Wherever you are is the entry point – Kabir

August 4, 2005
by gwyllm

Hot Tonight….

Hot Tonight. working on HTML and enjoying the darkness that is coming earlier each evening….
Ever had a day where you chased your tail all day long? One of those. Running in place, like for hours.
Several Links today, mostly political, but worth checking out. The Arkham Link is something different, so be attentive to that one.
The Weird Meter gets some feeding with the Weekly Quotes, and the story of John Connors and the Fairies.
A.E. (George William Russell) stands up to the plate for the poetry selection.
Keep Cool….

Put on a Hippy Face
Oil Company Threatens to Sue Ecuador if Indigenous Tribe Continues Blockade of Drilling…
License Liberation…
Arkham Country…
New Sea Critter?

The Weekly Quotes

“He knows all about art, but he doesn’t know what he likes.”
“Happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember.”
“Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach’s ‘St. Matthew’s Passion’ on a ukelele.”
“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”
“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”
“Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”
“Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.”
John Connors and the Fairies
THERE was a man named John Connors, who lived near Killarney, and was the father of seven small children, all daughters and no sons. Connors fell into such rage and anger at having so many daughters, without any sons, that when the seventh daughter was born he would not come from the field to see the mother or the child.
When the time came for christening he wouldn’t go for sponsors, and didn’t care whether the wife lived or died. A couple of years after that a son was born to him, and some of the women ran to the field and told John Connors that he was the father of a fine boy. Connors was so delighted that he caught the spade he had with him and broke it on the ditch. He hurried home then and sent for bread and meat, with provisions of all kinds to supply the house.
“There are no people in the parish,” said he to the wife, “fit to stand sponsors for this boy, and when night comes I’ll ride over to the next parish and find sponsors there.”
When night came he bridled and saddled his horse, mounted, and rode away toward the neighbouring parish to invite a friend and his wife to be godfather and godmother to his son. The village to which he was going was Beaufort, south of Killarney. There was a public-house on the road. Connors stepped in and treated the bystanders, delayed there a while, and then went his way. When he had gone a couple of miles he met a stranger riding on a white horse, a good-looking gentleman wearing red knee-breeches, swallow-tailed coat, and a Caroline hat [a tall hat].
The stranger saluted John Connors, and John returned the salute. The stranger asked where was he going at such an hour.
“I’m going,” said Connors, “to Beaufort to find sponsors for my young son.”
“Oh, you foolish man,” said the stranger; “you left the road a mile behind you. Turn back and take the left hand.”
John Connors turned back as directed, but never came to a cross-road. He was riding about half an hour when he met the same gentleman, who asked: “Are you the man I met a while ago going to Beaufort?”
“I am.”
“Why, you fool, you passed the road a mile or more behind. Turn back and take the right hand road. What trouble is on you that you cannot see a road when you are passing it?”
Connors turned and rode on for an hour or so, but found no side road. The same stranger met him for the third time, and asked him the same question, and told him he must turn back. “But the night is so far gone,” said he, “that you’d better not be waking people. My house is near by. Stay with me till morning. You can go for the sponsors to-morrow.”
John Connors thanked the stranger and said he would go with him. The stranger took him to a fine castle then, and told him to dismount and come in.
“Your horse will be taken care of,” said he, “I have servants enough.”
John Connors rode a splendid white horse, and the like of him wasn’t in the country round. The gentleman had a good supper brought to Connors. After supper he showed him a bed and said, “Take off your clothes and sleep soundly till morning.”
When Connors was asleep the stranger took the clothes, formed a corpse just like John Connors, put the clothes on it, tied the body to the horse, and leading the beast outside, turned its head towards home. He kept John Connors asleep in bed for three weeks.
The horse went towards home and reached the village next morning. The people saw the horse with the dead body on its back, and all thought it was the body of John Connors. Everybody began to cry and lament for their neighbour. He was taken off the horse, stripped, washed, and laid out on the table. There was a great wake that night, everybody mourning and lamenting over him, for wasn’t he a good man and the father of a large family? The priest was sent for to celebrate mass and attend the funeral, which he did. There was a large funeral.
Three weeks later John Connors was roused from his sleep by the gentleman, who came to him and said:
“It is high time for you to be waking. Your son is christened. The wife, thinking you would never come, had the child baptized, and the priest found sponsors. Your horse stole away from here and went home.”
