“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”
On The Music Box: The Fountain Sound Track
This posting is an amalgam of a couple of different threads running through my experiences of late. I have been contemplating Mystery, Labour and Class relations among other subjects as I have gone about the everyday life. I was surprised and saddened to find that the great Jimmy Reid had passed on August 10th. I have included his famous Glasgow University Speech from 1972. Jimmy was part of a long tradition of working class intellectuals that helped craft Glasgow and the Glaswegian intelligensia over the centuries. Though not known so well in the US, he had a deep impact on the ideas of critical thinking, class and labour relationships and the now lost and lamented traditions of shipbuilding upon the Clyde. I have included a eulogy from Billy Connolly as well. It rambles a bit, but it helps shape the image of Jimmy in your mind if you let it.
There is a wee article on Mystery that I have crafted, part of another work that I have been putting together elsewhere. Mystery, Poetry, Music make up the remainder of this posting.
I should have another Turfing out soon, as I have been crafting another as I was working on this one.
Here is to you all,
On The Menu:
Maps – I Dream of Crystal
Fare Thee Well, Jimmy Reid: Still irresistible, a working-class hero’s finest speech
Billy Connolly’s Eulogy For Jimmy Reid
Sentient Fireballs and Biting Lights
The Poems Of Fedrico Garcia Lorca
Maps – Valium In the Sunshine
(The Mystery Of It All!) We are born from mystery, swim through our lives with mystery, and with mystery we return to the great depths at the end of life.
Mystery. Give me mystery. that is the heart of the matter. When I contemplate mystery I’m engaged upon a quest opened up to multiple, perhaps infinite possibilities. Mysteries evokes a state of mind that motivates on multiple levels. I would rather have mystery than answers, To have the unformed churning in the mind, is to be on the threshing floor of creation. Mystery by its basic nature shares the event horizon with you.
Answers are perhaps the death of curiosity on many levels. When people think they have the answer(s), they apparently turn off to other possibilities, other paths. Answers move from the fluid state that mystery evokes, to a static state. That which is connected with the quest ceases. With answers, finite horizons assert themselves, what was once wild and boundless, now caged.
Imagine this if you haven’t experienced it… You are on a small craft, beyond the horizon from land, late at night. There is no moon, only stars. The craft is absolutely dark, you kneel by the gunwale, and let your hand drift in the water in the darkness… This is entering into mystery, a mystery rife with surrender, danger, anticipation, questing…
We go through our lives assured by what we think are the answers. Answers are comforting, and assuring. They delineate and guide. They are in the main harmless… We accept answers from an early age, we put innocent faith in those who first answer our questions. For some, this is enough. For others, asking the questions continues. It can leads one down the most peculiar of paths. If you ask the right questions you can end up either on the world stage, in prison, or on the path of wonder. The questing is the key, and the interpreting of the signpost along the way.
Invoke Isis, and she will come forth. Life is the mystery to be lived fully and with intent. (and no… that is not an answer!)
MAPS new album: Turning The Mind….
Maps – I Dream of Crystal
Oscar Wilde: “The final mystery is oneself.”
Charles de Lint: “Without mysteries, life would be very dull indeed. What would be left to strive for if everything were known?”
Albert Einstein: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”
G. K. Chesterton: “The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in fairy books, charm, spell, enchantment. They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery.”
Henri Frederic Amiel: “Let mystery have its place in you; do not be always turning up your whole soil with the ploughshare of self-examination, but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring…”
Fare Thee Well, Jimmy Reid: Still irresistible, a working-class hero’s finest speech
Jimmy Reid, the Clydeside trade union activist who died recently, was an inspiring orator. This speech, delivered on his inauguration as rector of Glasgow University in 1972, was compared at the time to the Gettysburg Address. It has lost little of its relevance
Alienation is the precise and correctly applied word for describing the major social problem in Britain today. People feel alienated by society. In some intellectual circles it is treated almost as a new phenomenon. It has, however, been with us for years. What I believe is true is that today it is more widespread, more pervasive than ever before. Let me right at the outset define what I mean by alienation. It is the cry of men who feel themselves the victims of blind economic forces beyond their control. It’s the frustration of ordinary people excluded from the processes of decision-making. The feeling of despair and hopelessness that pervades people who feel with justification that they have no real say in shaping or determining their own destinies.
