The Powers…

“Instead of clearing his own heart the zealot tries to clear the world.” — Joseph Campbell

The Powers….
I was reading poetry the other night, a collection from a book that my friend Tomas Brawley gave me: “Earth Prayers” before I went to sleep, and I stumbled on a section regarding our four legged, winged, finned brothers and sisters… I went into a small trance state and found myself floating along with predators, herds, flocks in the sky, schools in the sea and river. I thought about the relationships in our lives that are non-human, yet so close. Rising the next day, I watched the birds and squirrels at the feeder, the crows disputing amongst themselves in the neighborhood tree, and Sophie and Buster in their loving interactions with the extended clan. It’s a wide community, and the hairless apes seem to be the only ones generally out of sorts about the getting along with the cousin thing.

So, I was thinking about the Animal Powers, Plant Powers & Mineral Powers (hence the title) and how they effect us on a constant basis with us generally being blind to what is happening. Sometimes in the dream state it becomes a coherent vision, otherwise, I am overran by my own filters. I will be sitting there completely distracted and Sophie or Buster will come up to me, and nuzzle me to bring me back to here and now. If I am half awake, I recognize what is happening. But, I am a sleeper. I know this. I am missing so much, and more so since when I drift off into machine and cyber land.

I think of the cave paintings, and especially these… Cave of Forgotton Dreams the paintings of within the Chauvet caves. Those connections… deep and ancient span the human and animal powers. How have we forgotten that we came out of the same womb as our fellow beings?

I puzzle over the loss that we have inflicted upon ourselves and our co-inhabitants…. How do we gain it back?


Kind of an eclectic gathering of info today… Hope you enjoy!

On The Menu:
Visitors From Afar!
The Links
The Powers Of Love And Friendship…
Joseph Campbell Quotes
Exuma The Obeah Man
The Origin of Eternal Death (Wishram)
Poetry: In Celebration Of The Powers…
Exuma – Damn Fool – DJ Luis Mario “Flaco” Orellana
Visitors From Afar!

Our friends Leslie and Robert came up from Nevada City on their way to Seattle for a gardening show. Leslie was taking a class in Encaustic Painting for a couple of days in Portland over the weekend. They arrived Friday evening, and headed up the road on Monday. They do some amazing work… from Leslie’s new passion for photography, to Robert’s fantasy buildings for the garden…. there is always something brewing up in those Sierra Foothills! Their Site: Hidden Springs Designs will give you just a small taste of the talent these two bring to the world.

We ran around Portland, hitting Powell’s (of course) and various galleries with Robert when Leslie was in class on Saturday and Sunday, to hanging out Saturday night over Mary’s wonderful Tamil Chicken Curry with home made Nan Bread… Our talks went deep into the evening, and it was a sheer delight to be in their company again. We got to explore some of the better beers from the local area, and checked out a couple of restaurants as well. They love Portland, but hates da weather! So… they drove away from Paradise, and headed north to the Emerald City…

Hurry Back!
Robert and Leslie hiding from me and my camera beside their Van just before heading to Seattle…


The Links:
Do You Believe In Fairies…?
To Save The Land…
William Blake – Jim Morrison… What’s Not To Like?
The Powers Of Love And Friendship…

I first met Henry when he was about to turn two years old or so. He was a most remarkable cat; I often felt that he was very conversant in his ways of interacting with the slower ones..(humans) It has been a few years since I saw him, but everytime I talked with Tom we’d discuss what Henry was up to, he was just that kind of cat. Everything is mortal, and cats are no exception… but I have noticed that their spirits linger about after they pass between worlds. Here is to Henry, a heck of cat. You’ll be missed by friends and family. Hope to make your acquaintance again someday…. G

I received this Tuesday from our friend Cheryl. I am toasting Henry later with a glass of absinthe and a burning candle. He will be missed… G

Today, with great sadness, Tom and I had to let Henry go Cat Heaven. His liver no longer functioned.

As you know, Henry was full of personality and life. He was an amazing companion and great lover of people.

Throughout his 18 years, he never tired of making us laugh, enjoying outdoor adventures, and traveling to see the scenery from our car. He drove with us from California to Oregon, from Oregon to Arizona, and three times–from Arizona to California, and finally—from Arizona to California. He saw the mountains, the desert, The Red Rocks, frolicked in the snow, danced in the rain, escaped with his life from a bobcat and raccoon, stood his ground when any neighborhood cats invaded his territory, and even survived an eathquake or two. He celebrated Tom’s 40th and 50th surprise parties, Christmas mornings, Thanksgiving dinners, and never missed one of the many gatherings we gave. On chilly nights, he (and Penelope) would lay in front of the fireplace or.look out the picture window with great contenment.

During the end of his life, he did what he enjoyed–watched the All Star Basketball Game with his best friend, Tom. He was a lover of music and television, got great pleasure to sleep and purr on top of Tom’s head–or steal Tom’s seat as soon as he vacated it!

Henry knew tricks. Yes, he was a smart and sensitive—-cat-dog. We trained him to sit on command, come when we whistled, stand on his hind leg and tap our hand for treats. He waited for us at the front door when we came home, followed us around the house, and when he wanted to go outside–stood on his hind legs and turned the door knob with his paw. We swore he was saying, “Out!” He knew how to pry open- unclosed drawers and doors, lick your hand when you were sad or to say, “I love you”, and comfort you when you were sick, by not leaving your side. His favorite hiding places were open boxes or open suitcases.

We found Henry at an organization in Los Angeles, called The Cat House, off Robertson near Culver City. A place where cats live out their lives (if not adopted). He joined us when he was not quite one years old as a companion for our other cat, Penelope (she died fiev years ago). Needless to say, within days he won her, us, and anyone who visited our home over with his charm. .

It’s hard to think that he won’t be with us, but we know his playing with Penelope and all the cats— in one great catnip house and yard—–where sickness and death just don’t exist.
Joseph Campbell Quotes:

“Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.”

“We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.”

“Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.”

“If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.”

“Regrets are illuminations come too late.”

For My Friend, Dr. Con…


The Origin of Eternal Death (Wishram)

(Edward S. Curtis, The North American Indian, Vol. 8 (1911).)

Coyote had a wife and two children, and so had Eagle. Both families lived together. Eagle’s wife and children died, and a few days later Coyote experienced the same misfortune. As the latter wept, his companion said: “Do not mourn: that will not bring your wife back. Make ready your moccasins, and we will go somewhere.” So the two prepared for a long journey, and set out westward.

After four days they were close to the ocean; on one side of a body of water they saw houses. Coyote called across, “Come with a boat!” “Never mind; stop calling,” bade Eagle. He produced an elderberry stalk, made a flute, put the end into the water, and whistled. Soon they saw two persons come out of a house, walk to the water’s edge, and enter a canoe. Said Eagle, “Do not look at those people when they land.” The boat drew near, but a few yards from the shore it stopped, and Eagle told his friend to close his eyes. He then took Coyote by the arm and leaped to the boat. The two persons paddled back, and when they stopped a short distance from the other side Eagle again cautioned Coyote to close his eyes, and then leaped ashore with him.

They went to the village, where there were many houses, but no people were in sight. Everything was still as death. There was a very large underground house, into which they went. In it was found an old woman sitting with her face to the wall, and lying on the floor on the other side of the room was the moon. They sat down near the wall.

“Coyote,” whispered Eagle, “watch that woman and see what she does when the sun goes down!” Just before the sun set they heard a voice outside calling: “Get up! Hurry! The sun is going down, and it will soon be night. Hurry, hurry!” Coyote and Eagle still sat in a corner of the chamber watching the old woman. People began to enter, many hundreds of them, men, women, and children. Coyote, as he watched, saw Eagle’s wife and two daughters among them, and soon afterward his own family. When the room was filled, Nikshiamchasht, the old woman, cried, “Are all in?” Then she turned about, and from a squatting posture she jumped forward, then again and again, five times in all, until she alighted in a small pit beside the moon. This she raised and swallowed, and at once it was pitch dark. The people wandered about, hither and thither, crowding and jostling, unable to see. About daylight a voice from outside cried, “Nikshiamshasht, all get through!” The old woman then disgorged the moon, and laid it back in its place on the floor; all the people filed out, and the woman, Eagle, and Coyote were once more alone.

“Now, Coyote,” said Eagle, “could you do that?” “Yes, I can do that,” he said. They went out, and Coyote at Eagle’s direction made a box of boards, as large as he could carry, and put into it leaves from every kind of tree and blades from every kind of grass. “Well,” said Eagle, “If you are sure you remember just how she did this, let us go in and kill her.” So they entered the house and killed her, and buried the body. Her dress they took off and put on Coyote, so that he looked just like her, and he sat down in her place. Eagle then told him to practice what he had seen, by turning around and jumping as the old woman had done. So Coyote tuned about and jumped five times, but the last leap was a little short, yet he managed to slide into the hole. He put the moon into his mouth, but, try as he would, a thin edge still showed, and he covered it with his hands. Then he laid it back in its place and resumed his seat by the wall, waiting for sunset and the voice of the chief outside.