“Sure then I am not long sleeping?”
“Indeed, then, you are: it is three whole days and nights that you are in that bed.”
John Connors sat up and looked around for his clothes, but if he did he could not see a stitch of them. “Where are my clothes?” asked he.
“I know nothing of your clothes, my man, and the sooner you go out o’ this the better.”
Poor John was astonished. “God help me, how am I to go home without my clothes? If I had a shirt itself, it wouldn’t be so bad; but to go without a rag at all on me!”
“Don’t be talking,” said the man; “take a sheet and be off with yourself. I have no time to lose on the like of you.”
John grew in dread of the man, and taking the sheet, went out. When well away from the place he turned to look at the castle and its owner, but if he did there was nothing before him but fields and ditches.
The time as it happened was Sunday morning, and Connors saw at some distance down the road people on their way to mass. He hurried to the fields for fear of being seen by somebody. He kept to the fields and walked close to the ditches till he reached the side of a hill, and went along by that, keeping well out of sight. As he was nearing his own village at the side of the mountain there happened to be three or four little boys looking for stray sheep. Seeing Connors, they knew him as the dead man buried three weeks before. They screamed and ran away home, some of them falling with fright. When they came to the village they cried that they had seen John Connors, and he with a sheet on him.
Now, it is the custom in Ireland when a person dies to sprinkle holy water on the clothes of the deceased and then give them to poor people or to friends for God’s sake. It is thought that by giving the clothes in this way the former owner has them to use in the other world. The person who wears the clothes must wear them three times to mass one Sunday after another and sprinkle them each time with holy water. After that they may be worn as the person likes.
When the women of the village heard the story of the boys some of them went to the widow and said:
“Tis your fault that your husband’s ghost is roaming around in nakedness. You didn’t give away his clothes.”
“I did, indeed,” said the wife. “I did my part, but it must be that the man I gave them to didn’t wear them to mass, and that is why my poor husband is naked in the other world.”
Now she went straight to the relative and neighbour who got the clothes. As she entered the man was sitting down to breakfast.
“Bad luck to you, you heathen!” said she. “I did not think you the man to leave my poor John naked in the other world. You neither went to mass in the clothes I gave you nor sprinkled holy water on them.”
“I did, indeed. This is the third Sunday since John died, and I went to mass this morning for the third time. Sure I’d be a heathen to keep a relative naked in the other world. It wasn’t your husband that the boys saw at all.”
She went home then, satisfied that everything had been done as it should be.
An uncle of John Connors lived in the same village. He was a rich farmer and kept a servant girl and a servant boy. The turf bog was not far away, and all the turf at the house being burned, the servant girl was told to go down to the reek [a long pile of turf] and bring home a creel [basket] of turf. She went to the reek and was filling her creel, when she happened to look towards the far end of the reek, and there she saw a man sticking his head out from behind the turf, and he with a sheet on him. She looked a second time and saw John Connors. The girl screamed, threw down the creel, and ran away, falling every few steps from terror. It was to the reek that Connors had gone, to wait there in hiding till dark. After that he could go to his own house without any one seeing him.
The servant girl fell senseless across the farmer’s threshold, and when she recovered she said: “John Connors is below in the bog behind the reek of turf, and nothing but a sheet on him.”
The farmer and the servant boy laughed at her and said: “This is the way with you always when there’s work to do.”
The boy started off to bring the turf himself, but as he was coming near the reek John Connors thrust his head out, and the boy ran home screeching worse than the girl. Nobody would go near the reek now, and the report went out that John Connors was below in the bog minding the turf. Early that evening John Connors’ wife made her children go on their knees and offer up the rosary for the repose of their father’s soul. After the rosary they went to bed in a room together, but were not long in it when there was a rap at the door. The poor woman asked who was outside. John Connors answered that it was himself.
“May the Almighty God and His blessed Mother give rest to your soul!” cried the wife, and the children crossed themselves and covered their heads with the bedclothes. They were in dread he’d come in through the keyhole; they knew a ghost could do that if it wished.
John went to the window of two panes of glass and was tapping at that. The poor woman looked out, and there she saw her husband’s face. She began to pray again for the repose of his soul, but he called out:
“Bad luck to you, won’t you open the door to me or throw out some clothes? I am perishing from cold.”
