Saturday In Paradise….

(James Archer – Queen Guinevere, circa 1860)

Blessing of the Elements

Grace of the love of the skies be thine,

Grace of the love of the stars be thine,

Grace of the love of the moon be thine,

Grace of the love of the sun be thine,

Grace of the love and the crown of heaven be thine.

A wee entry for Saturday. Sanding Cabinets, and generally trying to get motivated under rainy skies. Where have all the good times gone? They are here, right now, this moment, this life.

A Blessing on You and Yours,



On The Menu:

Peters’ Saturday’s Pick

Scottish Tales: The Fox Outwitted

Lyrics From My Favourite Drinking Band

From Rowan: Lyre Bird

Poetry:”Arthur in Avalon”

Art: James Archer


Peters’ Saturday’s Pick!

Juana Molina – No es tan cierto


Scottish Tales: The Fox Outwitted.

ONE day the fox succeeded in catching a fine fat goose asleep by the side of a loch; he held her by the wing, and making a joke of her cackling, hissing, and fears, he said–

“Now, if you had me in your mouth as I have you, tell me what you would do?”

“Why,” said the goose, “that is an easy question. I would fold my hands, shut my eyes, say a grace, and then eat you.”

“Just what I mean to do,” said Rory; 2 and folding his hands, and looking very demure, he said a pious grace with his eyes shut.

But while he did this the goose had spread her wings, and she was now half way over the loch; so the fox was left to lick his lips for supper.

“I will make a rule of this,” he said in disgust, never in all my life to say a grace again till after I feel the meat warm in my belly.”


Lyrics From My Favourite Drinking Band….(The Kinks)

‘Where Have All The Good Times Gone’

Well, lived my life and never stopped to worry bout a thing

Opened up and shouted out and never tried to sing

Wondering if I’d done wrong

Will this depression last for long?

Won’t you tell me

Where have all the good times gone?

Where have all the good times gone?

Well, once we had an easy ride and always felt the same

Time was on our side and I had everything to gain

Let it be like yesterday

Please let me have happy days

Won’t you tell me

Where have all the good times gone?

Where have all the good times gone?

Ma and pa look back at all the things they used to do

Didn’t have no money and they always told the truth

Daddy didnt have no toys

And mummy didn’t need no boys

Won’t you tell me

Where have all the good times gone?

Where have all the good times gone?

Well, yesterday was such an easy game for you to play

But lets face it things are so much easier today

Guess you need some bringing down

And get your feet back on the ground

Won’t you tell me

Where have all the good times gone?

Where have all the good times gone?

Where have all the good times gone?


Lyre Bird


Poetry:”Arthur in Avalon”

by John Arthur Blaikie

(James Archer – La Mort d’Arthur)


Stricken of man, and sore beset of Fate,

He lies amid the groves of Avalon;

What comfort mete ye unto Uther’s son,

O mournful Queens? What styptic to abate

Life’s eager stream? Alas, not theirs to sate

His soul with earthly vision! he hath done

With mortal life, and chivalry’s bright sun

Is darkened by the powers of hell and hate.

Lo! now, the garden of his agony

Is very sweet, though dread the hour, and drear

With utterless spell of horrid potency;

The barrèd east beyond the brightening sea,

Thick with portentous wraiths of phantom fear,

Is flushed with triumph, stirred with melody.


“Glory of knighthood, that through Lyonesse

Was as a lamp, O selfless soul and pure,

What though thy visionary rule endure

So ill the assault of envy? Not the less

Thy victory, though failure thee oppress;

Not sterile thy example, and most sure

The seeded fruit; with might thou shalt allure

For evermore through life’s embattled press

Thy spiritual sons to follow thee;”

The mystic Four their solemn vigil keep

Until day break, and eastward silently,

Over the kingless land and wailing deep,

The sacrificial symbol fire the sky;

Then they arise, no more to watch and weep.

Isle of Dogs, Part 1

Here is the Friday Offering…. This starts a story cycle that may be of interest…. I must hop, work is calling!

Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

The Links

Koan:Zen in a Beggar’s Life

Peters’ Pick For Friday – Kristi Stassinopoulou “The Secrets Of The Rocks”

The Isle Of Dogs Part 1

The Bus Ride: Random Small Act of Kindness Makes a Big Difference

William Blake: The Garden Of Love

Art:Edward John Poynter (British, 1836-1919)


The Links:

Mammal rise ‘not linked’ to dinos

Map proves Portuguese discovered Australia: new book

Alien abductions:carbon monoxide poisoning

The Mystery Of Consciousness…



Koan:Zen in a Beggar’s Life

Tosui was a well-known Zen teacher of his time. He had lived in several temples and taught in various provinces.

The last temple he visited accumulated so many adherents that Tosui told them he was going to quit the lecture business entirely. He advised them to disperse and to go wherever they desired. After that no one could find any trace of him.

Three years later one of his disciples discovered him living with some beggars under a bridge in Kyoto. He at one implored Tosui to teach him.

“If you can do as I do for even a couple of days, I might,” Tosui replied.

So the former disciple dressed as a beggar and spent a day with Tosui. The following day one of the beggars died. Tosui and his pupil carried the body off at midnight and buried it on a mountainside. After that they returned to their shelter under the bridge.

Tosui slept soundly the remainder of the night, but the disciple could not sleep. When morning came Tosui said: “We do not have to beg food today. Our dead friend has left some over there.” But the disciple was unable to eat a single bite of it.

“I have said you could not do as I,” concluded Tosui. “Get out of here and do not bother me again.”


Peters’ Pick For Friday – Kristi Stassinopoulou “The Secrets Of The Rocks”


The Isle Of Dogs – Gwyllm

When I first moved to London in 1977, I lived in Brixton, staying at a house not far off of Brixton High Road about 3 blocks from the Brixton Market. It was a commune, that had been going for many years. Several of the people had been there onto 10 years, so it was a well established house locally. The street was a mixture of Jamaicans, Counter Culture types, and Students.

The house came equipped with a cat known as Atom, who had sadly been launched out the window by the local kids when he was a kitten… (hoping to see him land on his feet) 2 stories down, the poor cat landed on his head. He was simple but sweet. Purred like a dynamo at any given time.

The kitchen was the centre of the hive, people fixing tea, smoking hash, making toast… drinking tea.

I came to the house through my friend Fizzle, who I had met in Los Angeles. She was good pals with Phil Lithman, who I had worked with on and off in L.A., throwing the idea of doing a band together for several months… it ended up in a few gigs, but we could never work much past rehearsing, smoking hash, rehearsing… I had met Phil at The Sidewalk Cafe in Venice. He was the roommate with a fellow waiter, Jay who was also a friend of mine…. One day out of the blue Phil asked me if I could sing. Saying yes, he figured we could do a band together. I thought it a bit of a crazy idea, but it was all good fun.

(Phil Lithman and his friend Angie)

Anyway, when Fizzle moved back to London she started working at Stiff Records. I think she got the job through Phil, as Phil was old chums with Jake Rivera, one of the co-founders of Stiff (‘If It Ain’t Stiff, It Ain’t Worth a F**k’ pure Rivera, that). Phil had a brain storm before I left to the UK, he thought that Jake would sign me immediately to Stiff Records with his recommendation and my pipes. So, that seemed like a winning idea.

Fizzle and I ran around London, catching Mink Deville at the Odeon if I remember rightly on their first British tour, with Dr. Feelgood (first show after Wilco Johnson had left) opening for them. On the way there… we were going down into the Tube Station at Brixton… when I had two Jamaican guys grab my arms from behind and another going for my wallet. Fizzle turned around staring is amazement, as some how I bluffed them into running by sticking my hand into my inner jacket as if I had a weapon in there. I guess it was a crazy idea, but it worked. Fizzle said it was dangerous to resist as I could of been stabbed. We hurried on laughing as we went. It was a great show. A good time.

Fizzle introduced me to Kings’ Road, and various haunts and pubs. Especially Pubs. A delight that I still enjoy to this day.

I stayed on for a couple of weeks at her place, dossed out on her floor until it became a bit uncomfortable for everyone, and I decided to move on so as not to be the guest who overstayed….

I had met some nice people over the time that I had been in London. I had made acquaintances with not a few musicians, and one of them heard about my housing plight, and offered his bands squat on ‘The Isle Of Dogs’.

Now you may ask what is the Isle Of Dogs? Now days it is a fairly posh area of London, with expensive Condominiums and the like. Back in 1977 it was everything but. Dockside, with old East India Warehouses, built out over the Thames. It had once been a solid working class neighborhood, but had been severely bombed during the Blitz. Now (1977) it had empty warehouses, with Squats springing up everywhere, seedy Pubs, seedier drug deals, and various forms of mutated human life that was present in London at that point. Lots of Art Students, Punks, Painters, and Communards. I felt right at home.

To Be Continued…..


The Bus Ride: Random Small Act of Kindness Makes a Big Difference

by Sateesh Chirputkar

My Master initiated me for meditation a few years back. I always listen to our Master on topics of Meditation and those related to natural and simple living. When I attended an advanced course on meditation our Master told us to use our knowledge in practical day to day life. As usual, I started observing myself and I realized that Meditation has given me an awareness that I was only awake. The Master many times emphasized the need of Giving and Effortless Living. A small real life incident taught me another law of nature.

A few days ago I was at a bus stop in town during the evening. The bus came on time and I took the window seat. The bus route was by the seashore and I was enjoying the breeze while watching the sea waves. After a few minutes the bus made it’s next stop. A young boy and a girl entered the bus. They were standing left standing when the bus took off. I glanced at them curiously and realized that all the window seats were occupied. They could sit but not together. Suddenly a different wave passed through my body and my inner mind gave me the instruction to get up. I got up and offered them my seat. The young lady smiled affectionately and said thank you very much. I occupied the other seat and we parted our ways. I don’t remember whether I got off the bus before them or not.

Months passed by. Suddenly one day while I was standing at the same bus stop waiting sometime for the bus to arrive I heard a voice.

“Excuse me Uncle,” I glanced in the direction of the voice. It was a beautiful young charming lady.

Puzzled, I said, “I do not recognize you.”

She said, “But I do you. Do you remember you gave us your window seat?”

Puzzled, I said, “Maybe, but what is so great in that?

She said, “Uncle you simply acted like a God for me. Had you not given your seat on that day, perhaps I would have not sat with my friend. By sitting together it helped us bridge a misunderstanding that has been between us forever. Do you know we are getting married next month?”

“Good! God Bless both of you,” I replied.

The young lady again said thank you and went onto her journey. I realized the importance of Giving that day. I also realized that small things can create great happenings in life. This was a great lesson for me.


William Blake: The Garden Of Love


I went to the Garden of Love,

And saw what I never had seen:

A Chapel was built in the midst,

Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,

And “Thou shalt not” writ over the door;

So I turn’d to the Garden of Love,

That so many sweet flowers bore,

And I saw it was filled with graves,

And tomb-stones where flowers should be:

And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,

And binding with briars, my joys & desires.


“A Divine Image”

Cruelty has a human heart,

And Jealousy a human face;

Terror the human form divine,

And Secresy the human dress.

The human dress is forged iron,

The human form a fiery forge,

The human face a furnace sealed,

The human heart its hungry gorge.

“Ah Sunflower”

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the sun;

Seeking after that sweet golden clime

Where the traveller’s journey is done;

Where the Youth pined away with desire,

And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,

Arise from their graves, and aspire

Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

“Earth’s Answer”

Earth raised up her head

From the darkness dread and drear,

Her light fled,

Stony, dread,

And her locks covered with grey despair.

“Prisoned on watery shore,

Starry jealousy does keep my den

Cold and hoar;

Weeping o’re,

I hear the father of the ancient men.

“Selfish father of men!

Cruel, jealous, selfish fear!

Can delight,

Chained in night,

The virgins of youth and morning bear?

“Does spring hide its joy,

When buds and blossoms grow?

Does the sower

Sow by night,

Or the plowman in darkness plough?

“Break this heavy chain,

That does freeze my bones around!

Selfish, vain,

Eternal bane,

That free love with bondage bound.”


Thursday on The Left Coast…

Best Viewed With Mozilla FireFox

On The Music Box: Kraftwerk – Electronic Cafe

The morning glory also

The morning glory also

turns out

not to be my friend.

-Matsuo Basho

A feast of this and that… Sun is up, but cold. Coughing over coffee, New plants are blooming. The dog walks in and out of the house, sunning her self for awhile. Cat is on the fence, doing his cat meditations…

I hear Mary stirring somewhere in the house…. work beckons!

Beauty is everywhere. The light is moving from silver to golden. The earth breathes with new life and springtime really, really is here.

Working on the magazine at night, visiting with friends when possible.

Life is full, and much more so… I feel poetry coming back into my life. Time to write!



On The Menu:

Basho Haikus…

The Links

Edo-period Kappa Sketches


Peanut Butter, The Atheist’s Nightmare!

Peters’ Thursday Gift!

Jain Tales: Queen Chelna and King Shrenik

3 Poems of Hafiz

Art: Lucien Levy-Dhurmer (French, 1865-1953)

Lévy-Dhurmer’s women were completely different from the charming society ladies painted by his fashionable contemporary, Helleu. They posed, sphinxlike, and formed groups where the talk was all of art and mysticism, and where they listened, head in hands, hair shadowed by a mauve lamp shade, while a pianist (Debussy, perhaps) played themes from Parsifal. The atmosphere was troubled, dreamy and naïve, and the people who created it were obsessed with anything new, curious about everything which the materialistic 19th century had rejected. They adored Moreau, Puvis de Chavannes and Redon, but these great men could be admired only from a distance. Lévy-Dhurmer, however, was a lot younger and he moved in their circles.


The Links:

The Night People

Enduring mystery of Jim Thompson

Mysterious Rock Growing ‘Hair’ Put on Display in Beijing



Edo-period kappa sketches

Kappa, arguably Japan’s most well-known creature of legend, are mischievous river imps notorious for luring people — particularly children — into the water to drown and eat them. They smell like fish, enjoy cucumbers and sumo, and are said to be very courteous despite their malicious tendencies.

