a bead in the bowl of a sea's horizons, kat 2019

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a bead in the bowl of a sea's horizons, kat 2019

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Editado: Dez 31, 2019, 10:57pm

Happy New Year CR and LT folks - may it be healthy, happy and as peaceful as possible, may kindness, forgiveness and cooperation break out.

Last year's thread can be found here - http://www.librarything.com/topic/278176

I've been a bit busy and just thought of this title for the thread in the last few days after the image of that open water rowing facing encompassment of blue horizons. And as I sit listening to Jools and Glasto I've written this -- don't fear, undoubtedly I'm just being all poetic, from thinking about the bowl suggesting the centre sinks (me being literal, which I hadn't started out as here). I'm ok.

a bead in the bowl of a sea's horizons

suddenly the sea has sunk beneath me
stomach dropped my open water rower's ease
no land in sight adrift no freedom
in directionless dreams' free heading
in weathering those perfect storms
the circumference has swollen to tsunami
gravitating back to envelopment
the sea as promised may feast on beads
that plead a strange perfect geometry
the sea to be left calm rippleless sated

(K.H / A.H 1 Jan 2019)

The title may be better without the poem, or may need another, to reassert beadness in the bowl of horizons even when they don't seem to be doubling back in, and we shall see, and many things are seen at sea, I understand, and many things happen at sea, we all know. (later 1/1/19).

Finished this year:

Editado: Dez 23, 2019, 1:29pm

"Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambī in the siṁsapā forest. Then, picking up a few siṁsapā leaves with his hand, he asked the monks, “What do you think, monks? Which are more numerous, the few siṁsapā leaves in my hand or those overhead in the siṁsapā forest?”

“The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the forest are far more numerous.”

“In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but haven’t taught are far more numerous (than what I have taught). And why haven’t I taught them? Because they aren’t connected with the goal, don’t relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and don’t lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to unbinding. That’s why I haven’t taught them.

“And what have I taught? ‘This is stress … This is the origination of stress … This is the cessation of stress … This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress’: This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to unbinding. This is why I have taught them.”"

- Siṁsapā Sutta
- Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu. Handful of Leaves: An Anthology from the Sutta Piṭaka (Kindle Locations 7-17). Metta Forest Monastery. Kindle Edition.

"Most of us want to know what the self is. This is a big problem. I am trying to understand why you have this problem. It seems to me that even though you try to understand who you are, it is an endless task, and you will never see yourself. You say that to sit without thinking is difficult, but it will be even more difficult to think about your self. To reach a conclusion is almost impossible, and if you continue trying, you become crazy, and you won't know what to do with your self"

- Shunryu Suzuki, not always so, 'Wherever I Go, I meet Myself', p107.

"I’ve given up work and forsaken my livelihood.

Instead I write poetry.

My sight, my heart, my life belong to Him.

All three words I have woven into one, LOVE."

- Rumi: Whispers of the Beloved by Mowlana Jallaledin Mohamad Rumi, translated by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin, HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Just as the ego needs to balance its viewpoints by going to the unconscious, so also does the unconscious need to be balanced by the attitudes of the conscious mind.

Remember Jung’s observation: He said that the ego’s relationship to the huge unconscious is like that of a tiny cork floating in the ocean. We often feel like that. We feel like a cork that is being tossed about in the ocean of life, completely at the mercy of the waves and storms that push and pull us. We seem to have little control or power over anything.

Jung continued his analogy with a startling thing: The cork is nevertheless morally equal to the ocean, because it has the power of consciousness! Although the ego is small, it has this peculiar power of awareness that we call consciousness, and that special, concentrated power gives it a position that is as necessary, as strong, and as valuable as the seemingly infinite richness of the unconscious. The little cork can talk back to the ocean, and has a viewpoint to contribute, one without which the evolution of consciousness cannot proceed. The ego can talk back, and this makes the dialogue one between equals.

- Johnson, Robert A.. Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth (p. 184). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

"Good morning," said the little prince.
"Good morning," said the merchant.
This was a merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. You need only swallow one pill a week, and you would feel no need of anything to drink.
"Why are you selling those?" asked the little prince.
"Because they save a tremendous amount of time," said the merchant. "Computations have been made by experts. With these pills, you save fifty-three minutes in every week."
"And what do I do with those fifty-three minutes?"
"Anything you like . . ."
"As for me," said the little prince to himself, "if I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water."

- de Saint-Exupéry, Antoine. The little prince . Kindle Edition.

"Happy is the moment when with compassion
you caress the lover's head.
Happy is the moment when the breeze
of spring arises from the depths of autumn.

Happy is the moment when with a cup of wine
the Beloved invites you to the gathering,
that immortal wine makes every atom rejoice.

Happy is the moment when the Beloved
demands a promise and sweetly accepts your pledge.

Happy is the moment when the heart says,
“I have not yet planted my garden.”
and you reply, “Whatever you plant shall grow.”

Happy is the moment when separation
bids you, “Good night.”

Happy is the moment when dawn
greets you, “Good morning.”

Happy is the moment when Love
wrapped in the cloud of divine grace
rains pearls upon the desert."

- Rumi. Rumi's Little Book of Life (p. 132). Hampton Roads Publishing. Kindle Edition. translated by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin.

". . .
Be ready, change will come. Be brave,
I know that you’ll be good at this."

- from Other Branches Campbell, Niall. Noctuary . Bloodaxe Books. Kindle Edition.

" . . . The bees are hot and busy inside the hive, and maybe if I can understand them better I might learn something important about how to live.

Thinking this, I feel a flash of kinship with François Huber; his withdrawal to a place where he could reconceptualise the hive, create a world afresh. There’s a loneliness about a situation like that; it makes for a lot of disjunction when the world beyond your fence doesn’t match up with the one you’ve built inside your head. Huber wanted to demystify the colony, and so change beekeeping practices everywhere; I imagine the intense detail in his letters must have been due in part to the criticism he anticipated from among his peers. It’s a difficult kind of longing to carry around, wanting the world to be otherwise – to bend its shape, let something new in, accommodate you; and it can trap just as surely as it can set free."

- Jukes, Helen. A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings . Scribner UK. Kindle Edition.

"There were four kilometres altogether of this fence; for five months we stood facing each other like this, and there wasn’t anything we didn’t say to each other, Masha and I, but always there was this fence between us. After we’d painted two kilometres of it, one day I’d done just as high as Masha’s mouth with this red colour, and I told her that I loved her, and she, from her side, had painted just up to there, too, and she said that she loved me, too … and she looked into my eyes, and, as this was in a ditch and among tall goosefoot plants, I put out my lips, and we kissed through the newly painted fence, and when we opened our eyes she had a sort of tiny red fence-pale striped across her mouth, and so had I, and we burst out laughing, and from that moment on we were happy."

- Hrabal, Bohumil. Closely Watched Trains (Penguin Modern Classics) (p. 31). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

"And as with the bird, so with the lily: it keeps silent. Even though it stands and suffers while it withers, it keeps silent. The innocent child cannot dissemble—nor is it required that it do so, and it is the child’s good fortune that it cannot, for truly, the art of dissembling is purchased dearly."