This only convinced the woman more surely. John didn’t like to break the door, and as it was strong, it wouldn’t be easy for him to break it, so he left the house and went to his uncle’s. When he came to the door all the family were on their knees repeating the rosary for the soul of John Connors. He knocked, and the servant girl rose up to see who was outside. She unbolted and unlatched the door, opened it a bit, but seeing Connors, she came near cutting his nose off, she shut it that quickly in his face. She bolted the door then and began to scream: “John Connors’ ghost is haunting me! Not another day or night will I stay in the house if I live to see morning!”
All the family fastened themselves in a room and threw themselves into bed, forgetting to undress or to finish their prayers. John Connors began to kick the door, but nobody would open it; then he tapped at the window and begged the uncle to let him in or put out some clothes to him, but the uncle and children were out of their wits with fear.
The doctor’s house was the next one, and Connors thought to himself, “I might as well go to the doctor and tell all to him; tell him that the village is gone mad.” So he made his way to the doctor’s, but the servant boy there roared and screeched from terror when he saw him, ran to his master, and said, “John Connors’ ghost is below at the door, and not a thing but a sheet on him.”
“You were always a fool,” said the doctor. “There is never a ghost in this world.”
“God knows, then, the ghost of John Connors is at the door,” said the boy.
To convince the boy, the master raised the upper window. He looked out and saw the ghost sure enough. Down went the window with a slap.
“Don’t open the door!” cried the doctor. “He is below; there is some mystery in this.”
Since the doctor wouldn’t let him in any more than the others, John Connors was cursing and swearing terribly.
“God be good to us,” said the doctor. “His soul must be damned, for if his soul was in purgatory it is not cursing and swearing he’d be, but praying. Surely, ’tis damned he is, and the Lord have mercy on the people of this village; but I won’t stay another day in it; I’ll move to the town to-morrow morning.”
Now John left the doctor’s house and went to the priest, thinking that he could make all clear to the priest, for everybody else had gone mad. He knocked at the priest’s door and the housekeeper opened it. She screamed and ran away, but left the door open behind her. As she was running towards the stairs she fell, and the priest, hearing the fall, hurried out to see what the matter was.
“Oh, father,” cried the housekeeper, “John Connors’ ghost is below in the kitchen, and he with only a sheet on him!”
“Not true,” said the priest. “There is never a person seen after parting with this world.”
The words were barely out of his mouth when the ghost was there before him.
“In the name of God,” said the priest, “are you dead or alive? You must be dead, for I said mass in your house, and you a corpse on the table, and I was at your funeral.”
“How can you be foolish like the people of the village? I’m alive. Who would kill me?”
“God, who kills everybody, and but for your being dead, how was I to be asked to your funeral?”
“Tis all a mistake,” said John. “If it’s dead I was it isn’t here I’d be talking to you to-night.”
“If you are alive, where are your clothes?”
“I don’t know where they are or how they went from me, but I haven’t them, sure enough.”
“Go into the kitchen,” said the priest. “I’ll bring you clothes, and then you must tell me what happened to you.”
When John had the clothes on he told the priest that, the day the child was born, he went to Beaufort for sponsors, and, being late, he met a gentleman, who sent him back and forth on the road and then took him to his house. “I went to bed,” said John, “and slept till he waked me. My clothes were gone from me then, and I had nothing to wear but an old sheet. More than this I don’t know: but everybody runs from me, and my wife won’t let me into the house.”
“Oh, then, it’s Daniel O’Donohue, King of Lochlein, that played the trick on you,” said the priest. “Why didn’t you get sponsors at home in this parish for your son as you did for your daughters? For the remainder of your life show no partiality to son or daughter among your children. It would be a just punishment if more trouble came to you. You were not content with the will of God, though it is the duty of every man to take what God gives him. Three weeks ago your supposed body was buried and all thought you dead through your own pride and wilfulness.”
“That is why my wife wouldn’t let me in. Now, your Reverence, come with me and convince my wife, or she will not open the door.”
The priest and John Connors went to the house and knocked, but the answer they got was a prayer for the repose of John Connors’ soul. The priest went to the window then and called out to open the door.
Mrs. Connors opened the door, and seeing her husband behind the priest she screamed and fell: a little girl that was with her at the door dropped speechless on the floor. When the woman recovered, the priest began to persuade her that her husband was living, but she wouldn’t believe that he was alive till she took hold of his hand: then she felt of his face and hair and was convinced.
When the priest had explained everything he went away home. No matter how large his family was in after years, John Connors never went from home to find sponsors.

