Dear Writer

2 02 2019

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Dear Writer,

I am cautious in my salutation. For as of late (and as you rightly point out) you have not given much time to me through the art of writing.

This is not to say that you have given up on me–on words per se; I do hear you in the sweet breath of the spoken word. And I do find you in the symbols, the pasted ideas, some thought of by you, some thought of by others, all strung together in non-linear formation, appearing in everything that you do.

But no, I cannot touch you this way.  I am not able to look back into your eyes and challenge you to reconstruct, refine, and unravel together more mature forms of utterance. I am prepared to re-engage with you but only if you are truly serious about committing to me and this articulation of us. Black on white in any font.

Just for a time consider that to write, you must return to your cave, create some privacy for us to articulate freely and authentically. I do not fault you for almost giving up on us; I too find it stifling when there is a fly-on-the-wall looking over what we (do or do not) produce together; the relentless buzzing of judgement is enough to drive anyone mad.

Let us find a place together where we no longer hear any buzzing. Tell no one where we are going and I will find you in that place. I will find you on the road home.

Until then and forever your,

Words

P.S. If you begin to lose your way, let Wallace Stevens’s words help point you back in our direction.

On the Road Home

It was when I said,
“There is no such thing as the truth,”
That the grapes seemed fatter.
The fox ran out of his hole.

You . . . You said
“There are many truths,
But they are not parts of a truth.”
Then the tree, at night, began to change,

Smoking through green and smoking blue.
We were two figures in a wood.
We said we stood alone.

It was when I said,
“Words are not forms of a single word.
In the sum of the parts, there are only the parts.
The world must be measured by eye”;

It was when you said,
“The idols have seen lots of poverty,
Snakes and gold and lice,
But not the truth”;

It was at that time, that the silence was largest
And longest, the night was roundest,
The fragrance of the autumn warmest,
Closest and strongest.

 





solitude in the woods

16 11 2018

GA8 2

Sculpture by Georgiana Anstruther

i am no longer afraid
not of beasts
nor the wild.
somewhere between Earth and
Heaven, i unfurled
my armour of feathered wings
to stand naked,
upright.
i will now inhale
the wind
and the winter.





one day anyone died i guess

20 06 2017

e.e. cummings poem, anyone lived in a pretty how town, is glued onto the door that leads to our living room. i’ve kept it there since we built our house to serve as a reminder of aspects of world, of our humanness, that we are often up against.

i first read the poem at the age of 13 and it broke my heart to imagine all the people–the anonymous, nameless, “Anyones”–who make up our community but live their lives unnoticed. i was uncomfortable with the suggestion that seasons change but our consciousness stays much the same. the possibility that children (once wise) grow up none the wiser. and that the cycle repeats over and over. i didn’t want to live in a banal world filled with carless Someones and Everyones.

but there is more to this poem. while certainly a reflection of much our daily ongoings, it’s beauty lies in the stanzas that follow, in the individual love that No-one has for Any-one; when Anyone dies one day, it is Noone who stoops to kiss his face.

despite the disregard of the town (larger society, the state, the government) Anyone managed to thrive in life through the individual love and compassion shown by another nameless, anonymous member of society, her name: Noone.

days before the Glenfell Fire, Philomena came to me with her eyes filled with tears and said, “I don’t understand why everything is normal again, why life goes on as normal, how people die but after a short while, we aren’t meant to be sad about it anymore… the terrorist-thing that happened in Manchester well it’s as if it didn’t happen since we watched the Manchester LOVE concert. and then Borough Market happened and that now seems to be over too. but in reality it isn’t over, i’m not over it, any of it.”

in the days after the Glenfell Fire, however, Philomena said to me, “at least this isn’t like the terrorism thing or when someone gets cancer, when you can’t help death from happening. at least we can prevent a fire like this from ever happening again.”

let’s hope we can. and in the meantime, i send my blessings out to all the Noones who have opened their hearts and reached out their hands to comfort the Anyones–all those who are striving to make this place a pretty LOVED town.  

in memory of those who have lost their homes:





For The Fallen

11 11 2016

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Robert Laurence Binyon, published in The Times newspaper on 21st September 1914.





Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.

11 11 2016

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic ‘til I’m gathered safely in

Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove

Dance me to the end of love

– Leonard Cohen

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In remembrance

11 11 2015

Ode on Intimations of Immortality  – Wordsworth

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, 
The earth, and every common sight
                 To me did seem
            Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;--
             Turn wheresoe’er I may,
              By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

            The rainbow comes and goes, 
            And lovely is the rose; 
            The moon doth with delight
     Look round her when the heavens are bare;
            Waters on a starry night
            Are beautiful and fair;
     The sunshine is a glorious birth;
     But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
     And while the young lambs bound
            As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief, 
            And I again am strong.
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep,--
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong:
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng.
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep, 
            And all the earth is gay;
                Land and sea
     Give themselves up to jollity,
            And with the heart of May
     Doth every beast keep holiday;--
                Thou child of joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy 
        Shepherd-boy!
				
Ye blesséd Creatures, I have heard the call 
     Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee; 
     My heart is at your festival,
       My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel--I feel it all.
         O evil day! if I were sullen 
         While Earth herself is adorning
              This sweet May-morning;
         And the children are culling
              On every side
         In a thousand valleys far and wide
         Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm, 
And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:--
         I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
         --But there’s a tree, of many, one, 
A single field which I have look’d upon, 
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
              The pansy at my feet
              Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam? 
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; 
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
          Hath had elsewhere its setting
               And cometh from afar;
          Not in entire forgetfulness,
          And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 
               From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy! 
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
               Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows, 
               He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east 
     Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
          And by the vision splendid
          Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away, 
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own; 
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind, 
And, even with something of a mother’s mind,
               And no unworthy aim,
          The homely nurse doth all she can 
To make her foster-child, her inmate, Man,
               Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years’ darling of a pigmy size!
See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,
With light upon him from his father’s eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learned art;
          A wedding or a festival, 
          A mourning or a funeral;
               And this hath now his heart,
          And unto this he frames his song:
               Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife; 
          But it will not be long 
          Ere this be thrown aside, 
          And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his ‘humorous stage’
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That life brings with her in her equipage; 
          As if his whole vocation
          Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie 
          Thy soul’s immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal Mind,--
          Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
          On whom those truths rest
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the day, a master o’er a slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by; 
          To whom the grave
Is but a lonely bed, without the sense of sight
Of day or the warm light,
A place of thoughts where we in waiting lie;
Thou little child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!
          0 joy! that in our embers
          Is something that doth live,
          That Nature yet remembers
          What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest,
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:--
          --Not for these I raise
          The song of thanks and praise;
     But for those obstinate questionings
     Of sense and outward things,
     Fallings from us, vanishings,
     Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized, 
High instincts, before which our mortal nature 
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
     But for those first affections,
     Those shadowy recollections,
          Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day, 
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
     Uphold us--cherish--and have power to make 
Our noisy years seem moments in the being 
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
               To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
               Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
   Hence, in a season of calm weather
          Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
               Which brought us hither;
          Can in a moment travel thither--
And see the children sport upon the shore, 
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then, sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
          And let the young lambs bound
          As to the tabor’s sound!
     We, in thought, will join your throng, 
          Ye that pipe and ye that play, 
          Ye that through your hearts to-day 
          Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright 
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
     Though nothing can bring back the hour 
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
          We will grieve not, rather find
          Strength in what remains behind;
          In the primal sympathy
          Which having been must ever be;
          In the soothing thoughts that spring
          Out of human suffering;
          In the faith that looks through death, 
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And 0, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish’d one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway;
I love the brooks which down their channels fret
Even more than when I tripp’d lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born day
               Is lovely yet;
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality; 
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
   Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
   Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
   To me the meanest flower that blows can give
   Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.