- Kierkegaard, Søren. The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air (pp. 27-28). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

"This story, like so many stories, begins with a gift. The gift, like so many gifts, was a book – and the book was given to me by a man called Don, with whom I became friends in Beijing during the autumn and winter of 2000."

- Macfarlane, Robert. The Gifts of Reading (p. 1). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

"Instead of fanatical faith in one truth, the Sufis discovered that the only universal truth is that all revelation is unique. They learned that God reveals Itself to those who experience It as a being with many faces and forms. They also discovered that there was one face for each person, and that by revealing Itself in this way, God manifested every aspect of Its being."

- Raff, Jeffrey. The Practice of Ally Work (Jung on the Hudson Books) (p. 8). Nicolas-Hays, Inc. Kindle Edition.

"“But your reading will be even better then, after a lifetime of thought and effort, because it will come from conscious understanding. Grace attained like that is deeper and fuller than grace that comes freely, and furthermore, once you’ve gained it, it will never leave you.”"

- Pullman, Philip. The Amber Spyglass: His Dark Materials 3 (p. 491). RHCP. Kindle Edition.

"The humans use Arecibo to look for extraterrestrial intelligence. Their desire to make a connection is so strong that they’ve created an ear capable of hearing across the universe. But I and my fellow parrots are right here. Why aren’t they interested in listening to our voices? We’re a nonhuman species capable of communicating with them. Aren’t we exactly what humans are looking for?"

- Chiang, Ted. The Great Silence (Electric Literature's Recommended Reading) . Electric Literature. Kindle Edition.

"She had asked: What is he? A friend or an enemy?
The alethiometer answered: He is a murderer.
When she saw the answer, she relaxed at once. He could find food, and show her how to reach Oxford, and those were powers that were useful, but he might still have been untrustworthy or cowardly. A murderer was a worthy companion. She felt as safe with him as she’d done with Iorek Byrnison the armoured bear.
She swung the shutter across the open window so the morning sunlight wouldn’t strike in on his face, and tiptoed out."

- Pullman, Philip. The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials 2 (p. 28). RHCP. Kindle Edition.

"There's a tenth century Welsh myth about Taliesin, the archetype poet, which catches this nicely. The legend's very elaborate, and I'm going to come back to it later but, suffice it to say here that there's a witch, a magic potion and a servant involved. Ceridwen, a wise woman, employs a servant, Gwion to stir a cauldron brewing a drink that endows wisdom; she intends to give this to her son. At the crucial moment, Gwion imbibes the drops of poetic inspiration. When she wakes up, Ceridwen is furious. In terror, Gwion turns himself into a hare, but Ceridwen changes into a greyhound to hunt him; Gwion disguises himself as an ear of corn, Ceridwen, transforms herself into a hen, eats him ad then gives birth to him. The only way to be safe is to assent to continual metamorphosis. In the end, Gwion is cat out to sea in skin, a symbolic womb, for forty years, and turns into the poet Taliesin. The sea will be an important prt of my next lecture, but I just want to note here that the wily boy doesn't become a poet until he submits himself to oceanic forces."

- Gwyneth Lewis, Quantum Poetics, Bloodaxe Books, p.17.

"The little parlour I the Benedictine Priory smelt strongly of polish; the four chairs, the table, the floors, the window frame gleamed in repose of the polish, as if these wooden things themselves hd done some hard industry that day before dawn. Outside, the late October evening sun lit up the front garden strip, and Caroline while she waited in the parlour could hear the familiar incidence of birds ad footsteps from the suburban street. She knew this parlour well, with its polish; she had come here weekly for three months to receive her instruction for the Church. She watched a fly alight on the table for a moment; it seemed to Caroline to be in a highly dangerous predicament, as if it might break through the glossy surface on which it skated. But it made off quite easily. Caroline jogged round nervously as the door opened. Then she rose as the priest came in, her friend, geing Father Jerome. She had known him for so many years that she could not remember their first meeting. They hd been n touch d out of touch for long periods. Ad when, after she had decided to enter the Church, and she went weekly to his Priory, her friends said,
'Why do you go so far out from London for instruction? Why don't you go to Farm Street?' Caroline replied, 'Well, I know this priest.'
And if they were Catholics, her friends would say. 'Oh it doesn't matter about the particular priest. The nearest priest is always the best one.'
And Caroline replied, 'Well, I know this priest.'"

- Muriel Spark, The Comforters Macmillan & Co Ltd. pp62-63.

""That's the duty of the old," said the Librarian, "to be anxious on behalf of the young. And the duty of the young is to scorn the anxiety of the old."
They sat for a while longer, and then parted, for it was late, and they were old and anxious."

- Philip Pullman, Northern Lights p33

"And yet there's something we were never told.

Even in these modern times, what half-heartedly is described as mystical perception is always pushed to the periphery. When it's not denied it's held at arm's length - out there at the margins of society. But what we haven't been told is that a spiritual tradition lies at the very roots of western civilisation."

- Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom pp 6-7

"Parmenides' reputation as the inventor of logic rests on a poem he wrote. And already here we encounter something strange. There was no need for him to write poetry. He could just as easily have used dry prose instead.

It's quite true that for a long time he has been dismissed as a bad poet. But this is a judgement based on pure prejudice. It goes back to the old belief, first formulated with any clarity by Aristotle, that logic and poetry have nothing in common - and that if someone concerned with finding the truth even thinks of becoming a poet then the result will be a disaster.

The fact is that Parmenides' poem is not a disaster. A few modern scholars who have tried to approach his writings with fresh eyes have realized he created some of the most beautiful and subtle lines of poetry ever written in any language, not just Greek. And besides this dismissal of Parmenides as a poet stems from an assumption that the basic aim of poetry is to entertain. As we will gradually see, Parmenides' poem served a very different purpose."

- Peter Kingsley, Reality, pp23-24

"This is the place Abaris appeared from. Or at least that was how he came to be called.

And just the same as with other remarkable people who seemed half human, half something else as they moved among the Greeks, he also had a nickname he was known by. His was Skywalker.

But there is something I almost forgot.

When Abaris Skywalker arrived he was travelling in a trance. As he went around Greece he walked in a state of ecstasy, holding a god inside him - the god Apollo."

- Peter Kingsley, A Story Waiting to Pierce You, pp3-4.

"The mares that carry me as far as longing can reach
rode on, once they had come and fetched me onto the legendary
road of the divinity that carries the man who knows
through the vast and dark unknown. And on I was carried
as the mares, aware just where to go, kept carrying me
straining at the chariot; and young women led the way.
And the axle in the hubs let out the sound of a pipe . . . "

Parmenides, from fragment 1, translated by Peter Kingsley in In the Dark Places of Wisdom p 53.


"The car that bears me carried me as far as ever my heart desired,
when it had brought me and set me on the renowned way
of the goddess, which leads the man who knows through all the towns.
On that way was I borne along; for on it did the wise steeds carry me,
drawing my car, and maidens showed the way.
And the axle, glowing in the socket--
for it was urged round by the whirling
wheels at each end gave forth a sound as of a pipe, . . . "

Parmenides, from fragment 1, translated by John Burnet

"His gold medicine would cure the soul of people. We would call it psychological healing through getting in contact with the Self, or with the process of individuation. At the same time Dorn's method keeps the body healthy and cures it, because it induces man to lead a moderate way of life. This medicine also makes peace between enemies and gives life back to half-dead people and health to dead bodies.

