Posts tagged art

‘In the brief dust and light’ – P.B. Shelley

“Man is of soul and body, formed for deeds Of high resolve;

on fancy’s boldest wings.”

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

Here is a very small excerpt taken from the lyrical drama ‘Hellas’ by Shelley, which he dedicated to the Prince Alexander Mavrocordato of Wallachia. This drama is rich in historic imagery, taking influence from a fascinating period in humanities great adventure; when God kings waged wars, blood, wine and romance were thick on the ground; Greek, Persian, Arab and Oriental imagery and characters all merge and mingle on the page.

Shelley is certainly a western seer, a sage with fabulous gifts of insight into the mystic and most of all, a brilliant story teller, renegade poet, political thinker and bizarrely, devout atheist (or someone who opposed organised religion and its norms at the time). Shelley died at the tender age of 29, he led what you could call ‘a full life’ (which seems a distinct underestimation).  He was outrageously talented and fearless, a true free spirit who embraced the burgeoning ‘free love’ movement (which only seemed to influence a handful of poets and artists at the time!)  Shelley attacked monarchy, war, commercial practices and religion whilst championing republicanism, vegetarianism, free love and atheism.

“Rise like Lions after slumber

In unvanquishable number – 

Shake your chains to earth like dew

Which in sleep had fallen on you – 

Ye are many – they are few.”

Every poet of the romantic persuasion should have a bit of Shelley in them.  Its the part that wishes to stay up all night long, lamenting the open, pale moon, sipping wine with Dionysus and making love with Sirens and Faeries.  The hopeless (and ever hopeful) romantic.  We all need a little genuine, joy based debauchery, carefree expressions of exuberance, if in word and image alone.  As Shelley once said ‘the poet is both a Creator and a Destroyer’ surely insinuating that the poet rides the waves of spontaneous creation which rise and fall of their own accord.  This poet wishes only to be with that which speaks through them in formless, uninhibited and timeless love.  Poets feel an unspeakable obligation to transmit the ethereal, the otherwordly, the unimagined beauty of existence via ball point, quill or keyboard.  Like divine spokespeople, they have an essential role in any civilised society and Shelley’s words speak as vibrantly and as intensely as they did all those years ago. He creates great vistas in our minds which cannot be washed away; conjures unknown emotions, challenges and soothes with tenderness and guile.  Shelley wished to be remembered in such a way:

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe

Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!….

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth

Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!……

Here is a flavour of Hellas, one of the choruses that inspired this post:

Worlds on worlds are rolling ever

From creation to decay,

Like the bubbles of a river,

Sparkling, bursting, borne away.

But they are still immortal

Who, thought birth’s orient 

Portal,

And death’s dark chasm hurrying to

and fro,

Clothe their unceasing flight

In the brief dust and light

Gathered around their chariots as

They go;

New shapes they still may

Weave,

New gods, new laws receive,

Bright or dim are they, as the robes

They last

On Death’s bare ribs had cast. 

This is an incredible passage and is a succinct description of what some would call a very ‘spiritual’ description or insight into our conscious state of being.  There seems some esoteric understanding being exhibited here and it is fascinating to think of what influenced Shelley or his reactions to such reflections.  A form of fertile inspiration and eloquence which is awe inspiring!  They certainly don’t make atheist like they used to!!!!

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Comets, Ghosts and Sunburned Hands

Over dried creeks flowing 51 States (of mind) in a submerged desert……

Comets, ghosts and sunburned hands, uncut outlaws of the far lands,
Poisonous pastures line the Mexicola border, malignant, circling the desert with crippled thorns,
Amongst vulture and Mezcal flesh, come night time galaxy cloaking lonesome urinations.

Each fading town aflame with howlin’ rains and wolves, a guilt-less crew,
Only two choices in black and white, bible belt bonanza, heaven or the long gone,
Wings or warts, tumbleweed intention brought us here, a fireball with coffee stained lips,
To superhero cemeteries in dead meadows.

