Cosmic Joy…

No man is good enough to be another’s master. – William Morris

Tinariwen on the stereo, a bit of incense going, good family discussion on the nations situation… What a great day.

Another entry with The Joyous Cosmology, and we are winding up the month with a visit with the art and quotes of Mr. William Morris. We highlight a nice cabaret act from Oakland, “Vermillion Lies”, and the poetry of Christina Rossetti.

Hope this finds you enjoying the early days of fall!

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
William Morris Quotes
Vermillion Lies – Circus Apocalypse
Joyous Cosmology – Parts 4 & 5
Christina Rossetti, Poems
Vermillion Lies – The Astronomer
Art: William Morris
William Morris Quotes:

A man at work, making something which he feels will exist because he is working at it and wills it, is exercising the energies of his mind and soul as well as of his body. Memory and imagination help him as he works.

I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few.

If you cannot learn to love real art at least learn to hate sham art.

If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

It took me years to understand that words are often as important as experience, because words make experience last.

Not on one strand are all life’s jewels strung.

So long as the system of competition in the production and exchange of the means of life goes on, the degradation of the arts will go on; and if that system is to last for ever, then art is doomed, and will surely die; that is to say, civilization will die.
Vermillion Lies – Circus Apocalypse


Joyous Cosmology – Parts 4 & 5
– Alan Watts

I am looking at what I would ordinarily call a confusion of bushes—a tangle of plants and weeds with branches and leaves going every which way. But now that the organizing, relational mind is uppermost I see that what is confusing is not the bushes but my clumsy method of thinking. Every twig is in its proper place, and the tangle has become an arabesque more delicately ordered than the fabulous doodles in the margins of Celtic manuscripts. In this same state of consciousness I have seen a woodland at fall, with the whole multitude of almost bare branches and twigs in silhouette against the sky, not as a confusion, but as the lacework or tracery of an enchanted jeweler. A rotten log bearing rows of fungus and patches of moss became as precious as any work of Cellini—an inwardly luminous construct of jet, amber, jade, and ivory, all the porous and spongy disintegrations of the wood seeming to have been carved out with infinite patience and skill. I do not know whether this mode of vision organizes the world in the same way that it organizes the body, or whether it is just that the natural world is organized in that way.

A journey into this new mode of consciousness gives one a marvelously enhanced appreciation of patterning in nature, a fascination deeper than ever with the structure of ferns, the formation of crystals, the markings upon sea shells, the incredible jewelry of such unicellular creatures of the ocean as the radiolaria, the fairy architecture of seeds and pods, the engineering of bones and skeletons, the aerodynamics of feathers, and the astonishing profusion of eye-forms upon the wings of butterflies and birds. All this involved delicacy of organization may, from one point of view, be strictly functional for the purposes of reproduction and survival. But when you come down to it, the survival of these creatures is the same as their very existence—and what is that for?

More and more it seems that the ordering of nature is an art akin to music—fugues in shell and cartilage, counterpoint in fibers and capillaries, throbbing rhythm in waves of sound, light, and nerve. And oneself is connected with it quite inextricably—a node, a ganglion, an electronic interweaving of paths, circuits, and impulses that stretch and hum through the whole of time and space. The entire pattern swirls in its complexity like smoke in sunbeams or the rippling networks of sunlight in shallow water. Transforming itself endlessly into itself, the pattern alone remains. The crosspoints, nodes, nets, and curlicues vanish perpetually into each other. “The baseless fabric of this vision.” It is its own base. When the ground dissolves beneath me I float.

Closed-eye fantasies in this world seem sometimes to be revelations of the secret workings of the brain, of the associative and patterning processes, the ordering systems which carry out all our sensing and thinking. Unlike the one I have just described, they are for the most part ever more complex variations upon a theme—ferns sprouting ferns sprouting ferns in multidimensional spaces, vast kaleidoscopic domes of stained glass or mosaic, or patterns like the models of highly intricate molecules—systems of colored balls, each one of which turns out to be a multitude of smaller balls, forever and ever. Is this, perhaps, an inner view of the organizing process which, when the eyes are open, makes sense of the world even at points where it appears to be supremely messy?

Later that same afternoon, Robert takes us over to his barn from which he has been cleaning out junk and piling it into a big and battered Buick convertible, with all the stuffing coming out of the upholstery. The sight of trash poses two of the great questions of human life, “Where are we going to put it?” and “Who’s going to clean up?” From one point of view living creatures are simply tubes, putting things in at one end and pushing them out at the other—until the tube wears out. The problem is always where to put what is pushed out at the other end, especially when it begins to pile so high that the tubes are in danger of being crowded off the earth by their own refuse. And the questions have metaphysical overtones. “Where are we going to put it?” asks for the foundation upon which things ultimately rest—the First Cause, the Divine Ground, the bases of morality, the origin of action. “Who’s going to clean up?” is asking where responsibility ultimately lies, or how to solve our ever-multiplying problems other than by passing the buck to the next generation.

I contemplate the mystery of trash in its immediate manifestation: Robert’s car piled high, with only the driver’s seat left unoccupied by broken door-frames, rusty stoves, tangles of chicken-wire, squashed cans, insides of ancient harmoniums, nameless enormities of cracked plastic, headless dolls, bicycles without wheels, torn cushions vomiting kapok, non-returnable bottles, busted dressmakers’ dummies, rhomboid picture-frames, shattered bird-cages, and inconceivable messes of string, electric wiring, orange peels, eggshells, potato skins, and light bulbs—all garnished with some ghastly-white chemical powder that we call “angel shit.” Tomorrow we shall escort this in a joyous convoy to the local dump. And then what? Can any melting and burning imaginable get rid of these ever-rising mountains of ruin—especially when the things we make and build are beginning to look more and more like rubbish even before they are thrown away? The only answer seems to be that of the present group. The sight of Robert’s car has everyone helpless with hysterics.

The Divine Comedy. All things dissolve in laughter. And for Robert this huge heap of marvelously incongruous uselessness is a veritable creation, a masterpiece of nonsense. He slams it together and ropes it securely to the bulbous, low-slung wreck of the supposedly chic convertible, and then stands back to admire it as if it were a float for a carnival. Theme: the American way of life. But our laughter is without malice, for in this state of consciousness everything is the doing of gods. The culmination of civilization in monumental heaps of junk is seen, not as thoughtless ugliness, but as self-caricature—as the creation of phenomenally absurd collages and abstract sculptures in deliberate but kindly mockery of our own pretensions. For in this world nothing is wrong, nothing is even stupid. The sense of wrong is simply failure to see where something fits into a pattern, to be confused as to the hierarchical level upon which an event belongs—a play which seems quite improper at level 28 may be exactly right at level 96. I am speaking of levels or stages in the labyrinth of twists and turns, gambits and counter-gambits, in which life is involving and evolving itself —the cosmological one-upmanship which the yang and the yin, the light and the dark principles, are forever playing, the game which at some early level in its development seems to be the serious battle between good and evil. If the square may be defined as one who takes the game seriously, one must admire him for the very depth of his involvement, for the courage to be so far-out that he doesn’t know where he started.

The more prosaic, the more dreadfully ordinary anyone or anything seems to be, the more I am moved to marvel at the ingenuity with which divinity hides in order to seek itself, at the lengths to which this cosmic joie de vivre will go in elaborating its dance. I think of a corner gas station on a hot afternoon. Dust and exhaust fumes, the regular Standard guy all baseball and sports cars, the billboards halfheartedly gaudy, the flatness so reassuring—nothing around here but just us folks! I can see people just pretending not to see that they are avatars of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, that the cells of their bodies aren’t millions of gods, that the dust isn’t a haze of jewels. How solemnly they would go through the act of not understanding me if I were to step up and say, “Well, who do you think you’re kidding? Come off it, Shiva, you old rascal! It’s a great act, but it doesn’t fool me.” But the conscious ego doesn’t know that it is something which that divine organ, the body, is only pretending to be.* When people go to a guru, a master of wisdom, seeking a way out of darkness, all he really does is to humor them in their pretense until they are outfaced into dropping it. He tells nothing, but the twinkle in his eye speaks to the unconscious—”You know….You know!”

In the contrast world of ordinary consciousness man feels himself, as will, to be something in nature but not of it. He likes it or dislikes it. He accepts it or resists it. He moves it or it moves him. But in the basic superconsciousness of the whole organism this division does not exist. The organism and its surrounding world are a single, integrated pattern of action in which there is neither subject nor object, doer nor done to. At this level there is not one thing called pain and another thing called myself, which dislikes pain. Pain and the “response” to pain are the same thing. When this becomes conscious it feels as if everything that happens is my own will. But this is a preliminary and clumsy way of feeling that what happens outside the body is one process with what happens inside it. This is that “original identity” which ordinary language and our conventional definitions of man so completely conceal.

The active and the passive are two phases of the same act. A seed, floating in its white sunburst of down, drifts across the sky, sighing with the sound of a jet plane invisible above. I catch it by one hair between thumb and index finger, and am astonished to watch this little creature actually wiggling and pulling as if it were struggling to get away. Common sense tells me that this tugging is the action of the wind, not of the thistledown. But then I recognize that it is the “intelligence” of the seed to have just such delicate antennae of silk that, in an environment of wind, it can move. Having such extensions, it moves itself with the wind. When it comes to it, is there any basic difference between putting up a sail and pulling an oar? If anything, the former is a more intelligent use of effort than the latter. True, the seed does not intend to move itself with the wind, but neither did I intend to have arms and legs.

It is this vivid realization of the reciprocity of will and world, active and passive, inside and outside, self and not-self, which evokes the aspect of these experiences that is most puzzling from the standpoint of ordinary consciousness: the strange and seemingly unholy conviction that “I” am God. In Western culture this sensation is seen as the very signature of insanity But in India it is simply a matter of course that the deepest center of man, atman, is the deepest center of the universe, Brahman. Why not? Surely a continuous view of the world is more whole, more holy, more healthy, than one in which there is a yawning emptiness between the Cause and its effects. Obviously, the “I” which is God is not the ego, the consciousness of self which is simultaneously an unconsciousness of the fact that its outer limits are held in common with the inner limits of the rest of the world. But in this wider, less ignore-ant consciousness I am forced to see that everything I claim to will and intend has a common boundary with all I pretend to disown. The limits of what I will, the form and shape of all those actions which I claim as mine, are identical and coterminous with the limits of all those events which I have been taught to define as alien and external.

The feeling of self is no longer confined to the inside of the skin. Instead, my individual being seems to grow out from the rest of the universe like a hair from a head or a limb from a body, so that my center is also the center of the whole. I find that in ordinary consciousness I am habitually trying to ring myself off from this totality, that I am perpetually on the defensive. But what am I trying to protect? Only very occasionally are my defensive attitudes directly concerned with warding off physical damage or deprivation. For the most part I am defending my defenses: rings around rings around rings around nothing. Guards inside a fortress inside entrenchments inside a radar curtain. The military war is the outward parody of the war of ego versus world: only the guards are safe. In the next war only the air force will outlive the women and children.

I trace myself back through the labyrinth of my brain, through the innumerable turns by which I have ringed myself off and, by perpetual circling, obliterated the original trail whereby I entered this forest. Back through the tunnels—through the devious status-and-survival strategy of adult life, through the interminable passages which we remember in dreams—all the streets we have ever traveled, the corridors of schools, the winding pathways between the legs of tables and chairs where one crawled as a child, the tight and bloody exit from the womb, the fountainous surge through the channel of the penis, the timeless wanderings through ducts and spongy caverns. Down and back through ever-narrowing tubes to the point where the passage itself is the traveler—a thin string of molecules going through the trial and error of getting itself into the right order to be a unit of organic life. Relentlessly back and back through endless and whirling dances in the astronomically proportioned spaces which surround the original nuclei of the world, the centers of centers, as remotely distant on the inside as the nebulae beyond our galaxy on the outside.

Down and at last out—out of the cosmic maze to recognize in and as myself, the bewildered traveler, the forgotten yet familiar sensation of the original impulse of all things, supreme identity, inmost light, ultimate center, self more me than myself. Standing in the midst of Ella’s garden I feel, with a peace so deep that it sings to be shared with all the world, that at last I belong, that I have returned to the home behind home, that I have come into the inheritance unknowingly bequeathed from all my ancestors since the beginning. Plucked like the strings of a harp, the warp and woof of the world reverberate with memories of triumphant hymns. The sure foundation upon which I had sought to stand has turned out to be the center from which I seek. The elusive substance beneath all the forms of the universe is discovered as the immediate gesture of my hand. But how did I ever get lost? And why have I traveled so far through these intertwined tunnels that I seem to be the quaking vortex of defended defensiveness which is my conventional self?

Going indoors I find that all the household furniture is alive. Everything gestures. Tables are tabling, pots are potting, walls are walling, fixtures are fixturing—a world of events instead of things. Robert turns on the phonograph, without telling me what is being played. Looking intently at the pictures picturing, I only gradually become conscious of the music, and at first cannot decide whether I am hearing an instrument or a human voice simply falling. A single stream of sound, curving, rippling, and jiggling with a soft snarl that at last reveals it to be a reed instrument—some sort of oboe. Later, human voices join it. But they are not singing words, nothing but a kind of “buoh—buah—bueeh” which seems to be exploring all the liquidinous inflections of which the voice is capable. What has Robert got here? I imagine it must be some of his far-out friends in a great session of nonsense-chanting. The singing intensifies into the most refined, exuberant, and delightful warbling, burbling. honking. hooting. and howling—which quite obviously means nothing whatsoever. and is being done out of pure glee. There is a pause. A voice says. “Dit!” Another seems to reply, “Da!” Then, “Dit-da! Di-dittty-da!” And getting gradually faster. “Da-di-ditty-di-ditty-da! Di-da-di-ditty-ditty-da-di-da-di-ditty-da-da!” And so on, until the players are quite out of their minds. The record cover which Robert now shows me, says “Classical Music of India,” and informs me that this is a series edited by Alain Danielou, who happens to be the most serious, esoteric, and learned scholar of Hindu music, and an exponent. in the line of Rene Guenon and Ananda Coomaraswamy, of the most formal, traditional, and difficult interpretation of Yoga and Vedanta. Somehow I cannot quite reconcile Danielou, the pandit of pandits, with this delirious outpouring of human bird-song. I feel my leg is being pulled. Or perhaps Danielou’s leg.

But then, maybe not. Oh, indeed not ! For quite suddenly I feel my understanding dawning into a colossal clarity, as if everything were opening up down to the roots of my being and of time and space themselves. The sense of the world becomes totally obvious. I am struck with amazement that I or anyone could have thought life a problem or being a mystery. I call to everyone to gather round.

“Listen, there’s something I must tell. I’ve never, never seen it so clearly. But it doesn’t matter a bit if you don’t understand, because each one of you is quite perfect as you are, even if you don’t know it. Life is basically a gesture, but no one, no thing, is making it. There is no necessity for it to happen, and none for it to go on happening. For it isn’t being driven by anything; it just happens freely of itself. It’s a gesture of motion, of sound, of color, and just as no one is making it, it isn’t happening to anyone. There is simply no problem of life; it is completely purposeless play—exuberance which is its own end. Basically there is the gesture. Time, space, and multiplicity are complications of it. There is no reason whatever to explain it, for explanations are just another form of complexity, a new manifestation of life on top of life, of gestures gesturing. Pain and suffering are simply extreme forms of play, and there isn’t anything in the whole universe to be afraid of because it doesn’t happen to anyone! There isn’t any substantial ego at all. The ego is a kind of flip, a knowing of knowing, a fearing of fearing. It’s a curlicue, an extra jazz to experience, a sort of double-take or reverberation, a dithering of consciousness which is the same as anxiety.”

Of course, to say that life is just a gesture, an action without agent, recipient, or purpose, sounds much more empty and futile than joyous. But to me it seems that an ego, a substantial entity to which experience happens, is more of a minus than a plus. It is an estrangement from experience, a lack of participation. And in this moment I feel absolutely with the world, free of that chronic resistance to experience which blocks the free flowing of life and makes us move like muscle-bound dancers. But I don’t have to overcome resistance. I see that resistance, ego, is just an extra vortex in the stream–part of it—and that in fact there is no actual resistance at all. There is no point from which to confront life, or stand against it.

Christina Rossetti, Poems

My Dream

Hear now a curious dream I dreamed last night
Each word whereof is weighed and sifted truth.

I stood beside Euphrates while it swelled
Like overflowing Jordan in its youth:
It waxed and coloured sensibly to sight;
Till out of myriad pregnant waves there welled
Young crocodiles, a gaunt blunt-featured crew,
Fresh-hatched perhaps and daubed with birthday dew.
The rest if I should tell, I fear my friend
My closest friend would deem the facts untrue;
And therefore it were wisely left untold;
Yet if you will, why, hear it to the end.

Each crocodile was girt with massive gold
And polished stones that with their wearers grew:
But one there was who waxed beyond the rest,
Wore kinglier girdle and a kingly crown,
Whilst crowns and orbs and sceptres starred his breast.
All gleamed compact and green with scale on scale,
But special burnishment adorned his mail
And special terror weighed upon his frown;
His punier brethren quaked before his tail,
Broad as a rafter, potent as a flail.

So he grew lord and master of his kin:
But who shall tell the tale of all their woes?
An execrable appetite arose,
He battened on them, crunched, and sucked them in.
He knew no law, he feared no binding law,
But ground them with inexorable jaw:
The luscious fat distilled upon his chin,
Exuded from his nostrils and his eyes,
While still like hungry death he fed his maw;
Till every minor crocodile being dead
And buried too, himself gorged to the full,
He slept with breath oppressed and unstrung claw.
Oh marvel passing strange which next I saw:
In sleep he dwindled to the common size,
And all the empire faded from his coat.
Then from far off a wingèd vessel came,
Swift as a swallow, subtle as a flame:
I know not what it bore of freight or host,
But white it was as an avenging ghost.
It levelled strong Euphrates in its course;
Supreme yet weightless as an idle mote
It seemed to tame the waters without force
Till not a murmur swelled or billow beat:
Lo, as the purple shadow swept the sands,
The prudent crocodile rose on his feet
And shed appropriate tears and wrung his hands.

What can it mean? you ask. I answer not
For meaning, but myself must echo, What?
And tell it as I saw it on the spot.

Dream Land

Where sunless rivers weep
Their waves into the deep,
She sleeps a charmed sleep:
Awake her not.
Led by a single star,
She came from very far
To seek where shadows are
Her pleasant lot.

She left the rosy morn,
She left the fields of corn,
For twilight cold and lorn
And water springs.
Through sleep, as through a veil,
She sees the sky look pale,
And hears the nightingale
That sadly sings.

Rest, rest, a perfect rest
Shed over brow and breast;
Her face is toward the west,
The purple land.
She cannot see the grain
Ripening on hill and plain;
She cannot feel the rain
Upon her hand.

Rest, rest, for evermore
Upon a mossy shore;
Rest, rest at the heart’s core
Till time shall cease:
Sleep that no pain shall wake;
Night that no morn shall break
Till joy shall overtake
Her perfect peace.


I watched a rosebud very long
Brought on by dew and sun and shower,
Waiting to see the perfect flower:
Then, when I thought it should be strong,
It opened at the matin hour
And fell at evensong.

I watched a nest from day to day,
A green nest full of pleasant shade,
Wherein three speckled eggs were laid:
But when they should have hatched in May,
The two old birds had grown afraid
Or tired, and flew away.

Then in my wrath I broke the bough
That I had tended so with care,
Hoping its scent should fill the air;
I crushed the eggs, not heeding how
Their ancient promise had been fair:
I would have vengeance now.

But the dead branch spoke from the sod,
And the eggs answered me again:
Because we failed dost thou complain?
Is thy wrath just? And what if God,
Who waiteth for thy fruits in vain,
Should also take the rod?

Vermillion Lies – The Astronomer

“Forget days past, heart broken, put all memory by!
No grief on the green hillside, no pity in the sky,
Joy that may not be spoken fills mead and flower and tree.”

William Morris

Into The Cosmology II

So the bodhisattva saves all beings,
not by preaching sermons to them,
but by showing them that they are delivered,
they are liberated,
by the act of not being able to stop changing.

Alan Watts

Sunday Afternoon/Early Evening… after a day of working with our harvest, as well as driving out to Sauvie Island and visiting the various farms and nurseries we are back home. Rowan has had a minor break through with his writing, Mary has been putting away herbs and tomato sauces for the winter, and I have settled on page designs for The Invisible College number 7.

It has been a couple of days of intense beauty here, the fall rains have come, and the familiar patterns of the North West are asserting themselves. The little Gods of fields, forest and river, the devas of hearth, home, and family seem to be rising from their summer slumbers with the changes. You catch their breaths with the new winds rising up.

I have had these moments of pure bliss as of late, everything is in its perfect place; Rowan humming in his room, Mary with her plants, and I doing the dishes. The world has those moments of synchronicity, luckily a few have come our way.

I hope this finds you as content as I am in this moment; the wheel turns and life if full of glory.

We continue with The Joyous Cosmology entries, spicing it up with a bit of Michael McClure, and Tame Impala for the music.

Bright Blessings,
On The Menu:
Alan Watt Quotes
Tame Impala – The Bold Arrow Of Time
Joyous Cosmology Parts 2 & 3
3 Poems: Michael McClure
Tame Impala-Solitude is Bliss
Alan Watt Quotes:

Zen … does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.
I have suggested that behind almost all myth lies the mono-plot of the game of hide-and-seek.
The pity of all this is, you know, a man like that [Sri Ramakrishna] has to have disciples, or no one would ever hear about him. But somehow, as the generations pass, the flame dies out. And eventually the disciples kill him. I wish that there was a way of putting a time-bomb into scriptures and records — not a time-bomb, but some kind of invisible ink, so that all scriptures would un-print themselves about fifty years after the master’s death. And just dissolve.
Nowadays, of course, progressive theologians are all for sex; they say it’s a good thing, the biblical position was not that sex was evil, but that it was good, and that it’s alright.

But now, look here, what is the real point here? The proof of the pudding is in the eating. What can you get kicked out of the church for? Any church — Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Baptist, and the synagogue I think too. What’s the real thing for which people get kicked out, excommunicated?
For “envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness”? “Pride, vainglory, and hardness of heart”? Owning shares in munitions factories? Profiting off slums? No sir. You can be a bishop and live in all those sins openly. But if you go to bed with the wrong person, you’re out.

