Dec 192014
 

KolnUnicorn(611x592)My love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for object strange and high:
It was begotten by Despair
Upon Impossibility.

Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing,
Where feeble Hope could ne’er have flown
But vainly flapped its tinsel wing.

And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended soul is fixed
But Fate does iron wedges drive,
And always crowds itself betwixt.

For Fate with jealous eye does see
Two perfect loves, nor lets them close:
Their union would her ruin be,
And her tyrranic power depose.

And therefore her decrees of steel
Us as the distant Poles have placed
(Though Love’s whole world on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embraced,
alchemicalmoon
Unless the giddy heaven fall,
And earth some new convulsion tear;
And, us to join, the world should all
Be cramped into a planisphere.

As lines (so loves) oblique may well
Themselves in every angle greet:
But ours so truly parallel,
Though infinite, can never meet.

Therefore the love which us doth bind,
But Fate so enviously debars,
Is the conjunction of the mind,
And opposition of the stars.

The Definition of Love, Andrew Marvell

Dec 082014
 

geeseWe cannot keep the gold of yesterday;

To-day’s dun clouds we cannot role away.

Now the long, wailing flight of geese brings autumn in its train,

So to the view-tower cup in hand to fill and drink again,

And dream of the great singers of the past,

Their fadeless lines of fire and beauty cast.

I too have felt the wild-bird thrill of song behind the bars,

but these have brushed the world aside and walked amid the stars.

In vain we cleave the torrent’s thread with steel,

In vain we drink to drown the drink we feel;

When man’s desire with fate doth war this, this avails alone –

To hoist the sail and let the gale and the waters bear us on.

Drifting, Li Po

Dec 072014
 

21When you hear the lovers’ words, think them not a mistake
You don’t recognize these words, the error must be your take.
The here and hereafter cannot tame my spirit and soul
Praise God for all the intrigue in my mind that is at stake.
I know not who resides within my heart
Though I am silent, he must shake and quake.
My heart went through the veil, play a song
Hark, my fate, this music I must make.
I paid no heed, worldly affairs I forsake
It is for your beauty, beauty of the world I partake.
My heart is on fire, I am restless and awake
To the tavern to cure my hundred day headache.
My bleeding heart has left its mark in the temple
You have every right to wash my body in a wine lake.
In the abode of the Magi, I am welcome because
The fire that never dies, in my heart is awake.
What was the song the minstrel played?
My life is gone, but breathing, I still fake!
Within me last night, the voice of your love did break
Hafiz’s breast still quivers and shakes for your sake.

Hafiz

Jul 072014
 

sylvie    An anguish’d heart whose loss hath been so great?
Where are the hours that fled so swiftly by?

In vain the fairest thou didst gain from fate;
Sad is the soul, confused the enterprise;

The glorious world, how on the sense it dies!

In million tones entwined for evermore,

Music with angel-pinions hovers there,
To pierce man’s being to its inmost core,

Eternal beauty has its fruit to bear;
The eye grows moist, in yearnings blest reveres
The godlike worth of music as of tears.

And so the lighten’d heart soon learns to see

That it still lives, and beats, and ought to beat,
Off’ring itself with joy and willingly,

In grateful payment for a gift so sweet.
And then was felt, oh may it constant prove!
The twofold bliss of music and of love.

Goethe, Atonement

Jun 202011
 

Indeed the Idols I have loved so long

Have done my credit in Men’s Eye much wrong:

Have drown’d my honour in a shallow cup

And sold my reputation for a song.

Indeed, indeed, repentence oft before

I swore – but was I sober when I swore?

And then and then came spring, and rose in hand

My threadbare penitence a pieces tore.

And much as wine has play’d the Infidel,

And robb’d me of my Robe of Honour – well,

I often wonder what the Vintners buy

One half so precious as the goods they sell.

Alas, that spring should vanish with the rose!

That youth’s sweet-scented manuscript should close!

The nightingale that in the branches sang,

Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

Would but the desert of the fountain yield

One glimpse – if dimly, yet indeed, reveal’d,

To which the fainting traveller might spring,

As springs the trampled herbage of the field!

Would but some winged Angel ere too late

Arrest the yet unfolded roll of fate,

And make the stern recorder otherwise

Enregister, or quite obliterate.

Ah love!  could thou and I with fate conspire

To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire,

Would we not shatter it to bits – and then

Re-mould it closer to the Heart’s desire!

Ah, Moon of my delight who know’st no wane,

The Moon of Heav’n is rising once again:

How oft hereafter rising shall she look

Through this same garden after me – in vain!

And when thyself with shining foot shall pass

Among the guests Star-scatter’d on the grass,

And in thy joyous errand reach the spot

Where I made one turn down an empty glass!

Taman Shud (it is completed)

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Apr 232011
 

‘Thus I come to vain Apollo –
He who thinks himself the greatest –
Source of all my kindred’s troubles:
Every evening bow to Isis.

‘‘From the rest you’re put asunder,
‘Cept for Hermes – he may wander
Close – and yet the comely Venus,
She will burn each night for heathens.

‘‘Mars will threaten peace with war cries –
Or just gasp with thirst – in near skies,
Holding over Earth forever
Fears of war and stormy weather.

‘‘Now, fair God, more bitter medicine:
Worshipped, though – it’s true – you shall be,
None shall gaze upon thyself nor
See inside your mind. Yet, moon’s beams,

‘They’ll take shape within the psyche.
Shield of Earth, your sister’s mirror
Hypnotises every Earthling,
So the secret love I’ll give her.

‘‘Henceforth, god, be void of reason –
Let your self be burning passion –
Tempered, just, in winter seasons.
All you long for turns to ashes.

