January, according to Wikipedia*

“gloaming (n.)

Old English glomung “twilight, the fall of evening,” found but once (glossing Latin crepusculum), and formed (probably on model of æfning “evening”) from glom “twilight,” which is related to glowan “to glow” (hence “glow of sunrise or sunset”), from Proto-Germanic *glo– (see glow (v.)). Fell from currency except in Yorkshire dialect, but preserved in Scotland and reintroduced by Burns and other Scottish writers after 1785.” (Online Etymology Dictionary)

*January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology.

  • January’s birthstone is the garnet, which represents constancy.
  • Pink dianthusIts birth flower is the cottage pink Dianthus caryophyllus or galanthus.
  • The Japanese floral emblem of January is the camellia (Camellia sinensis).
  • In Finnish, the month of tammikuu means the heart of the winter and because the name literally means “oak moon”, it can be inferred that the oak tree is the heart of the grand forest with many valuable trees as opposed to the typical Arctic forests, which are typically pine and spruce. The photograph of a large tree covered with ice against a blue sky is a familiar scene during Finland’s winter.
  • The zodiac signs for the month of January were Capricorn (until January 19, 2020) and Aquarius (January 20, 2020 onwards). For 2021 the dates will shift to 18–19, due to the leap day in 2020.
  • The name of the full moon occurring in January is the wolf moon.

“his net, in the gloaming almost invisible,”

From: Elizabeth Bishop – A Miracle for Breakfast (2017), by Megan Marshall:

“Despite urging each other on, neither Cal (Robert Lowell (1917 – 1977)) nor Elizabeth continued their autobiographical projects in prose for publication. Still, the twin accounts broke ground for future poems and drew on the poets’ shared experience of psychoanalysis. Like Elizabeth, and for equally pressing reasons, Cal had begun “psycho-therapy” in the late 1940s, a process he found “rather amazing – something like stirring up the bottom of an aquarium – chunks of the past coming up at unfamiliar angles, distinct and then indistinct.” Those chunks of remembered feeling and incident served as material for “91 Revere Street” and much to follow. His aquatic analogy recalled Elizabeth’s 1947 “At the Fishhouses,” the poem she’d written near the end of her treatment, in which the icy ocean water, a revelation of “what we imagine knowledge to be” – knowledge of the self gained through psychoanalysis, she’d explained to Ruth Foster – is “dark deep and absolutely clear,” qualities that could also describe the poem itself and Elizabeth’s aims as a poet.”


St. Paul’s Cathedral, London EC4

Above: viewed across River Thames from Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1. Foreground: “in the shadow of St Paul’s”, the City of London School, which relocated to this site from 19th March 1987.

From: Ships of Heaven (2019),by Christopher Somerville:

“If you looked across the Thames from Bankside in the 1960s, you saw the London waterfront of Bill Sikes and Sherlock Holmes: wooden wharves where the dirty old river slopped and slapped, slimy loops of chain, flights of steps leading to alleys where the sun never shone, and dingy warehouses eight storeys high framing the grimy dome of St Paul’s Cathedral far beyond. Today you cross the Millennium Bridge and it is all change, with skyscrapers so tall you question how they stay upright, and so Polaroid of window glass you wonder what the occupants have to hide. The warehouses might still be there under the balconies and sun decks that have been stuck all over them. The river wall is still as slimy and sloppy as ever, though, and somehow, miraculously, the view of St Paul’s is better than it was, a Taj Mahal prospect, the eyes and the feet led forward by converging lines above the water to the newly scrubbed dome gleaming like a lighthouse over the city.”


Black Orpheus

From: Elizabeth Bishop – A Miracle for Breakfast (2017), by Megan Marshall:

“Now in Brazil, Elizabeth lived among the wealthy, but as an outsider, a dependent whose trust fund met only basic expenses, and she sometimes chose as subjects people and situations that must have seemed commonplace to Lota, her benefactor and mate…

…It is the new world of 1955…Would Brazil act to secure the natural rights of its dispossessed children too?

Cold War politics had played into the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision: how could the United States present itself as an exemplary democracy if it denied racial minorities equal treatment?


Elizabeth may have heard such accusations in dinner party conversation at Samambaia or in Rio as the landmark case worked its way to the Supreme Court from 1951 to 1953, and might have wished to turn them back on her host country. She published “Squatter’s Children” first (in English) in the progressive Brazilian monthly Anhembi, where it followed the serialisation of Vinicius de Moraes’s “verse tragedy” of favela life, Orfeu da Conceicao, from which the movie Black Orpheus was later derived.“



“We are suspended in language in such a way that we cannot say what is up and what is down. The word “reality” is also a word, a word which we must learn to use correctly.”*

*Niels Bohr, quoted in Philosophy of Science Vol. 37 (1934), p. 157, and in The Truth of Science : Physical Theories and Reality (1997) by Roger Gerhard Newton, p. 176.

William Blake, in: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-93):

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

“Men yearn for poetry though they may not confess it; they desire that joy shall be graceful and sorrow august and infinity have a form, and India fails to accommodate them.”*

* ― E. M. Forster, A Passage to India (1924).

