The Invisible College
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Quotes of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Coyote as a Mythic Symbol
Coyote Tales: Why Mount Shasta Erupted
The Poetry of Alí Chumacero
Quotes of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:
Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed.
He that will believe only what he can fully comprehend must have a long head or a very short creed.
In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.
It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits of our abilities do not exist.
Love alone can unite living beings so as to complete and fulfill them… for it alone joins them by what is deepest in themselves. All we need is to imagine our ability to love developing until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.
Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves.
Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world… Love, in fact, is the agent of universal synthesis.
Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.
Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.
Coyote as a Mythic Symbol
-David W. Fanning
Coyote–wanderer, glutton, lecher, thief, cheat, outlaw, clown, pragmatist, survivor. In the desert Southwest US, where I grew up, coyote the trickster still plays an important pragmatic and ceremonial role in the lives of Native American people. I like him because he never gives up, is always willing to say yes to anything, and never takes himself too seriously.
In the traditional oral literature of Native Americans, mythological creatures like coyote do not represent animals. Instead, they represent the First People, members of a mythic race who first populated our world and lived before humans existed. The First People had tremendous powers and created all we know in the world, but they were–like us–capable of being brave or cowardly, conservative or innovative, wise or stupid.
Native American coyote stories are told to audiences of young and old alike. They are sometimes told to explain cosmology, as instructional tales for the young, to illustrate history, to illuminate tragedy, and sometimes just for the sheer hilarity of telling and hearing a funny story. In all these guises, coyote stories are a mirror for our own lives, pointing out the petty foibles and the most magnificent strengths.
In a more practical vein, coyotes are survivors, able to co-exist around the edges of most human habitats. I see them frequently around Fort Collins, where I live, goin’ along, looking for food, the way they always do.
I lived in Mt. Shasta for many years. This is a great tale! I hope you enjoy…
Coyote Tales: Why Mount Shasta Erupted
Coyote, a universal and mischievous spirit, lived near Mount Shasta in what is now California. Coyote’s village had little fish and no salmon. His neighbouring village of Shasta Indians always had more than they could use.
Shasta Indians had built a dam that served as a trap for fish, especially the wonderful salmon. They ate it raw, baked it over hot coals, and dried large quantities for their winter food supply. Other tribes came to Shasta Village to trade for salmon, which created wealth and respect for the Shasta tribe.
One day Coyote was dreaming of a delicious meal of salmon. His mouth watered at the thought of a nice freshly cooked, juicy salmon.
“I am so terribly hungry,” he said to himself upon waking. “If I visit the Shasteans, maybe I can have a salmon dinner.”
Coyote washed and brushed himself to look neat and clean, then started for Shasta Village with visions of fresh salmon swimming behind his eyes. He found the Shasteans at the dam hauling in big catches of salmon. They welcomed him and said that he could have all the fish he could catch and carry.
Hunger and greed caused Coyote to take more fish than was good for him. Finally, he lifted his big load onto his back and began his homeward journey, after thanking the Shasta Indians for their generosity.
Because his load was extra heavy and he still had a long way to go Coyote soon tired.
“I think I had better rest for a while,” he thought. “A short nap will do me good.”
He stretched himself full length upon the ground, lying on his stomach, with his pack still on his back. While Coyote slept, swarms and swarms of Yellow Jackets dived down and scooped up his salmon. What was left were bare salmon bones.
Coyote waked very hungry. His first thought was how good a bite of salmon would taste at that moment. Still half-asleep, he turned his head and took a large bite. To his great surprise and anger, his mouth was full of fish bones! His salmon meat was gone. Coyote jumped up and down in a rage shouting, “Who has stolen my salmon? Who has stolen my salmon?”
Coyote searched the ground around him but could not locate any visible tracks. He decided to return to Shasta Village and ask his good friends there if he could have more salmon.
“Whatever happened to you?” they asked when they saw his pack of bare salmon bones.
“I was tired and decided to take a nap,” replied Coyote. “While I slept, someone slightly stole all of the good salmon meat that you gave me. I feel very foolish to ask, but may I catch more fish at your dam?”
All of the friendly Shasteans invited him to spend the night and to fish with them in the morning. Again, Coyote caught salmon and made a second pack for his back and started homeward.