Poems of George William Russell (A.E.)
The Winds of Angus

THE GREY road whereupon we trod became as holy ground:
The eve was all one voice that breathed its message with no sound:
And burning multitudes pour through my heart, too bright, too blind,
Too swift and hurried in their flight to leave their tale behind.
Twin gates unto that living world, dark honey-coloured eyes,
The lifting of whose lashes flushed the face with Paradise,
Beloved, there I saw within their ardent rays unfold
The likeness of enraptured birds that flew from deeps of gold
To deeps of gold within my breast to rest, or there to be
Transfigured in the light, or find a death to life in me.
So love, a burning multitude, a seraph wind that blows
From out the deep of being to the deep of being goes.
And sun and moon and starry fires and earth and air and sea
Are creatures from the deep let loose, who pause in ecstasy,
Or wing their wild and heavenly way until again they find
The ancient deep, and fade therein, enraptured, bright, and blind.
Children of Lir

WE woke from our sleep in the bosom where cradled together we lay:
The love of the dark hidden Father went with us upon our way.
And gay was the breath in our being, and never a sorrow or fear
Was on us as, singing together, we flew from the infinite Lir.

Through nights lit with diamond and sapphire we raced with the children of dawn,
A chain that was silver and golden linked spirit to spirit, my swan,
Till day in the heavens passed over, and still grew the beat of our wings,
And the breath of the darkness enfolded to teach us unspeakable things.

Yet lower we fell and for comfort our pinionless spirits had now
The leaning of bosom to bosom, the lifting of lip unto brow.
Though chained to the earth yet we mourned not the loss of our heaven above,
But passed from the vision of beauty to the fathomless being of love.

Still gay is the breath in our being, we wait for the bell branch to ring
To call us away to the Father, and then we will rise on the wing,
And fly through the twilights of time till the home lights of heaven appear;
Our spirits through love and through longing made one in the infinite Lir.

In Connemara

WITH eyes all untroubled she laughs as she passes,
Bending beneath the creel with the seaweed brown,
Till evening with pearl dew dims the shining grasses
And night lit with dreamlight enfolds the sleepy town.

Then she will wander, her heart all a laughter,
Tracking the dream star that lights the purple gloom.
She follows the proud and golden races after,
As high as theirs her spirit, as high will be her doom.
This Edition dedicated to Ernesto…


August 3, 2005
by gwyllm

Regarding Lughnasad…

The Turning Of The Seasons…

We now really are 2 days into Fall by the old reckoning. I have always enjoyed the days of the Dog Star… and the change that Lughnasad (Lammas) portends. Summer has crested, and the mornings and evenings are darker now. We rush to the Equinox soon. The leaves, once so tender during the Maying, now are tired looking.
Life is slowing down here in the North West. Though the days are hot, there often is a chill in the evening. In a month or so the rains will come back. (I do love the autumn rains!)
Mortality is much on my mind with all of this. It gives it all a bit of spice.
No Links today.
A poem/song by Gwydion “Lughnasad Dance” (by Gwydion)
The Landing of the Milesians in Ireland
and more poems by Seamus Heaney….
I lay awake last night reading Seamus Heaneys poems on Sweeney (Suibhne). Moving stuff. My favourite madman. A madness that I can identify with. Sprouting wings and flying after being cursed… I have read many versions of the tale, and they all are haunting. I think Robin Williamsons’ take on the tale is quite good. (recommended.
Well with all that, I hope that the following bits are to your liking.
“Lughnasad Dance”
(by Gwydion)
Lugh, the light of summer bright
Clothed all in green
Tailtiu, his mother true
Rise up and be seen
At your festival sounds the horn,
Calling the people again
Child of barleycorn, newly summer-born
Ripening like the grain
Lugh grew tall from spring to fall
Then sought to find a wife
But Balor came and made his claim
And swore to take Lugh’s life
The two did fight from morn till night
When Lugh did strike him one
Balor’s eye flew in the sky
And there became the sun
Lugh was wed and made his bed
With Erinn in the north
And there they lay through many a day
And soon a child came forth
The child grew tall from spring to fall
Setanta was his name
But then at length, by honor’s strength
Cuchulain he became….

