Lighting The Baal Fires…

Tune into “The Beltaine Celebration” playing now on Radio Free EarthRites!

Today’s Offerings….

The Links

What’s Coming Up on Earthrites: THE INVISIBLE COLLEGE

The Articles: Maio &

The Poetry: Poetry and Songs of Beltaine…

The Artist: Norman Lindsay

On Norman Lindsay:

Norman Alfred William Lindsay (February 22, 1879 – November 21, 1969) was a prolific artist, sculptor, writer, editorial cartoonist and scale modeler. He is widely regarded as one of Australia’s greatest artists. His sumptuous nudes were highly controversial, and in 1939, several were burned by irate wowsers in the United States who discovered them when the train in which they traveled caught fire. A large body of his work is housed in his former home at Faulconbridge, New South Wales, now the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum, and many works reside in private and corporate collections. His art continues to climb in value today. In 2002, a record price was attained by his oil painting, Spring’s Innocence, which sold to the National Gallery of Victoria for $AU333,900.

Lindsay was associated with a number of poets, such as Kenneth Slessor and Hugh McCrae, influencing them in part through a philosophical system outlined in his book Creative Effort. He also illustrated the cover for the seminal Henry Lawson book, While the Billy Boils. Lindsay’s son, Jack Lindsay, emigrated to England, where he set up Fanfrolico Press, which issued works illustrated by Lindsay.

Lindsay wrote the children’s classic The Magic Pudding and created a scandal when his novel Redheap was banned due to censorship laws. Many of his novels have a frankness and vitality that matches his art.

(Lindsay Self Portrait)

Lindsay also worked as an editorial cartoonist, notably for The Bulletin. Despite his enthusiasm for erotica, he shared the racist and right-wing political leanings that dominated The Bulletin at that time; the “Red Menace” and “Yellow Peril” were popular themes in his cartoons. These views occasionally spilled over into his other work, and modern editions of The Magic Pudding often omit one couplet in which “you unmitigated Jew” is used as an insult.

Lindsay influenced more than a few artists, notably the illustrators Roy Krenkel and Frank Frazetta.

Sam Neill played a fictionalized version of Lindsay in John Duigan’s Sirens (1994), set and filmed primarily at Lindsay’s Faulconbridge home. James Mason and Helen Mirren starred in Age of Consent (1969), Michael Powell’s adaptation of Lindsay’s 1935 novel


The Links:

Thanks to Steve F. for this… Wombat.

Balls of Steel – Free Umbrellas!

Water Monster…

Delivering the Message…


What’s coming soon to Earthrites: THE INVISIBLE COLLEGE PDF Magazine

It is with great pleasure that we can announce something new under the Sun: The Invisible College, a PDF Magazine we have long dreamed about producing, will soon be ready for publishing.

The current proposed publishing dates will be on or about the Cross Quarter Days: (give or take a week or so)

Beltane (May 1)

Lughnasadh(August 1)

Samhain (November 1)

Imbolc (February 1)

First edition will include articles, artwork, poetry from many of todays’ most forward thinkers and artists.

So keep tuned and watch for its appearance!


Article: MAIO

Maio, or Calendi Maggio, a May-Day festival still surviving in rustic Italy, especially in Tuscany and the Roman provinces, as a relic of the old Roman custom of celebrating the kalends of May. Songs called maggiolate are composed, or at ]east sung, by the peasantry on this occasion, trees are festooned with ribbons and garlands and windows decorated with branches, the adornments being known as the Maio. In the heyday of Florentine glory these festivals were celabrated in the city, and dignified by songs, dances, and feastings, which lasted several days; as, for instance, the grand banquet of the 1st of May given in the Portinari palace, where Dante fell in love with Beatrice. Evidence of the former prevalence of these festivals exists in the numerous maggiolate composed by different authors, and among others by the magnificent Lorenzo dei Medici, whose poems are not at all worse than those of a common citizen. One of his songs commences thus:

Ben venga Maggio

El gonfalon salvaggio:

and in another he thus alludes to these festivities:

Se tu v appicare un maggio

A qualcuna che tu ami.

One of the latest celebrations of this festival in Florence was in 1612, when a Maio was planted and sung before the Pitti palace in honor of the Archduchess of Austria.

In Rome it was customary for children on the 1st of May to place upon a chair before the house door a puppet of the Madonna crowned with a garland. Every passenger was then applied to for a donation in the following verse, which was sung by the little beggars:

Belli, belli giovanotti,

Che mangiate pasticiotti

E bevete del buon vino,

Un quattrin’ sull’ altarino.

This custom suggests a curious parallel in the past. On the kalends of May the foundation festival of the altars of the lares praestites was celebrated in all the houses of ancient Rome. The lararium, bearing the small household gods, was decked on this occasion with fresh garlands of flowers and foliage, and modern antiquarians believe that the custom of the Roman children is a relic of the ancient festival.

Curiosities of Popular Customs

And of Rites, Ceremonies, Observances, and Miscellaneous Antiquities

by William S. Walsh.

J.B. Lippincott Company. Philadelphia.

Copyrights 1897 and 1925.



From Twice-Told Tales, 1836, 1837

By Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804-1864

The May-Pole of Merry Mount

BRIGHT WERE the days at Merry Mount, when the Maypole was the banner

staff of that gay colony! They who reared it, should their banner be

triumphant, were to pour sunshine over New England’s rugged hills, and

scatter flower seeds throughout the soil. Jollity and gloom were

contending for an empire. Midsummer eve had come, bringing deep verdure

to the forest, and roses in her lap, of a more vivid hue than the tender

buds of Spring. But May, or her mirthful spirit, dwelt all the year

round at Merry Mount, sporting with the Summer months, and revelling

with Autumn, and basking in the glow of Winter’s fireside. Through a

world of toil and care she flitted with a dreamlike smile, and came

hither to find a home among the lightsome hearts of Merry Mount.

Never had the Maypole been so gayly decked as at sunset on midsummer

eve. This venerated emblem was a pine-tree, which had preserved the

slender grace of youth, while it equalled the loftiest height of the old

wood monarchs. From its top streamed a silken banner, colored like the

rainbow. Down nearly to the ground the pole was dressed with birchen

boughs, and others of the liveliest green, and some with silvery leaves,

fastened by ribbons that fluttered in fantastic knots of twenty

different colors, but no sad ones. Garden flowers, and blossoms of the

wilderness, laughed gladly forth amid the verdure, so fresh and dewy

that they must have grown by magic on that happy pine-tree. Where this

green and flowery splendor terminated, the shaft of the Maypole was

stained with the seven brilliant hues of the banner at its top. On the

lowest green bough hung an abundant wreath of roses, some that had been

gathered in the sunniest spots of the forest, and others, of still

richer blush, which the colonists had reared from English seed. O,

people of the Golden Age, the chief of your husbandry was to raise


But what was the wild throng that stood hand in hand about the Maypole?

It could not be that the fauns and nymphs, when driven from their

classic groves and homes of ancient fable, had sought refuge, as all the

persecuted did, in the fresh woods of the West. These were Gothic

monsters, though perhaps of Grecian ancestry. On the shoulders of a

comely youth uprose the head and branching antlers of a stag; a second,

human in all other points, had the grim visage of a wolf; a third, still

with the trunk and limbs of a mortal man, showed the beard and horns of

a venerable he-goat. There was the likeness of a bear erect, brute in

all but his hind legs, which were adorned with pink silk stockings. And

here again, almost as wondrous, stood a real bear of the dark forest,

lending each of his fore paws to the grasp of a human hand, and as ready

for the dance as any in that circle. His inferior nature rose half way,

to meet his companions as they stooped. Other faces wore the similitude

of man or woman, but distorted or extravagant, with red noses pendulous

before their mouths, which seemed of awful depth, and stretched from ear

to ear in an eternal fit of laughter. Here might be seen the Salvage

Man, well known in heraldry, hairy as a baboon, and girdled with green

leaves. By his side, a noble figure, but still a counterfeit, appeared

an Indian hunter, with feathery crest and wampum belt. Many of this

strange company wore foolscaps, and had little bells appended to their

garments, tinkling with a silvery sound, responsive to the inaudible

music of their gleesome spirits. Some youths and maidens were of soberer

garb, yet well maintained their places in the irregular throng by the

expression of wild revelry upon their features. Such were the colonists

of Merry Mount, as they stood in the broad smile of sunset round their

venerated Maypole.

Had a wanderer, bewildered in the melancholy forest, heard their mirth,

and stolen a half-affrighted glance, he might have fancied them the crew

of Comus, some already transformed to brutes, some midway between man

and beast, and the others rioting in the flow of tipsy jollity that

foreran the change. But a band of Puritans, who watched the scene,

invisible themselves, compared the masques to those devils and ruined

souls with whom their superstition peopled the black wilderness.

Within the ring of monsters appeared the two airiest forms that had ever

trodden on any more solid footing than a purple and golden cloud. One

was a youth in glistening apparel, with a scarf of the rainbow pattern

crosswise on his breast. His right hand held a gilded staff, the ensign

of high dignity among the revellers, and his left grasped the slender

fingers of a fair maiden, not less gayly decorated than himself. Bright

roses glowed in contrast with the dark and glossy curls of each, and

were scattered round their feet, or had sprung up spontaneously there.

Behind this lightsome couple, so close to the Maypole that its boughs

shaded his jovial face, stood the figure of an English priest,

canonically dressed, yet decked with flowers, in heathen fashion, and

wearing a chaplet of the native vine leaves. By the riot of his rolling

eye, and the pagan decorations of his holy garb, he seemed the wildest

monster there, and the very Comus of the crew.

“Votaries of the Maypole,” cried the flower-decked priest, “merrily, all

day long, have the woods echoed to your mirth. But be this your merriest

hour, my hearts! Lo, here stand the Lord and Lady of the May, whom I, a

clerk of Oxford, and high priest of Merry Mount, am presently to join in

holy matrimony. Up with your nimble spirits, ye morris-dancers, green

men, and glee maidens, bears and wolves, and horned gentlemen! Come; a

chorus now, rich with the old mirth of Merry England, and the wilder

glee of this fresh forest; and then a dance, to show the youthful pair

what life is made of, and how airily they should go through it! All ye

that love the Maypole, lend your voices to the nuptial song of the Lord

and Lady of the May!”

This wedlock was more serious than most affairs of Merry Mount, where

jest and delusion, trick and fantasy, kept up a continual carnival. The

Lord and Lady of the May, though their titles must be laid down at

sunset, were really and truly to be partners for the dance of life,

beginning the measure that same bright eve. The wreath of roses, that

hung from the lowest green bough of the Maypole, had been twined for

them, and would be thrown over both their heads, in symbol of their

flowery union. When the priest had spoken, therefore, a riotous uproar

burst from the rout of monstrous figures.

“Begin you the stave, reverend Sir,” cried they all; “and never did the

woods ring to such a merry peal as we of the Maypole shall send up!”

Immediately a prelude of pipe, cithern, and viol, touched with practised

minstrelsy, began to play from a neighboring thicket, in such a mirthful

cadence that the boughs of the Maypole quivered to the sound. But the

May Lord, he of the gilded staff, chancing to look into his Lady’s eyes,

was wonder struck at the almost pensive glance that met his own.

“Edith, sweet Lady of the May,” whispered he reproachfully, “is yon

wreath of roses a garland to hang above our graves, that you look so

sad? O, Edith, this is our golden time! Tarnish it not by any pensive

shadow of the mind; for it may be that nothing of futurity will be

brighter than the mere remembrance of what is now passing.”

“That was the very thought that saddened me! How came it in your mind

too?” said Edith, in a still lower tone than he, for it was high treason

to be sad at Merry Mount. “Therefore do I sigh amid this festive music.

And besides, dear Edgar, I struggle as with a dream, and fancy that

these shapes of our jovial friends are visionary, and their mirth

unreal, and that we are no true Lord and Lady of the May. What is the

mystery in my heart?”

Just then, as if a spell had loosened them, down came a little shower of

withering rose leaves from the Maypole. Alas, for the young lovers! No

sooner had their hearts glowed with real passion than they were sensible

of something vague and unsubstantial in their former pleasures, and felt

a dreary presentiment of inevitable change. From the moment that they

truly loved, they had subjected themselves to earth’s doom of care and

sorrow, and troubled joy, and had no more a home at Merry Mount. That

was Edith’s mystery. Now leave we the priest to marry them, and the

masquers to sport round the Maypole, till the last sunbeam be withdrawn

from its summit, and the shadows of the forest mingle gloomily in the

dance. Meanwhile, we may discover who these gay people were.

Two hundred years ago, and more, the old world and its inhabitants

became mutually weary of each other. Men voyaged by thousands to the

West: some to barter glass beads, and such like jewels, for the furs of

the Indian hunter; some to conquer virgin empires; and one stern band to

pray. But none of these motives had much weight with the colonists of

Merry Mount. Their leaders were men who had sported so long with life,

that when Thought and Wisdom came, even these unwelcome guests were led

astray by the crowd of vanities which they should have put to flight.

Erring Thought and perverted Wisdom were made to put on masques, and

play the fool. The men of whom we speak, after losing the heart’s fresh

gayety, imagined a wild philosophy of pleasure, and came hither to act

out their latest day-dream. They gathered followers from all that giddy

tribe whose whole life is like the festal days of soberer men. In their

train were minstrels, not unknown in London streets: wandering players,

whose theatres had been the halls of noblemen; mummers, rope-dancers,

and mountebanks, who would long be missed at wakes, church ales, and

fairs; in a word, mirth makers of every sort, such as abounded in that

age, but now began to be discountenanced by the rapid growth of

Puritanism. Light had their footsteps been on land, and as lightly they

came across the sea. Many had been maddened by their previous troubles

into a gay despair; others were as madly gay in the flush of youth, like

the May Lord and his Lady; but whatever might be the quality of their

mirth, old and young were gay at Merry Mount. The young deemed

themselves happy. The elder spirits, if they knew that mirth was but the

counterfeit of happiness, yet followed the false shadow wilfully,

because at least her garments glittered brightest. Sworn triflers of a

lifetime, they would not venture among the sober truths of life not even

to be truly blest.

All the hereditary pastimes of Old England were transplanted hither. The

King of Christmas was duly crowned, and the Lord of Misrule bore potent

sway. On the Eve of St. John, they felled whole acres of the forest to

make bonfires, and danced by the blaze all night, crowned with garlands,

and throwing flowers into the flame. At harvest time, though their crop

was of the smallest, they made an image with the sheaves of Indian corn,

and wreathed it with autumnal garlands, and bore it home triumphantly.

But what chiefly characterized the colonists of Merry Mount was their

veneration for the Maypole. It has made their true history a poet’s

tale. Spring decked the hallowed emblem with young blossoms and fresh

green boughs; Summer brought roses of the deepest blush, and the

perfected foliage of the forest; Autumn enriched it with that red and

yellow gorgeousness which converts each wildwood leaf into a painted

flower; and Winter silvered it with sleet, and hung it round with

icicles, till it flashed in the cold sunshine, itself a frozen sunbeam.

Thus each alternate season did homage to the Maypole, and paid it a

tribute of its own richest splendor. Its votaries danced round it, once,

at least, in every month; sometimes they called it their religion, or

their altar; but always, it was the banner staff of Merry Mount.

Unfortunately, there were men in the new world of a sterner faith than

these Maypole worshippers. Not far from Merry Mount was a settlement of

Puritans, most dismal wretches, who said their prayers before daylight,

and then wrought in the forest or the corn-field till evening made it

prayer time again. Their weapons were always at hand to shoot down the

straggling savage. When they met in conclave, it was never to keep up

the old English mirth, but to hear sermons three hours long, or to

proclaim bounties on the heads of wolves and the scalps of Indians.