Although kappa are typically about the size of a child and greenish in color, they can vary widely in appearance. They frequently have a turtle-like shell and scaly skin, but sometimes their skin is moist and slick, or coated in fur. Most walk upright on their hind legs, but they are occasionally seen on all fours…




A son asked his father, “What is soul?”

The Father replied, “Atma* can be explained by a seed. Bring me a fresh fig.”

When the son handed him a fig, the Father sliced it with a knife and removed a tiny seed. “In this seed is a tree. Try to break it in half,” said the Father. The son broke it. His Father asked, “What is inside?”

The boy replied, “Nothing.”

His Father responded, “There is formless in the center of form. Creation is inside. Within nothing is something. The invisible becomes visible.”


*ATMA means higher self or Soul in Sanskrit


Peanut Butter, The Atheist’s Nightmare!


Staying at an inn

Staying at an inn

where prostitutes are also sleeping–

bush clover and the moon.

-Matsuo Basho

When the winter chrysanthemums go

When the winter chrysanthemums go,

there’s nothing to write about

but radishes.

-Matsuo Basho


Peters’ Thursday Gift!

Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke “Sacrifice”


Jain Tales: Queen Chelna and King Shrenik

This is a story from the time of Bhagwän Mahävir. At that time, king Chetak was the ruler of Vaishäli and he had a beautiful daughter named Chelna. Once an artist called Bharat painted a picture of Chelna and showed it to king Shrenik of Magadh. Charmed by Chelna’s beauty, Shrenik fell in love with her. One day Chelna came to the city of Magadh where she saw king Shrenik and she also fell in love with him. They soon got married.

Queen Chelna was a devoted follower of Jainism, while Shrenik was influenced by Buddhism. The king was very generous with a big heart but somehow was not happy with his queen’s devotion to the Jain monks. He wanted to prove to Chelna that Jain monks were pretenders. He strongly believed that no man could follow the practice of self-restraint and non-violence to that extent, and that the equanimity shown by Jain monks is superficial. Chelna was greatly disturbed by this.

One day, King Shrenik went on a hunting trip where he saw a Jain monk, Yamadhar, engaged in deep meditation. Shrenik let his hunter dogs go after Yamadhar but the monk remained silent. On seeing the calmness and composure of the monk, the dogs became quiet. King Shrenik got angry and thought that the monk had played some trick on them. So he started shooting arrows at the monk but they kept on missing him. Becoming more upset, he finally put a dead snake around Yamadhar’s neck and came back to his palace.

The king narrated the whole incident to Chelna. The queen felt very sorry and took the king back to Yamadhar’s meditation place. Because of the dead snake, ants, and other insects were crawling all over the monk’s body but the monk did not even stir. The couple witnessed the limits of human endurance. The queen gently removed the ants and snake from the monk’s body, and cleaned his wounds. She applied sandalwood paste. After sometime, Yamadhar opened his eyes and blessed both of them.

The monk did not distinguish between the king who had caused him pain, and the queen who had alleviated his pain. King Shrenik was very impressed, and convinced that Jain monk were truly beyond attachment and aversion. Thus, king Shrenik along with queen Chelna became devoted to Jainism and believed in Bhagwän Mahävir.



A bee

A bee

staggers out

of the peony.

-Matsuo Basho

Teeth sensitive to the sand

Teeth sensitive to the sand

in salad greens–

I’m getting old.

-Matsuo Basho


Three Poems of Hafiz

A Suspended Blue Ocean

The sky

Is a suspended blue ocean.

The stars are the fish

That swim.

The planets are the white whales

I sometimes hitch a ride on,

And the sun and all light

Have forever fused themselves

Into my heart and upon

My skin.

There is only one rule

On this Wild Playground,

For every sign Hafiz has ever seen

Reads the same.

They all say,

“Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun,

In the Beloved’s Divine


O, in the Beloved’s

Wonderful Game.”

What Should We Do about that Moon ?

A wine bottle fell from a wagon

And broke open in a field.

That night hundred beetles and all their cousins


And did some serious binge drinking.

They even found some seed husks nearby

And began to play them like drums and whirl.

This made God very happy.

Then the ‘night candle’ rose into the sky

And one drunk creature, laying down his instrument

Said to his friend – for no apparent


“What should we do about that moon?”

Seems to Hafiz

Most everyone has laid aside the music

Tackling such profoundly useless


Last Night’s Storm

Last night’s storm was a journey to the Beloved.

I surrender to that, the wind that

is my Friend, and my work.

Each night, the lightning flashes.

Every morning, a breeze.

Not in some protected place, but in the flood

of the heart’s pumping, in the wind

of a rosebud’s opening out,

that puts a small crown on each narcissus.

A tired hand collapses, exhausted,

that in the morning holds your hair again.

Peace comes when we are friends together,

remembering. Hafiz! Your honest desire

and your benevolence free the soul

to emerge as what it is.


Wild Days…

Best Viewed Using FireFox

On The Beat Box: Rena Jones – Transmigration

I tweaked my shoulder, elbow and arm muscles on a customer site yesterday. The arm is not much use at this point. Argh. Ibuprofen is keeping it calmed down. I came in from the site, Mary put a hot water bottle on, and I fell asleep for 3 hours. It seemed to calm it down, but it has been putting me off balance a bit.

Some nice stuff today, so dive in! I hope you enjoy,


On The Menu:

The Links

Who Shall Deliver Me?


The War on Drugs Is Really a War on Minorities

Poetry: More of William Allingham

Art: Fernand Edmond Jean Marie Khnopff

Fernand Edmond Jean Marie Khnopff (September 12, 1858 – November 12, 1921) was a Belgian symbolist painter.

He was raised in Bruges and went to law school in Brussels. He quickly dropped out and enrolled in l’academie des beaux art; Xavier Mellery was his main tutor.

During a trip to Paris in 1877 he was greatly influenced by Delacroix and the Pre-Raphaelites.

In 1883 he was one of the founders of the “Groupe des XX”. Although not a very open man and a rather secluded personality, he already achieved cult status during his life.

Acknowledged and accepted, he received the Order of Leopold. His sister was one of his favorite subjects. His most famous painting is probably The Caress.


The Links:

Ear Bones Suggest Prehistoric Aquatics

Rare Semi-Identical Twins Discovered

The Antikythera Mechanism

Scientific evidence suggests Puerto Rican woman is an Extraterrestrial-Human hybrid



God strengthen me to bear myself;

That heaviest weight of all to bear,

Inalienable weight of care.

All others are outside myself;

I lock my door and bar them out

The turmoil, tedium, gad-about.

I lock my door upon myself,

And bar them out; but who shall wall

Self from myself, most loathed of all?

If I could once lay down myself,

And start self-purged upon the race

That all must run ! Death runs apace.

If I could set aside myself,

And start with lightened heart upon

The road by all men overgone!

God harden me against myself,

This coward with pathetic voice

Who craves for ease and rest and joys

Myself, arch-traitor to mysel ;

My hollowest friend, my deadliest foe,

My clog whatever road I go.

Yet One there is can curb myself,

Can roll the strangling load from me

Break off the yoke and set me free

-Christina Rossetti


From Peter….



The War on Drugs Is Really a War on Minorities

By Arianna Huffington

here is a subject being forgotten in the 2008 Democratic race for the White House.

While all the major candidates are vying for the black and Latino vote, they are completely ignoring one of the most pressing issues affecting those constituencies: the failed “war on drugs” — a war that has morphed into a war on people of color.

Consider this: According to a 2006 report by the American Civil Liberties Union, African Americans make up an estimated 15% of drug users, but they account for 37% of those arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convicted and 74% of all drug offenders sentenced to prison. Or consider this: The U.S. has 260,000 people in state prisons on nonviolent drug charges; 183,200 (more than 70%) of them are black or Latino.

Such facts have been bandied about for years. But our politicians have consistently failed to take action on what has become yet another third rail of American politics, a subject to be avoided at all costs by elected officials who fear being incinerated on contact for being soft on crime.

Perhaps you hoped this would change during a spirited Democratic presidential primary? Unfortunately, a quick search of the top Democratic hopefuls’ websites reveals that not one of them — not Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, not John Edwards, not Joe Biden, not Chris Dodd, not Bill Richardson — even mentions the drug war, let alone offers any solutions.

The silence coming from Clinton and Obama is particularly deafening.

Obama has written eloquently about his own struggle with drugs but has not addressed the tragic effect the war on drugs is having on African American communities.

As for Clinton, she flew into Selma, Ala., to reinforce her image as the wife of the black community’s most beloved politician and has made much of her plan to attract female voters, but she has ignored the suffering of poor, black women right in her own backyard.

Located down the road from her Chappaqua, N.Y., home are two prisons housing female inmates, Taconic and Bedford. Forty-eight percent of the women in Taconic are there for nonviolent drug offenses; 78% of those in the prison are African American or Latino.

And Bedford, the state’s only maximum-security prison for women, is home to some of the worst victims of New York’s draconian Rockefeller-era drug laws — mothers and grandmothers whose first brush with the law resulted in their being locked away for 15 years or more on nonviolent drug charges.

Yet even though these prisons are so nearby, Clinton has turned a blind eye to the plight of the women locked away there, notably refusing to speak out on their behalf.

Avoidance of this issue comes at a very stiff price (and not just the more than $50 billion a year we’re spending on the failed drug war). The toll is paid in shattered families, devastated inner cities and wasted lives (with no apologies for using that term).

During the 10 years I’ve been writing about the injustice of the drug war, I’ve repeatedly watched as politicians paid lip service to the problem but then ducked as the sickening status quo claimed more victims. In California, of the 171,000 inmates jamming the state’s wildly overcrowded prisons, 36,000 are nonviolent drug offenders.

I remember in 1999 asking Dan Bartlett, then the campaign spokesman for candidate George W. Bush, about Bush’s position on the outrageous disparity between the sentences meted out for possession of crack cocaine and those given for possession of powder cocaine — a disparity that has helped fill U.S. prisons with black low-level drug users (80% of sentenced crack defendants are black). Federal sentencing guidelines dictate that judges impose the same five-year prison sentence for possession of five grams of crack or 500 grams of powder cocaine.

“The different sentencing for crack cocaine and powder cocaine is something that there’s no doubt needs to be addressed,” Bartlett told me. But in the more than six years since Bush and Bartlett moved into the White House, the problem has gone unaddressed. No doubt about it.

Maybe the president will suddenly wake up and decide to take on the issue five days before he leaves office. That’s what Bill Clinton did, writing a 2001 New York Times Op-Ed article in which he trumpeted the need to “immediately reduce the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences” — conveniently ignoring the fact that he had the power to solve it for eight years and did nothing.

When it mattered, he maintained an imperial silence. Then, when it didn’t, he became Captain Courageous. And he lamented the failures of our drug policy as though he had been an innocent bystander rather than the chief executive (indeed, the prison population doubled on his watch).

The injustice is so egregious that a conservative senator, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), is now leading the charge in Congress to ease crack sentences. “I believe that as a matter of law enforcement and good public policy, crack cocaine sentences are too heavy and can’t be justified,” he said. “People don’t want us to be soft on crime, but I think we ought to make the law more rational.”

There’s a talking point Hillary and Obama should adopt. It’s both the right thing and the smart thing. Because of disenfranchisement statutes, large numbers of black men who were convicted of drug crimes are ineligible to vote, even those who have fully paid their debt to society.

A 2000 study found that 1.4 million African American men — 13% of the total black male population — were unable to vote in the 2000 election because of state laws barring felons access to the polls. In Florida, one in three black men is permanently disqualified from voting. Think that might have made a difference in the 2000 race? Our shortsighted drug laws have become the 21st century manifestation of Jim Crow.

Shouldn’t this be an issue Democratic presidential candidates deem worthy of their attention?


Poetry: More of William Allingham...

Olian Harp

What is it that is gone, we fancied ours?

Oh what is lost that never may be told?—

We stray all afternoon, and we may grieve

Until the perfect closing of the night.

Listen to us, thou gray Autumnal Eve,

Whose part is silence. At thy verge the clouds

Are broken into melancholy gold;

The waifs of Autumn and the feeble flow’rs

Glimmer along our woodlands in wet light;

Within thy shadow thou dost weave the shrouds

Of joy and great adventure, waxing cold,

Which once, or so it seemed, were full of might.

Some power it was, that lives not with us now,

A thought we had, but could not, could not hold.

O sweetly, swiftly pass’d:—air sings and murmurs;

Green leaves are gathering on the dewy bough;

O sadly, swiftly pass’d:—air sighs and mutters;

Red leaves are dropping on the rainy mould.

Then comes the snow, unfeatured, vast, and white.

O what is gone from us, we fancied ours?—

The Maids of Elfin-Mere

When the spinning-room was here

Came Three Damsels, clothed in white,

With their spindles every night;

One and Two and three fair Maidens,

Spinning to a pulsing cadence,

Singing songs of Elfin-Mere;

Till the eleventh hour was toll’d,

Then departed through the wold.

Years ago, and years ago;

And the tall reeds sigh as the wind doth blow.

Three white Lilies, calm and clear,

And they were loved by every one;

Most of all, the Pastor’s Son,

Listening to their gentle singing,

Felt his heart go from him, clinging

Round these Maids of Elfin-Mere.

Sued each night to make them stay,

Sadden’d when they went away.

Years ago, and years ago;

And the tall reeds sigh as the wind doth blow.

Hands that shook with love and fear

Dared put back the village clock,—

Flew the spindle, turn’d the rock,

Flow’d the song with subtle rounding,

Till the false ‘eleven’ was sounding;

Then these Maids of Elfin-Mere

Swiftly, softly, left the room,

Like three doves on snowy plume.

Years ago, and years ago;

And the tall reeds sigh as the wind doth blow.

One that night who wander’d near

Heard lamentings by the shore,

Saw at dawn three stains of gore

In the waters fade and dwindle.

Never more with song and spindle

Saw we Maids of Elfin-Mere,

The Pastor’s Son did pine and die;

Because true love should never lie.

Years ago, and years ago;

And the tall reeds sigh as the wind doth blow.

