Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories, and still your eyes are on the ground. – Dante Alighieri
Well, this finds us mid month. We have been working on several projects, with some success. I am bouncing back from my surgery that I had earlier in the month. My nose is on the mend, thankfully.
Mary & I celebrated her birthday, and our 34th year of marriage this past week or so. We are blessed in our love, and in the family and friends within our community.
I was going to write about the concepts of transmission, but perhaps another time. When I read poetry, or see a great painting, or hear a delightful song, I feel the eternal move in concert with all that exist.
We are droplets of consciousness in the waves of such a greater ocean. Our lives rise, crest and fall within these tides of beauty. Blindly it seems, that we don’t recognize the signs moment by moment; we rush here and there, trying to be elsewhere but here, here and now.
“…ma gia volgena il mio disio e’l velle
si come rota ch’igualmente e mossa,
l’amor che move: i sole e l’altre stelle
…as a wheel turns smoothtly, free from jars, my will and my desire were turned by love, The love that moves the sun and the other stars.”
― Dante Alighieri, Paradiso
On The Menu:
Link o’ Beauty
Solar Fields – Earthshine
Dante Alighieri: Poems On Love
An Overdose of Hasheesh
Link o’ Beauty
Steve McCurry’s Blog
“The character of a man is known from his conversations.”
“Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado.”
“The person who has the will to undergo all labor may win any goal.”
“The sword the body wounds, sharp words the mind.”
Solar Fields -Earthshine
Dante Alighieri: Poems On Love
My lady carries love within her eyes;
All that she looks on is made pleasanter;
Upon her path men turn to gaze at her;
He whom she greeteth feels his heart to rise,
And droops his troubled visage, full of sighs,
And of his evil heart is then aware:
Hate loves, and pride becomes a worshiper.
O women, help to praise her in somewise.
Humbleness, and the hope that hopeth well,
By speech of hers into the mind are brought,
And who beholds is blessèd oftenwhiles,
The look she hath when she a little smiles
Cannot be said, nor holden in the thought;
‘Tis such a new and gracious miracle.
Whatever while the thought comes over me
That I may not again
Behold that lady whom I mourn for now,
About my heart my mind brings constantly
So much of extreme pain
That I say, Soul of mine, who stayest thou?
Truly the anguish, soul, that we must bow
Beneath, until we win out of this life,
Gives me full oft a fear that trembleth:
So that I call on Death
Even as on Sleep one calleth after strife,
Saying, Come unto me. Life showeth grim
And bare; and if one dies, I envy him,
For ever, among all my sighs which burn,
There is a piteous speech
That clamors upon death continually:
Yea, unto him doth my whole spirit turn
Since first his hand did reach
My lady’s life with most foul cruelty.
But from the height of woman’s fairness she,
Going up from us with the joy we had,
Grew perfectly and spiritually fair;
That so she treads even there
A light of Love which makes the Angels glad,
And even unto their subtle minds can bring
A certain awe of profound marveling.
OF BEAUTY AND DUTY
Two ladies to the summit of my mind
Have clomb, to hold an argument of love.
The one has wisdom with her from above,
For every noblest virtue well designed:
The other, beauty’s tempting power refined
And the high charm of perfect grace approve:
And I, as my sweet Master’s will doth move,
At feet of both their favors am reclined.
Beauty and Duty in my soul keep strife,
At question if the heart such course can take
And ‘twixt the two ladies hold its love complete.
The fount of gentle speech yields answer meet,
That Beauty may be loved for gladness sake,
And Duty in the lofty ends of life.
OF THE LADY PIETRA DEGLI SCROVIGNI
To the dim light and the large circle of shade
I have climbed, and to the whitening of the hills,
There where we see no color in the grass.
Natheless my longing loses not its green,
It has so taken root in the hard stone
Which talks and hears as though it were a lady.
Utterly frozen is this youthful lady,
Even as the snow that lies within the shade;
For she is no more moved than is the stone
By the sweet season which makes warm the hills
And alters from afresh from white to green
Covering their sides again with flowers and grass.
When on her hair she sets a crown of grass
The thought has no more room for other lady,
Because she weaves the yellow with the green
So well that Love sits down there in the shade,–
Love who has shut me in among low hills
Faster than between walls of granite-stone.
She is more bright than is a precious stone;
The wound she gives may not be healed with grass:
I therefore have fled far o’er plains and hills
For refuge from so dangerous a lady;
But from her sunshine nothing can give shade,–
Not any hill, nor wall, nor summer-green.