The Landing of the Milesians in Ireland

IT is not known, now, for what length of time the Tuatha de Danaan had the sway over Ireland, and it is likely it was a long time they had it, but they were put from it at last.
It was at Inver Slane, to the north of Leinster, the sons of Gaedhal of the Shining Armour, the Very Gentle, that were called afterwards the Sons of the Gael, made their first attempt to land in Ireland to avenge Ith, one of their race that had come there one time and had met with his death.
It is under the leadership of the sons of Miled they were, and it was from the south they came, and their Druids had told them there was no country for them to settle in till they would come to that island in the west. “And if you do not get possession of it yourselves,” they said, “your children will get possession of it.”
But when the Tuatha de Danaan saw the ships coming, they flocked to the shore, and by their enchantments they cast such a cloud over the whole island that the sons of Miled were confused, and all they could see was some large thing that had the appearance of a pig.
And when they were hindered from landing there by enchantments, they went sailing along the coast till at last they were able to make a landing at Inver Sceine in the west of Munster.
From that they marched in good order as far as Slieve Mis. And there they were met by a queen of the Tuatha de Danaan and a train of beautiful women attending on her, and her Druids and wise men following her. Amergin, one of the sons of Miled, spoke to her then, and asked her name, and she said it was Banba, wife of Mac Cuill, Son of the Hazel.
They went on then till they came to Slieve Eibhline, and there another queen of the Tuatha de Danaan met them, and her women and her Druids after her, and they asked her name, and she said it was Fodhla, wife of Mac Cecht, Son of the Plough.
They went on then till they came to the hill of Uisnech, and there they saw another woman coming towards them. And there was wonder on them while they were looking at her, for in the one moment she would be a wide-eyed most beautiful queen, and in another she would be a sharp-beaked, grey-white crow. She came on to where Eremon, one of the sons of Miled, was, and sat down before him, and he asked her who was she, and she said: “I am Ériu, wife of Mac Greine, Son of the Sun.”
And the names of those three queens were often given to Ireland in the after time.
The Sons of the Gael went on after that to Teamhair, where the three sons of Cermait Honey-Mouth, son of the Dagda, that had the kingship between them at that time held their court. And these three were quarrelling with one another about the division of the treasures their father had left, and the quarrel was so hot it seemed likely it would come to a battle in the end.
And the Sons of the Gael wondered to see them quarrelling about such things, and they having so fruitful an island, where the air was so wholesome, and the sun not too strong, or the cold too bitter, and where there was such a plenty of honey and acorns, and of milk, and of fish, and of corn, and room enough for them all.
Great grandeur they were living in, and their Druids about them, at the palace of Teamhair. And Amergin went to them, and it is what he said, that they must give up the kingship there and then, or they must leave it to the chance of a battle. And he said he asked this in revenge for the death of Ith, of the race of the Gael, that had come to their court before that time, and that had been killed by treachery.
When the sons of Cermait Honey-Mouth heard Amergin saying such fierce words, there was wonder on them, and it is what they said, that they were not willing to fight at that time, for their army was not ready. “But let you make an offer to us,” they said, “for we see well you have good judgment and knowledge. But if you make an offer that is not fair,” they said, “we will destroy you with our enchantments.”

At that Amergin bade the men that were with him to go back to Inver Sceine, and to hurry again into their ships with the rest of the Sons of the Gael, and to go out the length of nine waves from the shore. And then he made his offer to the Tuatha de Danaan, that if they could hinder his men from landing on their island, he and all his ships would go back again to their own country, and would never make any attempt to come again; but that if the Sons of the Gael could land on the coast in spite of them, then the Tuatha de Danaan should give up the kingship and be under their sway.
The Tuatha de Danaan were well pleased with that offer, for they thought that by the powers of their enchantments over the winds and the sea, and by their arts, they would be well able to keep them from ever setting foot in the country again.
So the Sons of the Gael did as Amergin bade them and they went back into their ship and drew up their anchors and moved out to the length of nine waves from the shore. And as soon as the Men of Dea saw they had left the land, they took to their enchantments and spells, and they raised a great wind that scattered the ships of the Gael, and drove them from one another.
But Amergin knew it was not a natural storm was in it, and Arranan, son of Miled, knew that as well, and he went up in the mast of his ship to look about him. But a great blast of wind came against him, and he fell back into the ship and died on the moment. And there was great confusion on the Gael, for the ships were tossed to and fro, and had like to be lost.
And the ship that Donn, son of Miled, was in command of was parted from the others by the dint of the storm, and was broken in pieces, and he himself and all with him were drowned, four-and-twenty men and women in all. And Ir, son of Miled, came to his death in the same way, and his body was cast on the shore, and it was buried in a small island that is now called Sceilg Michill. A brave man Ir was, leading the Sons of the Gael to the front of every battle, and their help and their shelter in battle, and his enemies were in dread of his name.
And Heremon, another of the sons of Miled, with his share of the ships, was driven to the left of the island, and it is hardly he got safe to land. And the place where he landed was called Inver Colpa, because Colpa of the Sword, another of the sons of Miled, was drowned there, and he trying to get to land. Five of the sons of Miled in all were destroyed by the storm and the winds the Men of Dea had raised by their enchantments, and there were but three of them left, Heber, and Heremon, and Amergin.
And one of them, Donn, before he was swept into the sea, called out: “It is treachery our knowledgeable men are doing on us, not to put down this wind.” “There is no treachery,” said Amergin, his brother. And he rose up then before them, and whatever enchantment he did on the winds and the sea, he said these words along with it:
“That they that are tossing in the great wide food-giving sea may reach now to the land.
“That they may find a place upon its plains, its mountains, and its valleys; in its forests that are full of nuts and of all fruits; on its rivers and its streams, on its lakes and its great waters.
That we may have our gatherings and our races in this land; that there may be a king of our own in Teamhair; that it may be the possession of our many kings.
“That the sons of Miled may be seen in this land, that their ships and their boats may find a place there.
“This land that is now under darkness, it is for it we are asking; let our chief men, let their learned wives, ask that we may come to the noble woman, great Eriu.”
After he had said this, the wind went down and the sea was quiet again on the moment.
And those that were left of the sons of Miled and of the Sons of the Gael landed then at Inver Sceine.
And Amergin was the first to put his foot on land, and when he stood on the shore of Ireland, it is what he said:
“I am the wind on the sea;
I am the wave of the sea;
I am the bull of seven battles;
I am the eagle on the rock
I am a flash from the sun;
I am the most beautiful of plants;
I am a strong wild boar;
I am a salmon in the water;
I am a lake in the plain;
I am the word of knowledge;
I am the head of the spear in battle;
I am the god that puts fire in the head;
Who spreads light in the gathering on the hills?
Who can tell the ages of the moon?
Who can tell the place where the sun rests?”