Many may not have rationalised it. May not even understand, may not be able to articulate it. But they feel it. It therefore conditions and colours their social attitudes. Alienation expresses itself in different ways in different people. It is to be found in what our courts often describe as the criminal antisocial behaviour of a section of the community. It is expressed by those young people who want to opt out of society, by drop-outs, the so-called maladjusted, those who seek to escape permanently from the reality of society through intoxicants and narcotics. Of course, it would be wrong to say it was the sole reason for these things. But it is a much greater factor in all of them than is generally recognised.
Society and its prevailing sense of values leads to another form of alienation. It alienates some from humanity. It partially de-humanises some people, makes them insensitive, ruthless in their handling of fellow human beings, self-centred and grasping. The irony is, they are often considered normal and well-adjusted. It is my sincere contention that anyone who can be totally adjusted to our society is in greater need of psychiatric analysis and treatment than anyone else. They remind me of the character in the novel, Catch 22, the father of Major Major. He was a farmer in the American Mid-West. He hated suggestions for things like medi-care, social services, unemployment benefits or civil rights. He was, however, an enthusiast for the agricultural policies that paid farmers for not bringing their fields under cultivation. From the money he got for not growing alfalfa he bought more land in order not to grow alfalfa. He became rich. Pilgrims came from all over the state to sit at his feet and learn how to be a successful non-grower of alfalfa. His philosophy was simple. The poor didn’t work hard enough and so they were poor. He believed that the good Lord gave him two strong hands to grab as much as he could for himself. He is a comic figure. But think – have you not met his like here in Britain? Here in Scotland? I have.
It is easy and tempting to hate such people. However, it is wrong. They are as much products of society, and of a consequence of that society, human alienation, as the poor drop-out. They are losers. They have lost the essential elements of our common humanity. Man is a social being. Real fulfilment for any person lies in service to his fellow men and women. The big challenge to our civilisation is not Oz, a magazine I haven’t seen, let alone read. Nor is it permissiveness, although I agree our society is too permissive. Any society which, for example, permits over one million people to be unemployed is far too permissive for my liking. Nor is it moral laxity in the narrow sense that this word is generally employed – although in a sense here we come nearer to the problem. It does involve morality, ethics, and our concept of human values. The challenge we face is that of rooting out anything and everything that distorts and devalues human relations.
Let me give two examples from contemporary experience to illustrate the point.
Recently on television I saw an advert. The scene is a banquet. A gentleman is on his feet proposing a toast. His speech is full of phrases like “this full-bodied specimen”. Sitting beside him is a young, buxom woman. The image she projects is not pompous but foolish. She is visibly preening herself, believing that she is the object of the bloke’s eulogy. Then he concludes – “and now I give…”, then a brand name of what used to be described as Empire sherry. Then the laughter. Derisive and cruel laughter. The real point, of course, is this. In this charade, the viewers were obviously expected to identify not with the victim but with her tormentors.
The other illustration is the widespread, implicit acceptance of the concept and term “the rat race”. The picture it conjures up is one where we are scurrying around scrambling for position, trampling on others, back-stabbing, all in pursuit of personal success. Even genuinely intended, friendly advice can sometimes take the form of someone saying to you, “Listen, you look after number one.” Or as they say in London, “Bang the bell, Jack, I’m on the bus.”
To the students [of Glasgow University] I address this appeal. Reject these attitudes. Reject the values and false morality that underlie these attitudes. A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement. This is how it starts, and before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack. The price is too high. It entails the loss of your dignity and human spirit. Or as Christ put it, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?”
Profit is the sole criterion used by the establishment to evaluate economic activity. From the rat race to lame ducks. The vocabulary in vogue is a give-away. It’s more reminiscent of a human menagerie than human society. The power structures that have inevitably emerged from this approach threaten and undermine our hard-won democratic rights. The whole process is towards the centralisation and concentration of power in fewer and fewer hands. The facts are there for all who want to see. Giant monopoly companies and consortia dominate almost every branch of our economy. The men who wield effective control within these giants exercise a power over their fellow men which is frightening and is a negation of democracy.
Government by the people for the people becomes meaningless unless it includes major economic decision-making by the people for the people. This is not simply an economic matter. In essence it is an ethical and moral question, for whoever takes the important economic decisions in society ipso facto determines the social priorities of that society.
