It’s My Party & …. (05/2008)
A Dream of 3 Swords & Sorrow (09/2008)
A Final Fling (06/2008)
Ace, 5, the Whole Megilla
The wounded stone
Rises in the blood
Like any Cell
The great professors cogitate
All the supreme distinctions
Mumble in the offing
In the final divagation
There is no word but one
That must (not) appear
Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 07.08.08
Anticipation of the Night
On many Greek shields, as depicted on classic ceramic vessels, one can find a not-quite formidable, conventional image of the head of Medusa-with-her-tongue-hanging-out-the mortal Gorgon slain by Perseus and presented to his patroness, Athena, daughter of Zeus, who holds the aegis. Athena fixed the Gorgon head to the aegis, where it remains, the original for that image on the shields, formidable indeed.
Before Perseus encountered her, the fear of Medusa (or was it one of the other snake-haired, subterranean maidens? There were three-but only Medusa was subject to such treatment as Perseus meted out to her)-it was the fear of seeing a Gorgon that sent Odysseus out of Hades before he had had his fill of interviews with the illustrious dead. He was apprehensive that Persephone would soon find tedious his intrusion into the regions of Chthon and cause the terrible head to appear before him. Circe had not had to tell him that one glance at the Gorgon would turn a man into a statue, i.e., turn a man to stone.
Another turn on the turning to stone business no doubt is reflected in Dante, where Virgil has to break the poet’s attention to the fascinating torments of the damned lest his soul become a fixture of that fascination.
Parmenides called the tribe of ordinary mortals “utterly astonished ones,” as a characterization of our wonted processes of cognition: that the manner in which we traverse existence, with our differentiation of the properties of things according to such polarities as Day and Night-demonstrates that we are already turned to stone: something we have seen, no doubt, being responsible for the thrall under which we labor, lost in the common world.
But Night in an earlier mythology was an awesome goddess with her own provenance, not the contrary of daylight merely (Hesiod, for instance, says that Day and bright Aether were progeny of Night), but the mother and granddam of all darkly tinctured generalities, also, awesome, goddesses:
And Night bore hateful Destiny and black Fate
and death and Sleep and the tribe of dreams;
and as a second brood, the goddess murky Night
gave birth to Blame and painful Woe,
though she slept with no one;
and also the Hesperides,
who care for the beautiful gold apples
and the fruit trees
beyond Okeanos, the glorious;
and she bore the Destinies and the cruel-avenging Fates:
Klotho and Lachesis and Atropos,
who give to mortals at birth
good or ill.
They pursue the transgressions of men and gods,
nor do these goddesses relent
from their uncanny anger
until they’ve doled out their judgment
on whomever has missed the mark.
And grievous Night gave birth to Nemesis,
an affliction to mortals,
and Friendship and Deceit and terrible Old Age
and strong-spirited Eris, that is, Strife.
Hesiod goes on to enumerate the progeny of Eris. But you get the notion.
Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 14.08.08
Basil Valentine Forges a Sword for the DL
off at the edge you begin to see
that the real hot
not like your aunt’s kitchen range
the blue of devils that rule the common red
the blue of sky that fries the earth in Aphrica
and freezes the earth last night in Annandale
tho it’s only October, go figure,
it is Poseidon after all again
licks us with his blue tongue.
Robert Kelly, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, 07-10-08
What the River Brought (09/2008)
“Pouring from the Empty into the Void” (10/2008)