Twilight Voices

Now, at the hour when ignorant mortals

Drowse in the shade of their whirling sphere,

Heaven and Hell from invisible portals

Breathing comfort and ghastly fear,

Voices I hear;

I hear strange voices, flitting, calling,

Wavering by on the dusky blast,—

‘Come, let us go, for the night is falling;

Come, let us go, for the day is past!’

Troops of joys are they, now departed?

Winged hopes that no longer stay?

Guardian spirits grown weary-hearted?

Powers that have linger’d their latest day?

What do they say?

What do they sing? I hear them calling,

Whispering, gathering, flying fast,—

‘Come, come, for the night is falling;

Come, come, for the day is past!’

Sing they to me?—’Thy taper’s wasted;

Mortal, thy sands of life run low;

Thine hours like a flock of birds have hasted:

Time is ending;—we go, we go.’

Sing they so?

Mystical voices, floating, calling;

Dim farewells—the last, the last?

Come, come away, the night is falling;

‘Come, come away, the day is past.’

See, I am ready, Twilight voices!

Child of the spirit-world am I;

How should I fear you? my soul rejoices,

O speak plainer! O draw nigh!

Fain would I fly!

Tell me your message, Ye who are calling

Out of the dimness vague and vast;

Lift me, take me,—the night is falling;

Quick, let us go,—the day is past.



Best Viewed With FireFox

On The Music Box: Bombay Beats…

Paradise Lost, Book XII

‘They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,

Through Eden took their solitary way.’

Tuesday… Rain… Tuesday…. Rain… Oregon… Rain…. Oregon…. Rain….

And so it goes. Everything, is ever so incredibly GREEN.

What is up for today…. a fondue of fun, a cluster of clutter, a jump for joy…!

On The Menu:

The Links


E-Prime – Robert Anton Wilson

Poetry: William Allingham

Quotes: Milton

Art:Sidney Harold Meteyard

Bright Blessings,



The Links:

Ultra Culture…

A Mind Blowing Little Discussion: Is Ayahuasca becoming a party drug?

A mysterious aerial device falls in Somalia

Freeman Bigfoot Footage

Highway shut for butterfly travel


From My Brother Peter….




‘Sabrina rises attended by water nymphs,

“By the rushy-fringed bank,

Where grows the willow and the osier dank,’



Robert Anton Wilson

E-PRIME, abolishing all forms of the verb “to be,” has its roots in the field of general semantics, as presented by Alfred Korzybski in his 1933 book, Science and Sanity. Korzybski pointed out the pitfalls associated with, and produced by, two usages of “to be”: identity and predication. His student D. David Bourland, Jr., observed that even linguistically sensitive people do not seem able to avoid identity and predication uses of “to be” if they continue to use the verb at all. Bourland pioneered in demonstrating that one can indeed write and speak without using any form of “to be,” calling this subset of the English language “E-Prime.” Many have urged the use of E-Prime in writing scientific and technical papers. Dr. Kellogg exemplifies a prime exponent of this activity. Dr. Albert Ellis has rewritten five of his books in E-Prime, in collaboration with Dr. Robert H. Moore, to improve their clarity and to reap the epistemological benefits of this language revision. Korzybski felt that all humans should receive training in general semantics from grade school on, as “semantic hygiene” against the most prevalent forms of logical error, emotional distortion, and “demonological thinking.” E-Prime provides a straightforward training technique for acquiring such semantic hygiene.

To understand E-Prime, consider the human brain as a computer. (Note that I did not say the brain “is” a computer.) As the Prime Law of Computers tells us, GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT (GIGO, for short). The wrong software guarantees wrong answers. Conversely, finding the right software can “miraculously” solve problems that previously appeared intractable.

It seems likely that the principal software used in the human brain consists of words, metaphors, disguised metaphors, and linguistic structures in general. The Sapir-Whorf-Korzybski Hypothesis, in anthropology, holds that a change in language can alter our perception of the cosmos. A revision of language structure, in particular, can alter the brain as dramatically as a psychedelic. In our metaphor, if we change the software, the computer operates in a new way.

Consider the following paired sets of propositions, in which Standard English alternates with English-Prime (E-Prime):

lA. The electron is a wave.

lB. The electron appears as a wave when measured with instrument-l.

2A. The electron is a particle.

2B. The electron appears as a particle when measured with instrument-2.

3A. John is lethargic and unhappy.

3B. John appears lethargic and unhappy in the office.

4A. John is bright and cheerful.

4B. John appears bright and cheerful on holiday at the beach.

5A. This is the knife the first man used to stab the second man.

5B. The first man appeared to stab the second man with what looked like a knife to me.

6A. The car involved in the hit-and-run accident was a blue Ford.

6B. In memory, I think I recall the car involved in the hit-and-run accident as a blue Ford.

7A. This is a fascist idea.

7B. This seems like a fascist idea to me.

8A. Beethoven is better than Mozart.

8B. In my present mixed state of musical education and ignorance, Beethoven seems better to me than Mozart.

9A. That is a sexist movie.

9B. That seems like a sexist movie to me.

10A. The fetus is a person.

10B. In my system of metaphysics, I classify the fetus as a person.

The “A”-type statements (Standard English) all implicitly or explicitly assume the medieval view called “Aristotelian essentialism” or “naive realism.” In other words, they assume a world made up of block-like entities with indwelling “essences” or spooks- “ghosts in the machine.” The “B”-type statements (E-Prime) recast these sentences into a form isomorphic to modern science by first abolishing the “is” of Aristotelian essence and then reformulating each observation in terms of signals received and interpreted by a body (or instrument) moving in space-time.

Relativity, quantum mechanics, large sections of general physics, perception psychology, sociology, linguistics, modern math, anthropology, ethology, and several other sciences make perfect sense when put into the software of E-Prime. Each of these sciences generates paradoxes, some bordering on “nonsense” or “gibberish,” if you try to translate them back into the software of Standard English.

Concretely, “The electron is a wave” employs the Aristotelian “is” and thereby introduces us to the false-to-experience notion that we can know the indwelling “essence” of the electron. “The electron appears as a wave when measured by instrument-1″ reports what actually occurred in space-time, namely that the electron when constrained by a certain instrument behaved in a certain way.

Similarly, “The electron is a particle” contains medieval Aristotelian software, but “The electron appears as a particle when measured by instrument-2″ contains modern scientific software. Once again, the software determines whether we impose a medieval or modern grid upon our reality-tunnel.

Note that “the electron is a wave” and “the electron is a particle” contradict each other and begin the insidious process by which we move gradually from paradox to nonsense to total gibberish. On the other hand, the modern scientific statements “the electron appears as a wave when measured one way” and “the electron appears as a particle measured another way” do not contradict, but rather complement each other. (Bohr’s Principle of Complementarity, which explained this and revolutionized physics, would have appeared obvious to all, and not just to a person of his genius, if physicists had written in E-Prime all along. . . .)

Looking at our next pair, “John is lethargic and unhappy” vs. “John is bright and cheerful,’ we see again how medieval software creates metaphysical puzzles and totally imaginary contradictions. Operationalizing the statements, as physicists since Bohr have learned to operationalize, we find that the E-Prime translations do not contain any contradiction, and even give us a clue as to causes of John’s changing moods. (Look back if you forgot the translations.)

“The first man stabbed the second man with a knife” lacks the overt “is” of identity but contains Aristotelian software nonetheless. The E-Prime translation not only operationalizes the data, but may fit the facts better-if the incident occurred in a psychology class, which often conduct this experiment. (The first man “stabs,” or makes stabbing gestures at, the second man, with a banana, but many students, conditioned by Aristotelian software, nonetheless “see” a knife. You don’t need to take drugs to hallucinate; improper language can fill your world with phantoms and spooks of many kinds.)

The reader may employ his or her own ingenuity in analyzing how “is-ness” creates false-to-facts reality-tunnels in the remaining examples, and how E-Prime brings us back to the scientific, the operational, the existential, the phenomenological–to what humans and their instruments actually do in space-time as they create observations, perceptions, thoughts, deductions, and General Theories.

I have found repeatedly that when baffled by a problem in science, in “philosophy,” or in daily life, I gain immediate insight by writing down what I know about the enigma in strict E-Prime. Often, solutions appear immediately-just as happens when you throw out the “wrong” software and put the “right” software into your PC. In other cases, I at least get an insight into why the problem remains intractable and where and how future science might go about finding an answer. (This has contributed greatly to my ever-escalating agnosticism about the political, ideological, and religious issues that still generate the most passion on this primitive planet.)

When a proposition resists all efforts to recast it in a form consistent with what we now call E-Prime, many consider it “meaningless.” Korzybski, Wittgenstein, the Logical Positivists, and (in his own way) Niels Bohr promoted this view. I happen to agree with that verdict (which condemns 99 percent of theology and 99.999999 percent of metaphysics to the category of Noise rather than Meaning)–but we must save that subject for another article. For now, it suffices to note that those who fervently believe such Aristotelian propositions as “A piece of bread, blessed by a priest, is a person (who died two thousand years ago),” “The flag is a living being,” or “The fetus is a human being” do not, in general, appear to make sense by normal twentieth-century scientific standards.

This text comes from:

D. David Bourland, Jr. & Paul Dennithorne Johnston, “To Be or Not: An E-Prime Anthology,” International Society for General Semantics, 1991, pp. 23-26

Robert Anton Wilson has published science fiction, historical novels, poetry, and futuristic sociology, and he has two plays published.

An earlier version of this article appeared in Trajectories, no. 5, the newsletter published by Robert Anton Wilson. Reprinted from Etcetera 46, no. 4 (Winter 1989).

Also see Robert Anton Wilson’s “Quantum Psychology,” (E and E-Prime, Chapter 13, pages 97-107), New Falcon Publications, 1990

The forms of “to be” that E-Prime excludes includes the words: “is,” “are,” “were,” “was,” “am,” “be,” “been,” and their contractions.


The Poetry Of William Allingham

A Dream

I heard the dogs howl in the moonlight night;

I went to the window to see the sight;

All the Dead that ever I knew

Going one by one and two by two.

On they pass’d, and on they pass’d;

Townsfellows all, from first to last;

Born in the moonlight of the lane,

Quench’d in the heavy shadow again.

Schoolmates, marching as when we play’d

At soldiers once—but now more staid;

Those were the strangest sight to me

Who were drown’d, I knew, in the awful sea.

Straight and handsome folk; bent and weak, too;

Some that I loved, and gasp’d to speak to;

Some but a day in their churchyard bed;

Some that I had not known were dead.

A long, long crowd—where each seem’d lonely,

Yet of them all there was one, one only,

Raised a head or look’d my way:

She linger’d a moment—she might not stay.

How long since I saw that fair pale face!

Ah! Mother dear! might I only place

My head on thy breast, a moment to rest,

While thy hand on my tearful cheek were prest!

On, on, a moving bridge they made

Across the moon-stream, from shade to shade,

Young and old, women and men;

Many long-forgot, but remember’d then.

And first there came a bitter laughter;

A sound of tears the moment after;

And then a music so lofty and gay,

That every morning, day by day,

I strive to recall it if I may.

The Girl’s Lamentation

With grief and mourning I sit to spin;

My Love passed by, and he didn’t come in;

He passes by me, both day and night,

And carries off my poor heart’s delight.

There is a tavern in yonder town,

My Love goes there and he spends a crown;

He takes a strange girl upon his knee,

And never more gives a thought to me.

Says he, ‘We’ll wed without loss of time,

And sure our love’s but a little crime;’—

My apron-string now it’s wearing short,

And my Love he seeks other girls to court.

O with him I’d go if I had my will,

I’d follow him barefoot o’er rock and hill;

I’d never once speak of all my grief

If he’d give me a smile for my heart’s relief.

In our wee garden the rose unfolds,

With bachelor’s-buttons and marigolds;

I’ll tie no posies for dance or fair,

A willow-twig is for me to wear.

For a maid again I can never be,

Till the red rose blooms on the willow tree.

Of such a trouble I’ve heard them tell,

And now I know what it means full well.

As through the long lonesome night I lie,

I’d give the world if I might but cry;

But I mus’n’t moan there or raise my voice,

And the tears run down without any noise.

And what, O what will my mother say?

She’ll wish her daughter was in the clay.

My father will curse me to my face;

The neighbours will know of my black disgrace.

My sister’s buried three years, come Lent;

But sure we made far too much lament.

Beside her grave they still say a prayer—

I wish to God ’twas myself was there!

The Candlemas crosses hang near my bed;

To look at them puts me much in dread,

They mark the good time that’s gone and past:

It’s like this year’s one will prove the last.

The oldest cross it’s a dusty brown,

But the winter winds didn’t shake it down;

The newest cross keeps the colour bright;

When the straw was reaping my heart was light.

The reapers rose with the blink of morn,

And gaily stook’d up the yellow corn;

To call them home to the field I’d run,

Through the blowing breeze and the summer sun.

When the straw was weaving my heart was glad,

For neither sin nor shame I had,

In the barn where oat-chaff was flying round,

And the thumping flails made a pleasant sound.

Now summer or winter to me it’s one;

But oh! for a day like the time that’s gone.

I’d little care was it storm or shine,

If I had but peace in this heart of mine.

Oh! light and false is a young man’s kiss,

And a foolish girl gives her soul for this.

Oh! light and short is the young man’s blame,

And a helpless girl has the grief and shame.

To the river-bank once I thought to go,

And cast myself in the stream below;

I thought ‘twould carry us far out to sea,

Where they’d never find my poor babe and me.

Sweet Lord, forgive me that wicked mind!

You know I used to be well-inclined.

Oh, take compassion upon my state,

Because my trouble is so very great.

My head turns round with the spinning wheel,

And a heavy cloud on my eyes I feel.

But the worst of all is at my heart’s core;

For my innocent days will come back no more.

The Nobleman’s Wedding

I once was a guest at a Nobleman’s wedding;

Fair was the Bride, but she scarce had been kind,

And now in our mirth, she had tears nigh the shedding

Her former true lover still runs in her mind.

Attired like a minstrel, her former true lover

Takes up his harp, and runs over the strings;

And there among strangers, his grief to discover,

A fair maiden’s falsehood he bitterly sings.

‘Now here is the token of gold that was broken;

Seven long years it was kept for your sake;

You gave it to me as a true lover’s token;

No longer I’ll wear it, asleep or awake.’

