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Not up to alot tonight, a bit under the weather and all. Anyway, I hope you find something of interest in this entry…

On The Grill

The Links

Talking Bob… (or Gwyllm’s close call with Robert Zimmerman)

Poetry: Farid ud-Din Attar

I hope you enjoy it all!

Gwyllm

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The Links:

Coming Soon: Pans’ Labyrinth…

Of Romulus and Homer

Peru bans flights over Inca ruins

Big crater seen beneath ice sheet…

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Talking Bob… (or Gwyllm’s close call with Robert Zimmerman)

Since we’ve talked lately about Cannabis….

A tale from a few decades ago: Back in the middle 70′s, in the Summer of 75, I was driving my 1965 Ford Falcon down Wilshire Blvd. from Westwood. (Rik Jensens’ Grandmother had owned it) I’d played Cannabis Roulette before leaving the Flat a half hour previously; picking a joint out of my inlade persian cigarette box randomly and smoking it before I headed out the door…

Now Cannabis Roulette went like this: approximately 5 joints are from Mexico (Michoacan preferred), 5 from Colombia, and 1 Thai Stick. All are mixed together behind your back, then placed in the box. You don’t know which is which. After a few joints are consumed, you add more…

It seems that I had pulled the most potent one out of the mix; the Thai Stick number, so it goes. I had played this game for a few years often with novel effects… Once while driving up the 280 to San Francisco on our way to a party in Sausalito, I had lit up a number that absolutely convinced me that the car was stock still, and it was the land and road that were moving rapidly. One could probably step out of the vehicle without any problem, you catch the drift of where this could of gone. Luckily, I realized that this revelation was not to be taken seriously.

So I am driving down Wilshire, heading to visit with my friend Helen Sweet down in far western Santa Monica, caught in the realization as I listen to the radio, that I am very, very high. Of course a bit of paranoia comes into play, as I scan traffic for the L.A.P.D., ever vigilant and always ready to bust someone… I don’t see any of our protectors, so my mind wanders…

Helen and I had met in 1968 at The Mt Shasta Inn. She was one of the Harvard Group, who went to Mexico with Tim and Richard, becoming perhaps the only female lover that Richard ever had. She was in Millbrook until 1965, until she moved to the Haight, then Sausalito (after a bust in SF), then on to Mt. Shasta. We had remained good friends, and compatriots ever since. As I was thinking about her, I was merrily driving along whistling tunelessly to the radio when I am rapidly approaching the Bicycle Shop Cafe on the north side of Wilshire. I had always enjoyed it though it was a bit pricey….

I was driving in the right lane, almost up to the cafe when a couple stepped out from behind a car to cross the street. They were so close I had to slam on my brakes and I came to a screeching halt some 3 feet from the pair of them. My heart was in my mouth as I looked up, to see Bob Dylan, along with his wife Sarah staring rather pointedly at yours truly. With a faint smile and a nod, they merrily strolled across Wilshire in front of me… Now, I was at a loss at this point. Here I had been driving along alone in my stoned world paying very little attention to the moment at hand, which had almost resulted in me inadvertently offing the one counter-culture Icon I had any feelings for at that time…. I looked at them in amazement as they sauntered along, and truly they were a beautiful couple. My mind should I say, was truly blown.

I drove the rest of the way to Helen’s in a very mindful way. I realized that I had almost set off a whole cascade of events with my in-attention.

I made my way up to the back garden apartment of Helen. “Hey, can you guess who I almost ran over?” I said to Helen as we sat down to tea, biscuits, a joint… “No, who?” she said as she put Mr. Dylan on the record player….

The conversation went down hill from there.

Helen gave me the lecture of my life of “How Could You!” and other well known topics. When she would take me to task for my short comings over the following years, some how this one subject would always come up. She was Bob’s biggest fan, and I would suspect she still is. I hear she lives up in the Sierra now. Thinking about her makes me smile.

Anyway, that is the tale. Luckily it had ended well, with no one hurt. Sadly Mr. Dylan left his Sarah a couple of years later. I saw him perform in an English field in 1978, along with Mary and our friend Phillip. It was a great concert, (Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading, The Scorpions, and several other bands…) His was not the best set. Joan stole the day, and the night as well.