So one has to conclude that, for all practical purposes, the church is a sexual regulation society; and it really isn’t interested in anything else. Christianity is more preoccupied with sex than even Priapism or Tantric Yoga [are]. Because that’s the thing that counts, that’s the sin, the really important sin.
The style of God venerated in the church, mosque, or synagogue seems completely different from the style of the natural universe.
Tame Impala – The Bold Arrow Of Time

Here is our source for The Joyous Cosmology: The Psychedelic Library! (Thanks To Peter Webster!)
Joyous Cosmology Parts 2 & 3

I am listening to the music of an organ. As leaves seemed to gesture, the organ seems quite literally to speak. There is no use of the vox humana stop, but every sound seems to issue from a vast human throat, moist with saliva. As, with the base pedals, the player moves slowly down the scale, the sounds seem to blow forth in immense, gooey spludges. As I listen more carefully, the spludges acquire texture—expanding circles of vibration finely and evenly toothed like combs, no longer moist and liquidinous like the living throat, but mechanically discontinuous. The sound disintegrates into the innumerable individual drrrits of vibration. Listening on, the gaps close, or perhaps each individual drrrit becomes in its turn a spludge. The liquid and the hard, the continuous and the discontinuous, the gooey and the prickly, seem to be transformations of each other, or to be different levels of magnification upon the same thing.

This theme recurs in a hundred different ways—the inseparable polarity of opposites, or the mutuality and reciprocity of all the possible contents of consciousness. It is easy to see theoretically that all perception is of contrasts—figure and ground, light and shadow, clear and vague, firm and weak. But normal attention seems to have difficulty in taking in both at once. Both sensuously and conceptually we seem to move serially from one to the other; we do not seem to be able to attend to the figure without relative unconsciousness of the ground. But in this new world the mutuality of things is quite clear at every level. The human face, for example, becomes clear in all its aspects—the total form together with each single hair and wrinkle. Faces become all ages at once, for characteristics that suggest age also suggest youth by implication; the bony structure suggesting the skull evokes instantly the newborn infant. The associative couplings of the brain seem to fire simultaneously instead of one at a time, projecting a view of life which may be terrifying in its ambiguity or joyous in its integrity.
Decision can be completely paralyzed by the sudden realization that there is no way of having good without evil, or that it is impossible to act upon reliable authority without choosing, from your own inexperience, to do so. If sanity implies madness and faith doubt, am I basically a psychotic pretending to be sane, a blithering terrified idiot who manages, temporarily, to put on an act of being self-possessed? I begin to see my whole life as a masterpiece of duplicity—the confused, helpless, hungry, and hideously sensitive little embryo at the root of me having learned, step by step, to comply, placate, bully, wheedle, flatter, bluff, and cheat my way into being taken for a person of competence and reliability. For when it really comes down to it, what do any of us know?
I am listening to a priest chanting the Mass and a choir of nuns responding. His mature, cultivated voice rings with the serene authority of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of the Faith once and for all delivered to the saints, and the nuns respond, naively it seems, with childlike, utterly innocent devotion. But, listening again, I can hear the priest “putting on” his voice, hear the inflated, pompous balloon, the studiedly unctuous tones of a master deceptionist who has the poor little nuns, kneeling in their stalls, completely cowed. Listen deeper. The nuns are not cowed at all. They are playing possum. With just a little stiffening, the limp gesture of bowing turns into the gesture of the closing claw. With too few men to go around, the nuns know what is good for them: how to bend and survive.

But this profoundly cynical view of things is only an intermediate stage. I begin to congratulate the priest on his gamesmanship, on the sheer courage of being able to put up such a performance of authority when he knows precisely nothing. Perhaps there is no other knowing than the mere competence of the act. If, at the heart of one’s being, there is no real self to which one ought to be true, sincerity is simply nerve; it lies in the unabashed vigor of the pretense.
But pretense is only pretense when it is assumed that the act is not true to the agent. Find the agent. In the priest’s voice I hear down at the root the primordial howl of the beast in the jungle, but it has been inflected, complicated, refined, and textured with centuries of culture. Every new twist, every additional subtlety, was a fresh gambit in the game of making the original howl more effective. At first, crude and unconcealed, the cry for food or mate, or just noise for the fun of it, making the rocks echo. Then rhythm to enchant. then changes of tone to plead or threaten. Then words to specify the need, to promise and bargain. And then, much later, the gambits of indirection. The feminine stratagem of stooping to conquer, the claim to superior worth in renouncing the world for the spirit, the cunning of weakness proving stronger than the might of muscle—and the meek inheriting the earth.
As I listen, then, I can hear in that one voice the simultaneous presence of all the levels of man’s history, as of all the stages of life before man. Every step in the game becomes as clear as the rings in a severed tree. But this is an ascending hierarchy of maneuvers, of stratagems capping stratagems, all symbolized in the overlays of refinement beneath which the original howl is still sounding. Sometimes the howl shifts from the mating call of the adult animal to the helpless crying of the baby, and I feel all man’s music—its pomp and circumstance, its gaiety, its awe, its confident solemnity—as just so much complication and concealment of baby wailing for mother. And as I want to cry with pity, I know I am sorry for myself. I, as an adult, am also back there alone in the dark, just as the primordial howl is still present beneath the sublime modulations of the chant.

You poor baby! And yet—you selfish little bastard! As I try to find the agent behind the act, the motivating force at the bottom of the whole thing, I seem to see only an endless ambivalence. Behind the mask of love I find my innate selfishness. What a predicament I am in if someone asks, “Do you really love me?” I can’t say yes without saying no, for the only answer that will really satisfy is, “Yes, I love you so much I could eat you! My love for you is identical with my love for myself. I love you with the purest selfishness.” No one wants to be loved out of a sense of duty.
So I will be very frank. “Yes, I am pure, selfish desire and I love you because you make me feel wonderful—at any rate for the time being.” But then I begin to wonder whether there isn’t something a bit cunning in this frankness. It is big of me to be so sincere, to make a play for her by not pretending to be more than I am—unlike the other guys who say they love her for herself. I see that there is always something insincere about trying to be sincere, as if I were to say openly, “The statement that I am now making is a lie.” There seems to be something phony about every attempt to define myself, to be totally honest. The trouble is that I can’t see the back, much less the inside, of my head. I can’t be honest because I don’t fully know what I am. Consciousness peers out from a center which it cannot see—and that is the root of the matter.

Life seems to resolve itself down to a tiny germ or nipple of sensitivity. I call it the Eenie-Weenie—a squiggling little nucleus that is trying to make love to itself and can never quite get there. The whole fabulous complexity of vegetable and animal life, as of human civilization, is just a colossal elaboration of the Eenie-Weenie trying to make the Eenie-Weenie. I am in love with myself, but cannot seek myself without hiding myself. As I pursue my own tail, it runs away from me. Does the amoeba split itself in two in an attempt to solve this problem?
I try to go deeper, sinking thought and feeling down and down to their ultimate beginnings. What do I mean by loving myself? In what form do I know myself? Always, it seems, in the form of something other, something strange. The landscape I am watching is also a state of myself, of the neurons in my head. I feel the rock in my hand in terms of my own fingers. And nothing is stranger than my own body—the sensation of the pulse, the eye seen through a magnifying glass in the mirror, the shock of realizing that oneself is something in the external world. At root, there is simply no way of separating self from other, self-love from other-love. All knowledge of self is knowledge of other, and all knowledge of other knowledge of self. I begin to see that self and other, the familiar and the strange, the internal and the external, the predictable and the unpredictable imply each other. One is seek and the other is hide, and the more I become aware of their implying each other, the more I feel them to be one with each other. I become curiously affectionate and intimate with all that seemed alien. In the features of everything foreign, threatening, terrifying, incomprehensible, and remote I begin to recognize myself. Yet this is a “myself” which I seem to be remembering from long, long ago—not at all my empirical ego of yesterday, not my specious personality.
The “myself” which I am beginning to recognize, which I had forgotten but actually know better than anything else, goes far back beyond my childhood, beyond the time when adults confused me and tried to tell me that I was someone else; when, because they were bigger and stronger, they could terrify me with their imaginary fears and bewilder and outface me in the complicated game that I had not yet learned. (The sadism of the teacher explaining the game and yet having to prove his superiority in it.) Long before all that, long before I was an embryo in my mother’s womb, there looms the ever-so-familiar stranger, the everything not me, which I recognize, with a joy immeasurably more intense than a meeting of lovers separated by centuries, to be my original self. The good old sonofabitch who got me involved in this whole game.

At the same time everyone and everything around me takes on the feeling of having been there always, and then forgotten, and then remembered again. We are sitting in a garden surrounded in every direction by uncultivated hills, a garden of fuchsias and hummingbirds in a valley that leads down to the westernmost ocean, and where the gulls take refuge in storms. At some time in the middle of the twentieth century, upon an afternoon in the summer, we are sitting around a table on the terrace, eating dark homemade bread and drinking white wine. And yet we seem to have been there forever, for the people with me are no longer the humdrum and harassed little personalities with names, addresses, and social security numbers, the specifically dated mortals we are all pretending to be. They appear rather as immortal archetypes of themselves without, however, losing their humanity. It is just that their differing characters seem, like the priest’s voice, to contain all history; they are at once unique and eternal, men and women but also gods and goddesses. For now that we have time to look at each other we become timeless. The human form becomes immeasurably precious and, as if to symbolize this, the eyes become intelligent jewels, the hair spun gold, and the flesh translucent ivory. Between those who enter this world together there is also a love which is distinctly eucharistic, an acceptance of each other’s natures from the heights to the depths.
Ella, who planted the garden, is a beneficent Circe—sorceress, daughter of the moon, familiar of cats and snakes, herbalist and healer—with the youngest old face one has ever seen, exquisitely wrinkled, silver-black hair rippled like flames. Robert is a manifestation of Pan, but a Pan of bulls instead of the Pan of goats, with frizzled short hair tufted into blunt horns—a man all sweating muscle and body, incarnation of exuberant glee. Beryl, his wife, is a nymph who has stepped out of the forest, a mermaid of the land with swinging hair and a dancing body that seems to be naked even when clothed. It is her bread that we are eating, and it tastes like the Original Bread of which mother’s own bread was a bungled imitation. And then there is Mary, beloved in the usual, dusty world, but in this world an embodiment of light and gold, daughter of the sun, with eyes formed from the evening sky—a creature of all ages, baby, moppet, maid, matron, crone, and corpse, evoking love of all ages.

I try to find words that will suggest the numinous, mythological quality of these people. Yet at the same time they are as familiar as if I had known them for centuries, or rather, as if I were recognizing them again as lost friends whom I knew at the beginning of time, from a country begotten before all worlds. This is of course bound up with the recognition of my own most ancient identity, older by far than the blind squiggling of the Eenie-Weenie, as if the highest form that consciousness could take had somehow been present at the very beginning of things. All of us look at each other knowingly, for the feeling that we knew each other in that most distant past conceals something else—tacit, awesome, almost unmentionable—the realization that at the deep center of a time perpendicular to ordinary time we are, and always have been, one. We acknowledge the marvelously hidden plot, the master illusion, whereby we appear to be different.
The shock of recognition. In the form of everything most other, alien, and remote—the ever-receding galaxies, the mystery of death, the terrors of disease and madness, the foreign-feeling, gooseflesh world of sea monsters and spiders, the queasy labyrinth of my own insides—in all these forms I have crept up on myself and yelled “Boo!” I scare myself out of my wits, and, while out of my wits, cannot remember just how it happened. Ordinarily I am lost in a maze. I don’t know how I got here, for I have lost the thread and forgotten the intricately convoluted system of passages through which the game of hide-and-seek was pursued. (Was it the path I followed in growing the circuits of my brain?) But now the principle of the maze is clear. It is the device of something turning back upon itself so as to seem to be other, and the turns have been so many and so dizzyingly complex that I am quite bewildered. The principle is that all dualities and opposites are not disjoined but polar; they do not encounter and confront one another from afar; they exfoliate from a common center. Ordinary thinking conceals polarity and relativity because it employs terms, the terminals or ends, the poles, neglecting what lies between them. The difference of front and back, to be and not to be, hides their unity and mutuality.

Now consciousness, sense perception, is always a sensation of contrasts. It is a specialization in differences, in noticing, and nothing is definable, classifiable, or noticeable except by contrast with something else. But man does not live by consciousness alone, for the linear, step-by-step, contrast-by-contrast procedure of attention is quite inadequate for organizing anything so complex as a living body. The body itself has an “omniscience” which is unconscious, or superconscious, just because it deals with relation instead of contrast, with harmonies rather than discords. It “thinks” or organizes as a plant grows, not as a botanist describes its growth. This is why Shiva has ten arms, for he represents the dance of life, the omnipotence of being able to do innumerably many things at once.
In the type of experience I am describing, it seems that the superconscious method of thinking becomes conscious. We see the world as the whole body sees it, and for this very reason there is the greatest difficulty in attempting to translate this mode of vision into a form of language that is based on contrast and classification. To the extent, then, that man has become a being centered in consciousness, he has become centered in clash, conflict, and discord. He ignores, as beneath notice, the astounding perfection of his organism as a whole, and this is why, in most people, there is such a deplorable disparity between the intelligent and marvelous order of their bodies and the trivial preoccupations of their consciousness. But in this other world the situation is reversed. Ordinary people look like gods because the values of the organism are uppermost, and the concerns of consciousness fall back into the subordinate position which they should properly hold. Love, unity, harmony, and relationship therefore take precedence over war and division.

For what consciousness overlooks is the fact that all boundaries and divisions are held in common by their opposite sides and areas, so that when a boundary changes its shape both sides move together. It is like the yang-yin symbol of the Chinese—the black and white fishes divided by an S-curve inscribed within a circle. The bulging head of one is the narrowing tail of the other. But how much more difficult it is to see that my skin and its movements belong both to me and to the external world, or that the spheres of influence of different human beings have common walls like so many rooms in a house, so that the movement of my wall is also the movement of yours. You can do what you like in your room just so long as I can do what I like in mine. But each man’s room is himself in his fullest extension, so that my expansion is your contraction and vice versa.

3 Poems: Michael McClure

Howlin’ Blues

I’m headed for jail,
just headed for jail.
See the little sparrow
with her eyes on the hawk.
Everything around is
just more talk.
Don’t use a knife to pound in a nail.
Spank me with a rose
I’m headed for jail.

Hawk he’s hungry
and Sparrow tastes good.
Feathers fall down by the side of the road.
to where
stars lie in bed.

Spank me with a rose.
Hawk he’s hungry
and Sparrow tastes good.

Spank me with a rose.
to where
stars lie in bed.

I’m headed for jail.
Don’t use a knife to pound in a nail.

Imagine Peace

“Imagine Peace,” said John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Imagine Peace….
We are here, Imagining Peace.
Imagine the Patriot Act rolled back, and the next step, Patriot Act 2, stopped in this
Administration’s bloody tracks.
Imagine an end to poisoning the ocean, and the atmosphere, and the food we eat.
Imagine creating universal health care.
Imagine an end to homelessness and hunger.
The City of Baghdad is one front in a huge war. It’s one war against nature and human nature. We
are at countless fronts of the war around us as well as the foreign massacres and hells created by
this unelected government.
Keep armed force out of Syria.
Imagine civil liberties, and foreign liberties, restored.
The 19th-century rebel poet Shelley said:
Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake the chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you.
We are many, they are few.

Here’s a poem of mine, beginning with words by Thoreau:
Let me be free of ligaments and tendencies
to change myself into a shape
that’s less than spirit.
a caterpillar, a salmon,
sailing in the silver water
beneath the rosy sky.
Were I a moth or condor
you’d see me fly!
I love this meat of which I’m made!
I dive into it to find the simplest vital shape!
—Michael McClure
Civic Center Plaza Peace Rally
San Francisco, April 12, 2003
(delivered in the pouring rain)

FOR Willie Dixon


Ayy… Gee… Enn… Oh… Ess… Eye… Ayy…
spells Agnosia
everybody knows
we are the petals and the thorns
We are
in his night-petaled robe

Everybody knows
we are the muscled black
projecting dark

to put the black on

back on





smiling in the teeth
of old Despair

Death is
beside the point
we’re always dead



this flesh is every way alive

in the night
are coyote voices
of black and scarlet
choiring on the radio that bursts the dawn
on children
and flash out harsh pools
of circling light







because it is the edge chunk
of what I feel!





in the shambles
(in the brambles)
when my Enemies come to get me!

and I’m not halfway free





and whistle
in the graveyard!)
Slinky silk upon the thigh


Where is the crisis?


The beggars are coming to town
Some in rags and
some in tags and
some in

Rattles in the gears
of old cars



There’s A

with a mouth
in there

black cave with a mouth
in there

and it


Looking up at me








like some hero’s shoulders


like long lean cars
lean cars


and never moves


I could tell you
why molecules
Not quarks or hadrons
or drunken flies
falling on magnolia leaves
or sheaves
of titillating fingers
clipped from the edge chunks
of the things
we smell
We can say, “Goodbye Hell”
“Hello Heaven”
and it doesn’t even mean
as much as sparrow shit
on the walls of a football stadium

I surrender cower I am a worm
churning in the apple flower
of the worlds
in my lusts

This is our beginning and we’re flexing
in the shadow of the end



I’m just chicken a’la king

I am the cloud of

Ayy… Gee… Enn… Oh… Ess… Eye… Ayy…

There’s a word

Some word…

Tame Impala-Solitude is Bliss

How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes,
such enchanted musical instruments as the ears,
and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain
can experience itself anything less than a god?

Alan Watts

For Rosemary…

Stand up and look at me, face to face
My friend,
Unloose the beauty of your eyes…..

– Sappho

This edition of Turfing is dedicated for Rosemary Woodruff Leary. In my conversations with her, I discovered a wonderful being, full of light, and laughter. I hope her autobiography finally sees the light of day soon. She was a pivotal figure in the last century, and has not received the full attention that she so rightly deserves.

So, without much further ado, here is our entry “For Rosemary”… we also pay tribute to The Master Musicians of Jajouka, the wonderful art of Robert Fried and the delightful poetry of Sappho. One of our larger entries of late, but please take the time to explore!

Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

Master Musicians of Jajouka – Apocalypse Across the Sky
The Master Musicians – Rosemary Woodruff Leary
Rosemary Woodruff Leary Interview
In Her Glory – Sappho
Master Musicians of Jajouka – Magic Of Peace
Art: Robert Fried
Master Musicians of Jajouka – Apocalypse Across the Sky


Rosemary Woodruff Leary on Visiting Jojouka with her Husband Timothy, September 1969
The Master Musicians – Rosemary Woodruff Leary

“Pan, Bou Jeloud, the Father of Skins, dances through the moonlight nights in his village, Joujouka, to the wailing of his hundred Master Musicians. Down in the town, far away by the seaside, you can hear the wild whimper of his oboe-like raitas; a faint breath of panic borne on the wind.” – Brion Gysin (Liner notes from the album Brian Jones Presents The Pipes of Pan at Joujouka)

Timothy and I spent September of 1969 in Tangier. One night Paul Bowles and Brion Gysin told us about the musicians of Joujouka who lived high in the Rif Mountains. The Master Musicians were priests of Pan, who celebrated the ancient rites of the goat god and the local goddess, Aisha, the beautiful, the blue-faced one. Brion told us that his friend, the Moroccan artist Hamri, could take us to the Master Musicians, the Ahl Serif, as they were the tribe of his mother.

We started from the sea, at Tangier, on a clear fall afternoon, in a succession of taxicabs, each more decrepit that the last, we headed toward the Rif Mountains. When one driver had gone as far as he would go, we’d find another. In villages, Hamri disappeared into crowded marketplaces and reappeared within a few minutes laden with oranges and packages, and trailed by the owner of the taxi that would take us to the next outpost.

We reached a checkpoint at a dusty fort on the barren plain where Hamri’s ‘cousin’, the local Commandante, allowed our passage. We were in the middle of nowhere, and our driver was reluctant to continue, but Hamri harangued and caj oled him until at last he agreed to take us into the foothills of the mountains. After miles of jouncing on a steep rutted road, the driver stopped and would not continue. We gathered our packages, paid the driver, and started on foot up the mountain path in the early evening light.

From across the slope of the mountain a shepherd boy watched us. He stood on one leg, the other leg bent and resting on his thigh, his arm crooked around his staff. Hamri called out to him. The boy leapt into the air, waved his staff, and took off running up the mountain. ‘A cousin’, Hamri told us. ‘He’ll tell the village and perhaps they’ll send the animals. We’ll rest here’. We waited, and soon a group of villagers descended to meet us. A woman offered golden apricots from a fold in her cloak. Hamri exchanged greeting with everyone, waving his arms to include us. The villagers insisted on carrying our bundles and packages up the mountain.

The sun lit the distant peaks. Soon we saw the village, the whitewashed walls of low houses turning blue in the darkening light. A few dim lamps glowed from the doorways. Hamri led us to a long and low white building with a porch. He said it was the schoolhouse, built with funds that he and Brion had given to the village.

We left our shoes on the porch as the men did and ducked our heads to enter the schoolhouse. Hamri introduced the men but it was impossible to keep up with their names. The last man stepped from behind a taller companion. ‘Berdu’, Hamri said with emphasis. Berdu, the smallest and surely the poorest among the village men, shambled down forward. He reached up and took off an imaginary plumed hat and made a sweeping, courtly bow to me. I curtsied, and everyone laughed. The village idiot, I presumed. I thought he looked simple.

We were invited to be seated in a corner of the room that was heaped with embroidered pillows. The kerosene stove hissed in the far corner, and shortly we were served sweet mint tea in small glasses. Hamri talked quietly with the men. Their clothing was simple: shirts and pants with a mix of European and handmade, always ragged cloak, and one could occasionally glimpse the embroidered bags the men wore beneath their cloaks.

Eggs and flat bread were served all around. After we’d eaten and the tin dished were collected and cigarettes exchanged, the men opened the embroidered bags and pulled out simple reed-stem pipes and, to our delight, packages of finely-cut kif. Hamri and Berdu shared their pipes with us. The kif was fresher and greener than any I’d had in Morocco.