The wicked wand, a wooden fist, the flashing lights of the wrong sided,
The neon bible, the fakir void, the portal of adult clouds mean no joy zippers,
Selling sex for seashells,
all imitations,
simulations,
mutilations.

Sunburnt hands, out in the desert motel, facing the powder pink skies,
A fearless wreck of contradictions and tattered Coleridge and poisonous Wilde snakes,
All art melts beneath the perfect sun, the king knelt in saccharine ice cream pools,
The ocean,
the drumming,
the depth.

Not fearing the ticking, metallic rains, corrugated dreams line hanging hovel,
The highway is open season for curious rattlers, voodoo born to strange eggs
In this ashtray of existence, far from flowers or wreaths, fit only
For dancing over Indian bones in flashland. Mr Holy! Are you freedom?
Otherwise, you cannot light up the sky.

Yes strangers, I am ready! Some celestial boogie-woogie rearranging the burial stones
In dive bars serving guilt with sweet cherries straight up, parched wayward at the devils fork in the road,
Manic tongues babble and drawl crude incantations, unfathomable fears, crocodile skins
And rocking chair hobble, all tangle and trapped in the cattle wire, savage mutts and fenced off
Wilderness expanse.

Incomprehensible lazy lizard shoots the breeze, new outlaws hatch reaping sour smokes,
Light a match, gather sticks for warmth, plant a cactus whole, don’t drop out, without kicking on, without laying some roots.

Barn doors creak in the storms, asleep on fresh hay, beautiful people in burning man child melodies,
Make no trouble, lay low, skin crawling with potent deviations, judgement day has passed on by, warped
And wakeful in Santa Fe.

Dead ahead,
Sunset over barren expanse and bullet holes.

In the reverb of no man’s land,
The killer wakes, loose in crimson vision.

Feel a rising, higher,
No one is watching this cosmic romance,
Blood thirsty no more.

 

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In Animal

In animal;

Claws, warm organs.

 

Hidden in long grass,

Small animals, fast beating hearts.

Cursed in furs,

Survival claims many lives.

 

Automatic the bird of prey,

Over machinery;

Of itself.

Lords to no one, but the crow.

 

Louche felines spread out,

Warm rocks tickle bellies,

Lazy sun shape beckons

A guttural, deadly pounce.

 

Breeze rattles apple blossom,

Lines the earth with petal layers

And fresh meanings rot with it,

Into rich soil and hungry worms.

 

Stars arranged;

Their chaos permeates sanity.

Crystal pin pricks to the unknown

Mirror the garden square,

Waltzing nature, relentless.

 

The warped spades, the buckets,

The seeds shiny coats;

With locks on the sheds

Trimmed privet and festering

Watering can,

Where larvae settle in.

 

Fences strung out,

Linear abstractions over the heath.

Curved like archaic shins,

Warping gentler with age.

Seasoning nicely, leeching vitality

For sun and moon.

 

The acuity of severing edges,

The cracks in the grain;

Gaps that rise

Within life and death;

A blemish, an infection,

A love struck union.

 

Barefaced instinct to prosper

And feed,

The bronze relics of tools we fashioned

To feast well and trim.

 

The final act; the great hunter;

Casting stones and spears

Towards the onrushing beast.

Feral stabs in the darkness

And savage claims.

 

Silent signals of a life now draining,

Low moans,

Eyes narrow and sparkle fades.

 

This human carving,

Open doorways to perception,

Seeking shelter from the storms

That come.

 

Lighting small fires to warm the night,

Blazing blues, clutching at spears;

Still the songs that rise with dawn

Soothe the passing elements.

 

 

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The Ox and Cloud

Orientation cloud

Sparkling firmament

Sleeping ox ambles

Timeless skies call

Invisible lover

Tickles my bones.

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The Empty Boat – Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi)

Who can free himself of achievement and fame
Then descend and be lost
Amidst the masses of men?
He will flow like Tao, unseen…
He will go about like life itself,
With no name and no home.
Simple is he, without.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace.
He has no power.
He achieves nothing.
He has no reputation.
Since he judges no one,
No one judges him.
Such is the perfect man.
His boat is empty.

