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I did not know it was possible to set one's face to the hillside.


I thought I was smelling flowers, watching waves.


But, apparently, I set my face to the hillside. Here's how I know:


The act:



Some hours after this as-of-yet unnamed act, I listen to as-of-yet undiscovered music, intrigued I am! What ís this music?


The naming:



Aha.


So it goes.

-


The band is called Tortoise.


The album is called TNT.


An album called TNT, by a band called Tortoise???


On this album, twelve songs, all with interesting titles!?


A story unfolds.


Let's make a poem!



Recipe against disaster


TNT, it's dynamite, they say

Blow yourself out of your hell

Be Swung From the Gutters

And allow yourself a Ten-Day Interval

Of nothingness

Then, find some fresh air to hit the nostrils

- walk, go and be in nature


What I usually do is,

I Set My Face to the Hillside (whatever that means)

and inhale all that is there.


Now, refreshed: time for some warmth.

Best found, again, outside, not inside

(the recipe FOR disaster, after all, is brewed ínside)


So, let's go,

to

The Equator.

But remember : don't hurry!

For haste is cultural disease number one

So, no haste!


There once was a spaceman,

always wanting to go further and faster

he even found a simple way to go faster than light.

Alas,

it turned out it was, in the end

A Simple Way to Go Faster Than Light That Does Not Work.

For going faster than light,

there is no point,

simple or hard way,

no way, it works.

'Slow down', the light spoke to the spaceman

and so he, and we, return,

back home,

to earth.


Moving towards the middle,

the equator,

one has to cross a few bridges.


Most figurative, some literal

often, both,

like The Suspension Bridge at Iguazú Falls.

the fall is deep, the sky is steep,

the air is green and the bridge quite mean.


Don't hesitate, keep on walking,

'go, don't look back,' the old stories tell us.

Suspended in mid-air, you walk.

You're getting closer,

no haste!

rest.


This time,

take a Four-Day Interval.

Like spices they are, these intervals,

a pinch here, a splash there,

too little and it dulls the senses

too much and the equilibrium

is broken.


Take a deep breath,

smell the potion

and

take a trip inside.


is there beginning, end?

where did you start, is there a goal?

stop thinking and start listening

it’s all the same?


A seemingly quite astute paper written by Mencken,

read out by Christ on the Cross, laughing his ass off, somehow

all made it into Beethoven’s fifth,

This is Sarah’s thesis; she flunks, what now?

A big fire, and they’re all there, all and more

dancing, it’s ok, we’re all here.

In Sarah, Mencken, Christ, and Beethoven There Were Women and Men

In all of us, everyone, but not faster than light,

not always, not never,

Almost Always is Nearly Enough,

you reach out

and wake up

on a Jetty.


You're in the liminal space

between water and earth

between going and arriving


one last look back


one last look ahead


one last look around


Everglades

Everglade

Ever glad

Ever gliding


See you later, crocodile.





walking,

the feeling of having lost something.

my most essential part.

where to find it?


you open a book, the chapter reads 'on separation',

you read:





SOMETIMES I FORGET COMPLETELY


Sometimes I forget completely

what companionship is.

Unconscious and insane, I spill sad

energy everywhere. My story

gets told in various ways: a romance,

a dirty joke, a war, a vacancy.


Divide up my forgetfulness to any number,

it will go around.

These dark suggestions that I follow,

are they part of some plan?

Friends, be careful. Don’t come near me

out of curiosity, or sympathy.


-

The poet is Rumi, the words

eight hundred years old,

but brand new

reading what you lost,

somehow

the loss is less

- but still, don't come near me


you keep reading



MY WORST HABIT


My worst habit is I get so tired of winter

I become a torture to those I’m with.


If you’re not here, nothing grows.

I lack clarity. My words

tangle and knot up.


How to cure bad water? Send it back to the river.

How to cure bad habits? Send me back to you.


When water gets caught in habitual whirlpools,

dig a way out through the bottom

to the ocean. There is a secret medicine

given only to those who hurt so hard

they can’t hope.


The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.


Look as long as you can at the friend you love,

no matter whether that friend is moving away from you

or coming back toward you.






-

I started looking,

less loss,

but the friend I love seems to be moving away.


no matter.

keep looking


keep reading:



AN EMPTY GARLIC


You miss the garden,

because you want a small fig from a random tree

You don’t meet the beautiful woman.

You’re joking with an old crone.

(...)

Let yourself be silently drawn

by the stronger pull of what you really love.


-

yes, yes, this loss is my loss

this garden is my garden.


a dear friend once sent me this poem

of a garden untended:



THE WIND, ONE BRILLIANT DAY


The wind, one brilliant day, called

to my soul with an odor of jasmine.


'In return for the odor of my jasmine,

I'd like all the odor of your roses.'


'I have no roses; all the flowers

in my garden are dead.'


'Well then, I'll take the withered petals

and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain.'


the wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:

'What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?'