A man took a violin back from England. The violinist smiled and began to pluck a reel. Penny whistles joined the violin and Berdu stepped into the aisle. He hitched up his cloak and held it with one arm. With the other arm behind his back he danced a sailor’s jig until the violinist turned the reel into Flamenco. Berdu became a self-important torero who, with a twitch of his cloak then became an imperious woman trailing flounces as the music became a Gypsy wail.

She opened her mouth to sing an impassioned lament, the violinist rose, swaying to accompany her; then the violinist interrupted the voiceless song to correct the glowering opera singer who stood before us. The violinist was now Paderewski, enraptured by his own music. Berdu snapped the baton in disgust and stalked away. He returned as an old woman carrying an invisible heavy bucket. With great effort, he lifted the bucket and dashed the contents onto the head of the violinist who continued to ignore him and finished the real and wonderful music. The violinist then wiped his brow and sat down to everyone’s laughter and applause.

Tim and I looked at one another. I reached into my own embroidered bag and discreetly took out two tabs of LSD. I placed one into his mouth as though I were placing a kissed fingertip onto his lips, and I put one into my own mouth. We swallowed the LSD with sweet green tea.

Berdu, with a surprisingly deep and resonant voice, began a prayer. ‘La Illah Allah Allah’. The men responded, ‘Mohamadu Akbar’.

In a conversational tone, the prayers continued, Berdu commenting, it seemed, on the village, the animals, and Hamri, who bowed his head to gentle laughter. Berdu directed us through prayer to laughter to a sense of closeness. There was a time of silence. We heard a few gentle coughs, a distant tinkle of bells. People stirred, shifting positions, and Berdu sat down among us. We could no longer see him.

‘Who is he?’ I asked Hamri.

‘Berdu, the Master’, Hamri replied.

‘The Master?’

The Master Musician of Joujouka’.

I needed to step outside. I found my boots on the porch lined up with the men’s backless leather slippers. I started to put on my boots, but a man I had not noticed before waved his hand dismissively and pointed to the men’s slippers. I nodded my thanks and put on the nearest pair of slippers. He motioned to my left and I followed a path out onto a gently sloping field. I was facing a star-filled sky. There were no electric lights to dim thye stars. Everything I saw was as it had always been, timeless.

I could hear the goats’ bells, and their strong smell told me they were nearby. I pulled a cluster of white wool that had been caught on a bush. As I walked back to the long house I rolled it between my fingers, effortlessly drawing the silky tuft of wool into a fine strand of thread. When I returned to the long house I was reluctant to go back inside to the room of men, to the air heavy with kif and tobacco smoke and kerosene. I wondered what the village women and children were doing.

Hamri stood in the doorway, backlit by the kerosene lamps inside. He beckoned to me to join him and the men. He led us out over a slight rise to a small clearing between the hills where brush was being piled onto a crackling fire. ‘Stand here’, Hamri said, placing us 10 or so feet from the fire. To our left, a row of hooded men took long wooden horns from patchwork bags. Behind them stood a group of men with drums, each drum aslant across the chest, held with thongs. They carried curved slender rods in their right hands, and in their left hands, heavier wooden sticks, the top ends carved in relief spirals like ram’s horns.

The night was still except for the fire which threw sparks into the darkness. The hooded men lifted their horns, and a thin piercing sound from the oboe-like instruments was sustained for an incredibly long time, maintained by the subtle joining of one horn to another, as no single breath could be that long. I travelled the brighter, larger, and then the horns went higher, taking me almost to the point of pain, then the music swirled into a skirling bagpipe sound whose rhythm the wind had torn away.

The drums, silent until then, boomed into being, a thudding heartbeat of rhythm. My breath was caught by the horns; my pulses by the drums. Was this music, or was it the thunder of mammoth hooves, screams of birds of prey? It seemed the very tempo of life in my body. Eardrums could be shattered. Hearts could burst from these sounds. The drums built a wall that contained the reed instruments. The reeds descended into a weaving ribbon of silver notes, playful to the drums’ assertive tempo, seductive, cajoling, demanding rhythms.

A creature leapt over the fire to confront the musicians. He was tall, powerful, barely covered by tattered clothing. His face was concealed by a deep straw basket adorned with antler-like branch-arches curved so high that his feet were hooves. Trailing branches in his hands, flailing the air, his pelvis thrusting, he was goaded by the music. He whirled around the fire, pausing once to glare at me with a goat’s horizontal eyes. The creature struck me with the branches. Struck me or anointed me, I don’t know which.

‘Bou Jeloud’, Hamri said.

Pan lives, I thought.

A slender figure in a blue-spangled dress came from the shadows. Arms curved, veils aswirl, her hips swaying with seduction, she turned before the Bou Jeloud. He followed her dancing form, leaping before her as she teased him with her veils. She played with him, turning him around and around, mocking him. Abruptly she was gone and the creature confronted the musicians, but they taunted him with their rhythms. He danced before them, controlled by them. The drums reverberated through the mountains. The horns’ high notes seemed to come from everywhere. Bou Jeloud bucked convulsively, howling in anguish that Aisha had left him. The drums slowed; the horns were one pure fading note. Bou Jeloud scattered the fire with his flails and disappeared into the black night.

Later, at the schoolhouse, Berdu brought former Bou Jelouds and Aishas to the center of the floor to demonstrate and mime their styles. He made fun of all of them, showing how one of them had grown too stout, another too clumsy. Hamri said they were chosen while very young for training, and that characteristics they showed as children determined which role they would play.

And then I danced for them. Not that I wanted to, or even thought that I could, but my usual inhibitions were lessened by LSD, and there seemed to be silken threads tied to my ankles and wrists that Berdu controlled ever so surely. And the music was irresistible. Penny whistles, violin, and softly tapped drums drew me to my feet. For a few moments I was Aisha to Berdu’s gently mocking Bou Jeloud. There were shouts of ‘Musicienne!’ and ‘Encore!’ when I sat down. I rose again, but the magic that had descended upon me was fading and I had become self-conscious. I pretended to stumble, and fell back into Tim’s lap, and we all laughed.

We left on muleback the next morning. All the way down the mountain I could still hear the drums in my head, and I could hear them at will for many years. The memory of the music that night reminds me that for a brief, magical time, I was a ‘musicienne’ among the Master Musicians of Joujouka.



The Magician’s Daughter
“I’d like to do this whole thing all over again on a sunny day with some wine..”
with Rosemary Woodruff Leary

(interview by David Phillips & Sylvia Thyssen)

Rosemary Sarah Woodruff Leary was one of the world’s great psychedelic pioneers. She worked throughout her life to educate people about the psychedelic experience, and was instrumental in helping to orchestrate the cultural revolution of the Sixties. This she did at the expense of her personal freedom, which was compromised for a significant portion of her life.

Rosemary was born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 26, 1935. She left a conservative Baptist environment for New York City as a teenager in the Fifties, where she began hanging out with jazz musicians and Beat writers. Here she did some modeling work, some television commercials, and she mingled with the Beats and emerging counter-culture. She also experimented for the first time with peyote and other hallucinogenic plants.

In 1965 Timothy Leary invited her to visit him at the Millbrook Estate in Dutchess County, New York, which members of the Mellon family had made available to Leary as a center for his psychedelic research. That visit began an association between Timothy and Rosemary that continued in various forms until Timothy’s death in 1996, although they had virtually no contact between 1972 and around 1992.

The couple married in 1967, and Rosemary participated in Timothy’s work to change LSD from an instrument of the intellectual elite to a catalyst for wide change in the American psyche. Because of the pervasive sexism, which often obscured women’s intellectual contributions during this time, women rebels were usually viewed as being simply muses to their male counterparts. Rosemary transcended this archaic role by becoming Timothy Leary’s partner in creating the setting which shaped LSD experimentation in its formative years. She participated in Timothy’s staged psychedelic celebartions, helped on his books, and starred in the feature film, “Turn on, Tune In, Drop Out”. She also became known for her remarkable and distinctive sense of style. She designed and made much of the clothing she and Timothy wore in the late 1960s, and her creations inspired the fashion of the era.

Because of their work with LSD, the Learys and their circle became targets for criminal prosecutions, and a series of arrests profoundly changed Timothy and Rosemary’s life. They were first arrested in Laredo, Texas, in 1965 for possession of a half-ounce marijuana. In 1966 local District Attorney G. Gordon Liddy raided the Millbrook Estate, arresting the Learys for alleged improprieties. They were arrested again for possession of two half-smoked marijuana cigarettes in Laguna Beach, California in 1968. Rosemary was sentenced to six months for the Laguna Beach arrest, but Timothy was sentenced to a total of twenty-eight years.

One of Rosemary’s great contributions to the psychedelic movement was her consistent refusal to cooperate with Federal Authorities. She received thirty days of solitary confinement for not testifying against her husband after Liddy busted Millbrook in 1966. During the 1970’s she also refused an offer of amnesty from the FBI in exchange for providing names of others who had committed illegal acts in the name of freedom of consciousness. This selfless show of bravery was to define the course of her life.

In 1970 Rosemary worked with the Weather Underground to help orchestrate Timothy’s escape from prison, and with forged passports, they fled the country. They sought refuge with Eldridge Cleaver at his Black Panther Embassy in Algeria, but Cleaver placed them under house arrest, so they fled to Switzerland.

The pressures on the exiles placed a strain on their marriage. They separated in 1971 and later divorced. Rosemary, a fugitive for her role in assisting Timothy’s escape, lived underground for 23 years in
Afghanistan, in Sicily, and in South and Central America, often traveling under a Gary Davis One World passport, which local immigration officials solemnly stamped with visas. After her secret return to the United States she lived in relative seclusion on Cape Cod, in San Francisco, and in Half Moon Bay, California, using the name Sarah Woodruff. She remained a fugitive many years longer than Timothy, and the charges against her were not cleared until 1994.

In the last years of her life, Rosemary concentrated on managing the trust that administered Timothy’s copyrights and archives. She also lectured to college students, for whom the psychedelic revolution was a historical event that had taken place before they were born. Her natural gifts as a raconteur made her lectures extremely popular. Rosemary was in the process of completing the final draft of her memoir The Magician’s Daughter at the time of her death.

I became close friends with Rosemary during the final years of her life, as she lived close to my home in the Santa Cruz mountains. The experience that I had with her while she was dying was one of the most profound experiences of my life. I got a phone call on the morning of February 7 from a friend who said that Rosemary–who had recently had a heart attack, and been in and out of the hospital for weeks–had fallen unconscious the night before, and it didn’t look like she was coming out of it this time.

If I wanted to say goodbye to Rosemary, my friend said, you’d better hurry over here fast. So I got in my car and headed over to her home in Aptos. When I got there Rosemary was lying on a hospital cot in the center of her living room. Her niece Katy was reading to her from a book. I took Katy’s place beside Rosemary. Her spirit barely seemed present.

Oxygen tubes ran out of her nose, her eyes were rolled back into her head, and she was having difficulty breathing. So I took her hand, rubbed her forehead, looked into her eyes, and began speaking to her. I told her how before I ever met her, as a teenager, I used to look at photos of her books, and how I had had this outrageous crush on her. I told her how much I loved her, and appreciated her friendship. Rosemary was an extremely good-hearted person.

I seemed to have a strength, and an intuitive understanding of what to say and do at the time that is hard to explain. I began telling her that it was okay to surrender, it was okay to let go. Let she was deeply loved, and moving into more love.

Well, after doing this for a few minutes, looking into Rosemary’s eyes, I began to feel like I was tripping on LSD. With the exception of her eyes, everything else in the room dissolved into sparkling lights.

I found myself in a light-filled space, and there I was with Rosemary. Beautiful Rosemary. I found myself continuing to encourage her to let go, to surrender, that it was okay to die. I told her over and over how much I loved her.

I felt her presence around me, and we were together in this light-filled space for around fifteen or twenty minutes it seemed. Then, very suddenly, I snapped back into my body, into Rosemary’s living room. I was holding Rosemary’s hand, and around a dozen people surrounded us.

I kissed Rosemary on the forehead, got up and went over to sit on the couch. Rosemary died around ten minutes later.

Along with around a dozen other people, I stood around Rosemary’s body as her spirit ascended to the heavens, or into the bardos, or wherever one goes… Everyone was staring solemnly down at her empty body; everyone except for my friend Suzie Wouk and I who looked across at each other and smiled. Then we both looked up at the ceiling together.

Rosemary died on February 7, 2002. The cause of death was congestive heart failure. She was 66 years old.

This interview with Rosemary occurred on November 11, 2001 at her home in Aptos. Present at the interview was Sylvia Thyssen, editor of the MAPS Bulletin. Rosemary was remarkably well-read and extremely articulate. She was a very polite and considerate person, with a gentle soul and a sweet spirit. She was extremely pretty, and had an elegant sense of aesthetics. She also had a beautiful laugh, which I can still hear everytime I think of her.

(Thank you to David Phillips and Michael Horowitz for their help in crafting this introduction.)

David: What were you like as a child?

Rosemary: Imaginative. Solitary. I was an only child until I was twelve.

With the neighborhood children, I used to put on little events, and we would entertain. I was always directing them, orchestrating what they should do to utilize their talents.

When I was eight I was given a toy typewriter, and I immediately set out to do a neighborhood newsletter. It was very ambitious. Although it never came to fruition, I was very excited by the idea that I had this instrument that I allowed me to put words on paper, and pass them around in the neighborhood.

David: Where did you grow up?

Rosemary: St. Louis. The city had turned its back on the river a long while before I was born, and I thought that was a huge mistake, because it was the Western frontier at one time. St. Louis aspired to be more like Chicago than a river town, which it had been for most of its history. The Mississippi itself was so mysterious, and so huge. I loved the idea that there were perhaps French fur trappers in my family’s history. There were names like Maupin, which I was convinced was an anglosized version of something French.

As a child I mythologized everything. I wanted things to be grander than they were in my little neighborhood, in my little home.

When I was seven I had an experience that was replicated with my first LSD experience. It was a shining moment, and I think it was because I’d entered the age of consciousness. I suddenly realized that I was a part of everything, and everything became very golden and glowing. I was walking on a leafy street near my house, and everything was illuminated with gold. There was a sense of time stopping for a moment.

I always remembered that, and referred to it as a spiritual awakening. Although I had been dumped in a Babtismal pool in the Babtist church at the age of seven, I didn’t have a spiritual experience. I just caught a cold. (laughter) I wanted to have a real religious experience shortly after that.

David: Did something precipitate the experience, or did it just happen spontaneously?

Rosemary: It just happened spontaneously.

David: Do you just remember it happening that one time?

Rosemary: Yes, but it altered everything. It altered my perception of things.

David: Afterwards you mean?

Rosemary: Yes.

David: You were still able to still see the connection between everything?

Rosemary: No, but I felt alive in a different way than I had up until that time. Or so my memory has it. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not. But it was such a brilliant moment that I never forgot it, and always longed for it again.

David: You married and left home at an early age. How did that come about?

Rosemary: When I was 17 marriage was the one avenue of escape. I’d been in love with the same boy since I was 13. He became an airforce pilot, and we married. I went off with him to the state of Washington, where he was on an airforce base. This was just as the Korean War was ending.

David: How did you wind up in New York City?

Rosemary: Oh, I fled my husband after six months. I ran back to St. Louis. I realized that without my parent’s approval, and their help, I wouldn’t be able to return to school, or do anything useful. A friend of friend suggested that I go to New York City. Also, I’d heard jazz on the radio from Birdland–which was a famous jazz club in New York City–late at night. At that age I was going off to East St. Louis to listen to jazz with my girlfriend in her daddy’s Cadillac. We’d sneak to East St. Louis, which was Sin Town. It was were all the bad things happened, except this great music. Then coming home I could hear Birdland on the radio. I used to think, God, New York must be wonderful. But all I knew of New York was what I’d seen of it in the movies.

I went to New York with the address of a friend. My parents moved to California at that time. I certainly didn’t want to go there (here). I felt the call of the city.

David: Then you got into modeling and television commercials once you were in New York?

Rosemary: I did, through someone that I met. People decided I should be a model, and they sent me to Ilene Ford, who wanted me to lose another fifteen pounds. She sent me to John Robert Powers, who was a famous modeling agency, but it was on the way out. I didn’t have the wit to understand that. (laughter)

So I signed up. I started trying to get my portfolio together, and was sent out to different photographers. In one instance I was sent out to become the first bikini girl in a copy of Esquire magazine. The shoot was scheduled for the Fall, and the photographer had told me that over the summer I shouldn’t gain any weight, and I shouldn’t have any strap-marks from sunbathing.

But when I went into his dressing room and put on the bikini, I realized that I had done both. (laughter) So I ended up not in Esquire. I think Tina Louise appeared instead, wearing the first bikini to come to these shores, and a very modest affair it was too. And I kind of ate my way out of print modeling.

David: How did you become interested in the jazz and beatnik culture?

Rosemary: Well, it wasn’t a question of interest. It was just inevitable. I mean, there it was.

David: You had a relationship with a jazz musician.

Rosemary: I married a second time. I married a jazz musician and left. Then I moved in with a composer of classical music, who was on the fringes of the beat scene. He knew Kerouac and the Beat poets, like Philip Lamentia(?) and others. He was great friends with David Amram(?).

David: How did you get introduced to the culture?

Rosemary: Through reading. Kerouac’s books were new to me. The Beat poets were new to me. It was all a revelation. It was all of interest, and we all lived on the Lower East Side at that time too. (laughter) So there were trips to different taverns and bars in the Village, where one would meet. It was a crowd. It was all Bohemia before it was Beat. It was the last Bohemians, who were still in the Village, and who still remembered Edna St. Vincent Malay. There were stories of famous drunkards and poets, and I soaked it all up. New York was like a movie set–a number of movie sets for me—and you could move between them. If you just moved a few blocks away, you’d move into to whole new melieu, and a whole new set of characters, people and friends. It was endlessly fascinating.

David: Was this when you had your first psychedelic experience?

Rosemary: Yes, it was with peyote. We sent away to Brown’s Nursery for the peyote. We ground the cacti up and mixed them with orange juice. It was the most disgusting concoction I’ve ever ever taken, but it was enough to make me realize that I wanted to try it again, but not in a Lower East Side apartment.

David: How old were you?

Rosemary: Oh, by this time I’m in my early twenties.

David: So, the first experience that you had with a psychedelic was basically just enough to make you realize that you wanted to do it again in a different setting?

Rosemary: Yes, a much different setting.

David: How did it effect your perspective of the world?

Rosemary: Well, I realized that it was a sacrament, and that it had to be used as a sacrament. I think I was greatly influenced by reading a lot about American Indian culture. My composer was writing a symphony that he’d been commissioned to do on either Thanksgiving or 4th of July, and he chose instead to write about Chief Crazy Horse.

So we were reading everything we could about American Indians, Chief Crazy Horse, and I read a lot about Sundance rituals, and the early use of peyote. Just taking the peyote, the way that I did, seemed lacking in seriousness, and I knew that I wanted to try it again. I knew that there was a germ of something there that I recognized. I didn’t quite know what it was, but I knew that I wanted to do it again.

David: When was the next time that you did it?

Rosemary: The second time I took a psychedelic was after my friends had been going to Millbrook, and I’d been hearing about Dr. Leary and Dr. Alpert. My best friend was in residence there every weekend, and she kept insisting that I had to try it.

David: These were friends that you had met through the beatnik scene, who were going to Millbrook?

Rosemary: Well, no. They were friends from just another time, another social setting.

Sylvia: What about cannabis? How did that effect you?

Rosemary: Oh well, cannabis, yes. I’d been smoking grass since I was 18 with my musician husband, but that was part of daily ritual. It wasn’t set aside as sacramental.

David: How did you meet Timothy?

Rosemary: I met Timothy, I believe, initially at Millbrook. I’m sort of uncertain about this. The same friends who introduced me to LSD introduced me to Tim. I went up to Millbrook for a weekend, and he had just returned from India. He was married, but separated from his wife. And he took me on a walk at Millbrook. Then we met later that year in the city, and he invited me to go back to Millbrook with him. But I was involved with someone, and didn’t go back until August of 1965. He was in the city, and I drove back with him.

David: How old were you?

Rosemary: 29.

David: What was Millbrook like?

Rosemary: It was a fantasy. It was a fantasy playland. It was almost anything anyone wanted it to be. It could be. There were 2400 acres, with woods, streams and lakes. The lakes froze so we could ice skate in the winter. There was a waterfall to bathe in, 64 rooms of a huge house to roam around in, and a great deal of freedom, for a brief while.

David: A great deal of freedom.

Rosemary: To roam the woods, play nature girl.

David: How often were going up to Millbrook at that point?

Rosemary: Oh, I was going up every weekend–from during the winter, until I moved there in August.

David: How did you and Timothy fall in love?

Rosemary: Well, he was lonely. He was brilliant, and I always aspired to genius in the men that I choose. He certainly presented himself as near-genius, as certainly charming and witty, and it simply happened. I fell in love with him, and he with me.

David: What year were you married?

Rosemary: We married three times in 67. The first at Joshua Tree. The second at our home in Berkeley by a Hindu. And the third time at Millbrook.

David: Before Timothy went to prison, what was the marriage with him like?

Rosemary: Well, everything led up to his going to prison. We got together in August of 65. By December of 65 we were arrested at the border in Luago, Texas. He was on trial, Millbrook was raided, I went to jail (laughter). Millbrook was raided again, several times. We went to Laguna Beach in 67, and were arrested. Tim was arrested several times in Montreal. We went to visit someone in the Bahamas, came back into Florida, and we were arrested. (laughter) So between arrests, trials and courtroom dramas–as well as the need to go on lecture tours to raise money to pay the lawyers–it was pretty frantic.

David: When was the first time you got arrested?

Rosemary: Well, Tim was arrested for leaving the country without declaring himself. He went to visit Marshall McLuhan, and he was arrested for not declaring himself as a drug offender, I believe. We were doing these psychedelic celebrations in New York at the time, and there was a bit of concern as to whether he would get back in time to go on. We we not arrested; we were detained coming back from the Bahamas. They searched our luggage for hours in an FBI office to see if they could find anything. I had a mum, a flower, that Yoko Ono had given me Montreal. It had gone all squishy in the Bahama heat, and (laughter) they were convinced it was some exotic psychedelic. (laughter) So they too that off to the…

David: The lab and analyzed it.

Rosemary: Yes ,(laughter) yes, (laughter)

But, in between there were wonderful moments with Tim. Moments at Millbrook, back in the woods, or simply having dinner in front of the fireplace. Going to Morocco. Going to Montreal and doing the “bed-in” with John and Yoko.