From the Olympian heights of an executive suite, in an atmosphere where your success is judged by the extent to which you can maximise profits, the overwhelming tendency must be to see people as units of production, as indices in your accountants’ books. To appreciate fully the inhumanity of this situation, you have to see the hurt and despair in the eyes of a man suddenly told he is redundant, without provision made for suitable alternative employment, with the prospect in the West of Scotland, if he is in his late forties or fifties, of spending the rest of his life in the Labour Exchange. Someone, somewhere has decided he is unwanted, unneeded, and is to be thrown on the industrial scrap heap. From the very depth of my being, I challenge the right of any man or any group of men, in business or in government, to tell a fellow human being that he or she is expendable.
The concentration of power in the economic field is matched by the centralisation of decision-making in the political institutions of society. The power of Parliament has undoubtedly been eroded over past decades, with more and more authority being invested in the Executive. The power of local authorities has been and is being systematically undermined. The only justification I can see for local government is as a counter- balance to the centralised character of national government.
Local government is to be restructured. What an opportunity, one would think, for de-centralising as much power as possible back to the local communities. Instead, the proposals are for centralising local government. It’s once again a blue-print for bureaucracy, not democracy. If these proposals are implemented, in a few years when asked “Where do you come from?” I can reply: “The Western Region.” It even sounds like a hospital board.
It stretches from Oban to Girvan and eastwards to include most of the Glasgow conurbation. As in other matters, I must ask the politicians who favour these proposals – where and how in your calculations did you quantify the value of a community? Of community life? Of a sense of belonging? Of the feeling of identification? These are rhetorical questions. I know the answer. Such human considerations do not feature in their thought processes.
Everything that is proposed from the establishment seems almost calculated to minimise the role of the people, to miniaturise man. I can understand how attractive this prospect must be to those at the top. Those of us who refuse to be pawns in their power game can be picked up by their bureaucratic tweezers and dropped in a filing cabinet under “M” for malcontent or maladjusted. When you think of some of the high flats around us, it can hardly be an accident that they are as near as one could get to an architectural representation of a filing cabinet.
If modern technology requires greater and larger productive units, let’s make our wealth-producing resources and potential subject to public control and to social accountability. Let’s gear our society to social need, not personal greed. Given such creative re-orientation of society, there is no doubt in my mind that in a few years we could eradicate in our country the scourge of poverty, the underprivileged, slums, and insecurity.
Even this is not enough. To measure social progress purely by material advance is not enough. Our aim must be the enrichment of the whole quality of life. It requires a social and cultural, or if you wish, a spiritual transformation of our country. A necessary part of this must be the restructuring of the institutions of government and, where necessary, the evolution of additional structures so as to involve the people in the decision-making processes of our society. The so-called experts will tell you that this would be cumbersome or marginally inefficient. I am prepared to sacrifice a margin of efficiency for the value of the people’s participation. Anyway, in the longer term, I reject this argument.
To unleash the latent potential of our people requires that we give them responsibility. The untapped resources of the North Sea are as nothing compared to the untapped resources of our people. I am convinced that the great mass of our people go through life without even a glimmer of what they could have contributed to their fellow human beings. This is a personal tragedy. It’s a social crime. The flowering of each individual’s personality and talents is the pre-condition for everyone’s development.
In this context education has a vital role to play. If automation and technology is accompanied as it must be with a full employment, then the leisure time available to man will be enormously increased. If that is so, then our whole concept of education must change. The whole object must be to equip and educate people for life, not solely for work or a profession. The creative use of leisure, in communion with and in service to our fellow human beings, can and must become an important element in self-fulfilment.
Universities must be in the forefront of development, must meet social needs and not lag behind them. It is my earnest desire that this great University of Glasgow should be in the vanguard, initiating changes and setting the example for others to follow. Part of our educational process must be the involvement of all sections of the university on the governing bodies. The case for student representation is unanswerable. It is inevitable.
My conclusion is to re-affirm what I hope and certainly intend to be the spirit permeating this address. It’s an affirmation of faith in humanity. All that is good in man’s heritage involves recognition of our common humanity, an unashamed acknowledgement that man is good by nature. Burns expressed it in a poem that technically was not his best, yet captured the spirit. In “Why should we idly waste our prime…”:
“The golden age, we’ll then revive, each man shall be a brother,
In harmony we all shall live and till the earth together,
In virtue trained, enlightened youth shall move each fellow creature,
And time shall surely prove the truth that man is good by nature.”