Stendhal, Rome Naples et Florence (1817):

“I was in a sort of ecstasy, from the idea of being in Florence, close to the great men whose tombs I had seen. Absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty … I reached the point where one encounters celestial sensations … Everything spoke so vividly to my soul. Ah, if I could only forget. I had palpitations of the heart, what in Berlin they call ‘nerves’. Life was drained from me. I walked with the fear of falling.”

Sigmund Freud: The Future of An Illusion (1927)

“I was already a man of mature years when I stood for the first time on the hill of the Acropolis in Athens, between the temple ruins, looking out over the blue sea. A feeling of astonishment mingled with my joy. It seemed to say: `So it really is true, just as we learnt at school!’ How shallow and weak must have been the belief I then acquired in the real truth of what I heard, if I could be so astonished now! But I will not lay too much stress on the significance of this experience; for my astonishment could have had another explanation which did not occur to me at the time and which is of a wholly subjective nature and has to do with the special character of the place.”

From: The Spire (1964), by William Golding:

“The most solid thing was the light. It smashed through the rows of windows in the south aisle, so that they exploded with colour, it slanted before him from right to left in an exact formation, to hit the bottom yard of the pillars on the north side of the nave. Everywhere, fine dust gave these rods and trunks of light the importance of a dimension. He blinked at them again, seeing, near at hand, how the individual grains of dust turned over each other, or bounced all together, like mayfly in a breath of wind. He saw how further away they drifted cloudily, coiled, or hung in a moment of pause, becoming, in the most distant rods and trunks, nothing but colour, honey-colour slashed across the body of the cathedral. Where the south transept lighted the crossways from a hundred and fifty foot of grisaille, the honey thickened in a pillar that lifted straight as Abel’s from the men working with crows at the pavement.”

Jeremy Laurance wrote in The Independent of 27 December 1999:

“…Writing in the January issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, Dr Yair Bar-El and colleagues from the Kfer Shaul mental health centre say nearly all the ordinary tourists who developed “Jerusalem syndrome”came from ultra- religious Protestant families. Its cause is thought to be a combination of the disorientation caused by travel, the clash of cultures and a strong religious belief…”

Vikram Zutshi wrote at scroll.in on Feb 04, 2019:

“…India can cause seemingly normal people to wake up believing they are an incarnation of a long-dead Indian saint, or they have awakened their kundalini and acquired latent superhuman powers, or that the world is about to end…

So common is this phenomenon that there is a name for it – India Syndrome. Regis Airault, a psychiatrist stationed at the French consulate in Mumbai, wrote a book called Fous de L’Inde (Crazy about India) based on his experiences treating westerners who had suffered psychotic episodes while in India. “There is a cultural fantasy at play,” he told The Cult Education Institute, an internet archive of information about cults and movements. “[India syndrome] hits people from developed Western countries who are looking for a cultural space that is pure and exotic, where real values have been preserved. It’s as if we’re trying to go back in time.”

Damon Galgut wrote for The Guardian of 8 Aug 2014:

“…In an interview with the Paris Review in 1952, (E.M. Forster) says: “When I began A Passage to India I knew that something important happened in the Marabar caves, and that it would have a central place in the novel – but I didn’t know what it would be.”

…His motive for going to India was to see Syed Ross Masood, a young Indian man whom he’d befriended in 1906 and with whom he was deeply in love…

He was in India for six months, from October 1912 to April 1913…

…Forster had said goodbye to Masood the previous night. Although he was only halfway through his stay in India, they wouldn’t see each other again on this visit or, indeed, for many years afterwards. He had travelled halfway around the world to spend time with his friend, but out of a six-month sojourn they were together for only three weeks – and Forster still had three months of his journey in front of him.

…His mood, one senses, was saturated with the feeling of loss – and he carried this feeling with him into the caves a few hours later.

…Is it too fanciful to imagine that everything Forster must have been experiencing that day – a confusion of love, sadness, disappointment and possibly anger – was projected on to the caves, and took form in the imagined attack? It’s never explicitly stated in the novel, but it’s obvious that Miss Quested is attracted to Aziz. If the assault is a fantasy, it’s because her desires have no outlet – and the same could be said for Forster…”

10, Fleet Street, London EC4

From Historic England entry:

“Offices 1885, by R.W Edis.

Interior: decorative plasterwork and staircases with wrought-iron balustrades. Former “coffee room”, now library, on ground floor has fine plaster ceiling by H. Parsons, divided into sunken panels and lavishly executed with foliage and swags of fruit.”


The Chapel of St Gregory and St Augustine, Westminster Cathedral, London SW1

From the website of Westminster Cathedral:

“Westminster Cathedral is not a conventional late-Victorian building but is modelled on a Byzantine basilica – built of brick with the interior decorated with marble and mosaics. The Cathedral authorities were unusually fortunate in having, just across the river, a marble merchant not only well-versed in Byzantine architecture but who knew where Byzantine materials could be obtained. His name was William Brindley.