Their festivals were fast days, and their chief pastime the singing of

psalms. Wo to the youth or maiden who did but dream of a dance! The

selectman nodded to the constable; and there sat the light-heeled

reprobate in the stocks; or if he danced, it was round the

whipping-post, which might be termed the Puritan Maypole.

A party of these grim Puritans, toiling through the difficult woods,

each with a horseload of iron armor to burden his footsteps, would

sometimes draw near the sunny precincts of Merry Mount. There were the

silken colonists, sporting round their Maypole; perhaps teaching a bear

to dance, or striving to communicate their mirth to the grave Indian; or

masquerading in the skins of deer and wolves, which they had hunted for

that especial purpose. Often, the whole colony were playing at

blindman’s buff, magistrates and all, with their eyes bandaged, except a

single scapegoat, whom the blinded sinners pursued by the tinkling of

the bells at his garments. Once, it is said, they were seen following a

flower-decked corpse, with merriment and festive music, to his grave.

But did the dead man laugh? In their quietest times, they sang ballads

and told tales, for the edification of their pious visitors; or

perplexed them with juggling tricks; or grinned at them through horse

collars; and when sport itself grew wearisome, they made game of their

own stupidity, and began a yawning match. At the very least of these

enormities, the men of iron shook their heads and frowned so darkly that

the revellers looked up, imagining that a momentary cloud had overcast

the sunshine, which was to be perpetual there. On the other hand, the

Puritans affirmed that, when a psalm was pealing from their place of

worship, the echo which the forest sent them back seemed often like the

chorus of a jolly catch, closing with a roar of laughter. Who but the

fiend, and his bond slaves, the crew of Merry Mount, had thus disturbed

them? In due time, a feud arose, stern and bitter on one side, and as

serious on the other as anything could be among such light spirits as

had sworn allegiance to the Maypole. The future complexion of New

England was involved in this important quarrel. Should the grizzly

saints establish their jurisdiction over the gay sinners, then would

their spirits darken all the clime, and make it a land of clouded

visages, of hard toil, of sermon and psalm forever. But should the

banner staff of Merry Mount be fortunate, sunshine would break upon the

hills, and flowers would beautify the forest, and late posterity do

homage to the Maypole.

After these authentic passages from history, we return to the nuptials

of the Lord and Lady of the May. Alas! we have delayed too long, and

must darken our tale too suddenly. As we glance again at the Maypole, a

solitary sunbeam is fading from the summit, and leaves only a faint,

golden tinge blended with the hues of the rainbow banner. Even that dim

light is now withdrawn, relinquishing the whole domain of Merry Mount to

the evening gloom, which has rushed so instantaneously from the black

surrounding woods. But some of these black shadows have rushed forth in

human shape.

Yes, with the setting sun, the last day of mirth had passed from Merry

Mount. The ring of gay masquers was disordered and broken; the stag

lowered his antlers in dismay; the wolf grew weaker than a lamb; the

bells of the morris-dancers tinkled with tremulous affright. The

Puritans had played a characteristic part in the Maypole mummeries.

Their darksome figures were intermixed with the wild shapes of their

foes, and made the scene a picture of the moment, when waking thoughts

start up amid the scattered fantasies of a dream. The leader of the

hostile party stood in the centre of the circle, while the rout of

monsters cowered around him, like evil spirits in the presence of a

dread magician. No fantastic foolery could look him in the face. So

stern was the energy of his aspect, that the whole man, visage, frame,

and soul, seemed wrought of iron, gifted with life and thought, yet all

of one substance with his headpiece and breastplate. It was the Puritan

of Puritans; it was Endicott himself!

“Stand off, priest of Baal!” said he, with a grim frown, and laying no

reverent hand upon the surplice. “I know thee, Blackstone! Thou art the

man who couldst not abide the rule even of thine own corrupted church,

and hast come hither to preach iniquity, and to give example of it in

thy life. But now shall it be seen that the Lord hath sanctified this

wilderness for his peculiar people. Wo unto them that would defile it!

And first, for this flower-decked abomination, the altar of thy


And with his keen sword Endicott assaulted the hallowed Maypole. Nor

long did it resist his arm. It groaned with a dismal sound; it showered

leaves and rosebuds upon the remorseless enthusiast; and finally, with

all its green boughs and ribbons and flowers, symbolic of departed

pleasures, down fell the banner staff of Merry Mount. As it sank,

tradition says, the evening sky grew darker, and the woods threw forth a

more sombre shadow.

“There,” cried Endicott, looking triumphantly on his work, “there lies

the only Maypole in New England! The thought is strong within me that,

by its fall, is shadowed forth the fate of light and idle mirth makers,

amongst us and our posterity. Amen, saith John Endicott.”

*Did Governor Endicott speak less positively, we should suspect a

mistake here. The Rev. Mr. Blackstone, though an eccentric, is not known

to have been an immoral man. We rather doubt his identity with the

priest of Merry Mount.

“Amen!” echoed his followers.

But the votaries of the Maypole gave one groan for their idol. At the

sound, the Puritan leader glanced at the crew of Comus, each a figure of

broad mirth, yet, at this moment, strangely expressive of sorrow and


“Valiant captain,” quoth Peter Palfrey, the Ancient of the band, “what

order shall be taken with the prisoners?”

“I thought not to repent me of cutting down a Maypole,” replied

Endicott, “yet now I could find in my heart to plant it again, and give

each of these bestial pagans one other dance round their idol. It would

have served rarely for a whipping-post!”

“But there are pine-trees enow,” suggested the lieutenant.

“True, good Ancient,” said the leader. “Wherefore, bind the heathen

crew, and bestow on them a small matter of stripes apiece, as earnest of

our future justice. Set some of the rogues in the stocks to rest

themselves, so soon as Providence shall bring us to one of our own

well-ordered settlements, where such accommodations may be found.

Further penalties, such as branding and cropping of ears, shall be

thought of hereafter.”

“How many stripes for the priest?” inquired Ancient Palfrey.

“None as yet,” answered Endicott, bending his iron frown upon the

culprit. “It must be for the Great and General Court to determine,

whether stripes and long imprisonment, and other grievous penalty, may

atone for his transgressions. Let him look to himself! For such as

violate our civil order, it may be permitted us to show mercy. But wo to

the wretch that troubleth our religion!”

“And this dancing bear,” resumed the officer. “Must he share the stripes

of his fellows?”

“Shoot him through the head!” said the energetic Puritan. “I suspect

witchcraft in the beast.”

“Here be a couple of shining ones,” continued Peter Palfrey, pointing

his weapon at the Lord and Lady of the May. “They seem to be of high

station among these misdoers. Methinks their dignity will not be fitted

with less than a double share of stripes.”

Endicott rested on his sword, and closely surveyed the dress and aspect

of the hapless pair. There they stood, pale, downcast, and apprehensive.

Yet there was an air of mutual support, and of pure affection, seeking

aid and giving it, that showed them to be man and wife, with the

sanction of a priest upon their love. The youth, in the peril of the

moment, had dropped his gilded staff, and thrown his arm about the Lady

of the May, who leaned against his breast, too lightly to burden him,

but with weight enough to express that their destinies were linked

together, for good or evil. They looked first at each other, and then

into the grim captain’s face. There they stood, in the first hour of

wedlock, while the idle pleasures, of which their companions were the

emblems, had given place to the sternest cares of life, personified by

the dark Puritans. But never had their youthful beauty seemed so pure

and high as when its glow was chastened by adversity.

“Youth,” said Endicott, “ye stand in an evil case, thou and thy maiden

wife. Make ready presently, for I am minded that ye shall both have a

token to remember your wedding day!”

“Stern man,” cried the May Lord, “how can I move thee? Were the means at

hand, I would resist to the death. Being powerless, I entreat! Do with

me as thou wilt, but let Edith go untouched!”

“Not so,” replied the immitigable zealot. “We are not wont to show an

idle courtesy to that sex, which requireth the stricter discipline. What

sayest thou, maid? Shall thy silken bridegroom suffer thy share of the

penalty, besides his own?”

“Be it death,” said Edith, “and lay it all on me!”

Truly, as Endicott had said, the poor lovers stood in a woful case.

Their foes were triumphant, their friends captive and abased, their home

desolate, the benighted wilderness around them, and a rigorous destiny,

in the shape of the Puritan leader, their only guide. Yet the deepening

twilight could not altogether conceal that the iron man was softened; he

smiled at the fair spectacle of early love; he almost sighed for the

inevitable blight of early hopes.

“The troubles of life have come hastily on this young couple,” observed

Endicott. “We will see how they comport themselves under their present

trials ere we burden them with greater. If, among the spoil, there be

any garments of a more decent fashion, let them be put upon this May

Lord and his Lady, instead of their glistening vanities. Look to it,

some of you.”

“And shall not the youth’s hair be cut?” asked Peter Palfrey, looking

with abhorrence at the love-lock and long glossy curls of the young man.

“Crop it forthwith, and that in the true pumpkin-shell fashion,”

answered the captain. “Then bring them along with us, but more gently

than their fellows. There be qualities in the youth, which may make him

valiant to fight, and sober to toil, and pious to pray; and in the

maiden, that may fit her to become a mother in our Israel, bringing up

babes in better nurture than her own hath been. Nor think ye, young

ones, that they are the happiest, even in our lifetime of a moment, who

mis-spend it in dancing round a Maypole!”

And Endicott, the severest Puritan of all who laid the rock foundation

of New England, lifted the wreath of roses from the ruin of the Maypole,

and threw it, with his own gauntleted hand, over the heads of the Lord

and Lady of the May. It was a deed of prophecy. As the moral gloom of

the world overpowers all systematic gayety, even so was their home of

wild mirth made desolate amid the sad forest. They returned to it no

more. But as their flowery garland was wreathed of the brightest roses

that had grown there, so, in the tie that united them, were intertwined

all the purest and best of their early joys. They went heavenward,

supporting each other along the difficult path which it was their lot to

tread, and never wasted one regretful thought on the vanities of Merry




Corinna’s Going A-Maying

Get up! get up for shame! the blooming morn

Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.

See how Aurora throws her fair

Fresh-quilted colors through the air

Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see

The dew bespangling herb and tree.

Each flower has wept and bowed towards the east

Above an hour since, yet you not dressed;

Nay, not so much as out of bed?

When all the birds have matins said,

And sung their thankful hymns, ’tis sin,

Nay, profanation to keep in,

Whenas a thousand virgins on this day

Spring, sooner than the lark, to fetch in May.

Rise, and put on your foliage, and be seen

To come forth, like the springtime, fresh and green,

And sweet as Flora. Take no care

For jewels for your gown or hair;

Fear not; the leaves will strew

Gems in abundance upon you;

Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,

Against you come, some orient pearls unwept;

Come and receive them while the light

Hangs on the dew-locks of the night,

And Titan on the eastern hill

Retires himself, or else stands still

Till you come forth. Wash, dress, be brief in praying

Few beads are best when once we go a-Maying.

Come, my Corinna, come; and, coming, mark

How each field turns (into) a street, each street a park

Made green and trimmed with trees; see how

Devotion gives each house a bough

Or branch each porch, each door ere this,

An ark, a tabernacle is,

Made up of whitethorn neatly interwove,

As if here were those cooler shades of love.

Can such delights be in the street

And open fields, and we not see ‘t?

Come, we’ll abroad; and let’s obey

The proclamation made for May,

And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;

But, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying.

There’s not a budding boy or girl this day

But is got up and gone to bring in May;

A deal of youth, ere this, is come

Back, and with whitethorn laden home.

Some have dispatched their cakes and cram

Before that we have left to dream;

And some have wept, and wooed, and plighted troth,

And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth.

Many a green-gown has been given,

Many a kiss, both odd and even;

Many a glance, too, has been sent

From out the eye, love’s firmament;

Many a jest told of the keys betraying

This night, and locks picked; yet we’re not a-Maying.

Come, let us go while we are in our prime,

And take the harmless folly of the time.

We shall grow old apace, and die

Before we know our liberty.

Our life is short, and our days run

As fast away as does the sun;

And, as a vapor or a drop of rain

Once lost, can ne’er be found again

So when or you or I are made

A fable, song, or fleeting shade,

All love, all liking, all delight

Lies drowned with us in endless night.

Then while time serves, and we are but decaying

Come, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying!

By Robert Herrick




Come, lasses and lads,

Get leave of your dads,

And away to the May-pole hie,

Where every He,

Has got a She,

And the fiddler standing by.

Where Willy has got his Jill,

And Jackey has got his Joan,

And there to jig it, jig it, jig it,

Jig it up and down.

Tol de rol lol, &c.

“Begin,” says Harry,

“Ay, ay,” says Mary,

Let’s lead up Paddington-pound,

“Oh, no,” says Hugh,

“Oh, no,” said Sue,

Let’s dance St. Ledger round.

Then every lad did take

His hat off to his lass;

And every maid did curtsey, curtsey,

Curtsey on the grass.

“You’re out,” says Nick,

“You lie,” says Dick,

“For the fiddler play’d it wrong;”

“And so,” says Sue,

“And so,” says Hugh,

And so says every one.

The fiddler then began

To play it o’er again,

And every maid did foot it, foot it,

Foot it unto the men.

” Let’s kiss,” says Fan,

“Ay, ay,” says Nan,

And so says every she;

“How many?” says Nat,

“‘Why, three,” says Pat,

For that’s a maiden’s fee!”

But instead of kisses three,

They gave them half a score;

The men, then, out of kindness, kindness,

Gave ‘em as many more.

Then, after an hour,

They went to a bower,

To play for ale and cake,

And kisses, too,

Being in the cue,

For the lasses held the stake.

The women then began

To quarrel with the men,

And told ‘em to take their kisses back,

And give them their own again.

Oh, thus they all stay’d

Until it was late,

And tired the fiddler quite,

With fiddling and playing

Without any paying,

From morning until night.

They told the fiddler, then,

They’d pay him for his play,

And every one paid twopence, twopence,

Twopence, and toddled away.

“Good night,” says Bess,

“Good night,” says Jess,

“Good night,” says Harry to Holl;

“Good night,” says Hugh,

“Good night,” says Sue,

“Good night,” says Nimble Nell.

Some ran, some walk’d, some stay’d,

Some tarried by the way,

And bound themselves by kisses twelve,

To meet next holiday!

Source: IN PRAISE OF ALE or Songs, Ballads, Epigrams, & Anecdotes Relating to Beer, Malt, and Hops by W. T. Marchant. London, 1888.


A small edition for Saturday. This edition is aptly named WALPURGISNACHT. This would be April 30th, celebrated by Goethe in “Faust”.

Have a great weekend, and happy reading.




Walpurgis Night which is celebrated on 30th of April is originally a heathen spring festival. The heathen deities Wodan and Freya are said to have conceived Spring that night. It was a feast of sacrifice in which the focus was formed by the drink of love and a green coloured May punch. Traditionally the festival was held on the Brocken the highest mountain in Northern Germany.

A. Dürer, The Witches

In the Middle Ages, during which witch hunting reached its pinnacle, the inquisition declared the 30th of April as the Witches’ Sabbath. It was believed that the witches rubbed a special ointment onto their skin that enabled them to fly. Having done so they mounted their brooms and flew to the Brocken where they met other witches. The farmers tried to protect themselves by hiding their brooms, billy-goats and goats which were also used as a means of transport by the witches. Three crosses over the house- and stable door were believed to keep the witches away. In order to protect sleeping children, stockings were crossed over their beds. In urban areas as much noise as possible was made in order to keep the witches away. On their flight to the Brocken the witches were believed to bite pieces out of every churchbell they passed. The Brocken itself is steeped in legend. Countless tales are recounted about what happened to people who found themselves on the mountain while the witches were meeting.