She sat in her place by the head of the table,

The words of his ditty she mark’d them right well:

To sit any longer this bride was not able,

So down at the bridegroom’s feet she fell.

‘O one, one request, my lord, one and no other,

O this one request will you grant it to me?

To lie for this night in the arms of my mother,

And ever, and ever thereafter with thee.’

Her one, one request it was granted her fairly;

Pale were her cheeks as she went up to bed;

And the very next morning, early, early,

They rose and they found this young bride was dead.

The bridegroom ran quickly, he held her, he kiss’d her,

He spoke loud and low, and listen’d full fain;

He call’d on her waiting-maids round to assist her

But nothing could bring the lost breath back again.

O carry her softly! the grave is made ready;

At head and at foot plant a laurel-bush green;

For she was a young and a sweet noble lady,

The fairest young bride that I ever have seen.


Il Penseroso

‘And may at last my weary age

Find out the peaceful hermitage,

The hairy gown and mossy cell,

Where I may sit and rightly spell

Of every star that heaven doth show.’


On The Music Box: We are alternating between Magic Sense-Psycz ‘Chilled C’Quence’ and Radio Earthrites!

Ah Melissa,

I hear your children humming

in the morning sun

humming for the joy of their task

Oh Mellisa,

long have your herds scoured

the slopes of the mountains…

honey sweet honey


your children are lost

far from the hive do they wander

far from the queen they have strayed


Today’s entry concentrates on the Bee. As you may well know the humble Bee is in trouble, and we may well be the root cause of it. Our Diane Darling has written a piece that should be distributed out….

We have some lovely poems as well.

Bee seein’ ya,


On the Menu:

The Links

Radiohead – Karma Police

Bees on Their Knees – Diane Darling

Poetry: To The Humble Bee


The Links:

If Prince Harry Can Do It, Why Not Barb and Jenna?

And Now A Word From Govenator Arnold…

Mormon church objects to java-drinking angel

Old(er)-Time Religion


One of my favourites of theirs…

Radiohead – Karma Police


“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.”

Something very, very important from our dear friend Diane Darling… Please let other people know about this article, it will be on the front page of as well very soon-Gwyllm

Bees on Their Knees

Diane Darling…

Ah, Spring! Skies as blue as a robin’s egg, with a smiling sun that quickens the seed in its dark bed and seduces the buds to bloom on every branch and stem. Every flower that spreads its petals, wafts its fragrance and thrusts its little pistils and stamens to the light is doing it for one reason only: to attract its particular pollinator. Flower sex is a ménage a deux with an insect partner, an arrangement that has worked flawlessly since before ever there was anybody else around to wonder at the beauty or even munch with beak or toothy mouth.

It’s a lovely arrangement: the flower with its female part open, trembling, and longing only millimeters away from its male parts. It sends out an olfactory signal to draw the tiny insect that can bridge that divide, delivering pollen to pistil, fertilizing the ova that wait within, beginning the season-long process of propagation through seed. As the insect penetrates the bloom in search of nectar, it also collects pollen on its body, which it then carries to nearby blossoms, thereby mixing the DNA ever so slightly, just enough to assure the vigor of outbreeding necessary for the survival of any species.

Honeybees are the pollinators of roughly one third of the food we eat, or the food of the animals we eat. Every year honeybees and other pollinators, including bumblebees, other kinds of bees, moths, wasps, flies, and hummingbirds, emerge from their winter retreat to gorge themselves on pollen and nectar, which they bring back to hive or nest to feed their young, to propagate their own species.

How many springs have I stood before this rosemary bush, its deep green crowned with delicate flowers of my very favorite blue, and admired the industry of the bees as they frisk each tiny bloom. There were times this bush was vibrating visibly with the tiny currents made by the bees wings, when every minute spray of blossoms bent under the miniscule weight of two or three bees, busy, busy. Looking closely I could see the pollen baskets on the bees hindmost legs bulging with golden goodness which they would take back to the hive and pack into perfect hexagonal cells made of wax, made of honey, made of nectar, which would provide protein for every bee, queen, drone, larva and all.

Where are they today? I look and look and I only see two bees. Two bees on this whole, riotously blooming bush? What’s going on here?

What’s going on here is part of a tragedy of monumental proportions. Since November of 2005, honeybees have been disappearing in ever increasing numbers. Beekeepers look into hives that were humming with thousands of bees only days before to find them empty, or to find only a queen and a few very young bees, and then a few days later, nobody home at all. Over the last two years this decline has become a crash, a disaster, and a very real threat to our food supply.

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is widespread and growing. Twenty four states and several European countries report that beekeepers found upwards of 80% of their hives just empty when they opened them in the spring. Some large beekeepers have lost virtually all their hives, or enough to seriously threaten their livelihood of hauling thousands of hives around the country, following the bloom. Ranchers depend on those bees to pollinate their almond and fruit orchards, to say nothing of alfalfa and just about anything they grow that has a showy flower.

No one knows what is causing this precipitous decline in bee populations, but there are some very strange aspects of it that suggest it is not some overgrowth of a usual pest or pathogen. No, this is something new and very frightening.

Here is the strange story:

· The bees fly away and they don’t come back. The stricken hives are empty of bees and no dead bees are found near the hives.

· Honey, pollen, and comb are all left behind and the expected scavengers of empty hives (other bees, wax moths and hive beetles) won’t go near those hives until they’ve been opened and aired out.

· No special toxins or microbes are found in the honey.

· There are no signs of starvation or unusual parasite infestation,

· The few bee carcasses that have been found and examined show unusual bacteria and fungi, though not in great quantities, which is a sign of a weakened immune system (BIV?).

What is causing this disaster? Though there are many theories being bandied about by agriculture agents, entomologists, and beekeepers, a few have emerged as real possibilities.

Stress due to drought, extreme weather, poor quality pollen, parasites. These factors are not present in all or even most of the areas where CCD is rampant, though they no doubt contribute to the problem.

Genetically modified crops. The presence of GM crops has not been correlated to areas of greatest CCD. Meaning: no comparison has been made between GM plantings and CCD, so a correspondence is possible but unknown.

GM pollen is by definition different from natural pollen, upon which bees depend for their protein. It’s possible that genetic modification changes it sufficiently that it is not a good food for bees, though the bees will collect and eat it anyway. Though starvation is not a feature of CCD, other possible effects of GM pollen have not been studied.

Pesticide genes inserted into some GM crops have been shown to be toxic to butterflies, another pollinator. This pesticide, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been demonstrated to be of low toxicity to adult honeybees. However, Bt-containing pollen concentrated in hives has not been demonstrated to be harmless to bees or their young.

Electromagnetic signals (cell phone towers, microwave arrays, satellite signals). Honeybees navigate partly by sensing very tiny variations in the Earth’s magnetic field, as do other migratory animals. The presence of so many and so much electromagnetic field manipulation by human electronics could disorient bees sufficiently that they cannot find their way back to their hives and die out in the field.

Another animal that navigates this way is the homing pigeon, which is raised and raced for sport. Pigeon clubs are reporting that whereas they expect to lose a few pigeons in every race to predators and so on, lately they are losing entire teams of pigeons. They just don’t come home. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Pesticides. In 1994 a pesticide called imidacloprid (Bayer, marketed as Merit, Admire, Premise, Pre-Empt, Gaucho, among others) was approved for use in agriculture. It had already been used for several years on household pets for flea control (Advantage and others). Since then imidacloprid has become one of the most widely used, highest volume pesticides worldwide. Its approved uses include application on cotton, vegetable crops, turf, ornamentals, potting soil and for cockroach, termite, flea and tick control.

Imidacloprid is a neurotoxin, meaning that it interferes with nerve cell impulses, as well as being mutagenic, meaning it damages DNA.

It is a systemic pesticide that is applied to the soil and taken up by the plant into its tissues, killing pests when they feed on the plant. It persists for many months or years after application and is mobile in the soil, contaminating water tables and streams.

In commercial products, imidacloprid is mixed with several “inert” ingredients, notably crystalline quartz silica and naphthalene, which are both known to be carcinogenic and to cause chromosomal damage in humans and lab animals. The potential synergistic effects of these chemicals together has not been examined. In addition, the products of the breakdown of imidacloprid are actually more toxic to insects and mammals than the imidacloprid itself.

Imidacloprid is poisonous to many birds, including game birds and songbirds, as well as most insects. It is highly toxic to fish, and even more so to juvenile fish, for which it is not possible to find the lowest concentration that will not cause adverse effects. It is also toxic to earthworms, beneficial insects, and some plants.

Just about the only insects not affected by imidacloprid are Colorado potato beetles, which developed resistance to imidacloprid in only two years. Insects resistant to organophosphate insecticides are showing cross-resistance to imidacloprid as well, a very distressing development.

Imidacloprid is widely applied to vineyards in Sonoma County, where its half life, the length of time required for half of the imidacloprid to break down (into toxic metabolites) or move away from the application site (into the water): 4 months. Though bees do not pollinate grapes, since imidacloprid is applied to the soil, all plants in the vineyards and vicinity are in effect treated, including flowering weeds which are pollinated by, guess what, bees (among others).

(For an exhaustive discussion of imidacloprid, see Journal of Pesticide Reform, Spring 2001, vol. 21 no. 1)

Imidacloprid is an increasingly widely used neurotoxin that interferes with the central nervous in insects – and honeybees don’t return to their hives. Hmmmmm…

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.” —–Albert Einstein

Pollination is only one of the wondrous things bees do. Honey, pollen, propolis, beeswax and other bee products have healing properties only now being understood. Honey itself is a sweetener without equal and beeswax candles are actually beneficial to you, your body, and your appearance. We allow this animal ally to languish at our own peril. Without bees, we will not live long enough to die of global warming.

Beekeepers and other experts have their opinions about what might be the cause(s) of this bee crash, but no one will dispute the gravity of losing the domestic honey bee as a food plant pollinator. (Native bees may also be dying off, but it is very difficult to determine their condition.) So, what can a poor food-eater do?

Assuming the causes will one day become clear and that the delay in removing the agent(s) from the biome is not too long, some day we must replenish the hives. Thousands of hives, millions and millions of bees will be needed to return our orchards and gardens to working order. So, whatever we can do to maximize bee populations in the meantime must be done.

• Consider hosting beehives on your property. Now is the time to order bees by the pound for April delivery. If you don’t feel up to maintaining them yourself, and it is not a simple thing anymore, obviously, contact your local beekeeper or honey merchant (see list below) and offer your land for hives. You’ll get lots of great honey and you’ll be saving the bees for posterity!

• Read the labels of pesticides you use in your home and garden. If imidacloprid is there, stop using it. Google other ingredients you don’t recognize. Find another way to have a healthy garden.

• Ask your neighboring orchard or vinyard owner what they are spraying, including systemic pesticides, organophosphates, tree oils and pheremone confusers. Educate yourself and them about the long term consequences of their practices.

• Be alert for swarms! In the spring and through the summer, bee colonies are inspired to make a new queen and thousands of them take off with her looking for a new place to live! Experienced beekeepers can catch these swarms and give them a nice, warm hive box where they will be pampered and loved. Call the county agent, bee clubs, honey store or feed stores for hive catchers. Don’t delay! Those bees might take up residence in your barn wall!

• Teach the children about bees. Ettamae Peterson ( ) and others have wonderful websites and visiting farms for kids to experience the wonder of bees first hand.

Beecome a beenut. It’s the buzz, you know.


Poetry: To The Humble Bee…


Like trains of cars on tracks of plush

I hear the level bee:

A jar across the flowers goes,

Their velvet masonry

Withstands until the sweet assault

Their chivalry consumes,

While he, victorious, tilts away

To vanquish other blooms.

His feet are shod with gauze,

His helmet is of gold;

His breast, a single onyx

With chrysoprase, inlaid.

His labor is a chant,

His idleness a tune;

Oh, for a bee’s experience

Of clovers and of noon!

-Emily Dickinson

The Honey Bee

In the springtime, joyous spring-


When the birds begin to sing,

And we hear the murmuring brook-


Then the bees are on the wing.

When the long, cold days are over

Bees are out to sip the dew

And the nectar from the clover,

Buttercups and daisies blue.

Supers placed above the beehive

For the honey bee to find,

Will be filled if showers are given

To the flowers of every kind.

Then the bees are kind and gentle

“Take it hog,” they seem to say;

“We will work again the harder

After the next rainy day.

“And we’ll fill again the super,

We don’t mind with you to share,

Early morn will find us busy

Gathering honey everywhere.

We just gladly gather honey,

And the wax from off our back

We produce, now is’nt it funny,

No material do we lack.

“For our queen cells we have polen,

Any egg a queen may be,

From the proper food and cover,

We produce a queen, you see.

If some drones we wish for mating,

Other food we must supply,

Just the food we give while waiting

For their hatching by and by.”

“But when frost on field and hillside,

In the autumn kills the flower,

And in vain we search for honey,

In each glen and leafy bower,

Then in every hive is stationed

Guards to watch our winter’s store,

For if you would rudely take it,

We would search in vain for more.

“And we sting with all our fury,

Take our honey if you dare,

For we want to keep from starving

In the winter, so beware.”

There’s a moral we may gather

From the busy bee for all,

Gather food stuff in the summer,

And protect it in the fall.

-Nettie Squire Sutton

Bee Haiku

bee sits on flower

buzz buzz bee sips sweet nectar

quick! next flower waits

-Roberta Gibson

The Bee

What time I paced, at pleasant morn,

A deep and dewy wood,

I heard a mellow hunting-horn

Make dim report of Dian’s lustihood

Far down a heavenly hollow.

Mine ear, though fain, had pain to follow:

`Tara!’ it twanged, `tara-tara!’ it blew,

Yet wavered oft, and flew

Most ficklewise about, or here, or there,

A music now from earth and now from air.

But on a sudden, lo!

I marked a blossom shiver to and fro

With dainty inward storm; and there within

A down-drawn trump of yellow jessamine

A bee

Thrust up its sad-gold body lustily,

All in a honey madness hotly bound

On blissful burglary.