Below, a beautiful reading of the poem:



-

how to water your garden?

find a well

and dive in


is it bad water?

send it to the river

does it get caught in habitual whirlpools?

dig a way out through the bottom

to the ocean


and


walk



and


listen


listen with ears opened

otherwise it's just sound


how to open your ears?

i don't know

- let go


it happened

I listened

and

I heard

this song:




I listen

not just sounds,

also words,


Open on all channels

Ready to receive

Cause we're not at the mercy

Of your chimeras and spells

Your chimeras and spells

...

We are of the earth

To her we do return

...

(One day at a time)

One day at a time

...

The numbers don't decide

The system is a lie

A river running dry

...

We'll take back what is ours

Take back what is ours


One day at a time

-

Open, ready to receive,

one day at a time.

That's all it ever is, ever can be.


my eyes see a bit more

my ears hear a bit more

there is a bit more

the loss is less


slowly, returning

back into the world

through the well

always

through the well

(no shortcuts)


‘Let yourself be silently drawn

by the stronger pull of what you really love.’












A bird, catching a poem in flight

or the poem catching the bird, in type

reminding me of some wild swans

that William Butler Yeats once saw,

supposedly.



All I know is, he wrote a poem about them.


I know this because I JUST read it, from this book (on the left, the one on the right will have its role to play later in the play):





And here, the poem:


The Wild Swans at Coole

The trees are in their autumn beauty, The woodland paths are dry, Under the October twilight the water Mirrors a still sky; Upon the brimming water among the stones Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me Since I first made my count; I saw, before I had well finished, All suddenly mount And scatter wheeling in great broken rings Upon their clamorous wings. I have looked upon those brilliant creatures, And now my heart is sore. All's changed since I, hearing at twilight, The first time on this shore, The bell-beat of their wings above my head, Trod with a lighter tread. Unwearied still, lover by lover, They paddle in the cold Companionable streams or climb the air; Their hearts have not grown old; Passion or conquest, wander where they will,

Attend upon them still. But now they drift on the still water, Mysterious, beautiful; Among what rushes will they build, By what lake's edge or pool Delight men's eyes when I awake some day To find they have flown away?


-


"Unwearied still, lover by lover, They paddle in the cold"

and

"But now they drift on the still water, Mysterious, beautiful;"


Reminds me of THE SWEETEST BOOK OF ALL TIME, which makes the swans a bit more relatable (this is where ‘the book on the right’ comes into play):



While looking up Yeats's swans in the book, my eye fell on some hermits. Three, to be precise. I, being at least part hermit, was intrigued. And lo and behold! More birds! A singing bird no less! But this time, and very significantly so, an unheard song.


Although, perhaps Siegfried Sassoon (the poet of the first poem, keep up please) also heard an unheard song. A song just below the surface, a song that is always there, wordless, and never done.


Anyway, back to the singing hermit bird, again, by Yeats:


The Three Hermits

Three old hermits took the air By a cold and desolate sea, First was muttering a prayer, Second rummaged for a flea; On a windy stone, the third, Giddy with his hundredth year, Sang unnoticed like a bird: 'Though the Door of Death is near And what waits behind the door, Three times in a single day I, though upright on the shore, Fall asleep when I should pray.' So the first, but now the second: 'We're but given what we have eamed When all thoughts and deeds are reckoned, So it's plain to be discerned That the shades of holy men Who have failed, being weak of will, Pass the Door of Birth again, And are plagued by crowds, until They've the passion to escape.' Moaned the other, 'They are thrown Into some most fearful shape. 'But the second mocked his moan: 'They are not changed to anything, Having loved God once, but maybe To a poet or a king Or a witty lovely lady.' While he'd rummaged rags and hair, Caught and cracked his flea, the third, Giddy with his hundredth year, Sang unnoticed like a bird. - And while googling the text of the Yeats poems, not wanting to transcribe, it appeared that 'The three hermits' is also a short story by Tolstoy. Connection? See for yourself, click here for a nice and short article on Tolstoy's story. Reminds me of a Rumi poemstory that I can't find right now. Oh well. For next time.

Back to the googly results then: there was more Yeats, more birds, and I couldn't resist. But I promise, these are the last birds of the night. White birds, again... but more of the sea loving kind, this time. Reminds me of a white bird I saw earlier, flying through a poem.



The White Birds

I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea! We tire of the flame of the meteor, before it can fade and flee; And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low on the rim of the sky, Has awaked in our hearts, my beloved, a sadness that may not die. A weariness comes from those dreamers, dew-dabbled, the lily and rose; Ah, dream not of them, my beloved, the flame of the meteor that goes, Or the flame of the blue star that lingers hung low in the fall of the dew: For I would we were changed to white birds on the wandering foam: I and you! I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a Danaan shore, Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow come near us no more; Soon far from the rose and the lily and fret of the flames would we be, Were we only white birds, my beloved, buoyed out on the foam of the sea! - And so ends quite a birdy journey - happy paddling, flying or singing, and why not all three!








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