Dorn concludes by saying; "This medicine which I now mention, this child, or this gold form, is really a resurrection of the Holy Ghost." He thus links up with the Christian weltanschauung."

- Marie Louise von Franz, alchemical active imagination p51

". . .

'The soul exceeds its circumstances.' Yes.
History not to be granted the last word
Or the first claim . . . In the end I gathered
From the display-case peat my staying powers,
Told my webbed wrists to be like silver birches,
My old uncalloused hands to be young sward,
The spade-cut skin to heal, and got restored
by telling myself this. . . . "

- Seamus Heaney, from 'The Tollund Man in Springtime' (4th sonnet) in District and Circle

"It is written in the oldest legends that all are born in prison. This prison is all they know. Literature describes life in it. Religion hints at redemption from it. Having lived here all their lives, humans have ceased to see it as a prison."

- Ben Okri, The Freedom Artist p3.

"Everything I lost was found again.
I tasted wine in my mouth.
My heart was like a firefly; it moved
Through the darkest objects laughing.

There were enough reasons why this was happening
But I never stopped to think about them.
I could have said it was your face,
Could have said I'd . . . "

- Brian Patten, from 'Poem Written in the Street on a Rainy Evening', in Collected Love Poems

Editado: Mar 5, 2019, 7:09pm

'Immortal Diamond' Jay Ramsay speaking of visionary poetry and his anthology with Andrew Harvey Diamond Cutters
Jay passed away in late December. I had a brief contact with him last year but did not know him and sorry I won't more.

Editado: Dez 31, 2019, 12:15am

film / theatre / tv 2019

1. Leave No trace d. Debra Granik (1/1/19)
2. The Revenant d. A. Inarritu (1/1/19)
3. Inversion d. Behnam Behzadi (7/1/19) Cinema
4. Hell or High Water d.David Mackenzie (12/1/19) re-vewing
5. Happy End d. Michael Haneke (21/1/19) Cinema
6. Instructions for the Cook: A Zen Master's Recipe for Living a Life that Matters d. Christof Wolf (27/1/19)
7. Les Gardiennes d. Xavier Beauvoir (4/2/19) Cinema
8. The Heiresses d. Marcelo Martinessi (18/2/19) Cinema
9. Roma d. Alfonso Cuaron (23/2/19) Cinema
10. In the Fade d. Fatih Akin (4/3/19) Cinema
11. True Detective series 3 (-9/3/19) tv
12. Under the Tree (Undir trénu) d. Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (18/3/19) Cinema
13. The OA part 2 tv
14. Foxtrot d. Samuel Maoz (1/4/19) Cinema
15. Gone Girl d. David Fincher (6/4/19)
16. Tomorrowland d. Brad Bird (7/4/19)
17. Shoplifters d. Kore-eda Hirokazu (14/4/19) Cinema
18. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs w & d. Joel and Ethan Coen (26/4/19)
19. The Block
20. The Breadwinner d. Nora Twomey (29/4/19) Cinema
21. Dead Man's Shoes d. Shane Meadows re-viewing (11/5/19)
22. Summer 1993 w. & d. Carla Simon (13/5/19) Cinema
23. Cold War w. & d. Pawel Pawlikowski (25/5/19)
24. The Snow Walker d. Charles Martin Smith (29/5/19) re-viewing
25. The Garden d. Jan Svankmajer (7/6/19) Cinema
26. Closely Observed Trains d. Jiri Menzel (7/6/19) Cinema
27. joey w. sean burn, theatre
28. Gladiator d. Ridley Scott re-viewing
29. A bag of fleas d. Vera Chytilová (20/6/19) Cinema
30. Daisies d. Vera Chytilová (20/6/19) Cinema
31. Classe tous risques d. Claude Sautet (2/7/19) Cinema
32. The Flat d. Jan Svankmajer (5/7/19) Cinema
33. The Cremator d. Juraj Herz (5/7/19) Cinema
34. Sicario 2 d.Stefano Sollima
35. The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia d. Jan Svankmajer (12/7/19) cinema
36. Larks on a String d. Jiri Menzel (12/7/19) Cinema
37. Man Up d. Ben Palmer (13/7/19)
38. The Hunted d. William Friedkin (13/7/19) (re-viewing)
39. The Other Side of Hope d. Aki Kaurismäki (2/8/19)
40. Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love d. Nick Broomfield (28/8/19) cinema
41. Shadowlands d. Richard Attenborough (re-viewing)
42. Red White & Blake w & d. Will Franken
44. encounters: In Lambeth
45. Bienvenido Mr. Marshall d. Luis Garcia Bernal
46. Wonder Boys d. Curtis Hanson re-viewing
47. Cria Cuervos d. Carlos Saura
48. Miracle in Milan d. Vittorio de Sica
50. Spiral (engrenages) saison 7. (tv)
51. The Kindergarten Teacher w & d. Sara Colangelo
some recent films, not been recording well:
52. The Kindergarten Teacher as above re-viewing, love it
53. Paterson d. Jim Jarmusch, re-viewing - love it too
54. The Legend of Bagger Vance d. Robert Redford - an old love of a film my loving has gone off the scale and a need to forgive and be forgiven, so beautiful (there is no scale to love, of course, eureka!)
55. Trumbo d. Jay Roach yes!
56. Colette d. Wash Westmoreland - maybe a bit hollywood, but fab, Keira you star whilst being star, its lovely, always loved Gigi - but for a gal like me, what's the fuss we have seen her (show a way), must read her to see what I can learn
57. Annihilation d. Alex Garland -- hmm, good, maybe even a love theme, but overall dreamed up annihilation, ok. Though it has struck me since that this film may have a powerful political reading. I also need to think of it better regarding love (or lack of it?).
58. Spotlight d. Tom McCarthy re-viewing - truth hidden, funny how that works, uncovered - re-viewing
59. The Middle Way w & d. Joe Grant - man gets somewhere
60. In the Mood for Love d. Wong Kar-Wai, re-viewing
61. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg w&d. Jacques Demy, m. Michel Legrand cinema --- Wow! the singing seemed to me to call tenderness from the actors, written in all they did and inscribed tenderly on my own heart. Truly wonderful, beautiful.
62. The Thin Red Line d. Terrence Malick re-viewing a few weeks ago, week or so before Bagger Vance - love this film
63. Cold War d. Pawel Pawlikowski re-viewing - also wonderful with what an ending - themes of identity and freedom against the allowances of the time, tender, raw, hearts trampled
64. Gladiator d. Ridley Scott, re-viewing
65. The Insider d. Michael Mann, re-viewing
66. A Good Year d. Ridley Scott, re-viewing - I hate it in some ways that i love this film, Finney great, need a chateau, but so does most of the world, it has a great pace and rhythm, and J'ai choisi
67. Devil in a Blue Dress d. , re-viewing
68. Casino Royale d. , re-viewing
69. Cleo de 5 à 7 d. Agnes Varda, re-viewing, perhaps my favourite of all films
70. Spectre d. re-viewing (it was on) - weird Bond mirror brother blofeld stuff

Jan 5, 2019, 3:09pm

A lovely poem and image, Kat. Happy 2019! And hope the Revenant in film was better than the book, (which I bailed on)

Editado: Fev 9, 2019, 11:24am

>5 dchaikin: thanks

I liked The Revenant, though for some of it I think I was at the same time writing that poem and other things. I followed it and focused properly a little way in. I loved the visuals and also the dream sequences, it was very immersive. I have a dim memory of hearing his story as a kid, but I'm not even sure if that was possible.

