Monday, 18 September 2017

D H Lawrence poem: 'Man and Bat'


When I went into my room, at mid-morning,
Say ten o'clock . . .
My room, a crash-box over that great stone rattle
The Via de' Bardi . . .

When I went into my room at mid-morning,
Why? . . . a bird!

A bird
Flying round the room in insane circles.

In insane circles!
. . .  A bat!

A disgusting bat
At mid-morning! . . .

Out! Go out!

Round and round and round
With a twitchy, nervous, intolerable flight,
And a neurasthenic lunge,
And an impure frenzy;
A bat, big as a swallow.

Out, out of my room!

The venetian shutters I push wide
To the free, calm upper air;
Loop back the curtains . . .

Now out, out from my room!

So to drive him out, flicking with my white handkerchief;
   Go!
But he will not.

Round and round and round
In an impure haste,
Fumbling, a beast in air,
And stumbling, lunging and touching the walls, the
   bell-wires
About my room!

Always refusing to go out into the air
Above that crash-gulf of the Via de' Bardi,
Yet blind with frenzy, with cluttered fear.

At last he swerved into the window bay,
But blew back, as if an incoming wind blew him in again,
A strong inrushing wind.

And round and round and round!
Blundering more insane, and leaping, in throbs, to clutch
   at a corner,
At a wire, at a bell-rope:
On and on, watched relentless by me, round and round in
   my room,
Round and round and dithering with tiredness and haste
   and increasing delirium
Flicker-splashing round my room.

I would not let him rest;
Not one instant cleave, cling like a blot with his breast to
   the wall
In an obscure corner.
Not an instant!
I flicked him on,
Trying to drive him through the window.
Again he swerved into the window bay
And I ran forward, to frighten him forth.
But he rose, and from terror worse than me he flew past me
Back into my room, and round, round, round in my room
Clutch, cleave, stagger,
Dropping about the air
Getting tired.

Something seemed to blow him back from the window
Every time he swerved at it;
Back on a strange parabola, then round, round, dizzy
   in my room.

He could not go out,
I also realized  . . .
It was the light of day which he could not enter,
Any more than I could enter the white-hot door of a blast
   furnace.

He could not plunge into the daylight that streamed at the
   window.
It was asking too much of his nature.

Worse even than the hideous terror of me with my
   handkerchief
Saying: Out, go out! . . .
Was the horror of white daylight in the window!

So I switched on the electric light, thinking: Now
The outside will seem brown . . .

But no.
The outside did not seem brown.
And he did not mind the yellow electric light.

Silent!
He was having a silent rest.
But never!
Not in my room.

Round and round and round
Near the ceiling as if in a web,
Staggering;
Plunging, falling out of the web,
Broken in heaviness,
Lunging blindly,
Heavier;
And clutching, clutching for one second's pause,
Always, as if for one drop of rest,
One little drop.

And I!
Never, I say . . .
Get out!

Flying slower,
Seeming to stumble, to fall in air.
Blind-weary.

Yet never able to pass the whiteness of light into
   freedom . . .
A bird would have dashed through, come what might.

Fall, sink, lurch, and round and round
Flicker, flicker-heavy;
Even wings heavy;
And cleave in a high corner for a second, like a clot, also a
   prayer.

But no.
Out you beast.

Till he fell in a corner, palpitating, spent.
And there, a clot, he squatted and looked at me.
With sticking-out, bead-berry eyes, black,
And improper derisive ears,
And shut wings,
And brown, furry body.

Brown, nut-brown, fine fur!
But it might as well have been hair on a spider; thing
With long, black-paper ears.

So, a dilemma!
He squatted there like something unclean.

No, he must not squat, nor hang, obscene, in my room!

Yet nothing on earth will give him courage to pass the
   sweet fire of day.

What then?
Hit him and kill him and throw him away?

Nay,
I didn't create him.
Let the God that created him be responsible for his
   death . . .
Only, in the bright day, I will not have this clot in my
   room.

Let the God who is maker of bats watch them in their
   unclean corners . . .
I admit a God in every crevice,
But not bats in my room;
Nor the God of bats, while the sun shines.