The day passed, the voiced called, and the people entered. Coyote turned about and began to jump. Some thought there was something strange about the manner of jumping , but others aid it was really the old woman. When he came to the last jump and slipped into the pit, many cried out that this was not the old woman, but Coyote quickly lifted the moon and put it into his mouth, covering the edge with his hands. When it was completely dark, Eagle placed the box in the doorway. Throughout the long night Coyote retained the moon in his mouth, until he was almost choking, but at last the voice of the chief was heard from the outside, and the dead began to file out. Every one walked into the box, and Eagle quickly threw the cover over and tied it. The sound was like that of a great swarm of flies. “Now, my brother, we are through,” said Eagle. Coyote removed the dress and laid it down beside the moon, and Eagle threw the moon into the sky, where it remained. The two entered the canoe with the box, and paddled toward the east.

When they landed, Eagle carried the box. Near the end of the third night Coyote heard somebody talking; there seemed to be many voices. He awakened his companion, and said, “There are many people coming.” “Do not worry,” said Eagle; “it is all right.” The following night Coyote heard the talking again, and, looking about, he discovered that the voices came from the box which Eagle had been carrying. He placed his ear against it, and after a while distinguished the voice of his wife. He smiled, and broke into laughter, but he said nothing to Eagle. At the end of the fifth night and the beginning of their last day of traveling, he said to his friend, “I will carry the box now; you have carried it a long way.” “No,” replied Eagle, “I will take it; I am strong.” “Let me carry it,” insisted the other; “suppose we come to where people live, and they should see the chief carrying the load. How would that look?” Still Eagle retained his hold on the box, but as they went along Coyote kept begging, and about noon, wearying of the subject, Eagle gave him the box. So Coyote had the load, and every time he heard the voice of his wife he would laugh. After a while he contrived to fall behind, and when Eagle was out of sight around a hill he began to open the box, in order to release his wife. But no sooner was the cover lifted than it was thrown back violently, and the dead people rushed out into the air with such force that Coyote was thrown to the ground. They quickly disappeared in the west. Eagle saw the cloud of dead people rising in the air, and came hurrying back. He found one man left there, a cripple who had been unable to rise; he threw him into the air, and the dead man floated away swiftly.

“You see what you have done, with your curiosity and haste!” said Eagle. “If we had brought these dead all the way back, people would not die forever, but only for a season, like these plants, whose leaves we have brought. Hereafter trees and grasses will die only in the winter, but in the spring they will be green again. So it would have been with the people.” “Let us go back and catch them again,” proposed Coyote; but Eagle objected: “They will not go to the same place, and we would not know how to find them; they will be where the moon is, up in the sky.”
Poetry: In Celebration Of The Powers…

Apprehend God in all things,
For God is in all things.
Every single creature
is full of God
And is a book about God
Every creature
is a word of God.
If I spent enough time with the
tiniest of creature—
Even a caterpillar—
I would never have to prepare
a sermon.
So full of God
Is every creature.

– Meister Eckhart

You are singing, little dove,
on the branches of the silk-cotton tree.
And there also is the cuckoo,
and many other little birds.
All are rejoicing,
the songbirds of our god, our Lord.
And our goddess
has her little birds,
the turtledove, the redbird,
the black and yellow songbirds, and the hummingbird.
These are the birds of the beautiful goddess, our Lady.
If there is such happiness
among the creatures,
why do our hearts not also rejoice?
At daybreak all is jubilant.
Let only joy, only songs,
enter our thoughts!

– Song Of Dzitbalche

Ah Power that swirls us together
Grant us Bliss
Grant us the great release
And to all Beings
Vanishing, wounded
In trouble on earth
We pass on this love
May their numbers increase.

– Gary Snyder

Unknown Bird

Out of the dry days
through the dusty leaves
far across the valley
those few notes never
heard here before

one fluted phrase
floating over its
wandering secret
all at once wells up
somewhere else

and is gone before it
goes on fallen into
its own echo leaving
a hollow through the air
that is dry as before

where is it from
hardly anyone
seems to have noticed it
so far but who now
would have been listening

it is not native here
that may be the one
thing we are sure of
it came from somewhere
else perhaps alone

so keeps on calling for
no one who is here
hoping to be heard
by another of its own
unlikely origin

trying once more the same few
notes that began the song
of an oriole last heard
years ago in another
existence there

it goes again tell
no one it is here
foreign as we are
who are filling the days
with a sound of our own

– W.S. Merwin
For Dr. Con, again…. 80)


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
This edition is dedicated to the people of Egypt, rising up and showing the world their great compassion, and yearnings. I have been profoundly moved, and shall continue to be so with what we are witnessing.

Yahia Lababidi has graciously lent his poems to us, including a live reading of his poem dedicated to his country and its struggle. It is an honor to have his work in this edition. We have a fairy tale from ancient Egypt as well, and much more.

I hope you enjoy “Rise”

Bright Blessings,
On The Menu:
Tearing Up The Archives/Memorbilia
Kalabi: Found
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quotes
Yahia Lababidi _ Spoken Word “What Is To Give Light”
Poetry In The Streets… Video Interview with Yahia Lababidi
An Egyptian Fairy Tale: Tale of Two Brothers
The Poems of Yahia Lababidi
Kalabi – “Tommy Two Pints” (edit)
Tearing Up The Archives/Memorbilia
(Notes on photos: Mary, 1978, late fall West Los Angeles/Gwyllm 1978 late spring Westwood retrieved from ancient proof sheets that Gwyllm developed back when…)

So I have spent the last two days sorting papers, letters etc… art work from the last 30 years. The recycling people will have a field day. I found art work that I had forgotten about, as well as advert stuff going back to Grey Pavilion days and earlier. I turned up a whole slew of photos from 1977 up through the mid 80′s including photos of The Kinks in performance from their 2nd to last tour if I am correct. I turned up flyers for “Bloc”, the band that Nels Cline, Steubig, Alex Cline and others worked in in the late 80′s, as well as papers from Thelemic groups, rituals etc. Art work from original art work for Grey Pavilion projects, DIY Press Proofs, the first test silk screen works, and collage work dating back forever.

I found a whole collection of Rowan art back to kindergarten as well… 80) Really, it was wonderful to find. I look at it, and try to sort out how he went from finger paints to filming. That is an odyssey all of its own. I decided to save it all, and to give it to him later..

I found notes from friends, birthday cards, death notices and memorabilia going back over the span of years. I found a genealogy listing from my mother, written up some 18 years ago, with notes… At the end of her life she was trying to get it down… I found an account book from the 1870′s of my Great Great Grandparents as well. Every item purchased, with the date and price, interspersed with prayers. Odd stuff really.

I turned up gads of art tending towards paganality… green men that I made for silkscreen t-shirts, eyes of Horus, Goddess figures, owls, and myriads of plants, mandalas and the like. I threw away pounds of photocopied illustrations (I have the majority on the computer) and I found lost treasures that I never completed.

The funniest things were the poetry and musings. I can certainly take myself waaaaayyy to seriously. Horribly so it seems at times. This awareness has curtailed me inflicting my poetic thoughts and musings on others as of late. 80) I realized how much dross I have to produce to find a bit of gold. Heaven loves a self-editor, and I was never that good at it until the last few years. Now I edit incessantly. Let’s say it is a gift to the future… 8o)

In turning up love letters, pictures and memorabilia that I’d let slip, I realized what a rich and wonderful time we have had together. This is not indulging in nostalgia, but viewing all of these bits ties stories together, moments that led us to where we are today. I have been blessed in my life, with the love, and the laughter and companionship of true beauty. We all have a rich tapestry woven through the driftings of time. Oh the sweetness, and joy, memories and thoughts, the meanders of the labyrinth that we dance, the years that have streamed by.

Kalabi: Found

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quotes:

You can have power over people as long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in you power.
Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.
For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.
Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the 20th century, and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press.
Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.
I have spent all my life under a Communist regime, and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale but the legal one is not quite worthy of man either.
If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?

Poetry In The Streets…

An Egyptian Fairy Tale: Tale of Two Brothers

(One of the most interesting tales that have come down to us in Egyptian dress is the tale commonly called the “Tale of the Two Brothers.” It is found written in the hieratic character upon a papyrus preserved in the British Museum (D’Orbiney, No. 10,183), and the form which the story has there is that which was current under the nineteenth dynasty, about 1300 B.C. The two principal male characters in the story, Anpu and Bata, were originally gods, but in the hands of the Egyptian story-teller they became men, and their deeds were treated in such a way as to form an interesting fairy story. It is beyond the scope of this little book to treat of the mythological ideas that underlie certain parts of the narrative, and we therefore proceed to give a rendering of this very curious and important “fairy tale.”)