It’s my belief that all the factors to make a practical reality of such a world are maturing now. I would like to think that our generation took mankind some way along the road towards this goal. It’s a goal worth fighting for.
Billy Connolly’s Eulogy For Jimmy Reid
Sentient Fireballs and Biting Lights
Strange luminous encounters, from fleeting sightings to lethal attacks
Text: Theo Paijmans / Images: Sybille Delacroix
At the fringes of those luminous phenomena which range from spook lights to freak lightning, there are some strange accounts for which there is no ready explanation. These involve lights that show a particular interest in human beings – and not always to their benefit.
Take what befell 12-year-old George Campbell and his father, EW Campbell. They were riding along the ‘Eighty-foot Road’, north of the city of Sherman, Texas, on the night of 4 October 1898. Somewhat after nine o’clock that evening, the boy was witness to a startling phenomenon:
He is a bright, intelligent little fellow, who said he didn’t believe in ghosts; that his parents had never scared him with spook stories, and he is one of the best- behaved scholars in the fourth grade at the Franklin school building. His story as told to a News reporter to-day is as foll ows: “Last night papa and I were riding along the ‘Eighty-foot Road’, about two and a half miles [4km] north of town, when all at once everything got very bright. We saw a great ball of fire coming down toward the ground. It got within about three feet [90cm] of the ground and seemed to rest for a while and then it went back up until it got clear out of sight. There was a buzzing sound all the time.” George describes it as being about 10 feet [3m] in diameter and that it hurt one’s eyes to look at it. Although they were very close to it, he says that he did not feel any heat. 
It’s a puzzling tale, one which nowadays might be interpreted as a UFO account.
Another encounter with a mysterious fireball did not have such a fortunate outcome. Twenty-two years previously, also in Texas, near the town of Palestine, another “intelligent boy” appeared, out of breath and “as pale as he could be”. His story was that he’d been trudging along a highway at night.
There was a negro woman riding a horse in the direction the little coloured boy was going. The boy appeared that night in Palestine… He said he saw a ball of fire come out of the sky and strike the woman and set her ablaze. The horse ran away with the woman afire on his back, and he ran to town to tell the people what had happened. The people went to look after further parti culars concerning this curious incid ent, and they found the woman lying on the ground, her clothing burned off, but enough of life in her to tell that she had been struck in the breast by a ball of fire. She died the next day. The horse was afterwards found with his mane singed. People here think that she was struck by a meteor. 
In contrast, there are also numerous instances of death from above by freak lightning manifesting as balls of fire. These incidents are no less outré, but in such cases we might console ourselves with a natural explanation. In 1866, Miss Addie Murray, a schoolteacher in Ross township, Vermillion county, Illinois, met her untimely end in this way: “She was sitting in the schoolhouse with two pupils, when the house was struck, and she was found sitt ing in the chair dead, with her clothing nearly burned off, and the child ren severely stunned. The child ren describe the scene as a ball of fire falling into the room.”  Something similar struck John Whitton, a driver for a telegraph construction train in Leavenworth that same year. “He had occasion to lift the tele graph line off the ground, when a flash of lightning struck the line at that point, tearing it into small pieces, and instantly killing him. The men who saw the accident state that they saw a ball of fire as large as a man’s fist issue from Whitton’s breast.” 
An unfortunate death by a fireball in 1933 was accompan ied by a curious premonition on the part of the unfortunate victim. “In San Rocco, during a thunderstorm, a cleric was killed by lightning. The priest was involved in a discussion with several of his congregation in the village street, when quite slowly a one metre [40in] big, orange-coloured fireball came floating through the air straight towards the priest, which then erupted in his vicinity. The incid ent made quite an impress ion on the superstitious farmers, more so, as the day before the priest had presaged his own demise that was soon to come.” 
A different kind of strange light, again attracted by the presence of a human being, was experienced by Alec Campbell, working as a game warden in Southern Rhodesia (now Zim babwe). One night, Campbell was walking by an old burial ground when suddenly a bright light appeared beside him. “The light turned into a ball of fire about the size of a softball and moved along at Campbell’s speed, he said… he turned and stared at the mysterious light. Immediately, the ball started advancing on him.” Campbell remembered the tales that said that if one encountered such a light, the best thing to do was to close one’s eyes, which would cause the light to disappear. He did so, and the light vanished. 