So out, out, you brute! . . .
And he lunged, flight-heavy, away from me, sideways, a
   sghembo!
And round and round and round my room, a clot with
   wings,
Impure even in weariness.

Wings dark and skinny and flapping the air,
Lost their flicker.
Spent.

He fell again with a little thud
Near the curtain on the floor.
And there lay.

Ah death, death
You are no solution!
Bats must be bats.

Only life has a way out.
And the human soul is fated to wide-eyed responsibility
In life.

So I picked him up in a flannel jacket,
Well covered, lest he should bite me.
For I would have had to kill him if he'd bitten me, the
   impure one . . .
And he hardly stirred in my hand muffled up.

Hastily, I shook him out of the window.

And away he went!
Fear craven in his tail.
Great haste, and straight, almost bird straight above the
   Via de Bardi.
Above the crash-gulf of exploding whips,
Towards the Borgo San Jacopo.

And now, at evening, as he flickers over the river
Dipping with petty triumphant flight, and twittering over the
   sun's departure,
I believe he chirps, pipistrello, seeing me here on this
terrace writing:
There he sits, the long loud one!
But I am greater than he . . .
I escaped him . . .


- D H Lawrence (Firenze, Italia)

After typing the above I went for a trail run in the morning sun. When I reached a point where I had to cross a busy main road which ran through the trees of the Vienna Woods a man and a dog suddenly appeared.

The dog, which was not on a lead and not muzzled, ran up to me and then back to the man who tried to put him on the lead, but it was too late for the dog now ran into the road and ran back and forth crossing the road several times before running "round and round and round in an impure haste" and "as if in a web staggering" and "lunging blindly" which now caused oncoming drivers to stop. One driver shouted abuse in the direction of the dog's owner and shook his fist. Another driver pipped his horn politely.

Let the God who created dogs be responsible for their fate I thought when one of the vehicles almost collided with the crazed animal.

The dog's owner eventually grabbed hold of his of his pet by the collar and I said to him: Many dogs behave like this. Maybe more than you can imagine.

Continuing my run I wondered if this incident was an example of synchronicity, or only a mere coincidence.



Sunday, 17 September 2017

from 'Bat' -D H Lawrence


And you think:
'The swallows are flying so late!'

Swallows?

Dark air-life looping
Yet missing the pure loop . . .
A twitch, a twitter, an elastic shudder in flight
And serrated wings against the sky,
Like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light,
And falling back.

Never swallows!
Bats!
The swallows are gone.

At a wavering instant the swallows give way to bats
By the Ponte Vecchio . . .
Changing guard.

Bats, and an uneasy creeping in one's scalp
As the bats swoop overhead!
Flying madly.

Pipistrello!
Black piper on an infitesimal pipe.
Little lumps that fly in the air and have voices indefinite,
wildly vindictive;

Wings like bits of umbrella.

Bats!

Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag, to sleep;
And disgustingly upside down.
Hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags
And grinning in their sleep.


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Lost and Found - a short story.


I pressed a cigarette on my friend Dai as he passed his eye over the map. He quickly picked up the trail.

We overlooked the valley the river and the forest. The trail was not so hot and the walk was no bed of roses.

My friend kept a cool head.

He lives on hope and is thin on top.

I decided to nip on ahead.

Leaving the forest and following the river I drank in the view and dredged up the old memories. I revisited the photo on the old sideboard. My father dressed to kill and my mother pretty as a picture.

I recalled how they drifted through life before they finally drank themselves to death. A jealous man he'd dogged her every step.

One night they dropped me at the station.

One man's poison is another man's poisson, was the last thing he said. He was right. I felt it in my bones.

Uncle Claude was hanging about on the platform. He fished a watch out of his pocket. I'll fix you! he growled when he saw me.

We hadn't gone far when he flooded me with questions. The night flashed by.

I felt a jar as the train stopped.

Uncle Claude was a strange one. A beer drinking Belgian he'd ferret about in every corner. Sometimes he feigned to be dead. Other times he'd flared up at the least thing and give me the rough edge of his tongue.

Aunty Dot was an old gas-bag and a heavy chain smoker. When she got herself up she would gather her hair into a bun.