Oracle – Seamus Heaney
Hide in the hollow trunk
of the willow tree,
its listening familiar,
until, as usual, the
cuckoo your name
across the fields.
You can hear them
draw the poles of stiles
as they approach
calling you out:
small mouth and ear
in a woody cleft,
lobe and larynx
of the mossy places.
Traditions — Seamus Heaney
For Tom Flanagan
Our guttural muse
was bulled long ago
by the alliterative tradition,
her uvula grows
vestigial, forgotten
like the coccyx
or a Brigid’s Cross
yellowing in some outhouse
while custom, that “most
sovereign mistress”,
beds us down into
the British isles.
We are to be proud
of our Elizabethan English:
“varsity”, for example,
is grass-roots stuff with us;
we “deem” or we “allow”
when we suppose
and some cherished archaisms
are correct Shakespearean.
Not to speak of the furled
consonants of lowlanders
shuttling obstinately
between bawn and mossland.
MacMorris, gallivanting
around the Globe, whinged
to courtier and groundling
who had heard tell of us
as going very bare
of learning, as wild hares,
as anatomies of death:
“What ish my nation?”
And sensibly, though so much
later, the wandering Bloom
replied, “Ireland,” said Bloom,
“I was born here. Ireland.”
Bogland – Seamus Heaney
for T. P. Flanagan
We have no prairies
To slice a big sun at evening–
Everywhere the eye concedes to
Encrouching horizon,

Is wooed into the cyclops’ eye
Of a tarn. Our unfenced country
Is bog that keeps crusting
Between the sights of the sun.

They’ve taken the skeleton
Of the Great Irish Elk
Out of the peat, set it up
An astounding crate full of air.

Butter sunk under
More than a hundred years
Was recovered salty and white.
The ground itself is kind, black butter

Melting and opening underfoot,
Missing its last definition
By millions of years.
They’ll never dig coal here,

Only the waterlogged trunks
Of great firs, soft as pulp.
Our pioneers keep striking
Inwards and downwards,

Every layer they strip
Seems camped on before.
The bogholes might be Atlantic seepage.
The wet centre is bottomless.
Song – Seamus Heaney
A rowan like a lipsticked girl.
Between the by-road and the main road
Alder trees at a wet and dripping distance
Stand off among the rushes.

There are the mud-flowers of dialect
And the immortelles of perfect pitch
And that moment when the bird sings very close
To the music of what happens.
“Lightenings viii” – Seamus Heaney
The annals say: when the monks of Clonmacnoise
Were all at prayers inside the oratory
A ship appeared above them in the air.
The anchor dragged along behind so deep
It hooked itself into the altar rails
And then, as the big hull rocked to a standstill,
A crewman shinned and grappled down a rope
And struggled to release it. But in vain.
`This man can’t bear our life here and will drown,’
The abbot said, `Unless we help him.’ So
They did, the freed ship sailed and the man climbed back
Out of the marvelous as he had known it.

more soon.


August 2, 2005
by gwyllm

Tuesday once more….

