Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the tag “death”

Book 23

“And death shall come to me from the sea,
As gentle as this touch, and take me off
When I am worn out in sleek old age,
With my people prosperous around me.
23.287-291

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Milan

When people think of Rome, this is what might come to mind:

800px-Colosseum_in_Rome-April_2007-1-_copie_2B

Florence:

David_von_Michelangelo

I’d be the last person to say Milan is Florence or Rome, but that is not to say it doesn’t have its own charm.

Milan_Cathedral_from_Piazza_del_Duomo

The Duomo di Milano is impressive. But perhaps you’re a little like me and wonder whether what Dylan Thomas said of death also holds true of cathedrals.  If so, one can still climb the many steps (think of it as that exercise you’ve been putting off), and you’ll be afforded a wonderful view of the city and the Italian Alps in the distance.  Within the church, I found myself enthralled by the stainglass windows.

Here’s one by Paolo Uccello:

631px-Paolo_uccello,_vetrata_della_resurrezione

I had little expectations for The Last Supper, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. After passing through one hermetically sealed room after another, we arrived in the chapel:

Última_Cena_-_Da_Vinci_5

We had 15 minutes. I could have spent hours.

If you like Italian opera as much as me, a visit to the very inconspicous (from the outside at least) Teatro alla Scala is a must. The likes of Maria Callas sang there.

Part of the enjoyment I find in travel is the unexpected.

Did you know they have a canal in Milan? And did you know it was designed by Leonardo da Vinci?

800px-4024_-_Milano_-_Chiuse_del_Naviglio_pavese_-_Foto_Giovanni_Dall'Orto,_7-July-2007

It is a wonderful spot, and there are places to eat and drink.  We were lost (also a favorite activity of mine) and happened to stumble upon a restaurant where we had a wonderful meal with an excellent Gavi wine.

Gelato has a well-deserved reputation, and when I first tried it in Rome nearly thirty years back it was a revelation worthy of St. John the Divine. You will want to taste the ice-cream here as well.

On the subject of food, risotto is a must. But, of course, some risotto is more equal than others. As always the safest rule for eating while travelling is to avoid the restaurants tourists frequent and try to find a place locals visit.  In Milan you will hear beautiful Italian cadences to which your taste buds will be eternally grateful.

Finally, I would be amiss not to mention that Milan is also the perfect spot to use as a base to travel to other locations nearby.  Our excursions brought us to Lake Como, Lugano, and Verona.

On Mitchell’s Introduction to The Iliad

“The ancient epic poems by Homer and Virgil, the medieval French epic The Song of Roland, Shakespeare’s Henry V, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22— each of these works takes war as a mirror of human nature, in all its fear and hope. But of all great literature about war, none concentrates more fiercely than Homer’s ancient Greek epic The Iliad on the dark, pointless brutalities that are part of human combat.”

Catch-22 is an interesting inclusion.

However much The Iliad concentrates on “pointless brutalities” I don’t think Mitchell is claiming it is anti-war in the sense we might think Aristophanes’ Lysistrata was.

“Legend has it that he was blind, but there is no actual evidence to support this.”

The idea of being blind, of course, meant he could really see.

“…blindness in Ancient Greek culture. Deprivation of light is almost as undesirable as death, yet blindness bestows a status of distinction in a culture where choice between light and honor is difficult.Blindness is punishment for breaking the limits of human knowledge, yet it is also the means to insight (truth-vision of metaphysical light). The (polluted) blind seers and poets enjoy the highest religious, social and political powers.”    http://www.bernidaki.eu/resources/263_reviews_book_gr_en.pdf

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