She was impossible to please and always nagging me to get my skates on which gave me the hump when I wanted to loaf about.

It never rains but it pours was her favourite idiom.

And like the rain I ran away.

And then I suddenly realized it was raining cats and dogs.

I looked around and saw the Green Lion.

And that's where I dropped in and found Dai with his head in a glass.

Hello there, what's your poison? said a man polishing a glass with a broad grin.

And who do you think it was but my Uncle Claude, and he quickly pulled a half.

Aunty Dot went off with the milkman so I've sold the house and taken this pub. Tonight we'll smoke the calumet of peace, he said.

Never say die, I said.

I'd better have another one said Dai in the corner, laughing his head off.


–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


Friday, 15 September 2017

Ferry boats in the Salzkammergut


Karl Eder passing the Traunstein  mountain (Traunsee)

The Hallstatt to Steeg ferry boat (Halst├Ąttersee)

The paddle steamer Kaiser Franz Josef in St Gilgen (Wolfgangsee)

During the summer months the scenery of the Salzkammergut (Austrian Lake District) is best appreciated by taking the ferry boats, not only because the lakeside roads can become congested during the peak season but also because the panoramic views of the lakes and the hills as seen from the ferry boats are amongst the best the region has to offer.

Aside from the three lakes pictured above, the lakes of Mondsee, Attersee, Fuschlsee and Ausseersee  are serviced by a variety of ferry boats.

The Ausseersee ferry is notable as it is powered using solar energy; proof that it doesn't rain in the mountains all of the time!

The above mentioned lakes and surrounding villages are connected by bus and train services (or a combination of both).

Don't forget your camera!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

To the Moon




Out of compassion
I love you;

Out of the shadow
And into the light, 

Away from indifference,
 This moonrise together.



Fake Views, not Fake News!



Via a recent news item on a German TV channel we were recently informed of a new trend regarding the publishing or more correctly none-publishing of photos of crosses on churches and mountains. 

The newscaster stated that crosses on rooftops in photos of picturesque buildings such as churches featured on wrappers of products like Greek cheese on sale in Germany were being erased, so as not to offend. 

The news programme showed a before and after photo, that is to say with and without the cross on an old church by the seashore, to make the point. 

But what really made me sit up and pay attention was the news that picture postcards on sale in Germany showing the peak of the highest mountain of Germany, the Zugspitz, were now on sale with the summit cross erased. 

Here's a photo of a summit cross on a mountain in the French Alps. It also shows an eight-pointed star. I hope nobody is offended. 



Crosses and cairns on mountain summits are great navigation points. In fact crosses are amongst the oldest of human symbols and predate all religions.

The original crosses served to mark a time and place in space.

The time is shown by the horizontal line and the place by the vertical line. When you stand next to a cross you know exactly where you are in space-time.

You are where the lines cross. Always. And everywhere. 

The question is: Now that crosses are being erased from picture postcards and food wrappers how long will it be before the real crosses are physically removed from the mountain peaks of Germany and the churches so as not to offend? 


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Tale of the Turtle


Cyprus - sunset over a stormy sea (detail) 

I've told this story somewhere once before. I think it bears telling again.

Before my holiday in Cyprus I'd read in a guide book that a large quantity of sand had been taken illegally from a beach in a nature conservation area; a place where turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand.

The sand had been removed in order to fill bunkers on a golf course. The information in the guide book went so far as to name the main culprit, a man in a very high position in the church in Cyprus who honestly, in my opinion, should have known better.

The driver of one of the trucks hauling the sand told investigators that he was obeying orders from above, according to the information in the guide book.

Armed with this knowledge I flew to Cyprus. I was already on the side of the turtles.

We stayed near an area where it is said that Aphrodite came ashore - walked out of the waves like a modern movie star.

One morning I went for a walk along a pebbled beach and in the distance I saw something lying on the stones. I went nearer and discovered it was a dead turtle. It had clearly suffocated. It's head was wrapped in a transparent plastic bag.