Walpurgis Night probably received its name during the time of the inquisition. Walburga, born on the 30th April, was an abbess of a very kind and gentle nature. She died in Eichstätt in 788. Even after Christianisation some people did not want to give up their belief in pagan gods. In order to frighten Chrisians they dressed up as devils and witches. The Church on their behalf introduced the gentle Walburga as the counterpart who would protect its followers. Thus Walburga has become the protector from witchcraft and magic.

The night from 30th April to the 1st May is also called “Freinacht” (“free night”). During that night it is very common in Germany to wrap cars in toilet-paper and play others little tricks on people. And not only is it celebrated to drive out the winter, or to protect oneself against witches but also conscripts celebrate it as their last chance to have some fun before their medical inspection for the military service the next day. .


From Faust:

Witches in chorus

The witches t’ward the Brocken strain

When the stubble yellow, green the grain.

The rabble rushes – as ’tis meet –

To Sir Urian’s lordly seat.

O’er stick and stone we come, by jinks!

The witches f…, the he-goat s…


Old Baubo comes alone, I see;

Astride on farrow sow is she!


So honor be where honor is due!

Dame Baubo first! to lead the crew,

A hag upon a sturdy sow!

All witches come and follow now!


Which way didst thou come here?


By Ilsenstein crest;

I peered into an owlet’s nest.

Her wild eyes stared at me!


To hell, I say, with thee!

Why ride so furiously?


She almost flayed me!

See here, the wounds she made me!

Chorus of Witches

The road is wide, the way is long:

How madly swirls the raving throng

The pitchfork pricks, the broom us hurts;

the infant chokes, its mother bursts.

Wizards. Semi-chorus

We creep as slowly as a snail;

Far, far ahead the witches sail.

When to the Devil’s home they speed,

Women by a thousand paces lead.

The Other Half

Not so precise are we! Perhaps

A woman takes a thousand steps.

Although she hastes as best she can,

One leap suffices for a man.

Voice (above)

Come with us from the rockbound lake!

Voices (below)

We fain would follow in your wake!

We’ve washed, are clean as clean can be;

Yet barren evermore are we.

Both Choruses

The wind is hushed, the starlight pales,

The dismal moon her features veils;

As magic-mad the hosts whiz by,

A myriad sparks spurt forth and fly.

Voice (from below)

Tarry! Tarry!

Voice (from above)

Who calls so loud from rocky quarry?

Voice (from below)

Take me too! Take me too!

Three hundred years I have been striving

To reach the peak – I’m not arriving;

I fain would join my equals too.

Both Choruses

The broomstick carries, so does the stock;

The pitchfork carries, so does the buck;

Who cannot rise on them tonight,

Remains for aye a luckless wight.


For Beltaine is Coming…


Now is the month of Maying,

When merry lads are playing,

Fal la Ia la Ia.

Each with his bonny lass

A-dancing on the grass,

Fal Ia la Ia Ia.

The spring, clad all in gladness,

Doth laugh at Winter’s madness,

Fal Ia Ia Ia Ia.

And to the bagpipes’ sound,

The nymphs tread out the ground.

Fal Ia Ia Ia Ia.

Source: IN PRAISE OF ALE or Songs, Ballads, Epigrams, & Anecdotes Relating to Beer, Malt, and Hops by W. T. Marchant. London, 1888.

This Edition is dedicated to all the Earth Rites Clan who are gathering in Northern California this weekend. My heart is with ya, but my body is staying here in Oregon. It was one of those crazy things…

On The Menu:

The Links

Article – Personal Daimons

The Poetry – Li Bai

The Art – Gustave Dore

Have a Good Weekend, and A Brilliant Beltane if we don’t talk soon…




The Links:

Proof of God!

The Death Of EmoKid21Ohio



Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld

Personal Daimons

by Patrick Harpur

Guardian angels derived from Neoplatonism and, along with the other classes of angels, became part of Christian dogma at the Council of Nicaea (AD 325). But, long before this, the ancient Greeks believed that individuals were attached at birth to a daimon who determined, wholly or in part, their destiny. Philemon was clearly such a daimon for Jung, who emphasized the crucial part this strange Gnostic figure played in his life and work. Plato’s mentor, Socrates, had a daimon who was famous for always saying “No.” It did not enter into rational discourse with Socrates; it merely warned him when he was about to do something wrong (especially something displeasing to the gods), like the prompting of conscience…

However, Plato in Timaeus identified the individual daimon with the element of pure reason in man and so it became “a sort of lofty spirit-guide, or Freudian super-ego.” This may be true of certain, perhaps exceptional individuals, but is is also true—as we shall see—that daimons are as likely to represent unreason or at least to be equivocal. But meanwhile it is instructive to consider the case of Napoleon. He had a familiar spirit “which protected him. which guided him, as a daemon, and which he called his star, or which visited him in the figure of a dwarf clothed in red that warned him.”

This reminds us that personal daimons favor two forms by which to manifest: the abstract light, globe, oval and (as here) shining sphere, or the personification—angelic, manikin-like or whatever. It confirms, in other words, my speculation … that the two forms are different manifestations of each other, with (in Napoleon’s case) different functions: the star guides, the dwarf warns. Both are images of the soul, which is another way of understanding the daimon.

Indeed, it seems that, next to personification, daimons prefer luminous appearances or “phasmata,” as the Syrian Neoplatonist Iamblichus (d. 326) called them. He was a real expert on daimons, and ufologists could do worse than study the distinctions he makes between phasmata. For instance, while phasmata of archangels are both “terrible and mild,” their images “full of supernatural light,” the phasmata of daimons are “various” and “dreadful.” They appear “at different times … in a different form, and appear at one time great, but at another small, yet are still recognized to be the phasmata of daemons.” As we have seen, this could equally well describe their personifications. Their “operations,” interestingly, “appear to be more rapid than they are in reality” (an observation which might be borne in mind by ufologists). Their images are “obscure,” presenting themselves within a “turbid fire” which is “unstable.”

The first of the great Neoplatonists, Plotinus (AD 204-70), maintained that the individual daimon was “not an anthropomorphic daemon, but an inner psychological principle,” viz:—the level above that on which we consciously live, and so is both within and yet transcendent… Like Jung, he takes it as read that daimons are objective phenomena and thinks to emphasize only that, paradoxically, they manifest both inwardly (dreams, inspirations, thoughts, fantasies) and outwardly or transcendently (visions and apparitions). Plotinus does not, we notice—like the early Jung—speak of daimons as primarily “inner” and as seen outwardly only in “projection.” He seems to agree with the later Jung—that there is a psyche “outside the body.” However, his use of the word “transcendent” also suggests that the real distinction to be made is not between inner and outer, but between personal and impersonal. There is a sense, he seems to be saying, in which daimons can be both at once.

Personal daimons are not fixed but can develop or unfold according to our own spiritual development. Jung might say: in the course of individuation, we move beyond the personal unconscious to the impersonal, collective unconscious, through the daimonic to the divine. Acording to Iamblichus, we are assigned a daimon at birth to govern and direct our lives but our task is to obtain a god in its place.


Daoist Poetry: Li Bai

Endless Yearning (I)

I am endlessly yearning

To be in Changan,

Insects hum of autumn by the gold brim of the well

A thin frost glistens like little mirrors on my cold mat,

The high lantern flickers, and deeper grows my longing

I lift the shade and, with many a sigh, gaze upon the moon,

Single as a flower, centered from the clouds

Above, I see the blueness and deepness of the sky

Below, I see the greenness and the restlessness of water…

Heaven is high, Earth wide, bitter between them flies my sorrows

Can I dream through the gateway, over the mountain?

Endless longing

Breaks my heart.

Endless Yearning (II)

The sun has set, and a mist is in the flowers

And the moon grows very white and people sad and sleepless,

A Zhao harp has just been laid mute on its phoenix holder

And a Shu lute begins to sound its mandarin-duck strings…

Since nobody can bear to you the burden of my song

Would that it might follow the spirit wind to Yanran Mountain,

I think of you far away, beyond the blue sky

And my eyes that once were sparkling, are now a well of tears,

Oh, if ever you should doubt this aching of my heart

Here in my bright mirror come back and look at me!


A Visit to Sky-Mother Mountain in a Dream

So, longing in my dreams for Wu and Yue

One night I flew over Mirror Lake under the moon,

The moon cast my shadow on the water

And traveled with me all the way to Shanxi,

The lodge of Lord Xie still remained

Where green waters swirled and the cry of apes was shrill,

Donning the shoes of Xie

I climbed the dark ladder of clouds,

Midway, I saw the sun rise from the sea

Heard the Cock of Heaven crow,

And my path twisted through a thousand crags

Enchanted by flowers I leaned against a rock

And suddenly all was dark,

Growls of bears and snarls of dragons echoed

Among the rocks and streams,

The deep forest appalled me, I shrank from the lowering cliffs,

Dark were the clouds, heavy with rain

Waters boiled into misty spray,

Lightening flashed, thunder roared

Peaks tottered, boulders crashed,

And the stone gate of a great cavern

Yawned open,

Below me, a bottomless void of blue

Sun and moon gleaming on terraces of silver and gold,

With rainbows for garments, and winds for horses

The lords of the clouds descended, a mighty host,

Phoenixes circled the chariots, tigers played zithers

As the immortals went by, rank upon rank.


On the Way Back to the Old Residence

Traveling to Heaven in dreams

There is another space and dimension in the kettle

Overlook the human Earth,

That is easily withered and rotten.


Ling Xu Mountain

Leaving the human world

Going toward the path to Heaven;

Upon Consummation through cultivation,

Then follow the clouds to Heaven,

Caves hidden under pine trees,

Deep and unseen among the peach blossoms;


Drinking Alone under the Moon (月下獨酌, pinyin Yuè Xià Dú Zhuó)

Amongst the flowers is a pot of wine

I pour alone but with no friend at hand

So I lift the cup to invite the shining moon,

Along with my shadow we become party of three

The moon although understands none of drinking, and

The shadow just follows my body vainly

Still I make the moon and the shadow my company

To enjoy the springtime before too late

The moon lingers while I am singing

The shadow scatters while I am dancing

We cheer in delight when being awake

We separate apart after getting drunk

Forever will we keep this unfettered friendship

Till we meet again far in the Milky Way


Li Bai was the son of a rich merchant; his birthplace is uncertain, but one candidate is Suiye in Central Asia (near modern day Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan). His family moved to Jiangyou, near modern Chengdu in Sichuan province, when he was five years old. He was influenced by Confucian and Taoist thought, but ultimately his family heritage did not provide him with much opportunity in the aristocratic Tang Dynasty. Though he expressed the wish to become an official, he did not sit for the Chinese civil service examination. Instead, beginning at age twenty-five, he travelled around China, enjoying wine and leading a carefree life -very much contrary to the prevailing ideas of a proper Confucian gentleman. His personality fascinated the aristocrats and common people alike and he was introduced to the Emperor Xuanzong around 742.

He was given a post at the Hanlin Academy, which served to provide a source of scholarly expertise and poetry for the Emperor. Li Bai remained less than two years as a poet in the Emperor’s service before he was dismissed for an unknown indiscretion. Thereafter he wandered throughout China for the rest of his life. He met Du Fu in the autumn of 744, and again the following year. These were the only occasions on which they met, but the friendship remained particularly important for the starstruck Du Fu (a dozen of his poems to or about Li Bai survive, compared to only one by Li Bai to Du Fu). At the time of the An Lushan Rebellion he became involved in a subsidiary revolt against the Emperor, although the extent to which this was voluntary is unclear. The failure of the rebellion resulted in his being exiled a second time, to Yelang. He was pardoned before the exile journey was complete.

Li Bai died in Dangtu, or modern day Anhui. Traditionally he was said to have drowned attempting to catch the moon’s reflection in a river; some scholars believe his death was the result of mercury poisoning due to a long history of imbibing Taoist longevity elixirs while others believe that he died of alcohol poisoning. (From Wikipedia)


The Fairy Child…

Here is the Offering for today! one of my great delights is discovering a new poet (well new to me). This would be Ciaran Carson, from Ulster. Wonderful Stuff! I hope you enjoy.

Gotta head out,


On The Menu:

Heap o’ Links

Cyber Life Links

Story: The Fairy Child

Poetry: Ciaran Carson

Art: Our Mr. Bosch!


Heap o’ Links…


Second sight

Sion/Plantard Part 1

Sion/Plantard Part 2


Cyber Life Links:

World of Warcraft Memorial Service

Another Clan Shows Up and Slaughters the Funeral Party…

The Video Evidence

Retribution Begins…



The Fairy Child

There was a sailor that lived up in Grange when he was at home; and one time, when he was away seven or eight months, his wife was brought to bed of a fine boy. She expected her husband home soon, and she wished to put off the christening of the child till he’d be on the spot. She and her husband were not natives of the country, and they were not as much afraid of leaving the child unchristened as our people would be.

Well, the child grew and throve, and the neighbours all bothered the woman to take him to Father M.’s to be baptized, and all they said was no use. “Her husband would be soon home, and then they’d have a joyful christening.”

There happened to be no one sick up in that neighbourhood for some time, so the priest did not come to the place, nor hear of the birth, and none of the people about her could make up their minds to tell upon her, it is such an ugly thing to be informing; and then the child was so healthy, and the father might be on the spot any moment.

So the time crept on, and the lad was a year and a half old, and his mother up to that time never lost five nights’ rest by him; when one evening that she came in from binding after the reapers, she heard wonderful whingeing and lamenting from the little bed where he used to sleep. She ran over to him and asked him what ailed him. “Oh, mammy, I’m sick, and I’m hungry, and I’m cold; don’t pull down the blanket.” Well, the poor woman ran and got some boiled bread and, milk as soon as she could, and she asked her other son, that was about seven years old, when he took sick. “Oh, mother,” says he, “he was as happy as a king, playing near the fire about two hours ago, and I was below in the room, when I heard a great rush like as a whole number of fowls were flying down the chimley. I heard my brother giving a great cry, and then another sound like as if the fowls were flying out again; and when I got into the kitchen there he was, so miserable-looking that I hardly knew him, and he pulling his hair, and his clothes, and his poor face so dirty. Take a look at him, and try do you know him at all.”

So when she went to feed him she got such a fright, for his poor face was like an old man’s, and his body, and legs, and arms, all thin and hairy. But still he resembled the child she left in the morning, and “mammy, mammy,” was never out of his mouth. She heard of people being fairy-struck, so she supposed it was that that happened to him, but she never suspected her own child to be gone, and a fairy child left in its place.

Well, it’s he that kept the poor woman awake many a night after, and never let her have a quiet day, crying for bread and milk, and mashed pitaytees, and stirabout; and it was still “mammy, mammy, mammy,” and the glows and the moans were never out of his mouth. Well, he had like to eat the poor woman out of house and home, and the very flesh off her bones with watching and sorrow. Still nothing could persuade her that it wasn’t her own child that was in it.