I'm going to rejig my labels a bit and be rigorous as to what goes into current reading and what goes elsewhere.

edit - I started reading Diamond Cutters (see >3 tonikat: ), which brought some poems by Lewis Thompson whose work i had only heard before - http://www.dharmacafe.com/philosophy-gnosis/lewis-thompsonenglands-great-poet-sa...

Editado: Jan 8, 2019, 10:32pm

Inversion (Varoonegi) d. Behnam Behzadi, Iran.


I've seen three Iranian films now I think, each of them memorable and beautiful.

This was made in 2016. A story of a woman, Niloofar, living in Tehran with her mother. Her mother, already ill, declines largely due to pollution affecting her lungs. Our heroine was just beginning to get to know an old admirer at the time. A this point her wider family intervene - the doctor orders her mother must go somewhere with better air. Her brother in debt and, we know from how he commandeers her car, no real respecter of her liberty and her sister, married to a man going somewhere materially, get together and decide she must go with her mother to look after her. No matter her ownership of a small business, at which she seems to do well. The ladies there like her, her niece (her sister's daughter) seems to like her too. She seems a lovely person, good natured, kind and organised, one who understands the best of how she is raised and true to that.

The plot develops - I won't spoil it with too much detail. It gets worse and her business is threatened further. There is a shot of her as the news has hit her, standing on a balcony just outside the business where the camera seemed to sway, it was the first I noticed this, was it handheld and unstable, but then when she comes down the stairs it is firm. I'm no film technician, but I am thinking I may love this film just for that shot alone - it seemed to sway in a way like the way she had just been rocked, maybe. Can I be right about this? It seems quite possible to me. I did not notice any other sway, as the next firm shot ended a touch of it maybe.

Niloofar is thoroughly tested in this film and quite resolute. Where does it go to - again I do not want to give that away. Though I saw significance in the ending with laughter and serious music whilst locked in a car. I think all the Iranian films I have seen have had cars in them and themes of driving in them, two in Tehran, where there seems a pollution issue (the other the wonderful 'Taste of Cherry'), it also seems to have significance in terms of being locked in to some sort of 'progress'

In many ways there seemed themes of innocence under threat from material progress, Niloofar and her niece seem to sum up that innocence. Her niece was also played in a wonderful performance with an actress with a lovely appearance and face that seemed made for silent movies to me, she conveyed so much in her eyes and expression. Both material change in Tehran and also how human beings make themselves in getting to where they want to go seemed themes. I only know in the broadest terms of the government of their country and religious orthodoxy there, I don't know how far those themes fit within that, and clearly there seemed some questioning of some direction. Further if it had maybe not religious but ethical themes they did not seem too different from those of other cultures -- or those of people valuing spirit above the material and questioning material progress (in some ways), in some ways we see Niloofar as respectful I think of traditions. There is overtly no religion shown as I remember, except for context and maybe reference in terms of ethics.

I just found it a lovely film. Niloofar questions patriarchy and how she is bullied and remains herself through it. In some ways to I wondered if it was a horror film somehow, a nightmare reality in which it becomes clear how little say she has about anything - and that seems highly questioning of culture, government and all. A subtle film that shows so much of life there and allows people to think. I hope it stays in my memory for a very long time, the acting throughout a huge part of its power, along with all else (writing, direction etc.) - in some ways it showed Tehran, not unlike how Rohmer approached Paris.

Jan 8, 2019, 11:56pm

Interesting film centred in Tehran. It is a long time since I was in Tehran, but a vivid memory is of a 4 line highway near the centre of town where nobody kept to their lanes. I should imagine it gets fairly smoggy there.

Jan 8, 2019, 12:32am

>1 tonikat: Love your "bead in a bowl" piece. Just lovely.

Jan 9, 2019, 6:31pm

You comments make me want to see the film. Curious about Tehran, if for no other reason.

Jan 9, 2019, 8:54pm

>8 baswood: and >10 dchaikin: thanks Bas and Dan - it does indeed get smoggy and this relates to the title i think, if I remember is it about temperature inversions that increase this? It is also a city with mountains around - and that too may interest you Dan, I think, I was reminded of this from the Hollywood film Argo, the backdrop they showed seemed beautiful. Reading Faces of Love: Hafez and the poets of Shiraz about poets from Shiraz, which in the times of those writers was famed for its beauty and gardens it has me thinking about Iran. Maybe I'll sail there across my sea, it may take a four figure number of nights, a genie or two, and many adventures, not least those only of my imagination in space and time.

>9 avaland: thanks :)

Fev 1, 2019, 11:30pm

Re films and poets - I saw Ruth Beckermann’s Die Geträumten, The Dreamed Ones (2016), tonight - a very nice film adaptation of the Ingeborg Bachmann/Paul Celan correspondence. Might be interesting if you haven’t seen it already.

Editado: Fev 1, 2019, 12:07am

I've wanted to see it since it was released. There was a Guardian interview about it i remember. is it available to buy or stream? One day, maybe.

Did you enjoy it? I think he piece I read spoke of the atcors' experiences of playing this and how powerful they foidn it.

Fev 2, 2019, 5:24am

>15 thorold: It’s available on MUBI at the moment.
It’s an odd way of staging things, but I found I did enjoy it and it was very intense to watch and quite moving. It really draws you in to think about how the actors are responding to the words they are reading.

Fev 3, 2019, 1:44pm

>15 thorold: thanks - I used to use mubi but never kept up. I remember being struck by what the actors said of how they responded. Do you read Celan? His attention to words is so strong, but sometimes I fear its a German use of them I'd be wrong to take too much from - and anyway, I'm reading translation.

Fev 3, 2019, 5:10pm

>16 tonikat: I haven’t read very much at all - I think I was always a bit scared of his cult status. The little bit I have read sometimes impressed me, sometimes left me wondering if it was all just portentous words. And of course you can’t argue with someone who has been through what he went through, especially if he’s dead...
But “Todesfuge” is a poem you can’t unread once you’ve encountered it.

Editado: Fev 3, 2019, 10:43pm

>17 thorold: so it is. I think he may have tried to unwrite it.
In the sense of always challenging a flow of some immediate sort. Sometimes I think his work has that flow, but in a much more considered way, kind of hidden until I wake up, but denying something more apparent. This is wonderful, but also so high that I think of it now as tiring. But I think that is wrong of me somehow, but maybe realistic. I need to read more of his biography, I read some by Felsteiner. I've read Joris' selections and some others, would like to read more.