I wondered what to do with the turtle. After a few minutes of debating the problem with myself I decided to return it to the sea. I threw it into the waves. It was quite large and heavy and I couldn't throw it far enough at first - the waves brought it back in.  At the third attempt, with all my strength I managed to throw it far enough to catch a wave which held it and finally carried it away.

I decided not to tell anybody about the incident.

And I didn't, until the next day, when a strange event took place.

It went like this:

I was walking along the beach with a companion when she suddenly decided to sit down and look at the sea. The funny thing was that she had chosen the exact spot where the turtle had been.

I sat alongside her, but I didn't say anything . . . that is  until I saw the stone which lay at my feet.

Here it is:



I think of it as a turtle rising above the waves. 


The following day there was a tremendous storm. The seas were so rough that ships were unable to approach the island.

On the day we left we read in a local newspaper that permission had been given for eight new golf courses on the island.






Monday, 4 September 2017

'love, life, Goethe'



The above is the title of a philosophical study by John Armstrong which takes a look at the life of the German writer Goethe. It is subtitled 'how to be happy in an imperfect world'.

My copy, a flea market bargain, is a Penguin published in 2007. I've had it a while and looked into the first chapter and the 'Notes on Pronunciation' a couple of times. But now I've finally got around to reading it.

That is to say I'm about 60 pages into it. Only 420 more to go! But I'm enjoying it and I'm confident I will happily work my way through to the end.

Apropos 'the end', I decided this morning to take a look in the back of the book to see if there was an index. Well there wasn't, but there was something called a 'Thematic Register'. It's like an index but not as detailed.

And then I noticed some underlinings made in blue biro, not in the 'Thematic Register' but just before it, in fact in the last 3 pages of the main body of text which is headed 'The End and the Beginning'.

Here they are in context:

The Crooked Timbers of Humanity

This is part of Goethe's sanity - the fact that he isn't hysterical about the human condition, while not being naive.

- we need to be strong. One of the points he keeps on making is that we need to master ourselves.


The Task of Life

the message Goethe is trying to send us isn't a plea to understand him, or the impotent command that we become like him, but rather, that like him we should take courage in an infinitely more worthwhile task - that of becoming ourselves.


Beer Money



For every empty beer bottle returned our local mini-supermarket will give the customer 9 cents towards their shopping. An excellent incentive to return empty those bottles.

This afternoon after I'd finished my stint in the garden, and having worked up a thirst, I thought I'd do just that. I had enough bottles to get a 72 cent voucher.

Standing in front of the beer bottle machine in the supermarket I unpacked my rucksack.

It was then that I noticed that there was an unclaimed  ticket for 9 cents hanging down from the slot;  a 9 cent unclaimed shopping voucher for one empty bottle.

As I was placing my bottles in the tube which checks them and takes them via the conveyor belt to the storeroom a customer in an obvious hurry arrived with an empty beer bottle, saw my collection of bottles and said:

Oh dear, I need 9 cents for this bottle, and my shopping is at the till. Would you give me 9 cents for it? 

I said: I have no change, but I have 9 cents for you.

And of course I gave her the slip of paper hanging from the slot.

Delighted and surprised she said: Is this really 9 cents?

I confirmed that it was a 9 cent shopping voucher and she thanked me for it.





The Visions (with Updates)




In the middle of the night (3:30am 6th January) I suddenly woke up. The other person in the bed woke up too, but quickly went back to sleep. I was wide awake. I felt as if I'd slept for 8 hours. 



It was then that I saw the most wonderful things. First I saw a starry background, then I saw lots of small golden angels flying around and then a white dove, and then I saw three standing angels dressed in golden robes. I saw several people whom I don't know, although one of them I thought resembled an historical figure, a psychic Russian woman called Blavatsky, whose picture I recall seeing somewhere some years ago. There were 3 or 4 other people, including a quite handsome man dressed in clothes from that period. 



It seemed that the small angels were throwing light on me and it seemed that spotlights were being aimed at me. At some stage in the proceedings I saw a golden light, like a fire with moving shadows silhouetted against it. I also saw myself in the picture for a brief moment, which I thought was quite remarkable. I had hints and impressions of other things going on which I couldn't quite figure out. 

