The Song of the Hermit Thrush

“There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew that cultures decay,

and life’s end is death” (The Purse-Seine, 1937)-Robinson Jeffers

New Years done, time rolls on. We start it off with a revisit to Robinson Jeffers, getting acquainted with some new music and some excellent tales from the Iroquois.

Started reading Dale Pendell’s new book “Inspired Madness” (The Gifts of Burning Man). I have to say it set my head on fire last night. The whole night I dreamed I was at Black Rock City. If you get a chance to read this fine book, do. I am almost done with it, then I am passing it on to Rowan and Mary, hopefully I can convince them to come with me this year…

Hope the New Year is going well,

Gwyllm

On The Menu

The Links

Loreena McKennitt – Caravanserai (Live @ Alhambra 2006)

Tales of the Iroquois

Guezos – “Manoliño”

Poetry: Robinson Jeffers

Loreena McKennitt – The Bonny Swans

Enjoy!

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The Links:

Invasion Of Mickeys’ Cousin

Science told: hands off gay sheep

Reductionist Fodder? : Ghost in the Machine

Flights of fancy, or UFOs?

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Loreena McKennitt – Caravanserai (Live @ Alhambra 2006)

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Tales of the Iroquois:

The Hermit Thrush

Long ago the birds had no song. Only man could sing. Each day man greeted the rising sun with a song. The birds, as they flew by, listened to the beautiful song and they wished they too could sing. One day the Creator visited the earth.

The Creator walked around on the earth looking at all the things he had created. He noticed, though, that there was a great silence. Something was missing.

As the Creator thought about this, the sun sank behind the western hills. Then he heard the distant sound of a drum followed by the chanting of the sunset song. The sounds pleased the Creator.

When the Creator looked around, he noticed that the birds were also listening to the singing. “That’s what’s missing!” said the Creator. “Birds should also have songs.”

The next day the Creator called all the birds to the great council. The birds came from far away.The sky filled with flying birds and the trees and bushes bent under the weight of so many birds.

The Creator sat on the council rock. The birds perched and became quiet. The Creator spoke.

“Would the birds like to have songs and be able to sing as the people sing?” With one voice, the birds replied, “Yes! Yes!”

The Creator spoke to them. “At tomorrow’s dawn, fly as high in the sky as you can. When you can fly no higher, it is there where you will find your song. The bird who flies the highest will find the most beautiful song.”

The next morning, all the Creator’s birds gathered upon the land. Excitement spread throughout the birds. One small brown thrush was not excited. He was perched next to a great eagle. He looked at the strength of the eagle and thought to himself, “What chance do I have of reaching the most beautiful song? This eagle is so great. I will never be able to compete with a bird such as he.”

The eagle, eager for daybreak, took no notice of the small brown thrush near him. The thrush had an idea. The thrush flew to the eagle’s head and quickly hid beneath his feathers. The eagle stretched his wings. “With my great wings, I will surely fly to the most beautiful song.”

At that moment, the first break of dawn appeared. With a great roar of wings, the birds took off. The morning sky remained dark as so many birds flew up higher and higher.

The first bird found his song. He had flown so hard you could hear a hum coming from his wings. The hummingbird song plainly calls, “Wait, wait for me.” Next the cowbird tires, and as he flies down to the earth, he sees other birds weaken and find their songs.

The sky began to darken once again. As the sun went down behind the horizon, only the Eagle, the Hawk, the Owl, the Buzzard, and the Loon flew higher.

As daybreak came the next day, only Eagle, the chief of all birds, was left. He flew steady and strong until the sun was halfway in the sky. He looked and saw he was the only bird left in the sky. He began triumphantly soaring to the earth. The thrush awoke from his sound sleep at the back of eagle’s head. He hopped off the eagle’s head and began flying upward. The eagle saw the thrush begin his journey, but was exhausted. The eagle could do nothing more than stare at him in anger.

The little thrush flew higher and higher. He soon came to a hole in the sky. Entering the hole, he heard a beautiful song coming from the Spirit World. He stayed and learned the song. When he had learned it perfectly, he took leave of that place and returned anxiously to earth. He could not wait to share this most beautiful song with the others.

As he came closer to earth, he could see council rock, and he could see the great eagle, Stagwia, waiting for him. All the other birds waited in silence for thrush’s arrival upon the earth.

The thrush, nearing the earth, no longer felt proud of his song. He began to feel ashamed that he cheated to find this song. He feared Stagwia, for he was the one thrush cheated out of the song. He flew in silence to the deep woods. He hid in shame under the branches of the largest tree. He could not proudly share his song.He was so ashamed that he wanted no one to see him.