Chuang Tzu, The Empty Boat

Zhuangzi dreaming of a butterfly

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Intimate Relationship – John Welwood

Intimate relationship is a dynamic, often dizzying dance of contradictions that is sometimes delightful and seductive, sometimes fierce and combative, sometimes energizing, sometimes exhausting. This dance requires being able to flow continuously back and forth between opal opposites — between coming together and moving apart, taking hold and letting go, engaging and allowing space, yielding and taking the lead, surrendering and standing firm, being soft and being strong. This is not an easy dance to learn. Many couples quickly lose the flow, fall out of step, and wind up deadlocked in antagonistic positions, struggling for supremacy, pushing and pulling, attacking or withdrawing. Teachers of the dance are few, and as the years go by the conventional dance steps we learned from the culture seem increasingly stiff and outmoded. How, we may wonder, can we learn to dance with grace and power?

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When we let our heart break open, a sweetness starts to flow from us like nectar. As the Sufi teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan put it, “The warmth of the lover’s atmosphere, the piercing effect of his voice, the appeal of his words, all come from the pain of his heart.” This is one of the great secrets of love. Instead of trying to ward off this pain, which is futile anyway, the lover can use it to transform himself, to develop invincible tenderness and compassion, and as the troubadours discovered, to become a heroic warrior in the service of love.

John Welwood

The temple of love is not love itself;
True love is the treasure,
Not the walls about it.
Do not admire the decoration,
But involve yourself in the essence,
The perfume that invades and touches you-
The beginning and the end.
Discovered, this replace all else,
The apparent and the unknowable.
Time and space are slaves to this presence.
— Rumi

https://leroywatson4.wordpress.com/a-turtle-awake/

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In Elysium

To my progeny I offer my middle hand,

A dagger on my hip and rings in my ears.

I follow the camels into the dessert

The sun bares the scars

Of the heat that burns within my heart.

 

In the court of the great King I could not kneel

For my finery hindered true action,

I would not relinquish one notch

To melt before the

Gardens of paradise waiting.

 

In my quarters, a box where my jewels lie hidden,

My children are sure to inherent such a

Wealth of guilt.

Where is the father I may become?

Where is the greatness in my fertility?

Why must I blight my unborn son?

 

Curtains drawn before dawn to let the darkness in,

Angels speak within the feint brushstrokes of nature

Awakened,

Casting the sleep from its eyes.

 

My silent meanderings with the moon have left me

Without words or cause.

Why do I flee when joy surrounds?

I am called to rest in sacred silence

And choose thunder

And ride every storm chariot.

 

At the heart of this is peace,

I hear its footsteps somewhere long forgotten.

A yearning from within simmers

And warms this dawn;

 

I must quest, I must linger, I must leave this instance

For the one I love;

Then slip away, into the unknown

Abyss of restful slumber.

 

Yet still,

A slight bitterness divides.

Power does not corrupt the stream,

It grows and carves new ways,

The flow strengthens within a

Raging torrent.

 

True freedom tends to send us

Seeking in different ways.

Way back to the Elysium fields,

Where the great dead roam,

I was born a peasant farmer and still am.

But will I toil ever on?

When will it drop?

 

I was not made for greatness,

I was simply made.

Without hands to act, without eyes to see,

When my heart finally heals over,

It is then that pure love will find me sat here.

 

I am not ancient,

Just grit in the eye of the maker

Re-made,

A passing dot

At which point all things merge,

A passage of potent love

For one and all

To mutate and abuse.

A steady march to

New pastures,

 

With pained pleasures

And gold strung nooses

And a want to fill

The sky with faces and lies;

A want to succeed where success is immutable

And live as if death

Is no longer a neighbour

But a lover now scorned.

 

Awaken from endless seeking,

Beginning-less beginnings await

Open hearts,

To show greater trust and let it come.

 

My hand brushes the barley of the infinite field,

I see it map the contours of my soul.

Surrounded by all my loved ones

In an eternal space,

No longer a shadow

From the past and future.

All love is here.

 

Am I dreaming to believe?

That in Elysium

We are all free.

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