quality of the blog itself, but also on the quality of conversation and dialogue that it inspires. Clearly, with spontaneous blogging the quality is bound to vary, and so is the level of dialogue.

With all this in mind, I've decided to revive this blog as a space for sharing some of my lectures, talks and articles, rather than posting spontaneous blogs on issues that immediately catch my attention. So this is to some extent a substitute for my personal website, and a place for posting links to various materials which I'm working on or have published. In the case of lectures and work in progress, these are 'raw': references are incomplete and ideas are in development, so please bear that in mind when reading. 

It will take some time to put links to all the material I'd like to publish here, but I'm starting with my latest pieces and I'll gradually work backwards through the archive.

One positive use of a blog could be for the purposes of interactive research and conversation around 'big ideas'. I hope to get organised enough to put some of my current research up here, with a request for engagement and debate. Comments on all the material here are welcome, but I've decided to be more discriminating than I was before about which comments I publish. I hope that doesn't inhibit robust debate, but it is intended to inhibit some of the less helpful advice I've received through comments on my previous blogs.

And, because spaces should be used creatively, I shall also post poems, photos, links etc. Here is Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. This was the Poem of the Day today, on a great gadget you can download here for your personalised iGoogle page. I don't know if Angelou was thinking of William Blake's Auguries of Innocence poem when she wrote this, but I recommend reading them together, in the realm of possibility:

A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.

But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
And the trade winds soft through
The sighing trees
And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright
Lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged BIRD stands on the grave of dreams
His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.


  1. Of interest to all feeling caged at present- the Archbishop's words circulating via YouTube

  2. The above reference location has been removed twice.
    One wonders why it has been found necessary to remove access to the Archbishop's words.
    It can still be seen on You Tube on

    At least at 12.45pm today!

    I trust this is of interest and acceptable to the blog. It refers to subjects found in your books, broadcasts etc.

  3. @Caged Birds
    In the interests of truthful reporting, I think it's important to recognise that the Archbishop's interview was quite extensively edited on the link which appears on some blogs. A fuller account of what he said can be found on the BBC website:


Comments and contributions are welcome so long as they respect the rules of courtesy and respect, which is not to inhibit robust disagreement.