There was a circular spinning thing made from material resembling fine gold wire, and there was a tunnel of sorts but I had no fear of it, and there were planets but they were all almost dark, like the moon when it is eclipsed by the Earth's shadow.

The order I've set down these things is probably not the order in which these events appeared to me. I set them down in the order I remembered them. I sensed there was a kind of message behind everything which was: 

We are in the light and the light is in us.

After these visions which lasted quite a long time I went to sleep and slept soundly until it was time to get up. When I was having my breakfast I remembered that the 6th January is a holy day here in Austria and many other countries. 

Shortly after breakfast I opened the Bible, a book containing 1,380 pages, at a random page with the strong conviction that I would see something about Light. I was positive something would be revealed to me, and now to you.  As I allowed the book to fall open I said: The first words that my eyes fall upon will be the words. 

And they were:  

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path. 
I have taken an oath and
confirmed it.

Psalm 119 (verse 105). 


I forgot to mention the great quantity of seeds that appeared in the vision. All the seeds were golden, kind of oval shaped, and each one had a little dark piece inside it. I could see them quite clearly and for a long time. It was as if they were being offered to me I felt.  

Two days later - i.e. 8th January:

I saw a holy figure in the light, he was dressed in a long robe such as you see in the paintings of Jesus and he was facing me. Another thing I saw was a hand holding a ball of light. It was very beautiful. So clear and pure. And I saw many books, writings, parchments, codexes etc., in many styles and languages, from hieroglyphs to forms of notation yet to be invented. This went on for a very long time. At one stage I seemed to 'dissolve' into these manuscripts. I had the feeling I was undergoing some kind of education or preparation.  I felt I was being fed information. I also saw various dimensions or planes of existence in space. I can only describe them thus: If you imagine several photo negatives, each one placed behind the other, it was rather like that. Like looking through many planes or slices of existence and all at the same time. Somewhere, perhaps here or sometime other there was a golden river or stream. It was like strands of fine golden hair and flowing.




Sunday, 3 September 2017

Let the People Sing - J B Priestly



I was puzzled and intrigued by a passage I read some ten years ago in a novel, so much so that I copied it out and saved it.   

Priestly dropped the following exchange into the middle of his novel 'Let the People Sing', a story about the adventures of an out of work entertainer. 

There's a lot of synchronicity in the plot incidentally. In fact the whole story is, you could say, based on chance and coincidence. 

In the middle pages of my borrowed copy of the book (p108) I found a passage that was unrelated to anything that had gone before or anything that was to come afterwards, it was completely out of context. It seemed to be there in error. There were several strange characters in conversation and they were identified only by their initials. 

Here is the relevant text:


   "My friend you dream too much," said P, "What did you dream last night?"

   "There were thousands of small brown men with hairy caps," C said, "and there was a city in the desert with towers and domes . . . "

   "I think," said P, "that what he saw . . . was the sack of Bagdad by the Mongols under Hulagu, brother of Kublai Khan.

   "What would he know about that?" said T, "He's just barmy."

   "My theory is," said P, ". . . the unconscious dreaming mind of this man reflects the universal mind or world memory. Thus he witnesses great events separated by thousands of miles, and what is more strange, thousands of years from his waking self . . ."

   "He frightens me . . . ," said H

   "That I can understand," said P, "For then you are not really seeing a man but all men, or a kind of reflection in one man, or something greater than humanity, that is, a consciousness."


My Very Short Dream of Albert Einstein



One morning I had a short dream which went as follows:-


I was in the public library looking for some books. I happened to glance to my left and was surprised to see Albert Einstein standing next to me. I was struck by his smart appearance. He was wearing a stylish overcoat and his hair was tidy, combed and neatly trimmed. 

We didn't speak to each other but he looked at me and smiled. It was then that I woke.  

In that moment I recalled something which I believe he once said: 

'You don't need to go to college to learn facts. You can find them all in books.' 



Moliere, Corneille and especially Racine - Beyond Coincidence.



'There are no secrets that time does not reveal'  
- Jean Racine 


In February 2006 I was riding a tram into the centre of Vienna. 

To pass the time I was reading a paperback book by Nietzsche. A friend who was sitting across the aisle was engrossed in one of the free magazines which are often available in the trams. 