Metamorphosis: for the love of the caterpillar

29 06 2015




growing wiser within the whole of LOVE

24 04 2015

The World and The Child

Letting his wisdom be the whole of love,
The father tiptoes out, backwards. A gleam
Falls on the child awake and wearied of,

Then, as the door clicks shut, is snuffed. The glove-
Gray afterglow appalls him. It would seem
That letting wisdom be the whole of love

Were pastime even for the bitter grove
Outside, whose owl’s white hoot of disesteem
Falls on the child awake and wearied of.

He lies awake in pain, he does not move,
He will not scream. Any who heard him scream
Would let their wisdom be the whole of love.

People have filled the room he lies above.
Their talk, mild variation, chilling theme,
Falls on the child. Awake and wearied of

Mere pain, mere wisdom also, he would have
All the world waking from its winter dream,
Letting its wisdom be. The whole of love
Falls on the child awake and wearied of.

James Merrill (1926 – 1995)

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photo by newyorkromantics

https://instagram.com/newyorkromantics/





Consciousness: Home is where the heart… longs to be

25 11 2014
 
When you are in your home, you don’t glorify home: you don’t feel its importance and its intimacy, but when deprived of home, it turns into a need and a lust, as if it is the ultimate aim of the whole journey.
Mahmoud Darwish (1941 – 2008).
 
“Look at Athens and Sparta. Athens was an open city and Sparta kicked people out. Go and look at the ruins of Athens and Sparta now and ask which of the two cities made the greatest contribution to civilisation.” – Boris Johnson (Mayor of London)
Immigration_by_country
 
 
Philomena – Mummy, I want to go home. 
Luna [interrupting] – Which home? Greece or London?
Philomena – London, that is our proper home.
Luna – No, Greece is because this is where we are right now. This is where our family is.
Philomena – Our family is in lots of places–in America, in Bolivia, in Mexico, in Austria but London is our home because we were born in London. That’s where we’ve lived all our lives till now.
Luna – But we’re not English. We speak like English people but we’re not really English.
Philomena – Yes we are.  
Luna – No, Philomena, we’re not. And we live in Greece so this is our home. Right now, this is our home. With the turtles.
 
Poetry and exile 
works by Abdallah Benanteur, Ipek Duben, Mireille Kassar, Mona Saudi and Canan Tolon
http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/poetry_and_exile.aspx
1 October 2014 – 29 March 2015 (Free)




FREEDOM to discover, to invent, to reveal

19 11 2014
 
Descubrí el mar […]
salí de las raíces,
se me agrandó la patria,
se rompió la unidad de la madera:
la cárcel de los bosques
abrió una puerta verde
por donde entró la ola con su trueno
y se extendió mi vida
con un golpe de mar, en el espacio. 

– Pablo Neruda

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FREEDOM to take the sun in my mouth

9 11 2014

I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
alive
with closed eyes
to dash against darkness

– e.e. cummings

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An escape from FREEDOM: the men who don’t fit in

3 10 2014

“He characterizes the progress toward the overman as proceeding through three stages. First is the stage of the camel, where we renounce comfort and discipline ourselves harshly. Second is the stage of the lion, where we defiantly assert our independence. Third is the stage of the child, where we find a new innocence and creativity. Achieving this stage is like reaching the summit of a mountain: we can look down on everything around us and find lightness and laughter rather than seriousness and struggle. To become overmen, we must isolate ourselves from the mob.”

Thus Spake Zarathustra

“Every man must think after his own fashion; for on his own path he finds a truth, or a kind of truth, which helps him through life. But he must not give himself the rein; he must control himself; mere naked instinct does not become him.”

– Goethe

The Men Who Don’t Fit In

By Robert W. Service

There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.
If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;

He’s a man who won’t fit in.

