Friday, July 31

For your eyes

"Persia that imaginary seat of Oriental splendour! that land of poets and roses! that cradle of mankind! that uncontaminated source of Eastern manners…no country in the world less comes up to one’s expectation than Persia, whether in beauties of nature, or the riches and magnificence of its inhabitants. But in what regards and manners and customs, it appears…that no Asiatics bear so strong the stamp of an ancient origin as they. Even in their features I thought to have distinguished a decided originality of expression, which was confirmed, when I remarked that the numerous faces seen among the sculptures of Persepolis, so perfect as if chiseled but yesterday, were so many likenesses of modern Persians, more particularly of the natives of the province of Fars". (James Morier, The Adventure of HAJJI BABA OF ISPAHAN )


Sunday, July 19

...Out Far...In Deep

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep


Robert Frost (1874-1963)

The people along the sand

All turn and look one way.

They turn their back on the land.

They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass

A ship keeps raising its hull;

The wetter ground like glass

Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;

But whenever the truth may be—

The water comes ashore,

And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.

They cannot look in deep.

But when was that ever a bar

To any watch they keep?

Tuesday, July 14

A stranger in a strange land...

The map of Persia, illustrated by Cyrus Leroy Baldridge

It is a strange fate to be a stranger in a strange land, and if that’s your fate, then it is up to you to meet the challenges that arise from such strange life-circumstances with diligence, care and a certain degree of objectiveness. After all it is your fate to be a stranger, but not the “strange”. Thus, you can even take advantage of your status as a stranger and explore that strange land as far and wide as you can, for you will be assured that at the end of the day when the strangeness fades out, there prevails an unexpected familiarity with what you had seen as strange! Just keep that in mind!

Any ways, a few weeks ago, in my continuous exploration of the province of Ontario, I entered the charming village of Beaverton in Brock Township of Durham region, without any previous plan, and only when I left that little heavenly place I realized that it was fate’s plan to take me there! Fate it is, that which takes me to places, where strangeness breezes away, gradually and pleasantly. And it was fate that took me to an antique shop, a two-story Victorian house, designed by an English architect, whose name I cannot recall no matter how much I try! In that crammed house, in the parlor, where only half of the antique books in that house of wonder are on display, I found a relatively old edition (1939) of THE ADVENTURES OF HAJJI BABA OF ISPAHAN (1824) by James Justinian Morier (1780-1849), and illustrated by Cyrus Leroy Baldridge (American, 1889-1976). And yes, I purchased the book. For I cannot resist not accumulating treasures, and I have no shame in that regard.

I will not bother you about the content of the book. If you are interested, you can read it for yourself. And yes, the book is available online, and you don’t have an excuse not to do so. It is a travelogue of kind, that has an Orientalist zest to it. But what the heck, you must read what you think is worth the effort, right!?

By the way, the image, that is an ornament to this post, is a scanned image of the map of Persia, illustrated by Leroy> And I reproduced it, not in its actual size—because I have no permission to do so.