It is said that there were two brothers, [the children] of one mother and of one father; the name of the elder was Anpu, and Bata was the name of the younger. Anpu had a house and a wife, and Bata lived with him like a younger brother. It was Bata who made the clothes; he tended and herded his cattle in the fields, he ploughed the land, he did the hard work during the time of harvest, and he kept the account of everything that related to the fields. And Bata was a most excellent farmer, and his like there was not in the whole country-side; and behold, the power of the God was in him. And very many days passed during which Anpu’s young brother tended his flocks and herds daily, and he returned to his house each evening loaded with field produce of every kind. And when he had returned from the [197]fields, he set [food] before his elder brother, who sat with his wife drinking and eating, and then Bata went out to the byre and [slept] with the cattle. On the following morning as soon as it was day, Bata took bread-cakes newly baked, and set them before Anpu, who gave him food to take with him to the fields. Then Bata drove out his cattle into the fields to feed, and [as] he walked behind them they said unto him, “The pasturage is good in such and such a place,” and he listened to their voices, and took them where they wished to go. Thus the cattle in Bata’s charge became exceedingly fine, and their calves doubled in number, and they multiplied exceedingly. And when it was the season for ploughing Anpu said unto Bata, “Come, let us get our teams ready for ploughing the fields, and our implements, for the ground hath appeared,[1] and it is in the proper condition for the plough. Go to the fields and take the seed-corn with thee to-day, and at daybreak to-morrow we will do the ploughing”; this is what he said to him. And Bata did everything which Anpu had told him to do. The next morning, as soon as it was daylight, the two brothers went into the fields with their teams and their ploughs, and they ploughed the land, and they were exceedingly happy as they ploughed, from the beginning of their work to the very end thereof.

[1] i.e. the waters of the Inundation had subsided, leaving the ground visible.

Now when the two brothers had been living in this way for a considerable time, they were in the fields one day [ploughing], and Anpu said to Bata, “Run back to the farm and fetch some [more] seed corn.” And Bata did so, and when he arrived there he found his brother’s wife seated dressing her hair. And he said to her, “Get up and give me some seed corn that I may hurry back to the fields, for Anpu ordered me not to loiter on the way.” Anpu’s wife said to him, “Go thyself to the grain shed, and open the bin, and take out from it as much corn as thou wishest; I could fetch it for thee myself, only I am afraid that my hair would fall down on the way.” Then the young man went to the bin, and filled a very large jar full of grain, for it was his desire [198]to carry off a large quantity of seed corn, and he lifted up on his shoulders the pot, which was filled full of wheat and barley, and came out of the shed with it. And Anpu’s wife said to him, “How much grain hast thou on thy shoulders?” And Bata said to her, “Three measures of barley and two measures of wheat, in all five measures of grain; that is what I have on my shoulders.” These were the words which he spake to her. And she said to him, “How strong thou art! I have been observing thy vigorousness day by day.” And her heart inclined to him, and she entreated him to stay with her, promising to give him beautiful apparel if he would do so. Then the young man became filled with fury like a panther of the south because of her words, and when she saw how angry he was she became terribly afraid. And he said to her, “Verily thou art to me as my mother, and thy husband is as my father, and being my elder brother he hath provided me with the means of living. Thou hast said unto me what ought not to have been said, and I pray thee not to repeat it. On my part I shall tell no man of it, and on thine thou must never declare the matter to man or woman.” Then Bata took up his load on his shoulders, and departed to the fields. And when he arrived at the place where his elder brother was they continued their ploughing and laboured diligently at their work.

And when the evening was come the elder brother returned to his house. And having loaded himself with the products of the fields, Bata drove his flocks and herds back to the farm and put them in their enclosures.

And behold, Anpu’s wife was smitten with fear, because of the words which she had spoken to Bata, and she took some grease and a piece of linen, and she made herself to appear like a woman who had been assaulted, and who had been violently beaten by her assailant, for she wished to say to her husband, “Thy young brother hath beaten me sorely.” And when Anpu returned in the evening according to his daily custom, and arrived at his house, he found his wife lying on the ground in the condition of one who had been assaulted with violence. She did not [appear to] pour water [199]over his hands according to custom, she did not light a light before him; his house was in darkness, and she was lying prostrate and sick. And her husband said unto her, “Who hath been talking to thee?” And she said unto him, “No one hath been talking to me except thy young brother. When he came to fetch the seed corn he found me sitting alone, and he spake words of love to me, and he told me to tie up my hair. But I would not listen to him, and I said to him, ‘Am I not like thy mother? Is not thy elder brother like thy father?’ Then he was greatly afraid, and he beat me to prevent me from telling thee about this matter. Now, if thou dost not kill him I shall kill myself, for since I have complained to thee about his words, when he cometh back in the evening what he will do [to me] is manifest.”

Then the elder brother became like a panther of the southern desert with wrath. And he seized his dagger, and sharpened it, and went and stood behind the stable door, so that he might slay Bata when he returned in the evening and came to the byre to bring in his cattle. And when the sun was about to set Bata loaded himself with products of the field of every kind, according to his custom, [and returned to the farm]. And as he was coming back the cow that led the herd said to Bata as she was entering the byre, “Verily thy elder brother is waiting with his dagger to slay thee; flee thou from before him”; and Bata hearkened to the words of the leading cow. And when the second cow as she was about to enter into the byre spake unto him even as did the first cow, Bata looked under the door of the byre, and saw the feet of his elder brother as he stood behind the door with his dagger in his hand. Then he set down his load upon the ground, and he ran away as fast as he could run, and Anpu followed him grasping his dagger. And Bata cried out to Rā-Harmakhis (the Sun-god) and said, “O my fair Lord, thou art he who judgeth between the wrong and the right.” And the god Rā hearkened unto all his words, and he caused a great stream to come into being, and to separate the two brothers, and the water was filled with crocodiles. Now Anpu was on one side of the stream and Bata on the other, [200]and Anpu wrung his hands together in bitter wrath because he could not kill his brother. Then Bata cried out to Anpu on the other bank, saying, “Stay where thou art until daylight, and until the Disk (i.e. the Sun-god) riseth. I will enter into judgment with thee in his presence, for it is he who setteth right what is wrong. I shall never more live with thee, and I shall never again dwell in the place where thou art. I am going to the Valley of the Acacia.”

And when the day dawned, and there was light on the earth, and Rā-Harmakhis was shining, the two brothers looked at each other. And Bata spake unto Anpu, saying, “Why hast thou pursued me in this treacherous way, wishing to slay me without first hearing what I had to say? I am thy brother, younger than thou art, and thou art as a father and thy wife is as a mother to me. Is it not so? When thou didst send me to fetch seed corn for our work, it was thy wife who said, ‘I pray thee to stay with me,’ but behold, the facts have been misrepresented to thee, and the reverse of what happened hath been put before thee.” Then Bata explained everything to Anpu, and made him to understand exactly what had taken place between him and his brother’s wife. And Bata swore an oath by Rā-Harmakhis, saying, “By Rā-Harmakhis, to lie in wait for me and to pursue me, with thy knife in thy hand ready to slay me, was a wicked and abominable thing to do.” And Bata took [from his side] the knife which he used in cutting reeds, and drove it into his body, and he sank down fainting upon the ground. Then Anpu cursed himself with bitter curses, and he lifted up his voice and wept; and he did not know how to cross over the stream to the bank where Bata was because of the crocodiles. And Bata cried out to him, saying, “Behold, thou art ready to remember against me one bad deed of mine, but thou dost not remember my good deeds, or even one of the many things that have been done for thee by me. Shame on thee! Get thee back to thy house and tend thine own cattle, for I will no longer stay with thee. I will depart to the Valley of the Acacia. But thou shalt come to minister to me, therefore take heed to what I say. Now know that certain things are [201]about to happen to me. I am going to cast a spell on my heart, so that I may be able to place it on a flower of the Acacia tree. When this Acacia is cut down my heart shall fall to the ground, and thou shalt come to seek for it. Thou shalt pass seven years in seeking for it, but let not thy heart be sick with disappointment, for thou shalt find it. When thou findest it, place it in a vessel of cold water, and verily my heart shall live again, and shall make answer to him that attacketh me. And thou shalt know what hath happened to me [by the following sign]. A vessel of beer shall be placed in thy hand, and it shall froth and run over; and another vessel with wine in it shall be placed [in thy hand], and it shall become sour. Then make no tarrying, for indeed these things shall happen to thee.” So the younger brother departed to the Valley of the Acacia, and the elder brother departed to his house. And Anpu’s hand was laid upon his head, and he cast dust upon himself [in grief for Bata], and when he arrived at his house he slew his wife, and threw her to the dogs, and he sat down and mourned for his young brother.