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FREEDOM flashing

25 09 2014

Freedom contains the mystery of the world. God wanted freedom, and from this came the tragedy of the world. – Nikolai Berdyaev

No one is free; even the birds are chained to the sky. – Bob Dylan 

 

Philomena – Mami, when am I going to be free to do whatever I want?

Mummy– What do you mean? What would you like to do that you don’t do already?

Philomena – I don’t get to choose anything. Not even what I eat.

Mummy – Are you kidding? You have so much more choice than I ever had as to what you eat.

Philomena – Maybe I have more choice than you but that doesn’t mean I can choose what I want. I don’t get to choose anything. I have to go to school. I have to eat pasta with cheese sauce even though it makes me gag  just smelling it.

Mummy – Once every few weeks they serve you pasta with cheese sauce.

Philomena – But I hate it. It makes me sick. And no one listens to me about it. I’ve asked politely a million times. It is not respectful not to listen. I am perfectly happy to eat the pasta but not the sauce. It is absolutely terrible to be a child sometimes. I can’t wait to grow up so that I can do whatever I want.

Mummy – Believe me Philomena, growing older doesn’t necessarily grant you the freedom to do whatever you want. You will always be fighting for your freedom (and the freedom of others) in one way or another—you will fight for the freedom to do what you want, live where you want, behave the way you want, love what you want, freedom to change the world around you, to make the world a better place, it is always a battle. Participating in that battle, that struggle, it’s what makes us human. Fortunately, what also makes us human is our imagination. The only place you are ever truly free is in your mind. Freedom is your creative force. And even that takes some practice. I promise you, your mind at age 7 is a whole lot freer than my mind at age 40.

http://keystotherain.net/music/ChimesofFreedom.mp3

photo-8





BEING HUMAN: The UK’s First Humanities Festival Nov 15-23, 2014

12 09 2014

institute of philosophy

What does it mean to be human? How do we understand ourselves, our relationship to others and our place in nature? For centuries the humanities have addressed these questions. Artists, writers, philosophers, theologians and historians have considered who we are, how we live and what we value most. But are these long-standing questions changing in 2014? We are more connected than ever, yet we spend more time with smart phones and computers than face to face. The world is becoming smaller, yet the digital information we can access and store, even about ourselves, is vast and growing.  Developments in science and technology are moving fast, challenging our understanding of the self and society. What sense can we make of these changes and what challenges do we face? We need the humanities more than ever to help us address these issues and provide the means to question, interpret and explain the human predicament.

The festival is held as part of the School of Advanced Study’s 20th anniversary celebrations and draws on the success of the 2013 King’s College Festival of the Humanities. Being Human will be the UK’s first national festival of the humanities. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, and universities, arts and cultural organisations across the UK, it will demonstrate the value, vitality and relevance of the humanities in 2014. Find out more at www.beinghumanfestival.org or follow the festival on Twitter at @BeingHumanFest.

http://www.sas.ac.uk/about-us/news/uk-s-first-national-humanities-festival-unveils-rich-programme-events

 

 





The Gods are all here because the Gods are in us

28 08 2014
 
see, all that we have here is all that we’ve always had
we have jealousy, tenderness, curses and gifts
but the plight of a people who have forgotten their myths
and imagine that somehow now is all that there is
is a sorry plight
all isolation and worry
the life in your veins is godly, heroic
you were born for greatness
you can believe that 
you can know it
you can take it from the tears of the poet…
 
– a spoken word performance by the extraordinary Kate Tempest , Brand New Ancients on Film




Tupi or not Tupi

29 06 2014

“Tupi or not Tupi: that is the question.” – Oswald de Andrade

Haiti

Cucurrucucú paloma (originally written by Tomas Mendez)

Caetano Veloso (the 5th of 7 children) is a Brazilian musician, writer and political activist. He was born in the city of Santo Amaro da Purificação, in Bahia, a state in the northeastern area of Brazil. In the 60s, at the beginning of the Brazilian military dictatorship, Veloso collaborated with a group of artists (including his sister) and founded Tropicalismo, which fused Brazilian pop with rock and roll and avant-garde music. But the government at the time found him threatening and he and fellow musician Gilberto Gil were exiled in 1969–they moved to London. When Veloso returned to his home country, in 1972, he started recording and performing again–still a rock-star, age 71.

