Teixeira de Pascoaes

Kinda of a hefty Turf today… Best get your cuppa and sit back. Lots to digest, and to have fun with.

There is a fresh wind coming…. it looks like A Change In The Weather.

Bright Blessings,

Gwyllm

On The Menu:

John Bauer Biography

The Emperor

The Links

A Change in the Weather

Zen Koans

Poetry: The Mystical Poetry of Teixeira de Pascoaes

Art: The Fairy Art of John Bauer

John Bauer was born in Jonkoping, Sweden, in 1882, the third of four children born to Emma and Joseph Bauer. The loss of his sister Anna, two years his senior, who died when John was only 11, which affected his family very much. At 16, John went to Stockholm to begin his art studies. After two years, he was accepted at The Royal Academy of Art, where Classical Art classes, Anatomy, Perspective, and History of Art lectures comprised seven lecture hours, with overtime and drawing assignments at home. There he met his wife, Esther, whom he married in December, 1906. Esther was the model for The Fairy Princess and many of his later illustrations. In the spring of 1908, John and Esther traveled to Italy, settling in a villa above Volterra. They stayed in Italy for nearly two years. Bauer was stricken by the beauty of 14th century works he found in the museum of Naples, causing him to say “I notice more and more, that it is from the oldest and most primitive artists that one must learn to become an artist oneself”.

The details of John Bauer’s work are accurate — Bronze Age axes and medieval ironwork. The costumes in his fairy tales are modeled from books in found in the Royal Library. In 1904, he was commissioned to do a book about Lappland and spent a summer following the Lapps on their migrations. Some of the details of their dress are included in the costumes of his trolls.

His most famous work, the illustrations to the first of eight volumes of Bland tomtar och Troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls), a collection of fary tales written by Swedish authors, was published in 1907. It was hugely successful. In the early volumes, the illustrations were printed in grey tones only, sometimes with yellow color added. In the later volumes we find the famous examples of his mature work: Princess tuvstarr and Skutt the moose against the twilight sky. In the later volumes, his illustrations were printed in color.

In 1915, he resigned from the commission to illustrate BTT because he wanted to take his art in a different direction. He painted Adam and Eve, a fresco of St. Martin, a large oil painting on canvas, Freja. He suffered from depression, and doubted his abilities and purpose. By 1918, his marriage was on the rocks, divorce was being discussed, and the world was at war. The country house at Bjorkudden was too remote for Esther and a new home was built in Stockholm with assistance from John’s father. Esther and John, and their two-year old son, Bengt or Putte, hoped to start a new life in the new home in Stockholm. John distrusted trains and insisted that they return by ferry, but the Per Brahe capsized in stormy weather and all aboard drowned.

_____________________________

Big Thanks To Morgan For This….

_______________

The Links:

DNA clue to presidential puzzle

Roman descendants found in China?

Art sleuth looks for lost Da Vinci masterpiece

_______________

A Change in the Weather

Progressive Dennis Kucinich takes over a new House subcommittee, signaling changes in national drug policy

~ By DEAN KUIPERS ~

~ The drug hawk’s worst nightmare: Kucinich’s hearings will raise a ruckus ~

The Democratic sweep in the 2006 mid-term elections has done more than finally install a woman as speaker of the House. It has also put one of the most vocal critics of the ill-starred “War on Drugs” in a position to affect federal drug policy. On January 18, Ohio Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, one of the most progressive Democratic voices in the House, was appointed as chair of the new House Government Reform and Oversight subcommittee on domestic policy, causing drug reform organizations coast-to-coast to rejoice in hopes that a moment for significant change may have finally come.

This subcommittee replaces the now-defunct Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources subcommittee, which was headed up by staunch drug warrior, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN). Kucinich will assume many of his oversight duties, including policy oversight of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and appointed Drug Czar John Walters. One commentator on Stopthedrugwar.org crowed that “the responsibility of overseeing the ONDCP has effectively been transferred from Congress’s most reckless drug warrior to its most outspoken drug policy reformer” [his emphasis].

“He is certainly the polar opposite of his predecessor, Mark Souder,” says Allen St. Pierre, spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. “Since the time the [ONDCP] was created in 1988, there have always been friendly people in that subcommittee and the ONDCP has always been able to get what they want under the guise of protecting children and saving America from drugs. But Kucinich doesn’t believe any of that. Any of it!”

For instance, St. Pierre notes, Kucinich is a supporter of industrial hemp, the non-psychoactive product of the cannabis sativa plant. He is also a supporter of medical marijuana and of the federal rescheduling of marijuana, where it is currently illegal as a Schedule I drug, classified as having “no medical value.” This classification clashes with states such as California, which have legalized medical use of marijuana, and leads directly to the current rash of raids on medical marijuana dispensaries by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Kucinich is expected, St. Pierre says, to be a sponsor of a new bill to be introduced in March that would decriminalize pot.