A cunning sound

In that wing-music held me: down I lay

In amber shades of many a golden spray,

Where looping low with languid arms the Vine

In wreaths of ravishment did overtwine

Her kneeling Live-Oak, thousand-fold to plight

Herself unto her own true stalwart knight.

As some dim blur of distant music nears

The long-desiring sense, and slowly clears

To forms of time and apprehensive tune,

So, as I lay, full soon

Interpretation throve: the bee’s fanfare,

Through sequent films of discourse vague as air,

Passed to plain words, while, fanning faint perfume,

The bee o’erhung a rich, unrifled bloom:

“O Earth, fair lordly Blossom, soft a-shine

Upon the star-pranked universal vine,

Hast nought for me?

To thee

Come I, a poet, hereward haply blown,

From out another worldflower lately flown.

Wilt ask, `What profit e’er a poet brings?’

He beareth starry stuff about his wings

To pollen thee and sting thee fertile: nay,

If still thou narrow thy contracted way,

– Worldflower, if thou refuse me –

– Worldflower, if thou abuse me,

And hoist thy stamen’s spear-point high

To wound my wing and mar mine eye –

Nathless I’ll drive me to thy deepest sweet,

Yea, richlier shall that pain the pollen beat

From me to thee, for oft these pollens be

Fine dust from wars that poets wage for thee.

But, O beloved Earthbloom soft a-shine

Upon the universal Jessamine,

Prithee, abuse me not,

Prithee, refuse me not,

Yield, yield the heartsome honey love to me

Hid in thy nectary!”

And as I sank into a dimmer dream

The pleading bee’s song-burthen sole did seem:

“Hast ne’er a honey-drop of love for me

In thy huge nectary?”

-Sidney Lanier

Tampa, Florida, 1877.

Into Dreamland…

Best Viewed With Mozilla Firefox

Up the airy mountain,

Down the rushy glen,

We daren’t go a-hunting

For fear of little men;

Wee folk, good folk,

Trooping all together;

Green jacket, red cap,

And white owl’s feather!

Down along the rocky shore

Some make their home,

They live on crispy pancakes

Of yellow tide-foam;

Some in the reeds

Of the black mountain lake,

With frogs for their watch-dogs,

All night awake.

High on the hill-top

The old King sits;

He is now so old and gray

He’s nigh lost his wits.

With a bridge of white mist

Columbkill he crosses,

On his stately journeys

From Slieveleague to Rosses;

Or going up with music

On cold starry nights,

To sup with the Queen

Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget

For seven years long;

When she came down again

Her friends were all gone.

They took her lightly back,

Between the night and morrow,

They thought that she was fast asleep,

But she was dead with sorrow.

They have kept her ever since

Deep within the lake,

On a bed of flag-leaves,

Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side,

Through the mosses bare,

They have planted thorn-trees

For pleasure here and there.

Is any man so daring

As dig them up in spite,

He shall find their sharpest thorns

In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain,

Down the rushy glen,

We daren’t go a-hunting

For fear of little men;

Wee folk, good folk,

Trooping all together;

Green jacket, red cap,

And white owl’s feather!

-William Allingham (Irish, 1824-1889)


Please Check out our new radio shows, especially the Spoken Word Show…

Radio Free EarthRites: Music For The Heart Of The World

Turn On – Paste Into – Your Internet Radio Player!

-o-o-0-0-O Radio Free Earthrites! O-0-0-o-o-


Lots going on with this entry… musings put into visible elements, thoughts captured… Friday is here and life is ever quickening with the rush of spring… I drove Rowan to school today, as he is off to train camp counselors this weekend at the Outdoor School. He puts in 2 or more weeks a year training, and counseling 5th graders up in the woods.

Off to visit with friends tonight, I look forward to the exchange of ideas, and the time spent in good company.

The entry today has some very diverse elements, so hold onto your thinking hats!

On the Menu:

The Links

The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age (An Excerpt)

Finding The Lost Muse…..

Irish Poets: The Gift of Voice….

Bright Blessings, and Happiness!



The Links:

From Chaffyn: Why Having More No Longer Makes Us Happy

McDonald’s Targets the English McLanguage

Heaven’s Gate: The Sequel

The Banana Conundrum


A book that I want for my library….

The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age (An Excerpt)

Richard Rudgley

Excerpt(s): … There is clear evidence that plants with anaesthetic properties were widely used in ancient times. Alcohol was certainly used as such, often in conjunction with other psychoactive substances Dioscorides, writing in the first century AD, mentions wine mixed with extracts of the mandrake plant (Mandragora) as being the standard surgical anaesthetic of his day. In ancient Egyptian mythology there is an incident in which the god Ra overcomes the goddess Hathor by stupefying her with mandrake beer. Beer was brewed by both the Predynastic Egyptians and by the early Sumerians, and both beer and wine have their origins in the Neolithic period, extending back to the fourth millennium BC and perhaps even earlier.

During the period from about 3500 to 3000 BC, the Bronze Age cultures of the eastern Mediterranean area were consuming wine from metal vessels. Their neighbours to the north (who were still following a Neolithic way of life) were converting to the mixed blessings of alcoholic beverages and imitated the shape of these metal cups in their own ceramic vessel designs. Alcohol use spread across Neolithic Europe, gradually displacing the use of other psychoactive substances in its wake. It appears that as it was introduced to the various parts of the continent, it was initially used in conjunction with mind-altering plants such as the opium poppy (Papaver somnijerum) and cannabis (Cannabis sativa). As the new intoxicant took hold, the use of these other substances declined. For although the drinking of alcohol was a Stone Age innovation, it was, nevertheless, a later phenomenon than the use of opium.

The opium poppy, the source of both morphine and heroin, seems to have been domesticated by Old European farmers in the western Mediterranean area from about 6000 BC. That the cultivation of the opium poppy spread westwards during the Neolithic period is indicated by numerous later finds of its seeds from Switzerland, Germany and elsewhere. By the Iron Age it was also present in more northerly regions such as the British Isles and Poland. The seeds of the opium poppy may well have been used in baking and their oil been pressed into use for cooking or lighting during prehistoric times. Yet these are clearly minor uses of the plant, and the Stone Age interest in it must have been for its psychoactive and medicinal properties. In many non-Western cultures, magic and medicine are often two sides of the same coin, and in prehistoric times opium was probably used to relieve pain as well as to enter into altered states of consciousness for spiritual insight. Opium appears to have played a significant role in the religious life of Old Europe. The Cueva de los Murcielagos is a Neolithic site at Albunol, Granada, in southern Spain, dated to about 4200 BC. Inside woven grass bags found with the burials were a large number of opium poppy capsules, and this discovery suggests that opium may have been an active part of funerary rituals. Certainly the placing of the capsules with the bodies points to a clear association between opium, altered states and the realm of death. This indicates that the use of opium in the ancient world (for example in the rituals of Minoan Crete) may have been an outgrowth of an Old European practice.

The use of cannabis or hemp can also be traced back to the Stone Age. The cannabis plant is native to Central Asia but had already spread across the Old World before history began. As well as having psychoactive properties the cannabis plant also provides an extremely strong fibre, which has been used from time immemorial. Nevertheless its mind-altering effects were also made use of in Neolithic times. Stone Age cultures on the steppes used it in a ritual fashion at least as far back as the third millennium BC. In a burial site in Romania belonging to the Kurgan people (identified by Gimbutas as the Proto-Indo-Europeans), archaeologists discovered a small ritual brazier which still contained the remains of charred hemp seeds. This, like the use of opium in Old Europe, seems to be a practice that is ancestral to those known from historical sources. …

… The excavation of Scythian tombs at Pazyryk in the Altai mountains of southern Siberia (dating from the fifth century BC) revealed metal braziers, the burnt remains of cannabis seeds and even the poles used to support the tent! … The presence of charred seeds in both the Kurgan burial and the Scythian tomb indicates that the combustible (and psychoactive) parts of the plant – namely flowers and leaves – had been consumed and the hard residue left behind.

Cannabis not only went west to Europe from its homeland on the steppes but also travelled to China. Linguistic research undertaken by the Chinese scholar Hui-Lin Li indicates that both the technological and the psychoactive uses of the plant were known to the ancient Chinese. In Chinese, hemp is referred to as ta-ma, meaning ‘great fibre’ (ma = fibre). Li also points out that in archaic times the character ma had two meanings. The first of these was ‘chaotic or numerous’, a reference to the appearance and quantity of its fibres. The other meaning was ‘numbness or senselessness’, a reference to its stupefying qualities, which were apparently made use of for medicinal and ritual reasons. The current state of knowledge concerning the prehistoric use of cannabis indicates that it was first cultivated in northeast Asia both for its fibre and also as a means to induce ecstasy among shamans. There are a number of references in ancient Chinese writings to the use of cannabis by magicians and Taoists, and it appears that such uses stem from their shamanistic forebears.

In south-east Asia the earliest known use of a psychoactive substance concerns the practice of betel-chewing. This stimulant is estimated to he taken by 10 per cent of the world’s population. It is particularly popular in India, mainland south-east Asia, Indonesia and Melanesia, and is usually taken in the form of a quid (similar to a ‘chew’ of tobacco). The basic preparation consists of a leaf of the betel plant (Piper betle) in which the seed of the areca palm (Areca catechu) is wrapped. In order to release the stimulating properties contained within the preparation, an alkaline additive such as slaked lime is mixed with the areca seed. Many users have a quid in their mouths almost constantly, and heavy and habitual use causes the teeth to turn black. Traditionally in the Philippines having black teeth (i.e. being a heavy user of betel mixtures) was a sign of social status. The earliest archaeological evidence for the practice comes from the Spirit Cave site in north-west Thailand where Piper seeds were found at levels dated to between 5500 and 7000 BC. Direct evidence for the actual use of a betel mixture comes from Duyong Cave on Palawan in the Philippines. In this cave the skeleton of a man (dating to 2680 BC) was found interred along with half a dozen bivalve shells containing lime, and his teeth were stained as those of any serious betel user should be. (pages 137 – 140)

The Aborigines never took up the practice of agriculture before the arrival of the white man on their continent. Yet the fact that they paid an inordinate amount of attention to pituri has implications for the origins of agriculture. That what can be seen as a first footstep towards agriculture in Australia involves not a food plant but a psychoactive one is highly significant. The standard theory concerning the origins of agriculture is that this change of lifestyle was primarily concerned with food production. The Australian evidence may lead us to think otherwise. The Oxford archaeologist Andrew Sherratt has suggested a similar genesis of agriculture for the Near East and notes with particular reference to Neolithic Jericho that the first cultivated plants were not perhaps cereals at all but more valuable and portable commodities. He suggests a number of narcotic plants like mandrake, henbane and belladonna (deadly nightshade) as possible candidates.

There is evidence from the New World to support the idea that, at least in some parts of the world, the first plants to be domesticated were not staple foodstuffs but psychoactive species. Many native North American peoples such as the Blackfoot traditionally disdained agriculture and only made an exception in the case of tobacco. This pattern is also corroborated by the prehistoric origins of tobacco use. The native habitat of tobacco is in the lowlands of Patagonia, the Pampas and Gran Chaco; that is to say, the southern part of South America. It was in this region that tobacco was first cultivated by Indians in their gardens some 8,000 years ago. It seems also to have been the case that in this area horticultural practices were first initiated in order to ensure a steady supply of tobacco rather than foodstuffs.

Although the advent of horticulture and agriculture seems to have been brought about in part by the desire for psychoactive substances, the use of mind-altering plants no doubt goes back to primeval times. With the possible exception of the use of the stimulating plant Ephedra by Neanderthals, there is no concrete evidence for the use of psychoactive plants in the Palaeolithic period. Some researchers have claimed that some of the images in the Upper Palaeolithic cave art in France and Spain were inspired by hallucinatory experiences, but this is difficult, if not impossible, to prove. No clear depictions of psychoactive plants or fungi appear in the art of Upper Palaeolithic times and no palaeobotanical remains of such species have been found in archaeological sites dating to this period. The highly mobile hunter-gatherer societies of the Upper Palaeolithic period naturally did not leave such clear evidence of their use of plants as the later Neolithic farmers who lived in permanent villages. No doubt the refinement of palaeobotanical techniques will soon produce evidence for the use of mind-altering plants in the Upper Palaeolithic. (pages 140 – 141)

The cave site of Shanidar in a remote part of northern fraq has also yielded remains of nine Neanderthals, some in the context of burials and others as the result of accidental death due to an ancient rock fall. There are two particularly interesting aspects of the evidence from this site that may shed light on little-known aspects of Neanderthal existence. The first is the discovery of the mortal remains of a Neanderthal man aged about 40 who had died as the result of a rock fall about 46,000 years ago. …

When the rest of the skeleton was removed from the ground it was transported with an armed Iraqi police guard by lorry and train to a laboratory in Baghdad for detailed analysis by Dr T. Dale Stewart. Stewart’s study revealed that the right side of Nandy’s body was withered – his right shoulder blade, his collar bone and upper right arm bone were underdeveloped, a condition which had probably been pronounced from birth. The indications were that during his lifetime the right arm had been amputated just above the elbow. He also suffered from a not uncommon problem among Neanderthals – arthritis. His teeth were worn down as a result of abnormal use, perhaps from the excessive chewing of animal hides to soften them, or as a result of using the teeth as a means of manipulation in lieu of his useless right arm. As if this catalogue of disabilities and ailments were not suffering enough, it was also found that he was blind in the left eye and had suffered and survived wounds to the face and skull. Clearly this individual must have been something of a practical burden to a group of mobile Neanderthal hunters, yet they had evidently looked after him as a part of their community since birth, as an individual in such a physical state could hardly have survived on his own. This shows that rather than being little better than a pack of wild animals, the Neanderthals clearly did not base their social beliefs around a ‘survival of the fittest’ kind of ethos but showed care and consideration to those who suffered physical disability. This level of social responsibility and conscience is all the more remarkable when one considers that there are many instances in historical and more modern times in which weaker individuals have, through necessity or cultural beliefs, been abandoned or neglected. Those who have read Jean Auel’s popular saga Earth’s Children will recognise in this account of Nandy, the crippled man of Shanidar, the source of her character Creb, the Mog-ur, or magician of the Neanderthal clan in The Clan of the Cave Bear, the first novel in the series.

