I met Mark Henson a few times over the years at various gatherings. I have long admired his works, and I stumbled across some of his political stuff recently, which brought him back in focus in my life. Really, he is a genuine and sweet person. His art ranges wildly, and on many subjects. He truly is a treasure, and we should celebrate him.
We have some nice stuff today, be sure to hit the links, and check out that film! Exciting stuff.
All the best to you on Tuesday.
Something interesting will soon show up here….
On The Menu
Simorgh – An Ancient Persian Fairy Tale
The Poetry of Rumi
The Erotic Art of Mark Henson
“We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.”
“The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.”
“Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.”
“A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.”
“We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine.”
“Humans are not proud of their ancestors, and rarely invite them round to dinner.”
“It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.”
Simorgh – An Ancient Persian Fairy Tale
By Homa A. Ghahremani
“Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced-even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it.”
There was being and nonbeing, there was none but God , who had three sons: Prince Jamshid (King of the golden age of Iranian epics), Prince Q-mars, and the youngest, Prince Khorshid (Sun, light, divine wisdom., who was self-born — an initiate), who had no mother. He was the king’s favorite because he was the bravest of all.
In the garden of the palace there grew a pomegranate tree  with only three pomegranates; their seeds were fabulous gems that shone like lamps by night. When ripe, the pomegranates would turn into three beautiful girls who were to become the wives of the three princes. Every night, by the king’s order, one of his sons guarded the tree lest anyone should steal the pomegranates.
One night when Prince Jamshid was guarding the tree he fell asleep and, in the morning, one pomegranate was missing. The next night Prince Q-mars was on guard, but he also fell asleep and the next morning another pomegranate was missing. When it came Prince Khorshid’s turn, he cut one of his fingers and rubbed salt on it so the burning would keep him awake. Shortly after midnight a cloud appeared above the tree and a hand, coming out of it, picked the last pomegranate. Prince Khorshid drew his sword and cut off one of the fingers. The hand and the cloud hurriedly disappeared.
In the morning when the king saw drops of blood on the ground he ordered his sons to track them, find the thief, and bring back the stolen pomegranates. The three princes followed the blood drops over mountains and deserts until they reached a deep well where the trail ended. Prince Jamshid offered to be lowered down the well with a rope to investigate. Less than halfway down he screamed: “Pull me up, pull me up, I am burning.” His brothers pulled him up. Next, Prince Q-mars went down and soon he also cried out that he was burning. When Prince Khorshid decided to go down he told his brothers that no matter how loudly he shouted, they should not pull him up but let the rope down farther; and they were then to wait for him only until dark. If there was no sign of him, they could go home.
Prince Khorshid entered the well and, in spite of unbearable heat, went all the way down to the bottom where he found a young girl, beautiful as a full moon. On her lap lay the head of a sleeping deav/div , whose thunderous snores filled the air with heat and smoke. “Prince Khorshid,” she whispered, “what are you doing here? If this deav wakes up, he will surely kill you as he has killed many others. Go back while there is still time.”
Prince Khorshid, who loved her at first glance, refused. He asked her who she was and what she was doing there.
“My two sisters and I are captives of this deav and his two brothers. My sisters are imprisoned in two separate wells where the deavs have hidden the stolen wealth of almost all the world.”
Prince Khorshid said: “I am going to kill the deav and free you and your sisters. But I will wake him first; I do not wish to kill him in his sleep.” The prince scratched the soles of the deav’s feet until he opened his eyes and stood up. Roaring, the deav picked up a millstone and threw it at the prince, who quickly stepped aside, drew his sword, and in the name of God cut the deav in half. Thereafter he went to the other two wells, finished off the deavs and rescued the sisters of his beloved. He also collected the treasure.
As it was not yet dark, his brothers were still waiting for him and when he called them they started to pull up the rope. The girl whom Prince Khorshid loved wanted him to go up before her, because she knew that when his brothers saw the jewels they would be jealous and would not pull him up. But the prince insisted she go up first. When she saw that she could not change his mind she said: “If your brothers do not pull you up and leave you here, there are two things you should know: first, there are in this land a golden cock  and a golden lantern  that can lead you to me. The cock is in a chest and when you open it, he will sing for you. And when he sings, all kinds of gems will pour from his beak. The golden lantern is self-illuminated, and it burns forever. The second thing you should know is this: later in the night there will come two oxen that will fight with each other. One is black,  the other white.  If you jump on the white ox it will take you out of the well, but if, by mistake, you jump on the black one, it will take you seven floors farther down.”
As she had predicted, when the princes Jamshid and Q-mars saw the girls and the boxes of gold and silver, they became jealous of their brother’s achievements. Knowing that their father would surely give him the kingdom, they cut the rope and let him fall to the bottom of the well. Then they went home and told their father that they were the ones who had rescued the girls, killed the deavs, and brought all the treasure, and that Prince Khorshid had not come back.