She suddenly turned to me and drew my attention to a photo: 

   Look! In this magazine there's a photo of that play we went to see last month, 'Moliere, Corneille and Racine' 

I glanced at the photo and saw that it was indeed a photo of the recent production 'Moliere, Corneille and Racine'. 

I then turned my attention back to my book, picking up at the spot where I had left off. 

With some amusement and surprise I saw that the sentence I was about to read when my companion showed me her magazine article contained the phrase:

. . . my artist taste defends the names Moliere, Corneille and Racine . . . 

   I read the full sentence aloud to my companion. What a strange coincidence, we agreed. 


That was in the morning. 



At lunchtime we went to a restaurant in the centre of Vienna. The waiter showed us to a table in the corner. 

Ten minutes afterwards a man walked in and sat down at the table next to us.

FRENCH PLAYWRIGHT - JEAN RACINE

We couldn't believe what we were seeing.

The man now sitting next to us was the actor who had played the role of the poet Jean Racine in the production 'Moliere, Corneille and Racine'!


Naturally, after composing ourselves, we spoke to the actor and related the events of the morning. 

   How strange it is that we should now be sitting next to each other, I said. 

   The actor said: It's the first time I've been in this restaurant. 

   I said: It's also the first time my friend and I have been in this restaurant.

   The actor suggested we should attend his next performance: 'The Sorrows of Young Werther' by Goethe. 

   In the circumstances, I replied, we will have to! 


––––– 


I'm currently reading a book about Goethe which is described on the cover as being illuminating.

But that's another story.



A message from Dietrich Bonhoeffer?



Several years ago I was reading the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a book titled 'Saints' and I discovered that Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor who took the place of a man who was due to be executed at Auschwitz. 

The man whose place he took survived Auschwitz and lived a long and useful life. This story made a great impression on me. 

Later, before going to bed, I thought I would read a poem and I opened a collection of poems by W H Auden at a random page. You can imagine my surprise when I saw the words 'Poem dedicated to Dietrich Bonhoeffer' printed on the page. 

The book contained more than 300 pages and this was the first time I had opened it. 

But that is not the end of the matter. During my sleep that night I had a dream the details of which I can't recall. I only remember that a man's voice spoke to me and said: 


"The meaning of life is in death. Give it some thought."



Saturday, 2 September 2017

A Dream in which Buddha speaks


I was in an aeroplane, although I don't suppose it was really an aeroplane because the seating arrangements were different and anyway we were flying so low that we could see stones in the riverbeds, zoom under bridges, slow down and peer into garage forecourts and so on. I had the feeling some person was next to me who was complaining about the route the flight was taking and that it was not going the direct way. 

The next thing that happened was that a middle-aged film star started telling everybody about her 'interesting' life (which some of us found to be quite mundane and boring), then a spoiled child started running around shooting a water pistol at passengers (a few of us started 'applauding' him for his conduct and he became sheepish and stopped), then some people took out 'real' guns (which looked like toy guns) and the 'air-hostess' told them to put them away before they caused some damage so they did. 

We flew low over a clear riverbed and we could see the stones in the riverbed (a business type who was impatient said the stones were going faster than he was), then we saw two men washing down a white car with hosepipes (the paint came off to reveal bare dark metal underneath) and a few other things happened that I can't remember in detail but anyway you get the picture of what a lot of crazy types there were on this flight and the kind of things we saw. 

Suddenly I was standing before Buddha who was sitting there smiling. A person (don't know who) handed Buddha a small white box and Buddha opened it and inside were about 6 blue pearls. Buddha closed the box and my subconscious voice said: 


"Experience has its rewards, said Buddha, and yet there is no profiteer." 


Friday, 1 September 2017

Three Quotations plus One Word



"Those dreams are true which we have in the morning, as the lamp 
begins to flicker."


One morning I read a quote from Ovid which I found in my copy of Websters - it's a weighty 1,945 page tome (3 kilos). 

I closed the book after reading two more quotes:

One from Edmund Spenser -


"The poets' scrolls will outlive the monuments of stone." 


