Tong-len is a Tibetan form of Buddhist meditation; the words mean “giving and receiving” . In Tong-len meditation, breathing becomes a way of exploring feelings of altruism and compassion. On the in-breath, the person meditating considers mankind’s hurt and suffering, and then on the outbreath, the feelings of compassion that he or she feels. The meditation is inclusive, and all sentient beings are embraced through it.

Although extremely simple in form — it feels like being part of a tidal movement of ebbing and flowing — the experience deepens with regular practice. As with all meditation, intense concentration is required, but it should not be “forced” — the paradox of effortless effort is at the heart of meditation.



Recently I described my feelings as those of being discombobulated. It described my feeling of dislocation, as if not all bits of my mind and body were aligned, or even in the same place. Looking online, I found the word means in a transitive sense, “to embarrass” or “to upset”. The word is mock-Latin and apparently there was a trend for a raft of similar pseudo-erudite but entirely fanciful words in the late 1800s.

Words, words, words

Nothing like words to get you writing words. I’ve always been fascinated by language and languages, and this website is a way to explore that fascination.

I’ve had the website for many years, first as a poetry website, and then as a website focussed on poetry in translation. However, as my website took off, and also as excellent publications such as Modern Poetry in Translation got better and better, the need for something in that space has diminished.

But I want to keep the website going, so giving it a new purpose seems like the best idea. And the theme of words fits the bill.

The reason I chose polyscriptum as the name of the website was itself a kind of pun. Rather like “television”, polyscriptum is a hybrid of Greek and Latin. Poly is Greek for “many” and scriptum is Latin for “written” so it seemed like a webname that incorporated the idea of writings  in multiple languages and scripts.

That’s how I would like to develop this. I have had a lifelong interest in written scripts. I took Oriental Studies at University,  lived in Asia and the Middle East, and developed a keen interest in scripts from my study of archaeology. So I am keen to explore words as they are written down and spoken around the world.

As usual when I build a website, I will be developing this step-by-step, and I have launched from the first day of getting this permissioned by Fasthosts.

Please email me at if you want to contribute any thoughts or ideas.