William Brindley was born in Derbyshire in 1832 and, appropriately enough in a county renowned for its stone, became a stone carver. By the 1850s he was working for William Farmer, another stone carver from Derbyshire nine years his senior, on the decoration of churches and other buildings and in 1868 the two formed a partnership at 67 (later 63) Westminster Bridge Road…

George Gilbert Scott died in 1878 and William Farmer died the following year, leaving Brindley in sole charge of the firm. By this time the marble decoration of prestige buildings such as the Albert Chapel at Windsor, the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore and the Opéra Garnier in Paris had convinced Brindley that coloured marble was becoming increasingly fashionable. So he embarked on a mission to seek out the old Roman quarries in Europe, Africa and Asia. As he put it 20 years later “As my delight is in old quarry hunting and as I knew the high price fragments dug up in Rome fetched, I determined to try to find the lost quarries and see if they were worked out or not”. After previously listing themselves in the Trades Directories simply as sculptors, in 1881 the Farmer & Brindley firm began to advertise as marble merchants…

…As a result of his research Brindley was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society in 1888.

Meanwhile demand for decorative coloured marble was increasing as Brindley had foreseen. There was a building boom in England and marble was in demand. A major customer was John Francis Bentley, the architect of Westminster Cathedral, who required 29 structural columns for the nave, aisles and transepts and large amounts of marble cladding for the chapels…”

From: Ships of Heaven (2019), by Christopher Somerville:

“The marbles and mosaics in the Chapel of St Gregory and St Augustine were installed in 1916 and paid for by a Roman Catholic convert and judge, Lord Brampton, with £8,500 (about £300,000 today)…

…It was the firm of Clayton & Bell of Regent Street that designed the chapel decorations; John Clayton was briefed by the cathedral’s architect J.F. Bentley to avoid the Gothic style to accord with the cathedral’s Byzantine mode. But Clayton knew what he was good at, and did it in Gothic anyway. (Wikipedia: “Although the work was to be assembled by Salviati’s workshop on Murano, the tiles were English, having been made by a technique developed by the stained-glass firm of James Powell and Sons and manufactured by that firm.”) The mosaic designs were sent out to the Murano Glass Company in Venice, who made coloured glass tesserae and attached them to the drawings, face down, to form each design. These open sandwiches of drawing-and-tesserae were then returned to London. From December 1902 till May 1904, craftsman George Bridge and twenty-six assistant mosaicists, all of them young women, gently hammered each section of the design into the place prepared for it on the wall with mallets and flat baulks of boxwood, before stripping off the drawings to reveal the tesserae face-up below. This technique bore fruit in the glowing colours of these late-Victorian Gothic designs.”

“Home! That was what they meant, those caressing appeals…”*

*Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (1908).

Tom Heyden reported at BBC.co.uk on 5 June 2013:

“…Literary references to homesickness go as far back as Homer’s Odyssey. But the modern term was coined in the 17th Century to describe the feelings of Swiss mercenaries, who longed for their homeland while fighting elsewhere in Europe. Much in demand for their skills with the pike and near-suicidal bravery, it was said that they were banned from singing Swiss songs on the basis that nostalgia would overwhelm them, leaving them useless. In the 17th Century it used to be seen as a dangerous disease that people could die from, says Dr Susan Matt, author of Homesickness: An American History. Gradually it came to be considered childish and immature, she says, ill-fitting to a culture of capitalism and imperialism…”

From: Elizabeth Bishop – A Miracle for Breakfast (2017), by Megan Marshall:

“Through the fall and winter months at Yaddo in late 1950, Elizabeth worked fitfully on the story about her mother, now called “Homesickness,” and a poem of the same title…

Had Elizabeth’s own “homesickness,” the frightening sensation she’d had of being “whirled off from all the world” on her first transatlantic voyage, recurred as, more lonely than she’d been since leaving college, she mourned her confessor, Ruth Foster? Elizabeth labelled her journal for 1950 “worst year.” She would not finish the story in which Juno was meant to accomplish a rescue. Could she have longed, without being able to say so, for a Juno, the promiscuous but passionate lover in The Stone Wall? The poem trailed off, an unfinished fragment –

…not even realising she was weeping

her face nightgown drenched –

It was too late – for what, she did not know. –

already -, remote,

irrepairable… irreparable.

Beneath the bed the big dog thumped her tail.

Megan Marshall writes of her own experience:

October 5, 1976 (Robinson Hall, Harvard Yard):

I had known homesickness – unjustified, unwarranted. How could I miss a home where I could not bring friends, where I felt lonely or fearful except at the piano or behind the pages of a book? But still, when I left California for Vermont, as the unfamiliar trees turned red and yellow and dropped their leaves, when a foot of snow fell on Thanksgiving Day and I woke alone in the white clapboard dormitory, I felt something like homesickness – though I was glad to be far away on the holiday and did not miss my home, I told myself, trying to explain away the otherwise unexplainable feeling that I was lost, misplaced.”