And one from Margaret Fuller - 


"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it."


Almost immediately I had a compulsive desire to open the book again, but for what? I couldn't think of a reason. But this strange desire wouldn't go away. So I said to myself I'll close my eyes, open the book, and place my index finger on the opened page and see what it word it points to. And that's what I did. 

Here's the word: 

planchette 

a small board . . . to spell out messages . . . independently of the volition of the persons touching it




Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Soul


   The soul is a very perfect judge of her own emotions, if your mind doesn't dictate to her. Because the mind says Charity! Charity! you don't have to force your soul into kissing lepers or embracing syphilitics. Your lips are the lips of your soul, your body is the body of your soul. That is Whitman's message. And your soul hates syphilis and leprosy. Because it is a soul, it hates these things, which are against the soul. And therefore to force the body of your soul into contact with uncleanness is a great violation of your soul. The soul wishes to keep clean and whole. The soul's deepest will is to preserve its own integrity against the mind and the whole mass of disintegrating forces. 

   Soul sympathizes with soul. And that which tries to kill my soul my soul hates. My soul and body are one. Soul and body wish to keep clean and whole. Only the mind is capable of great perversion. Only the mind tries to drive my soul and body into uncleanness and unwholesomeness. 

   What my soul loves, I love.

   What my soul hates, I hate.

   When my soul is stirred with compassion, I am compassionate.

   What my soul turns away from, I turn away from. 

   That is the true interpretation of Whitman's creed: the true revelation of his Sympathy. 

   And my soul takes the open road. She meets the souls that are passing, she goes along with the souls that are going her way. And for one and all, she has sympathy. The sympathy of love, the sympathy of hate, the sympathy of simple proximity; all the subtle sympathizings of the incalculable soul, from the bitterest hate to passionate love.  

   It is not I who guide my soul to heaven. It is I who am guided by my own soul along the open road, where all men tread. Therefore I must accept her deep motions of love, or hate, or compassion, or dislike, or indifference. And I must go where she takes me, for my feet and my lips and my body are my soul. It is I who must submit to her.

   This is Whitman's message of American democracy. 

  The true democracy, where soul meets soul, in the open road. Democracy. American democracy where all journey down the open road, and where a soul is known at once in its going. Not by its clothes or appearance. Whitman did away with that. Not by its family name. Not even by its reputation. Whitman and Melville both discounted that. Not by a progression of piety, or by works of Charity. Not by works at all. Not by anything, but just itself. The soul passing unenhanced, passing on foot and being no more than itself. And recognized, and passed by or greeted according to the soul's dictate. If it be a great soul, it will be worshipped in the road. 


source: D H Lawrence - 1923 - 'Studies in Classic American Literature' 


P.S.
    - Other D H Lawrence poems, quotes, etc. may be found at my Poet-in-Residence blog. 



The 'Sound of Music' Hills (2017)























location: Salzkammergut, Austria


Monday, 28 August 2017

Not on the 9 o'clock News





Real news is often not reported in the EU. Should that surprise us? 

Watch on Tube. Watch till the end. 



Saturday, 26 August 2017

A fungi time of year


The Benchmark


The Elephant in the Grass


The Dog Eared Smiley


The Red Hot Dot




Saturday, 19 August 2017

Transmogrification



In the the first photo he looks his creepy best. 

A few seconds later, transmogrification and he's a big bad beastie -  








Friday, 18 August 2017

Sweating like a pig



Welcome to Hell
Our

Long


Hot


S u m m e r 
 




Phew!


What a scorcher!






According to forecasters a storm is on the way. 

Update:

Unfortunately a marquee at a concert venue was blown down by the storm and two people inside were killed and quite a few injured. Today we have a normal sort of gloomy drizzly rain and maybe later there will be some thunder showers and it will brighten up. The forecast is good for tomorrow and next week with normal summer highs in the range of 25 - 28 C.

Friday, 11 August 2017

"This is among the most valuable work produced in our time"


The above quote comes from James Merrill and it refers to Theodore Weiss's collected poems (1950 - 1986) titled 'From Princeton One Autumn Afternoon'.