One neighbour and another neighbour told her their minds plain enough. “Now, ma’am, you see what it is to leave a child without being christened. If you done your duty, fairy, nor spirit, nor divel, would have no power over your child. That ounkran (cross creature) in the bed is no more your child nor I am, but a little imp that the Duiné Sighe (fairy people)–God between us and harm!–left you. By this and by that, if you don’t whip him up and come along with us to Father M.’s, we’ll go, hot foot, ourselves, and tell him all about it. Christened he must be before the world is a day older.”

So she went over and soothered him, and said, “Come, alanna, let me dress you, and we’ll go and be christened.” And such roaring and screeching as came out of his throat would frighten the Danes. “I haven’t the heart,” says she at last; “and sure if we attempted to take him in that state we’d have the people of the three townlands followinging us to the priest’s, and I’m afeard he’d take it very badly.”

The next day when she came in, in the evening, she found him quite clean and fresh-looking, and his hair nicely combed. “Ah, Pat,” says she to her other son, “was it you that done this?” Well, he said nothing till he and his mother were up at the fire, and the angashore (wretch) of a child in his bed in the room. “Mother,” says he then, in a whisper, “the neighbours are right, and you are wrong. I was out a little bit, and when I was coming round by the wall at the back of the room, I heard some sweet voices as if they were singing inside; and so I went to the crack in the corner, and what was round the bed but a whole parcel of nicely-dressed little women, with green gowns; and they singing, and dressing the little fellow, and combing his hair, and he laughing and crowing with them. I watched for a long time, and then I stole round to the door, but the moment I pulled the string of the latch I hears the music changed to his whimpering and crying, and when I got into the room there was no sign of anything only himself. He was a little better looking, but as cantankerous as ever.” “Ah,” says the mother, “you are only joining the ill-natured neighbours; you’re not telling a word of truth.”

Next day Pat had a new story. “Mother,” says he, “I was sitting here while you were out, and I began to wonder why ‘he was so quiet, so I went into the room to see if he was asleep. There he was, sitting up with his old face on him, and he frightened the life out of me, he spoke so plain. ‘Paudh,’ says he, ‘go and light your mother’s pipe, and let me have a shough; I’m tired o’ my life lying here.’ ‘Ah, you thief,’ ‘says I, ‘wait till you hear what she’ll say to you when I tell her this.’ ‘Tell away, you pick-thanks,’ says he; ‘she won’t believe a word you say.’” “And neither do I believe one word from you,” said the mother.

At last a letter came from the father, that was serving on board the Futhryom (Le Foudroyant?), saying he’d be home after the letter as soon as coaches and ships could carry him. “Now,” says the poor woman, “we’ll have the christening any way.” So the next day she went to New Ross to buy sugar and tay, and beef and pork, to give a grand let-out to welcome her husband; but bedad the long-headed neighbours took that opportunity to gain their ends of the fairy imp. They gathered round the house, and one stout woman came up to the bed, promiskis-like, and wrapped him up in the quilt before he had time to defend himself, and away down the lane to the Boro she went, and the whole townland at her heels. He thought to get away, but she held him pinned as if he was in a vice: and he kept roaring, and the crowd kept laughing, and they never crack-cried till they were at the stepping-stones going to Ballybawn from Grange.

Well, when he felt himself near the water he roared like a score of bulls, and kicked like the divel, but my brave woman wasn’t to be daunted. She got on the first stepping-stone, and the water, as black as night from the turf-mull (mould), running under her. He felt as heavy as lead, but she held on to the second. Well, she thought she’d go down there with the roaring, and the weight, and the dismal colour of the river, but she got to the middlestone, and there down through the quilt he fell as a heavy stone would through a muslin handkerchief. Off he went, whirling round and round, and letting the frightfulest laughs out of him, and showing his teeth and cracking his fingers at the people on the banks. “Oh, yous think yous are very clever, now,” says he. “You may tell that fool of a woman from me that all I’m sorry for is that I didn’t choke her, or do worse for her, before her husband comes home; bad luck to yous all!”

Well, they all came back joyful enough, though they were a little frightened. But weren’t they rejoiced to meet the poor woman running to them with her fine healthy child in her arms, that she found in a delightful sleep when she got back from the town. You may be sure the next day didn’t pass over him till he was baptized, and the next day his father got safe home. Well, I needn’t say how happy they were; but bedad the woman was a little ashamed of herself next Sunday at Rathnure Chapel while Father James was preaching about the wickedness of neglecting to get young babies baptized as soon as possible after they’re born.

Life among the Icelandic elves only partially resembles that among the Celtic fairies. The process of jetting rid of one of them when introduced into a human family is, however, much the same among Celts and Scandinavians. The Breton or Irish housewife being incommoded by a squalling, rickety brat, collects a number of eggs; and after throwing away the contents, places the shells carefully in a pot set over the fire. He looks with wonder on the operation; and when, in reply to his question, she explains that she is going to extract beer from them, he cries out, “I remember when they were building Babel, and never heard before of a brewery of egg-shells.” Being now sure of his quality she summons her relations, and they get rid of him by taking him on a shovel, and landing him comfortably in the middle of the dung-lough at the bottom of the bawn, and letting him cry his fill. His fairy relations come to his rescue with little loss of time, and he vents his rage at not having done more mischief while he had been in such comfortable quarters.

Ión Arnason tells us, in his “Icelandic Legends” lately published by Mr. Bentley, that a Northern woman, under the same circumstances, sets a pot, furnished with some eatable, on the fire; and having fastened many twigs in continuation of a spoon handle till the end of the shank appears above the chimney, she inserts the bowl in the mess. This excites the curiosity of the imp, and he is dislodged in the same way as his far-off brother in Galway. It would be, perhaps, trying the patience of the reader unduly to enlarge on all the ingenious devices practised for the ejectment of different intruders, so we will, using a story-teller’s privilege, surround one case with the circumstances which waited on three or four.


Poetry From Ulster: Ciaran Carson

Belfast Confetti

Suddenly as the riot squad moved in, it was raining

exclamation marks,

Nuts, bolts, nails, car-keys. A fount of broken type. And the


Itself – an askerisk on the map. This hyphenated line, a burst

of rapid fire…

I was trying to complete a sentence in my head but it kept


All the alleyways and side streets blocked with stops and


I know this labyrinth so well – Balaclava, Raglan, Inkerman,

Odessa Street –

Why can’t I escape? Every move is punctuated. Crimea

Street. Dead end again.

A Saracen, Kremlin-2 mesh. Makrolon face-shields. Walkie-

talkies. What is

My name? Where am I coming from? Where am I going? A

fusillade of question- marks.



Rain in summer –

It is the sound of a thousand cows

Being milked.

In winter

The eaves are heavy with ice,

Their snowy teats drip silence.

From the Welsh



Horse Boyle was called Horse Boyle because of his brother Mule;

Though why Mule was called Mule is anybody’s guess. I stayed there once,

Or rather, I nearly stayed there once. But that’s another story.

At any rate they lived in this decrepit caravan, not two miles out of Carrick,

Encroached upon by baroque pyramids of empty baked bean tins, rusts

And ochres, hints of autumn merging into twilight. Horse believed

They were as good as a watchdog, and to tell you the truth

You couldn’t go near the place without something falling over:

A minor avalanche would ensue – more like a shop bell, really,

The old-fashioned ones on string, connected to the latch, I think,

And as you entered in, the bell would tinkle in the empty shop, a musk

Of soap and turf and sweets would hit you from the gloom. Tobacco.

Baling wire. Twine. And, of course, shelves and pyramids of tins.

An old woman would appear from the back – there was a sizzling pan in there,

Somewhere, a whiff of eggs and bacon – and ask you what you wanted;

Or rather, she wouldn’t ask; she would talk about the weather. It had rained

That day, but it was looking better. They had just put in the spuds.

I had only come to pass the time of day, so I bought a token packet of Gold Leaf.

All this time the fry was frying away. Maybe she’d a daughter in there

Somewhere, though I hadn’t heard the neighbours talk of it; if anybody knew,

It would be Horse. Horse kept his ears to the ground.

And he was a great man for current affairs; he owned the only TV in the place.

Come dusk he’d set off on his rounds, to tell the whole townland the latest

Situation in the Middle East , a mortar bomb attack in Mullaghbawn –

The damn things never worked, of course – and so he’d tell the story

How in his young day it was very different. Take young Flynn, for instance,

Who was ordered to take this bus and smuggle some sticks of gelignite

Across the border, into Derry , when the RUC – or was it the RIC? –

Got wind of it. The bus was stopped, the peeler stepped on. Young Flynn

Took it like a man, of course: he owned up right away. He opened the bag

And produced the bomb, his rank and serial number. For all the world

Like a pound of sausages. Of course, the thing was, the peeler’s bike

Had got a puncture, and he didn’t know young Flynn from Adam. All he wanted

Was to get home for his tea. Flynn was in for seven years and learned to speak

The best of Irish. He had thirteen words for a cow in heat;

A word for the third thwart in a boat, the wake of a boat on the ebb tide.

He knew the extinct names of insects, flowers, why this place was called

Whatever: Carrick, for example, was a rock. He was damn right there –

As the man said, When you buy meat you buy bones, when you buy land you buy stones.

You’d be hard put to find a square foot in the whole bloody parish

That wasn’t thick with flints and pebbles. To this day he could hear the grate

And scrape as the spade struck home, for it reminded him of broken bones:

Digging a graveyard, maybe – or better still, trying to dig a reclaimed tip

Of broken delph and crockery ware – you know that sound that sets your teeth on edge

When the chalk squeaks on the blackboard, or you shovel ashes from the stove?

Master McGinty – he’d be on about McGinty then, and discipline, the capitals

Of South America , Moore ‘s Melodies, the Battle of Clontarf, and

Tell me this, an educated man like you: What goes on four legs when it’s young,

Two legs when it’s grown up, and three legs when it’s old? I’d pretend

I didn’t know. McGinty’s leather strap would come up then, stuffed

With threepenny bits to give it weight and sting. Of course, it never did him

Any harm: You could take a horse to water but you couldn’t make him drink.

He himself was nearly going on to be a priest.

And many’s the young cub left the school, as wise as when he came.

Carrowkeel was where McGinty came from – Narrow Quarter, Flynn explained –

Back before the Troubles, a place that was so mean and crabbed,

Horse would have it, men were known to eat their dinner from a drawer.

Which they’d slide shut the minute you’d walk in.

He’d demonstrate this at the kitchen table, hunched and furtive, squinting

Out the window– past the teetering minarets of rust, down the hedge-dark aisle –

To where a stranger might appear, a passer-by, or what was maybe worse,

Someone he knew. Someone who wanted something. Someone who was hungry.

Of course who should come tottering up the lane that instant but his brother

Mule. I forgot to mention they were twins. They were as like two –

No, not peas in a pod, for this is not the time nor the place to go into

Comparisons, and this is really Horse’s story, Horse who – now I’m getting

Round to it – flew over Dresden in the war. He’d emigrated first, to

Manchester . Something to do with scrap – redundant mill machinery,

Giant flywheels, broken looms that would, eventually, be ships, or aeroplanes.

He said he wore his fingers to the bone.

And so, on impulse, he had joined the RAF. He became a rear gunner.

Of all the missions, Dresden broke his heart. It reminded him of china.

As he remembered it, long afterwards, he could hear, or almost hear

Between the rapid desultory thunderclaps, a thousand tinkling echoes –

All across the map of Dresden , store-rooms full of china shivered, teetered

And collapsed, an avalanche of porcelain, slushing and cascading: cherubs,

Shepherdesses, figurines of Hope and Peace and Victory, delicate bone fragments.

He recalled in particular a figure from his childhood, a milkmaid

Standing on the mantelpiece. Each night as they knelt down for the rosary,

His eyes would wander up to where she seemed to beckon to him, smiling,

Offering him, eternally, her pitcher of milk, her mouth of rose and cream.

One day, reaching up to hold her yet again, his fingers stumbled, and she fell.

He lifted down a biscuit tin, and opened it.

It breathed an antique incense: things like pencils, snuff, tobacco.

His war medals. A broken rosary. And there, the milkmaid’s creamy hand, the outstretched

Pitcher of milk, all that survived. Outside, there was a scraping

And a tittering; I knew Mule’s step by now, his careful drunken weaving

Through the tin-stacks. I might have stayed the night , but there’s no time

to go back to that now; I could hardly, at any rate, pick up the thread.

I wandered out through the steeples of rust, the gate that was a broken bed.


Turn Again

There is a map of the city which shows the bridge that was never built.

A map which shows the bridge that collapsed; the streets that never existed.

Ireland’s Entry, Elbow Lane, Weigh-House Lane, Back Lane, Stone-Cutter’s Entry –

Today’s plan is already yesterday’s – the streets that were there are gone.

And the shape of the jails cannot be shown for security reasons.

The linen backing is falling apart -the Falls Road hangs by a thread.

When someone asks me where I live, I remember where I used to live.

Someone asks me for directions, and I think again. I turn into

A side-street to try to throw off my shadow, and history is changed.



Tomato juice, black pepper, Worcester sauce – a dash –

Tabasco, salt, the vodka measured to your taste.

Ice-cubes, ditto. Then sip this freezing balderdash;

Think about it. It is not to be consumed in haste.

Immediately ensanguined, your lips tremble and burn,

As if they’d got a massive intravenous shot

Of haemoglobin, and you’re drinking from a Grecian urn;

The bar you understand you’re in is called The Elfin Grot.

Karaoke singers mouth their lip-synch rhymes.

Tape-loop music tinkles harp arpeggios of ice.

The videos are showing scenes of ancient times:

Here is Moscow burning, horses led to slaughter,

Wandering the snowy waste of martial sacrifice,

Trails of blood emblazoned in the frozen water.


Ciaran Carson was born in Belfast in 1948. His first language was Irish. Until recently he worked as Literature and Traditional Arts Officer in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. His collections include The New Estate and Other Poems, The Irish for No, Belfast Confetti, First Language and Opera Et Cetera. He is a musician and has published Last Night’s Fun, a book about Irish Traditional Music.


Beltane Soon…

On The Music Box: Silence….

We were heading south for Beltane Celebrations; but due to business and attending matters we will be lighting the Baal Fire on May Eve at Caer Llwydd.

We have devoted this edition of Turfing to the celebration of Beltane/Beltain, getting it in a bit earlier than usual… Spring is coming to its glorious climax here in the Arboreal North, and May-Eve will see the beginnings of True Summer in.

On the Menu:

The Links

The Article: A Celebration of May Day

The Poetry: The Old Age of Queen Maeve – W.B. Yeats

Here is to the coming celebration, Drink Deeply To The Life!



The Links

Just A Plant…

Afghan Farmers Fight Ban on Poppy Growing

Bushism as Greek Drama: “Hubris” and “Tragic Flaws”

Hell on Earth

The Enlightenment, Freemasonry, and The Illuminati


A Celebration of May Day

by Mike Nichols

‘Perhaps it’s just as well that you won’t be here…to be offended by the sight of our May Day celebrations.’

– Lord Summerisle to Sgt. Howie from ‘The Wicker Man’

There are four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year and the modern Witch’s calendar, as well. The two greatest of these are Halloween (the beginning of winter) and May Day (the beginning of summer). Being opposite each other on the wheel of the year, they separate the year into halves. Halloween (also called Samhain) is the Celtic New Year and is generally considered the more important of the two, though May Day runs a close second. Indeed, in some areas — notably Wales — it is considered the great holiday.