And when many days had passed, Bata was living alone in the Valley of the Acacia, and he spent his days in hunting the wild animals of the desert; and at night he slept under the Acacia, on the top of the flowers of which rested his heart. And after many days he built himself, with his own hand, a large house in the Valley of the Acacia, and it was filled with beautiful things of every kind, for he delighted in the possession of a house. And as he came forth [one day] from his house, he met the Company of the Gods, and they were on their way to work out their plans in their realm. And one of them said unto him, “Hail, Bata, thou Bull of the gods, hast thou not been living here alone since the time when thou didst forsake thy town through the wife of thy elder brother Anpu? Behold, his wife hath been slain [by him], and moreover thou hast made an adequate answer to the attack which he made upon thee”; and their hearts were very sore indeed for Bata. Then Rā-Harmakhis said unto Khnemu,[1] “Fashion a wife for Bata, so that thou, O Bata, [202]mayest not dwell alone.” And Khnemu made a wife to live with Bata, and her body was more beautiful than the body of any other woman in the whole country, and the essence of every god was in her; and the Seven Hathor Goddesses came to her, and they said, “She shall die by the sword.” And Bata loved her most dearly, and she lived in his house, and he passed all his days in hunting the wild animals of the desert so that he might bring them and lay them before her. And he said to her, “Go not out of the house lest the River carry thee off, for I know not how to deliver thee from it. My heart is set upon the flower of the Acacia, and if any man find it I must do battle with him for it”; and he told her everything that had happened concerning his heart.

[1] The god who fashioned the bodies of men.

And many days afterwards, when Bata had gone out hunting as usual, the young woman went out of the house and walked under the Acacia tree, which was close by, and the River saw her, and sent its waters rolling after her; and she fled before them and ran away into her house. And the River said, “I love her,” and the Acacia took to the River a lock of her hair, and the River carried it to Egypt, and cast it up on the bank at the place where the washermen washed the clothes of Pharaoh, life, strength, health [be to him]! And the odour of the lock of hair passed into the clothing of Pharaoh. Then the washermen of Pharaoh quarrelled among themselves, saying, “There is an odour [as of] perfumed oil in the clothes of Pharaoh.” And quarrels among them went on daily, and at length they did not know what they were doing. And the overseer of the washermen of Pharaoh walked to the river bank, being exceedingly angry because of the quarrels that came before him daily, and he stood still on the spot that was exactly opposite to the lock of hair as it lay in the water. Then he sent a certain man into the water to fetch it, and when he brought it back, the overseer, finding that it had an exceedingly sweet odour, took it to Pharaoh. And the scribes and the magicians were summoned into the presence of Pharaoh, and they said to him, “This lock of hair belongeth to a maiden of Rā-Harmakhis, and the essence of every god is in her. It cometh to thee from a [203]strange land as a salutation of praise to thee. We therefore pray thee send ambassadors into every land to seek her out. And as concerning the ambassador to the Valley of the Acacia, we beg thee to send a strong escort with him to fetch her.” And His Majesty said unto them, “What we have decided is very good,” and he despatched the ambassadors.

And when many days had passed by, the ambassadors who had been despatched to foreign lands returned to make a report to His Majesty, but those who had gone to the Valley of the Acacia did not come back, for Bata had slain them, with the exception of one who returned to tell the matter to His Majesty. Then His Majesty despatched foot-soldiers and horsemen and charioteers to bring back the young woman, and there was also with them a woman who had in her hands beautiful trinkets of all kinds, such as are suitable for maidens, to give to the young woman. And this woman returned to Egypt with the young woman, and everyone in all parts of the country rejoiced at her arrival. And His Majesty loved her exceedingly, and he paid her homage as the Great August One, the Chief Wife. And he spake to her and made her tell him what had become of her husband, and she said to His Majesty, “I pray thee to cut down the Acacia Tree and then to destroy it.” Then the King caused men and bowmen to set out with axes to cut down the Acacia, and when they arrived in the Valley of the Acacia, they cut down the flower on which was the heart of Bata, and he fell down dead at that very moment of evil.

And on the following morning when the light had come upon the earth, and the Acacia had been cut down, Anpu, Bata’s elder brother, went into his house and sat down, and he washed his hands; and one gave him a vessel of beer, and it frothed up, and the froth ran over, and one gave him another vessel containing wine, and it was sour. Then he grasped his staff, and [taking] his sandals, and his apparel, and his weapons which he used in fighting and hunting, he set out to march to the Valley of the Acacia. And when he arrived there he went into Bata’s house, and he found his young brother there lying dead on his bed; and when he [204]looked upon his young brother he wept on seeing that he was dead. Then he set out to seek for the heart of Bata, under the Acacia where he was wont to sleep at night, and he passed three years in seeking for it but found it not. And when the fourth year of his search had begun, his heart craved to return to Egypt, and he said, “I will depart thither to-morrow morning”; that was what he said to himself. And on the following day he walked about under the Acacia all day long looking for Bata’s heart, and as he was returning [to the house] in the evening, and was looking about him still searching for it, he found a seed, which he took back with him, and behold, it was Bata’s heart. Then he fetched a vessel of cold water, and having placed the seed in it, he sat down according to his custom. And when the night came, the heart had absorbed all the water; and Bata [on his bed] trembled in all his members, and he looked at Anpu, whilst his heart remained in the vessel of water. And Anpu took up the vessel wherein was his brother’s heart, which had absorbed the water. And Bata’s heart ascended its throne [in his body], and Bata became as he had been aforetime, and the two brothers embraced each other, and each spake to the other.

And Bata said to Anpu, “Behold, I am about to take the form of a great bull, with beautiful hair, and a disposition (?) which is unknown. When the sun riseth, do thou mount on my back, and we will go to the place where my wife is, and I will make answer [for myself]. Then shalt thou take me to the place where the King is, for he will bestow great favours upon thee, and he will heap gold and silver upon thee because thou wilt have brought me to him. For I am going to become a great and wonderful thing, and men and women shall rejoice because of me throughout the country.” And on the following day Bata changed himself into the form of which he had spoken to his brother. Then Anpu seated himself on his back early in the morning, and when he had come to the place where the King was, and His Majesty had been informed concerning him, he looked at him, and he had very great joy in him. And he made a great festival, saying, [205]“This is a very great wonder which hath happened”; and the people rejoiced everywhere throughout the whole country. And Pharaoh loaded Anpu with silver and gold, and he dwelt in his native town, and the King gave him large numbers of slaves, and very many possessions, for Pharaoh loved him very much, far more than any other person in the whole land.

And when many days had passed by the bull went into the house of purification, and he stood up in the place where the August Lady was, and said unto her, “Look upon me, I am alive in very truth.” And she said unto him, “Who art thou?” And he said unto her, “I am Bata. When thou didst cause the Acacia which held my heart to be destroyed by Pharaoh, well didst thou know that thou wouldst kill me. Nevertheless, I am alive indeed, in the form of a bull. Look at me!” And the August Lady was greatly afraid because of what she had said concerning her husband [to the King]; and the bull departed from the place of purification. And His Majesty went to tarry in her house and to rejoice with her, and she ate and drank with him; and the King was exceedingly happy. And the August Lady said to His Majesty, “Say these words: ‘Whatsoever she saith I will hearken unto for her sake,’ and swear an oath by God that thou wilt do them.” And the King hearkened unto everything which she spake, saying, “I beseech thee to give me the liver of this bull to eat, for he is wholly useless for any kind of work.” And the King cursed many, many times the request which she had uttered, and Pharaoh’s heart was exceedingly sore thereat.

On the following morning, when it was day, the King proclaimed a great feast, and he ordered the bull to be offered up as an offering, and one of the chief royal slaughterers of His Majesty was brought to slay the bull. And after the knife had been driven into him, and whilst he was still on the shoulders of the men, the bull shook his neck, and two drops of blood from it fell by the jambs of the doorway of His Majesty, one by one jamb of Pharaoh’s door, and the other by the other, and they became immediately two mighty acacia trees, and each was of the greatest magnificence. [206]Then one went and reported to His Majesty, saying, “Two mighty acacia trees, whereat His Majesty will marvel exceedingly, have sprung up during the night by the Great Door of His Majesty.” And men and women rejoiced in them everywhere in the country, and the King made offerings unto them. And many days after this His Majesty put on his tiara of lapis-lazuli, and hung a wreath of flowers of every kind about his neck, and he mounted his chariot of silver-gold, and went forth from the Palace to see the two acacia trees. And the August Lady came following after Pharaoh [in a chariot drawn by] horses, and His Majesty sat down under one acacia, and the August Lady sat under the other. And when she had seated herself the Acacia spake unto his wife, saying, “O woman, who art full of guile, I am Bata, and I am alive even though thou hast entreated me evilly. Well didst thou know when thou didst make Pharaoh to cut down the Acacia that held my heart that thou wouldst kill me, and when I transformed myself into a bull thou didst cause me to be slain.”