Washington insiders, however, are not holding their breath for great upheaval in federal drug policy overall. Sources close to the appointment, who asked not to be named, say that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the Democratic leadership have effectively embargoed major crime or drug policy legislation for the next two years, to avoid looking soft on crime in the 2008 election.

Kucinich, however, is promising a couple years of entertaining and edifying hearings.

“We’re going to open up the discussion to new hearings,” says Kucinich, interviewed Sunday in Culver City, where he presented his bill for Universal Health Care, which is co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). “We want to explore the federal government’s policies and the Department of Justice’s policies on medical marijuana, for example. We need to also look at the drug laws that have brought about mandatory minimum sentences that have put people in jail for long periods of time. I think it’s an appropriate time to look at the proliferation of drugs in America, and how that fits in with our health care crisis, and how that fits in with law enforcement.”

The ONDCP did not reply to several requests for comment. That office, however, which is a function of the executive branch, has been deeply involved in pushing heavy sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and resisting medical marijuana, buying big-money ad campaigns attacking marijuana in states trying to legalize at the state level. Controlling that ad money could be a key to reform. When asked if his subcommittee has any budget oversight or other muscle, Kucinich shook his head and added, “No, this committee does not have control of the budgets, but it does have control of the policy, and it can ask questions and get documents that others couldn’t get.”

That can make a difference, says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, one of the nation’s biggest drug policy reform organizations. His group plans to push for incremental slices of legislation that can move a progressive agenda while not upsetting Democratic unity, adding that Kucinich can “hold hearings on some of the subjects that haven’t been addressed in, you know, decades. Like a hearing on America having the highest incarceration rate in the world. Or maybe a hearing on why the DEA has jurisdiction over medical issues.

“One can obviously empathize with the democratic leadership’s desire to be cautious when it comes to supporting drug policy reforms and other sentencing reforms,” he adds. “But when you have a growing number of Republicans supporting sentencing reform, this might be a good time for the Democrats to show a little leadership.”

In fact, several activists point out, the new Congress may be the most sympathetic to drug-law reform that America has ever seen. Progressives like Senator Richard Durbin and Reps. Pelosi, George Miller, Conyers, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Kucinich, and Bobby Scott have all turned up in leadership positions.

“If we had to pick out our 40 best friends in Congress, they’d be disproportionately in leadership positions,” says Nadelmann. He includes Sen. Patrick Leahy on that list, but cautions: “Mind you, seven years ago, Leahy said that sentencing reform was one of the top priorities, but now it’s not even a top-10 priority. Part of that’s because there’s so much other stuff to deal with.”

Still, action on several fronts is expected. Sentencing reform should get some attention, with an aim of reducing the number of non-violent drug offenders currently getting long prison sentences, which has given the U.S. the highest per-capita incarceration rate in the world. One such change would be to make sentences involving crack cocaine equal to those given for powdered cocaine, as community activists have long contended these simply punish the black and poor who are more likely to use the drug in the form of crack. Hearings might also bring new media scrutiny to decades-long marijuana rescheduling motions and several Data Quality Act petitions, which force bodies like the Food and Drug Administration to make decisions based on science rather than ideology, and which have been roundly ignored by the Bush administration.

St. Pierre points out another potential point of influence: High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, or HIDTAs. Congress funnels millions of dollars to local law enforcement for use in these areas, and activists have long argued they are wrongly prioritized.

“That’s a very obscure acronym, but when it comes down to the billions of dollars that get channeled out to local governments and their law enforcement, HIDTA is the battleground. That’s where Dennis can come in and say, ‘Mr. Walters, we the Congress, and, clearly, your own constituents want methamphetamines as the number one priority, not marijuana, and certainly not in the states that have medical marijuana laws.’ A couple of weeks ago, Walters was out in Fresno giving awards away for busting buyers’ clubs. Dennis can clip those wings. It all depends on how he’s going to want to pull the trigger.”

________________

___________

Zen Koans

The Voice of Happiness

After Bankei had passed away, a blind man who lived near the master’s temple told a friend:

“Since I am blind, I cannot watch a person’s face, so I must judge his character by the sound of his voice. Ordinarily when I hear someone congratulate another upon his happiness or success, I also hear a secret tone of envy. When condolence is expressed for the misfortune of another, I hear pleasure and satisfaction, as if the one condoling was really glad there was something left to gain in his own world.

“In all my experience, however, Bankei’s voice was always sincere. Whenever he expressed happiness, I heard nothing but happiness, and whenever he expressed sorrow, sorrow was all I heard.”