Fev 7, 2019, 10:29pm

not always so by shunryu suzuki

This is a compilation of talks by Shunryu Suzuki edited by someone I can't name now as my book is not with me, I'll edit this in later. They did this for readability, taking the verbal tics of expression out, mmmmms and ohhhs etc, and clarifying direction at times.

I began reading it not long after I read Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, which I loved, see my 2016 thread. That was a rich reading time, and a rich living time - something about Suzuki's approach really helped me, alongside others, Tolstoy's Wise Thought's for Every Day, reading biographies of Rimbaud and Dickinson, reading them and Blake and of Blake and not living so badly. In the end even write some good poems. Sometimes it has felt this was observed and the challenges since put in place to divert me, though some of those were definitely put in place for other reasons too. In picking up this book I was maybe always seeking to repeat the experience -- something we may all recognise I guess, in our own ways. But clearly not such a zen thing, not Buddhist either, holding on to whatever letting go I might have done - or even seeking it again forgetting it is gone, whatever. I pushed on a bit -- and I did get things from it, but it wasn't the same.

Then before last Christmas I picked it up. I think I'd got to chapter the title comes from and suddenly I was with it again and it spoke very relevantly to me as I read it. Limiting myself to one chapter at a time usually, but not at the end, I splurged with the last three chapters all at once a week last sunday. Very lovely, simple, wise, helpful - a human speaking to humans. Maybe I should go back through - 'd be interested what I make of the first half again now. But I also have other books waiting. Maybe I should also practice in the Buddhist sense. I'm not good at that -- i can be good at being with the moment, but can also be bad at that, undoubtedly why practice may help me, but not if I am trying to repeat and be self conscious.

I am rereading Tolstoy's Wise Thoughts and also Henri Nouwen's similar daily thought book You are the Beloved, they are really helping me start the day. They are about what we are all about, after all. Maybe that is a start.

I'm also reading the anthology Diamond Cutters: Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania by Andrew Harvey and Jay Ramsay which I mentioned above - it is lovely -- I had heard of the poets I have read so far, before, but this really makes me want to read more of Lewis Thompson, David Gascoyne, Kathleen Raine and William Stafford, so far, more to be enjoyed.

Editado: Set 14, 2019, 12:15pm

Rumi, Whispers of the Beloved by Mowlana Jallaledin Mohamad Rumi, translated by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin Kindle ed.

How beautiful. Sharing and inclusive of his (our) central dialogue/s. I don't want to say anything, it would be less than just reading him (and me), from from he's left me feeling, yet which he seems too grounded for. I hope to read him much more and think and feel these words, his world, which apparently, not unlike our own, was one in which he had to work so hard to find such space, and in which he was lucky, in meetings for example, and unlucky, and challenged on his path.

I now have several volumes (I'm open to any advice on translations) and also a book about him. I liked this translation and have another volume by the same translators. It is rather beautiful, even on Kindle, in how it is laid out.

I was reading some Hafez earlier in the year, that has gone on hold, but also wonderful, though different in some ways. I'll hold my tongue on comparisons as I'm new to them, but will try and work out what I'd say for myself.

(I've quoted one quatrain above >2 tonikat: )

and very interesting - https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-erasure-of-islam-from-the-poetry...

Mar 16, 2019, 1:00pm

>23 tonikat: Thanks for reposting that, Kat. Two of the things I've liked about Merwin, aside from his poetry—his love of things green and slow reading. I'm a fan of both myself—one of the things I like least about literary online culture (a short list, actually) is the trend of racing through books—often books that the reader doesn't even seem to like much—to meet some kind of reading quota, whether numbers or a reading challenge. Different reading strokes for different reading folks, I guess, but it grates against my sensibilities. And I'm sad to see Merwin go.

Editado: Mar 16, 2019, 6:00pm

>24 lisapeet: I only know his poetry a little, but was reading about him in the last year and thinking I wished I knew more of him -- and also as I read Red Pine I was thinking and learning about others with Buddhist influence. So, yes I am sad, and I saw this link posted and it spoke to me of course.

Slow reading. Its a bit of a theme of my threads really, and my feelings about it and dialogues about reading more. Its when I'm at my best. And slow writing too, for me. (though that may be quite hypocritical of much of my writing - and reading even, I read that Rumi in a day.) Others do seem better able to go fast - but when I go fast overall I'm not necessarily going to slow down to read, which would be a good thing. I get this wrong all the time. But can people going fast with reading, or seeming to, be in fact, in some cases, there own desperate and maybe finely tuned effort to find themselves and they've got good at it and to in fact slow down . . . it might be that if I managed it, for me, it might also be that I'd have managed to distance myself from the deliberately wound up world of work which seems set up to divert us from ourselves.

But I read him and your response and spending more time in the last few days reading has brought a nice feeling. Also the read whatever you feel like liberation. It made me remember I thought at the end of last year I might post about recent reading that may not be a whole book. I've added to my Nouwen and Tolstoy daily reading also, not quite daily, reading of The Imitation of Christ, not far in but it has wise words on what is worthwhile in terms of living and regarding reading and our view of ourselves and our knowledge. Which, for me, fits with reading (at its best, again for me -- others may manage more having found a lifestyle that allows and has grown into the amount they do). I can be very boring about all this too, she says, sitting amongst some experts in their own reading. I like your comment though and yes, like so much of our culture, we are derailed from much by expectations placed and implied and created by ourselves in response to the apparent forward strides of loads of other people.

I've read some of Seamus Heaney's District and Circle though sadly cannot make as much of the group reading this at the moment. Which may be just as well as when I did I went too fast and spoke nonsense amongst sense -- I can be an idiot (which has interesting etymology from the Greek). I'm also beginning to look into William Stafford and Lewis Thompson.

Maybe I'm going into list/splurge mode now.

But just trying to think how to live in a way that allows slow reading, writing, fast when they need to be, and in touch with myself and Self. I think lots of people are asking such questions -- and quite a few are getting very wrong answers in our acceleratedness.

Green things are slow (?).

Editado: Mar 17, 2019, 9:01am

(and I should know about those wrong answers -- often seeming so logical, so acceptable)

The slow thing is related to being in touch, with self, Self, and others, with poetry too, with processing all my feelings and living at their pace more, at mine, at that of others feelings too, maybe its being congruent and loving. Maybe its possible to read fast within it, or more. Let us explore.

Editado: Set 14, 2019, 12:15pm

Inner Work: using dreams and active imagination for personal growth by Robert A. Johnson Kindle ed.

I began this last year when I started a series of short courses on Jung. The third was on dreams. The fourth has only just started to take place, on Active Imagination. This course has other reading but it seemed a good time to go back and finish this (though perhaps my tutor had a quibble with some of it, will have to clarify that). Its all really an introduction, not to practice in a Jungian way, at least not with clients. But highly informative, fantastic in fact, at a time of lots of change its really helped and validated. When we were studying last year I had an important birthday and had some dreams I'm glad this was all in my life to help me hold. Though I am quite bad at recording them and even worse at working on them in these ways, that I need to refresh, events have sidetracked me.