A second discovery from the site that has caused much controversy and speculation is the so-called flower burial of the Shanidar IV adult male skeleton found some 15 metres from the cave mouth and dating from before 50,000 BP, probably as early as 60,000 BP according to Ralph Solecki, who led the excavations during the 1950s. Arlette Leroi-Gourhan, a palaeobotanist based in Paris, was responsible for analyzing soil samples … It became clear to her in the course of the analysis that flowers of at least seven species could be identified in the soil deposits in the Neanderthal grave and must have entered this part of the site at the same time as each other.

Originally they believed it was largely an aesthetic act similar in essence to the laying of flowers at a grave today. Having considered the properties of the main six types of flowers that were identified, they later suggested that some medical knowledge of the plants may have influenced the selection of these particular flowers by the Neanderthals. The main flowering plants evidenced by their abundant pollen remains are all known to have medicinal properties, not only in Western folk medicine but also in the local herbalism that is still practised and that has been reported in the publications of the Iraq Ministry of Agriculture.

The last of the six main plants is woody horsetail (Ephedra), which has a long history of use in Asian and other medical practices. It was once thought that Ephedra was the fabled soma of the ancient Indians, a psychoactive plant consumed by priests during their rituals. It is not a suitable candidate as it has amphetamine-like stimulant effects rather than the hallucinogenic properties attributed to soma. Nevertheless, it is known from archaeological sites in prehistoric Central Asia to have been consumed with more potent substances, such as opium and cannabis. Its more widespread use is as a remedy used to treat coughs and respiratory disorders, and in modern times extracts of it have been used to treat asthma.


Finding The Lost Muse…..

So I went hunting for the poetry of Telesilla of Argos… page after page on Google, and not a line to be found, but praise, deep praise for what turns out to be 2 lines that survive. Her works had been targeted for burning when an age less kind to women came about. The tragedy of it all…. G

Antipater of Thessalonike on the Nine Woman Lyric Poets:

These are the divinely tongued women who were reared

on the hymns of Helicon and the Pierian Rock of Macedon:

Praxilla, Moiro, Anyte the female Homer,

Sappho the ornament of the fair-tressed Lesbian women,

Erinna, renowned Telesilla, and you, Corinna,

who sang of Athena’s martial shield,

Nossis the maiden-throated, and Myrtis the sweet-voiced,

All of them fashioners of the everlasting page.

Nine Muses Great Ouranos bore, Nine likewise Gaia,

to be a joy undying for mortals.


Plutarch Mulierum Virtutes [Moralia 245c-f]:

Of all the deeds performed by women for the community none is more famous than the struggle against Cleomenes for Argos (494 B.C.), which the women carried out at the instigation of Telesilla the poet. She, as they say, was the daughter of a famous house, but sickly in body, and so she sent to the god to ask about health; and when an oracle was given her to cultivate the Muses, she followed the god’s advice, and by devoting herself to poetry and music she was quickly relieved of her trouble, and was greatly admired by the women for her poetic art.

But when Cleomenes (I), king of the Spartans, having slain many Argives (but not by any means seven thousand seven hundred and seventy seven [cf. Herodotus, VII.148] as some fabulous narrative have it), proceeded against the city, an impulsive daring, divinely inspired, came to the younger women to try, for their country’s sake, to hold off the enemy. Under the lead of Telesilla, they took up arms, and, taking their stand by the battlements, manned the walls all round, so that the enemy were amazed. The result was that they repulsed Cleomenes with great loss, and the other king, Demaratus, who managed to get inside, as Socrates [FHG IV, p. 497] says, and gained possession of the Pamphyliacum, they drove out. In this way the city was saved. The women who fell in the battle they buried close by the Argive Road, and to the survivors they granted the privilege of erecting a statue of Ares as a memorial of their surpassing valor. Some say that the battle took place on the seventh day of the month which is now known as the Fourth Month [tetartou], but anciently was called Hermaeus among the Argives; others say that it was on the first day of that month, on the anniversary of which they celebrate even to this day the ‘Festival of Impudence’, at which they clothe the women in men’s shirts and cloaks, and the men in women’s robes and veils.

To repair the scarcity of men they did not unite the women with slaves, as Herodotus (VI. 77-83) records, but with the best of their neighboring subjects, whom they made Argive citizens. It was reputed that the women showed disrespect and an intentional indifference to those husbands in their married relations from a feeling that they were underlings. Wherefore the Argives enacted a law, the one which says that married women having a beard must occupy the same bed with their husbands.


Some of my favourite Irish Poets….

Irish Poets: The Gift of Voice….


Thank God for simple, honest, close-knit turf,

Sound footing for plain feet; nor moss, nor mire;

No silvery quicksand, no hot sulphourous scruf

Flung from a turmoiled fire.

So far your hand has led me; what is worth

A question now of all the heavens conceal?

Here shall we lie, and better love the Earth,

And let the planets reel.

-Edward Dowden

I’r Hen Iaith A’i Chaneuon / To the Old Tongue & Its Songs

When I go down to Wales for the long bank holiday

to visit my wife’s grandfather who is teetotal,

who is a non-smoker, who does not approve

of anyone who is not teetotal and a non-smoker,

when I go down to Wales for the long. long bank holiday

with my second wife to visit her grandfather

who deserted Methodism for the Red Flag,

who won’t hear a word against Stalin,

who despite my oft-professed socialism

secretly believes I am still with the Pope’s legions,

receiving coded telegrams from the Vatican

specifying the dates, times and positions I should adopt

for political activity and sexual activity,

who in his ninetieth year took against boxing

which was the only thing I could ever talk to him about,

when I visit my second wife’s surviving grandfather,

and when he listens to the football results in Welsh

I will sometimes slip out to the pub.

I will sometimes slip out to the pub

and drink pint upon pint of that bilious whey

they serve there, where the muzak will invariably be

The Best of the Rhosllanerchrugog Male Voice Choir

and I will get trapped by some brain donor from up the valley

who will really talk about ‘the language so strong and so beautiful

that has grown out of the ageless mountains,

that speech of wondrous beauty that our fathers wrought’,

who will chant to me in Welsh his epileptic verses

about Gruffudd ap Llywellyn and Daffydd ap Llywellyn,

and who will give me two solid hours of slaver

because I don’t speak Irish and who will then bring up religion,

then I will tell him I know one Irish prayer about a Welsh king

on that very subject, and I will recite for him as follows:

‘Ná thrácht ar an mhinistéir Ghallda

Nár ar a chreideimh gan bheann gan bhrí,

Mar ní’l mar bhuan-chloch dá theampuill

Ach magairle Annraoi Rí.’ ‘Beautiful,’

he will say, as they all do, ‘It sounds quite beautiful.’

-Ian Duhig

Brazen Image

In the garden on a summer night,

A garden of Eden, when tobacco flower

And scented stock gleam unearthly,

White moths drawing moths,

Opening delights.

I would praise Eve for raising her hand,

I would praise her; her strong teeth

Took that brazen bite;

And gates spun down

And out across the green

The brown snake moved

To race towards the light.

-Anne Hartigan

Amhrán na mBréag [The Song of Lies]

(After the Irish of Micheal Mharcais Ó Conghaile)

In the middle of the wood I set sail

as the bee and the bat were at anchor just off shore

I found in the sea’s rough shallows a nest of bees

In a field’s ear I saw

a mackerel milking a cow

I saw a young woman in Greece boiling the city of Cork over the

kitchen fire

Last night, in a serpent’s ear, I slept sound

I saw an eel with a whip in her hand whipping a shark ashore

MacDara’s Island told me he never saw more


a kitten washing a salmon in the river

the music-mast of a ship being

conceived in a cat’s arse

a badger in the nest of an eagle milking a cow

and a sparrow wielding a hammer putting a keel on a boat.

-Pearse Hutchinson

(Emma Florence Harrison – Dreamland)

Poppy Fields…

Best Viewed Through Mozilla Firefox

Stella Dunkley – Poppy Fields

A complete redo today…. I had a pretty full entry, and just tore it down and started over again.

This is a mono-subject day, Poppies… Poppies…. Poppies…. you are getting drowsy… you are so relaxed….

You get the drill.

On The Menu

The Links

Tales from Kashmir: The Opium Smokers

The Pleasures Of Opium -Thomas De Quincy

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Kubla Khan or, a Vision In a Dream: A Fragment

2 more poems by Coleridge

Have a great day!



The Links:

The Willard Suitcase Exhibit…

Location, Location…

Is There a College Substance Abuse Crisis?

Terra Incognition…

Internal Body Clock Linked to Mania in Mice


Tales from Kashmir: The Opium Smokers

Several opium smokers were once seated in their den. It occurred to one of them that for a long time they had not had an outing and they decided to go to the Shalimar gardens the next Sunday. Those days the boat was the only means of conveyance suited to those going to the gardens on pleasure trips and the small fraternity of opium smokers decided to go to the riverside wherefrom they could be transported across the Dal Lake. They carried with them their rations and some utensils to cook their meals. It was rather too early in the morning for any one to be transported over the Dal and the opium smokers had to wait on the river bank for some time. The early morning breeze was blowing and the friends felt cold. So they decided upon enjoying a smoke and the pipe was filled with tobacco and opium and each of them enjoyed the luxury of a puff.

Not long after one of them shouted: “There you are! A boat is coming.”

“Let us make ready,” said another.

A third shouted, “Friends, you are aware, I am always the first to step into a boat.”

The next was eager to contest this assumed right of his companion. There were arguments and appeals while the first opium smoker shouted, “You accursed boatwoman! Why don’t you make for this bank?”

“But where is she ?” asked one of them who appeared to be comparatively sober.

The first smoker picked up a pebble and saying, “Let this crush her silly head”, hurled it at what he imagined to be a boatwoman plying a boat but what was in reality a fly sitting on a stalk of dried paddy grass. The pebble splashed into the water and the fly was frightened away. “There! there !” said he, “the stone has done away with that dirty woman and the boat is about to capsize.”

After some time they managed to get a boatman to take them across the lake to the Mughal gardens at the foot of the hills flanking Srinagar on the east. The shikara, as the light boat used for such pleasure trips over short distances is called, is a comfortable means of conveyance and one sits in it perfectly at ease as in one’s home. Such an attitude develops the mood for smoking one’s favourite pipe and, having taken a day off, the fraternity of smokers amply fumigated their interior with opium, as amply as only the divines do. Consequently the stars became visible to their naked eyes, and the nymphs under water and the spirits of the air entertained them with their minstrelsy.

In this atmosphere surcharged with gaiety one of them felt a little heaviness in his throat and spat out into the water. A shriek escaped the throat of another. “Oh !” he cried, “our friend has spat his heart out.” There was genuine concern among all of them for their companion who spat into the water and even he came to believe that he must have thrown away his heart. They laid him down, rubbed the soles of his feet, fanned his face and heaved long drawn-out sighs till the influence of opium lifted off his brain.

He sat up and consoled his friends: “Don’t grieve yourselves to death, brethren,” he said, “my heart, nay, not even my whole life is worth all the grieving. May I be your sacrifice! Take comfort and be at peace.”

They ultimately crossed the Dal Lake and the boat landed. They picked up their things from the boat, utensils, rations, sheets, pillows, etc., and the queen of them all, the smoking apparatus. It was decided that they should cook their meals outside the garden and make a repast of it on the flower-bestrewn lawns of the garden under a chinar by the fountains and cascades.

The first step decided upon was to prepare tea and to sip it leaning against the trunks of trees with their branches outspread. While tea-leaves were being heated in the somavar, a mulberry dropped from above and perched on the lip of the opium smoker who lay stretched on the ground under the mulberry tree. They watched him rather enviously and expected him to open his lips and eat the fruit. But he did no such thing and the mulberry lay glued to the spot where it had fallen.

One of his companions could not resist saying, “Look, a mulberry is fallen on your lips. If I were you I would open my lips and swallow it.”

The other replied, “It is all very well for you to advise me to open my lips. But do you take it to be so easy a job to move the heavy gates leading to the stomach and eat the mulberry. If I were as young in years as you, as once I was, I could do so. But now it is too exacting a job.”

In the meantime the mulberry had slipped into the mouth and the man quite enjoyed its taste.

Duties about the preparation of their meals were allotted but it was decided to do everything without speaking a single word. Whoever broke this golden rule of silence was to stand the others a course of pilau. Consequently all of them set about discharging their duties in absolute silence. One of them improvised an oven, another ignited fire while a third put the pots on the oven. Not a word was spoken. At length the rice boiled and gruel had to be drained off. In Kashmir, pots used for cooking rice are wider at the bottom with a neck which is narrower and about one-third of the size of the pot. The lid was put in place, a duster was tied round the mouth and the pot was lifted to the edge of the water wherein it was intended to let the excess of gruel drip.

As the man did all this quietly, his glance turned in the direction of water where he saw the reflection of the pot. Wider at the bottom and narrow at the mouth with a duster tied round, it had a distant resemblance to a female form in the seated posture as viewed through the befogged eye of an opium smoker and with a feeling of mild surprise he remarked, “Hast thou come too?” He meant, of course, his wife in the characteristic Kashmiri headgear. His companions who were eager for a break in the spell of silence did not ask him how his wife had come but seized the opportunity and shouted, ‘`He will stand us a course of pilaf.” A good deal of hilarity followed.

They spent their time in the garden, lolling on the lawns. They did justice to the rations they had carried but more so they smoked to their heart’s delight. While one of them was nodding drowsily after a heavy meal, a fly sat on his eyelid without his being aware of it. A companion of his took it for no less dreadful a being than an eagle out to pick his eyes out. Eager to save the nodding friend from harm he picked up one of the shoes and shot it at the dangerous enemy perched on the tender organ of the man who was nodding. The latter felt dazed and sparks flew out of his head but was congratulated by the other: “I have saved you from inevitable ruin.”

The sky was bright and blue and no one amongst them was eager to go back home. The sun flushed the west and peeped from the placid lake. Flocks of crows, starlings and sparrows flew across the sky, lured by the blooming west. Before long the moon emerged from behind the Nishat garden and in course of time everything was painted silver. Every vagrant thought of his lair and even the opium smokers decided upon going home.