Prince Khorshid was heartbroken. He saw two oxen approaching and stood up as they started to fight. In his excitement he jumped on the back of the black ox and dropped with it seven floors down. When he opened his eyes, he found himself in a green pasture with a view of a city in the distance. He started walking toward it when he saw a peasant plowing. Being hungry and thirsty he asked him for bread and water. The man told him to be very careful and not to talk out loud because there were two lions nearby; if they heard him they would come out and eat the oxen. Then he said: “You take over the plowing and I will get you something to eat.”
Prince Khorshid started to plow, commanding the oxen in a loud voice. Two roaring lions came charging toward him, but the prince captured the lions, turned the oxen loose and hitched the lions to the plow. When the peasant returned, he was very much taken aback. Prince Khorshid said: “Don’t be afraid. The lions are harmless now and will not hurt you or your oxen. But if you are not comfortable with them, I will let them go.” When he saw that the farmer was still reluctant to approach the lions, he unfastened them and they went back where they had come from.
The man had brought food but no water. He explained: “There is no water in the city because a dragon is sleeping in front of the spring. Every Saturday a girl is taken to the spring so that, when the dragon moves to devour her, some water runs through the city’s streams and people can collect enough for the following week. This Saturday the king’s daughter is to be offered to the dragon.”
Prince Khorshid had the peasant take him to the king: “What will be my reward if I kill the dragon and save your daughters life?” The king replied: “Whatever you wish within my power.”
Saturday came and the prince went with the girl to the spring. The moment the dragon moved aside to devour her, Prince Khorshid called the name of God and slew the monster. There was joy and celebration in the city. When Prince Khorshid, asked to name his reward, announced that his one wish was to return to his homeland, the king said: “The only one who could take you up seven floors is Simorgh (In New Persian literature Simorgh and in Pahlavi or Middle-Persian: Sen-Murv), who has many manifestations; besides divine wisdom, it may symbolize the perfected human being. According to some Pahlavi texts, Simorgh is a bird whose abode is in the middle of a sea in a tree which contains all the seeds of the vegetable world. Whenever Simorgh flies up from the tree one thousand branches grow, and whenever she sits on it, one thousand branches break and the seeds fall into the water.
In Ferdowsi’s Shah Nameh (Book of Kings) — originally called Khoday Nameh (Book of God) — Simorghs abode is on top of the mountain Ghaph, by which is meant Alborz mountain.). She lives nearby in a jungle. Every year she lays three eggs and each year her chicks are eaten by a serpent. If you could kill the serpent, she surely would take you home.”
Prince Khorshid went to the jungle and found the tree in which Simorgh had her nest. While he was watching, he saw a serpent climbing up the tree to eat the frightened chicks. In the name of God he cut the serpent into small pieces and fed some to the hungry chicks who were waiting for their mother to bring them food. He saved the rest for later and went to sleep under the tree. When Simorgh flew over the nest and saw Prince Khorshid, she thought he was the one who each year ate up all her chicks. She was ready to kill him, when her chicks shouted that he was the one who had saved them from the enemy. Realizing that he had killed the serpent, she stretched her wings over Prince Khorshid’s head to make shade for him while he slept.
When he awoke, the prince told Simorgh his story and asked whether she could help him. Simorgh urged him to go back to the king and ask him for the meat of seven bulls. “Make seven leather bags out of their hides and fill them with water. These will be my provisions for the journey; I need them to be able to take you home. Whenever I say I am hungry you must give me a bag of water, and when I say I am thirsty you must give me the carcass of a bull.” On their way up to the ground Prince Khorshid did exactly as Simorgh had instructed him until only one bag of water was left. When, instead of saying she was hungry Simorgh said she was thirsty, Prince Khorshid cut off some flesh from his thigh and put it in Simorgh’s beak. Simorgh immediately realized it was human flesh. She held it gently until they reached their destination. As soon as he dismounted, the prince urged Simorgh to fly back at once but, knowing he could not walk without limping, she refused and with her saliva restored the piece of his flesh to his thigh. Having learned how brave and unselfish the prince was, she gave him three of her feathers, saying that if he were ever in need of her he should burn one of them, and she would instantly come to his aid. With that she flew away.
Entering the town, Prince Khorshid learned that three royal weddings were about to take place: for Prince Jamshid, and Prince Q-mars, and the third for the Vizier’s son, because the youngest son of the king, Prince Khorshid, had never returned. One day some men came to the shop where Prince Khorshid was apprenticed, saying they had been to all the jewelry stores in town but no one would undertake to make what the king had ordered. Prince Khorshid asked them what it was and was told: “The girl who is to marry the Viziers son has put forward one condition to the marriage! She will only marry one who can bring her a golden cock from whose bill gems will pour when it sings; she also wants a golden lantern which is self-illuminated and burns for ever. But so far no jeweler can build such things.”