May Day ushers in the fifth month of the modern calendar year, the month of May. This month is named in honor of the goddess Maia, originally a Greek mountain nymph, later identified as the most beautiful of the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades. By Zeus, she is also the mother of Hermes, god of magic. Maia’s parents were Atlas and Pleione, a sea nymph. The old Celtic name for May Day is Beltane (in its most popular Anglicized form), which is derived from the Irish Gaelic ‘Bealtaine’ or the Scottish Gaelic ‘Bealtuinn’, meaning ‘Bel-fire’, the fire of the Celtic god of light (Bel, Beli or Belinus). He, in turn, may be traced to the Middle Eastern god Baal.

Other names for May Day include: Cetsamhain (‘opposite Samhain’), Walpurgisnacht (in Germany), and Roodmas (the medieval Church’s name). This last came from Church Fathers who were hoping to shift the common people’s allegiance from the Maypole (Pagan lingham – symbol of life) to the Holy Rood (the Cross – Roman instrument of death).

Incidentally, there is no historical justification for calling May 1st ‘Lady Day’. For hundreds of years, that title has been proper to the Vernal Equinox (approx. March 21st), another holiday sacred to the Great Goddess. The nontraditional use of ‘Lady Day’ for May 1st is quite recent (since the early 1970′s), and seems to be confined to America, where it has gained widespread acceptance among certain segments of the Craft population. This rather startling departure from tradition would seem to indicate an unfamiliarity with European calendar customs, as well as a lax attitude toward scholarship among too many Pagans. A simple glance at a dictionary (‘Webster’s 3rd’ or O.E.D.), excyclopedia (‘Benet’s’), or standard mythology reference (Jobe’s ‘Dictionary of Mythology, Folklore & Symbols’) would confirm the correct date for Lady Day as the Vernal Equinox.

By Celtic reckoning, the actual Beltane celebration begins on sundown of the preceding day, April 30, because the Celts always figured their days from sundown to sundown. And sundown was the proper time for Druids to kindle the great Bel-fires on the tops of the nearest beacon hill (such as Tara Hill, Co. Meath, in Ireland). These ‘need-fires’ had healing properties, and sky-clad Witches would jump through the flames to ensure protection.

Sgt. Howie (shocked): ‘But they are naked!’ Lord Summerisle: ‘Naturally. It’s much too dangerous to jump through the fire with your clothes on!’ –from “The Wicker Man”

Frequently, cattle would be driven between two such bon-fires (oak wood was the favorite fuel for them) and, on the morrow, they would be taken to their summer pastures.

Other May Day customs include: walking the circuit of one’s property (‘beating the bounds’), repairing fences and boundary markers, processions of chimney-sweeps and milk maids, archery tournaments, morris dances, sword dances, feasting, music, drinking, and maidens bathing their faces in the dew of May morning to retain their youthful beauty.

In the words of Witchcraft writers Janet and Stewart Farrar, the Beltane celebration was principly a time of ‘…unashamed human sexuality and fertility.’ Such associations include the obvious phallic symbolism of the Maypole and riding the hobby horse. Even a seemingly innocent children’s nursery rhyme, ‘Ride a cock horse to Banburry Cross…’ retains such memories. And the next line ‘…to see a fine Lady on a white horse’ is a reference to the annual ride of ‘Lady Godiva’ though Coventry. Every year for nearly three centuries, a sky-clad village maiden (elected Queen of the May) enacted this Pagan rite, until the Puritans put an end to the custom.

The Puritans, in fact, reacted with pious horror to most of the May Day rites, even making Maypoles illegal in 1644. They especially attempted to suppress the ‘greenwood marriages’ of young men and women who spent the entire night in the forest, staying out to greet the May sunrise, and bringing back boughs of flowers and garlands to decorate the village the next morning. One angry Puritan wrote that men ‘doe use commonly to runne into woodes in the night time, amongst maidens, to set bowes, in so muche, as I have hearde of tenne maidens whiche went to set May, and nine of them came home with childe.’ And another Puritan complained that, of the girls who go into the woods, ‘not the least one of them comes home again a virgin.’

Long after the Christian form of marriage (with its insistance on sexual monogamy) had replaced the older Pagan handfasting, the rules of strict fidelity were always relaxed for the May Eve rites. Names such as Robin Hood, Maid Marion, and Little John played an important part in May Day folklore, often used as titles for the dramatis personae of the celebrations. And modern surnames such as Robinson, Hodson, Johnson, and Godkin may attest to some distant May Eve spent in the woods.

These wildwood antics have inspired writers such as Kipling:

Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight,

Or he would call it a sin;

But we have been out in the woods all night,

A-conjuring Summer in!

And Lerner and Lowe:

It’s May! It’s May!

The lusty month of May!…

Those dreary vows that ev’ryone takes,

Ev’ryone breaks.

Ev’ryone makes divine mistakes!

The lusty month of May!

It is certainly no accident that Queen Guinevere’s ‘abduction’ by Meliagrance occurs on May 1st when she and the court have gone a-Maying, or that the usually efficient Queen’s Guard, on this occasion, rode unarmed.

Some of these customs seem virtually identical to the old Roman feast of flowers, the Floriala, three days of unrestrained sexuality which began at sundown April 28th and reached a crescendo on May 1st.

There are other, even older, associations with May 1st in Celtic mythology. According to the ancient Irish ‘Book of Invasions’, the first settler of Ireland, Partholan, arrived on May 1st; and it was on May 1st that the plague came which destroyed his people. Years later, the Tuatha De Danann were conquered by the Milesians on May Day. In Welsh myth, the perenial battle between Gwythur and Gwyn for the love of Creudylad took place each May Day; and it was on May Eve that Teirnyon lost his colts and found Pryderi.

May Eve was also the occasion of a fearful scream that was heard each year throughout Wales, one of the three curses of the Coranians lifted by the skill of Lludd and Llevelys.

By the way, due to various calendrical changes down through the centuries, the traditional date of Beltane is not the same as its astrological date. This date, like all astronomically determined dates, may vary by a day or two depending on the year. However, it may be calculated easily enough by determining the date on which the sun is at 15 degrees Taurus (usually around May 5th). British Witches often refer to this date as Old Beltane, and folklorists call it Beltane O.S. (‘Old Style’). Some Covens prefer to celebrate on the old date and, at the very least, it gives one options. If a Coven is operating on ‘Pagan Standard Time’ and misses May 1st altogether, it can still throw a viable Beltane bash as long as it’s before May 5th. This may also be a consideration for Covens that need to organize activities around the week-end.

This date has long been considered a ‘power point’ of the Zodiac, and is symbolized by the Bull, one of the ‘tetramorph’ figures featured on the Tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune. (The other three symbols are the Lion, the Eagle, and the Spirit.) Astrologers know these four figures as the symbols of the four ‘fixed’ signs of the Zodiac (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius), and these naturally align with the four Great Sabbats of Witchcraft. Christians have adopted the same iconography to represent the four gospel-writers.

But for most, it is May 1st that is the great holiday of flowers, Maypoles, and greenwood frivolity. It is no wonder that, as recently as 1977, Ian Anderson could pen the following lyrics for the band Jethro Tull:

“For the May Day is the great day,

Sung along the old straight track.

And those who ancient lines did ley

Will heed this song that calls them back.”



MAEVE the great queen was pacing to and fro,

Between the walls covered with beaten bronze,

In her high house at Cruachan; the long hearth,

Flickering with ash and hazel, but half showed

Where the tired horse-boys lay upon the rushes,

Or on the benches underneath the walls,

In comfortable sleep; all living slept

But that great queen, who more than half the night

Had paced from door to fire and fire to door.

Though now in her old age, in her young age

She had been beautiful in that old way

That’s all but gone; for the proud heart is gone,

And the fool heart of the counting-house fears all

But soft beauty and indolent desire. p. 52

She could have called over the rim of the world

Whatever woman’s lover had hit her fancy,

And yet had been great bodied and great limbed,

Fashioned to be the mother of strong children;

And she’d had lucky eyes and a high heart,

And wisdom that caught fire like the dried flax,

At need, and made her beautiful and fierce,

Sudden and laughing.

O unquiet heart,

Why do you praise another, praising her,

As if there were no tale but your own tale

Worth knitting to a measure of sweet sound?

Have I not bid you tell of that great queen

Who has been buried some two thousand years?

When night was at its deepest, a wild goose

Cried from the porter’s lodge, and with long clamour

Shook the ale horns and shields upon their hooks;

But the horse-boys slept on, as though some power

Had filled the house with Druid heaviness;

And wondering who of the many-changing Sidhe

Had come as in the old times to counsel her, p. 53

Maeve walked, yet with slow footfall, being old,

To that small chamber by the outer gate.

The porter slept, although he sat upright

With still and stony limbs and open eyes.

Maeve waited, and when that ear-piercing noise

Broke from his parted lips and broke again,

She laid a hand on either of his shoulders,

And shook him wide awake, and bid him say

Who of the wandering many-changing ones

Had troubled his sleep. But all he had to say

Was that, the air being heavy and the dogs

More still than they had been for a good month,

He had fallen asleep, and, though he had dreamed nothing,

He could remember when he had had fine dreams.

It was before the time of the great war

Over the White-Horned Bull, and the Brown Bull.

She turned away; he turned again to sleep

That no god troubled now, and, wondering

What matters were afoot among the Sidhe,

Maeve walked through that great hall, and with a sigh

Lifted the curtain of her sleeping-room,

Remembering that she too had seemed divine p. 54

To many thousand eyes, and to her own

One that the generations had long waited

That work too difficult for mortal hands

Might be accomplished. Bunching the curtain up

She saw her husband Ailell sleeping there,

And thought of days when he’d had a straight body,

And of that famous Fergus, Nessa’s husband,

Who had been the lover of her middle life.

Suddenly Ailell spoke out of his sleep,

And not with his own voice or a man’s voice,

But with the burning, live, unshaken voice,

Of those that it may be can never age.

He said, “High Queen of Cruachan and Magh Ai,

A king of the Great Plain would speak with you.”

And with glad voice Maeve answered him, “What king

Of the far wandering shadows has come to me?

As in the old days when they would come and go

About my threshold to counsel and to help.”

The parted lips replied, “I seek your help,

For I am Aengus, and I am crossed in love.”

“How may a mortal whose life gutters out

Help them that wander with hand clasping hand, p. 55

Their haughty images that cannot wither,

For all their beauty’s like a hollow dream,

Mirrored in streams that neither hail nor rain

Nor the cold North has troubled?”

He replied:

“I am from those rivers and I bid you call

The children of the Maines out of sleep,

And set them digging under Bual’s hill.

We shadows, while they uproot his earthy house,

Will overthrow his shadows and carry off

Caer, his blue-eyed daughter that I love.

I helped your fathers when they built these walls,

And I would have your help in my great need,

Queen of high Cruachan.”

“I obey your will

With speedy feet and a most thankful heart:

For you have been, O Aengus of the birds,

Our giver of good counsel and good luck.”

And with a groan, as if the mortal breath

Could but awaken sadly upon lips

That happier breath had moved, her husband turned

Face downward, tossing in a troubled sleep;

But Maeve, and not with a slow feeble foot,

Came to the threshold of the painted house,

Where her grandchildren slept, and cried aloud,

Until the pillared dark began to stir p. 56

With shouting and the clang of unhooked arms.

She told them of the many-changing ones;

And all that night, and all through the next day

To middle night, they dug into the hill.

At middle night great cats with silver claws,

Bodies of shadow and blind eyes like pearls,

Came up out of the hole, and red-eared hounds

With long white bodies came out of the air

Suddenly, and ran at them and harried them.

The Maines’ children dropped their spades, and stood

With quaking joints and terror-strucken faces,

Till Maeve called out: “These are but common men.

The Maines’ children have not dropped their spades,

Because Earth, crazy for its broken power,

Casts up a show and the winds answer it

With holy shadows.” Her high heart was glad,

And when the uproar ran along the grass

She followed with light footfall in the midst,

Till it died out where an old thorn tree stood.

Friend of these many years, you too had stood

With equal courage in that whirling rout; p. 57

For you, although you’ve not her wandering heart,

Have all that greatness, and not hers alone,

For there is no high story about queens

In any ancient book but tells of you;

And when I’ve heard how they grew old and died,

Or fell into unhappiness, I’ve said:

“She will grow old and die, and she has wept!”

And when I’d write it out anew, the words,

Half crazy with the thought, She too has wept!

Outrun the measure.

I’d tell of that great queen

Who stood amid a silence by the thorn

Until two lovers came out of the air

With bodies made out of soft fire. The one,

About whose face birds wagged their fiery wings,

Said: “Aengus and his sweetheart give their thanks

To Maeve and to Maeve’s household, owing all

In owing them the bride-bed that gives peace.”

Then Maeve: “O Aengus, Master of all lovers,

A thousand years ago you held high talk

With the first kings of many-pillared Cruachan. p. 58

O when will you grow weary?”

They had vanished;

But out of the dark air over her head there came

A murmur of soft words and meeting lips.


Rabi’a Al-’Adawiyya

Welcome To the Tuesday Installment. Today’s entry is devoted to Rabi’a Al-’Adawiyya, a Sufi Saint and Poet from Basra, Iraq. She is reverred throughout the middle east. I hope you enjoy this one!



The Links:


Swallowed alive in his house…

9th Circuit: Schools Can Ban Racist, Anti-Gay T-Shirts

Honour amongst thieves


The Article:

Rabi’a al-’Adawiyya, an 8th Century Islamic Saint from Iraq (an extraction from a larger article)

By Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

One of the most famous Islamic mystics was a woman: Rabi’a al-’Adawiyya (c.717-801). This 8th century saint was an early Sufi who had a profound influence on later Sufis, who in turn deeply influenced the European mystical love and troubadour traditions. Rabi’a was a woman of Basra, a seaport in southern Iraq. She was born around 717 and died in 801 (185-186). Her biographer, the great medieval poet Attar, tells us that she was “on fire with love and longing” and that men accepted her “as a second spotless Mary”. She was, he continues, “an unquestioned authority to her contemporaries”.

As Cambridge professor Margaret Smith explains, Rabi’a began her ascetic life in a small desert cell near Basra, where she lost herself in prayer and went straight to God for teaching. As far as is known, she never studied under any master or spiritual director. She was one of the first of the Sufis to teach that Love alone was the guide on the mystic path. A later Sufi taught that there were two classes of “true believers”: one class sought a master as an intermediary between them and God — unless they could see the footsteps of the Prophet on the path before them, they would not accept the path as valid. The second class “…did not look before them for the footprint of any of God’s creatures, for they had removed all thought of what He had created from their hearts, and concerned themselves solely with God.

Rabi’a was of this second kind. She felt no reverence even for the House of God in Mecca: “It is the Lord of the house Whom I need; what have I to do with the house?” One lovely spring morning a friend asked her to come outside to see the works of God. She replied, “Come you inside that you may behold their Maker. Contemplation of the Maker has turned me aside from what He has made”. During an illness, a friend asked this woman if she desired anything.

“…[H]ow can you ask me such a question as ‘What do I desire?’ I swear by the glory of God that for twelve years I have desired fresh dates, and you know that in Basra dates are plentiful, and I have not yet tasted them. I am a servant (of God), and what has a servant to do with desire?”

When a male friend once suggested she should pray for relief from a debilitating illness, she said, “O Sufyan, do you not know Who it is that wills this suffering for me? Is it not God Who wills it? When you know this, why do you bid me ask for what is contrary to His will? It is not well to oppose one’s Beloved.”

She was an ascetic. It was her custom to pray all night, sleep briefly just before dawn, and then rise again just as dawn “tinged the sky with gold” (187). She lived in celibacy and poverty, having renounced the world. A friend visited her in old age and found that all she owned were a reed mat, screen, a pottery jug, and a bed of felt which doubled as her prayer-rug (186), for where she prayed all night, she also slept briefly in the pre-dawn chill. Once her friends offered to get her a servant; she replied, “I should be ashamed to ask for the things of this world from Him to Whom the world belongs, and how should I ask for them from those to whom it does not belong?”