No boat was visible in the direction in which they went. But it was silver, silver everywhere and who would need a boat in such an atmosphere! When they reached near the edge of the water, only one of them doubted that it was not a continuation of land. The others had no such doubt and to reassure him that what they said was correct they lifted the thin skull cap off his head and hurled it on the water ahead of them. The skull cap, of course, floated on water which convinced the other that they were equally safe. Two of them led the van and in a few moments they found themselves steeped in water, especially the one loaded with pots. But the cold douche washed the vapours of opium off their heads and they promptly retraced their steps and saved themselves but could not salvage the pots!


The Pleasures Of Opium

Thomas De Quincy

It is so long since I first took opium, that if it had been a trifling incident in my life, I might have forgotten its date: but cardinal events are not to be forgotten; and from circumstances connected with it, I remember that it must be referred to the autumn of 1804. During that season I was in London, having come thither for the first time since my entrance at college.

And my introduction to opium arose in the following way. From an early age I had been accustomed to wash my head in cold water at least once a day: being suddenly seized with toothache, I attributed it to some relaxation caused by an accidental intermission of that practice; jumped out of bed; plunged my head into a basin of cold water; and with hair thus wetted went to sleep.

The next morning, as I need hardly say, I awoke with excruciating rheumatic pains of the head and face, from which I had hardly any respite for about twenty days. On the twenty-first day, I think it was, and on a Sunday, that I went out into the streets; rather to run away, if possible, from my torments, than with any distinct purpose. By accident I met a college acquaintance who recommended opium. Opium! dread agent of unimaginable pleasure and pain! I had heard of it as I had of manna or of Ambrosia, but no further: how unmeaning a sound was it at that time! what solemn chords does it now strike upon my heart! what heart-quaking vibrations of sad and happy remembrances! Reverting for a moment to these, I feel a mystic importance attached to the minutest circumstances connected with the place and the time, and the man (if man he was) that first laid open to me the Paradise of Opium-eaters. It was a Sunday afternoon, wet and cheerless: and a duller spectacle this earth of ours has not to show than a rainy Sunday in London. My road homewards lay through Oxford-street; and near “the /stately/ Pantheon,” (as Mr. Wordsworth has obligingly called it) I saw a druggist’s shop. The druggist — unconscious minister of celestial pleasures! — as if in sympathy with the rainy Sunday, looked dull and stupid, just as any mortal druggist might be expected to look on a Sunday; and, when I asked for the tincture of opium, he gave it to me as any other man might do: and furthermore, out of my shilling, returned me what seemed to be real copper halfpence, taken out of a real wooden drawer. Nevertheless, in spite of such indications of humanity, he has ever since existed in my mind as the beatific vision of an immortal druggist, sent down to earth on a special mission to myself. And it confirms me in this way of considering him, that, when I next came up to London, I sought him near the stately Pantheon, and found him not: and thus to me, who knew not his name (if indeed he had one) he seemed rather to have vanished from Oxford-street than to have removed in any bodily fashion. The reader may choose to think of him as, possibly, no more than a sublunary druggist: it may be so: but my faith is better: I believe him to have evanesced,{1} or evaporated. So unwillingly would I connect any mortal remembrances with that hour, and place, and creature, that first brought me acquainted with the celestial drug.

Arrived at my lodgings, it may be supposed that I lost not a moment in taking the quantity prescribed. I was necessarily ignorant of the whole art and mystery of opium-taking: and, what I took, I took under every disadvantage. But I took it: — and in an hour, oh! Heavens! what a revulsion! what an upheaving, from its lowest depths, of the inner spirit! what an apocalypse of the world within me! That my pains had vanished, was now a trifle in my eyes: — this negative effect was swallowed up in the immensity of those positive effects which had opened before me — in the abyss of divine enjoyment thus suddenly revealed. Here was a panacea – a [pharmakon nepenthez] for all human woes: here was the secret of happiness, about which philosophers had disputed for so many ages, at once discovered: happiness might now be bought for a penny, and carried in the waistcoat pocket: portable ecstasies might be had corked up in a pint bottle: and peace of mind could be sent down in gallons by the mail coach. But, if I talk in this way, the reader will think I am laughing: and I can assure him, that nobody will laugh long who deals much with opium: its pleasures even are of a grave and solemn complexion; and in his happiest state, the opium-eater cannot present himself in the character of /Il Allegro/: even then, he speaks and thinks as becomes /Il Penseroso/. Nevertheless, I have a very reprehensible way of jesting at times in the midst of my own misery: and, unless when I am checked by some more powerful feelings, I am afraid I shall be guilty of this indecent practice even in these annals of suffering or enjoyment. The reader must allow a little to my infirm nature in this respect: and with a few indulgences of that sort, I shall endeavour to be as grave, if not drowsy, as fits a theme like opium, so anti-mercurial as it really is, and so drowsy as it is falsely reputed.

And, first, one word with respect to its bodily effects: for upon all that has been hitherto written on the subject of opium, whether by travelers in Turkey (who may plead their privilege of lying as an old immemorial right), or by professors of medicine, writing /ex cathedra/, — I have but one emphatic criticism to pronounce — Lies! lies! lies! I remember once, in passing a book-stall, to have caught these words from a page of some satiric author: — “By this time I became convinced that the London newspapers spoke truth at least twice a week, viz. on Tuesday and Saturday, and might safely be depended upon for — the list of bankrupts.” In like manner, I do by no means deny that some truths have been delivered to the world in regard to opium: thus it has been repeatedly affirmed by the learned, that opium is a dusky brown in colour; and this, take notice, I grant: secondly, that it is rather dear; which I also grant: for in my time, East-India opium has been three guineas a pound, and Turkey eight: and, thirdly, that if you eat a good deal of it, most probably you must — do what is particularly disagreeable to any man of regular habits, viz. die.{2} These weighty propositions are, all and singular, true: I cannot gainsay them: and truth ever was, and will be, commendable. But in these three theorems, I believe we have exhausted the stock of knowledge as yet accumulated by man on the subject of opium. And therefore, worthy doctors, as there seems to be room for further discoveries, stand aside, and allow me to come forward and lecture on this matter.

First, then, it is not so much affirmed as taken for granted, by all who ever mention opium, formally or incidentally, that it does, or can, produce intoxication. Now reader, assure yourself, /meo periculo/, that no quantity of opium ever did, or could intoxicate. As to the tincture of opium (commonly called laudanum) /that/ might certainly intoxicate if a man could bear to take enough of it; but why? because it contains so much proof spirit, and not because it contains so much opium. But crude opium, I affirm peremptorily, is incapable of producing any state of body at all resembling that which is produced by alcohol; and not in /degree/ only incapable, but even in /kind/: it is not in the quantity of its effects merely, but in the quality, that it differs altogether. The pleasure given by wine is always mounting, and tending to a crisis, after which it declines: that from opium, when once generated, is stationary for eight or ten hours: the first, to borrow a technical distinction from medicine, is a case of acute – the second, of chronic pleasure: the one is a flame, the other a steady and equable glow. But the main distinction lies in this, that whereas wine disorders the mental faculties, opium, on the contrary (if taken in a proper manner), introduces amongst them the most exquisite order, legislation, and harmony. Wine robs a man of his self possession: opium greatly invigorates it. Wine unsettles and clouds the judgment, and gives a preternatural brightness, and a vivid exaltation to the contempts and the admirations, the loves and the hatreds, of the drinker: opium, on the contrary, communicates serenity and equipoise to all the faculties, active or passive: and with respect to the temper and moral feelings in general, it gives simply that sort of vital warmth which is approved by the judgment, and which would probably always accompany a bodily constitution of primeval or antediluvian health. Thus, for instance, opium, like wine, gives an expansion to the heart and the benevolent affections: but then, with this remarkable difference, that in the sudden development of kind-heartedness which accompanies inebriation, there is always more or less of a maudlin character, which exposes it to the contempt of the by-stander. Men shake hands, swear eternal friendship, and shed tears — no mortal knows why: and the sensual creature is clearly uppermost. But the expansion of the benigner feelings, incident to opium, is no febrile access, but a healthy restoration to that state which the mind would naturally recover upon the removal of any deep- seated irritation of pain that had disturbed and quarrelled with the impulses of a heard originally just and good. True it is, that even wine, up to a certain point, and with certain men, rather tends to exalt and to steady the intellect: I myself, who have never been a great wine-drinker, used to find that half a dozen glasses of wine advantageously affected the faculties — brightened and intensified the consciousness — and gave to the mind a feeling of being “ponderibus librata suis:” and certainly it is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is /disguised/ in liquor: for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety; and it is when they are drinking (as some old gentleman says in Athenaeus), that men [eantonz emfanixondin oitinez eidin]. — display themselves in their true complexion of character; which surely is not disguising themselves. But still, wine constantly leads a man to the brink of absurdity and extravagance; and, beyond a certain point, it is sure to volatilize and to disperse the intellectual energies: whereas opium always seems to compose what had been agitated, and to concentrate what had been distracted. In short, to sum up all in one word, a man who is inebriated, or tending to inebriation, is, and feels that he is, in a condition which calls up into supremacy the merely human, too often the brutal, part of his nature: but the opium-eater (I speak of him who is not suffering from any disease, or other remote effects of opium) feels that the diviner part of his nature is paramount; that is, the moral affections are in a state of cloudless serenity; and over all is the great light of the majestic intellect.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Kubla Khan or, a Vision In a Dream: A Fragment (1816)

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round:

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

A savage place! as holy and enchanted

As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted

By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,

A mighty fountain momently was forced:

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:

And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

It flung up momently the sacred river.

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:

And ‘mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure

Floated midway on the waves;

Where was heard the mingled measure

From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer

In a vision once I saw:

It was an Abyssinian maid,

And on her dulcimer she played,

Singing of Mount Abora.

Could I revive within me

Her symphony and song,

To such a deep delight ‘twould win me,

That with music loud and long,

I would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread,

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

And drunk the milk of Paradise.


Coleridge was responsible for attempting to present the supernatural as real whereas his friend William Wordsworth would try to render ordinary reality as remarkable, strange. He suffered great physical and emotional pain during his life and became addicted to opium. He claimed that this poem came to him in an opium dream. It opens with an enigmatic but precise description of an emperor’s pleasure dome located in an enchanted, savage spot where a woman cries for her demon lover and the sacred river is flung up violently, then meanders before plunging through caverns into a sunless sea. In trying to interpret this symbolic site we can begin by seeing the dome as a human creation (art) built in and over nature’s beauty and power. Note that in the last part of the poem the newly introduced “I” has a vision in which, inspired by a singing woman, he would imaginatively recreate in air the Khan’s dome. The artist who could accomplish this would be regarded with awe and even fear by those from whom he is separated by his inspiration. The poem is also a classic case of European fantasizing about the exotic and luxurious East.


The Æolian Harp



My pensive SARA ! thy soft cheek reclined

Thus on mine arm, most soothing sweet it is

To sit beside our Cot, our Cot o’ergrown

With white-flower’d Jasmin, and the broad-leav’d Myrtle,

(Meet emblems they of Innocence and Love !)

And watch the clouds, that late were rich with light,

Slow saddenning round, and mark the star of eve

Serenely brilliant (such should Wisdom be)

Shine opposite ! How exquisite the scents

Snatch’d from yon bean-field ! and the world so hush’d !

The stilly murmur of the distant Sea

Tells us of silence.

[spacer][spacer]And that simplest Lute,

Plac’d length-ways in the clasping casement, hark !

How by the desultory breeze caress’d,

Like some coy maid half-yielding to her lover,

It pours such sweet upbraiding, as must needs

Tempt to repeat the wrong ! And now, its strings

Boldlier swept, the long sequacious notes

Over delicious surges sink and rise,

Such a soft floating witchery of sound

As twilight Elfins make, when they at eve

Voyage on gentle gales from Faery-Land,

Where Melodies round honey-dropping flowers,

Footless and wild, like birds of Paradise,

Nor pause, nor perch, hovering on untam’d wing !

O ! the one Life within us and abroad,

Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,

A light in sound, a sound-like power in light,

Rhythm in all thought, and joyance every where–

Methinks, it should have been impossible

Not to love all things in a world so fill’d ;

Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air

Is Music slumbering on her instrument.

And thus, my Love ! as on the midway slope

Of yonder hill I stretch my limbs at noon,

Whilst thro’ my half-clos’d eye-lids I behold

The sunbeams dance, like diamonds, on the main,

And tranquil muse upon tranquility ;

Full many a thought uncall’d and undetain’d,

And many idle flitting phantasies,

Traverse my indolent and passive brain,

As wild and various, as the random gales

That swell and flutter on this subject Lute !

And what if all of animated nature

Be but organic Harps diversly fram’d,

That tremble into thought, as o’er them sweeps

Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze,

At once the Soul of each, and God of all ?

But thy more serious eye a mild reproof

Darts, O belovéd Woman ! nor such thoughts

Dim and unhallow’d dost thou not reject,

And biddest me walk humbly with my God.

Meek Daughter in the Family of Christ !

Well hast thou said and holily disprais’d

These shapings of the unregenerate mind ;

Bubbles that glitter as they rise and break

On vain Philosophy’s aye-babbling spring.

For never guiltless may I speak of him,

The Incomprehensible ! save when with awe

I praise him, and with Faith that inly feels ;

Who with his saving mercies healéd me,

A sinful and most miserable man,

Wilder’d and dark, and gave me to possess

Peace, and this Cot, and thee, heart-honour’d Maid !

A Soliloquy of the Full Moon, She Being in a Mad Passion

Now as Heaven is my Lot, they’re the Pests of the Nation!

Wherever they can come

With clankum and blankum

‘Tis all Botheration, & Hell & Damnation,

With fun, jeering




And still to the tune of Transmogrification–

Those muttering




With no Hats

Or Hats that are rusty.

They’re my Torment and Curse

And harass me worse

And bait me and bay me, far sorer I vow

Than the Screech of the Owl

Or the witch-wolf’s long howl,

Or sheep-killing Butcher-dog’s inward Bow wow

For me they all spite–an unfortunate Wight.