Veloso studied philosophy at the Universidade Federal da Bahia, which influenced both his artistic expression and viewpoint on life. Two of his favourite philosophers were Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger

THANK you WIKI  [If you’re interested in donating to Wikimedia Foundation, you can do so here.]

 





Push the Bush: The Mostar Diving Club

5 06 2014

Tonight at the Bush Hall –  the beautiful poetry of Mostar Diving Club: with Vicky Osterberg, Will Worsley, Michael G Moore and Damian Katkhuda.

 

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http://www.bushhallmusic.co.uk/





Gift’s from HAFIZ

23 03 2014

Hafiz is the most beloved poet of Persia. He lived around the same time as Chaucer and hundred or so years after Rumi. He became known in the West through the efforts of Goethe and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who translated Hafiz in the 19th Century.

A beautiful morning read.

 
 
WHEN THE VIOLIN
 When
The violin
Can forgive the past
It starts singing.
When the violin can stop worrying
About the future
You will become
Such a drunk laughing nuisance
That God
Will then lean down
And start combing you into
His
Hair.
When the violin can forgive
Every wound caused by Others
The heart starts
Singing.
 
 
A STRANGE FEATHER
All
The craziness,
All the empty plots,
All the ghosts and fears,
All the grudges and sorrows have
Now
Passed.
I must have inhaled
A
Strange
Feather
That finally
Fell
Out.
 
 
I AM REALLY JUST A TAMBOURINE
Good 
Poetry
Makes the universe admit a 
Secret:
“I am
Really just a tambourine,
Grab hold,
Play me
Against your warm
Thigh.”




divine music

21 03 2014

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.





Through Love’s Great Power-A Mother and a Judge Speaks Out on Section 377

26 02 2014

Through Love’s Great Power
By Vikram Seth

Through love’s great power to be made whole
In mind and body, heart and soul—
Through freedom to find joy, or be
By dint of joy itself set free
In love and in companionhood:
This is the true and natural good.

To undo justice, and to seek
To quash the rights that guard the weak—
To sneer at love, and wrench apart
The bonds of body, mind and heart
With specious reason and no rhyme:
This is the true unnatural crime.

See article copied below from The Times of India written by Vikram Seth’s mother, Leila Seth, age 83.

“A Mother and a Judge Speaks Out on Section 377.”

My name is Leila Seth. I am eighty-three years old. I have been in a long and happy marriage of more than sixty years with my husband Premo, and am the mother of three children. The eldest, Vikram, is a writer. The second, Shantum, is a Buddhist teacher. The third, Aradhana, is an artist and filmmaker. I love them all. My husband and I have brought them up with the values we were brought up with—honesty, courage, and sympathy for others. We know that they are hardworking and affectionate people who are trying to do some good in the world.

But our eldest, Vikram, is now a criminal, an unapprehended felon. This is because, like many millions of other Indians, he is gay; and last month, two judges of the Supreme Court overturned the judgment of two judges of the Delhi High Court that, four years ago, decriminalized homosexuality. Now, once again, if Vikram falls in love with another man, he will be committing a crime punishable by imprisonment for life if he expresses his love physically. The Supreme Court judgment means that he would have to be celibate for the rest of his life or else leave the country where he was born, to which he belongs, and which he loves more than any other.

I myself have been a judge for more than fourteen years—first as a judge on the Delhi High Court, then as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court. Later, I served as a member of the Law Commission, as well as the Justice J.S. Verma Committee, which resulted in the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 being passed. I have great respect for legal proprieties in general, and would not normally comment on a judgment, but I am making an exception in this case.

