Saturday, June 10, 2017

The University of Ljubljana

Our first official course visit was to the University of Ljubljana, where Lev Kreft shared an excellent summary of Slovenian culture.  Having taken a world history course that focused on "pre-history" through about 1850AD, I was left with a gap in knowledge about many nations.  It escaped me for a long time what exactly is implied when I heard people speaking of "Former Yugoslavia", for example.  Lev's talk started with the disparate cultures that once occupied what is now Europe and gave insight into not only how Slovenia came to be, but also what it means to be Slovenian.

As we drove to Ljubljana this morning from the Marco Polo Airport in Venice, I couldn't help feeling a sense of familiarity - as if I was on a bus driving along the northway instead, but as we left Ljubljana for Bled, I began rather to feel like a guest in another nation.  I could recognize the racks used for drying hay that are no longer used at scale, but nevertheless stand in more fields than I realised on the way in.  What makes Slovenia unique and special becomes more clear after such a lecture.

And... there was something of pride when Lev, a professor of philosophy, spoke about the influence and standing of poets and writers in his country's history.  It moved me - stirred some part of me that I had set aside in pursuit of a stable life and a good income.  Long ago, poems emerged from me like bubbles from the depths; like some kind of vulture, consuming memories and experiences, I wrote.  Those times have passed, and poems come few and far between nowadays.  Travel helps.

The 4th B
I've read that Einstein said,
  "The best places to think
   are the bus, the bath, and the bed"
...but I've been in all three
yet, I write from a balcony
at the Hotel Savica
    in the city of Bled

(with memories of Malaysia & an old insect friend
it rained that day in a rhythm that I can nearly see
  ~whoosh through a drain pipe
    pitter-patter on the leaves~
there, too, I wrote a poem
  from my hotel balcony)

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