And several days after this the August Lady was eating and drinking at the table of His Majesty, and the King was enjoying her society greatly, and she said unto His Majesty, “Swear to me an oath by God, saying, I will hearken unto whatsoever the August Lady shall say unto me for her sake; let her say on.” And he hearkened unto everything which she said, and she said, “I entreat thee to cut down these two acacia trees, and to let them be made into great beams”; and the King hearkened unto everything which she said. And several days after this His Majesty made cunning wood-men to go and cut down the acacia trees of Pharaoh, and whilst the August Lady was standing and watching their being cut down, a splinter flew from one of them into her mouth, and she knew that she had conceived, and the King did for her everything which her heart desired. And many days after this happened she brought forth a man child, and one said to His Majesty, “A man child hath been born unto thee”; and a nurse was found for him and women to watch over him and tend him, and the people rejoiced throughout the [207]whole land. And the King sat down to enjoy a feast, and he began to call the child by his name, and he loved him very dearly, and at that same time the King gave him the title of “Royal son of Kash.”[1] Some time after this His Majesty appointed him “Erpā”[2] of the whole country. And when he had served the office of Erpā for many years, His Majesty flew up to heaven (i.e. he died). And the King (i.e. Bata) said, “Let all the chief princes be summoned before me, so that I may inform them about everything which hath happened unto me.” And they brought his wife, and he entered into judgment with her, and the sentence which he passed upon her was carried out. And Anpu, the brother of the King, was brought unto His Majesty, and the King made him Erpā of the whole country. When His Majesty had reigned over Egypt for twenty years, he departed to life (i.e. he died), and his brother Anpu took his place on the day in which he was buried.

Here endeth the book happily [in] peace.[3]

[1] i.e. Prince of Kash, or Viceroy of the Sūdān.

[2] i.e. hereditary chief, or heir.

[3] According to the colophon, the papyrus was written for an officer of Pharaoh’s treasury, called Qakabu, and the scribes Herua and Meremaptu by Annana, the scribe, the lord of books. The man who shall speak [against] this book shall have Thoth for a foe!

Under the heading of this chapter may well be included the Story of the Shipwrecked Traveller. The text of this remarkable story is written in the hieratic character upon a roll of papyrus, which is preserved in the Imperial Library at St. Petersburg. It is probable that a layer of facts underlies the story, but the form in which we have it justifies us in assigning to it a place among the fairy stories of Ancient Egypt. Prefixed to the narrative of the shipwrecked traveller is the following:

“A certain servant of wise understanding hath said, Let thy heart be of good cheer, O prince. Verily we have arrived at [our] homes. The mallet hath been grasped, and the anchor-post hath been driven into the ground, and the bow of the boat hath grounded on the bank. Thanksgivings have been offered up to God, and every man hath embraced [208]his neighbour. Our sailors have returned in peace and safety, and our fighting men have lost none of their comrades, even though we travelled to the uttermost parts of Uauat (Nubia), and through the country of Senmut (Northern Nubia). Verily we have arrived in peace, and we have reached our own land [again]. Hearken, O prince, unto me, even though I be a poor man. Wash thyself, and let water run over thy fingers. I would that thou shouldst be ready to return an answer to the man who addresseth thee, and to speak to the King [from] thy heart, and assuredly thou must give thine answer promptly and without hesitation. The mouth of a man delivereth him, and his words provide a covering for [his] face. Act thou according to the promptings of thine heart, and when thou hast spoken [thou wilt have made him] to be at rest.” The shipwrecked traveller then narrates his experiences in the following words: I will now speak and give thee a description of the things that [once] happened to me myself [when] I was journeying to the copper mines of the king. I went down into the sea[1] in a ship that was one hundred and fifty cubits (225 feet) in length, and forty cubits (60 feet) in breadth, and it was manned by one hundred and fifty sailors who were chosen from among the best sailors of Egypt. They had looked upon the sky, they had looked upon the land, and their hearts were more understanding than the hearts of lions. Now although they were able to say beforehand when a tempest was coming, and could tell when a squall was going to rise before it broke upon them, a storm actually overtook us when we were still on the sea. Before we could make the land the wind blew with redoubled violence, and it drove before it upon us a wave that was eight cubits (12 feet) [high]. A plank was driven towards me by it, and I seized it; and as for the ship, those who were therein perished, and not one of them escaped.

[1] The sea was the Red Sea, and the narrator must have been on his way to Wādī Maghārah or Sarābīt al-Khādim in the Peninsula of Sinai.

Then a wave of the sea bore me along and cast me up upon an island, and I passed three days there by myself, with none but mine own heart for a companion; I laid me down and [209]slept in a hollow in a thicket, and I hugged the shade. And I lifted up my legs (i.e. I walked about), so that I might find out what to put in my mouth, and I found there figs and grapes, and all kinds of fine large berries; and there were there gourds, and melons, and pumpkins as large as barrels (?), and there were also there fish and water-fowl. There was no [food] of any sort or kind that did not grow in this island. And when I had eaten all I could eat, I laid the remainder of the food upon the ground, for it was too much for me [to carry] in my arms. I then dug a hole in the ground and made a fire, and I prepared pieces of wood and a burnt-offering for the gods.

And I heard a sound [as of] thunder, which I thought to be [caused by] a wave of the sea, and the trees rocked and the earth quaked, and I covered my face. And I found [that the sound was caused by] a serpent that was coming towards me. It was thirty cubits (45 feet) in length, and its beard was more than two cubits in length, and its body was covered with [scales of] gold, and the two ridges over its eyes were of pure lapis-lazuli (i.e. they were blue); and it coiled its whole length up before me. And it opened its mouth to me, now I was lying flat on my stomach in front of it, and it said unto me, “Who hath brought thee hither? Who hath brought thee hither, O miserable one? Who hath brought thee hither? If thou dost not immediately declare unto me who hath brought thee to this island, I will make thee to know what it is to be burnt with fire, and thou wilt become a thing that is invisible. Thou speakest to me, but I cannot hear what thou sayest; I am before thee, dost thou not know me?” Then the serpent took me in its mouth, and carried me off to the place where it was wont to rest, and it set me down there, having done me no harm whatsoever; I was sound and whole, and it had not carried away any portion of my body. And it opened its mouth to me whilst I was lying flat on my stomach, and it said unto me, “Who hath brought thee thither? Who hath brought thee hither, O miserable one? Who hath brought thee to this island of the sea, the two sides of which are in the waves?”

Then I made answer to the serpent, my two hands being [210]folded humbly before it, and I said unto it, “I am one who was travelling to the mines on a mission of the king in a ship that was one hundred and fifty cubits long, and fifty cubits in breadth, and it was manned by a crew of one hundred and fifty men, who were chosen from among the best sailors of Egypt. They had looked upon the sky, they had looked upon the earth, and their hearts were more understanding than the hearts of lions. They were able to say beforehand when a tempest was coming, and to tell when a squall was about to rise before it broke. The heart of every man among them was wiser than that of his neighbour, and the arm of each was stronger than that of his neighbour; there was not one weak man among them. Nevertheless it blew a gale of wind whilst we were still on the sea and before we could make the land. A gale rose, which continued to increase in violence, and with it there came upon [us] a wave eight cubits [high]. A plank of wood was driven towards me by this wave, and I seized it; and as for the ship, those who were therein perished and not one of them escaped alive [except] myself. And now behold me by thy side! It was a wave of the sea that brought me to this island.”

And the serpent said unto me, “Have no fear, have no fear, O little one, and let not thy face be sad, now that thou hast arrived at the place where I am. Verily, God hath spared thy life, and thou hast been brought to this island where there is food. There is no kind of food that is not here, and it is filled with good things of every kind. Verily, thou shalt pass month after month on this island, until thou hast come to the end of four months, and then a ship shall come, and there shall be therein sailors who are acquaintances of thine, and thou shalt go with them to thy country, and thou shalt die in thy native town.” [And the serpent continued,] “What a joyful thing it is for the man who hath experienced evil fortunes, and hath passed safely through them, to declare them! I will now describe unto thee some of the things that have happened unto me on this island. I used to live here with my brethren, and with my children who dwelt among them; now my children and my brethren [211]together numbered seventy-five. I do not make mention of a little maiden who had been brought to me by fate. And a star fell [from heaven], and these (i.e. his children, and his brethren, and the maiden) came into the fire which fell with it. I myself was not with those who were burnt in the fire, and I was not in their midst, but I [well-nigh] died [of grief] for them. And I found a place wherein I buried them all together. Now, if thou art strong, and thy heart flourisheth, thou shalt fill both thy arms (i.e. embrace) with thy children, and thou shalt kiss thy wife, and thou shalt see thine own house, which is the most beautiful thing of all, and thou shalt reach thy country, and thou shalt live therein again together with thy brethren, and dwell therein.”

Then I cast myself down flat upon my stomach, and I pressed the ground before the serpent with my forehead, saying, “I will describe thy power to the King, and I will make him to understand thy greatness. I will cause to be brought unto thee the unguent and spices called aba, and hekenu, and inteneb, and khasait, and the incense that is offered up in the temples, whereby every god is propitiated. I will relate [unto him] the things that have happened unto me, and declare the things that have been seen by me through thy power, and praise and thanksgiving shall be made unto thee in my city in the presence of all the nobles of the country. I will slaughter bulls for thee, and will offer them up as burnt-offerings, and I will pluck feathered fowl in thine [honour]. And I will cause to come to thee boats laden with all the most costly products of the land of Egypt, even according to what is done for a god who is beloved by men and women in a land far away, whom they know not.” Then the serpent smiled at me, and the things which I had said to it were regarded by it in its heart as nonsense, for it said unto me, “Thou hast not a very great store of myrrh [in Egypt], and all that thou hast is incense. Behold, I am the Prince of Punt, and the myrrh which is therein belongeth to me. And as for the heken which thou hast said thou wilt cause to be brought to me, is it not one of the chief [products] of this island? And behold, it shall come to pass that when thou hast once [212]departed from this place, thou shalt never more see this island, for it shall disappear into the waves.”