Prince Khorshid, recognizing the signs, spoke up: “With my master’s permission I can build you a chest with such a golden cock and also the golden lantern by tomorrow. The men gave him the jewels needed to build those items and left. Prince Khorshid gave them all to his master for, he said, he did not need them.
That night Prince Khorshid left the town and burned one of the feathers. When Simorgh came, he asked her to bring him what the girl had demanded, and she did so. In the morning, the astounded men took the precious items to the king, who at once summoned the young man to the court and was overjoyed to discover it was none other than his favorite son. Prince Khorshid told his story but he begged the king not to punish his brothers for the wrong they had done him.
The whole town celebrated his return and there were three weddings indeed. The king made Prince Khorshid his successor to the throne and all lived happily every after.
 The duality of light and darkness has always existed in the fundamental belief of Iranians; light representing the essence of life which is consciousness, and darkness representing non life which is form. All Persian fairy tales begin with the sentence “There was being and nonbeing, there was none but God.”). In the old, old times there was a king (The guardian of the throne of wisdom
 The treasure of secret knowledge
 Giant: tyranny of human ignorance and weakness
 This represents Saroush (Sarousha in Pahlavi). Sarousha is a godlike bird who is the most powerful of the gods, since he is the manifestation of righteousness, honesty, and striving. He fights the diev of frailty and weakness. In some versions of this story, the golden cock in a chest is a golden nightingale in a golden cage.
 The light of wisdom. In some versions, Prince Khorshid must bring back a golden lantern, in others a golden hand-mill which represents the wheel of destiny (or civilization and culture).
 Terrestrial life leading to darkness.
 Terrestrial life leading to light.
The Poetry of Rumi
I Have Five Things To Say
The wakened lover speaks directly to the beloved,
“You are the sky my spirit circles in,
the love inside love, the resurrection-place.
Let this window be your ear.
I have lost consciousness many times
with longing for your listening silence,
and your life-quickening smile.
You give attention to the smallest matters,
my suspicious doubts, and to the greatest.
You know my coins are counterfeit,
but you accept them anyway,
my impudence and my pretending!
I have five things to say,
five fingers to give
into your grace.
First, when I was apart from you,
this world did not exist,
nor any other.
Second, whatever I was looking for
was always you.
Third, why did I ever learn to count to three?
Fourth, my cornfield is burning!
Fifth, this finger stands for Rabia,
and this is for someone else.
Is there a difference?
Arc these words or tears?
Is weeping speech?
What shall I do, my love?”
So he speaks, and everyone around
begins to cry with him, laughing crazily,
moaning in the spreading union
of lover and beloved.
This is the true religion. All others
are thrown-away bandages beside it.
This is the sema of slavery and mastery
dancing together. This is not-being.
Neither words, nor any natural fact
can express this.
I know these dancers.
Day and night I sing their songs
in this phenomenal cage.
My soul, don’t try to answer now!
Find a friend, and hide.
But what can stay hidden?
Love’s secret is always lifting its head
out from under the covers,
“Here I am!”
A Community Of The Spirit
There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street,
and being the noise.
Drink all your passion,
and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes
to see with the other eye.
Open your hands,
if you want to be held.
Sit down in this circle.
Quit acting like a wolf, and feel
the shepherd’s love filling you.
At night, your beloved wanders.
Don’t accept consolations.
Close your mouth against food.
Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.
You moan, “She left me.” “He left me.”
Twenty more will come.
Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.
Flow down and down in always
widening rings of being.
Where Everything is Music
Don’t worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn’t matter.
We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.
The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world’s harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.
So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.
This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.
Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!
from a slow and powerful root
that we can’t see.
Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.
The Phrasing Must Change
Learn about your inner self from those who know such things,
but don’t repeat verbatim what they say.
Zuleikha let everything be the name of Joseph, from celery seed
to aloes wood. She loved him so much she concealed his name
in many different phrases, the inner meanings
known only to her. When she said, The wax is softening
near the fire, she meant, My love is wanting me.
Or if she said, Look, the moon is up or The willow has new leaves
or The branches are trembling or The coriander seeds
have caught fire or The roses are opening
or The king is in a good mood today or Isn’t that lucky?
or The furniture needs dusting or
The water carrier is here or It’s almost daylight or
These vegetables are perfect or The bread needs more salt
or The clouds seem to be moving against the wind
or My head hurts or My headache’s better,
anything she praises, it’s Joseph’s touch she means,
any complaint, it’s his being away.
When she’s hungry, it’s for him. Thirsty, his name is a sherbet.
Cold, he’s a fur. This is what the Friend can do
when one is in such love. Sensual people use the holy names
often, but they don’t work for them.
The miracle Jesus did by being the name of God,
Zuleikha felt in the name of Joseph.
When one is united to the core of another, to speak of that
is to breathe the name Hu, empty of self and filled
with love. As the saying goes, The pot drips what is in it.
The saffron spice of connecting, laughter.
The onion smell of separation, crying.
Others have many things and people they love.
This is not the way of Friend and friend.