Could there be lights not only possessed of some sort of intelli gence but which are capable of forming a unique rapport with a person and even delivering painful stings when they so choose?
This seems to have been the case in Richmond, Indiana, in 1978. The bizarre incident involved local resident Martha Grieswell, 46 at the time, whose house had been plagued by “flashing pinpoints of light” ever since one had come into her bedroom one night in early January that year. Grieswell described how it appeared to her that she and the light were watching each other. The little light approached her: “I said ‘No,’ and it stopped about one and half feet [45cm] away. Then I held out my hand and it came right over and sat in my hand and turned my whole hand a psychedelic purple. It glowed for a while, then shut down to a point of light, then rose from my hand – then the others started to come in…”
Over the following nights, dozens of the “floating, flashing lights”, mostly white and pinhead-sized, entered her bedroom through the closed window; after that, they became her constant companions as soon as evening fell. Grieswell also began to note some of these lights during the daytime, although then they seemed less active. She moved out of the upstairs bedroom, where the lights continued to manifest, and began conducting experiments to try to ascertain what the lights might be. She captured several in containers, including an aluminium cigar ette case, and saw them shining through the container walls. Grieswell also immersed the lights in water, keeping them submerged for two days: “The lights were observed to ‘swim’ freely, and when released, to ‘fly’ free, their lights undimmed.” She got the same results when she locked them up in a freezer. She was only able to conduct these experiments when the lights were willing participants, since at other times they simply escaped through the walls of the containers. Radiation tests and an attempted chemical analysis turned up nothing. She did find out, though, that one thing had an effect on the lights. When she touched one with a burning cigarette, the light made “a crackling sound, as if you had wadded up cellophane very rapidly in your hand”. She was unable to replicate that experiment: “You can’t burn them any more. They move away too fast,” she explained. It dawned upon Mrs Grieswell that the lights might learn from experience and therefore might possess some kind of intelligence. When asked why she wanted to get rid of them, she gave the unnerving answer: “Because they bite.” At times, when the lights became more bright, they would sting or bite, giving off a sensation like “the sting of a sweat bee”, and leaving a very small welt. “They go through a tapping motion… When they land, they raise up, then light again… they feel like bugs when they sit on you and that’s when they burn.”
One night, a light got in her eye, which was a painful experience. The next day, she noticed that the eye was bloodshot and the corner crusted. When the lights were not stinging her, they had a tendency to land and crawl over her during the night. They also stung her husband, who wasn’t able to see them. This might be a significant detail; some of the many curious people who visited her house were able to see the lights, yet others were not.
Trying to escape the lights for a while, Mrs Grieswell went to her mother in Decatur, but on the third night after her arrival the lights came in through the window and were also seen by her mother. Perhaps, she reasoned, they had been able to follow her or had hidden themselves in her clothing or luggage. She got the impression that the lights meant to say that she could not flee from them. She sought help, and consulted scientists, ufologists and psychic researchers, but to little avail. As she said to the reporter who visited her (he wasn’t able to see the lights): “I’ve just made up my mind that I’m not going to get rid of them.” 
One of the psychic researchers whom Grieswell contacted offered as explanation that she might be “experiencing a stage of consciousness preliminary to becoming a psychic medium”. A plausible suggestion, coming from a psychic researcher, as puzzling luminous phenomena manifest themselves often around mediums, and are well known in the field of para psych ology. It is said that Helène Smith experienced the manifest ation of mysterious globes or lights in her studio where she had taken up painting, long after her association and ensuing break-up with Theo dore Flournoy: “The visions were accompanied by luminous phenomena. They began with a ball of light which expanded and filled the room. This was not a subjective phenomenon. Helène Smith exposed photo graphic plates which indeed registered strong luminous effects.” 
Then there is the case of Ada Bessinet, a Toledo medium of the 1920s. Denounced as a subconscious fraud by Professor Hyslop, who had investigated her during 70 sittings between 1909 and 1910, she clearly made more of an impression on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He wrote, describing a séance with her: “Brilliant lights are part of the medium’s power, and even before she had sunk into a trance, they were flying up in graceful curves as high as the ceiling and circling back on us. One nearly rested on my hand. It seems to be a cold light, and its nature has never been determined, but perhaps the cold, vital light of the firefly may be an analogy.”  Hereward Carr ing ton was another who was not impressed, but he did state that he observed some very curious lights at a 1922 séance which, “on request, hovered for a few moments over exposed photographic plates and that the plates, when developed, showed unusual markings which he failed to obtain by artificial means”. 