So, with this tale told may I offer a word of caution: Watch what you are doing and don’t play roulette with your medicines, and always, always keep your eyes on the road….

Cheers,

Gwyllm

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Poetry: Farid ud-Din Attar

The Simurgh (from The Conference of the Birds)

Ah, the Simurgh, who is this wondrous being

Who, one fated night, when time stood still,

Flew over China, not a single soul seeing?

A feather fell from this King, his beauty and his will,

And all hearts touched by it were in tumult thrown.

Everyone who could, traced from it a liminal form;

All who saw the still glowing lines were blown

By longing like trees on a shore bent by storm.

The feather is lodged in China’s sacred places,

Hence the Prophet’s exhortation for knowledge to seek

Even unto China where the feather’s shadow graces

All who shelter under it — to know of this is not to speak.

But unless the feather’s image is felt and seen

None knows the heart’s obscure, shifting states

That replace the fat of inaction with decision’s lean.

His grace enters the world and moulds our fates

Though without the limit of form or definite shape,

For all definitions are frozen contradictions not fit

For knowing; therefore, if you wish to travel on the Way,

Set out on it now to find the Simurgh, don’t prattle and sit

On your haunches till into stiffening death you stray.

All the birds who were by this agitation shook,

Aspired to a meeting place to prepare for the Shah,

To release in themselves the revelations of the Book;

They yearned so deeply for Him who is both near and far,

They were drawn to this sun and burned to an ember;

But the road was long and perilous that was open to offer.

Hooked by terror, though each was asked to remember

The truth, each an excuse to stay behind was keen to proffer.

——

Mysticism

The sun can only be seen by the light

of the sun. The more a man or woman knows,

the greater the bewilderment, the closer

to the sun the more dazzled, until a point

is reached where one no longer is.

A mystic knows without knowledge, without

intuition or information, without contemplation

or description or revelation. Mystics

are not themselves. They do not exist

in selves. They move as they are moved,

talk as words come, see with sight

that enters their eyes. I met a woman

once and asked her where love had led her.

“Fool, there’s no destination to arrive at.

Loved one and lover and love are infinite.”

—-

I shall grasp the soul’s skirt with my hand

I shall grasp the soul’s skirt with my hand

and stamp on the world’s head with my foot.

I shall trample Matter and Space with my horse,

beyond all Being I shall utter a great shout,

and in that moment when I shall be alone with Him,

I shall whisper secrets to all mankind.

Since I shall have neither sign nor name

I shall speak only of things unnamed and without sign.

Do not delude yourself that from a burned heart

I will discourse with palatte and tongue.

The body is impure, I shall cast it away

and utter these pure words with soul alone.

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Farid ud-Din Attar was born in Nishapur, Persia (Iran). There is disagreement over the exact dates of his birth and death but several sources confirm that he lived about 100 years. He is traditionally said to have been killed by Mongol invaders. His tomb can be seen today in Nishapur.

The name Attar means herbalist or druggist, which was his profession. It is said that he saw as many as 500 patients a day in his shop, prescribing herbal remedies which he prepared himself, and he wrote his poetry while attending to his patients.

About thirty works by Attar survive, but his masterpiece is the Mantic at-Tayr (The Conference of the Birds). In this collection, he describes a group of birds (individual human souls) under the leadership of a hoopoe (spiritual master) who determine to search for the legendary Simurgh bird (God). The birds must confront their own individual limitations and fears while journeying through seven valleys before they ultimately find the Simurgh and complete their quest.

Attar’s poetry inspired Rumi and many other Sufi poets. It is said that Rumi actually met Attar when Attar was an old man and Rumi was a boy, though some scholars dispute this possibility.

A traditional story is told about Attar’s death. He was taken prisoner by a Mongol during the invasion of Nishapur. Someone soon came and tried to ransom Attar with a thousand pieces of silver. Attar advised the Mongol not to sell him for that price. The Mongol, thinking to gain an even greater sum of money, refused the silver. Later, another person came, this time offering only a sack of straw to free Attar. Attar then told the Mongol to sell him for that was all he was worth. Outraged at being made a fool, the Mongol cut off Attar’s head.

Whether or not this is literally true isn’t the point. This story is used to teach the mystical insight that the personal self isn’t of much real worth. What is valuable is the Beloved’s presence within us — and that presence isn’t threatened by the death of the body.