David: Can you talk a little bit about the experiences that you had with some of the cultural innovators of the Sixties?

Rosemary: Well, it was a sense of being among one’s peers, as a change from running a refuge for lost souls (laughter) at Millbrook. Because we were saddled with enormous numbers of people all coming through seeking something, wanting something, needing, using, trashing.

David: It sounds like Santa Cruz.

Rosemary: Yes (laughter), well it was. At the Millbrook estate we’d been very academic. We were contained initially. We had weekend seminars, guests came, visitors came on weekends, and we did different disciplines. We did Gurdjieff one weekend, someone else another weekend. We were involved in teaching and guiding. A colony of artists lived with us. Then, at one point, we were preparing for the celebrations in New York.

But then we opened the place up to summer school, and we gave over part of the house to an ashram– Dr. Misher’s ashram–that had been exiled from their homeland. So they took over. Then Art Kleps moved in, with his boozy consciousness. So, suddenly, there were lists of injunctions and rules up on the wall. What had been cozy, and sometimes domestic, and sometimes stimulating, with interesting visitors coming to see us and talk to us, became just overwhelming. And we had to go on the road to raise money to support all of this.

David: What was it like when you re-visited Millbrook, after not seeing the estate for so many years?

Rosemary: Oh, I can’t do better than to show you. I have photographs from the time. I had gone back, a great number of years ago when I’d been in the area. I went to a side gate, which we never used, but it was the closest one where I could see the torrents of the house. It was Springtime, and the house was below me. The gate was on a rise, and it seemed to me that this sweet North-Eastern Spring just waffed up out of the woods, and I felt as though I were being greeted by all the sprites and fairies (laughter) that I know lived in those woods. It was so wonderful. It was almost like I felt welcomed back again at Millbrook.

This last time I went during the winter. All the trails had been manicured, and most of the trees were down. We went back into the woods where I had lived and camped out. And there was no more mystery left to the woods, because it’d been cleared for riders to go through. When I had gone through, and you went for a ride on a horse, you’d have to duck because of all the pine bows snapping in your face. And there was always the possibility of finding a lost cabin in the woods, a lost place. It was so full of magic. Perhaps it was just because it was winter, and the weather was a little bit dreary, that it seemed so different.

David: What do you think were some of the important messages to come out of the Sixties that are still relevant today?

Rosemary: I think that we gained a kind of moral compass that is in the national consciousness somehow. We tried to learn about the environment and about food. For many of us we were like babes lost in the woods. We had to teach ourselves everything. And, I think, those lessons we managed to pass on in some way. I think the consciousness…ness…ness…ness. That consciousness became apparent for the first time in this particular span of time, and alternative ways of doing things, and not doing things by route.

Actually, I’m still trying to assimilate what I might have learned in the Sixties. So much of what we learned we were in error about. The immediate trust of someone with long hair and beaded French vest
(laughter) didn’t last too long. I remember when it all changed though. There was so much expectancy, and so many high hopes, truly high hopes. And the sense of having the freedom to explore one’s own consciousness in the world around one.

But then 1969, at least for me, despite the previous arrests, it changed, with Altemont, with the move in Berkeley from peace symbols and to a raised fist. I think it changed, at least in California, with People’s Park, Altemont, all these symbols. The fact that the war ended, I think is a great triumph, and a great victory for consciousness. But whether there have been truly lasting results is still to be played out with this current war. And everything I learned, I learned from Bob Dylan anyway. (laughter)

David: Can you tell us about the experience that you had in Morocco with the pipers in Jajouka?

Rosemary: It was my first trip out of the country. Tim and I had been invited to join a very wealthy couple who were renting a castle in Tangier, and we had the good fortune to connect with Paul Bowles and Byron Gysin. Paul Bowles’ book Under the Sheltering Sky was responsible for a great amount of fear I had in Morroco (laughter), because they’re all about American tourists being bludgeoned, or left in the desert to die, really. But a lot about magic too, and these stories of magic he had learned from Homree. I have a photograph of him somewhere.

Anyway, Homree’s mother was from a village in the Reef mountains called Jajouka, which was, and still is, I hope, the home of the Master Musicians. These are a group of tribal musicians who would go and play at weddings all around the area, that is until transistor radios came in. But that was there historically. And they also celebrated a Rite of Spring, in which Pan played a great part, as did a goddess named I-eesha, and we fortunate enough to witness their celebration.

Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones went there and recorded it. But I swear Stravinski must have heard them too, because they play these rytas, these thin horns, and they will go from one horn to another, and it’s absolutely seamless in the sound. I’ve heard that in Stravinski’s “Rite of Spring”. It was an amazing experience. I danced with them, which I felt compelled to do.

David: On LSD.

Rosemary: Yes, (laughter) yes. Then I road a mule down the mountain the next morning, vowing that was the most amazing experience I’d ever had, and to this day it is. It remains so.

David: Could you talk a little about your escape to Algeria with Timothy, The Weather Underground, and your experiences in Algeria with Eldrige Cleaver?

Rosemary: Our escape is not unlike what’s happening today, in that it was a time of hijacking. So there were sky marshals at every airport, and on every plane. We’d been taken to the plane by members of Weather Underground, who watched to see if we got off safely. I had a wig on my head, and Tim had shaven his head, so we were in disguise. We weren’t supposed to be together. We were passing the metal detectors to the airplane, and if any at time we would have been captured, it would have been then, because they were certainly watching the airports.

But once we got on the plane, we just gave up on not being together at that point. We got some champagne from the stewardess and toasted one another. (laughter) Once again, we were leaping into the abyss, not knowing exactly what was at the bottom, or if we’d ever hit bottom. But he was out of prison, and we were together, and we were going off on another adventure.

David: To Algeria.

Rosemary: Yes, where we had assumed that notice was notice was going to be given that we were coming (laughter), but that wasn’t exactly the case. Eldridge Cleavor wasn’t particularly happy to see us. Actually, Tim went on to Algeria alone. I stayed in Paris, because by this time my nerves were totally frazzled. I had been working on these secret plans for his escape, raising the money, dealing with Susan and Jack Leary, a house full of people, the FBI agents outside the door. And I was on probation, so I had to visit my probation officer every week, and this was a huge leap for me. I was becoming a fugitive.

David: You were on probation for drug charges?

Rosemary: Yes.

David: Then you had left the country while on probation for the drug charges?

Rosemary: Yes.

David: How did you wind up in Algeria?

Rosemary: It was because of Weather Underground. Eldrige Cleavor haven been an embassy by the Algerian government. The Algerian government gave money to almost every group that was at odds with their government. There was the Brazilian people who were there, the one lone guy from Gona, one small contigent from the Canary Islands. It was a hotbed of intrigue (laughter) and CIA spooks. An amazing, amazing time there.

David: What was Eldrige like?

Rosemary: Well, he was in a difficult position. He was an escapee from the country, and he had this outpost. His fellow Panthers had hijacked planes and gone to Cuba, and ended up in Algeria. It’s a very difficult thing to set yourself against the government. We were fellow exiles, and the sadness of it, for me, was in the recognition of this racial divide, which I’d willed myself, I think, to be oblivious to, all those years. To suddenly be confronted with the suspicion, and the hostility that we were confronted with, was frightening, and guilt-provoking too in a way. But he was a fellow sufferer–he and Kathleen–in terms of our being exiled from the place where we were most comfortable. Here we were, in this totally foreign country, in a totally hostile environment, with nothing at all familiar to us. And being black in Africa didn’t guarantee him safe passage. He was an American.

David: How did you and Tim split up?

Rosemary: I took very seriously his desire and mine to have a child. And he was arrested in Switzerland on the day that the doctor had told me I would be able to conceive, just plucked him from our little house. Then came another several months of having to raise money to free him from a Swiss prison, and to be on my own, to worry whether they were going to try and extradite me, whether they would try and separate us. And the realization that the two operations I’d undergone, and that the possibility of conceiving, were just lost in the illness that followed.

So, when he was released, I was left with the realization that I wasn’t going to be a mother, that his delight in signing autographs and greeting television crews, and doing interviews, took precedent over the real pain that I was suffering. This lead me to think that I had to get away for awhile, and sort through my feelings, and figure out what I was going to do with my life.

So, with great difficulty, and lot of tears and angst, I negotiated a separation from him, which I though was going to be for just a brief while. I just really needed to catch my breath. It had been a really difficult, difficult time. The closest we’d ever been was in Algeria. We had nine months of a real strong rapport and happiness together, and suddenly now we’re back in the limelight again, and television crews knocking at the door, and no peace and no quiet. And, at least for me, a real dilemma about over this childlessness.

So I went away with a friend that had come to visit, and came back to find that Tim had given away my clothes, met a young woman in the village, and brought her home. She was patting her belly, intimating that she was going to have his child. So I had to look at my marriage, and look at Tim in a new light.

David: And that was the point where you really decided to split up?

Rosemary: Well, oddly enough (laughter), the marriage never really ended. (laughter)

David: Really?

Rosemary: (laughter) Well, I don’t think so, no. (laughter)

David: There was never a divorce?

Rosemary: No, there was a divorce. He divorced me in 1977, but my involvement just never ceased. It never stopped. So much of my time after I left was spent in trying to figure out who he was, who I was, how did this all happen? Where were we going? Where had we been? And that’s when I started to write. It was a way of both exorcising the past, and trying to understand it. I got very caught up in origins of myth and consciousness, and saw him as this tragic hero. Because when I left, after we met again, he said that I would have the ability to change, but he couldn’t change. He was stuck in his persona. He was caught, trapped being Timothy Leary, and he’d never be able to escape from it.

David: How long where you a fugitive for?

Rosemary: Almost a quarter of a century. (laughter)

David: What years where those?

Rosemary: 1970 to 1994.

David: Where were you during this time?

Rosemary: Sicily, Afghanistan, Switzerland, Canada, and Columbia. Then I was at sea for four months, going to different islands.

David: Could you talk a little bit about what it was like to be a fugitive for so long, and how it felt when you finally regained your freedom?

Rosemary: Until I settled down in Cape Cod, it was being the star of my own movie. It was like being totally and justifiably paranoid about everything and everyone. If a man looked at me in a restaurant, perhaps it was because he was an agent from some government. If a person accidentally tried to take my photograph, or if they filming a sunset, I would duck out of the way. It was always always being totally self-conscious. And I was always totally prepared to leave, with a passport in my bag, bag on the bed, shoes lined up, clothes ready to jump into, and escape routes planned. I mean, all kind of futile stuff.

Sylvia: You spent all this time not being able to trust people. Did you at any point have anybody, any close friends, or any correspondence with people whom you could confide in? You said you started writing during that time. Where there other people that you could count on, or just did you feel really alone that way?

Rosemary: I was traveling with someone, my companion of almost ten years. But this isn’t for publication necessarily, it’s just to answer your question. He was an old Mill Brookian, and an adherent of Tim’s. He’d gotten out of going to war by being an LSD priest in the League for Spiritual Discovery, and his disappointment in Tim was so profound, that it was like the young apprentice magician taking on the old sorcerer. There was no one to whom I could speak about the grief I felt over our separation, and the dissolution of a marriage that I thought was eternal.

So, I was very alone in that respect. I could not talk to my companion about this. I could not talk to anyone about my past. So it was really like being a stateless person. I was a stateless, paperless refugee. Until I learned to live as a human being on Cape Cod, I was truly alone. Because, when I’d left in 1970, America was at war with itself. When I came back in 77 everything had changed, everything was quite different than it had been.

And for all those years that I’d been with Tim, we’d been apart from everyone else, or we’d been sort of looking down from this height, and suddenly I was at level playing field. I had to adjust to learning how to talk to people again without trailing all this notoriety behind me, and create a persona, which I successfully did.

David: What was it like to finally gain your freedom again?

Rosemary: So, in 1994, due to the help of a friend, and Tim’s connection to a lawyer, all of that was dismissed by an appeal to the District Attorney. I had made an appeal to the judge, saying that I had been misled by Mr. Leary, and my mother was frail and elderly, and it was all made to go away. I felt like a responsible adult again. I’d gone to great lengths to follow the law. I didn’t get a driver’s license until it was no longer true that I’d committed a felony in the past ten years.

I mean, I was an impeccable. I filed my income taxes. I even used my same Social Security number (laughter), so that I wouldn’t be committing a felony. But suddenly I could stand up and say who I had been, and who I was. It was confusing because I’d been using the name Sara for so many years, and there were all these people on the Cape who knew me as Sara. My employers knew me as Sara, and suddenly I’m going to be Rosemary again. It was very odd, but there was this secret little thrill about it too, that I could be myself.

David: What was it like being reunited with Tim, after so many years, before he died?

Rosemary: Initially it was very romantic that, after twenty odd years, we’re at a place of my choosing, which was going to be the Asian Art Museum. And I’m seeing him after all this time, and we have a romantic dinner, with lots of wine, and we’re very happy to be together. Then I realize how frail he is. He hadn’t been diagnosed as yet with cancer, but he’s emaciated and little bit fumbling. He spoke of his loss of short-term memory, and there was some recognition that there was still a connection between us–a mental connection, in terms of humor, and of knowing one another very very well.

That still existed, but on an another plane there was still, for me, the discomfort. There was a certain discomfort to being with him too, because, once again, I was under his judgement, and I’d been free of that for so many years. I’d been liberated from that, and suddenly I’m with someone who can tell me things that perhaps I don’t want to hear, or behave in ways that I find objectionable. And then, the thing that had caught initially, early in our relationship, was a certain pity for him, a certain feeling of his loneliness and his apartness. And, of course, then came the recognition of his illness.

Once again he was asking me to sacrifice myself, to give up my job, and move to Los Angeles, and (laughter), and there was some resistance
(laughter) on my part to all that. Once I’d visited him in Los Angeles, and saw the chaos of the house, and saw how Mill Brookian it was–in terms of people popping in, no privacy, and the endless interviews that he was giving–I certainly didn’t want to be a part of that. But I wanted to have this connection with him once again. It was very healing to be with him.

David: What do you think happens to consciousness after the death of the body?

Rosemary: Transformation. More than that I can’t say, because I haven’t died yet. I want to believe in the continuation. I want to believe in that. I’d love to believe in reincarnation, but I keep coming up against the Holocaust, and it makes it very difficult for me.

David: How so?

Rosemary: Karmically. In terms of karmic retribution. Millions of people. It’s just very difficult for me to accept that, although I want to. I want to believe that we go on, I want to believe that I had conversations with Tim, and that Nina Graboi did come through a medium and visit us the other night. (laughter)

David: Have you had felt like you’ve really had contact with someone after they’ve died?

Rosemary: The only example I have is perhaps a story that I’ve already told you. I was thinking about my book, and what I wanted to do with it. Then, in the middle of the night, I had, what I thought was a brilliant idea, in how to describe myself in the book. Because people had complained that I write like a psychedelic travelouge, but I don’t really. I’m not very descriptive about myself. I said (deep inhale), well, I’ll use Tim’s writings about me in my book, as a sidebar or something. And the next morning I thought, that was Tim. (laughter) That’s absolutely Tim coming in. (laughter)

David: Right, of course, he would say that.

Rosemary: Yes (laughter), yes (laughter). Use his writings in my book (laughter), of course.

David: Do you actually think that was really Tim?

Rosemary: Oh, I don’t know. I do know that while he was dying I felt him. I felt this inexplicable joyessness that thrilled me, that thrills me even to remember it. I spoke to Ram Dass about it, and he’d suggested that he had felt similar things with dying people. But this was so thrilling, I couldn’t imagine that everyone in the room wasn’t experiencing it.

David: You mean when he was actually dying?

Rosemary: Yes, when he was dying. And it just made me so joyous, and it was (starts to cry)… I can’t say anything about it except that it was thrilling. It thrilled my entire body. It flooded my mind. It lifted my soul. It just was unbelievable.

David: What is your perspective on God?

Rosemary: God knows. (laughter)

David: What’s your spiritual perspective on life? Do feel any type of connection with any religious systems?

Rosemary: Oh, I long to. I long to. I wish I had Jesus as my own special friend. I wish that I had one of the Indian gurus as my own special guide. I really wish I could make a connection like that, but it’s just not meant to be. I was brought up as a Baptist when I was very young, and I think that made it difficult for me to be religious. I tried to be a Catholic when I was 12 and hormonal. (laughter) I sought myself in Guirdjief and Araj (?Arage?) and the other mystics when I was in early twenties.

David: What sort of system do you use for understanding the spiritual aspects of your psychedelic experiences?

Rosemary: I shake them bones. (laughter) No, I’m kidding. When we would trip at Millbrook I would always get into a list of injunctions. I felt that I could be Moses and recreate things, or Mohamad and rewrite, when I was tripping on very high doses of acid. I was trying to recreate a world in which divine things make sense. I would always be drawn to this.

But I remember a trip at Millbrook where we were looking at the stars. We were lying in woods looking up at the stars, and it was so frightening. It was so immense. The sky was so immense. The stars were so distant. And I remember Tim’s line from the Psychedelic Prayers, what was it? Divine indifference? I was reminded of story that I had read, a very early story by Cocteau I think it was, in which this world is simply the mote in the eye of a larger being.

David: Can you tell us about your book The Magician’s Daughter?

Rosemary: Thirty years in the making, and soon to be a major motion picture. (laughter) As I said earlier, I started it as doing therapy. I have a great deal of difficulty going back to it, to completing the missing chapters. I get bogged down in memory, in emotions that I really didn’t expect to feel again, and I don’t get any closer to completion. I keep cannibalizing it for little bits and pieces. But a friend (Sherri
Paris) just suggested a new way of doing it. Perhaps I shouldn’t try to fill in the missing pieces, and rather just make a collage of it all, just put it together with clippings and memorabilia, and little vignettes of the stories that I’ve already written. She said to me, you’re not linear. (laughter)

So, what started out as therapy, then became a chore, written in some wonderful places I must say. And I had a stern task master. My companion used to make me write, lacking that I really did not want to. I haven’t any real new ideas or insights. I like to fill in the missing pieces. I’d still like to complete the parts about Millbrook that I haven’t written, but then I look at the chapter I wrote on Algeria, and there’s so much that I didn’t write about, that could have been written about. The oil men in the desert, Western guys with cloaks and cowboy boots out there scouting oil, and just on and on and on. The images were so rich.

The same with Afghanistan, or Columbia for that matter. I asked my companion, because I was going to attempt to write about the journey from Columbia to Ft. Lauderdale, that took almost six months, and I hadn’t remembered all the places that we’d been to. But he had a memory for them, and he wrote them all down, all these hop-scotching across the Caribbean. And I found it was interesting, even to me. (laughter)

I’m sorry David, I’m going to have to be more succinct about the book. The book will be ready for publication within the next year. (laughter) I didn’t mean to digress that way and go off on a tangent.

Sylvia: One thing that I’ve kind of heard allusions to throughout this conversation has been books or readings–like reading about the peyote cults, then Gurdjieff, then Paul Bowles, and then you’ve been writing for all this time. Are there books that just float to the top, and persist as important texts, that you would point to as enduring inspiration for you, or that you would maybe suggest as reading? I’m an avid reader so I love to ask people about the books that they read.

Rosemary: You know, I wouldn’t dare make any suggestions, because reading is such an ongoing thing for me. It’s still discovery. It’s all discovery. But there have been books that have really informed me, I think, that have made me shake my life.

I realized speaking to Laura Huxley, that one of the most important books early on for me was a Huxley book called The Genius and the Goddess, and the story it contained. So she was kind enough to send it to me, I was very glad to have that back again.

I read so much, and still continue to read so much, but a lot of it nonsensical. But I set myself to read straight through the Tenth Street Library in New York City. I started with fiction, and read from A-Z, and then I started on biographies. (laughter)

David: How many books is that? Are you serious?

Rosemary: Oh, I didn’t read every single book, but, but I got down to Thomas Wolfe. (laughter)

David: I would believe that you went through every book.

Rosemary: No, but quite a number of them. So, but that was a question of educating myself. A lot of my friends were teachers at NYU, so I read what they were interested in reading. If they were teaching Blake, I was reading Blake. If they were teaching Wittgienstien, I was reading Wittgienstien. So all of that was important to me.

Sylvia: This is something that I ask people every time I do an interview. You might find this painful too, but I find it painful to witness young people, at younger and younger ages, trying psychedelics. It seems like the attitudes toward psychedelics have just shifted so much through the years, and I was just wondering if you had any thoughts as to what to think about. Not what to think about that, but if you were talking to a 12 or 13 year old right now, and being just conversational with them about drugs, what kinds of things would you maybe bring up to them? Is that something that you could speak to?

Rosemary: I don’t think I could address that age successfully, but I have been speaking to university students, for example. And the advice I give them is stay out of the hands of the California laws. (laughter) I feel obliged to respond in that way when I’m speaking, and I’d feel remised if I didn’t. But then it’s awkward to be talking about the glory of the Sixties, and the casual use of drugs. I do feel that what, or whom, one puts into one’s own body is one’s own business, and not the government’s. But I’m almost alone in that, except for other like-minded people, and it’s not something that one can say to a young person. I’d rather give your question more thought. 12 and 13 year olds. It’s a very difficult question.

But I did say to the students that, for me, it was a spiritual experience. It was a religious experience, and they don’t get that. There’s no way that they can get that at this time, because the drug experience has been so polluted by the paranoia and fear surrounding it. There’s no way to make a reasoned attempt at it, and certainly I wouldn’t want people that young experimenting, but they’re going to. I mean, I wouldn’t want then having sex either, given my druthers, but that’s simply this society’s mores. I think that age is a time of exploration, and rites of passage, and in any sane society we would try to follow Huxley’s ideas about using the Moksha medicine in his novel Island. But we can’t. So, at this point, I don’t know what to say to them.

David: Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you’d like to add?

Rosemary: No. I’d like to do this whole thing all over again, (laughter) on a sunny day with some wine.



In Her Glory – Sappho

‘Glittering-Minded deathless Aphrodite’

Glittering-Minded deathless Aphrodite,
I beg you, Zeus’s daughter, weaver of snares,
Don’t shatter my heart with fierce
Pain, goddess,

But come now, if ever before
You heard my voice, far off, and listened,
And left your father’s golden house,
And came,

Yoking your chariot. Lovely the swift
Sparrows that brought you over black earth
A whirring of wings through mid-air
Down the sky.