There you will find him even today. The Hermit Thrush never comes out into the open because he is still ashamed that he cheated. Sometimes, he can’t help himself, though, and he must sing his beautiful song. When he does this, the other birds stop singing because they know the song of the Hermit Thrush is from the Spirit World. That is why the Hermit Thrush is so shy and that is why his song is the most beautiful song of all the birds.

Why There Are Mosquitoes

Many winters ago two giant mosquitoes appeared on either side of a river. These giant creatures were as tall as a good sized pine tree. As the Indian people paddled down the river in their canoes, these giant creatures would bend their heads and attack them with their beaks. The mosquitoes killed many people.

Knowing that these giant mosquitoes were waiting to attack any canoe that floated down the river, the people began to shun this particular stream. It was then that these giant creatures moved to other streams to seek their prey.

For a while, it was a reign of terror for the Iroquois who were great canoe travelers. They never knew just when these giant mosquitoes would pounce out and devour them.

Finally, one day a war party was organized to seek out these creatures and to destroy them. Twenty warriors in two great canoes floated down a river where they expected the mosquitoes to be. In their hands, ever ready, they held their bows and arrows. Fastened to their belts were their war clubs and hunting knives.

Suddenly, two shadows loomed over them and a giant beak pierced one of the canoes. Giving their war cry, the warriors filled the air with many arrows. The battle was terrific! The giant mosquitoes seemed to be everywhere at the same time. in a little while, half the warriors had been killed.

The remaining braves determined to die courageously. They hid behind trees and bushes. They surrounded the mosquitoes who were unable to get them because of the thick branches. The Iroquois buried many of their arrows in the bodies of the two mosquitoes. Finally, after most of the arrows had been shot and the supply had become low, the two mosquitoes fell to the earth. They were covered with many wounds. Immediately, the warriors fell upon them with their war clubs and, with powerful blows, they tore the bodies of the mosquitoes apart.

From the blood of the two giant mosquitoes there sprang many little mosquitoes and the air was soon filled with them> These little mosquitoes, like their grandfathers, are fond of the taste of human blood. They hate man for killing their grandfathers and are continually trying to get revenge upon man for this reason.

This is how mosquitoes came to be. The battle took place on the Seneca River in New York State.

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Guezos – “Manoliño”

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Poetry: Robinson Jeffers

Shine Perishing Republic

While this America settles in the mold of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire,

And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the mass hardens,

I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth.

Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence; and home to the mother.

You making haste, haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly

A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains: shine, perishing republic.

But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption

Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster’s feet there are left the mountains.

And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant, insufferable master.

There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught-they say-God, when he walked on earth.

(written in 1926!)

Summer Holiday

When the sun shouts and people abound

One thinks there were the ages of stone and the age of

bronze

And the iron age; iron the unstable metal;

Steel made of iron, unstable as his mother; the tow-

ered-up cities

Will be stains of rust on mounds of plaster.

Roots will not pierce the heaps for a time, kind rains

will cure them,

Then nothing will remain of the iron age

And all these people but a thigh-bone or so, a poem

Stuck in the world’s thought, splinters of glass

In the rubbish dumps, a concrete dam far off in the

mountain…

The Great Explosion

The universe expands and contracts like a great heart.

It is expanding, the farthest nebulae

Rush with the speed of light into empty space.

It will contract, the immense navies of stars and galaxies,

dust clouds and nebulae

Are recalled home, they crush against each other in one

harbor, they stick in one lump

And then explode it, nothing can hold them down; there is no

way to express that explosion; all that exists

Roars into flame, the tortured fragments rush away from each

other into all the sky, new universes

Jewel the black breast of night; and far off the outer nebulae

like charging spearmen again

Invade emptiness.

No wonder we are so fascinated with

fireworks

And our huge bombs: it is a kind of homesickness perhaps for

the howling fireblast that we were born from.

But the whole sum of the energies

That made and contain the giant atom survives. It will

gather again and pile up, the power and the glory–

And no doubt it will burst again; diastole and systole: the

whole universe beats like a heart.

Peace in our time was never one of God’s promises; but back

and forth, live and die, burn and be damned,

The great heart beating, pumping into our arteries His

terrible life.

He is beautiful beyond belief.

And we, God’s apes–or tragic children–share in the beauty.

We see it above our torment, that’s what life’s for.

He is no God of love, no justice of a little city like Dante’s

Florence, no anthropoid God

Making commandments,: this is the God who does not care

and will never cease. Look at the seas there

Flashing against this rock in the darkness–look at the

tide-stream stars–and the fall of nations–and dawn

Wandering with wet white feet down the Caramel Valley to

meet the sea. These are real and we see their beauty.

The great explosion is probably only a metaphor–I know not

–of faceless violence, the root of all things.

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Loreena McKennitt – The Bonny Swans

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