I have always been a big fan of Clive James's work (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_James) and was saddened to hear some time ago that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. True to form, Clive has not allowed this diagnoses to stop his ongoing and amusing flow of insights, and in yesterday’s Sunday Times (UK) there was a major article about how his most recent book, a volume of poetry, was also turning out to be among his best received (http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/newsreview/article1547894.ece) The reality of his impending death is the subject of many of the new poems, and Clive writes with typically self-deprecating humour about how ‘Perhaps the sole virtue of my book is that its constituent poems have the same attraction as a man playing a piano at the edge of a tall cliff.’ Of course, this isn’t true. The poems have a tremendous power because they resonate so strongly about a subject that most of us don’t treat with the importance it is due: the reality of our own death.
My office desk overlooks a street on which people in the neighbourhood walk their dogs every day. In the past ten years I’ve noticed a trend that saddens me. Instead of taking their dogs for a walk as they used to, these days many people are more likely to be hunched over their phones while holding the dog’s lead.