They came. And you, sacred one,
Smiling with deathless face, asking
What now, while I suffer: why now
I cry out to you, again:

What now I desire above all in my
Mad heart. ‘Whom now, shall I persuade
To admit you again to her love,
Sappho, who wrongs you now?

If she runs now she’ll follow later,
If she refuses gifts she’ll give them.
If she loves not, now, she’ll soon
Love against her will.’

Come to me now, then, free me
From aching care, and win me
All my heart longs to win. You,
Be my friend.

‘Come to me here from Crete’

Come to me here from Crete,

To this holy temple, where
Your lovely apple grove stands,
And your altars that flicker
With incense.

And below the apple branches, cold
Clear water sounds, everything shadowed
By roses, and sleep that falls from
Bright shaking leaves.

And a pasture for horses blossoms
With the flowers of spring, and breezes
Are flowing here like honey:
Come to me here,

Here, Cyprian, delicately taking
Nectar in golden cups
Mixed with a festive joy,
And pour.

‘He’s equal with the Gods, that man’

He’s equal with the Gods, that man
Who sits across from you,
Face to face, close enough, to sip
Your voice’s sweetness,

And what excites my mind,
Your laughter, glittering. So,
When I see you, for a moment,
My voice goes,

My tongue freezes. Fire,
Delicate fire, in the flesh.
Blind, stunned, the sound
Of thunder, in my ears.

Shivering with sweat, cold
Tremors over the skin,
I turn the colour of dead grass,
And I’m an inch from dying.

‘But you, O Dika, wreathe lovely garlands in your hair,’

But you, O Dika, wreathe lovely garlands in your hair,
Weave shoots of dill together, with slender hands,
For the Graces prefer those who are wearing flowers,
And turn away from those who go uncrowned.

Deathless Aphrodite of the spangled mind
child of Zeus, who twists lures, I beg you
do not break with hard pains

O lady, my heart

but come here if ever before
you caught my voice far off
and listening left your father’s

golden house and came,

yoking your car. And fine birds brought you
quick sparrows over the black earth
whipping their wings down the sky

through midair –

they arrived. But you, O blessed one,
smiled in your deathless face
and asked what (now again) I have suffered and why

(now again) I am calling out

and what I want to happen most of all
in my crazy heart. Whom should I persuade (now again)
to lead you back into her love? Who, O

Sappho, is wronging you?

For if she flies, soon she will pursue.
If she refuses gifts, rather she will give them.
If she does not love, soon she will love

even unwilling

Come to me now: loose me from hard
care and all my heart longs
to accomplish, accomplish. You

be my ally.

Master Musicians of Jajouka – Magic Of Peace

“You may forget but
let me tell you
this: someone in
some future time
will think of us”

― Sappho

Joyous Cosmology…

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.


This is the beginning of a series based on Alan Watt’s “The Joyous Cosmology”. It had a profound influence on my view, and subsequent spiritual forays. Mr. Watt’s hit the nail firmly on the head in this small book. There will be some 6-7 installments in all. I do suggest that you take the time and read them if you haven’t before, and if you have perhaps is now a good time to visit “The Joyous Cosmology” again.

I will be including various poets who were relevant to the time of the book, and to the awakening that was beginning then. (or at least appearing to begin then) The featured poet(ess) today is Diane Di Prima, one of the greats. I love her work, and the profound influence she has had on the following generations. We are lucky to have her still with us!

I have included some music from Mr. Henry Tudor the 8th, who turns out music wise to be a sensitive, and thoughtful soul. If you went by the music, you would think him positively gentle.

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
The Links
Henry VIII – Helas Madame
The Joyous Cosmology Part 1
Diane Di Prima Poetry
Henry VIII – Two Compositions for Recorders

The Links (Living In An Age Of Wonders!):

Wes Wilson Talks About His Poster Work!
Dark Ages Zombie Infestation?
Smello Vision & Other Bright Ideas
Artificial blood vessels created on a 3D printer
Stay healthy to stay smart

Henry VIII – Helas Madame


The Joyous Cosmology Part 1
Alan W. Watts

To begin with, this world has a different kind of time. It is the time of biological rhythm, not of the clock and all that goes with the clock. There is no hurry. Our sense of time is notoriously subjective and thus dependent upon the quality of our attention, whether of interest or boredom, and upon the alignment of our behavior in terms of routines, goals, and deadlines. Here the present is self-sufficient, but it is not a static present. It is a dancing present—the unfolding of a pattern which has no specific destination in the future but is simply its own point. It leaves and arrives simultaneously, and the seed is as much the goal as the flower. There is therefore time to perceive every detail of the movement with infinitely greater richness of articulation. Normally we do not so much look at things as overlook them. The eye sees types and classes—flower, leaf, rock, bird, fire—mental pictures of things rather than things, rough outlines filled with flat color, always a little dusty and dim.

But here the depth of light and structure in a bursting bud go on forever. There is time to see them, time for the whole intricacy of veins and capillaries to develop in consciousness, time to see down and down into the shape of greenness, which is not green at all, but a whole spectrum generalizing itself as green—purple, gold, the sunlit turquoise of the ocean, the intense luminescence of the emerald. I cannot decide where shape ends and color begins. The bud has opened and the fresh leaves fan out and curve back with a gesture which is unmistakably communicative but does not say anything except, “Thus!” And somehow that is quite satisfactory, even startlingly clear. The meaning is transparent in the same way that the color and the texture are transparent, with light which does not seem to fall upon surfaces from above but to be right inside the structure and color. Which is of course where it is, for light is an inseparable trinity of sun, object, and eye, and the chemistry of the leaf is its color, its light.
But at the same time color and light are the gift of the eye to the leaf and the sun. Transparency is the property of the eyeball, projected outward as luminous space, interpreting quanta of energy in terms of the gelatinous fibers in the head. I begin to feel that the world is at once inside my head and outside it, and the two, inside and outside, begin to include or “cap” one another like an infinite series of concentric spheres. I am unusually aware that everything I am sensing is also my body—that light, color, shape, sound, and texture are terms and properties of the brain conferred upon the outside world. I am not looking at the world, not confronting it; I am knowing it by a continuous process of transforming it into myself, so that everything around me, the whole globe of space, no longer feels away from me but in the middle.

This is at first confusing. I am not quite sure of the direction from which sounds come. The visual space seems to reverberate with them as if it were a drum. The surrounding hills rumble with the sound of a truck, and the rumble and the color-shape of the hills become one and the same gesture. I use that word deliberately and shall use it again. The hills are moving into their stillness. They mean something because they are being transformed into my brain, and my brain is an organ of meaning. The forests of redwood trees upon them look like green fire, and the copper gold of the sun-dried grass heaves immensely into the sky. Time is so slow as to be a kind of eternity, and the flavor of eternity transfers itself to the hills—burnished mountains which I seem to remember from an immeasurably distant past, at once so unfamiliar as to be exotic and yet as familiar as my own hand. Thus transformed into consciousness, into the electric, interior luminosity of the nerves, the world seems vaguely insubstantial—developed upon a color film, resounding upon the skin of a drum, pressing, not with weight, but with vibrations interpreted as weight. Solidity is a neurological invention, and, I wonder, can the nerves be solid to themselves? Where do we begin? Does the order of the brain create the order of the world, or the order of the world the brain? The two seem like egg and hen, or like back and front.
The physical world is vibration, quanta, but vibrations of what? To the eye, form and color; to the ear, sound; to the nose, scent; to the fingers, touch. But these are all different languages for the same thing, different qualities of sensitivity, different dimensions of consciousness. The question, “Of what are they differing forms?” seems to have no meaning. What is light to the eye is sound to the ear. I have the image of the senses being terms, forms, or dimensions not of one thing common to all, but of each other, locked in a circle of mutuality. Closely examined, shape becomes color, which becomes vibration, which becomes sound, which becomes smell, which becomes taste, and then touch, and then again shape. (One can see, for example, that the shape of a leaf is its color. There is no outline around the leaf; the outline is the limit where one colored surface becomes another.) I see all these sensory dimensions as a round dance, gesticulations of one pattern being transformed into gesticulations of another. And these gesticulations are flowing through a space that has still other dimensions, which I want to describe as tones of emotional color, of light or sound being joyous or fearful, gold elated or lead depressed. These, too, form a circle of reciprocity, a round spectrum so polarized that we can only describe each in terms of the others.

Sometimes the image of the physical world is not so much a dance of gestures as a woven texture. Light, sound, touch, taste, and smell become a continuous warp, with the feeling that the whole dimension of sensation is a single continuum or field. Crossing the warp is a woof representing the dimension of meaning—moral and aesthetic values, personal or individual uniqueness, logical significance, and expressive form—and the two dimensions interpenetrate so as to make distinguishable shapes seem like ripples in the water of sensation. The warp and the woof stream together, for the weaving is neither flat nor static but a many-directioned cross-flow of impulses filling the whole volume of space. I feel that the world is on something in somewhat the same way that a color photograph is on a film, underlying and connecting the patches of color, though the film here is a dense rain of energy. I see that what it is on is my brain—”that enchanted loom,” as Sherrington called it. Brain and world, warp of sense and woof of meaning, seem to interpenetrate inseparably. They hold their boundaries or limits in common in such a way as to define one another and to be impossible without each other.

Diane Di Prima Poetry

The Belltower

the weighing is done in autumn
and the sifting
what is to be threshed
is threshed in autumn
what is to be gathered is taken

the wind does not die in autumn
the moon
shifts endlessly thru flying clouds
in autumn the sea is high

& a golden light plays everywhere
making it harder
to go one’s way.
all leavetaking is in autumn
where there is leavetaking
it is always autumn
& the sun is a crystal ball
on a golden stand
& the wind
cannont make the spruce scream
loud enough

Rant, from a Cool Place

by Diane DiPrima

“I see no end of it, but the turning
upside down of the entire world”
——————————— Erasmus

We are in the middle of a bloody, heartrending revolution
Called America, called the Protestant reformation, called Western man,
Called individual consciousness, meaning I need a refrigerator and a car
And milk and meat for the kids so, I can discover that I don’t need a car
Or a refrigerator, or meat, or even milk, just rice and a place with
————-no wind to sleep next to someone
Two someones keeping warm in the winter learning to weave
To pot and to putter, learning to steal honey from bees,
————wearing the bedclothes by day, sleeping under
(or in) them at night; hording bits of glass, colored stones, and
————stringing beads
How long before we come to that blessed definable state
Known as buddhahood, primitive man, people in a landscape
together like trees, the second childhood of man
I don’t know if I will make it somehow nearer by saying all this
out loud, for christs sake, that Stevenson was killed, that Shastri
————was killed
both having dined with Marietta Tree
the wife of a higher-up in the CIA
both out of their own countries mysteriously dead, as how many others
as Marilyn Monroe, wept over in so many tabloids
done in for sleeping with Jack Kennedy – this isn’t a poem – full of
————cold prosaic fact
thirteen done in the Oswald plot: Jack Ruby’s cancer that disappeared
————in autopsy
the last of a long line – and they’re waiting to get Tim Leary
Bob Dylan
Allen Ginsberg
LeRoi Jones – as, who killed Malcolm X? They give themselves away
with TV programs on the Third Reich, and I wonder if I’ll live to sit in
————Peking or Hanoi
see TV programs on LBJ’s Reich: our great SS analysed, our money exposed,
————the plot to keep Africa
genocide in Southeast Asia now in progress Laos Vietnam Thailand Cambodia
————O soft-spoken Sukamo
O great stone Buddhas with sad negroid lips torn down by us by the red
————guard all one force
one leveling mad mechanism, grinding it down to earth and swamp to sea
————to powder
till Mozart is something a few men can whistle
or play on a homemade flute and we bow to each other
telling old tales half remembered gathering shells
learning again “all beings are from the very beginning Buddhas”
or glowing and dying radiation and plague we come to that final great
————love illumination

Revolutionary Letter
Memorial Day, 2003

Remember Sacco & Vanzetti
Remember Haymarket
Remember John Brown
Remember the slave revolts
Remember Malcolm
Remember Paracelsus
Remember Huey & Little Bobby Hutton
Remember Crazy Horse & Chief Joseph
Remember the Modoc & the Algonquin Nation
Remember Patrice Lumumba
Remember the dream of Africa
Remember Tina Modotti
Remember Makhnov & Tsvetaeva & Mayakovski, Essenin
yes, goddammit, even remember Trotsky
Hey, do you remember Hypatia?
Socrates? Giordano Bruno?
Remember my buddy, Esclarmonde de Foix
Remember Seton the Cosmopolite
Remember Edward Kelly, murdered in prison
Remember to take yr life back into yr hands
It’s Memorial Day, remember
what you love
& do it – don’t wait.
Remember life hangs by a thread —
anybody’s life
& then remember the poets:
Shelley & Bob Kaufman
Remember Van Gogh & Pollock
Remember Amelia Earhart
Remember it’s not a safe time & all the more reason
To do wholeheartedly what you have to do
Remember the women & men of Wounded Knee,
Kent State, remember where you stand:
in the midst of empire, & the Huns
are coming.
Remember Vercingetorix, Max Jacob
Apollinaire & Suhrawardi, remember
that all you need to remember is what you love
Remember to Marry the World

First Snow, Kerhonkson – for Alan

This, then, is the gift the world has given me
(you have given me)
softly the snow
cupped in the hollows
lying on the surface of the pond
matching my long white candles
which stand at the window
which will burn at dusk while the snow
fills up our valley
this hollow
no friend will wander down
no one arriving brown from Mexico
from the sunfields of California, bearing pot
they are scattered now, dead or silent
or blasted to madness
by the howling brightness of our once common vision
and this gift of yours-
white silence filling the contours of my life.

Ode to Keats, 2, The Dream

Hedged about as we are with prayers
and with taboos
Yet the heart of the magic circle is covered with gray linoleum
Over my head fly demons of the past
Jimmy, they pass
With a whooshing sound
The only ghost who stands on the ground
(who stands his ground)
Is Freddie-
I rise a few inches above the circle, and turn somersaults
I want to go shopping, but all I see is my reflection
I look tired and sad. I wear red. I am looking for love.
On the sidewalk are lying the sick and the hungry:
I hear “Spencer’s Faerie Queen cost them all their lives.”
And Spencer? I ask, “What did this life buy?”
Through the door is the way out, Alan stands in the doorway
In an attitude of leaving, his head is turned
As if to say goodbye, but he’s standing still.

Hedged about with primroses
with promises
The magic words we said when we were praying
Have formed a mist about us…


Henry VIII – Two Compositions for Recorders


Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding

Erinna & Sappho

Although they are
only breath, words
which I command
are immortal
– Sappho

Monday morning, and the sun is coming out.
Such moments of perfection.
These visions of beauty.
To reflect upon that which is ever present.
That which we call Love.

On The Menu:
Sappho Quotes
Hossein Alizadeh (Neynava)-3 حسين علي زاده
Erinna: A Life
Erinna: Poems
Sappho’s Erinna
Sara Teasdale’s Erinna
Hossein Alizadeh – In Concert

Sappho Quotes:

“When I look on you a moment, then I can speak no more, but my tongue falls silent, and at once a delicate flame courses beneath my skin, and with my eyes I see nothing, and my ears hum, and a wet sweat bathes me, and a trembling seizes me all over”

“Love is a cunning weaver of fantasies and fables.”

“What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful.”

“When anger spreads through the breath, guard thy tongue from barking idly”

“How love the limb-loosener sweeps me away”
Hossein Alizadeh ( Neynava ) -3 حسين علي زاده

Erinna: A Life

Though Erinna (ih-RIHN-uh) wrote for only a short period of time, she and her work were praised by the ancients; Antipater lists her as one of the “nine earthly Muses.” Of her works, only six fragments survive, the best of which is fifty-four lines of Elakate, or The Distaff, a lament for her childhood friend Baucis. Erinna’s poetry celebrated the domestic life using “heroic language,” and she even moved beyond her native Doric dialect perhaps to mimic the works of Sappho. Her style ranged from puns to laments to metaphors, covering both lyric and epigrammatic forms.

From: 1812 Chalmer’s Biography / E / Erinna [vol. 13, p. 290]

Erinna, a Greek poetess, is mentioned by different writers as a native of Lesbos, of Teios, of Rhodes, and of Tenos in Laconia, and is supposed to have been contemporary with Sappho, about the year 600 B. C. but according to the Chronicle of Eusebius 250 years later. She was celebrated in ancient Greece, and several epigrams were written upon her, one of which speaks of her as inferior to Sappho in lyrics, and superior in hexameters. Some fragments are extant in her name, which are inserted in the “Carmina Novem Poetarum Foeminarum,” Antw. 1568, and in the Edinburgh edition of Anacreon aud Sappho, 1754, form. min. 2
2 Vossius.—Fabric, Bibl. Græc.
Erinna: Poems

(on a portrait of a woman named Agatharkhis):

This picture is the work of sensitive hands. My good Prometheus,
there are even human beings equal to you in skill.
At least, if whoever painted this maiden so truly
had just added a voice, you would have been Agatharkhis entirely.—


I am of Baucis the bride; and passing by my oft-wept pillar thou
mayest say this to Death that dwells under ground, “Thou art envious,
O Death”; and the coloured monument tells to him who sees it the most
bitter fortune of Bauco, how her father-in-law burned the girl on the
funeral pyre with those torches by whose light the marriage train was
to be led home; and thou, O Hymenaeus, didst change the tuneable
bridal song into a voice of wailing dirges.

Thee, as thou wert just giving birth to a springtide of honeyed songs
and just finding thy swan-voice, Fate, mistress of the threaded
spindle, drove to Acheron across the wide water of the dead; but the
fair labour of thy verses, Erinna, cries that thou art not perished,
but keepest mingled choir with the Maidens of Pieria.

Leonidas Of Tarentum

The young maiden singer Erinna, the bee among poets, who sipped the
flowers of the Muses, Hades snatched away to be his bride; truly
indeed said the girl in her wisdom, “Thou art envious, O Death.”

Antipater of Sidon

Brief is Erinna’s song, her lowly lay,
Yet there the Muses sing;
Therefore her memory doth not pass away,
Hid by Night’s shadowy wing!
But we,—new countless poets,—heaped and hurled
All in oblivion lie;
Better the swan’s chant than a windy world
Of rooks in the April sky!

Sappho’s Erinna

Haughtier than thou, O fair Erinna,
I have never met with any maiden.

Such a careless scorn as thine for passion
Proves a dire affront to Aphrodite.

When with soft desire she wounds thy bosom,
Thou shalt know love’s pain and doubly suffer.

Keep the gifts I gave thee, long rejected;
Fabrics for thy lap from far Phocea,

Babylonian unguents, scented sandals,
And the costly mitra for thy tresses;

Tripods worked in brass to flank the altar
With the ivory figure of the Goddess;

Where the sacrificial fumes from sacred
Flames shall rise to gladden and appease her,

In the hour when at her call thy fervid
Breast and mouth to mine shall be relinquished.

Sara Teasdale’s: “Erinna”

They sent you in to say farewell to me,
No, do not shake your head; I see your eyes
That shine with tears. Sappho, you saw the sun
Just now when you came hither, and again,
When you have left me, all the shimmering
Great meadows will laugh lightly, and the sun
Put round about you warm invisible arms
As might a lover, decking you with light.
I go toward darkness tho’ I lie so still.
If I could see the sun, I should look up
And drink the light until my eyes were blind;
I should kneel down and kiss the blades of grass,
And I should call the birds with such a voice,
With such a longing, tremulous and keen,
That they would fly to me and on the breast
Bear evermore to tree-tops and to fields
The kiss I gave them. Sappho, tell me this,
Was I not sometimes fair? My eyes, my mouth,
My hair that loved the wind, were they not worth
The breath of love upon them? Yet he passed,
And he will pass to-night when all the air
Is blue with twilight; but I shall not see.
I shall have gone forever. Hold my hands,
Hold fast that Death may never come between;
Swear by the gods you will not let me go;
Make songs for Death as you would sing to Love –
But you will not assuage him. He alone
Of all the gods will take no gifts from men.
I am afraid, afraid.

Sappho, lean down.
Last night the fever gave a dream to me,
It takes my life and gives a little dream.
I thought I saw him stand, the man I love,
Here in my quiet chamber, with his eyes
Fixed on me as I entered, while he drew
Silently toward me — he who night by night
Goes by my door without a thought of me –
Neared me and put his hand behind my head,
And leaning toward me, kissed me on the mouth.
That was a little dream for Death to give,
Too short to take the whole of life for, yet
I woke with lips made quiet by a kiss.
The dream is worth the dying. Do not smile
So sadly on me with your shining eyes,
You who can set your sorrow to a song
And ease your hurt by singing. But to me
My songs are less than sea-sand that the wind
Drives stinging over me and bears away.
I have no care what place the grains may fall,
Nor of my songs, if Time shall blow them back,
As land-wind breaks the lines of dying foam
Along the bright wet beaches, scattering
The flakes once more against the laboring sea,
Into oblivion. What care have I
To please Apollo since Love hearkens not?
Your words will live forever, men will say
“She was the perfect lover” — I shall die,
I loved too much to live. Go Sappho, go –
I hate your hands that beat so full of life,
Go, lest my hatred hurt you. I shall die,
But you will live to love and love again.
He might have loved some other spring than this;
I should have kept my life — I let it go.
He would not love me now tho’ Cypris bound
Her girdle round me. I am Death’s, not Love’s.
Go from me, Sappho, back to find the sun.

I am alone, alone. O Cyprian . . .

Hossein Alizadeh – In Concert


With his venom
and bittersweet
that loosener
of limbs, Love
strikes me down
– Sappho

The World Soul

‘A Route of Evanescence
With a revolving Wheel—’
Emily Dickinson

This entry was originally designed around “The Great Speech”. It has grown a bit since. The events of the last couple of days, with the demonstrations on Wall Street going un-remarked upon by the media as a whole seems to point to a new low in disinformation from the corporate mouthpieces, so be it. We are now moving into a post corporate information zone, leaving behind the very concept of “News”, as if information was ever used by companies and gov’ts., to do anything but control the populace.

Some times we must look back to look forward, hence, “The Greatest Speech”. Give it a listen. I have included two foundations of American Poetry, Ralph Waldo Emerson and the glorious Emily Dickinson. As I get older, their work speaks to me in ways my youth couldn’t hear. Given enough time, even fools can perceive the truths in front of their eyes.