Every-Minute Zen

Zen students are with their masters at least ten years before they presume to teach others. Nan-in was visited by Tenno, who, having passed his apprenticeship, had become a teacher. The day happened to be rainy, so Tenno wore wooden clogs and carried an umbrella. After greeting him Nan-in remarked: “I suppose you left your wodden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the right or left side of the clogs.”

Tenno, confused, had no instant answer. He realized that he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nan-in’s pupil, and he studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.

Arresting the Stone Buddha

A merchant bearing fifty rolls of cotton goods on his shoulders stopped to rest from the heat of the day beneath a shelter where a large stone Buddha was standing. There he fell asleep, and when he awoke his goods had disappeared. He immediately reported the matter to the police.

A judge named O-oka opened court to investigate. “That stone Buddha must have stolen the goods,” concluded the judge. “He is supposed to care for the welfare of the people, but he has failed to perform his holy duty. Arrest him.”

The police arrested the stone Buddha and carried it into the court. A noisy croud followed the statue, curious to learn what kind of a sentence the judge was about to impose.

When O-oka appeared on the bench he rebuked the boisterous audience. “What right have you people to appear before the court laughing and joking in this manner? You are in contempt of court and subject to a fine and imprisonment.”

The people hastened to apologize. “I shall have to impose a fine on you,” said the judge, “but I will remit it provided each one of you brings one roll of cotton goods to the court within three days. Anyone failing to do this will be arrested.”

One of the rolls of cloth which the people brought was quickly recognized by the merchant as his own, and thus the thief was easily discovered. The merchant recovered his goods, and the cotton rolls were returned to the people.

____________

The Poetry: Teixeira de Pascoaes

Encounter

My living encounter with the humble

Things of Nature gives birth to souls,

Divine apparitions,

Which abstractly behold me from I don’t know where,

From I don’t know what unfamiliar place

Outside this space

In which trees and rocks appear.

I see specters, images of Mystery,

Fantastical figures,

Glowing outlines imprinted on the dusk,

Like so many omens. . .

Outlines of pallor emerging in the distance,

And sorrows that are fading portraits

Of unknown Divinities. . .

Statues of silence and melancholy

In the solitude of the hills. . .

Sphinxian postures in the desert,

The shadows of the Pyramids in the sun,

And Plato dragging his tunic of light

Among Egypt’s sad and solemn priests

Wearing vestments of dust and dead penumbras,

In temples of moonlight and petrified clouds. . .

I see before me fantastical presences,

Dreamed horizons that gird me

In a painful embrace! Dark birds that alight

On my brow, where night has fallen,

And winds that carry me through

Mists and lightning. . .

Already lost and dead, I’m no more

Than a human appearance,

Floating over the waves of emotion

That surge inside me like blood

From an open wound. . .

And I ride the waves, which spread

Over shores of snow and white foam,

In blue distances of endless clarity,

And in the nocturnal vagueness where stars

Emerge, like smiles of the devil. . .

I float on a lofty dream,

In heights of mystic splendor,

Where the white lily of moonlight opens.

I float on a lofty dream, in which I see

Myself as an indefinite being. . . The vast night,

Spreading over me its black wings,

Cannot hide me. My face,

Risen above the darkness,

Contemplates the divine Moon.

INDEFINITE SONG XXII

Fraternal things, cosmic memory

Of the divine hope

Which expands in an infinite thrust

And cools into forms of granite,

Earth and fire – beautiful brute forms!

And it kindles in the imperfect creature

(Humanized, embodied night)

Souls, which are intimate stars.

Of all its vast creation

The deepest and most vital inspiration

Leaves, in words of ink, the splendor of a verse.

So too hope, endlessly burning,

Following its ethereal course,

Leaves in space the forms of the Universe,

Smoky vestiges,

Mortal recollections of its divine being.

WIND OF THE SPIRIT

I felt a mysterious wind pass by

In a profound and cosmic whirl.

It took me in its arms; I avidly

Went; and I saw the Spirit of the World.

Earth’s solitary things, glowing

Like an unconscious gaze of night,

Like a tear’s dead light, felt none

Of that tragic gust, which ruffled

Only my soul! O lofty wind!

Wind of Prophecy and Exaltation!

Wind that blows in waves of mystery,

Stirring me up, making me ecstatic!

Strange wind, raging without touching

The tenderest flower! But it inflames

My entire being, causing it to give off

God’s light, love’s light, infinite light!

O wind that nothing resists except

An invisible shadow. . . A forest

Or rough stone is, for you, a wispy

Essence, and I am a rugged cliff.

At night, O crazy wind, you pound

My troubled soul, and a loud whoosh wraps it

And swoops it away; and so it passes

From life to life, and from death to death.

Wind that took me to I don’t know where. . .