And the very first moment that I came to Light

A Rascal call’d Voss the more to his scandal,

Turn’d me into a sickle with never a handle.

A Night or two after a worse Rogue there came,

The head of the Gang, one Wordsworth by name–

`Ho! What’s in the wind?’ ‘Tis the voice of a Wizzard!

I saw him look at me most terribly blue !

He was hunting for witch-rhymes from great A to Izzard,

And soon as he’d found them made no more ado

But chang’d me at once to a little Canoe.

From this strange Enchantment uncharm’d by degrees

I began to take courage & hop’d for some Ease,

When one Coleridge, a Raff of the self-same Banditti

Past by–& intending no doubt to be witty,

Because I’d th’ ill-fortune his taste to displease,

He turn’d up his nose,

And in pitiful Prose

Made me into the half of a small Cheshire Cheese.

Well, a night or two past–it was wind, rain & hail–

And I ventur’d abroad in a thick Cloak & veil–

But the very first Evening he saw me again

The last mentioned Ruffian popp’d out of his Den–

I was resting a moment on the bare edge of Naddle

I fancy the sight of me turn’d his Brains addle–

For what was I now?

A complete Barley-mow

And when I climb’d higher he made a long leg,

And chang’d me at once to an Ostrich’s Egg–

But now Heaven be praised in contempt of the Loon,

I am I myself I, the jolly full Moon.

Yet my heart is still fluttering–

For I heard the Rogue muttering–

He was hulking and skulking at the skirt of a Wood

When lightly & brightly on tip-toe I stood

On the long level Line of a motionless Cloud

And ho! what a Skittle-ground! quoth he aloud

And wish’d from his heart nine Nine-pins to see

In brightness & size just proportion’d to me.

So I fear’d from my soul,

That he’d make me a Bowl,

But in spite of his spite

This was more than his might

And still Heaven be prais’d! in contempt of the Loon

I am I myself I, the jolly full Moon.

The Rite of Spring: Spring Has Sprung…

Well, according to the recent calendar…

Happy Equinox anyway!


For winter’s rains and ruins are over,

And all the season of snows and sins;

The days dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins;

And time remembered is grief forgotten,

And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,

And in green underwood and cover

Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough.

A.E. Housman

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king;

Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,

Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing.

Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

Thomas Nashe

Give me the splendid silent sun

with all his beams full-dazzling.

Walt Whitman

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.

Henry Van Dyke

The Wednesday Flyer

Spent last night on the magazine. It is looking nice I think….! Listened to music, had some nice family time.

Talk more later on…

This is the offering for today folks!


On The Menu:

The Links

Rammstein: Amerika


Four Shakespeare Sonnets…

Paintings: Francis MacNair MacDonald

Frances MacNair MacDonald (1873–1921) was a Scottish artist whose design work was a prominent feature of the “Glasgow Style” during the 1890s.

The sister of better known artist Margaret MacDonald, she was born near Wolverhampton, and moved to Glasgow with her family in 1890. Both sisters enrolled in painting classes at the Glasgow School of Art in 1891, where they met the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and artist Herbert MacNair. Frances went on to marry MacNair, and Margaret married MackIntosh. All four later became the loose collective of the Glasgow School known as “The Four”.

In the mid 1890s the sisters left the School to set up an independent studio together. They collaborated on graphics, textile designs, book illustrations and metalwork, developing a distinctive style influenced by mysticism, symbolism and Celtic imagery. Frances also produced produced a wide variety of other artistic work, including embroidery, gesso panels and water colour paintings. Like her sister, she was influenced by the work of William Blake and Aubrey Beardsley and this is reflected in her use of elongated figures and linear elements. The sisters exhibited in London, Liverpool and Venice.

In 1899 she married MacNair and joined him in Liverpool where he was teaching at the School of Architecture and Applied Art. The couple painted watercolours and designed interiors, exhibiting a Writing Room at the International Exhibition of Modern Art in Turin, and Frances began teaching. In the early 1900s they also exhibited in Liverpool, London, Vienna and Dresden. The closure of the School in 1905, and the loss of the MacNair family wealth through business failure, led to a slow decline in their careers, and they returned to Glasgow in 1909. In the years that followed, Frances painted a moving series of symbolist watercolours addressing the choices facing women, such as marriage and motherhood.

Frances’ achievements are less well known than those of her sister, due in part to her departure from Glasgow, but also because her husband destroyed many of her works after her death. Both sisters works were also frequently overshadowed by the achievements of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Margaret died in Glasgow in 1921.



The Links:

Bolivia promotes intercultural medicine

Why Aren’t Humans Furry? Stone-Age Moms Could Be The Answer

Neptune statue divides Devonport

Brain damage turns man into human chameleon

Teaching assistant claims she was sacked for being a witch


If you have seen it here before…. then watch it again!

Rammstein – Amerika



And many a hunting song they sung, And song of game and glee; Then tuned to plaintive strains their tongue, “Of Scotland’s luve and lee.” To wilder measures next they turn “The Black, Black Bull of Norroway!” Sudden the tapers cease to burn, The minstrels cease to play. “The Cout of Keeldar,” by J. Leyden.

IN Norroway, langsyne, there lived a certain lady, and she had three dochters. The auldest o’ them said to her mither: “Mither, bake me a bannock, and roast me a collop, for I’m gaun awa’ to seek my fortune.” Her mither did sae; and the dochter gaed awa’ to an auld witch washerwife and telled her purpose. The auld wife bade her stay that day, and gang and look out o’ her back door, and see what she could see. She saw nocht the first day. The second day she did the same, and saw nocht. On the third day she looked again, and saw a coach-and-six coming along the road. She ran in and telled the auld wife what she saw. “Aweel,” quo’ the auld wife, “yon’s for you.” Sae they took her into the coach, and galloped aff.

The second dochter next says to her mither: “Mither, bake me a bannock, and roast me a collop, fur I’m gaun awa’ to seek my fortune.” Her mither did sae; and awa’ she gaed to the auld wife, as her sister had dune. On the third day she looked out o’ the back door, and saw a coach-and-four coming along the road. “Aweel,” quo’ the auld wife, “yon’s for you.” Sae they took her in, and aff they set.

The third dochter says to her mither: “Mither, bake me a bannock, and roast me a collop, for I’m gaun awa’ to seek my fortune.” Her mither did sae; and awa’ she gaed to the auld witch-wife. She bade her look out o’ her back door, and see what she could see. She did sae; and when she came back said she saw nocht. The second day she did the same, and saw nocht. The third day she looked again, and on coming back said to the auld wife she saw nocht but a muckle Black Bull coming roaring alang the road. “Aweel,” quo’ the auld wife, “yon’s for you.” On hearing this she was next to distracted wi’ grief and terror; but she was lifted up and set on his back, and awa’ they went.

Aye they traveled, and on they traveled, till the lady grew faint wi’ hunger. “Eat out o’ my right lug,” says the Black Bull, “and drink out o’ my left lug, and set by your leavings.” Sae she did as he said, and was wonderfully refreshed. And lang they gaed, and sair they rade, till they came in sight o’ a very big and bonny castle. “Yonder we maun be this night,” quo’ the bull; “for my auld brither lives yonder”; and presently they were at the place. They lifted her aff his back, and took her in, and sent him away to a park for the night. In the morning, when they brought the bull hame, they took the lady into a fine shining parlor, and gave her a beautiful apple, telling her no to break it till she was in the greatest strait ever mortal was in in the world, and that wad bring her o’t. Again she was lifted on the bull’s back, and after she had ridden far, and farer than I can tell, they came in sight o’ a far bonnier castle, and far farther awa’ than the last. Says the bull till her: “Yonder we maun be the night, for my second brither lives yonder”; and they were at the place directly. They lifted her down and took her in, and sent the bull to the field for the night. In the morning they took the lady into a fine and rich room, and gave her the finest pear she had ever seen, bidding her no to break it till she was in the greatest strait ever mortal could be in, and that wad get her out o’t. Again she was lifted and set on his back, and awa’ they went. And lang they gaed, and sair they rade, till they came in sight o’ the far biggest castle, and far farthest aff, they had yet seen. “We maun be yonder the night,” says the bull, “for my young brither lives yonder”; and they were there directly. They lifted her down, took her in, and sent the bull to the field for the night. In the morning they took her into a room, the finest of a’, and gied her a plum, telling her no to break it till she was in the greatest strait mortal could be in, and that wad get her out o’t. Presently they brought hame the bull, set the lady on his back, and awa’ they went.

And aye they gaed, and on they rade, till they came to a dark and ugsome glen, where they stopped, and the lady lighted down. Says the bull to her: “Here ye maun stay till I gang and fight the deil. Ye maun seat yoursel’ on that stane, and move neither hand nor fit till I come back, else I’ll never find ye again. And if everything round about ye turns blue I hae beated the deil; but should a’ things turn red he’ll hae conquered me.” She set hersel’ down on the stane, and by-and-by a’ round her turned blue. O’ercome wi’ joy, she lifted the ae fit and crossed it owre the ither, sae glad was she that her companion was victorious. The bull returned and sought for but never could find her.

Lang she sat, and aye she grat, till she wearied. At last she rase and gaed awa’, she kedna whaur till. On she wandered till she came to a great hill o’ glass, that she tried a’ she could to climb, bat wasna able. Round the bottom o’ the hill she gaed, sabbing and seeking a passage owre, till at last she came to a smith’s house; and the smith promised, if she wad serve him seven years, he wad make her iron shoon, wherewi’ she could climb owre the glassy hill. At seven years’ end she got her iron shoon, clamb the glassy hill, and chanced to come to the auld washerwife’s habitation. There she was telled of a gallant young knight that had given in some bluidy sarks to wash, and whaever washed thae sarks was to be his wife. The auld wife had washed till she was tired, and then she set to her dochter, and baith washed, and they washed, and they better washed, in hopes of getting the young knight; but a’ they could do they couldna bring out a stain. At length they set the stranger damosel to wark; and whenever she began the stains came out pure and clean, but the auld wife made the knight believe it was her dochter had washed the sarks. So the knight and the eldest dochter were to be married, and the stranger damosel was distracted at the thought of it, for she was deeply in love wi’ him. So she bethought her of her apple, and breaking it, found it filled with gold and precious jewelry, the richest she had ever seen. “All these,” she said to the eldest dochter, “I will give you, on condition that you put off your marriage for ae day, and allow me to go into his room alone at night.” So the lady consented; but meanwhile the auld wife had prepared a sleeping-drink, and given it to the knight, wha drank it, and never wakened till next morning. The lee-lang night ther damosel sabbed and sang:

“Seven lang years I served for thee, The glassy hill I clamb for thee, The bluidy shirt I wrang for thee; And wilt thou no wauken and turn to me?”

Next day she kentna what to do for grief. She then brak the pear, and found it filled wi’ jewelry far richer than the contents o’ the apple. Wi’ thae jewels she bargained for permission to be a second night in the young knight’s chamber; but the auld wife gied him anither sleeping-drink, and he again sleepit till morning. A’ night she kept sighing and singing as before:

“Seven lang years I served for thee,” &c. Still he sleepit, and she nearly lost hope a’thegither. But that day when he was out at the hunting, somebody asked him what noise and moaning was yon they heard all last night in his bedchamber. He said he heardna ony noise. But they assured him there was sae; and he resolved to keep waking that night to try what he could hear. That being the third night, and the damosel being between hope and despair, she brak her plum, and it held far the richest jewelry of the three. She bargained as before; and the auld wife, as before, took in the sleeping-drink to the young knight’s chamber; but he telled her he couldna drink it that night without sweetening. And when she gaed awa’ for some honey to sweeten it wi’, he poured out the drink, and sae made the auld wife think he had drunk it. They a’ went to bed again, and the damosel began, as before, singing:

“Seven lang years I served for thee, The glassy hill I clamb for thee, The bluidy shirt I wrang for thee; And wilt thou no wauken and turn to me?”

He heard, and turned to her. And she telled him a’ that had befa’en her, and he telled her a’ that had happened to him. And he caused the auld washerwife and her dochter to be burned. And they were married, and he and she are living happy till this day, for aught I ken.



Four Shakespeare Sonnets…


f the dull substance of my flesh were thought,

Injurious distance should not stop my way;

For then despite of space I would be brought,

From limits far remote, where thou dost stay.

No matter then although my foot did stand

Upon the farthest earth remov’d from thee;

For nimble thought can jump both sea and land,

As soon as think the place where he would be.

But, ah! thought kills me that I am not thought,

To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone,

But that so much of earth and water wrought,

I must attend time’s leisure with my moan;

Receiving nought by elements so slow

But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe.



The other two, slight air, and purging fire

Are both with thee, wherever I abide;

The first my thought, the other my desire,

These present-absent with swift motion slide.

For when these quicker elements are gone

In tender embassy of love to thee,

My life, being made of four, with two alone

Sinks down to death, oppress’d with melancholy;

Until life’s composition be recured

By those swift messengers return’d from thee,

Who even but now come back again, assured

Of thy fair health, recounting it to me:

This told, I joy; but then no longer glad,

I send them back again, and straight grow sad.



Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war,

How to divide the conquest of thy sight;

Mine eye my heart thy picture’s sight would bar,

My heart mine eye the freedom of that right.

My heart doth plead that thou in him dost lie,

A closet never pierc’d with crystal eyes,

But the defendant doth that plea deny,

And says in him thy fair appearance lies.

To ‘cide this title is impannelled

A quest of thoughts, all tenants to the heart;

And by their verdict is determined

The clear eye’s moiety, and the dear heart’s part:

As thus: mine eye’s due is thine outward part,

And my heart’s right, thine inward love of heart.



Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took,

And each doth good turns now unto the other:

When that mine eye is famish’d for a look,

Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother,

With my love’s picture then my eye doth feast,

And to the painted banquet bids my heart;

Another time mine eye is my heart’s guest,

And in his thoughts of love doth share a part:

So, either by thy picture or my love,

Thy self away, art present still with me;

For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move,

And I am still with them, and they with thee;

Or, if they sleep, thy picture in my sight

Awakes my heart, to heart’s and eyes’ delight.