I liked that part of the book - and the book overall. I'd done my reading for this course this month so went back to the Active Imagination part here to complete. It may be slightly different to the other book, I will check if there is an aspect my tutor doesn't agree with- there was a oint in this part that I did drift a bit away from it, but it comes back so strongly and rather beautifully (and I'm not sure I remember exactly what it was). Overall I liked it a lot - beautiful examples throughout, reminding me of our humanity that so often does not get to work in these ways in what is spoken and recognised in society, in some circles, or even speak itself in so many contexts. Especially for me. Its been good to complete today as I've wanted to do so for a while. With my writing I've wondered how far I use active imagination anyway and its all very helpful. But also good to read having found the power of the imagination accidentally again after the first class.

But overall, this, the course, and other reading, great to do and respectful of poetry and being human.

Despite my training I am cautious of many approaches, but very glad to learn more of this, and how to use it safely and well. It was interesting to read of the distinction between Active Imagination and Guided Imagery, and how Jung himself distinguished it from what he saw as good Guided Imagery in the form of The Greater Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola.

Mostly the book is about approaching the unconscious, the collective unconscious but this is interesting, and has obviously hit me strongly after my New Year poem above, I've quoted it in my quotes above, but why not again:

"Just as the ego needs to balance its viewpoints by going to the unconscious, so also does the unconscious need to be balanced by the attitudes of the conscious mind.

Remember Jung’s observation: He said that the ego’s relationship to the huge unconscious is like that of a tiny cork floating in the ocean. We often feel like that. We feel like a cork that is being tossed about in the ocean of life, completely at the mercy of the waves and storms that push and pull us. We seem to have little control or power over anything.

Jung continued his analogy with a startling thing: The cork is nevertheless morally equal to the ocean, because it has the power of consciousness! Although the ego is small, it has this peculiar power of awareness that we call consciousness, and that special, concentrated power gives it a position that is as necessary, as strong, and as valuable as the seemingly infinite richness of the unconscious. The little cork can talk back to the ocean, and has a viewpoint to contribute, one without which the evolution of consciousness cannot proceed. The ego can talk back, and this makes the dialogue one between equals."

Johnson, Robert A.. Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth (p. 184). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Very stimulating and positive. But I'm glad I've approached it with plenty of support and some experience in a way and in the context of a course. It is possible to take in unhelpful directions. But then . . .

(and if I check back maybe I'd firs read that Jung quote earlier in the book, I don't consciously remember, in which case that's no doubt informed my poem, I'd have to check back to see where the first mention of it is -- reading it this time felt new. (the stuff of worry and nightmares potentially in trying to write originally, when stuff could crop up in such ways, though I think Jung understood that, having I think researched such an influence on Nietzsche.

I've now checked back through and this metaphor is early it the book too - I was reading that in the first half of last year, it wasn't consciously with me at New Year, I think, but it must have stuck, and the ocean was already strongly there for me -- but why try and explain and make linear what only linearity of approach needs explaining)).

Mar 18, 2019, 12:56am

Enjoyed the article on the Oracle at Delphi.
Re: Herodotus - well, let's just say it would be pretty disruptive to find he was right about everything he reported having seen or heard about.

Mar 19, 2019, 8:09am

thanks, and but wouldn't it be . . .

Editado: Set 14, 2019, 12:14pm

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Kindle ed.

I would have said before reading this that I had never read it and always wanted to. I had a memory of seeing a film of it as a child, but was interrupted. But reading it some of it was certainly familiar and I remember, I think anyway, wondering over that "flash of yellow close" and really thinking about what that could mean for this wonderful person. You may know and you my know that is close to the ending.

A peerless book wholly part of the best traditions of thinking and being. A book I am very glad to have encountered in recent days.

Not unrelatedly I am keeping up with my Tolstoy wise thoughts and Nouwen's You are the Beloved and the Little Prince today fits very much with Nouwen, also of course interested in what is invisible and knowing things with the heart. Today Nouwen distinguishes and calls on us to distinguish our pain from that not truly ours but attached to us. Which is a story of much of the rubbish thrown at so many of us by the powerful, certainly part of my story in the last twenty odd years, and certainly the last few days. So, yes very glad to have read these right now, and to think on them and hold such wisdom in my heart in the midst of the ridiculous.

"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose . . ."
"I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

de Saint-Exupéry, Antoine. The little prince . Kindle Edition.

I too.

Abr 10, 2019, 10:47pm

Interesting to read about your engagement with The Little Prince. My french teacher keeps encouraging me to read it.

Abr 11, 2019, 8:52pm

>33 baswood: I'd love to read it in French, it'd probably be within my ability, especially with bilingual edition. It is a delight -- it is also a delight to realise I think this influenced me. A number of books at that age i seem to have dismissed that I have read, The Iron Giant was another, but I had read that too as i remembered it too (and in that case I remembered where I read it), and I am really enjoying connecting to that. Things kind of lost to me du to changes in life maybe at that age and also later in focus. But that's just me, I highly recommend it.

Abr 11, 2019, 9:19pm

^ hmm maybe that very last comment is redundant, and this is one of the very last books that needs any hard sell.

Editado: Abr 13, 2019, 7:54pm

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

I think this may be called The Golden Compass in some other places.

When I did my counselling training everyone raved about this and the rest of this trilogy. So I tried. I think it may be at the top of page 17 (or so) there is a comment 'her main thought was anxiety', and I in my precious developing cousnelloryness was all like 'but anxiety is not a thought its a feeling', I knew then of course that you can have anxious thoughts, i still don't wholly repudiate my sniffiness, I didn't get much further.

But I have at last, {cough} decades later, got over myself (on this at least). This was prompted with a little help. Maybe as I know more of Milton now, without having read as much of him as I want. But then in recent months there was a beeb interview with Pullman. And he said something I entirely agreed with, well a number of things about the State we are in. But what I loved, alright maybe as I had said something similar, but he said that in these days, and for some time under the political movements of our days, that it is like we are living in a land under a fairy tale curse, and he meant neo-liberalism I think.

So I decided to give it a better go -- and having been so busy lately it was prose that was easy to read. But lovely to read, so many lovely ideas. And whilst this too is for children it has some very serious ideas underlying it, very serious feelings, thoughts, beliefs. An so much of it to agree with -- in the midst of a world determined to show its seriousness by creating conflicts that seem to reflect their version of seriousness, that keep us all trapped in false choices, which to question leave you vulnerable to all the criticisms of humanity that leaves conformity. Or so it so often feels.

I am some way into the second volume.

In other reading, some Heaney some William Stafford some Rumi some Idries Shah some Tolstoy some Nouwen some Thomas a Kempis some Brian Patten some von Franz some Jeffrey Raff and others.

Editado: Set 14, 2019, 12:14pm

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman Kindle ed.

I enjoyed this, as the story unfolds, though it had the feel of a section of a larger story maybe linking other parts,maybe that is easy for me to say and misses much. I liked that knife. I liked a lot. Though I am troubled how on board everyone seems to get regarding where its all going. But I suspect there is much for me to learn, and then maybe also Milton, should I ever manage it all, should I ever have the opportunity.

Editado: Set 14, 2019, 12:13pm

Rumi's little book of life by Rumi translated by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin Kindle ed.