But I know I went, and I saw close up,

Before my eyes, the burning mist that hides

God’s ghost, hovering over the desert!

And I also saw the hazy light

That loomed out of the darkness, enlightening

My heart, which soars beyond life,

Shedding its burden of tears.

That great wind overturned

My calm existence; and ancient sorrow

Drenched my mean and feeble body,

Like rain the tatters of a beggar woman.

In a great wind I went; I went and saw:

I saw God’s Shadow. And in that shadow

I lay down, ravished, and felt within me

The earth in bloom and the sky aglitter.

——

Teixeira de Pascoaes

[Portugal] 1877–1952

A mystic poet who felt profoundly connected to the humblest things and to the brightest stars, Teixeira de Pascoaes was born and died in the small town of Amarante, in northern Portugal, and led a relatively uneventful life. In 1896 he went to Coimbra to study law, though poetry and contemplation were his favorite endeavors. University life was, at the time, a rather boisterous affair, but Pascoaes kept out of student brawls and political rows, devoting himself to study and writing. He published his first three books of poems while at university (not counting the book, later repudiated, that he had published a year before arriving at Coimbra), and these already show his attraction to an idealized nature, to the darkly mysterious, to the vague and ethereal. He worked for a few years as a lawyer and a judge, but then retreated, as it were, into his inner life. He was by no means a recluse, however. His religiosity had a missionary side: Pascoaes became the chief apostle and theoretician of saudosismo.

Saudosismo was a movement that promulgated saudade as a national spiritual value that could have transformative power. Saudade means “longing, nostalgia, yearning” for something absent, but it is a feeling fraught with more emotional weight and affective intensity than corresponding words from English and other languages convey. Pascoaes gave this unique Portuguese word a philosophical and spiritual twist. In an article published in 1913, he wrote that “saudade is creation, a perpetual and fruitful marriage of Remembrance with Desire, of Evil with God, of Life with Death . . .”. And in a conference delivered that same year, he spoke of “the action of desire on remembrance and of remembrance on desire, the two intimate elements of saudade”, described elsewhere in the conference as “the perfect and living fusion of Nature and the Spirit”. Saudade was, in Pascoaes’ conception, a species of élan vital.

From 1910 to 1916, Pascoaes was editor of A Águia, an Oporto-based magazine that became the mouthpiece for the Renascença Portuguesa (Portuguese Renaissance), a movement of which saudosismo was part and parcel. It was by cultivating saudade, considered to be the defining characteristic of the ‘Portuguese soul’, that a national renaissance was supposed to take place. This signified not “a simple return to the Past” (wrote Pascoaes in A Águia in 1912) but a “return to the original wellsprings of life in order to create a new life”. To achieve this Renaissance he advocated, among other things, the establishment of a Portuguese Church, which could better accommodate the original spirit of the nation, part Christian but also part pagan.

The nationalist program of saudosismo is only latently felt in most of Pascoaes’ poetry, for his bent was predominantly spiritual, and in a lecture delivered in the last year of his life, he remarked: “Man does not belong only to society; he belongs, first and foremost, to the Cosmos. Society is not an end but a means for facilitating man’s mission on earth, which is to be the consciousness of the Universe.” This point of view informs virtually all of his poetry, which is, in large measure, a pantheistic celebration of life – not just life on earth, but also the life of the imagination and the universe. In the early poem ‘Poet’, he states that “I am, in the future, time past” – the embodiment, in effect, of saudade. He claims to be “a mountain cliff”, “an astral mist”, “a living mystery”, “God’s delirium”, and so on, which is why he also says, “I’m man fleeing from himself”. Not limited to his own body, he connects with the rest of reality, to the point of interpenetrating and becoming its other manifestations.

Pascoaes’ universe is one of correspondences between seeming opposites: the past with the future, nostalgia with hope, sorrow with joy, the material with the spiritual. The dynamic nature of this unity of opposites is well expressed by two verses greatly admired by Fernando Pessoa: “The leaf that fell /Was a soul that ascended” (from a poem titled ‘Elegy of Love’). Far from being a fixed machine of integrated moving parts, Pascoaes’ universe is in continual expansion, through the creative energy of hope, sorrow, desire, saudade. Just as poetic inspiration leaves “the splendor of a verse” on the printed page, “so too hope, endlessly burning, (…) / Leaves in space the forms of the Universe, (…) / Mortal recollections of its divine being” (in ‘Indefinite Song XXII’). And man, through his “living encounter” with the things of Nature “gives birth to souls, / Divine apparitions” (in ‘Encounter’).

Profoundly religious in spirit, Pascoaes did not seem to have or to need any clear notion of God. His poetry is an ongoing hymn to a Nature made divine, in which man’s role is to see and sing it.

(Richard Zenith)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.