The “True View” should be watched full screen if possible. It is very rewarding, and it ties in nicely with the main theme for today.

The Younger Brother video “Crystaline” is included as I really, really like this album. A nod to the present, and the emerging future.

I dedicate this edition to Martina Hoffmann, our dear friend.

Bright Blessings,
On The Menu:
Charlie Chaplin Quotes
The Greatest Speech
Ralph Waldo Emerson Poetry
The True View
Emily Dickinson Poems
Younger Brother – Crystaline

Charlie Chaplin Quotes:

A day without laughter is a day wasted.

A man’s true character comes out when he’s drunk.

A tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure.

Despair is a narcotic. It lulls the mind into indifference.

Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.

I am for people. I can’t help it.

I do not have much patience with a thing of beauty that must be explained to be understood. If it does need additional interpretation by someone other than the creator, then I question whether it has fulfilled its purpose.

I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.

We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery.

The Greatest Speech

Ralph Waldo Emerson Poetry:

The Romany Girl

The sun goes down, and with him takes
The coarseness of my por attire;
The fair moon mounts, and aye the flame
Of Gypsy beauty blazes higher.

Pale Northern girls! you scorn our race;
You captives of your air-tight halls,
Wear out in-doors your sickly days,
But leave us the horizon walls.

And if I take you, dames, to task,
And say it frankly without guile,
Then you are Gypsies in a mask,
And I the lady all the while.

If, on the heath, below the moon,
I court and play with paler blood,
Me false to mine dare whisper none,–
One sallow horseman knows me good.

Go, keep your cheek’s rose from the rain,
For teeth and hair with shopmen deal;
My swarthy tint is in the grain,
The rocks and forest knoww it real.

The wild air bloweth in out lungs,
The keen stars twinkle in our eyes,
The birds gave us our wily tongues,
The panther in our dances flies.

You doubt we read the stars on high,
Nathless we read your fortunes true;
The stars may hide in the upper sky,
But without glass we fathom you.

The World Soul

Thanks to the morning light,
Thanks to the seething sea,
To the uplands of New Hampshire,
To the green-haired forest free;
Thanks to each man of courage,
To the maids of holy mind,
To the boy with his games undaunted,
Who never looks behind.

Cities of proud hotels,
Houses of rich and great,
Vice nestles in your chambers,
Beneath your roofs of slate.
It cannot conquer folly,
Time-and-space-conquering steam,—
And the light-outspeeding telegraph
Bears nothing on its beam.

The politics are base,
The letters do not cheer,
And ’tis far in the deeps of history—
The voice that speaketh clear.
Trade and the streets ensnare us,
Our bodies are weak and worn,
We plot and corrupt each other,
And we despoil the unborn.

Yet there in the parlor sits
Some figure of noble guise,
Our angel in a stranger’s form,
Or woman’s pleading eyes;
Or only a flashing sunbeam
In at the window pane;
Or music pours on mortals
Its beautiful disdain.

The inevitable morning
Finds them who in cellars be,
And be sure the all-loving Nature
Will smile in a factory.
Yon ridge of purple landscape,
Yon sky between the walls,
Hold all the hidden wonders
In scanty intervals.

Alas, the sprite that haunts us
Deceives our rash desire,
It whispers of the glorious gods,
And leaves us in the mire:
We cannot learn the cipher
That’s writ upon our cell,
Stars help us by a mystery
Which we could never spell.

If but one hero knew it,
The world would blush in flame,
The sage, till he hit the secret,
Would hang his head for shame.
But our brothers have not read it,
Not one has found the key,
And henceforth we are comforted,
We are but such as they.

Still, still the secret presses,
The nearing clouds draw down,
The crimson morning flames into
The fopperies of the town.
Within, without, the idle earth
Stars weave eternal rings,

The sun himself shines heartily,
And shares the joy he brings.

And what if trade sow cities
Like shells along the shore,
And thatch with towns the prairie broad
With railways ironed o’er;—
They are but sailing foambells
Along Thought’s causing stream,
And take their shape and Sun-color
From him that sends the dream.

For destiny does not like
To yield to men the helm,
And shoots his thought by hidden nerves
Throughout the solid realm.
The patient Dæmon sits
With roses and a shroud,
He has his way, and deals his gifts—
But ours is not allowed.

He is no churl or trifler,
And his viceroy is none,
Of genius sire and son;

And his will is not thwarted,—
The seeds of land and sea
Are the atoms of his body bright,
And his behest obey.

He serveth the servant,
The brave he loves amain,
He kills the cripple and the sick,
And straight begins again;
For gods delight in gods,
And thrust the weak aside;
To him who scorns their charities,
Their arms fly open wide.

When the old world is sterile,
And the ages are effete,
He will from wrecks and sediment
The fairer world complete.
He forbids to despair,
His cheeks mantle with mirth,
And the unimagined good of men
Is yeaning at the birth.

Spring still makes spring in the mind,
When sixty years are told;

Love wakes anew this throbbing heart,
And we are never old.
Over the winter glaciers,
I see the summer glow,
And through the wild-piled snowdrift
The warm rose buds below.

The Humble Bee

Burly dozing humblebee!
Where thou art is clime for me.
Let them sail for Porto Rique,
Far-off heats through seas to seek,
I will follow thee alone,
Thou animated torrid zone!
Zig-zag steerer, desert-cheerer,
Let me chase thy waving lines,
Keep me nearer, me thy hearer,
Singing over shrubs and vines.

Insect lover of the sun,
Joy of thy dominion!
Sailor of the atmosphere,
Swimmer through the waves of air,
Voyager of light and noon,
Epicurean of June,
Wait I prithee, till I come
Within ear-shot of thy hum,—
All without is martyrdom.

When the south wind, in May days,
With a net of shining haze,
Silvers the horizon wall,
And, with softness touching all,
Tints the human countenance
With a color of romance,
And, infusing subtle heats,
Turns the sod to violets,
Thou in sunny solitudes,
Rover of the underwoods,
The green silence dost displace,
With thy mellow breezy bass.

Hot midsummer’s petted crone,
Sweet to me thy drowsy tune,
Telling of countless sunny hours,
Long days, and solid banks of flowers,
Of gulfs of sweetness without bound
In Indian wildernesses found,
Of Syrian peace, immortal leisure,
Firmest cheer and bird-like pleasure.

Aught unsavory or unclean,
Hath my insect never seen,
But violets and bilberry bells,
Maple sap and daffodels,
Grass with green flag half-mast high,
Succory to match the sky,
Columbine with horn of honey,
Scented fern, and agrimony,
Clover, catch fly, adders-tongue,
And brier-roses dwelt among;
All beside was unknown waste,
All was picture as he passed.

Wiser far than human seer,
Yellow-breeched philosopher!
Seeing only what is fair,
Sipping only what is sweet,
Thou dost mock at fate and care,
Leave the chaff and take the wheat,
When the fierce north-western blast
Cools sea and land so far and fast,
Thou already slumberest deep,—
Woe and want thou canst out-sleep,—
Want and woe which torture us,
Thy sleep makes ridiculous.

The Lords Of Life

The lords of life, the lords of life,-
I saw them pass,
In their own guise,
Like and unlike,
Portly and grim,
Use and Surprise,
Surface and Dream,
Succession swift, and spectral Wrong,
Temperament without a tongue,
And the inventor of the game
Omnipresent without name;-
Some to see, some to be guessed,
They marched from east to west:
Little man, least of all,
Among the legs of his guardians tall,
Walked about with puzzled look:-
Him by the hand dear nature took;
Dearest nature, strong and kind,
Whispered, ‘Darling, never mind!
Tomorrow they will wear another face,
The founder thou! these are thy race!

The True View


Emily Dickinson Poems:

If I should cease to bring a Rose

If I should cease to bring a Rose
Upon a festal day,
‘Twill be because beyond the Rose
I have been called away—

If I should cease to take the names
My buds commemorate—
‘Twill be because Death’s finger
Claps my murmuring lip!

I would not paint—a picture

I would not paint—a picture—
I’d rather be the One
Its bright impossibility
To dwell—delicious—on—
And wonder how the fingers feel
Whose rare—celestial—stir—
Evokes so sweet a Torment—
Such sumptuous—Despair—

I would not talk, like Cornets—
I’d rather be the One
Raised softly to the Ceilings—
And out, and easy on—
Through Villages of Ether—
Myself endued Balloon
By but a lip of Metal—
The pier to my Pontoon—

Nor would I be a Poet—
It’s finer—own the Ear—
The License to revere,
A privilege so awful
What would the Dower be,
Had I the Art to stun myself
With Bolts of Melody!

Not probable—The barest Chance—

Not probable—The barest Chance—
A smile too few—a word too much
And far from Heaven as the Rest—
The Soul so close on Paradise—

What if the Bird from journey far—
Confused by Sweets—as Mortals—are—
Forget the secret of His wing
And perish—but a Bough between—
Oh, Groping feet—
Oh Phantom Queen!

A Cloud withdrew from the Sky

A Cloud withdrew from the Sky
Superior Glory be
But that Cloud and its Auxiliaries
Are forever lost to me

Had I but further scanned
Had I secured the Glow
In an Hermetic Memory
It had availed me now.

Never to pass the Angel
With a glance and a Bow
Till I am firm in Heaven
Is my intention now.

Heaven” has different Signs—to me

“Heaven” has different Signs—to me—
Sometimes, I think that Noon
Is but a symbol of the Place—
And when again, at Dawn,

A mighty look runs round the World
And settles in the Hills—
An Awe if it should be like that
Upon the Ignorance steals—

The Orchard, when the Sun is on—
The Triumph of the Birds
When they together Victory make—
Some Carnivals of Clouds—

The Rapture of a finished Day—
Returning to the West—
All these—remind us of the place
That Men call “paradise”—

Itself be fairer—we suppose—
But how Ourself, shall be
Adorned, for a Superior Grace—
Not yet, our eyes can see—

Younger Brother – Crystaline

Inner Spiral

Happy are those who find fault with themselves instead of finding fault with others. – Muhammad

This edition features Rumi’s work put to music by Graeme Revell. We have had the album in our collection for 15 years. Some how, I nearly play it weekly. The album is called Vision II: Spirit of Rumi , which I would suggest to anyone who asked about it.

We are also featuring the parables and poetry of the Andalusian Sufi Mystic, Mohiuddin ibn El-Arabi, who we have featured before. His works are like smooth, deep water, to submerge ones self in fully, and without restraint. His works will crop up here more frequently I think.

We are also featuring the art of Jean Leon Gerome, perhaps one of the great Orientalist painters. I love his use of light, and subject. He seems to capture a moment, just so and with perfection.

Weather has turned here, and the old cat seeks out a warm spot. Sophie sleeps by the door, and life moves towards the Equinox.

A Blessing On You All,

On The Menu:
Random Quotes
Rumi– Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Sar-e-gama
Parables: Mohiuddin ibn El-Arabi
Poetry: Mohiuddin ibn El-Arabi
Rumi– Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Shad Bashay
Art: Jean Leon Gerome

Random Quotes:

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable.” – Samuel Johnson

“Saying what we think gives us a wider conversational range than saying what we know.” – Cullen Hightower

“People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.” – A. J. Liebling

“Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt… Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves.” – Robert Anton Wilson

“Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends.” – Woody Allen
Rumi – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Sar-e-gama


Parables: Mohiuddin ibn El-Arabi

My Heart Can Take on Any Appearance

My heart can take on any appearance. The heart varies in accordance whit variations of the innermost consciousness. It may appear in form as a gazelle meadow, a monkish cloister, an idol-temple, a pilgrim Kaaba, the tablets of the Torah for certain science, the bequest of the leaves of the Koran.

My duty is the debt of Love. I accept freely and willingly whatever burden is placed upon me. Love is as the love of lovers, except that instead of loving the phenomenon, I love the Essential. That religion, that duty, is mine, and is my faith. A purpose of human love is to demonstrate ultimate, real love. This is the love which is conscious. The other is that which makes man unconscious of himself.
Study by Analogy

It is related that Ibn El-Arabi refused to talk in philosophical language with anyone, however ignorant or however learned. And yet people seemed to benefit from keeping compay with him. He took people on expeditions, gave them meals, entertained them with talk on hundred topics.

Someone aked him: ‘How can you teach when you never seem to speak of teaching?’

Ibn El-Arabi said: ‘It is by analogy:’ And he told this parable.

A man once buried some money for security under a certain tree. When he came back for it, it was gone. Someone had laid bare the roots and borne away the gold.

He went to a sage and told him his trouble, saying: ‘I am sure that there is no hope of finding my treasure.’ The sage told him to come back after a few days.

In the mean time the sage called upon all the physicians of town, and asked them whether they had prescribed the root of a certain tree as a medicine for anyone. One of them had, for one of his patients.

The sage called this man, and soon found out that it was he who had the money. He took possession of it and returned it to its rightful owner.

‘In a similar manner,’ said Ibn El-Arabi, ‘I find out what is the real intent of the disciple, and how he can learn. And I teach him.’

The Man who Knows

The Sufi who knows the Ultimate Truth acts and speaks in a manner which takes into consideration the understanding, limitations and dominant concealed prejudices of his audience.

To the Sufi, worship means knowledge. Through knowledge he attains sight.

The Sufi abandons the tree ‘I’s. He does not say ‘for me’, ‘with me’, or ‘my property’. He must not attribute anything to himself.

Something is hidden in an unworthy shell. We seek lesser objects, needless of the prize of unlimited value.

The capacity of interpretation means that one can easily read something said by a wise man in two totally opposite manners.
When Came the Title?

Jafar the son of Yahya of Lisbon determined to find the Sufi ‘Teacher of the Age’, and he travelled to Mecca as a young man to seek him. There he met a mysterious stranger, a man in a green robe, who said to him before any word had been spoken:
‘You seek the Greatest Sheikh, Teacher of the Age. But you seek him in the East, when he is in the West. And there is another thing which is incorrect in your seeking.’
He sent Jafar back to Andalusia, to find the man he named-Mohiudin, son on El-Arabi, of the tribe of Hatim-Tai. ‘He is the Greatest Sheikh.’
Telling nobody why he sought him, Jafar found the Tai family in Murcia and inquired for their son. He found that he had actually been in Lisbon when Jafar set off on his travels. Finally he traced him to Seville.
‘There,’ said a cleric, ‘is Mohiudin.’ He pointed to a mere schoolboy, carrying a book on the Traditions, who was at that moment hurrying from a lecture-hall.
Jafar was confused, but stopped the boy and said:
‘Who is the Greatest Teacher?’
‘I need time to answer that question’, said the other.
‘Art thou the only Mohiudin, son of El-Arabi, of the Tribe of Tai? asked Jafar.
‘I am he.’
‘Then I have no need of thee.’
Thirty years later in Aleppo, he found himself entering the lecture-hall of the Greatest Sheikh, Mohiudin ibn El-Arabi, of the tribe of Tai. Mohiudin saw him as he entered, and spoke:
‘Now that I am ready to answer the question you put to me, there is no need to put it at all. Thirty years ago, Jafar, thou hadst no need of me. Hat thou still no need of me? The Green One spoke of something wrong in thy seeking. It was time and place.’
Jafar son of Yahya became one of the foremost disciples of El-Arabi.
The Vision at Mosul

A Seeker well versed in inducing significant inner experiences still suffered from the difficulty of interpreting them constructively. He applied to the great sheikh Ibn El-Arabi for guidance about a dream which had deeply disturbed him when he was at Mosul, in Iraq.

He had seen the sublime Master Maaruf of Karkh as if seated in the middle of the fire of hell. How could the exalted Maaruf be in hell?

What he lacked was the perception of his own state. Ibn El-Arabi, from his understanding of the Seeker’s inner self and its rawness, realized that the essentials were seeing Maaruf surrounded by fire. The fire was explained by the undeveloped part of the mind as something within which the great Maaruf was trapped. Its real meaning was a barrier between the state of Maaruf and the state of the Seeker.

If the Seeker wanted to reach a state of being equivalent to that of Maaruf, the realm of attainment signified by the figure of Maaruf, he would have to pass through a realm symbolized in the vision by an encircling fire.

Through this interpretation the Seeker was able to understand his situation and to address himself to what he had still to experience.

This mistake had been in supposing that a picture of Maaruf was Maaruf, that a fire was hell-fire. It is not only the impression (Naqsh) but the correct picturing of the impression, the art which is called Tasvir (the giving of meaning to a picture), which is the function of the Rightly Guided Ones.

Poetry: Mohiuddin ibn El-Arabi

The Special Love

As the full moon appears from the night, so appears
her face amid the tresses.

From sorrow comes the perception of her: the eyes
crying on the cheek; life the black narcissus
Shedding tears upon a rose.

More beauties are silenced: her fair quality is

Even to think of her harms her subtlety (thought is
Too coarse a thing to perceive her). If this be
So, how can she correctly be seen by such a clumsy
organ as the eye?

Her fleeting wonder eludes thought.
She is beyond the spectrum of sight.

When description tried to explain her, she overcame it.
Whenever such an attempt is made, description is
put to flight.

Because it is trying to circumscribe.

If someone seeking her lowers his aspirations (to
Feel in terms of ordinary love),
-there are always others who will not do so.

O Marvel! a garden amidst the flames.
My heart has become capable of every form:
it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
and a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Kaa’ba,
and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Quran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take,
that is my religion and my faith.

All that is left
to us by tradition
is mere words.

It is up to us
to find out what they mean.

Were it not for
the excess of your talking
and the turmoil in your hearts,
you would see what I see
and hear what I hear!

When my Beloved appears, With what eye do I see Him? With His eye, not with mine, For none sees Him except Himself.

The Deathless Self speaks to the sad decaying ‘me ‘
“Poor suffering one’, you’ve turned, and are coming home
Back to ‘I’,The Primal Source of your own Being.
I tell you just love this ‘I” ! Love’I’alone.

For no one is placed more inward than’I’seeing
How far away you’ve strayed away to flee
In thought,self-will and sensual attraction
Believing pleasure gave you lasting satisfaction.

But lust and gold gave only stupefaction .
Others may love you for their own sakes,
I love you for your self and all your mistakes .
If you made effort to approach me in the end

It is because I approached you first my dearest friend.
I AM is nearer to you than you to yourself.,
Even than your soul,that phantom hobgoblin elf.
Whom among persons would treat you as I do

Jealous of your Self more than petty little you ?
I want you to belong to no one else ,you see
Not even to yourself that imagined entity.
Be mine,be for ‘I’, as you are, is ever there in me.

‘Though you are unaware. of “I”. Wake up! Be free!”

Rumi – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Shad Bashay

“The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr” – Muhammad

Hadewijch of Antwerp

(Annunciation by Carlo Crivelli)

You who want
seek the Oneness

There you
will find
the clear mirror
already waiting

– Hadewijch of Antwerp


Woke up this morning, took a walk early with Mary and Sophie. On the way home, a flight of geese flew over us, concealed by low flying cloud. You could hear their calls as they flew over. It reminded me of the wild hunt. It stirred my mind back into times before. So it seems that the weather has taken a change, and the season is coming on. There is suddenly a chill at night, just like that, dew on the ground and cool in the morning. There was a full moon last night, a bit of glory, a healthy dose of beauty. We had a small gathering for our friend Cheryl, who turned 60 yesterday, joining me like so many others as of late. Time flies.

This entry came as a surprise to me, a stumble here, a chance encounter there constructed it. We are featuring poetry for Hadewijch of Antwerp, who until yesterday I had never been aware of. Her work is superb. Little is known of her actual life, what has survived is contained in letters, and her poetry from what I have understood. The music came through my friend Ibn, an off shoot of what he sent me. Since his posting to me I have been immersed in the Setar and all it’s glories again. It has been awhile, several decades in fact since I spent time listening to it. I have gone with the Italian renaissance for art today, “Annunciation” by Carlo Crivelli has long been a favourite of mine. I hope you enjoy this entry!

I was talking blogs to friends on a list that I am on yesterday. I admire people who can bring their thoughts to bear on a subject and give it some depth. The world is better perhaps for this emerging form of literature. It has a nice taste of innovation to it. I know that I have enlarged my appreciation for different subjects since the advent of this literature form. Some of the blogosphere seems to be superseding journalism, which sadly looks like it is in decline, or perhaps just going through a change. I see some pretty shoddy work of late on the traditional press pages and in the newspapers.

I would like to recommend a couple of blogs. Here are there addresses:
Isispolis & C. LaVielle’s Book Jacket Blog both are well worth your time visiting!


On The Menu:
Masoud Shaari & Christophe Rezaï – Complaint
The Old Man and the Fairies
Hadewijch of Antwerp Poems
On Hadewijch
Massoud Shaari & Christophe Rezaï – Fervor Of Love

Masoud Shaari & Christophe Rezaï – Complaint


The Old Man and the Fairies
(from Wales)

Many years ago the Welsh mountains were full of fairies. People used to go by moonlight to see them dancing, for they knew where they would dance by seeing green rings in the grass.
There was an old man living in those days who used to frequent the fairs that were held across the mountains. One day he was crossing the mountains to a fair, and when he got to a lonely valley he sat down, for he was tired, and he dropped off to sleep, and his bag fell down by his side. When he was sound asleep the fairies came and carried him off, bag and all, and took him under the earth, and when he awoke he found himself in a great palace of gold, full of fairies dancing and singing. And they took him and showed him everything, the splendid gold room and gardens, and they kept dancing round him until he fell asleep.

When he was asleep they carried him back to the same spot where they had found him, and when he awoke he thought he had been dreaming, so he looked for his bag, and got hold of it, but he could hardly lift it. When he opened it he found it was nearly filled with gold.

He managed to pick it up, and turning round, he went home.

When he got home, his wife Kaddy said, “What’s to do, why haven’t you been to the fair?”

“I’ve got something here,” he said, and showed his wife the gold.

“Why, where did you get that?”

But he wouldn’t tell her. Since she was curious, like all women, she kept worrying him all night — for he’d put the money in a box under the bed — so he told her about the fairies.

Next morning, when he awoke, he thought he’d go to the fair and buy a lot of things, and he went to the box to get some of the gold, but found it full of cockle-shells.

Hadewijch of Antwerp Poems

The madness of love
Is a rich fief;
Anyone who recognized this
Would not ask Love for anything else:
It can unite Opposites
And reverse the paradox.
I am declaring the truth about this:
The madness of love makes bitter what was sweet,
It makes the stranger a kinsman,
And it makes the smallest the most proud.