Weiss (1916 - 2003) writes: An ideal I have held before me is a poetry, a language, absorbed in and exploiting its own immense resources yet, at the same time, transparent to the world at large.

Unfortunately for 'the world at large' or in this case the small portion of it that has nothing better to do than to read this humble blog of mine I have to disappoint Mr Weiss and his potential new reader.

My copy of the 436 page tome contains no less than three copyright notices - one inside and two on the back flap. Respecting these Canadian and American notices which contain words like 'no part of this book may be reproduced' and 'all rights reserved' and 'without permission in writing' I cannot help Mr Weiss reach 'the world at large' much as I would like to. And this is unfortunate.

We are living at a time in history when poems like 'Gunsight' (An interior monologue that records, through the voices in him, the sensations and memories of a wounded soldier undergoing surgery) might deserve a wider audience.

Mother, why do you, pale as hoarfrost glimmer-
ing on leaves, my blood upon your lips,
appear?

M. L. Rosenthal says : The book is like a living tree: a talking, thinking, witty, changing, affectionate, serious Weiss-tree, unique in our American poetical garden.

James Dickey calls the poet's work: visionary.

Richard Eberhart speaks of a: richly indexed mind.

Weiss's poetry 'explores the human and natural condition . . . cuts through our individual predicaments and probes such pervasive matters as our historical circumstances, the refugee state most of us are in, the relentless search for basic identity and, finally, the problems of aging and dying'.

The title poem 'From Princeton One Autumn Afternoon' opens and closes:

Dear Zbigniew Herbert,

Someone said all poems compose
one poem. Who's to judge him wrong?

. . .

XXX

                   But as the newest
critics tell us, it's a mistake,
if not a downright fake, to think
a work, whether it be painting,
poem, song, belongs to anyone.
By god

. . .

barefoot into glory,
                                  instantly
immortal, in their name-free works.

                                       Yours,
                                   Theodore Weiss


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Wallace Stevens creating a scene





-  from Wallace Stevens' Esthetique du Mal

                                     XI

Life is a bitter aspic. We are not
At the center of a diamond. At dawn,
The paratroopers  fall and as they fall
They mow the lawn. A vessel sinks in waves
Of people, as big bell-billows from its bell
Bell-below in the village steeple. Violets,
Great tufts, spring up from buried houses
Of poor, dishonest people, for whom the steeple,
Long since, rang out farewell, farewell, farewell.

Natives of poverty, children of malheur,                                            
The gaiety of language is our seigneur.

                            . . .

Wallace Stevens (1879 - 1955)

Esthetique du Mal is a 14-page poem of 15 verses. The poem is to be found in the collection Transport to Summer which was was published in 1947, and in The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (a book to be treasured) which was published in 1955, the year of Stevens' passing, and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

The Malheur Bell was the trademark of the Malheur Telephone Company of Oregon which was founded in 1895 and ceased operations in 2009.




Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Landscape




An acrylic cut and paste job. 



A solution of sorts.   



Two grimly unhappy paintings, a seascape and a landscape, were uncaringly immolated and the sacrificial leftovers uncompromisingly glued together for life. 

With the end result: 





The sea is now the sky.

Destino!


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

And another strange plant . . .







This 3 to 4 foot high plant was found growing alone in an uncultivated area situated between a vineyard and an old quarry in a location not far from the town of Retz (see post below).

Thoughts on what this oddity might be would be very welcome!


Mystery solved!

See 'comments'.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Vineyards, Churches and Ossuaries, and much much more!















The Wineviertel is a wine growing area in the north-east of Austria near Moravia (CZ).

On a recent visit I found an abundance of signposted bicycling routes and scenic hiking trails.

A street of wine cellars

The town of Retz which has a railway station makes a good base.

Retz boasts a Fahrrad Museum - Bicycle Museum.

The posters on the gates mention a special exhibition - 200 Years - The Story of the Bicycle - which runs until 31st October 2017.



Retz - town square

All roads lead to Rome and the Krakau-to-Rome Pilgrims Way passes this landmark: 

The Windmill of Retz 

A wonderful area to visit. Good value for money. And not overwhelmed with tourists! 



Pulkau Waldbad