I read the judgment of the Delhi High Court when it came out four years ago. It was a model of learning, humanity, and application of Indian constitutional principles. It was well crafted, and its reasoning clearly set out. It decided that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code infringed Article 14 of the Constitution, which deals with the fundamental right to equality. It infringed Article 15, which deals with the fundamental right to nondiscrimination. And it infringed Article 21, which covers the fundamental right to life and liberty, including privacy and dignity. The judgment of the High Court “read down” Section 377 in order to decriminalize private, adult, consensual sexual acts.

The government found no fault with the judgment and did not appeal. However, a number of people who had no real standing in the matter did challenge it. Two judges of the Supreme Court heard the appeal in early 2012. Then, twenty-one months later, and on the very morning of the retirement of one of them, the judgment was finally pronounced. The Delhi High Court judgment was set aside, Section 377 was reinstated in full, and even private, adult, consensual sexual acts other than the one considered “natural” were criminalized again.

As the mother of my elder son, I was extremely upset. But as a lawyer and a former judge, I decided to reserve my views till I had read the judgment. When I read it, it would be true to say that I found it difficult to follow its logic.

A host of academics and lawyers have critiqued the judgment in great detail, including the nonaddressal of the Article 15 argument, and have found it wanting in many respects. I do not intend to repeat those criticisms. However, I should point out that both learning and science get rather short shrift. Instead of welcoming cogent arguments from jurisprudence outside India, which is accepted practice in cases of fundamental rights, the judgment specifically dismisses them as being irrelevant.

Further, rather than following medical, biological, and psychological evidence, which shows that homosexuality is a completely natural condition, part of a range not only of human sexuality but of the sexuality of almost every animal species we know, the judgment continues to talk in terms of “unnatural” acts, even as it says that it would be difficult to list them.

But what has pained me and is more harmful is the spirit of the judgment. The interpretation of law is untempered by any sympathy for the suffering of others.

The voluminous accounts of rape, torture, extortion, and harassment suffered by gay and transgender people as a result of this law do not appear to have moved the court. Nor does the court appear concerned about the parents of such people, who stated before the court that the law induced in their children deep fear, profound self-doubt, and the inability to peacefully enjoy family life. I know this to be true from personal experience. The judgment fails to appreciate the stigma that is attached to persons and families because of this criminalization.

The judgment claimed that the fact that a minuscule fraction of the country’s population was gay or transgender could not be considered a sound basis for reading down Section 377. In fact, the numbers are not small. If only 5 percent of India’s more than a billion people are gay, which is probably an underestimate, it would be more than 50 million people, a population as large as that of Rajasthan or Karnataka or France or England. But even if only a very few people were in fact threatened, the Supreme Court could not abdicate its responsibilities to protect their fundamental rights, or shuffle them off to Parliament. It would be like saying that the Parsi community could be legitimately imprisoned or deported at Parliament’s will because they number only a few tens of thousands. The reasoning in the judgment that justice based on fundamental rights can only be granted if a large number of people are affected is constitutionally immoral and inhumane.

The judgment has treated people with a different sexual orientation as if they are people of a lesser value.

What makes life meaningful is love. The right that makes us human is the right to love. To criminalize the expression of that right is profoundly cruel and inhumane. To acquiesce in such criminalization or, worse, to recriminalize it is to display the very opposite of compassion. To show exaggerated deference to a majoritarian Parliament when the matter is one of fundamental rights is to display judicial pusillanimity, for there is no doubt that in the constitutional scheme it is the judiciary that is the ultimate interpreter.

A review petition is now up for hearing before one of the two original judges plus another, who will replace the now retired Justice Singhvi. It will be heard in chambers. No lawyers will be present.

I began by saying that Premo and I had brought up our children to believe in certain values. I did not mention some others that we have also sought to inculcate in them: to open their hearts and minds; to admit their errors frankly, however hard this may be; to abjure cruelty; and to repair in a willing spirit any unjust damage they have done to others.