To souls who have not reached such love,
I give this good counsel:
If they cannot do more,
Let them beg Love for amnesty,
And serve with faith,
According to the counsel of noble Love,
And think: ‘It can happen,
Love’s power is so great!’
Only after his death
Is a man beyond cure.

Love has subjugated me:
To me this is no surprise,
For she is strong and I am weak.
She makes me
Unfree of myself,
Continually against my will.
She does with me what she wishes;
Nothing of myself remains to me;
Formerly I was rich,
Now I am poor: everything is lost in love.

Love has seven names.
Do you know what they are?
Rope, Light, Fire, Coal
make up its domain.

The others, also good,
more modest but alive:
Dew, Hell, the Living Water.
I name them here (for they
are in the Scriptures),
explaining every sign
for virtue and form.
I tell the truth in signs.
Love appears every day
for one who offers love.
That wisdom is enough.

Love is a ROPE, for it ties
and holds us in its yoke.
It can do all, nothing snaps it.
You who love must know.

The meaning of LIGHT
is known to those who
offer gifts of love,
approved or condemned.

The Scripture tell us
the symbol of COAL:
the one sublime gift
God gives the intimate soul.

Under the name of FIRE, luck,
bad luck, joy or no joy,
consumes. We are seized
by the same heat from both.

When everything is burnt
in its own violence, the DEW,
coming like a breeze, pauses
and brings the good.

LIVING WATER (its sixth name)
flows and ebbs
as my love grows
and disappears from sight.

HELL (I feel its torture)
damns, covering the world.
Nothing escapes. No one has grace
to see a way out.

Take care, you who wish
to deal with names
for love. Behind their sweetness
and wrath, nothing endures.
Nothing but wounds and kisses.

Though love appears far off,
you will move into its depth.

To Live Out What I am

My distress is great and unknown to men.
They are cruel to me, for they wish to dissuade me
From all that the forces of Love urge me to.
They do not understand it, and I cannot explain it to them.
I must then live out what I am;
What love counsels my spirit,
In this is my being: for this reason I will do my best.

Whatever vicissitudes men lead me through for Love’s sake
I wish to stand firm and take no harm from them.
For I understand from the nobility of my soul
That in suffering for sublime Love, I conquer.
I will therefore gladly surrender myself
In pain, in repose, in dying, in living,
For I know the command of lofty fidelity.

I do not complain of suffering for Love:
It becomes me always to submit to her,
Whether she commands in storm or in stillness.
One can know her only in herself.
This is an unconceivable wonder,
Which has thus filled my heart
And makes me stray in a wild desert.

On Hadewijch:

We know of Hadewijch only what comes from her writings. She wrote in the Brabant dialect of Middle Dutch, and she perhaps came from the area around Antwerp. She knew French and Latin and was familiar with contemporary chivalric poetry. She appears to have been a beguine, perhaps the mistress of a beguinage.

At some point she was criticized for her views, perhaps forced out of her community, and separated from women for whom she cared. Her need to keep in touch with them and to continue to teach and encourage them seems to have led to her writings: 31 letters (Brieven), 14 descriptions of visions (Visioenen), 45 poems in stanzaic form (Strofische Gedichten), and 16 to 29 poems in mixed form (Mengeldichten).

The only question about attribution comes with regard to Mengeldichten. The last 13 poems of that work were originally believed to be by Hadewijch but later attributed by some scholars to an anonymous beguine of the later 1200s or early 1300s; she is usually called Hadewijch II. Some now believe that the last 5 of the 13 are by yet a third poet (Hadewijch III), whose thoughts seem closer to those of Marguerite Porete. Still other scholars maintain the original attribution of the whole Mengeldichten to the original Hadewijch.

Hadewijch also compiled a “List of the Perfect,” naming 86 persons, living and dead, whom she described as “clothed in love”; the list includes a beguine who had been executed, probably in 1236. It is from the datable references in this list that Hadewijch has been assigned to the mid-1200s.

Massoud Shaari & Christophe Rezaï – Fervor Of Love


(Magdalene – Carlo Crivelli)

Al Baraka

Before there was a hint of civilization
I carried a memory of your loose strand of hair,
Oblivious, I carried inside me your pointed tip of hair.

In its invisible realm,
Your face of sun yearned for epiphany,
Until each distinct thing was thrown into sight.

From the first instant time took a breath,
Your love lay in the soul,
A treasure in the secret chest in the heart.

Before the first seed shot up out of the rose bed of the possible,
The soul’s lark took wing high above your meadow,
Flying home to you.

I thank you one hundred times! In the altar
Of Hayati’s eyes, your face shines
Forever present and beautiful.
– Bibi Hayati

This is kind of a collective take going across North Africa into Persia, a compendium of sorts of sources from the Maghreb to points east. I was looking originally for tales of magic from North Africa, and Arabic women poets. Both are but a blip on the Internet sad to say. So, I built this up in the heat of a Sunday afternoon. Let me know if you liked it or not.

Hope this finds you and yours well, it is finally cooling down here, thankfully!

On The Menu:
Arab Proverbs
Tartit Touareg Mokubor – track 8
The Jackal and the Farmer
Bibi Hayati: Beauty
Tartit Touareg Mokubor – track 3

Arab Proverbs:
For the sake of the flowers, the weeds are watered.
Don’t eat your bread on someone else’s table.
Those who are far from the eye are far from the heart.
Blood can never turn into water.(a bond with family/relatives can never break)
Give the bread dough to the baker even if he eats half of it.
The one who is sinking,hangs to a straw.
Fire will burn itself out if it did not find anything to burn.

Tartit Touareg Mokubor – track 8


North Africa Folk Tales (Kabyl)
The Jackal and the Farmer

A farmer plowed with two oxen from morning till eve. One evening a lion came and said, “Give me one of your two oxen or I’ll kill you and both of them.”
The farmer was terrified. He unspanned one of the oxen and gave it to the lion. The lion took it and carried it away. The farmer went home with the remaining ox and bought another one the same evening so that he would be able to plow again in the morning.

The next day the farmer plowed again from morning till eve, and when it was evening the lion came again and said, “Farmer, give me one of your two oxen or I’ll kill both of them and you into the bargain.”

Again the farmer gave him an ox. That evening he bought another ox so as to be able to plow again the next day. The next evening the lion came again and demanded still another ox. The farmer gave the lion an ox every evening. One evening the jackal came by as the farmer was driving his single ox home.

The jackal said, “Every morning I see you leave the farmyard with two oxen and every evening I see you coming back with only one. How does that happen?”

The farmer answered, “Every evening when I am finished with the day’s work the lion comes and demands one of my oxen and threatens to kill me and both oxen if I do not comply with his wish.”

The jackal said, “If you promise to give me a sheep I will free you from the lion.”

The farmer answered, “If you can free me from the lion I will gladly promise you a sheep.”

The jackal said, “Tomorrow I will call out in a disguised voice from up there on the hill and ask who is speaking with you. Then answer that it is only an Asko (a block of wood to be split). Have a hatchet ready. Have you understood me?”

The farmer said, “Certainly, I have understood you.”

The next day the farmer took a hatchet with him to the field and plowed as usual with the two oxen from morning till eve.

When it was evening the lion came and said, “Farmer, give me an ox or I shall kill both oxen and you as well.”

When the lion had said that a deep voice spoke from the hill and said, “Farmer, who speaks with you?”

The lion was afraid, ducked down, and said in a frightened voice, “That is god.”

But the farmer replied loudly, “It is only an Asko.”

The voice answered loudly, “Then take your hatchet and split the block of wood.”

The lion said softly, “But give me only a gentle blow, farmer.”

There at he bowed his head. The farmer gripped his hatchet and struck at the lion’s lowered skull with all his force so that he split it and the lion died.

The jackal came down from the hill and said, “I have done what I promised. The lion is done away with. Tomorrow I will come again and get the sheep which you have promised me.”

The farmer said, “You shall have it.”

The farmer came home. He said to his wife, “The jackal has freed me from the lion. Now I will give him a ram. I will kill it. Then you pack it up so that I can take it with me to the field tomorrow.”

The man killed the ram. As his wife was about to pack it up she said, “Why shouldn’t we eat the good ram ourselves?” She put the ram into a leather sack. She laid the leather sack in a wicker basket. But she told the house dog to lie down in the basket beside the leather sack. She said to the farmer, “If, perchance, the jackal does not take the ram in the course of the day, then bring it home again. Otherwise the other animals which have not helped you will eat it during the night. Set down the basket in the field just as it is and then let happen what will.”

The farmer went to the field. He put the basket down on the field and cried, “Jackal here is your ram.”

Then he went to his work without bothering himself further about the basket, the ram, or the jackal. The jackal, however, came to the basket in order to take out the ram. As he stuck his nose into the basket, up sprang the dog. The jackal ran away from there as quickly as he could. The dog ran after him for a while but when he saw that the jackal was really too fast he gave up and went home. The jackal swore never to help men again.

In the evening the farmer came. He looked into the basket and found the ram still untouched. So he picked up the basket again with the ram in it, brought it home, and said, “The jackal has not called for his ram. Now we can eat it ourselves!”
From Persia..
Bibi Hayati: Beauty…

Before there was a trace of this world of men,
I carried the memory of a lock of your hair,
A stray end gathered within me, though unknown.

Inside that invisible realm,
Your face like the sun longed to be seen,
Until each separate object was finally flung into light.

From the moment of Time’s first-drawn breath,
Love resides in us,
A treasure locked into the heart’s hidden vault;

Before the first seed broke open the rose bed of Being,
An inner lark soared through your meadows,
Heading toward Home.

What can I do but thank you, one hundred times?
Your face illumines the shrine of Hayati’s eyes,
Constantly present and lovely.

How Can I See The Splendor Of The Moon

How can I see the splendor of the moon
If his face shines over my heart,
Flaming like the sun?

The Turks in his eyes charge through my soul,
While untrue curling hair
Defeats faith.

Yet if he lifted the veil from his face,
The world would be undone,
The universe astounded.

He walks through the garden
With grace, erect,
His exquisite posture mocking even the straight cypresses.

He charges, riding his gnostic horse
Into the holy space of divinity,
The sacred sphere.

Tonight the Saki with its red-stained ruby lips
Pours wine for the luxury of every drunk,
And sates every reveler’s taste.

As Hayati has drunk his ecstasy,
Her soul now satisfied by the wine of his pure heart,
How can she drink any other nectar?

Is It The Night Of Power?

Is it the night of power
Or only your hair?
Is it dawn
Or your face?

In the songbook of beauty
Is it a deathless first line
Or only a fragment
copied from your inky eyebrow?

Is it boxwood of the orchard
Or cypress of the rose garden?
The tuba tree of paradise, abundant with dates,
Or your standing beautifully straight?

Is it musk of a Chinese deer
Or scent of delicate rosewater?
The rose breathing in the wind
Or your perfume?

Is it scorching lightning
Or light from fire on Sana’i Mountain?
My hot sigh
Or your inner radiance?

Is it Mongolian musk
Or pure ambergris?
Is it your hyacinth curls
Or your braids?

Is it a glass of red wine at dawn
Or white magic?
Your drunken narcissus eye
Or your spell?

Is it the Garden of Eden
Or heaven on earth?
A mosque of the masters of the heart
Or a back alley?

Everyone faces a mosque of adobe and mud
When they pray.
The mosque of Hayati’s soul
Turns to your face.

Tartit Touareg Mokubor – track 3

Into Another Era…

Your Prayers

Your Prayers were Light
And our worship peaceful.
Your sleep an enemy of prayer
Your life was test, but you let
it go by without a thought.
It’s ever-passing, slowly vanishes
Before you know it

(Phoebe Anna Traquair – The Victory)

This is perhaps a bit of cumbersome for a Sunday afternoon. I survived my 60th birthday, and have been generally milling about for the last week considering what that all meant. I have tried to avoid thinking about the anniversary of 9/11 because frankly, I don’t see many lessons learned from it on the side of the West. I read an article today on the people who jumped from the towers. It just broke me down. I think I will never get those images from my head. My friend Jim Harter sent me his memories on that morning, and asked me what we were doing on that day. I have decided to include his memory of that day here as well as mine.

I hope this day finds you well, and that life is sweet.


On The Menu:
9/11 Tales
The Links
On The Path To Peace
Random Quotes
The Maker of Gargoyles
The Poetry Of Arab Women
Tim Buckley – Hallucinations

9/11 Tales

Jim Harter’s Account: 9/11/2001
I was at a sufi camp in New Mexico where we were doing dancing, physical exercises, chanting, and other spiritual work. A few days previously I had a conversation with an astrologer there who was from Washington DC. He had some interesting gossip, mainly that Ronald Reagan himself was into astrology, and not just Nancy. But he also mentioned that the astrological community was very concerned about the Saturn-Pluto opposition then taking place, that they feared something disruptive would soon happen in the world. However, they had no idea what. A few days later something did happen and it was 9/11. The sufi camp worked on a musicians schedule. People got up rather late, but I was one of the earlier risers. There was always one person who got up earlier, however, a retired doctor, who that morning as he often did, was sitting in his car, catching up on the news. He provided the first indication of what was happening. The news was quickly passed around and we were all in a kind of shock. I decided to leave camp and drive to my mother’s house in Albuquerque, 64 miles distant. We spent most of the day around the TV. The next morning I went back to the camp. For the next week or so it was eerily silent, because there were no airplane sounds. We were beneath a major east-west air corridor and all airplanes had been grounded. So we felt very isolated and cut off from the frantic activity happening elsewhere. Afterwards I learned that both World Wars I & II had begun under similar astrological aspects, and later this was elaborated on by Richard Tarnas in his brilliant book Cosmos & Psyche.

Our Account: 9/11/2001 – Oregon

The Alarm went off.  Mary and I were lying in each others arms. As I laid there sorting things out, someone reported on NPR that an airplane had hit the first tower. “I went there” I said to Mary, “but I was wearing jeans, so they wouldn’t let us go up to the observation deck”. “That is some really bad flying or really bad luck”.  I wondered if there was cloud cover, kind of like when the B-25 hit the Empire State Building back in 1945 in heavy fog…

We got up, it was around 6:15.  We were making coffee listening to the radio, getting our son Rowan up for school. The second plane hit. I looked at Mary, and at that moment we both knew.  Our brother in law had worked in the towers in the early 90′s when the truck bomb went off. I prayed he didn’t have work there now.*

We were heading out to our clients in Sandy up near Mt. Hood to work on some barns. We took Rowan with us, as we were not going to be separated by 30 miles on this day.

We arrived at the Alpaca Farm just west of Sandy. Our clients John and Christi had no idea what had transpired earlier. We told them to turn on the radio. They stood there shocked. John had lived in London through the IRA bombings as had Mary. The exchanged glances spoke volumes.

We walked out into the field and started working. Slowly, in about an hour all air traffic ceased. What was flying was military jets, all of the local wing. The were taking off to the coast. At that moment I knew everything had changed, and not in the way I imagined it ever would.  The sky stretched on forever, and for the first time in years, it was silent.

*(We found out later that day our Brother In Law was not working in the Towers later that day.)

The Links:
Ancient Scripts
Peaceful UpRising (thanks to Rob for reminding me)
The Taking Of The Oracle….
The Truth Magnet?

On The Path To Peace:

Julia Bacha: Pay Attention To Non-Violence


Clip from the Documentary “BUDRUS”: Iltezam & Women’s Role


Random Quotes

“Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.” – Edward Abbey
“A nation is a society united by delusions about its ancestry and by common hatred of its neighbors.” William Ralph Inge
“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosby
“Once the game is over, the King and the pawn go back in the same box.” – Italian Proverb
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire
“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” – Sir Winston Churchill

The Maker of Gargoyles
Clark Ashton Smith
Among the many gargoyles that frowned or leered from the roof of the new-built cathedral of Vyones, two were pre-eminent above the rest by virtue of their fine workmanship and their supreme grotesquery. These two had been wrought by the stone-carver Blaise Reynard, a native of Vyones, who had lately returned from a long sojourn in the cities of Provence, and had secured employment on the cathedral when the three years’ task of its construction and ornamentation was well-nigh completed. In view of the wonderful artistry shown by Reynard, it was regretted by Ambrosius, the archbishop, that it had not been possible to commit the execution of all the gargoyles to this delicate and accomplished workman; but other people, with less liberal tastes than Ambrosius, were heard to express a different opinion.

This opinion, perhaps, was tinged by the personal dislike that had been generally felt toward Reynard in Vyones even from his boyhood; and which had been revived with some virulence on his return. Whether rightly or unjustly, his very physiognomy had always marked him out for public disfavor: he was inordinately dark, with hair and beard of a preternatural bluish-black, and slanting, ill-matched eyes that gave him a sinister and cunning air. His taciturn and saturnine ways were such as a superstitious people would identify with necromantic knowledge or complicity; and there were those who covertly accused him of being in league with Satan; though the accusations were little more than vague, anonymous rumors, even to the end, through lack of veritable evidence.

However, the people who suspected Reynard of diabolic affiliations were wont for awhile to instance the two gargoyles as sufficient proof. No man, they contended, who was so inspired by the Arch-Enemy, could have carven anything so sheerly evil and malignant, could have embodied so consummately in mere stone the living lineaments of the most demoniacal of all the deadly Sins.

The two gargoyles were perched on opposite corners of a high tower of the cathedral. One was a snarling, murderous, cat-headed monster, with retracted lips revealing formidable fangs, and eyes that glared intolerable hatred from beneath ferine brows. This creature had the claws and wings of a griffin, and seemed as if it were poised in readiness to swoop down on the city of Vyones, like a harpy on its prey. Its companion was a horned satyr, with the vans of some great bat such as might roam the nether caverns, with sharp, clenching talons, and a look of Satanically brooding lust, as if it were gloating above the helpless object of its unclean desire. Both figures were complete, even to the hindquarters, and were not mere conventional adjuncts of the roof. One would have expected them to start at any moment from the stone in which they were mortised.

Ambrosius, a lover of art, had been openly delighted with these creations, because of their high technical merit and their verisimilitude as works of sculpture. But others, including many humbler dignitaries of the Church, were more or less scandalized, and said that the workman had informed these figures with the visible likeness of his own vices, to the glory of Belial rather than of God, and had thus perpetrated a sort of blasphemy. Of course, they admitted, a certain amount of grotesquery was requisite in gargoyles; but in this case the allowable bounds had been egregiously overpassed.

However, with the completion of the cathedral, and in spite of all this adverse criticism, the high-poised gargoyles of Blaise Reynard, like all other details of the building, were soon taken for granted through mere everyday familiarity; and eventually they were almost forgotten. The scandal of opposition died down, and the stone-carver himself, though the town-folk continued to eye him askance, was able to secure other work through the favor of discriminating patrons. He remained in Vyones; and paid his addresses, albeit without visible success, to a taverner’s daughter, one Nicolette Villom, of whom, it was said, he had long been enamored in his own surly and reticent fashion.

But Reynard himself had not forgotten the gargoyles. Often, in passing the superb pile of the cathedral, he would gaze up at them with a secret satisfaction whose cause he could hardly have assigned or delimited. They seemed to retain for him a rare and mystical meaning, to signalize an obscure but pleasurable triumph.

He would have said, if asked for the reason for his satisfaction, that he was proud of a skilful piece of handiwork. He would not have said, and perhaps would not even have known, that in one of the gargoyles he had imprisoned all his festering rancor, all his answering spleen and hatred toward the people of Vyones, who had always hated him; and had set the image of this rancor to peer venomously down for ever from a lofty place. And perhaps he would not even have dreamt that in the second gargoyle he had somehow expressed his own dour and satyr-like passion for the girl Nicolette — a passion that had brought him back to the detested city of his youth after years of wandering; a passion singularly tenacious of one object, and differing in this regard from the ordinary lusts of a nature so brutal as Reynard’s.

Always to the stone-cutter, even more than to those who had criticized and abhorred his productions, the gargoyles were alive, they possessed a vitality and a sentiency of their own. And most of all did they seem to live when the summer drew to an end and the autumn rains had gathered upon Vyones. Then, when the full cathedral gutters poured above the streets, one might have thought that the actual spittle of a foul maelevolence, the very slaver of an impure lust, had somehow been mingled with the water that ran in rills from the mouths of the gargoyles.

At that time, in the year of our Lord, 1138, Vyones was the principal town of the province of Averoigne. On two sides the great, shadow-haunted forest, a place of equivocal legends, of loups-garous and phantoms, approached to the very walls and flung its umbrage upon them at early forenoon and evening. On the other sides there lay cultivated fields, and gentle streams that meandered among willows or poplars, and roads that ran through an open plain to the high chateaux of noble lords and to regions beyond Averoigne.

The town itself was prosperous, and had never shared in the ill-fame of the bordering forest. It had long been sanctified by the presence of two nunneries and a monastery; and now, with the completion of the long-planned cathedral, it was thought that Vyones would have henceforward the additional protection of a more august holiness; that demon and stryge and incubus would keep their distance from its heaven-favored purlieus with a more meticulous caution than before.

Of course, as in all mediaeval towns, there had been occasional instances of alleged sorcery or demoniacal possession; and, once or twice, the perilous temptations of succubi had made their inroads on the pious virtue of Vyones. But this was nothing more than might be expected, in a world where the Devil and his works were always more or less rampant. No one could possibly have anticipated the reign of infernal horrors that was to make hideous the latter months of autumn, following the cathedral’s erection.

To make the matter even more inexplicable, and more blasphemously dreadful than it would otherwise have been, the first of these horrors occurred in the neighborhood of the cathedral itself and almost beneath its sheltering shadow.

Two men, a respectable clothier named Guillaume Maspier and an equally reputable cooper, one Gerome Mazzal, were returning to their lodgings in the late hours of a November eve, after imbibing both the red and white wines of the countryside in more than one tavern. According to Maspier, who alone survived to tell the tale, they were passing along a street that skirted the cathedral square, and could see the bulk of the great building against the stars, when a flying monster, black as the soot of Abaddon, had descended upon them from the heavens and assailed Gerome Mazzal, beating him down with its heavily flapping wings and seizing him with its inch-long teeth and talons.