Strangely, Coyote tired at about the same place as he had on the day before. Again he stopped to rest, but he decided that he would not sleep today. With his eyes wide open, he saw swarms of hornets approaching. Because he never imagined they were the culprits who stole his salmon, he did nothing.
Quicker than he could blink his eyes, the Yellow Jackets again stripped the salmon meat from the bones and in a flash they disappeared!
Furious with himself, Coyote raged at the Yellow Jackets. Helpless, he ran back to Shasta Village, relating to his friends what he had seen with his own eyes. They listened to his story and they felt sorry for Coyote, losing his second batch of salmon.
“Please take a third pack of fish and go to the same place and rest. We will follow and hide in the bushes beside you and keep the Yellow Jackets from stealing your fish,” responded the Shasta Indians.
Coyote departed carrying this third pack of salmon. The Shasteans followed and hid according to plan. While all were waiting, who should come along but Grandfather Turtle.
“Whoever asked you to come here?” said Coyote, annoyed at Grandfather Turtle’s intrusion.
Turtle said nothing but just sat there by himself.
“Why did you come here to bother us,” taunted Coyote. “We are waiting for the robber Yellow Jackets who stole two packs of salmon. We’ll scare them away this time with all my Shasta friends surrounding this place. Why don’t you go on your way?”
But Turtle was not bothered by Coyote; he continued to sit there and rest himself. Coyote again mocked Grandfather Turtle and became so involved with him that he was completely unaware when the Yellow Jackets returned. In a flash, they stripped the salmon bones of the delicious meat and flew away!
Coyote and the Shasta Indians were stunned for a moment. But in the next instant, they took off in hot pursuit of the Yellow Jackets. They ran and ran as fast as they could, soon exhausting themselves and dropping out of the race. Not Grandfather Turtle, who plodded steadily along, seeming to know exactly how and where to trail them.
Yellow Jackets, too, knew where they were going, as they flew in a straight line for the top of Mount Shasta. There they took the salmon into the centre of the mountain through a hole in the top. Turtle saw where they went, and waited patiently for Coyote and the other stragglers to catch up to him. Finally, they all reached the top, where turtle showed them the hole through which the Yellow Jackets had disappeared.
Coyote directed all the good people to start a big fire on the top of Mount Shasta. They fanned the smoke into the top hole, thinking to smoke out the yellow jackets. But the culprits did not come out, because the smoke found other holes in the side of the mountain.
Frantically, Coyote and the Shasta Indians ran here, there, and everywhere, closing up the smaller smoke holes. They hoped to suffocate the Yellow Jackets within the mountain.
Furiously, they worked at their task while Grandfather Turtle crawled up to the very top of Mount Shasta. Gradually, he lifted himself onto the top hole and sat down, covering it completely with his massive shell, like a Mother Turtle sits on her nest. He succeeded in completely closing the top hole, so that no more smoke escaped.
Coyote and his friends closed all of the smaller holes.
“Surely the Yellow Jackets will soon be dead,” said Coyote as he sat down to rest.
What is that rumbling noise, everyone questioned? Louder and louder the noise rumbled from deep within Mount Shasta. Closer and closer to the top came the rumble. Grandfather Turtle decided it was time for him to move from his hot seat.
Suddenly, a terrific explosion occurred within the mountain, spewing smoke, fire, and gravel everywhere!
Then to Coyote’s delight, he saw his salmon miraculously pop out from the top hole of Mount Shasta–cooked and smoked, ready to eat!
Coyote, the Shasta Indians, and Grandfather Turtle sat down to a well-deserved meal of delicious salmon.
To this day, the Shasta Indian tribe likes to conclude this tale saying, “This is how volcanic eruptions began long, long ago on Mount Shasta.”
The Poetry of Alí Chumacero
The Sphere of the Dance
She moves the air, her own gentleness
returns to fire: the cold
to amazement and the splendor
arises to music. No one
breathes, nobody thinks and only
the undulation of the glances
shimmers like hair a comet trails.
In the drawing room the marble sobs
its propriety recovered, the river
of ashes groans and hides
faces and clothes and humidity.
