Three Poets, Monday Late…

“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

Philip Whalen

Robinson Jeffers

Quotes: Bulleh Shah

Art: Roberto Venosa


Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Must Nazron Se Allah Bachaye


– Phillip Whalen –


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


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 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.


-Robinson Jeffers-


An eagle’s nest on the head of an old redwood on one of the

precipice-footed ridges

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



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

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