And in due course, even as the serpent had predicted, a ship arrived, and I climbed up to the top of a high tree, and I recognised those who were in it. Then I went to announce the matter to the serpent, but I found that it had knowledge thereof already. And the serpent said unto me, “A safe [journey], a safe [journey], O little one, to thy house. Thou shalt see thy children [again]. I beseech thee that my name may be held in fair repute in thy city, for verily this is the thing which I desire of thee.” Then I threw myself flat upon my stomach, and my two hands were folded humbly before the serpent. And the serpent gave me a [ship-] load of things, namely, myrrh, heken, inteneb, khasait, thsheps and shaas spices, eye-paint (antimony), skins of panthers, great balls of incense, tusks of elephants, greyhounds, apes, monkeys, and beautiful and costly products of all sorts and kinds. And when I had loaded these things into the ship, and had thrown myself flat upon my stomach in order to give thanks unto it for the same, it spake unto me, saying, “Verily thou shalt travel to [thy] country in two months, and thou shalt fill both thy arms with thy children, and thou shalt renew thy youth in thy coffin.” Then I went down to the place on the sea-shore where the ship was, and I hailed the bowmen who were in the ship, and I spake words of thanksgiving to the lord of this island, and those who were in the ship did the same. Then we set sail, and we journeyed on and returned to the country of the King, and we arrived there at the end of two months, according to all that the serpent had said. And I entered into the presence of the King, and I took with me for him the offerings which I had brought out of the island. And the King praised me and thanked me in the presence of the nobles of all his country, and he appointed me to be one of his bodyguard, and I received my wages along with those who were his [regular] servants.

Cast thou thy glance then upon me [O Prince], now that I have set my feet on my native land once more, having seen and experienced what I have seen and experienced. Hearken [213]thou unto me, for verily it is a good thing to hearken unto men. And the Prince said unto me, “Make not thyself out to be perfect, my friend! Doth a man give water to a fowl at daybreak which he is going to kill during the day?”

Here endeth [The Story of the Shipwrecked Traveller], which hath been written from the beginning to the end thereof according to the text that hath been found written in an [ancient] book. It hath been written (i.e. copied) by Ameni-Amen-āa, a scribe with skilful fingers. Life, strength, and health be to him!


The Poems of Yahia Lababidi

Fanciful creators

What fanciful creators we are:
bestowing shock absorbers on cars
sprinkling tenderizer on meats
and stitching wrinkle-resistant shirts

Such wishful thinking, this
gifting what we desire.

The Art of Storm-riding

I could not decipher the living riddle of my body
put it to sleep when it hungered, and overfed it
when time came to dream

I nearly choked on the forked tongue of my spirit
between the real and the ideal, rejecting the one
and rejected by the other

I still have not mastered that art of storm-riding
without ears to apprehend howling winds
or eyes for rolling waves

Always the weather catches me unawares, baffled
by maps, compass, stars and the entire apparatus
of bearings or warning signals

Clutching at driftwood, eyes screwed shut, I tremble
hoping the unhinged night will pass and I remember
how once I shielded my flame.


Tell me, have you found a sea
deep enough to swim in
deep enough to drown in

waters to engage you
distract you, keep you
from crossing to the other shore?


If there were more than one of me
I’d shave my head and grow my beard
I’d be a Doctor of Theology

In great coat of myth, impermeable to ridicule
I’d raise my voice and sing
hymns to the Unknown god

Another me would come undone voluptuously
submit to possessions, deliriously
mate with night in vicious delight

I would be, in a word, unspeakable
indulge an appetite artistically criminal
gloriously indifferent to utter: ruin!

Yet another me would take to stage
part animal, part angel in improbable outfit
strike ecstatic pose and fuse with masses

Or perhaps, at last, renounce words and self
occupy an eye, to better see
in silent awe, peripherally

But, there is only this ambitious pen, and playpen
fencing a mass of miscarriages
trembling from time in unquiet blood

And I, with reluctant fidelity, am guardian
looking over the restless, violent lot
for fear of fratricide.

Anatomy lesson

Like animals ritualistically gathered

helplessly mourning their dead,

museum-goers congregate to interrogate

flayed human cadavers

peeping toms and doubting thomases

peek behind a curtain at secrets

usually reserved for physicians

or God

a tense dance of tendons and nerves

immaculate architecture of musculature and bone

skins peeled to expose gruesome-majestic fruit:

creation’s inscrutable seed

transfixed, with car-wreck absorption

between life studies and momento mori

reverent, incredulous, implicated -we stand

mysteriously united.

Kalabi – “Tommy Two Pints” (edit)

Turning of Seasons…

“Rich meanings of the prophet-Spring adorn,
Unseen, this colourless sky of folded showers,
And folded winds; no blossom in the bowers;
A poet’s face asleep in this grey morn.
Now in the midst of the old world forlorn
A mystic child is set in these still hours.
I keep this time, even before the flowers,
Sacred to all the young and the unborn.”

– Alice Meynell, In February

Here we are, on the Eve of the first day of Spring in the old calendar, Imbolc also known as St. Brides Day (Brigit/Brighid)… We are lighting candles and incense tonight to greet the new season. Funnily enough, the weather is changing everywhere, and the seasons are turning in ways we never imagined. Reading a note from my sister Rebecca who lives in Indiana, that the power has gone, and it is quite nasty. From the satellite pics the snow is just blanketing down from one end of middle America to the other. My thoughts are with those in the chill tonight.

We had a brilliant weekend, Victor and Heather came to visit from The Dalles, and we all went to The Portland Art Museum to see the Monet exhibition together. It was beautiful, along with the Rodin’s, and the other pieces from the period. We checked out the Buddhist exhibition on the way out, truly wonderful. Later, Mary fixed a brilliant dinner, which everyone enjoyed. Our friend Cheryl joined us for that and for hanging out afterwards before Victor and Heather headed back out east. It was a great day and evening!

I hope that the changing of the season brings some relief, and hope to people across the globe. My thoughts are with those out in the streets across the Middle East. We live in a time of accelerating wonders! I hope it turns out well for Egypt and elsewhere in the area; there is a great change coming down the road…

This entry has some interesting elements in it, from the “The Coming of Angus and Bride” to Karen Armstrong’s acceptance speech at Ted(tm) on..”what we need”. We have some quotes from Teilhard De Chardin, and perhaps one of the most beautiful pieces of music:Samuel Barber’s “Agnus Dei” (Adagio for strings).

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did in assembling this entry.. 80)

Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

Teilhard De Chardin Quotes
Karen Armstrong – What We Need
The Coming of Angus and Bride
Samuel Barber: Agnus Dei (Adagio for strings)
Poesy For Imbolc
Artist: John Duncan
Teilhard De Chardin Quotes:

“The age of nations has passed, our task now, should we not perish, is to build the Earth.”
“You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”
“The world is round so that friendship may encircle it.”
“Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world… Love, in fact, is the agent of universal synthesis.”
“Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves”
“We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist and forever will recreate each other.”
Karen Armstrong – What We Need


The Coming of Angus and Bride
(Wonder Tales Of Scotland – Donald Alexander Mackenzie)

All the long winter Beira kept captive a beautiful young princess named Bride. She was jealous of Bride’s beauty, and gave her ragged clothing to wear, and put her to work among the servants in the kitchen of her mountain castle, where the girl had to perform the meanest tasks. Beira scolded her continually, finding fault with everything she did, and Bride’s life was made very wretched.

One day Beira gave the princess a brown fleece and said: “You must wash this fleece in the running stream until it is pure white.”

Bride took the fleece and went outside the castle, and began to wash it in a pool below a waterfall. All day long she laboured at the work, but to no purpose. She found it impossible to wash the brown colour out of the wool.

When evening came on, Beira scolded the girl, and said: “You are a useless hussy. The fleece is as brown as when I gave it to you.”

Said Bride: “All day long have I washed it in the pool below the waterfall of the Red Rock.”

“To-morrow you shall wash it again,” Beira said; “and if you do not wash it white, you will go on washing on the next day, and on every day after that. Now, begone! and do as I bid you.”

It was a sorrowful time for Bride. Day after day she washed the fleece, and it seemed to her that if she went on washing until the world came to an end, the brown wool would never become white.

One morning as she went on with her washing a grey-bearded old man came near. He took pity on the princess, who wept bitter tears over her work, and spoke to her, saying: “Who are you, and why do you sorrow?”

Said the princess: “My name is Bride. I am the captive of Queen Beira, and she has ordered me to wash this brown fleece until it is white. Alas! it cannot be done.”

“I am sorry for you,” the old man said.

“Who are you, and whence come you?” asked Bride.

“My name is Father Winter,” the old man told her. “Give me the fleece, and I shall make it white for you.”

