“I am free, my mind is free,
I am neither a sick person nor a physician
Neither a believer nor an infidel
Nor a mullah or syed
In the fourteen spheres I walk in freedom
I can be imprisoned nowhere”.- Bulleh Shah
Two poets of verse, one of the voice divine. Odd little day here in Portland. Rain/Sun/Rain. Not any great details to relate, so here we are with the entry for this evening… Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Phil Whalen & Robinson Jeffers. If that isn’t a melange, then I don’t know what is.
On The Menu:
Nusrat Fatah Ali Khan
Quotes: Bulleh Shah
Art: Roberto Venosa
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Must Nazron Se Allah Bachaye
– Phillip Whalen –
THE EXPENSIVE LIFE
Tying up my plastic shoes
I realize I’m outside, this is the park & I am free
From whatever pack of nonsense & old tape loops
Play with the Ayer’s dogs, Barney & Daphne
They don’t ask me why I shave my head
“Cut the word lines,” Burroughs recommends
Daphne & Barney fatter than ever & only I am dieting
(Crease along the dotted lines)
Loops of tacky thinking fall unloosed. The sun
Getting hotter than my flannel shirt requires
What about THE BUDDHIST REVIVAL IN CHINA?
Won’t read it now… too blind to see it
Almost too blind to write this, in my room no flowers
The service station wants four bits for compresssed air
At only 16 pounds per square inch
I can see the farthest mountain.
THE IMPERFECT SONNET
“The person of whom you speak is dead.”
Where is the second crystal?
One came in last night & took it; this one
Held the papers on the table
Now I want topaz.
In the middle of the night
The glass doors locked, nothing else missing
Worthless Quartz eccentrically shaped gone
As Emperor Nicholas Romanov
As “Bebe” Rebozo
Say that you love me say
That you will bring me
A delicious cup of coffee
A topaze cup! From Silesia
Property of Hapsburg Emperors
The better crystal is upstairs.
BEAKS OF EAGLES
An eagle’s nest on the head of an old redwood on one of the
Above Ventana Creek, that jagged country which nothing but a
fallen meteor will ever plow; no horseman
Will ever ride there, no hunter cross this ridge but the winged
ones, no one will steal the eggs from this fortress.
The she-eagle is old, her mate was shot long ago, she is now
mated with a son of hers.
When lightening blasted her nest she built it again on the same tree,
in the splinters of the thunderbolt.
The she-eagle is older than I; she was here when the fires
of eighty-five raged on these ridges,
She was lately fledged and dared no hunt ahead of them but ate
scorched meat. The world has changed in her time;
Humanity has multiplied, but not here; men’s hopes and thoughts
and customs have changed, their powers are enlarged,
Their powers and follies have become fantastic,
The unstable animal never has been changed so rapidly. The motor
and plane and the great war have gone over him,
And Lenin lived and Jehovah died: while the mother-eagle
Hunts her same hills, crying the same beautiful and lonely cry
and is never tired; dreams the same dreams,
And hears at night the rock-slides rattle and thunder in the throats
of these living mountains.
It is good for man
To try all changes, progress and corruption, powers, peace
and anguish, not to go down the dinosaur’s way
Until all his capacities have been explored: and it is good for him
To know that his needs and nature have no more changed in fact
in ten thousand years than the beaks of eagles
MEDITATION ON SAVIORS
When I considered it too closely, when I wore it like an element
and smelt it like water,
Life is become less lovely, the net nearer than the skin, a
little troublesome, a little terrible.
I pledged myself awhile ago not to seek refuge, neither in death
nor in a walled garden,
In lies nor gated loyalties, nor in the gates of contempt, that
easily lock the world out of doors.
Here on the rock it is great and beautiful, here on the foam-wet
granite sea-fang it is easy to praise
Life and water and the shining stones: but whose cattle are the
herds of the people that one should love them?
If they were yours, then you might take a cattle-breeder’s
delight in the herds of the future. Not yours.
Where the power ends let love, before it sours to jealousy.
Leave the joys of government to Caesar.
Who is born when the world wanes, when the brave soul of the
world falls on decay in the flesh increasing
Comes one with a great level mind, sufficient vision, sufficient
blindness, and clemency for love.
This is the breath of rottenness I smelt; from the world
waiting, stalled between storms, decaying a little,
Bitterly afraid to be hurt, but knowing it cannot draw the
savior Caesar but out of the blood-bath.
The apes of Christ lift up their hands to praise love: but
wisdom without love is the present savior,
Power without hatred, mind like a many-bladed machine subduing
the world with deep indifference.
The apes of Christ itch for a sickness they have never known;
words and the little envies will hardly
Measure against that blinding fire behind the tragic eyes they
have never dared to confront.
Point Lobos lies over the hollowed water like a humped whale
swimming to shoal; Point Lobos
Was wounded with that fire; the hills at Point Sur endured it;
the palace at Thebes; the hill Calvary.