A while ago, I saw her dressed in green,–
So fair, she might have wakened in a stone
This love which I do feel even for her shade;
And therefore, as one woos a graceful lady,
I wooed her in a field that was all grass
Girdled about with very lofty hills.
Yet shall the streams turn back and climb the hills
Before Love’s flame in this damp wood and green
Burn, as it burns within a youthful lady,
For my sake, who would sleep away in stone
My life, or feed like beasts upon the grass,
Only to see her garments cast a shade.
How dark so’er the hills throw out their shade,
Under her summer-green the beautiful lady
Covers it, like a stone cover’d in grass.
“An Overdose of Hasheesh” (1884)
by Mary C. Hungerford
Being one of the grand army of sufferers from headache, I took, last summer, by order of my physician, three small daily doses of Indian hemp (hasheesh), in the hope of holding my intimate enemy in check. Not discovering any of the stimulative effects of the drug, even after continual increase of the dose, I grew to regard it as a very harmless and inactive medicine, and one day, when I was assured by some familiar symptoms that my perpetual dull headache was about to assume an aggravated and acute form, such as usually sent me to bed for a number of days, I took, in the desperate hope of forestalling the attack, a much larger quantity of hasheesh than had ever been prescribed. Twenty minutes later I was seized with a strange sinking or faintness, which gave my family so much alarm that they telephoned at once for the doctor, who came in thirty minutes after the summons, bringing, as he had been requested, another practitioner with him.
I had just rallied from the third faint, as I call the sinking turns, for want of a more descriptive name, and was rapidly relapsing into another, when the doctors came. One of them asked at once if I had been taking anything unusual, and a friend who had been sent for remembered that I had been experimenting with hasheesh. The physicians asked then the size and time of the last dose, but I could not answer. I heard them distinctly, but my lips were sealed. Undoubtedly my looks conveyed a desire to speak, for Dr. G—-, bending over me, asked if I had taken a much larger quantity than he had ordered. I was half sitting up on the bed when he asked me that question, and, with all my energies bent upon giving him to understand that I had taken an overdose, I bowed my head, and at once became unconscious of everything except that bowing, which I kept up with ever-increasing force for seven or eight hours, according to my computation of time. I felt the veins of my throat swell nearly to bursting, and the cords tighten painfully, as, impelled by an irresistible force, I nodded like a wooden mandarin in a tea-store.
In the midst of it all I left my body, and quietly from the foot of the bed watched my unhappy self nodding with frightful velocity. I glanced indignantly at the shamefully indifferent group that did not even appear to notice the frantic motions, and resumed my place in my living temple of flesh in time to recover sufficiently to observe one doctor life his finger from my wrist, where he had laid it to count the pulsations just as I lapsed into unconsciousness, and say to the other: “I think she moved her head. She means us to understand that she has taken largely of the cannabis indica.” So, in the long, interminable hours I had been nodding my head off, only time enough had elapsed to count my pulse, and the violent motions of my head had in fact been barely noticeable. This exaggerated appreciation of sight, motion, and sound is, I am told, a well-known effect of hasheesh, but I was ignorant of that fact then, and, even if I had not been, probably the mental torture I underwent during the time it enchained my faculties would not have been lessened, as I seemed to have no power to reason with myself, even in the semi-conscious intervals which came between the spells.
These intervals grew shorter, and in them I had no power to speak. My lips and face seemed to myself to be rigid and stony. I thought that I was dying, and, instead of the peace which I had always hoped would wait on my last moments, I was filled with a bitter, dark despair. It was not only death that I feared with a wild, unreasoning terror, but there was a fearful expectation of judgment, which must, I think, be like the torture of lost souls. I felt half sundered from the flesh, and my spiritual sufferings seemed to have begun, although I was conscious of living still.