Maspier was unable to describe the creature with minuteness, for he had seen it but dimly and partially in the unlit street; and moreover, the fate of his companion, who had fallen to the cobblestones with the black devil snarling and tearing at his throat, had not induced Maspier to linger in that vicinity. He had betaken himself from the scene with all the celerity of which he was capable, and had stopped only at the house of a priest, many streets away, where he had related his adventure between shudderings and hiccuppings.

Armed with holy water and aspergillus, and accompanied by many of the towns-people carrying torches, staves and halberds, the priest was led by Maspier to the place of the horror; and there they had found the body of Mazzal, with fearfully mangled face, and throat and bosom lined with bloody lacerations. The demoniac assailant had flown, and it was not seen or encountered again that night; but those who had beheld its work returned aghast to their homes, feeling that a creature of nethermost hell had come to visit the city, and perchance to abide therein.

Consternation was rife on the morrow, when the story became generally known; and rites of exorcism against the invading demon were performed by the clergy in all public places and before thresholds. But the sprinkling of holy water and the mumbling of the stated forms were futile; for the evil spirit was still abroad, and its malignity was proved once more, on the night following the ghastly death of Gerome Mazzal.

This time, it claimed two victims, burghers of high probity and some consequence, on whom it descended in a narrow alley, slaying one of them instantaneously, and dragging down the other from behind as he sought to flee. The shrill cries of the helpless men, and the guttural growling of the demon, were heard by people in the houses along the alley; and some, who were hardy enough to peer from their windows, had seen the departure of the infamous assailant, blotting out the autumn stars with the sable and misshapen foulness of its wings, and hovering in execrable menace above the house-tops.

After this, few people would venture abroad at night, unless in case of dire and exigent need; and those who did venture went in armed companies and were all furnished with flambeaux, thinking thus to frighten away the demon, which they adjudged a creature of darkness that would abhor the light and shrink therefrom, through the nature of its kind. But the boldness of this fiend was beyond measure; for it proceeded to attack more than one company of worthy citizens, disregarding the flaring torches that were thrust in its face, or putting them out with th stenchful wind of its wide vans.

Evidently it was a spirit of homicidal hate, for all the people on whom it seized were grievously mangled or torn to numberless shreds by its teeth and talons. Those who saw it, and survived, were wont to describe it variously and with much ambiguity; but all agreed in attributing to it the head of a ferocious animal and the wings of a monstrous bird. Some, the most learned in demonology, were fain to identify it with Modo, the spirit of murder; and others took it for one of the great lieutenants of Satan, perhaps Amaimon or Alastor, gone mad with exasperation at the impregnable supremacy of Christ in the holy city of Vyones.

The terror that soon prevailed, beneath the widening scope of these Satanical incursions and depredations, was beyond all belief — a clotted, seething, devil-ridden gloom of superstitious obsession, not to be hinted at in modern language. Even by daylight, the Gothic wings of nightmare seemed to brood in underparting oppression above the city; and fear was everywhere, like the foul contagion of some epidemic plague. The inhabitants went their way in prayer and trembling; and the archbishop himself, as well as the subordinate clergy, confessed an inability to cope with the ever-growing horror. An emissary was sent to Rome, to procure water that had been specially sanctified by the Pope. This alone it was thought, would be efficacious enough to drive away the dreadful visitant.

In the meantime, the horror waxed, and mounted to its culmination. One eve, toward the middle of November, the abbot of the local monastery of Cordeliers, who had gone forth to administer extreme unction to a dying friend, was seized by the black devil just as he approached the threshold of his destination, and was slain in the same atrocious manner as the other victims.

To this doubly infamous deed, a scarce-believable blasphemy was soon added. On the very next night, while the torn body of the abbot lay on a rich catafalque in the cathedral, and masses were being said and tapers burnt, the demon invaded the high nave through the open door, extinguished all the candles with one flap of its sooty wings, and dragged down no less than three of the officiating priests to an unholy death in the darkness.

Every one now felt that a truly formidable assault was being made by the powers of Evil on the Christian probity of Vyones. In the condition of abject terror, of extreme disorder and demoralization that followed upon this new atrocity, there was a deplorable outbreak of human crime, of murder and rapine and thievery, together with covert manifestations of Satanism, and celebrations of the Black Mass attended by many neophytes.

Then, in the midst of all this pandemoniacal fear and confusion, it was rumored that a second devil had been seen in Vyones; that the murderous fiend was accompanied by a spirit of equal deformity and darkness, whose intentions were those of lechery, and which molested none but women. This creature had frightened several dames and demoiselles and maid-servants into a veritable hysteria by peering through their bedroom windows; and had sidled lasciviously, with uncouth mows and grimaces, and grotesque flappings of its bat-shaped wings, toward others who had occasion to fare from house to house across the nocturnal streets.

However, strange to say, there were no authentic instances in which the chastity of any woman had suffered actual harm from this noisome incubus. Many were approached by it, and were terrified immoderately by the hideousness and lustfulness of its demeanor; but no one was ever touched. Even in that time of horror, both spiritual and corporeal, there were those who made a ribald jest of this singular abstention on the part of the demon, and said it was seeking throughout Vyones for some one whom it had not yet found.

The lodgings of Blaise Reynard were separated only by the length of a dark and crooked alley from the tavern kept by Jean Villom, the father of Nicolette. In this tavern, Reynard had been wont to spend his evenings; though his suit was frowned upon by Jean Villom, and had received but scant encouragement from the girl herself. However, because of his well-filled purse and his almost illimitable capacity for wine, Reynard was tolerated. He came early each night, with the falling of darkness, and would sit in silence hour after hour, staring with hot and sullen eyes at Nicolette, and gulping joylessly the potent vintages of Averoigne. Apart from their desire to retain his custom, the people of the tavern were a little afraid of him, on account of his dubious an semi-sorcerous reputation, and also because of his surly temper. They did not wish to antagonize him more than was necessary.

Like everyone else in Vyones, Reynard had felt the suffocating burden of superstitious terror during those nights when the fiendish marauder was hovering above the town and might descend on the luckless wayfarer at any moment, in any locality. Nothing less urgent and imperative than the obsession of his half-bestial longing for Nicolette could have induced him to traverse after dark the length of the winding alley to the tavern door.

The autumn nights had been moonless. Now, on the evening that followed the desecration of the cathedral itself by the murderous devil, a new-born crescent was lowering its fragile, sanguine-colored horn beyond the house-tops as Reynard went forth from his lodgings at the accustomed hour. He lost sight of its comforting beam in the high-walled and narrow alley, and shivered with dread as he hastened onward through shadows that were dissipated only by the rare and timid ray from some lofty window. It seemed to him, at each turn and angle, that the gloom was curded by the unclean umbrage of Satanic wings, and might reveal in another instant the gleaming of abhorrent eyes ignited by the everlasting coals of the Pit. When he came forth at the alley’s end, he saw with a start of fresh panic that the crescent moon was blotted out by a cloud that had the semblance of uncouthly arched and pointed vans.

He reached the tavern with a sense of supreme relief, for he had begun to feel a distinct intuition that someone or something was following him, unheard and invisible — a presence that seemed to load the dusk with prodigious menace. He entered, and closed the door behind him very quickly, as if he were shutting it in the face of a dread pursuer.

There were few people in the tavern that evening. The girl Nicolette was serving wine to a mercer’s assistant, one Raoul Coupain, a personable youth and a newcomer in the neighborhood, and she was laughing with what Reynard considered unseemly gayety at the broad jests and amorous sallies of this Raoul. Jean Villom was discussing in a low voice the latest enormities and was drinking fully as much liquor as his customers.

Glowering with jealousy at the presence of Raoul Coupain, whom he suspected of being a favored rival, Reynard seated himself in silence and stared malignly at the flirtatious couple. No one seemed to have noticed his entrance; for Villom went on talking to his cronies without pause or interruption, and Nicolette and her companion were equally oblivious. To his jealous rage, Reynard soon added the resentment of one who feels that he is being deliberately ignored. He began to pound on the table with his heavy fists, to attract attention.

Villom, who had been sitting all the while his back turned, now called out to Nicolette without even troubling to face around on his stool, telling her to serve Reynard. Giving a backward smile at Coupain, she came slowly and with open reluctance to the stone-carver’s table.

She was small and buxom, with reddish-gold hair that curled luxuriantly above the short, delicious oval of her face; and she was gowned in a tight-fitting dress of apple-green that revealed the firm, seductive outlines of her hips and bosom. Her air was disdainful and a little cold, for she did not like Reynard and had taken small pains at any time to conceal her aversion. But to Reynard she was lovelier and more desirable than ever, and he felt a savage impulse to seize her in his arms and carry her bodily away from the tavern before the eyes of Raoul Coupain and her father.

“Bring me a pitcher of La Frenaie,” he ordered gruffly, in a voice that betrayed his mingled resentment and desire.

Tossing her head lightly and scornfully, with more glances at Coupain, the girl obeyed. She placed the fierey, blood-dark wine before Reynard without speaking, and then went back to resume her bantering with the mercer’s assistant.

Reynard began to drink, and the potent vintage merely served to inflame his smoldering enmity and passion. His eyes became venomous, his curling lips malignant as those of the gargoyles he had carved on the new cathedral. A baleful, primordial anger, like the rage of some morose and thwarted faun, burned within him with its slow red fire; but he strove to repress it, and sat silent and motionless, except for the frequent filling and emptying of his wine-cup.

Raoul Coupain had also consumed a liberal quantity of wine. As a result, he soon became bolder in his love-making, and strove to kiss the hand of Nicolette, who had now seated herself on the bench beside him. The hand was playfully with-held; and then, after its owner had cuffed Raoul very lightly and briskly, was granted to the claimant in a fashion that struck Reynard as being no less than wanton.

Snarling inarticulately, with a mad impulse to rush forward and slay the successful rival with his bare hands, he started to his feet and stepped toward the playful pair. His movement was noted by one of the men in the far corner, who spoke warningly to Villom. The tavern-keeper arose, lurching a little from his potations, and came warily across the room with his eyes on Reynard, ready to interfere in case of violence.

Reynard paused with momentary irresolution, and then went on, half insane with a mounting hatred for them all. He longed to kill Villom and Coupain, to kill the hateful cronies who sat staring from the corner, and then, above their throttled corpses, to ravage with fierce kisses and vehement caresses the shrinking lips and body of Nicolette.

Seeing the approach of the stone-carver, and knowing his evil temper and dark jealousy, Coupain also rose to his feet and plucked stealthily beneath his cloak at the hilt of a little dagger which he carried. In the meanwhile, Jean Villom had interposed his burly bulk between the rivals. For the sake of the tavern’s good repute, he wished to prevent the possible brawl.

“Back to your table, stone-cutter,” he roared belligerently at Reynard.

Being unarmed, and seeing himself outnumbered, Reynard paused again, though his anger still simmered within him like the contents of a sorcerer’s cauldron. With ruddy points of murderous flame in his hollow, slitted eyes, he glared at the three people before him, and saw beyond them, with instictive rather than conscious awareness, the leaded panes of the tavern window, in whose glass the room was dimly reflected with its glowing tapers, its glimmering tableware, the heads of Coupain and Villom and the girl Nicolette, and his own shadowy face among them.

Strangely, and, it would seem, inconsequntly, he remembered at that moment the dark, ambiguous cloud he had seen across the moon, and the insistent feeling of obscure pursuit while he had traversed the alley.

Then, as he still gazed irresolutely at the group before him, and its vague reflection in the glass beyond, there came a thunderous crash, and the panes of the window with their pictured scene were shattered inward in a score of fragments. Ere the litter of falling glass had reached the tavern floor, a swart and monstrous form flew into the room, with a beating of heavy vans that caused the tapers to flare troublously, and the shadows to dance like a sabbat of misshapen devils. The thing hovered for a moment, and seemed to tower in a great darkness higher than the ceiling above the heads of Reynard and the others as they turned toward it. They saw the malignant burning of its eyes, like coals in the depth of Tartarean pits, and the curling of its hateful lips on the bared teeth that were longer and sharper than serpent-fangs.

Behind it now, another shadowy flying monster came in through the broken window with a loud flapping of its ribbed and pointed wings. There was something lascivious in the very motion of its flight, even as homicidal hatred and malignity were manifest in the flight of the other. Its satyr-like face was twisted in a horrible, never-changing leer, and its lustful eyes were fixed on Nicolette as it hung in air beside the first intruder.

Reynard, as well as the other men, was petrified by a feeling of astonishment and consternation so extreme as almost to preclude terror. Voiceless and motionless, they beheld the demoniac intrusion; and the consternation of Reynard, in particular, was mingled with an element of unspeakable surprise, together with a dreadful recognizance. But the girl Nicolette, with a mad scream of horror, turned and started to flee across the room.

As if her cry had been the one provocation needed, the two demons swooped upon their victims. One, with a ferocious slash of its outstretched claws, tore open the throat of Jean Villom, who fell with a gurgling, blood-choked groan; and then, in the same fashion, it assailed Raoul Coupain. The other, in the meanwhile, had pursued and overtaken the fleeing girl, and had seized her in its bestial forearms, with the ribbed wings enfolding her like a hellish drapery.

The room was filled by a moaning whirlwind, by a chaos of wild cries and tossing, struggling shadows. Reynard heard the guttural snarling of the murderous monster, muffled by the body of Coupain, whom it was tearing with its teeth; and he heard the lubricous laughter of the incubus, above the shrieks of the hysterically frightened girl. Then the grotesquely flaring tapers went out in a gust of swirling air, and Reynard received a violent blow in the darkness — the blow of some rushing object, perhaps of a passing wing, that was hard and heavy as stone. He fell, and became insensible.

Dully and confusedly, with much effort, Reynard struggled back to consciousness. For a brief interim, he could not remember where he was nor what had happened. He was troubled by the painful throbbing of his head, by the humming of agitated voices about him, by the glaring of many lights and the thronging of many faces when he opened his eyes; and above all, by the sense of nameless but grievous calamity and uttermost horror that weighed him down from the first dawning of sentiency.

Memory returned to him, laggard and reluctant; and with it, a full awareness of his surroundings and situation. He was lying on the tavern floor, and his own warm, sticky blood was rilling across his face from the wound on his aching head. The long room was half filled with people of the neighborhood, bearing torches and knives and halberds, who had entered and were peering at the corpses of Villom and Coupain, which lay amid pools of wine-diluted blood and the wreckage of the shattered furniture and tableware.

Nicolette, with her green gown in shreds, and her body crushed by the embraces of the demon, was moaning feebly while women crowded about her with ineffectual cries and questions which she could not even hear or understand. The two cronies of Villom, horribly clawed and mangled, were dead beside their over-turned table.

Stupefied with horror, and still dizzy from the blow that had laid him unconscious, Reynard staggered to his feet, and found himself surrounded at once by inquiring faces and voices. Some of the people were a little suspicious of him, since he was the sole survivor in the tavern, and bore an ill repute, but his replies to their questions soon convinced them that the new crime was wholly the work of the same demons that had plagued Vyones in so monstrous a fashion for weeks past.

Reynard, however, was unable to tell them all that he had seen, or to confess the ultimate sources of his fear and stupefaction. The secret of that which he knew was locked in the seething pit of his tortured and devil-ridden soul.

Somehow, he left the ravaged inn, he pushed his way through the gathering crowd with its terror-muted murmurs, and found himself alone on the midnight streets. Heedless of his own possible peril, and scarcely knowing where he went, he wandered through Vyones for many hours; and somewhile in his wanderings, he came to his own workshop. With no assignable reason for the act, he entered, and re-emerged with a heavy hammer, which he carried with him during his subsequent peregrinations. Then, driven by his awful and unremissive torture, he went on till the pale dawn had touched the spires and the house-tops with a ghostly glimmering.

By a half-conscious compulsion, his steps had led him to the square before the cathedral. Ignoring the amazed verger, who had just opened the doors, he entered and sought a stairway that wound tortuously upward to the tower on which his own gargoyles were ensconced.

In the chill and livid light of sunless morning, he emerged on the roof; and leaning perilously from the verge, he examined the carven figures. He felt no surprise, only the hideous confirmation of a fear too ghastly to be named, when he saw that the teeth and claws of the malign, cat-headed griffin were stained with darkening blood; and that shreds of apple-green cloth were hanging from the talons of the lustful, bat-winged satyr.

It seemed to Reynard, in the dim ashen light, that a look of unspeakable triumph, of intolerable irony, was imprinted on the face of this latter creature. He stared at it with fearful and agonizing fascination, while impotent rage, abhorrence, and repentance deeper than that of the damned arose within him in a smothering flood. He was hardly aware that he had raised the iron hammer and had struck wildly at the satyr’s horned profile, till he heard the sullen, angry clang of impact, and found that he was tottering on the edge of the roof to retain his balance.

The furious blow had merely chipped the features of the gargoyle, and had not wiped away the malignant lust and exultation. Again Reynard raised the heavy hammer.

It fell on empty air; for, even as he struck, the stone-carver felt himself lifted and drawn backward by something that sank into his flesh like many separate knives. He staggered helplessly, his feet slipped, and then he was lying on the granite verge, with his head and shoulders over the dark, deserted street.

Half swooning, and sick with pain, he saw above him the other gargoyle, the claws of whose right foreleg were firmly embedded in his shoulder. They tore deeper, as if with a dreadful clenching. The monster seemed to tower like some fabulous beast above its prey; and he felt himself slipping dizzily across the cathedral gutter, with the gargoyle twisting and turning as if to resume its normal position over the gulf. Its slow, inexorable movement seemed to be part of his vertigo. The very tower was tilting and revolving beneath him in some unnatural nightmare fashion.

Dimly, in a daze of fear and agony, Reynard saw the remorseless tiger-face bending toward him with its horrid teeth laid bare in an eternal rictus of diabolic hate. Somehow, he had retained the hammer. With an instinctive impulse to defend himself, he struck at the gargoyle, whose cruel features seemed to approach him like something seen in the ultimate madness and distortion of delirium.

Even as he struck, the vertiginous turning movement continued, and he felt the talons dragging him outward on empty air. In his cramped, recumbent position, the blow fell short of the hateful face and came down with a dull clangor on the foreleg whose curving talons were fixed in his shoulder like meat-hooks. The clangor ended in a sharp cracking sound; and the leaning gargoyle vanished from Reynard’s vision as he fell. He saw nothing more, except the dark mass of the cathedral tower, that seemed to soar away from him and to rush upward unbelievably in the livid, starless heavens to which the belated sun had not yet risen.

It was the archbishop Ambrosius, on his way to early Mass, who found the shattered body of Reynard lying face downward in the square. Ambrosius crossed himself in startled horror at the sight; and the, when he saw the object that was still clinging to Reynard’s shoulder, he repeated the gesture with a more than pious promptness.

He bent down to examine the thing. With the infallible memory of a true art-lover, he recognized it at once. Then, through the same clearness of recollection, he saw that the stone foreleg, whose claws were so deeply buried in Reynard’s flesh, had somehow undergone a most unnatural alteration. The paw, as he remembered it, should have been slightly bent and relaxed; but now it was stiffly outthrust and elongated, as if, like the paw of a living limb, it had reached for something, or had dragged a heavy burden with its ferine talons.

The Poetry of Arab Women

I Have Decided to Sail

I have hoisted my sail
To triumph over the tempest
And to contend with unpredictable gales.
My destiny is the quest for the unknown.
I will never again fear ghost or ghoul
For I am empowered with a zeal to explore the unfathomed.

I press forward
With the fresh power of tenacity and determination.
I will not fear those gory thorns.
I will not shrink from the battle
Though teeming with phobia and death
So long as this battle will restore me to life.
These are my oars.

I begin to row in the midst of the sea
And to find my direction.
There beyond the unfathomable depths
The inner voice is calling to me:
“Why be afraid?
You have a compass in your confidence and faith.”
– Badia Kashghari

The Words Under the Words

for Sitti Khadra, north of Jerusalem
My grandmother’s hands recognize grapes,
the damp shine of a goat’s new skin.
When I was sick they followed me,
I woke from the long fever to find them
covering my head like cool prayers.

My grandmother’s days are made of bread,
a round pat-pat and the slow baking.
She waits by the oven watching a strange car
circle the streets. Maybe it holds her son,
lost to America. More often, tourists,
who kneel and weep at mysterious shrines.
She knows how often mail arrives,
how rarely there is a letter.
When one comes, she announces it, a miracle,
listening to it read again and again
in the dim evening light.

My grandmother’s voice says nothing can surprise her.
Take her the shotgun wound and the crippled baby.
She knows the spaces we travel through,
the messages we cannot send—our voices are short
and would get lost on the journey.
Farewell to the husband’s coat,
the ones she has loved and nourished,
who fly from her like seeds into a deep sky.
They will plant themselves. We will all die.

My grandmother’s eyes say Allah is everywhere, even in death.
When she talks of the orchard and the new olive press,
when she tells the stories of Joha and his foolish wisdoms,
He is her first thought, what she really thinks of is His name.
“Answer, if you hear the words under the words—
otherwise it is just a world with a lot of rough edges,
difficult to get through, and our pockets full of stones.”
– Naomi Shihab Nye

The Deluge and the Tree

When the hurricane swirled and spread its deluge
of dark evil
onto the good green land
‘they’ gloated. The western skies
reverberated with joyous accounts:
“The Tree has fallen !
The great trunk is smashed! The hurricane leaves no life in the Tree!”

Had the Tree really fallen?
Never! Not with our red streams flowing forever,
not while the wine of our thorn limbs
fed the thirsty roots,
Arab roots alive
tunneling deep, deep, into the land!

When the Tree rises up, the branches
shall flourish green and fresh in the sun
the laughter of the Tree shall leaf
beneath the sun
and birds shall return
Undoubtedly, the birds shall return.
The birds shall return.

Labor Pains

The wind blows the pollen in the night
through ruins of fields and homes.
Earth shivers with love,
with the pain of giving birth,
but the conqueror wants us to believe
stories of submission and surrender.

O Arab Aurora!

Tell the usurper of our land
that childbirth is a force unknown to him,
the pain of a mother’s body,
that the scarred land
inaugurates life
at the moment of dawn
when the rose of blood
blooms on the wound.

Fadwa Touqan

Tim Buckley – Hallucinations


You Have Infused My Being

You have infused my being
Through and through
As an intimate friend must
Always do
So when I speak I speak of only You
And when silent, I yearn for You

– Rabia

(Phoebe Anna Traquair – The Progress of the Soul)