‘‘Filled with fire that’s all-consuming
You shall draw the Earth unto thee,
Just because your will is stronger
Than your mind, which is no longer.’

‘So the great unchained Osiris
Sends Apollo out of Nothing,
Up to where the Ra’s residing.
Rolling wheel of fate deciding.

‘Sevens swans with sorrow singing,
Break Apollo’s heart, like Daphne.
Eros laughs, “your love is kindling
Hope; at least you’ll warm the Earthlings!”

Round galactic spheres, revolving,
Fragments of the mind dissolving
Cosmic will is near resolving;
Prophet of the age evolving.

Apr 232011
 

 

 

‘‘Forwards backwards, time is taking

Cosmic steps through every section.

Herein find the secret waiting:

Future from the past; reflection.’

 

‘Then Osiris, fully risen,

Calls to life, renews gestation,

Metes out Time with fate’s precision,

Orders: ‘Scribe, divine creation.’’

 

So is seen the mythic cycle,

Turning ever on its axis.

Each was placed upon its system,

Fixed was each by one, another.

 

One drew out another’s mystery,

So they grew to greater wisdom.

Set were they on points of psyche’s

Evolution, flowering moments.

 

When to heart and soul one listened,

Heard and wrought it for one’s vision,

Out of that which never dies;

Springs, eternal, the story of the sky.

 

Charlotte Cowell, The Myth

Jan 072011
 

It is not the purpose of this book to trace the subsequent history of Christianity, especially the later history of Christianity; which involves controversies of which I hope to write more fully elsewhere. It is devoted only to the suggestion that Christianity, appearing amid heathen humanity, had all the character of a unique thing and even of a supernatural thing. It was not like any of the other things; and the more we study it the less it looks like any of them

I have said that Asia and the ancient world had an air of being too old to die. Christendom has had the very opposite fate. Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a god who knew the way out of the grave. It is so true that three or four times at least in the history of Christendom the whole soul seemed to have gone out of Christianity; and almost every man in his heart expected its end.

The Church in the West was not in a world where things were too old to die; but in one in which they were always young enough to get killed

At least five times, with the Arian and the Albigensian, with the Humanist sceptic, after Voltaire and after Darwin, the Faith has to all appearance gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases it was the dog that died. How complete was the collapse and how strange the reversal, we cars only see in detail in the case nearest to our own time.

A thousand things have been said about the Oxford Movement and the parallel French Catholic revival; but few have made us feel the simplest fact about it; that it was a surprise. It was a puzzle as well as a surprise; because it seemed to most people like a river turning backwards from the sea and trying to climb back into the mountains.

In short, the whole world being divided about whether the stream was going slower or faster, became conscious of something vague but vast that was going against the stream. Both in fact and figure there is something deeply disturbing about this, and that for an essential reason. A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it. A dead dog can be lifted on the leaping water with all the swiftness of a leaping hound; but only a live dog can swim backwards. A paper boat can ride the rising deluge with all the airy arrogance of a fairy ship; but if the fairy ship sails upstream it is really rowed by the fairies.

G K Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, The Five Deaths of the Faith

Jul 272010
 

Soon after her husband came, and when he had kissed and embraced her, he fell asleep. Then Psyche (somewhat feeble in body and mind, yet moved by cruelty of fate) received boldness, and brought forth the lamp, and took the razor, so by her audacity she changed her kind.

But when she took the lamp, and came to the bedside, she saw ‘the most meek and sweetest beast of all beasts, even fair Cupid couched fairly, at whose sight the very lamp increased his light for joy, and the razor turned his edge.

But when Psyche saw so glorious a body, she greatly feared, and, amazed in mind, with a pale countenance, all trembling, fell on her knees, and thought to hide the razor, yea verily in her own heart; which she had undoubtedly done, had it not through fear of so great an enterprise fallen out of her hand. And when she saw and beheld the beauty of his divine visage she was well recreated in her mind.

She saw his hairs of gold, that yielded out a sweet savour: his neck more white than milk: his purple cheeks, his hair hanging comely behind and before, the brightness whereof did darken the light of the lamp: his tender plume-feathers dispersed upon his shoulders like shining flowers, and trembling hither and thither; and his other parts of his body so smooth and soft that it did not repent Venus to bear such a child.

At the bed’s feet lay his bow, quiver, and arrows, that be ‘the weapons of so great a God; which when Psyche did curiously behold, and marvelling at the weapons of her husband, took one of the arrows out of the quiver, and pricked herself withal, wherewith she was so grievously wounded that the blood followed, and thereby of her own accord she added love upon love; then more and more broiling in the love of Cupid, she embraced him and kissed him a thousand times fearing the measure of his sleep.

But alas while she was in this great joy, whether it were for envy, or for desire to touch this amiable body likewise, there fell out a drop of burning oil from the lamp upon the right shoulder of the God. O rash and bold lamp, the vile ministry of love, how darest thou be so bold as to burn the God of all fire when he invented thee, to the intent that all lovers might with more joy pass the nights in pleasure?

Cupid and Psyche, Apuleius

Jun 082010
 

Now, since the god inspires me,
I follow where he leads, to open Delphi,
The very heavens, bring you revelation
Of mysteries, great matters never traced
By any mind before, and matters lost
Or hidden and forgotten, these I sing.
There is no greater wonder than to range
The starry heights, to leave the earth’s dull regions,
To ride the clouds, to stand on Atlas’ shoulders,
And see, far off, far down, the little figures
Wandering here and there, devoid of reason,
Anxious, in fear of death, and so advise them,
And so make fate an open book.

Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book 15, on The Teachings of Pythagoras