My sister Rebecca has been visiting from California. She came up after a 10 day seminar in Ashland, with Jean Houston. She came up on that wave of energy that I so enjoy. Triple Gemini for those that are into all that. We have had a great time, and it was a family evening on Sunday night around the passing of Mike Firpo. Lots of laughter, and do you remember whens….
Back up the wall today, painting and patching on a customers house. Managed to mangle my hand in the process with a scraper. Butterfly band-aids are wonderful devices.
Went to the local pub tonight (Bridgeport) for dinner, and then to Powells. I picked up a collection of Seamus Heaney Poems. (3 in this edition of Turfing)
Have a good one…

Ah, John Titor! (remember when?)
When it’s in the game, it’s in the brain!
Laser scan reveals skills that built the standing stones
Teotihuacan tombs found during Mexico dig
Mexico City – Mexican archaeologists who were carrying out exploratory digs came upon a pre-Hispanic domestic altar and three tombs in an area near the famed Teotihuacan pyramids, 50km north-east of Mexico City.
The National Anthropology and History Institute (INAH) said on Wednesday that the discoveries were made in the central marketplace of San Juan Teotihuacan, a town located two kilometres from the Teotihuacan site.
The altar, measuring one metre by 25cm, is from approximately 450 AD, the age of splendour of Teotihuacan, a magnificent city with thousands of structures, among them the Sun and Moon pyramids and the Passageway of the Dead.
Archaeologists also unearthed ceramic ware and the remains of four infants inside vases, a youth and an adult.
The excavations were the first to be carried out in the Teotihuacan marketplace, which has been used as a market for more than a hundred years. But archaeologists had found some pre-Hispanic remains nearby, which led them to order the preliminary digging. – Sapa-dpa
Three Poems by Seamus Heaney…

The Tollund Man

Some day I will go to Aarhus
To see his peat-brown head,
The mild pods of his eye-lids,
His pointed skin cap.
In the flat country near by
Where they dug him out,
His last gruel of winter seeds
Caked in his stomach,
Naked except for
The cap, noose and girdle,
I will stand a long time.
Bridegroom to the goddess,
She tightened her torc on him
And opened her fen,
Those dark juices working
Him to a saint’s kept body,
Trove of the turfcutters’
Honeycombed workings.
Now his stained face
Reposes at Aarhus.
I could risk blasphemy,
Consecrate the cauldron bog
Our holy ground and pray
Him to make germinate
The scattered, ambushed
Flesh of labourers,
Stockinged corpses
Laid out in the farmyards,
Tell-tale skin and teeth
Flecking the sleepers
Of four young brothers, trailed
For miles along the lines.
Something of his sad freedom
As he rode the tumbril
Should come to me, driving,
Saying the names
Tollund, Grauballe, Nebelgard,
Watching the pointing hands
Of country people,
Not knowing their tongue.
Out here in Jutland
In the old man-killing parishes
I will feel lost,
Unhappy and at home.

The Otter

When you plunged
The light of Tuscany wavered
And swung through the pool
From top to bottom.
I loved your wet head and smashing crawl,
Your fine swimmer’s back and shoulders
Surfacing and surfacing again
This year and every year since.
I sat dry-throated on the warm stones.
You were beyond me.
The mellowed clarities, the grape-deep air
Thinned and disappointed.
Thank God for the slow loadening,
When I hold you now
We are close and deep
As the atmosphere on water.
My two hands are plumbed water.
You are my palpable, lithe
Otter of memory
In the pool of the moment,
Turning to swim on your back,
Each silent, thigh-shaking kick
Re-tilting the light,
Heaving the cool at your neck.
And suddenly you’re out,
Back again, intent as ever,
Heavy and frisky in your freshened pelt,
Printing the stones.
Lovers on Aran

The timeless waves, bright, sifting, broken glass,
Came dazzling around, into the rocks,
Came glinting, sifting from the Americas
To posess Aran. Or did Aran rush
to throw wide arms of rock around a tide
That yielded with an ebb, with a soft crash?
Did sea define the land or land the sea?
Each drew new meaning from the waves’ collision.
Sea broke on land to full identity.