Out of incestuous love power and then ruin. A man forcing the
imaginations of men,
Possessing with love and power the people: a man defiling his
own household with impious desire.
King Oedipus reeling blinded from the palace doorway, red tears
pouring from the torn pits
Under the forehead; and the young Jew writhing on the domed hill
in the earthquake, against the eclipse
Frightfully uplifted for having turned inward to love the
people: -that root was so sweet O dreadful agonist? –
I saw the same pierced feet, that walked in the same crime to
its expiation; I heard the same cry.
A bad mountain to build your world on. Am I another keeper of
the people, that on my own shore,
On the gray rock, by the grooved mass of the ocean, the
sicknesses I left behind me concern me?
Here where the surf has come incredible ways out of the splendid
west, over the deeps
Light nor life sounds forever; here where enormous sundowns
flower and burn through color to quietness;
Then the ecstasy of the stars is present? As for the people, I
have found my rock, let them find theirs.
Let them lie down at Caesar’s feet and be saved; and he in his
time reap their daggers of gratitude.
Yet I am the one made pledges against the refuge contempt, that
easily locks the world out of doors.
This people as much as the sea-granite is part of the God from
whom I desire not to be fugitive.
I see them: they are always crying. The shored Pacific makes
perpetual music, and the stone mountains
Their music of silence, the stars blow long pipings of light:
the people are always crying in their hearts.
One need not pity; certainly one must not love. But who has seen
peace, if he should tell them where peace
Lives in the world…they would be powerless to understand; and
he is not willing to be reinvolved.
How should one caught in the stone of his own person dare tell
the people anything but relative to that?
But if a man could hold in his mind all the conditions at once,
of man and woman, of civilized
And barbarous, of sick and well, of happy and under torture, of
living and dead, of human and not
Human, and dimly all the human future: -what should persuade him
to speak? And what could his words change?
The mountain ahead of the world is not forming but fixed. But
the man’s words would be fixed also,
Part of that mountain, under equal compulsion; under the same
present compulsion in the iron consistency.
And nobody sees good or evil but out of a brain a hundred
centuries quieted, some desert
Prophet’s, a man humped like a camel, gone mad between the mud-
walled village and the mountain sepulchres.
Broad wagons before sunrise bring food into the city from the
open farms, and the people are fed.
They import and they consume reality. Before sunrise a hawk in
the desert made them their thoughts.
Here is an anxious people, rank with suppressed
bloodthirstiness. Among the mild and unwarlike
Gautama needed but live greatly and be heard, Confucius needed
but live greatly and be heard:
This people has not outgrown blood-sacrifice, one must writhe on
the high cross to catch at their memories;
The price is known. I have quieted love; for love of the people
I would not do it. For power I would do it.
–But that stands against reason: what is power to a dead man,
dead under torture? –What is power to a man
Living, after the flesh is content? Reason is never a root,
neither of act nor desire.
For power living I would never do it; they’are not delightful to
touch, one wants to be separate. For power
After the nerves are put away underground, to lighten the
abstract unborn children toward peace…
A man might have paid anguish indeed. Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.
Yet look: are they not pitiable? No: if they lived forever they
would be pitiable:
But a huge gift reserved quite overwhelms them at the end; they
are able then to be still and not cry.
And having touched a little of the beauty and seen a little of
the beauty of things, magically grow
Across the funeral fire or the hidden stench of burial
themselves into the beauty they admired,
Themselves into the God, themselves into the sacred steep
unconsciousness they used to mimic
Asleep between lamp’s death and dawn, while the last drunkard
stumbled homeward down the dark street.
They are not to be pitied but very fortunate; they need no
savior, salvation comes and takes them by force,
It gathers them into the great kingdoms of dust and stone, the
blown storms, the stream’s-end ocean.
With this advantage over their granite grave-marks, of having
realized the petulant human consciousness
Before, and then the greatness, the peace: drunk from both
pitchers: these to be pitied? These not fortunate
But while he lives let each man make his health in his mind, to
love the coast opposite humanity
And so be freed of love, laying it like bread on the waters; it
is worst turned inward, it is best shot farthest.
Love, the mad wine of good and evil, the saint’s and murderer’s,
the mote in the eye that makes its object
Shine the sun black; the trap in which it is better to catch the
inhuman God than the hunter’s own image.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Yadaan Vichhre Sajan Diyan Aiyan
Live at Digbeth Civic Hall, Birmingham. 1985….
I know not who I am
I am neither a believer going to the mosque
Nor given to non-believing ways
Neither clean, nor unclean
Neither Moses not Pharaoh
I know not who I am
I am neither among sinners nor among saints
Neither happy, nor unhappy
I belong neither to water not to earth
I am neither fire, not air
I know not who I am – Bulleh Shah