nightfall on Varanasi



from the boat we watch the city pale, fading into pastel tones, the shadows of dusk. Lights begin to flicker upon the shoreline.  On the water candles floating downstream in their evening ceremony; wishes cast upon the sacred waters, flowing in groups or solitude between us and the ghats.

Shadows upon steps, brief sparking flames; splashing oars and silhouettes captured upon the dimming of the day. Soon lights defined the buildings, flicker upon the shoreline, continue, rippled, upon the water their reflections paused and breaking upon the evening traffic, and continue.

Further again the flames of the burning ghats, their endless fires casting smoke upon the passing breezes. The eternal city. This place cast fluid upon the passing of time, timeless and ethereal where we become brief shadows flickering upon the waters, winding through the alleys, the fading self in the shadows of this timeless place.




Tonight the rain.

Earlier a brief rainbow, rising spectral above 101, too vague for film or sensor but bright enough for the elusive eye.

Traffic sprinkles colour upon road and splashes onto pavement – a mother pushes a bike carrying a child, with a blue umbrella, perched sidesaddle upon it.

In the shadows between streetlights and traffic, carriers push their trolleys laden with waste towards payment as buses transport others homeward or towards a lateshift. Continue reading “Hogmany”

Wien, December 5.

Stefansdom. 0045. Pretty much any year.

The cathedral doors are closing now, the orchestra disbanded, audience spreading across Stefansplatz, gathering in small groups or walking homeward. Figures emerge from shadows, dissipate again beyond the pools of sprinkled streetlight. Passing, turning into Schulerstrasse,  past the Mozarthaus and through these quietening hours, we walk with ghosts. The stones around Stefansdom still seem to reflect the last notes of the Requiem, unheeding of our passage, as we drift by, brief shadows in the life of the city.

In the warmth of the Alt Wien we sit, in an alcove, and order wine. Here, under old photographs and posters, stained by age and nicotine, cloaked in the perfumes of beer and smoke, the night moves beyond windows brightened with mortality.


We offer a toast, “Freundschaft!” Sipping in this moment, we recall the concert, the living history of this place. Our voices combine with others, build the indefinable symphony of an early morning bar. And the clock moves, glasses empty, fill and in the ebbing blood of the last glass a moments silence, and, a call for schnapps for the road. Warmed we return to the street, less steady, louder, we wind our strand into the fabric of Wien’s night, setting off for Bane’s. Continue reading “Wien, December 5.”