Hymn to Lord Shiva
No guru can give you realisation;
this you can only attain for yourself.
The guru can guide and show the way,
but the disciple must do the practice.
– Ashes of the Book 3, Dadaji
(Homage to the Auspicious One, Teacher and Absolute)
I bow to the Feet of the Naked Lord Shiva,
Whose Body is Pure, Immaculate Consciousness.
I bow to the Cosmic Power, Shiva-Shakti,
Manifestation of the Cosmic Consciousness.
I bow to Shankara, Lord of Mount Kailash,
I bow to the Feet of His Consort, Uma Devee
I bow to the Feet of all Tantrik Gurus
This is the sunset hour when the Lord Shiva,
Mahadev, Lord of Destruction, Ghosts and Spirits,
Riding the divine Nanda, His favorite bull,
Goes through the World of men to observe
And with His Three Eyes sees the souls of men.
I worship the Lord in His form as the Shiva Lingam,
Symbol of His creative energy and regeneration.
There is none like Him, higher or greater
In all the three worlds of His creation.
Those who wish to break the bonds of ignorance
And seek the attainment of Atma-Jnana,
Follow the pattern He has set for the disciples,
Even to be naked as He, the Lord of All Souls.
Though this fleshy and painful human body
Is only fit to be the food of wild beasts,
Foolish people still dress and adorn themselves
With costly clothes, ornaments and perfumes,
Mistaking the body for the real self or soul.
Such as they laugh at Shiva and His saints
Mock the Lord and His devoted followers
Not understanding that the real purpose
Is to teach the uselessness of the body,
That it is only like an impermanent temple
Whereas, in reality, they am pure divine souls.
Thus does the Lord Shiva go completely naked
With the body smeared with sacred ashes
Wearing matted hair and a garland of bones.
He teaches men to lose their regard for body,
Spurn the Quest for wealth, name and fame,
Expect no reward for religious devotion,
To seek only union with Shiva as Absolute.
He, Mahadev, is the cause of the vast universe
And Maya (Illusion) is His Eternal Slave.
He is the Cosmic Absolute in visible form
Whose consciousness and deeds are inscrutable.
I bow to Shiva Vishwanath, Lord of the World,
The Actionless Lord Beyond All Actions,
Beyond the web of duties and obligations,
Free and unattached like the Solar Orb,
Dwelling in cemeteries rather than cities,
In forest groves rather than temples
His is the Natural World beyond all shame.
His Thousand Names are inadequate to describe
But when men know Him, they will have everything.
On that note… have a conscious day!

August 1, 2005
by gwyllm

In Memoriam

Mike Firpo

Well, this last week we have been dealing with the death and passing of my Nephew’s Dad, Mike Firpo. It has been a rough time for them – not easy to lose your Father when you are 20. Then, it is never easy to lose a love one as we all know.
Mike Firpo is/was and original. Born in New York in 1940, to a Puerto Rican Dad from a Portuguese background, Gonzalo (Poppi) and a Mom from Germany, Ana (Omi). He always had an artistic bent. His family encouraged it. The older of 2 siblings, he and his sister Karen grew up in Queens.
Mike later went to Queens College and then migrated to Pratt Institute of Art.
During the early 60’s he moved to Europe, first to Florence, and then with his Florentine friend, Gionni Coccorini, travelled around Southern Europe in an ancient 2 stroke Audi, making a film with 16mm about Gaudi whilst in Barcelona.
Art was the ruling passion of Mike. His favourite haunts were MOMA and the MET. Mary and I enjoyed a wonderful time with him over several days prowling New York in and out of museums before my nephews were born. We were on our way back to Europe, and Mike and my sister Suzanne were living next to Washington Square in the village. I had always enjoyed New York, but seeing it through Mike’s eyes was a revelation. He played such a good host that we forgot our flight! It was an expensive day, but the time spent with Mike and Suzanne were worth it.
He was proceeded in death by his Father and Mother, as well as his daughter Gabriella. He is survived by his sons Andrew and Ethan, and his sister Karen.
We all miss him.
I hope to write some more on him in days to come, and to share some of his art and photography as well as some great stories…
Here is to his passing, the world was made better by his time here!
See you when I do Mike. Thanks for the love and the friendship. You will always be a brother.

Alfred Lord Tennyson – A Farewell
Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
Thy tribute wave deliver:
No more by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.
Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,
A rivulet then a river:
Nowhere by thee my steps shall be
For ever and for ever.
But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.
A thousand suns will stream on thee,
A thousand moons will quiver;
But not by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.
Emily Dickinson – Some things that fly there be
Some things that fly there be —
Birds — Hours — the Bumblebee —
Of these no Elegy.
Some things that stay there be —
Grief — Hills — Eternity —
Nor this behooveth me.
There are that resting, rise.
Can I expound the skies?
How still the Riddle lies!
So it is a short one today. more later, and I hope this finds you all in a good place.