I read and reread the earlier book of Rumi's poems from these translators. I reconnected to his story this year, again in childhood I remember learning of Shams i Tabrizi's disappearance and being so very sad for Rumi (and for Shams too). And now I understand better his path to find joy in pain. The world has changed and yet it has not, and will it ever, and the path of Rumi will remain. But am I right to think that there are some who actively seek to hide it and deny it of others? Or is that my material nightmare?

And what's to say. I love his writing. I hope to read a lot more and more importantly dwell with in silence and song, not just with what he's saying but where he is. And there are those that would deny that, and have denied that of me, to me, and may do so again, but these truths though masked are there always, and in masking them they mask them from themselves too.

I do also have to balance this with a Christian focus, my background. But then we are in the same line and all part of the same, in the end. Which is the highest sense of all approaches -- and bitterness and worse between them comes when unity is lost within. And, yes, i am reading of Sufism too.

Maio 5, 2019, 6:35pm

Editado: Set 14, 2019, 12:13pm

Noctuary by Niall Campbell Kindle ed.

A few years ago I was lucky to see Niall Campbell read. His words have great presence to me, but then that was the first I knew of him and his presence spoke. An emerging poet I guess he spoke with quiet authority and dignity, that showed up even more against the very good, but different, poets on the same bill. I suppose it spoke to the counsellor in me and some of the wonderful presences I have come across in training and in practice. He wasn't po faced or anything. Just did his thing, but it wasn't anything other than what it was. So I bought his first collection, and thoroughly enjoyed it (reviewed was it two years ago, three, more?).

Now his second. A noctuary is a night notebook, and this is one that tracks such hours whilst caring for his new born son. I thoroughly enjoyed it, unsurprisingly. He is immediate with his tenderness, and very tender. In tune with something lovely, nursing connection to it and noticing it, remembering it. I like his work a lot. His website carries links to some that were published:


(and maybe its not just lovely, but it can be)

Editado: Maio 30, 2019, 6:13pm

In the dark places of wisdom by Peter Kingsley

I've seen this book before but didn't read it, not sure why. Kinglsey came onto my radar again with his new book Catafalque which looks at Jung, whom I am learning more of at the moment, that's expensive but then the AI showed me some others by Kingsley and I started to read about this -- and something in the blurb nabbed me, probably the suff about more recent discoveries of Parmenides, an inscription, I do like a bit of archeologically based re-visioning.

A long time ago I enjoyed the first part of Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy, which always left the pre-Socratics flagged in my mind to learn more of (and Plato - I don't like the idea of Aristotle as much at all, he gives me a head ache in some respects). But never got far with it, except bits picked up by and bye, a lot seemed dry, but that may have been me, less receptive.

This book is lovely - he tells a story - to do so I see he is sometimes criticised as the footnotes aren't shown in the text but are all at the back of the book sorted by the phrases they refer to. That's fine by me - its an eminently readable book, which seems very in keeping with what its interested in.

Kingsley argues that Parmeneides, long seen as a father of logic, has often been misunderstood. He looks at his poem and brings to life what it may be about - how it may have related to his role as a priest of Apollo, how that then may have related to a therapeutic role (and hence a relationship to my own interest in Asklepios), and how such things worked in those times and places. He does so by trying to get very specific on the origins of Velia (/Elea) where he was from -- specific about the rituals associated with the gods - explaining what that poem means and its link to a stillness the Greeks sought as therapeutic and divine, a sort of a way of approaching death out of which life may emerge -- and how that links to creativity, to touching the beyond, touching death and how such a process linked to Pythagoreans too and how Plato, when he suggests a need to kill Parmeneides as a father, may have skewed western philosophy towards bias in thinking that got away from what Kinglsey is suggesting is the very source of wisdom, or hid this somewhat.

A very energising read that of course wholly fits with my creative interests, counselling and spiritual interests -- in fact with many interests. As Kingsley points out those practicing in these ways may have been philosophers, law givers, priests, poets and military leaders. Its fascinating and I am aiming to read through his other books now, working my way up to shelling out on Catafalque, maybe when I have read more Jung and von Franz myself, slowly.

(incidentally I found it very interesting how in this tradition students may be adopted by their teacher -- reading it struck me how many people I have known have in some way, in their quest have kind of called out for a close relationship with their teachers, how maybe I have wanted that in some way, and how this seems to have been recognised on this very spiritual path -- more so maybe than even in some spiritual movements now, with the adoption, though really it may have been an initiation into a common fraternity. And it struck me how clearly that line is drawn now, that seemed very clear. But hence Plato writing of killing fathers hd a very literal aspect for some philosophical lines . . and Plato of course is with us in many ways . . . and in Christianity there is a of course Our Father, and true, priests again are fathers in a spiritual sense. Something for me to think about -- as well as any possibly maternal aspects of this -- on visiting the underworld Parmenides is greeted Kingsley argues by Persephone, though unnamed. I have a copy of the fragments of Parmenides waiting for me this weekend.)

Maio 30, 2019, 6:15pm

Tell me a Dragon by Jackie Morris

A beautiful book -- I got it on kindle, would be lovely to hold.

My dragon is . . .

Editado: Maio 30, 2019, 6:23pm

The Sea-Thing Child by Russell Hoban

Another beautiful book. A friend gave me this this week - yes they are telling me something, gently, non directively.

And to my amazement this is another book, from the same sort of period I think in my reading as The Iron Giant and The Little Prince that I had read already. I was certainly familiar and I remembered the ending, which i remembered as important to me for some time after. But i do remember that I think I was probably a bit perplexed by some of what went before -- and of course now, in my four, or possibly more, circles, I get that. I also had had no idea that Russell Hoban of Riddley Walker which so many people love is the same, and again i hope to read more of his work, both for children and adults. I think in many ways this is in fcat a book for adults, works for them, as my friend thinks too.

Now let me listen . . .

Editado: Jun 20, 2019, 9:17pm

Editado: Jul 28, 2019, 8:34pm

A story Waiting to Pierce You by Peter Kingsley

And so the themes of my prior two reads march on and develop. Reality looked further at Parmenides, read the rest of his poem more fully (with translation) and then went on to Empedocles, finding how in his utter apparent demolishment or stating of the opposite he was on about exactly the same thing, as it were. Also touching on others and how this was all later clouded and confused and how.

All I could say was above. All I really want to say.

In amongst this I read a chapter of Kingsley's in The Rosicrucian on how this wisdom went on into Egpyt and beyond before returning to the west. All very much fitting with my Jungian reading, though diverting me slightly, though wholly appropriately.

Then this volume, read in a day traces the encounter of Greece with Hyperborea in the person of Aboris -- on the nature of such men and what they were up to and his gift of his arrow to Pythagoras and what it may have been about. Very much food for thought, for feeling, for dwelling on.

All wonderful. I have a plan with his other books, and am also saving for two of them.

Editado: Set 14, 2019, 12:12pm

The Great Silence by Ted Chiang Kindle ed.