A wealthy merchant once wanted to give her a purse of gold. She refused it, saying that God, who sustains even those who dishonor Him, would surely sustain her, “whose soul is overflowing with love” for Him. And she added an ethical concern as well: “…How should I take the wealth of someone of whom I do not know whether he acquired it lawfully or not?”

She taught that repentance was a gift from God because no one could repent unless God had already accepted him and given him this gift of repentance. She taught that sinners must fear the punishment they deserved for their sins, but she also offered such sinners far more hope of Paradise than most other ascetics did. For herself, she held to a higher ideal, worshipping God neither from fear of Hell nor from hope of Paradise, for she saw such self-interest as unworthy of God’s servants; emotions like fear and hope were like veils — i.e., hindrances to the vision of God Himself. The story is told that once a number of Sufis saw her hurrying on her way with water in one hand and a burning torch in the other. When they asked her to explain, she said: “I am going to light a fire in Paradise and to pour water on to Hell, so that both veils may vanish altogether from before the pilgrims and their purpose may be sure…”

She was once asked where she came from. “From that other world,” she said. “And where are you going?” she was asked. “To that other world,” she replied. She taught that the spirit originated with God in “that other world” and had to return to Him in the end. Yet if the soul were sufficiently purified, even on earth, it could look upon God unveiled in all His glory and unite with him in love. In this quest, logic and reason were powerless. Instead, she speaks of the “eye” of her heart which alone could apprehend Him and His mysteries.

Above all, she was a lover, a bhakti, like one of Krishna’s Goptis in the Hindu tradition. Her hours of prayer were not so much devoted to intercession as to communion with her Beloved. Through this communion, she could discover His will for her. Many of her prayers have come down to us:

“I have made Thee the Companion of my heart,

But my body is available for those who seek its company,

And my body is friendly towards its guests,

But the Beloved of my heart is the Guest of my soul.”

Another: “O my Joy and my Desire, my Life and my Friend. If Thou art satisfied with me, then, O Desire of my heart, my happiness is attained.”

At night, as Smith, writes, “alone upon her roof under the eastern sky, she used to pray”:

“O my Lord, the stars are shining and the eyes of men are closed, and kings have shut their doors, and every lover is alone with his beloved, and here I am alone with Thee.”

She was asked once if she hated Satan. “My love to God has so possessed me that no place remains for loving or hating any save Him.”

To such lovers, she taught, God unveiled himself in all his beauty and re-vealed the Beatific Vision. For this vision, she willingly gave up all lesser joys.

“O my Lord,” she prayed, “if I worship Thee from fear of Hell, burn me in Hell, and if I worship Thee in hope of Paradise, exclude me thence, but if I worship Thee for Thine own sake, then withhold not from me Thine Eternal Beauty.”

Rabi’a was in her early to mid eighties when she died, having followed the mystic Way to the end. By then, she was continually united with her Beloved. As she told her Sufi friends, “My Beloved is always with me”.


Poetry: Rabi’a Al-’Adawiyya


I have loved Thee with two loves –

a selfish love and a love that is worthy of Thee.

As for the love which is selfish,

Therein I occupy myself with Thee,

to the exclusion of all others.

But in the love which is worthy of Thee,

Thou dost raise the veil that I may see Thee.

Yet is the praise not mine in this or that,

But the praise is to Thee in both that and this.


My Joy

My joy –

My Hunger –

My Shelter –

My Friend –

My Food for the journey –

My journey’s End –

You are my breath,

My hope,

My companion,

My craving,

My abundant wealth.

Without You — my Life, my Love –

I would never have wandered across these endless countries.

You have poured out so much grace for me,

Done me so many favors, given me so many gifts –

I look everywhere for Your love –

Then suddenly I am filled with it.

O Captain of my Heart

Radiant Eye of Yearning in my breast,

I will never be free from You

As long as I live.

Be satisfied with me, Love,

And I am satisfied.


O my Lord, the stars glitter

O my Lord,

the stars glitter

and the eyes of men are closed.

Kings have locked their doors

and each lover is alone with his love.

Here, I am alone with you.


O God, Another Night is passing away

O God, Another Night is passing away,

Another Day is rising –

Tell me that I have spent the Night well so I can be at peace,

Or that I have wasted it, so I can mourn for what is lost.

I swear that ever since the first day You brought me back to life,

The day You became my Friend,

I have not slept –

And even if You drive me from your door,

I swear again that we will never be separated.

Because You are alive in my heart.


Brothers, my peace is in my aloneness.

Brothers, my peace is in my aloneness.

My Beloved is alone with me there, always.

I have found nothing in all the worlds

That could match His love,

This love that harrows the sands of my desert.

If I come to die of desire

And my Beloved is still not satisfied,

I would live in eternal despair.

To abandon all that He has fashioned

And hold in the palm of my hand

Certain proof that He loves me—

That is the name and the goal of my search.


I carry a torch in one hand

I carry a torch in one hand

And a bucket of water in the other:

With these things I am going to set fire to Heaven

And put out the flames of Hell

So that voyagers to God can rip the veils

And see the real goal.


I have two ways of loving You:

I have two ways of loving You:

A selfish one

And another way that is worthy of You.

In my selfish love, I remember You and You alone.

In that other love, You lift the veil

And let me feast my eyes on Your Living Face.


Rabia, sometimes called Rabia of Basra or Rabia al Basri, was born to a poor family in Basra in what is now Iraq. Her parents died of famine and she was eventually sold into slavery.

The story is told that her master one night woke up and saw a light shining above her head while she was praying. Stunned, he freed her the next morning.

Rabia chose a solitary life of prayer, living much of her life in desert seclusion.

Her fame as a Sufi holy woman spread and people began to journey to her retreat, to ask advice, to study, to learn.

Today she is greatly revered by devout Muslims and mystics throughout the world.

The Mystery of it All

“The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer– they think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.”

– Ken Kesey


Dandelions. Thousands of dandelions. The front yard has been a breeding patch for these little mutants. I had the pleasure of digging dandelions Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I think we reduced their number by a third… yet more pop up. I understand the siren call of using weed killer, but the water tables… the water tables…

Sunday Do the Chores:

Dandelions (see above)

Off to Goodwill, picking up work clothes. Found 2 great books: Huston Smith’s “The World’s Religions & James Fadiman & Robert Frager’s ” Essential Sufism.

Feeling rather chuffed at that I proceeded up to the CD store and picked up Donovan’s BARABAJAGAL, (I had gone in for a remix of Philip Glass) which Rowan has since squirrelled away somewhere in his room…

After the CD store we walked the Doglet over in the park around the corner. Socialization Hour for the Pooch. She was unimpressed with the local male canines. She felt they were all a bit rude. She even ignored the off-leash joy of chasing the stick. Ah… well. Headed home…

So what is the big mystery? The life, pure and simple. Watching Mary call a Robin down to her, and have it rooting for worms underneath her feet, calm in the fact that she (the Robin) is safe with the human.

The Mystery? The utter beauty that cannot be classified. The joy of knowing life in the moment, in the eternal now.

The Mystery? Why so much of the world is shrouded in our Dreams.

On The Menu:

The Links…

The Article… Magic Lanterns

The Poetry: Earth Prayers

Have a good Monday…


The Links:

Just Monkeys…

Tag It!

Nothing like being removed further from Reality…

Excellent exploration of the Arts….



Magic Laterns…

Robert Halliday

The Rendlesham Incident of 1980 is by no means the earliest case of strange lights in the area. Alan Murdie and Robert Halliday have uncovered an account dating to the 1940s.

Illustrations by Alex Severin

As is well known, that cause célèbre of British ufology, the Rendlesham Forest UFO case, first came to public attention in early 1981. Over the years, it has grown in importance, spawning a whole series of books, articles, claims and counter-claims from sceptics and believers alike. It has drawn in military figures, politicians, the Ministry of Defence and the Pentagon. And, as with Roswell, while the stories have become more fantastic as time has gone on, critiques of the case have become increasingly detailed.

ome of the more extraordinary tales in circulation can be traced back to the local ufologist Brenda Butler, who was responsible for launching the Rendlesham story back in 1981. It was Brenda who, with Dot Street, brought the story to the attention of Jenny Randles, who contacted Flying Saucer Review. In the spring of 1981, an account was also provided to the local fortean magazine Lantern, produced by the now defunct Borderline Science Investigation Group from Lowestoft. Under the title “CIII at Woodbridge?” Lantern carried what, at this distance, is an incredibly low-key treatment of the Rendlesham incident, burying it away on page 17. 1 Brenda Butler has maintained her belief in the story through thick and thin. Like Arthur Shuttlewood at Warminster or Alex Campbell at Loch Ness, she has kept the story rolling along with interviews and broadcasts. Brenda Butler generously gives her time to guiding groups through the forests, which seem almost to have become sacred to her.

Potentially the most significant of these ancillary stories were claims that mysterious lights were seen in the Rendlesham area in the past. Stories of strange lights being seen during the Victorian era and earlier are mentioned in Georgina Bruni’s You Can’t Tell the People (2001). Bruni’s source was Brenda Butler and, if true, these would be suggestive of at least something strange in the area – even if only anomalous lights rather than full-blown UFO phenomena. On a visit to Rendlesham Forest in September 2002 we took the opportunity to talk to Brenda Butler about the stories. Persisting in asking how she had learned of them, we eventually obtained from Brenda an admission that she could no longer remember the identity of her local sources with any precision. Regrettably, these stories have thus become hearsay, illustrating the difficulties of collecting oral testimony.

It is therefore most intriguing to come across a local report of strange light activity a few miles from Rendlesham which cannot in any way be attributed to any post-1980/81 witness account, rumour or hearsay. A search for forteana in a rare local collection, The East Anglian Miscellany, published between 1933-1943, reveals a letter from a Mr GF Fell of Orford, which reads as follows:

“Hobby Lanterns

“May I beg a space in the ‘Miscellany’ for a problem I have never been able to solve? Perhaps some reader can explain or enlighten me on the subject. In my boyhood days 60 years ago [i.e. c.1882] there were no cinemas or dance halls, not even a gramophone, and us boys had to find material for amusement standing at the corner of the street. Most people have heard or read stories about ‘Will-o’-the-wisps’: we called them Hobby Lanterns. I expect very few people have seen one, and some may think no-one else has, but this story is absolutely true. At Sudbourne there are two fields known as Workhouse Field and Kiln Field and on certain nights one of these objects could be seen on these fields. They look like a dull red light, like a lantern with the glass smoky. It moved to and fro across the field, about walking pace, always in the same track above the ground: it never went near the hedge.” 2

At this point, it should be mentioned that Sudbourne is a hamlet close to what is now known as Rendlesham Forest. In an incident which mirrors the actions of American servicemen 100 years later, the boys decided to go and hunt down the light:

“One night we went out to see if we could find what it was. When we went off the road on the field it vanished, so we spread out and walked across the field and back slowly, but we could see nothing. Then as we were going off the field it suddenly appeared again: then half of us stopped on the road and the others went to have another look; they could see nothing, but from the road it was visible all the time except at intervals of a few seconds it was invisible.”

Like the American servicemen from Bentwaters a century later, the boys made repeated efforts to trace the light on successive nights. Mr Fell recalled:

“We tried it several nights: the result was always the same, so we had to leave it a mystery. Now the problem is: It was visible at two or three hundred yards or more and invisible at less than one hundred yards. Why?”

Anyone familiar with the Rendlesham Forest sightings of December 1980 will notice certain parallels. Like one of the lights initially reported by the American servicemen in the Rendlesham Forest, Mr Fell’s light was red and appeared and vanished intermittently, confusing observers. As with the American witnesses, it was an experience that made a lasting impression and clearly stayed with Mr Fell for many years afterwards. Although no time of year is stated for Mr Fell’s experience, it is possible that the light was seen in the wintertime when it would have been dark early and there were no other games or entertainments to pursue. The light is also described as being close to the ground, which might suggest an autumn or wintertime appearance, the ground being free of crops or long grass. Aficionados of the earthlight hypothesis (they too seem to occur often in wintertime) will also recognise the comparison with a lantern.

The prime candidate explanaining the phenomenon, as with the 1980 Rendlesham UFO incident is, a misidentification of the Orfordness Lighthouse (see FT152:28-32). The current light is one of several to have existed at Orford over the centuries. The earliest form of lighthouse was established in the area in 1634, and there has been a light at the present site since 1792 when a structure with candles and burning coals was set up. 4 However, Sudbourne seems too far from the site for a lighthouse beam to be directly implicated as a culprit in the way it has been with the Rendlesham case. From an examination of old maps of the area we discovered that Kiln Field and Workhouse field are quite widely separated within the parish itself, so the mysterious red light was able to cover a considerable distance in Sudbourne. It is conceivable that a strange atmospheric effect might have distorted beams from the lighthouse, but how did the light appear to move “at walking pace” on two fields separated by some distance?

Interestingly, to the east of Sudbourne lies an area known suggestively as “the Lantern Marshes”. The name is certainly an old one, apparently predating the establishment of any lighthouse or beacon, and a check of the records reveals a map carrying the name “Lanterne Marsh” dating from 1600.5 Strange lights were frequently referred to as “Lantern Men”, “Jack O’ Lanterns” and “Hobby Lanterns” (the term used by Mr Fell) in Suffolk dialect. However, it would be wrong to read too much into the place name in the absence of other evidence.

More pertinently, it may be noted that strange red lights are not the only oddities to have been seen in the neighbourhood. A green meteor was reported moving in the direction of Orford in the autumn of 1999, stimulating correspondence in the local press; 6 forteans and ufologists may note how writers from Charles Fort to John Keel have made much of strange meteors, and green ones were also a concern in the early days of the modern UFO phenomena in the USA. 7

Regrettably, Mr Fell never received any answer or explanation for his appeal, at least not through the pages of the East Anglian Miscellany. However, we hope its reprinting here will be of comfort to any surviving readers of the Miscellany or descendants of Mr Fell insofar as his plea did not go entirely unnoticed.

In the meantime, the discovery of this old account arguably poses a problem. It is a strange coincidence – if nothing else – that witnesses in the 1880s had successive sightings of strange red lights not far from the site of one of the major British UFO incidents of the second half of the 20th century. Indeed, it will be interesting to see what sceptics of anomalous light phenomena at Rendlesham will make of Mr Fell’s account, which obviously pre-dates any notions of UFOs, particularly just when the Rendlesham story seemed to be at the point of final exorcism. Indeed, for those who have pronounced the case “solved”, Mr Fell’s statement may bring to mind a remark by the philosopher Professor CD Broad. Considering claims that the presence of infra-red equipment in séance rooms frustrated spiritualist manifestations, he remarked: “It may or may not be a significant fact but it is certainly an unfortunate one”.


Earth Prayers: A big Thanks to Tomas for turning me on to the book “Earth Prayers”

We Two—How Long We were Fool’d.

(Walt Whitman)

WE two—how long we were fool’d!