1 “Aerial Phenomena in Texas”, Dallas Morning News, Texas, 5 Oct 1898; “Aerial Phenomena In Texas”, Galveston Daily News, Texas, 6 Oct 1898.
2 “Burned To Death By A Meteor”, Burlington Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, 23 Mar 1876; “Burned To Death By A Meteor”, Ohio Democrat, New Philadelphia, Ohio, 30 Mar 1876; “Burned To Death By A Meteor”, Decatur Daily Repub lican, Decatur, Illinois, 11 April 1876.
3 The North-West, Free port, Illinois, 23 Aug 1866.
4 Bangor Daily Whig And Courier, Bangor, Maine, 26 June 1866.
5 “Vuurbol Doodt Een Priester”, De Gelderlander, ed. Nijmegen, Netherlands, 18 Aug 1933.
6 Sanford Spillman: “Strange To Relate”, Winnipeg Free Press, Canada, 2 Aug 1969.
7 Barry Wood: “What Lights Through Yonder Window Broke?” and Barry Wood: “Others Say They’ve Seen The Lights At Mrs Grieswell’s House”, both in the Pallad ium-Item, Richmond, Indiana, 20 Aug 1978; also summar ised in the Logansport Pharos-Tribune, Logansport, Indiana, 28 Aug 1978. An account of Martha Grieswell’s ordeal was also published in Wonders, Dec 1995, as “Life As We Know It Not”, by Mark A Hall, pp109–118.
8 Nandor Fodor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science, University Books, 1966, 3rd printing 1969, p350.
9 Walter B. Gibson: “Human Enigmas That Still keep the World Guessing, No. 14 – Ada Besinnet”, Lethbridge Daily Herald, Lethbridge, Canada, 13 Jan 1925.
10 Fodor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science, p30.
The Poems Of Fedrico Garcia Lorca
Before The Dawn
But like love
Upon the green night,
the piercing saetas
leave traces of warm
The keel of the moon
breaks through purple clouds
and their quivers
fill with dew.
Ay, but like love
Gacela of the Dark Death
I want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to withdraw from the tumult of cemetries.
I want to sleep the dream of that child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.
I don’t want to hear again that the dead do not lose their blood,
that the putrid mouth goes on asking for water.
I don’t want to learn of the tortures of the grass,
nor of the moon with a serpent’s mouth
that labors before dawn.
I want to sleep awhile,
awhile, a minute, a century;
but all must know that I have not died;
that there is a stable of gold in my lips;
that I am the small friend of the West wing;
that I am the intense shadows of my tears.
Cover me at dawn with a veil,
because dawn will throw fistfuls of ants at me,
and wet with hard water my shoes
so that the pincers of the scorpion slide.
For I want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to learn a lament that will cleanse me to earth;
for I want to live with that dark child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.
Gacela of the Dead Child
Each afternoon in Granada,
each afternoon, a child dies.
Each afternoon the water sits down
and chats with its companions.
The dead wear mossy wings.
The cloudy wind and the clear wind
are two pheasants in flight through the towers,
and the day is a wounded boy.
Not a flicker of lark was left in the air
when I met you in the caverns of wine.
Not the crumb of a cloud was left in the ground
when you were drowned in the river.
A giant of water fell down over the hills,
and the valley was tumbling with lilies and dogs.
In my hands’ violet shadow, your body,
dead on the bank, was an angel of coldness.
Gacela of Unforseen Love
No one understood the perfume
of the dark magnolia of your womb.
Nobody knew that you tormented
a hummingbird of love between your teeth.
A thousand Persian little horses fell asleep
in the plaza with moon of your forehead,
while through four nights I embraced
your waist, enemy of the snow.
Between plaster and jasmins, your glance
was a pale branch of seeds.
I sought in my heart to give you
the ivory letters that say “siempre”,
“siempre”, “siempre” : garden of my agony,
your body elusive always,
that blood of your veins in my mouth,
your mouth already lightless for my death.
Maps – Valium In the Sunshine