Body of happening or peak
in motion, its epitaph
prevails in the half-light and forsakes
collapsing, untumultuous waves.
Lifeless in ignominy, in space
the families doze, sad
as the imprisoned gambles,
and the adultress longs for
the charity of another’s sheer.
Under the light, the dancer
dreams of disappearing.
I open the door, return to the familiar mercy
of my own house where a vague
sense protects me the son who never was
smacking of shipwreck, waves or a passionate cloak
whose acid summers
cloud the fading face. Archaic refuge
of dead gods fills the region,
and below, the wind breathes, a conscious
gust which fanned my forehead yesterday
still sought in the perturbed present.
I could not speak of sheets, candles, smoke
nor humility and compassion, calm
at the afternoons edges, I could not
say “her hands,” “her sadness,” “our country”
because everything in her name
is lighted by her wounds. Like a signal sprung
of foam, an epitaph, curtains, a bed, rugs
and destruction moving toward disdain
while the lime triumphs denying her nakedness
the color of emptiness.
Now time, begins, the bitter smile
of the guest who in sleeplessness sings,
waking his anger, within the vile city
the calcined music with curled lip
that flows without cease. Star or dolphin, yonder
beneath the wave his foot vanishes,
tunics turned to emblems
sink their burning shows and with ashes
score my own forehead.
The Wanderings of the Tribe
Autumn surrounds the valley, iniquity
overflows, and the hill sacred to splendor
responds in the form of a revenge. The dust measures
and misfortune knows who gallops
where all gallop with the same fury:
constrained attendance on the broken circle
by the son who startles his father gazing
from a window buried in the sand.
Blood of mans victim
besieges doors, cries our: “Here no one lives,”
but the mansion is inhabited by the barbarian who seeks
dignity, yoke of the fatherland
broken, abhorred by memory,
as the husband looks at his wife face to face
and close to the threshold, the intruder
hastens the trembling that precedes misfortune.
Iron and greed, a decisive leprosy
of hatreds that were fed by rapine and deceits
wets the seeds. Brother against brother
comes to the challenge without pity
brings to a pause its stigma against the kingdom of pity:
arrogance goads the leap into the void
that as the wind dies the eagles abandon
their quest like tumbled statues.
Emptied upon the mockery of the crowd
the afternoon defends itself, redoubles its hide
against stones that have lost their foundations.
Her offense is compassion when we pass
from the gilded alcove to the somber one
with the fixety of glowing coals: hardly
a moment, peaceful light as upon
a drunken soldier awaiting his degradation.
We can smile later at our childish furies
giving way to rancor and sometimes envy
before the ruffian who without a word taking leave
descends from the beast
in search of surcease. The play is his:
mask quitting the scene, catastrophy
overtaking love with its delirium and with delight
looses the last remnant of its fury.
Came doubt and the lust for wine,
bodies like daggers, that transform
youth to tyranny: pleasures
and the crew of sin.
A bursting rain of dishonor
a heavy tumult and the nearnesses
were disregarded drums and cries and sobs
to those whom no one calls by the name of “brother.”
At last I thought the day calmed
its own profanities. The clouds, contempt,
the site made thunderbolts by loves phrases,
tableware, oil, sweet odors, was all
a cunning propitiation of the enemy,
and I discovered later floating over
the drowned tribes, links of foam tumbling
blindly against the sides of a ship.
Ali Chumacero (July 9, 1918 in Acaponeta,Nayarit, Mexico) is a notable Mexican poet.
He was codirector of the New Earth Magazine from 1940 to 1942. Also, he at one point was the Director of Letters of Mexico as well as editor of the Prodigal Son and “Mexico in the Culture” (a supplement to the newspaper news features).
Between 1952 and 1953 he received scholarships for the School of Mexico and for the Mexican Center of Writers. A strict and conscious poet who writes with much discipline, he has written several works: “Desert Of Dreams”(1944), “Exiled Images” (1948), and “Words In Rest”(1956). He received a national tribute for his third book, “Words In Rest”, for its cultural work and poetic creation in 1996. Currently he is the advisor at heart for “Of Economic Culture”, editor of “The Culture in Mexico” (a supplement of the magazine), and the editor for the cultural supplement for the Ovaciones newspaper.