Bride gave Father Winter the brown fleece, and when he had shaken it three times it turned white as snow. The heart of Bride was immediately filled with joy, and she exclaimed: “Dear Father Winter, you are very kind. You have saved me much labour and taken away my sorrow.”

Father Winter handed back the fleece to Princess Bride with one hand, and she took it. Then he said: “Take also what I hold in my other hand.” As he spoke he gave her a bunch of pure white snowdrops. The eyes of Bride sparkled with joy to behold them.

Said Father Winter: “If Beira scolds you, give her these flowers, and if she asks where you found them, tell her that they came from the green rustling fir-woods. Tell her also that the cress is springing up on the banks of streams, and that the new grass has begun to shoot up in the fields.”

Having spoken thus, Father Winter bade the princess farewell and turned away.

Bride returned to the mountain castle and laid the white fleece at Beira’s feet. But the old queen scarcely looked at it. Her craze was fixed on the snowdrops that Bride carried.

“Where did you find these flowers?” Beira asked with sudden anger.

Said Bride: “The snowdrops are now growing in the green rustling fir-woods, the cress is springing up on the banks of streams, and the new grass is beginning to shoot up in the fields.”

“Evil are the tidings you bring me!” Beira cried. “Begone from my sight!”

Bride turned away, but not in sorrow. A new joy had entered her heart, for she knew that the wild winter season was going past, and that the reign of Queen Beira would soon come to an end.

Meanwhile Beira summoned her eight hag servants, and spoke to them, saying: “Ride to the north and ride to the south, ride to the east and ride to the west, and I will ride forth also. Smite the world with frost and tempest, so that no flower may bloom and no grass blade survive. I am waging war against all growth.”

When she had spoken thus, the eight hags mounted on the backs of shaggy goats and rode forth to do her bidding. Beira went forth also, grasping in her right hand her black magic hammer. On the night of that very day a great tempest lashed the ocean to fury and brought terror to every corner of the land.

Now the reason why Beira kept Bride a prisoner was because her fairest and dearest son, whose name was Angus-the-Ever-Young, had fallen in love with her. He was called “the Ever Young” because age never came near him, and all winter long he lived on the Green Isle of the West, which is also called the “Land of Youth.”

Angus first beheld Bride in a dream, and when he awoke he spoke to the King of the Green Isle, saying: “Last night I dreamed a dream and saw a beautiful princess whom I love. Tears fell from her eyes, and I spoke to an old man who stood near her, and said: ‘Why does the maiden weep?’ Said the old man: ‘She weeps because she is kept captive by Beira, who treats her with great cruelty.’ I looked again at the princess and said: ‘Fain would I set her free.’ Then I awoke. Tell me, O king, who is this princess, and where shall I find her?”

The King of the Green Isle answered Angus, saying: “The fair princess whom you saw is Bride, and in the days when you will be King of Summer she will be your queen. Of this your mother, Queen Beira, has full knowledge, and it is her wish to keep you away from Bride, so that her own reign may be prolonged. Tarry here, O Angus, until the flowers been to bloom and the grass begins to grow, and then you shall set free the beautiful Princess Bride.”

Said Angus: “Fain would I go forth at once to search for her.”

“The wolf-month (February) has now come,” the king said. “Uncertain is the temper of the wolf.”

Said Angus: “I shall cast a spell on the sea and a spell on the land, and borrow for February three days from August.”

He did as he said he would do. He borrowed three days from August, and the ocean slumbered peacefully while the sun shone brightly over mountain and glen. Then Angus mounted his white steed and rode eastward to Scotland over the isles and over the Minch, and he reached the Grampians when dawn was breaking. He was clad in raiment of shining gold, and from his shoulders hung his royal robe of crimson which the wind uplifted and spread out in gleaming splendour athwart the sky.

An aged bard looked eastward, and when he beheld the fair Angus he lifted up his harp and sang a song of welcome, and the birds of the forest sang with him. And this is how he sang:–

Angus hath come–the young, the fair,
The blue-eyed god with golden hair–
The god who to the world doth bring
This morn the promise of the spring;
Who moves the birds to song ere yet
He bath awaked the violet,
Or the soft primrose on the steep,
While buds are laid in lidded sleep,
And white snows wrap the hills serene,
Ere glows the larch’s 1 vivid green
Through the brown woods and bare. All hail!
Angus, and may thy will prevail. . . .
He comes . . . he goes. . . . And far and wide
He searches for the Princess Bride.

Up and down the land went Angus, but he could not find Bride anywhere. The fair princess beheld him in a dream, however, and knew that he longed to set her free. When she awoke she shed tears of joy, and on the place where her tears fell there sprang up violets, and they were blue as her beautiful eyes.

Beira was angry when she came to know that Angus was searching for Bride, and on the third evening of his visit she raised a great tempest which drove him back to Green Isle. But he returned again and again, and at length he discovered the castle in which the princess was kept a prisoner.

Then came a day when Angus met Bride in a forest near the castle. The violets were blooming and soft yellow primroses opened their eyes of wonder to gaze on the prince and the princess. When they spoke one to another the birds raised their sweet voices in song and the sun shone fair and bright.

Said Angus: “Beautiful princess, I beheld you in a dream weeping tears of sorrow.”

Bride said: “Mighty prince, I beheld you in a dream riding over bens and through glens in beauty and power.”

Said Angus: “I have come to rescue you from Queen Beira, who has kept you all winter long in captivity.”

Bride said: “To me this is a day of great joy.”

Said Angus: “It will be a day of great joy to all mankind ever after this.”

That is why the first day of spring–the day on which Angus found the princess–is called “Bride’s Day”. (1)

Through the forest came a fair company of fairy ladies, who hailed Bride as queen and bade welcome to Angus. Then the Fairy Queen waved her wand, and Bride was transformed. As swiftly as the bright sun springs out from behind a dark cloud, shedding beauty all round, so swiftly did Bride appear in new splendour. Instead of ragged clothing, she then wore a white robe adorned with spangles of shining silver. Over her heart gleamed a star-like crystal, pure as her thoughts and bright as the joy that Angus brought her. This gem is called “the guiding star of Bride “. Her golden-brown hair, which hung down to her waist in gleaming curls, was decked with fair spring flowers–snowdrops and daisies and primroses and violets. Blue were her eyes, and her face had the redness and whiteness of the wild rose of peerless beauty and tender grace. In her right hand she carried a white wand entwined with golden corn-stalks, and in her left a golden horn which is called the “Horn of Plenty”.

The linnet was the first forest bird that hailed Bride in her beauty, and the Fairy Queen said: “Ever after this you shall be called the ‘Bird of Bride’.” On the seashore the first bird that chirped with joy was the oyster-catcher, and the Fairy Queen said: “Ever after this you shall be called the ‘Page of Bride’.”

Then the Fairy Queen led Angus and Bride to her green-roofed underground palace in the midst of the forest. As they went forward they came to a river which was covered with ice. Bride put her fingers on the ice, and the Ice Hag shrieked and fled.

A great feast was held in the palace of the Fairy Queen, and it was the marriage feast of Bride, for Angus and she were wed. The fairies danced and sang with joy, and all the world was moved to dance and sing with them. This was how the first “Festival of Bride” came to be.

“Spring has come!” the shepherds cried; and they drove their flocks on to the moors, where they were counted and blessed.

“Spring has come!” chattered the raven, and flew off to find moss for her nest. The rook heard and followed after, and the wild duck rose from amidst the reeds, crying: “Spring has come!”

Bride came forth from the fairy palace with Angus and waved her hand, while Angus repeated magic spells. Then greater growth was given to the grass, and all the world hailed Angus and Bride as king and queen. Although they were not beheld by mankind, yet their presence was everywhere felt throughout Scotland.

Beira was wroth when she came to know that Angus had found Bride. She seized her magic hammer and smote the ground unceasingly until it was frozen hard as iron again–so hard that no herb or blade of grass could continue to live upon its surface. Terrible was her wrath when she beheld the grass growing. She knew well that when the grass flourished and Angus and Bride were married, her authority would pass away. It was her desire to keep her throne as long as possible.

“Bride is married, hail to Bride!” sang the birds.

“Angus is married, hail to Angus!” they sang also.

Beira heard the songs of the birds, and called to her hag servants: “Ride north and ride south, ride east and ride west, and wage war against Angus. I shall ride forth also.”

Her servants mounted their shaggy goats and rode forth to do her bidding. Beira mounted a black steed and set out in pursuit of Angus. She rode fast and she rode hard. Black clouds swept over the sky as she rode on, until at length she came to the forest in which the Fairy Queen had her dwelling. All the fairies fled in terror into their green mound and the doors were shut. Angus looked up and beheld Beira drawing nigh. He leapt on the back of his white steed, and lifted his young bride into the saddle in front of him and fled away with her.

Angus rode westward over the hills and over the valleys and over the sea, and Beira pursued him.

There is a rocky ravine on the island of Tiree, and Beira’s black steed jumped across it while pursuing the white steed of Angus. The hoofs of the black steed made a gash on the rocks. To this day the ravine is called “The Horse’s Leap”.