Now transmuted, we swiftly escape, as Nature escapes;

We are Nature—long have we been absent, but now we return;

We become plants, leaves, foliage, roots, bark;

We are bedded in the ground—we are rocks;

We are oaks—we grow in the openings side by side;

We browse—we are two among the wild herds, spontaneous as any;

We are two fishes swimming in the sea together;

We are what the locust blossoms are—we drop scent around the lanes, mornings and


We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables, minerals;

We are two predatory hawks—we soar above, and look down;

We are two resplendent suns—we it is who balance ourselves, orbic and stellar—we

are as two comets;

We prowl fang’d and four-footed in the woods—we spring on prey;

We are two clouds, forenoons and afternoons, driving overhead;

We are seas mingling—we are two of those cheerful waves, rolling over each other, and

interwetting each other;

We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive, pervious, impervious:

We are snow, rain, cold, darkness—we are each product and influence of the globe;

We have circled and circled till we have arrived home again—we two have;

We have voided all but freedom, and all but our own joy.


(Hildegard Von Bingen)

I am the one whose praise echoes on high.

I adorn all the earth.

I am the breeze that nurtures all things green.

I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits.

I am led by the spirit to feed the purest streams.

I am the rain coiming from the dew

that causes the greasses to laugh with the joy of life.

I am the yearning for good.


(Herman Hesse)

Sometimes, when a bird cries out,

Or the wind sweeps through a tree,

Or a dog howls in a far-off farm,

I hold still and listen a long time.

My world turns and goes back to the place

Where, a thousand forgotten years ago,

The bird and the blowing wind

Were like me, and were my brothers.

My soul turns into a tree,

And an animal, and a cloud bank.

Then changed and odd it comes home

And asks me questions. What should I reply?


The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee

( N. Scott Momaday)

I am a feather on the bright sky

I am the blue horse that runs in the plain

I am the fish that rolls, shining, in the water

I am the shadow that follows a child

I am the evening light, the lustre of meadows

I am an eagle playing with the wind

I am a cluster of bright beads

I am the farthest star

I am the cold of dawn

I am the roaring of the rain

I am the glitter on the crust of the snow

I am the long track of the moon in a lake

I am a flame of four colors

I am a deer standing away in the dusk

I am a field of sumac and the pomme blanche

I am an angle of geese in the winter sky

I am the hunger of a young wolf

I am the whole dream of these things

You see, I am alive, I am alive

I stand in good relation to the earth

I stand in good relation to the gods

I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful

I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte

You see, I am alive, I am alive


(Gordon & Gwyllm on Saturday…)

A Sunny Saturday

On The Music Box: Shabazz

Beautiful Day In Portland…

Gordon K. came through for a short visit. Talked Kids, Music, Absinthe. A very pleasant visit indeed. Pics tomorrow?

Looks like a great day for gardening though a mite chilling still. Be kind to yourself, get outside and walk away from the computer, now! (I need to follow my own advice!)



On The Menu For Saturday…

The Links

The Article: Rumsfeld Zeros in on the Internet

The Poetry: Guillaume Apollinaire

The Art: Klimt


The Links:

Australian Art…

Cuddly Tiki Plush…

Play pushed underground: My Name Is Rachel Corrie

Squid study reveals personality plus


Rumsfeld Zeros in on the Internet

by Mike Whitney

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was warmly greeted at the recent meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations. The CFR is the hand-picked assemblage of western elites from big-energy, corporate media, high-finance and the weapons industry. These are the 4,000 or so members of the American ruling class who determine the shape of policy and ensure that the management of the global economic system remains in the hands of U.S. bluebloods.

As the Pentagon’s chief-coordinator, Rumsfeld enjoys a prominent place among American mandarins. He is the caretaker of their most prized possession; the high-tech, taxpayer-funded, laser-guided war machine. The US Military is the crown-jewel of the American empire; a fully-operational security apparatus for the protection of pilfered resources and the ongoing subjugation of the developing world.

Rumsfeld’s speech alerted his audience to the threats facing America in the new century.

He opined: “We meet today in the 6th year in what promises to be a long struggle against an enemy that in many ways is unlike any our country has ever faced. And, in this war, some of the most critical battles may not be in the mountains in Afghanistan or in the streets of Iraq, but in newsrooms—in places like New York, London, Cairo, and elsewhere.”

“New York”?

“Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today’s media age, but for the most part our country has not”.

Huh? Does Rummy mean those grainy, poorly-produced videos of Bin Laden and co.?

“Consider that the violent extremists have established ‘media relations committees’—and have proven to be highly-successful at manipulating opinion-elites. They plan to design their headline-grabbing attacks using every means of communications to intimidate and break the collective will of free people”.

What gibberish.

It’s foolish to mention “intimidating and breaking the collective will of free people” without entering Abu Ghraib, Guantanomo and Falluja into the discussion. Rumsfeld is just griping about the disgrace he’s heaped on America’s reputation by his refusal to conform to even minimal standards of decency. Instead, he insists that America’s declining stature in the world is the result of a hostile media and “skillful enemies”; in other words, anyone with a computer keyboard and a rudimentary sense of moral judgment.

(Our enemies) “know that communications transcend borders…and that a single news story , handled skillfully, can be as damaging to our cause and as helpful to theirs, as any other method of military attack”.

If the Pentagon is really so worried about “bad press coverage” why not close down the torture-chambers and withdrawal from Iraq? Instead, Rumsfeld is making the case for a preemptive-assault on free speech.

“The growing number of media outlets in many parts of the world….too often serve to inflame and distort, rather than explain and inform. And while Al Qaida and extremist movements have utilized this forum for many years, and have successfully poisoned the Muslim public’s view of the West, we have barely even begun to compete in reaching their audiences.”

“Inflame and distort”?

What distortion? Do cameras distort the photos of abused prisoners, desperate people, or decimated cities?

Rumsfeld’s analysis borders on the delusional. Al Qaida doesn’t have a well-oiled propaganda mechanism that provides a steady stream of fabrications to whip the public into a frenzy. That’s the American media’s assignment. And, they haven’t “poisoned Muslim public opinion” against us. That has been entirely the doing of the Pentagon warlords and their White House compatriots.

“The standard US government public affairs operation was designed primarily …to be reactive rather than proactive…Government, however, is beginning to adapt”

“Proactive news”? In other words, propaganda.

Rumsfeld confirms his dedication to propaganda by defending the bogus stories that were printed in Iraqi newspapers by Pentagon contractors. (We) “sought non-traditional means to provide accurate information to the Iraqi people in the face of an aggressive campaign of disinformation….This has been deemed inappropriate—for examples the allegations of ‘buying news’”.

A brazen defense of intentionally planted lies; how low can we sink?

This has had a “chilling effect for those who are asked to serve in the military public affairs field.”

Is it really that difficult to print the truth?

Rumsfeld boasts of the vast changes in “communications planning” taking place at the Pentagon.

A “public affairs” strategy is at the heart of the new paradigm, replete with “rapid response” teams to address the nagging issues of bombed-out wedding parties, starving prisoners, and devastated cities. No problem is so great that it can’t be papered-over by a public relations team trained in the black-art of deception, obfuscation, and slight-of-hand. Trickery now tops the list of military priorities.

“US Central Command has launched an online communications effort that includes electronic news updates and a links campaign that has resulted in several hundred blogs receiving and publishing CENTCOM content.”

The military plans to develop the “institutional capability” to respond to critical news coverage within the same news cycle and to develop a comprehensive scheme for infiltrating the internet.

The Pentagon’s strategy for taking over the internet and controlling the free flow of information has already been chronicled in a recently declassified report, “The Information Operations Roadmap”; is a window into the minds of those who see free speech as dangerous as an “enemy weapons-system”.

The Pentagon is aiming for “full spectrum dominance” of the Internet. Their objective is to manipulate public perceptions, quash competing points of view, and perpetuate a narrative of American generosity and good-will.

Rumsfeld’s comments are intended to awaken his constituents to the massive information war that is being waged to transform the Internet into the progeny of the MSM; a reliable partner for the dissemination of establishment-friendly news.

The Associated Press reported recently that the US government conducted a massive simulated attack on the Internet called “Cyber-Storm”. The wargame was designed, among other things, to “respond to misinformation campaigns and activist calls by internet bloggers, online diarists whose ‘Web logs” include political rantings and musings about current events”.

Before Bush took office, “political rantings and musings about current events” were protected under the 1st amendment.

No more.

The War Department is planning to insert itself into every area of the Internet from blogs to chat rooms, from leftist web sites to editorial commentary. Their rapid response team will be on hair-trigger alert to dispute any tidbit of information that challenges the official storyline.

We can expect to encounter, as the BBC notes, “psychological operations (that) try to manipulate the thoughts and the beliefs of the enemy (as well as) computer network specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks.”

The enemy, of course, is anyone who refuses to accept their servile role in the new world order or who disrupts the smooth-operation of the Bush police-state.

The resolve to foreclose on free speech has never been greater.

As for Rumsfeld’s devotees at the CFR, the problem of savaging civil liberties is never seriously raised. After all, these are the primary beneficiaries of Washington’s global resource-war; should it matter that other people’s freedom is sacrificed to perpetuate the fundamental institutions of class and privilege?

Rumsfeld is right. The only way to prevail on the information-battlefield is to “take no prisoners”; police the Internet, uproot the troublemakers and activists who provide the truth, and “catapult the propaganda” (Bush) from every bullhorn and web site across the virtual-universe. Free speech is a luxury we cannot afford if it threatens to undermine the basic platforms of western white rule.

As Rumsfeld said, “We are fighting a battle where the survival of our free way of life is at stake.”

Indeed, it is.

(Mike lives in Washington State with his charming wife Joan and two spoiled and overfed dogs, Cocoa and Pat-Fergie.)



Now for some delightful Poetry! One of my favourites. Enjoy

Poetry: Guillaume Apollinaire

The Ninth Secret Poem

I worship your fleece which is the perfect triangle

Of the Goddess

I am the lumberjack of the only virgin forest

O my Eldorado

I am the only fish in your voluptuous ocean

You my lovely Siren

I am the climber on your snowy mountains

O my whitest Alp

I am the heavenly archer at your beautiful mouth

O my darling quiver

I am the hauler of your midnight hair

O lovely ship on the canal of my kisses

And the lilies of your arms are beckoning me

O my summer garden

The fruits of your breast are ripening their honey for me

O my sweet-smelling orchard

And I am raising you O Madeleine O my beauty above the earth

Like the torch of all light


Autumn Crocuses

The meadow is poisonous but pretty in the autumn

The cows that graze there are slowly poisoned

Meadow-saffron the colour of lilac and of shadows

Under the eyes grows there your eyes are like those flowers

Mauve as their shadows and mauve as this autumn

And for your eyes’ sake my life is slowly poisoned

Children from school come with their commotion

Dressed in smocks and playing the mouth-organ

Picking autumn crocuses which are like their mothers

Daughters of their daughters and the colour of your eyelids

Which flutter like flowers in the mad breeze blown

The cowherd sings softly to himself all alone

While slow moving lowing the cows leave behind them

Forever this great meadow ill flowered by autumn


Hunting Horns

Our past is as noble and as tragic

As the mask of a tyrant

No tale of danger or of magic

Nothing so insignificant

Describes the pathos of our love

And Thomas de Quincy drinking his

Sweet and chaste and poisoned glass

Dreaming went to see his Ann

Let us since all passes pass

I shall look back only too often

Memories are hunting horns

Whose sound dies among the wind


Mirabeau Bridge

Under Mirabeau Bridge runs the Seine

And our loves

Must I remember them

Joy came always after pain

Let arriving night explain

Days fade I remain

Arm in arm let us stay face to face

While below

The bridge at our hands passes

With eternal regards the wave so slow

Let arriving night explain

Days fade I remain

Love goes like this water flows

Love goes

Like life is slow

And like hope is violent

Let arriving night explain

Days fade I remain

The days passed and the weeks spent

Not times past

Nor loves sent return again

Under Mirabeau bridge runs the Seine


Guillaume Albert Wladimir Alexandre Apollinaire was born in Rome in 1880 of an Italian father and a Polish mother. He grew up and received his education in France and, apart from a year in Germany in 1901-2, spent most of his adult life trying to make a living for himself as a writer in Paris. He was among the first to properly appreciate artists such as Picasso, Braque, Matisse and Derain who, in the early years of the twentieth century, were innovating in modern painting. He became their enthusiastic champion and his essay Picasso, peintre appeared as early as 1905. In 1914, at the outbreak of war, he enlisted, serving first in the artillery and later in the infantry. In May 1916 he received a head injury during combat for which he had to be trepanned. When he returned to Paris in 1917 he arranged the first performance of his `surrealist drama’ – Les Mamelles de Tirésias. In November 1918, only a few months after his marriage to Jacqueline Kolb, he died of Spanish influenza.


Have a beautiful weekend!

A Celebration: 50 Years of HOWL!

I am looking for some Allen Ginsberg Audio… for Earth Rites Radio. I hope you will join in on this celebration of 50 years of HOWL… maybe the most important poem of Americas’ passing through the 20th century.

I first read it when I was a teenager. I admit, I didn’t understand it all, but what I did, I loved. I find coming back to it over the years gives me great joy. Sometimes I wonder if Ginsberg was Blake reincarnated…. Sunflower Sutra and all that.

Well, City Lights is tracking and helping to promote readings of HOWL around the world this year. Anyone want to joint me this summer in a reading?





The Links:

Howl Turns 50

London, 1965


The absolute bottom of the barrel…




I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats

floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,

who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene- ment roofs


who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the

scholars of war,

who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,

who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn- ing their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror

through the wall,

who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,

who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night

with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, al- cohol and cock and endless balls,

incomparable blind; streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada &

Paterson, illuminating all the mo- tionless world of Time between,

Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront

boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks

of Brook- lyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,

who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of

wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of

brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,

who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford’s floated out and sat through the stale beer after noon in desolate

Fugazzi’s, listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,

who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brook- lyn Bridge,

lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills off Empire State

out of the moon,

yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of

hospitals and jails and wars,

whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on

the pavement,

who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall,

suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grind- ings and migraines of China under junk-with- drawal in

Newark’s bleak furnished room,

who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no

broken hearts,

who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grand- father night,

who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telep- athy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos in- stinctively

vibrated at their feet in Kansas,

who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking vis- ionary indian angels who were visionary indian angels,

who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,

who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Okla- homa on the impulse of winter midnight street light smalltown


who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard

to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa,

who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees and the lava and

ash of poetry scattered in fire place Chicago,

who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the F.B.I. in beards and shorts with big pacifist eyes sexy in their

dark skin passing out incom- prehensible leaflets,

who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism,

who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union Square weeping and undressing while the sirens of Los Alamos

wailed them down, and wailed down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also wailed,

who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before the machinery of other skeletons,

who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for committing no crime but their own wild

cooking pederasty and intoxication,

who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving genitals and manu- scripts,

who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,

who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love,

who balled in the morning in the evenings in rose gardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering

their semen freely to whomever come who may,

who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath when the blond

& naked angel came to pierce them with a sword,

who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed

shrew that winks out of the womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her ass and snip the intellectual

golden threads of the craftsman’s loom,

who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a can- dle and fell off

the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and ended fainting on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt

and come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,

who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but prepared

to sweeten the snatch of the sun rise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake,

who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these poems, cocksman and

Adonis of Denver-joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses’

rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely pet- ticoat upliftings &

especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too,

who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up

out of basements hung over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemploy-

ment offices,

who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the East River to open

to a room full of steamheat and opium,

who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime blue floodlight of

the moon & their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion,

who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of Bowery,

who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions and bad music,

who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in their lofts,

who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded by orange crates

of theology,

who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of


who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom,

who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg,

who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their

heads every day for the next decade,

who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccess- fully, gave up and were forced to open antique stores where

they thought they were growing old and cried,

who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up

clatter of the iron regiments of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of

sinis- ter intelligent editors, or were run down by the drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,

who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually hap- pened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the

ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alley ways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,

who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway window, jumped in the filthy Pas- saic, leaped on

negroes, cried all over the street, danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed phonograph records of nostalgic

European 1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans in their ears

and the blast of colossal steam whistles,

who barreled down the highways of the past journeying to each other’s hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude watch or

Birmingham jazz incarnation,

who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision to find

out Eternity,

who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver

& brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,

who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other’s salvation and light and breasts, until the soul

illuminated its hair for a second,

who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for impossible criminals with golden heads and the charm of reality in

their hearts who sang sweet blues to Alcatraz,

who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky Mount to tender Buddha or Tangiers to boys or Southern Pacific

to the black locomotive or Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the daisychain or grave,

who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hyp notism & were left with their insanity & their hands & a hung


who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently presented themselves on the granite steps of

the madhouse with shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding in- stantaneous lobotomy,

and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin Metrazol electricity hydrotherapy psycho- therapy

occupational therapy pingpong & amnesia,

who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong table, resting briefly in catatonia,

returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and tears and fingers, to the visible mad man doom of the

wards of the madtowns of the East,

Pilgrim State’s Rockland’s and Greystone’s foetid halls, bickering with the echoes of the soul, rock- ing and rolling in

the midnight solitude-bench dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a night- mare, bodies turned to stone as heavy as the


with mother finally ******, and the last fantastic book flung out of the tenement window, and the last door closed at

4. A.M. and the last telephone slammed at the wall in reply and the last fur- nished room emptied down to the last

piece of mental furniture, a yellow paper rose twisted on a wire hanger in the closet, and even that imaginary, nothing

but a hopeful little bit of hallucination

ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you’re really in the total animal soup of time

and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with a sudden flash of the alchemy of the use of the ellipse the

catalog the meter & the vibrat- ing plane,

who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the

soul between 2 visual images and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun and dash of consciousness together

jumping with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus

to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before you speechless and intel- ligent and shaking

with shame, rejected yet con- fessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought in his naked and endless head,

the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown, yet putting down here what might be left to say in time come

after death,

and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in the goldhorn shadow of the band and blew the suffering of

America’s naked mind for love into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone cry that shivered the cities down to

the last radio

with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand years.


What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagi- nation?

Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unob tainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys

sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!

Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!

Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose

buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stun- ned governments!

Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies!

Moloch whose breast is a canni- bal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!

Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless

Jehovahs! Moloch whose fac- tories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smokestacks and antennae crown the


Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the

specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!

Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream Angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and

manless in Moloch!

Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me

out of my natural ecstasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light streaming out of the sky!

Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral

nations! invincible mad houses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!

They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pave- ments, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which

exists and is everywhere about us!

Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river!

Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit!

Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions! gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! De- spairs! Ten years’

animal screams and suicides! Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time!

Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the

roof! to solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the street!


Carl Solomon! I’m with you in Rockland where you’re madder than I am

I’m with you in Rockland where you must feel very strange

I’m with you in Rockland where you imitate the shade of my mother

I’m with you in Rockland where you’ve murdered your twelve secretaries

I’m with you in Rockland where you laugh at this invisible humor

I’m with you in Rockland where we are great writers on the same dreadful typewriter

I’m with you in Rockland where your condition has become serious and is reported on the radio

I’m with you in Rockland where the faculties of the skull no longer admit the worms of the senses

I’m with you in Rockland where you drink the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica

I’m with you in Rockland where you pun on the bodies of your nurses the harpies of the Bronx

I’m with you in Rockland where you scream in a straightjacket that you’re losing the game of the actual pingpong of

the abyss

I’m with you in Rockland where you bang on the catatonic piano the soul is innocent and immortal it should never die

ungodly in an armed madhouse

I’m with you in Rockland where fifty more shocks will never return your soul to its body again from its pilgrimage to a

cross in the void

I’m with you in Rockland where you accuse your doctors of insanity and plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against

the fascist national Golgotha

I’m with you in Rockland where you will split the heavens of Long Island and resurrect your living human Jesus from

the superhuman tomb

I’m with you in Rockland where there are twenty-five-thousand mad com- rades all together singing the final stanzas

of the Internationale

I’m with you in Rockland where we hug and kiss the United States under our bedsheets the United States that coughs

all night and won’t let us sleep

I’m with you in Rockland where we wake up electrified out of the coma by our own souls’ airplanes roaring over the

roof they’ve come to drop angelic bombs the hospital illuminates itself imaginary walls col- lapse O skinny legions run

outside O starry spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is here O victory forget your underwear we’re free

I’m with you in Rockland in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea- journey on the highway across America in tears

to the door of my cottage in the Western night


Allen Ginsberg is probably one of the best known contemporary poets in recent history. He was born in 1926 in Newark, NJ and recieved his B.A. from Columbia University in 1948.

Like many other artists, Ginsberg held a variety of odd jobs before becoming an established writer. His employment history includes work on various cargo ships, a spot welder, a dishwasher and he also worked as a night porter in Denver. He has partcipated in numerous poetry readings, including the famous Six Gallery event that occured in San Francisco.

In 1954, San Francisco painter Robert LaVigne introduced his model and companion, Peter Orlovsky to Ginsberg. Soon after this first meeting, Orlovsky and Ginsberg became lovers and moved in together, defining their relationship as a marriage. Despite periods of separation, this arrangement remained intact until Ginsberg’s death in April 1997.

Ginsberg was the recipient of numerous honors and awards during his lifetime including: the Woodbury Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, the National Book Award for Poetry, NEA grants and a Lifetime Ahievement Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.

In addition to the almost epic poem Howl, Ginsberg has authored numerous books, too voluminous to mention here. Many of his writings were interpreted as contrevertial and even obscene. The reading of Howl resulted in the arrest of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the owner of City Lights Books, on obscenity charges. The authorities objected to Ginsberg’s openess concerning his homosexuality as well as the graphic sexual language. Many of his other writings deal with subjects such as narcotics and the experiences on has while under their influence.

However, many other prominent writers, including Jack Keroauc, William Carlos Williams and Kenneth Rexroth, realized Ginsbergs importance. Ginsberg was greatly influenced by Keroauc’s spontaneous and carefree style and often worked in a “stream of consciousness” manner until he completed a work. Ginsberg also once, influenced by Williams, arranged some of his poems “according to how you’d break it up if you actually to talk it out” and the latter was greatly impressed by the feat.

Like many of the writers of his period, Ginsberg had a desire to attain the mystical. The metaphysical poets of the nineteenth century, including William Blake, were perhaps his greatest influence. It was the desire to expand the mind and reach the spiritual that inspired Ginsberg to experment with substances such as marijuana and Benzedrine. He claimed that many of his writings, including Howl were written while he was under the influence of drugs.

Ginsberg’s theme of politics was once described by Rexroth as “an almost perfect fulfillment of the long, Whitman, Populist, social revolutionary tradition in American poetry”. Many of his writings contain a war motiff: subjects such as the Nazi gas chambers and Viet Nam are the topic of many of his poems.

Ginsberg is perhaps one of the most respected and revered Beat writer’s. His work is definitely worth a glance even if the writers of this period are of little interest to certain readers. After his recent death, City Lights had a celebration of his work which included the playing of some of his taped readings.

Ginsberg’s writing has been compared to Thoreau, Emerson and Whitman and has been said to contain “that old gnostic tradition”


New Stanzas for Amazing Grace

I dreamed I dwelled in a homeless place

Where I was lost alone

Folk looked right through me into space

And passed with eyes of stone

O homeless hand on many a street

Accept this change from me

A friendly smile or word is sweet

As fearless charity

Woe workingman who hears the cry

And cannot spare a dime

Nor look into a homeless eye

Afraid to give the time

So rich or poor no gold to talk

A smile on your face

The homeless ones where you may walk

Receive amazing grace

I dreamed I dewelled in a homeless place

Where I was lost alone

Folk looked right through me into space

And passed with eyes of stone


Dream Time Express…

On The Radio: Bicycle Day Celebration/Ozric Tentacles..


Hope the day is full of beauty for ya…



On The Menu:

The Links…

The Quotes… (are back!)

The Articles: Neolithic boat replica to be launched in Scotland

& We Are The Torturers…

The Poetry: Robert Graves

The Art: Mati Klarwien

Thank You Mati!


The Links:

Russian Researchers Claim to Have Solved Mystery of Crop Circles

Biologist Claims To Have World’s Largest Shrimp

Man killed in cigarette accident

Hen turns into a Cockerel



The Quotes:

“The incompetent with nothing to do can still make a mess of it.”

“New York now leads the world’s great cities in the number of people around whom you shouldn’t make a sudden move.”

“Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy.”

“How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.”

“If there were no God, there would be no Atheists.”

“We’ve heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.”

“When you’re through changing, you’re through.”

“If you can count your money, you don’t have a billion dollars.”

“So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.”

“The goal of all inanimate objects is to resist man and ultimately defeat him.”

“Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.”



Neolithic boat replica to be launched in Scotland

A prehistory park in Scotland hope to launch a replica stone age boat to test whether theories on ancient design hold water. A 20ft craft, similar to those used by Neolithic people to arrive and settle in the area and sail on lochs, is taking shape at the Archaeolink Prehistory Park, near Oyne. The big test for the boat-building crew will come in July when the vessel faces sea trials at the Portsoy Boat Festival in Aberdeenshire.

Archaeolink’s deputy interpretations manager, Mark Keighley, predicted the craft would make a big splash at the festival. He said: “We will be taking it out of the harbour, powering it with simple pole oars. We may add on shoulder-bones from cattle to provide a blade and better propulsion. There would have been no cloth for sails, so it will all be based on what was available in prehistoric times.”

The boat-builders have no precise archaeological evidence to use in the reconstruction. Their design is a larger and simpler version of the traditional coracle. Once the willow frame is finished, five cow hides will be sewn over it. Birch tar will then provide a completely waterproof coating and seal the stitching. The result will be a robust craft that will take about three-quarters of a tonne of ballast and a crew of about a dozen. Expert coracle-maker Peter Faulkner, from Shropshire, is supervising the project.

Another replica – this time of a building – is also under construction at the park. Work has started on a Mesolithic hut, based on 8,000-year-old remains excavated from sites across the UK, including Moray. The wigwam-shaped structure is being created from logs and support timbers, roofed with turf and heated by a central open fire. Archaeolink will be hosting a series of events, from combat displays to hands-on ancient cookery and pottery, over the coming months. The centre is just off the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road, north of Inverurie. It is open from 10am-5pm daily.



We are the Torturers: The Global Erosion of Human Rights

The absolute ban on torture, a cornerstone of the international human rights edifice, is under attack. The principle we once believed to be unassailable – the inherent right to physical integrity and dignity of the person – is becoming a casualty of the so-called war on terror.

So warned Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Meanwhile, photographs, news reports and official investigations into abuses at Abu Ghraib, Bagram Air Base and Guantanamo Bay suggest a policy of systematic torture on the part of the US government that extends all the way up the chain of command.

The 1984 Torture Convention prohibits “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person.” The Bush administration favors its own standard, whereby the pain caused “must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily functions or even death.” Under this definition, many methods of what is generally understood as “torture” would be allowed, including “waterboarding” – where a person is made to believe they will drown.

Senator John McCain, who was subjected to waterboarding in North Vietnam, describes it as “torture, very exquisite torture.” Last autumn, McCain sponsored draft legislation that stipulated “No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.” The bill was opposed by Vice President Dick Cheney, who, by invoking the threat of a presidential veto, negotiated important loopholes. As adopted, the legislation fails to prohibit torture contracted out to other countries. It also provides legal immunity for those committing acts of torture that were “officially authorized and determined to be lawful at the time that they were conducted.”

Moreover, when Bush signed McCain’s bill into law, he declared it would be interpreted within the context of the president’s powers to protect national security – in other words, that any interrogation method could still be used, if the White House deemed it necessary. This outright rejection of Congressional intent is breathtaking. As Sidney Blumenthal observed, it reflects “a basic ideology of absolute power.”

At the same time, the CIA has engaged in a practice called “extraordinary rendition” whereby suspects are transferred in violation of the Torture Convention either to the intelligence services of countries notorious for torture or to clandestine prisons located outside the United States. The secret prisons have obvious parallels – the Soviet Gulag and the Latin American “disappearances” – and they contravene the prohibition on arbitrary detention in international human rights law.

Some countries, including Britain and Canada, have obtained assurances of good treatment from the United States before handing over suspects. This practice has been criticized by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture on the basis that such “assurances are unreliable and ineffective” – not least because they “are sought usually from states where the practice of torture is systematic.”

The same two countries have supported the Bush administration’s illegal behavior in other ways. Both Britain and Canada have allowed CIA aircraft to use their airports and airspace on numerous occasions, including – it would seem – for rendition purposes. British agents have also allegedly conducted interrogations under threat of torture, while using information obtained by other governments through torture. Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, has posted classified documents on his website that show British officials deciding that they can use information obtained through torture for intelligence purposes. The documents are all the more troubling because Uzbekistan is notorious for using especially horrific methods of torture, such as dipping detainees in boiling water.

A basic tenant of criminal law – reaffirmed in the Torture Convention – holds that those who aid or abet a crime are criminals themselves. Our behavior also has a negative impact on the way we are perceived, and how we perceive ourselves. In an important sense, if our democratic governments have been complicit in torture, we – as citizens and voters – are torturers too.

Michael Byers is the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia.


Poetry: Robert Graves


He, of his gentleness,

Thirsting and hungering

Walked in the Wilderness;

Soft words of grace he spoke

Unto lost desert-folk

That listned wondering.

He heard the bittern call

From ruined palace-wall,

Answered him brotherly;

He held communion

With the she-pelican

Of lonely piety.

Basilisk, cockatrice,

Flocked to his homilies,

With mail of dread device,

With monstrous barbed stings,

With eager dragon-eyes;

Great bats on leathern wings

And old, blind, broken things

Mean in their miseries.

Then ever with him went,

Of all his wanderings

Comrade, with ragged coat,

Gaunt ribs — poor innocent –

Bleeding foot, burning throat,

The guileless young scapegoat;

For forty nights and days

Followed in Jesus’ ways,

Sure guard behind him kept,

Tears like a lover wept.



We looked, we loved, and therewith instantly

Death became terrible to you and me.

By love we disenthralled our natural terror

From every comfortable philosopher

Or tall, grey doctor of divinity:

Death stood at last in his true rank and order.

It happened soon, so wild of heart were we,

Exchange of gifts grew to a malady:

Their worth rose always higher on each side

Till there seemed nothing but ungivable pride

That yet remained ungiven, and this degree

Called a conclusion not to be dnied.

Then we at last bethought ourselves, made shift

And simultaneously this final gift

Gave: each with shaking hands unlocks

The sinister, long, brass-bound coffin-box,

Unwraps pure death, with such bewildernment

As greeted our love’s first accomplishment.


(Published on Turfing before, but hey, its good!)

Return of the Goddess

Under your Milky Way

And slow-revolving Bear

Frogs from the alder thicket pray

In terror of your judgement day,

Loud with repentance there.

The log they crowned as king

Grew sodden, lurched and sank;

An owl floats by on silent wing

Dark water bubbles from the spring;

They invoke you from each bank.

At dawn you shall appear,

A gaunt red-legged crane,

You whom they know too well for fear,

Lunging your beak down like a spear

To fetch them home again.