One terrible reality — I can hardly term it a fancy even now — that came to me again and again, was so painful that it must, I fear, always be a vividly remembered agony. Like dreams, its vagaries can be accounted for by association of ideas past and passing, but the suffering was so intense and the memory of it so haunting that I have acquired a horror of death unknown to me before. I died, as I believed, although by a strange double consciousness I knew that I should again reanimate the body I had left. In leaving it I did not soar away, as one delights to think of the freed spirits soaring. Neither did I linger around dear, familiar scenes. I sank, an intangible, impalpable shape, through the bed, the floors, the cellar, the earth, down, down, down! As if I had been a fragment of glass dropping through the ocean, I dropped uninterruptedly through the earth and its atmosphere, and then fell on and on forever. I was perfectly composed, and speculated curiously upon the strange circumstances that even in going through the solid earth there was no displacement of material, and in my descent I gathered no momentum. I discovered that I was transparent and deprived of all power of volition, as well as bereft of the faculties belonging to humanity. But in place of my lost senses I had a marvelously keen sixth sense or power, which I can only describe as an intense superhuman consciousness that in some way embraced all the five and went immeasurably beyond them. As time went on, and my dropping through space continued, I became filled with the most profound loneliness, and a desperate fear took hold of me that I should be thus alone for evermore, and fall and fall eternally without finding rest.
* * *
For five hours I remained in the same condition — short intervals of half- consciousness, and then long lapses into the agonizing experience I have described. Six times the door of time seemed to close on me, and I was thrust shuddering into a hopeless eternity, each time falling, as at first into that terrible abyss wrapped in the fearful dread of the unknown. Always there were the same utter helplessness and the same harrowing desire to rest upon something, to stop, if but for an instant, to feel some support beneath; and through all the horrors of my sinking the same solemn and remorseful certainty penetrated my consciousness that, had I not in life questioned the power of Christ to save, I should have felt under me the “everlasting arms” bearing me safely to an immortality of bliss. There was no variation in my trances; always the same horror came, and each time when sensibility partially returned I fought against my fate and struggled to avert it. But I never could compel my lips to speak, and the violent paroxysms my agonizing dread threw me into were all unseen by my friends, for in reality, as I was afterward told, I made no motion except a slight muscular twitching of the fingers.
Later on, when the effect of the drug was lessening, although the spells or trances recurred, the intervals were long, and in them I seemed to regain clearer reasoning power and was able to account for some of my hallucinations. Even when my returns to consciousness were very partial, Dr. G—- had made me inhale small quantities of nitrate of amyl to maintain the action of the heart, which it was the tendency of the excess ofhasheesh to diminish. Coming out of the last trance, I discovered that the measured rending report like the discharge of a cannon which attended my upward way was the throbbing of my own heart. As I sank I was probably too unconscious to notice it, but always, as it made itself heard, my falling ceased and the pain of my ascending began. The immense time between the throbs gives me as I remember it an idea of infinite duration that was impossible to me before.
For several days I had slight relapses into the trance-like state I have tried to describe, each being preceded by a feeling of profound dejection. I felt myself going as before, but by a desperate effort of will saved myself from falling far into the shadowy horrors which I saw before me. I dragged myself back from my fate, faint and exhausted and with a melancholy belief that I was cut off from human sympathy, and my wretched destiny must always be unsuspected by my friends, for I could not bring myself to speak to any one of the dreadful foretaste of the hereafter I firmly believed I had experienced. On one of these occasions, when I felt myself falling from life, I saw a great black ocean like a rocky wall bounding the formless chaos into which I sank. As I watched in descending the long line of towering, tumultuous waves break against some invisible barrier, a sighing whisper by my side told me each tiny drop of spray was a human existence which in that passing instant had its birth, life, and death.
“How short a life!” was my unspoken thought.
“Not short in time,” was the answer. “A lifetime there is shorter than the breaking of a bubble here. Each wave is a world, a piece of here, that serves its purpose in the universal system, then returns again to be reabsorbed into infinity.”
“How pitifully sad is life!” were the words I formed in my mind as I felt myself going back to the frame I had quitted.
“How pitifully sadder to have had no life, for only through life can the gate of this bliss be entered!” was the whispered answer. “I never lived — I never shall.”
“What are you, then?”
I had taken my place again among the living when the answer came, a sighing whisper still, but so vividly distinct that I looked about me suddenly to see if others besides myself could hear the strange words:
“Woe, woe! I am an unreal actual, a formless atom, and of such as I am is chaos made.”
“Amor, ch’al cor gentile ratto s’apprende
prese costui de la bella persona
che mi fu tolta; e ‘l modo ancor m’offende.
Amor, che a nullo amato amar perdona,
Mi prese del costui piacer sì forte,
Che, come vedi, ancor non m’abbandona…”
“Love, which quickly arrests the gentle heart,
Seized him with my beautiful form
That was taken from me, in a manner which still grieves me.
Love, which pardons no beloved from loving,
took me so strongly with delight in him
That, as you see, it still abandons me not…”
― Dante Alighieri, Inferno: A New Verse Translation