Angus escaped to the Green Isle of the West, and there he passed happy days with Bride. But he longed to return to Scotland and reign as King of Summer. Again and again he crossed the sea; and each time he reached the land of glens and bens, the sun broke forth in brightness and the birds sang merrily to welcome him.

Beira raised storm after storm to drive him away. First she called on the wind named “The Whistle”, which blew high and shrill, and brought down rapid showers of cold hailstones. It lasted for three days, and there was much sorrow and bitterness throughout the length and breadth of Scotland. Sheep and lambs were killed on the moors, and horses and cows perished also.

Angus fled, but he returned soon again. The next wind that Beira raised to prolong her winter reign was the “Sharp Billed Wind” which is called “Gobag”. lasted for nine days, and all the land was pierced by it, for it pecked and bit in every nook and cranny like a sharp-billed bird.

Angus returned, and the Beira raised the eddy wind which is called “The Sweeper”. Its whirling gusts tore branches from the budding trees and bright flowers from their stalks. All the time it blew, Beira kept beating the ground with her magic hammer so as to keep the grass from growing. But her efforts were in vain. Spring smiled in beauty all around, and each time she turned away, wearied by her efforts, the sun sprang forth in splendour. The small modest primroses opened their petals in the sunshine, looking forth from cosy nooks that the wind, called “Sweeper”, was unable to reach. Angus fled, but he soon returned again.

Beira was not yet, however, entirely without hope. Her efforts had brought disaster to mankind, and the “Weeks of Leanness” came on. Food became scarce. The fishermen were unable to venture to sea on account of Beira’s tempests, and could get no fish. In the night-time Beira and her hags entered the dwellings of mankind, and stole away their stores of food. It was, indeed, a sorrowful time.

Angus was moved with pity for mankind, and tried to fight the hags of Beira. But the fierce queen raised the “Gales of Complaint” to keep him away, and they raged in fury until the first week of March. Horses and cattle died for want of food, because the fierce winds blew down stacks of fodder and scattered them over the lochs and the ocean.

Angus, however, waged a fierce struggle against the hag servants, and at length he drove them away to the north, where they fumed and fretted furiously.

Beira was greatly alarmed, and she made her last great effort to subdue the Powers of Spring. She waved her magic hammer, and smote the clouds with it. Northward she rode on her black steed, and gathered her servants together, and called to them, saying: “Ride southward with me, all of you, and scatter our enemies before us.”

Out of the bleak dark north they rode in a single pack. With them came the Big Black Tempest. It seemed then as if winter had returned in full strength and would abide for ever. But even Beira and her hags had to take rest. On a dusky evening they crouched down together on the side of a bare mountain, and, when they did so, a sudden calm fell upon the land and the sea.

“Ha! ha!” laughed the wild duck who hated the hag. “Ha! ha! I am still alive, and so are my six ducklings.”

“Have patience! idle chatterer,” answered the Hag. “I am not yet done.”

That night she borrowed three days from Winter which had not been used, for Angus had previously borrowed for Winter three days from August. The three spirits of the borrowed days were tempest spirits, and came towards Beira mounted on black hogs. She spoke to them, saying: “Long have you been bound! Now I set you at liberty.”

One after another, on each of the three days that followed, the spirits went forth riding the black hogs. They brought snow and hail and fierce blasts of wind. Snow whitened the moors and filled the furrows of ploughed land, rivers rose in flood, and great trees were shattered and uprooted. The duck was killed, and so were her six ducklings; sheep and cattle perished, and many human beings were killed on land and drowned at sea. The days on which these things happened are called the “Three Hog Days”.

Beira’s reign was now drawing to a close. She found herself unable to combat any longer against the power of the new life that was rising in every vein of the land. The weakness of extreme old age crept upon her, and she longed once again to drink of the waters of the Well of Youth. When, on a bright March morning, she beheld Angus riding over the hills on his white steed, scattering her fierce hag servants before him, she fled away in despair. Ere she went she threw her magic hammer beneath a holly tree, and that is the reason why no grass grows under the holly trees.

Beira’s black steed went northward with her in flight. As it leapt over Loch Etive it left the marks of its hoofs on the side of a rocky mountain, and the spot is named to this day “Horse-shoes”. She did not rein up her steed until she reached the island of Skye, where she found rest on the summit of the “Old Wife’s Ben” (Ben-e-Caillich) at Broadford. There she sat, gazing steadfastly across the sea, waiting until the day and night would be of equal length. All that equal day she wept tears of sorrow for her lost power, and when night came on she went westward over the sea to Green Island. At the dawn of the day that followed she drank the magic waters of the Well of Youth.

On that day which is of equal length with the night, Angus came to Scotland with Bride, and they were hailed as king and queen of the unseen beings. They rode from south to north in the morning and forenoon, and from north to south in the afternoon and evening. A gentle wind went with them, blowing towards the north from dawn till midday, and towards the south from midday till sunset. It was on that day that Bride dipped her fair white hands in the high rivers and lochs which still retained ice. When she did so, the Ice Hag fell into a deep sleep from which she could not awake until summer and autumn were over and past.

The grass grew quickly after Angus began to reign as king. Seeds were sown, and the people called on Bride to grant them a good harvest. Ere long the whole land was made beautiful with spring flowers of every hue.

Angus had a harp of gold with silver strings, and when he played on it youths and maidens followed the sound of the music through the woods. Bards sang his praises and told that he kissed lovers, and that when they parted one from another to return to their homes, the kisses became invisible birds that hovered round their heads and sang sweet songs of love, and whispered memories dear. It was thus that one bard sang of him:–

When softly blew the south wind o’er the sea,
Lisping of springtime hope and summer pride,
And the rough reign of Beira ceased to be,
Angus the Ever-Young,
The beauteous god of love, the golden-haired,
The blue mysterious-eyed,
Shone like the star of morning high among
The stars that shrank afraid
When dawn proclaimed the triumph that he shared
With Bride the peerless maid.
Then winds of violet sweetness rose and sighed,
No conquest is compared
To Love’s transcendent joys that never fade.

In the old days, when there was no Calendar in Scotland, the people named the various periods of winter and spring, storm and calm, as they are given above. The story of the struggle between Angus and Beira is the story of the struggle between spring and winter, growth and decay, light and darkness, and warmth and cold.

The larch is the first tree in Scotland which turns a bright green in springtime.
February 1st old style, February 13th new style.

Samuel Barber: Agnus Dei (Adagio for strings)


Poesy For Imbolc

“From December to March, there are for many of
us three gardens:
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind’s eye.”
– Katherine S. White

“He knows no winter, he who loves the soil,
For, stormy days, when he is free from toil,
He plans his summer crops, selects his seeds
From bright-paged catalogues for garden needs.
When looking out upon frost-silvered fields,
He visualizes autumn’s golden yields;
He sees in snow and sleet and icy rain
Precious moisture for his early grain;
He hears spring-heralds in the storm’s ‘ turmoil­
He knows no winter, he who loves the soil.”
– Sudie Stuart Hager, He Knows No Winter

“Winter is nature’s way of saying, “Up yours.””
– Robert Byrne

“Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.”
– Pietro Aretino

“Dreaming time has reversed, I watch drowned snow
Appear to lift up from the lake;
Reshaping magnified, each risen flake
Looms in the air, deliberate and slow,
Allowing me to let your picture form and wake
Astonished that you have returned to go
To watch me watch drowned snow lift from the lake.
Dreaming time has reversed—and you,
Your red cheeks radiant against the wind,
Are gliding toward me on the ice into
A frame of glided twilight—I
Again awaken from your being gone to find
Your gloved hands covering your lips’ good-bye
So you can watch me watch uplifted snow
As if your absence now concluded long ago.”
– Robert Pack, Snow Rise

“Was it the smile of early spring
That made my bosom glow?
‘Twas sweet, but neither sun nor wind
Could raise my spirit so.

Was it some feeling of delight,
All vague and undefined?
No, ’twas a rapture deep and strong,
Expanding in the mind!”
– Anne Bronte, In Memory of A Happy Day in February

“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit
yourself the luxury of thinking so.”
– Stanley Crawford

“See the falling snowflakes
drifting by the pane,
Winging glasslike angels
falling just like rain.
The air is crisp and stirring,
the freshly fallen snow.
And the warmth I’m feeling inside,
sets my eyes aglow.
This winter’s day has come before
and will come again.
It finds it’s way to Earth
every now and then.”
– Linda A. Copp, A Winter’s Day

“Be off!” say Winter’s snows;
“Now it’s my turn to sing!”
So, startled, quivering,
Not daring to oppose

(Our fortitude grows dim in
The face of a Quos ego),
Away, my songs, must we go
Before those virile women!

Rain. We are forced to fly,
Everywhere, utterly.
End of the comedy.
Come, swallows, it’s good-bye.

Wind, sleet. The branches sway,
Writhing their stunted limbs,
And off the white smoke swims
Across the heavens’ gray.

A pallid yellow lingers
Over the chilly dale.
My keyhole blows a gale
Onto my frozen fingers.”
– Victor Hugo, Be Off Winter Snow