On the last day of our latest visit to Berlin we changed trains at U-bahn Westhafen and discovered this visual feast. Artists Françoise Schein and Barbara Reiter re-designed the station in 2000, using the 1948 text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, juxtaposed with quotes from Heinrich Heine in German and French. For more information on the artwork and the project click here.
One more reason to love Berlin.
I am drafting poems for my MFA dissertation. The general theme is place, as with most of my writing in recent years. This week I have been transported to France, Italy, Germany, Ethiopa and am currently visiting the Cherokee Nation. It’s cheaper (and more fun) than flying. Some of this ‘mental travel’ is to revisit places I have already been to, some of it is vicarious, via maps and online resources…some of it is imaginary/visionary.
I’ve been reading William Blake’s The Mental Traveller this morning, seeing as I am on this strange journey with my poems- although the subject matter would seem to be more mental travail than travel…it is, like all his work, thought-provoking, beautiful, troubling and magickal:
And these are the gems of the human soul:
The rubies and pearls of a lovesick eye,
The countless gold of an aching heart,
The martyr’s groan, and the lover’s sigh.
In the Telegraph today:675 Railway station ticket offices to close
Both my local stations will have their ticket offices closed..at least one, the closest, where people have been mugged….and what about help for the elderly, disabled, people with children in buggies where there is no lift or ramp, only stairs? People with enquiries regarding train journeys? They are only partially manned now, during the day, making them at best eerie places to be alighting from a train at night…at worst dangerous…
And, let’s not forget how expensive and complicated that travel has become (and rail fares set to rise significantly again) since the last lot privatised it and the Labour government failed to use their mandate to re-nationalise…
Your shoes are in the hall
While you sit on a train
Moving up the shin of Italy
From Rome to Pisa
I eat toast and contemplate
Sending your lap top by courier
New boundaries to conquer
When you’d just unpacked.
Written for M xx