Arrival is one of my favourite recent films, one I can quite happily watch for the umpteenth time, soft for the performances and realisation, loving the ideas, falling with it into myself and a dream of understanding, its lovely music from sadly missed Johan Johansen. A delight. There are others of course, but its a lovely idea no doubt break bounds of what linguists and physicists think, but happily dreamy of something else -- maybe a bit Pythagorean or Empedoclean or Parmnidean, maybe, maybe even in its view of a vision of life/lives not so un-Buddhist even, and a story of healing and enlightenments and getting beyond the mazes we have concreted ourselves into knowing of course we can vapourise them and ourselves, an interesting fact to be borne in mind, but not least the mazes of the mind we're all lost in it seems.. And I love the short story too. Though I've not read the rest of the eponymous volume that story is from, Stories of Your Life.

But today I was of course stopping at that store almost none of us seem to be able to avoid these days and their AI, or step toward it, tempted me without a hiss, with this, for 99p. A very short short story. Lovely. Coincidentally set around Aracibo, where some of that other beautiful sf film, and book, was set, Contact, which is a film I relate to Arrival very much. This story from the mouth of a parrot, pointing out a very important thing, how humanity turns to the great silence Fermi pointed out and looks for a voice, whilst ignoring those of the other beings here, with us.

I'm very glad the jungle tempted me -- maybe buying these digi books may help a tree somewhere, maybe, maybe that is naive. But maybe I'll be more consistently kind to any creatures I run across in the urban desert. I also saw two magpies today, and a group of four, and a single one. There didn't seem to be as many magpies in childhood, I don't remember noticing them as much. Now let me find out what has happened to those parrots (this story written originally to accompany some photos of those parrots, threatened with extinction, (taken by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla)). With some parrot-wisdom to love, awestruck, this a lovely very short read.

Jun 29, 2019, 9:53pm

>47 tonikat: If you're genuinely interested in what happened to your local magpies, I recommend Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution—interesting exploration of how human encroachment has altered animal dwelling patterns, and not just the expected cities=bad stories.

Editado: Jun 29, 2019, 11:59pm

>48 lisapeet: why wouldn't i be genuine? am i seeming un so?

i do get that life adapts even to urban spaces, my urban desert wasn't really meant ecologically more how it makes me feel, and not the country however managed that is

but the magpies - it may be a sign of some recovery, or i might have heard its due to some imbalance that they are dominating so, but then those things do change, i never noticed them as a kid, it was all sparrows and thrushes, starlings, but they seem less now

i have Darwin himself to

isn't evolution driven by whatever turns up?

(and I don't mean to be tetchy, you're always welcome here, as is anyone, no one seems ot drop in much these days - sorry if so -- i've been watching the magpies for a long time now, or they've been watching me, i do wonder what they may be saying, if anything, and well, these are mysteries we may or may not feel -- and coincidentally i was speaking to a parrot this week, who struck me as highly intelligent and with it and no not a parrot, a cockatoo i should get that rigth)

Jun 29, 2019, 12:12am

Oh, that was just sort of a sloppy shorthand for “interested enough to read a 300-something-page book devoted to the subject.” I definitely don’t doubt your genuineness. (Is that a word? It looks weird on the page...)

Jun 29, 2019, 12:45am

You mean my genuinenity then? its just me, i shall bear it in mind -- really i'd say maybe i shoudl read Darwin first, as I have long meant to, starting with his voyage, but then i didn't read Reality as I thought i should read Plato ad others first and that was a very bad thought, but at leas i found it.

to be really genuineified / ficated what i am really going to do is practise sowing kindnesses, not least in my own mind.

Jun 29, 2019, 12:59am

I don’t know that having a deeper knowledge of Darwin is necessary for this book, beyond the basic concept of adaptation/natural selection (although of course I will always recommend reading Darwin precisely to go deeper than those ideas, because he’s a very interesting dude).

Sowing kindnesses is always a good strategy.

Jun 29, 2019, 1:17am

I'm not usually so bad at it, but when i am i'm bad

Editado: Nov 16, 2019, 2:51pm

I've been thinking about Parmenides and Empedocles and Pythagoras -- and beyond -- thinking how, maybe, the relationship of them to Plato, and maybe more so Aristotle, may remind me (I'm wondering) of the counter culture and political responses to it, the channeling of a lot of culture I think. Is this irregular thinking? or not just obvious?

I was thinking how, I guess Kingsley may argue, philosophy may often be used to channel us into mazes of knowledge, established.

I was thinking of how what may mark power is its tendency to hide the origins of what gives it that power, i.e. the source of its knowledge (?? -- really irregular thinking?) and that one way to do that is to insist of a certain way to honour that source, not other methods (now I am leaving my own scale of irregularity?).

I've also been thinking about double binds. Which may of course be involved in such systems and relate to the above. But someone please do say hi and recontextualise me, ground me, give me a hug, please.

Editado: Jul 5, 2019, 3:51pm

alchemical active imagination by Marie-Louise von Franz

Another wonderful book. It traces the origins of alchemy, its psychological and material aspects and view of the world. Then reads the work of sixteenth century alchemist and doctor Gerhard Dorn, pupil of Paracelsus, from a Jungian point of view. It opens up many perspectives and a lot to think on. Part of me, as my poetry mentor suggests, is wary of active imagination - he's not put it this way, but what if I was to explore and discover my poetic sources and make them prosaic, understand their magic. But then some are very clear in charting their own landscape and able to discuss process. I don't know. I'm not writing at my best I feel, hmmm that's not true, its just I do spend time writing okish stuff that's not quite the thing, but I have written some good stuff this year. I also have other things on, lots of interruptions - some quite deliberate it feels. But this book, and another aligned to a course I'm on, suggest finding a way to discipline on the journey we make.

(edit - and the journey we may attempt to make)

Jul 5, 2019, 1:28pm

>55 tonikat: And I thought you were trying to make gold from base metal

Editado: Jul 5, 2019, 2:45pm

>56 baswood: -- oh i am i am i am, to do one you have to do the other, micro and macro, inner, outer - but you know that I guess -- have you read Paracelsus or Dorn? Important to both medieval thinking and the splitting of the outer part into natural sciences. (I spared you an okish poem)

Editado: Ago 20, 2019, 7:36pm

The Cat and the Fiddle: a treasury of nursery rhymes by Jackie Morris

yes nursery rhymes, lovely and nice pictures -- I often think I don't know many, but a lot of them i did, in part at least. A lot I only know a bit of, but many of these were more or less just those bits and i have to see if there is more elsewhere. I like Jackie Morris' illusrations too, I have a few more of her books to get through. THere was somethig freeing in reading this - a few years ago i read some of Wordygurdyboom by Sukuma Ray (Satyajit's dad), nonsense poems, lovely things. Readng this made me want to read Edward Lear as I only know him a bit, already loved the intro to The Complete Nonsense and other verse, whataperson, he's already made me laugh out loud. But that's another story . . . this book was lovely, it warmed my insides.

(and how perceptive they are)

edit - a lovely essay by the author (found after the I Am Cat essay below, I am liking her style of open process)


tonikat 20/8/19

Jul 7, 2019, 8:10pm

>57 tonikat: I have come across references to Paracelsus in connection with his observational medical technique, but have not read any further. Gerhard Dorn is new to me.

Jul 8, 2019, 7:52am

>59 baswood: ahhh -- I imagined they'd be up your street as C16th sources. I don't know though and have not yet read Dorn himself (aside from von Franz's liberal quoting). I have a kindle copy that was very reasonable in price. But he speaks in greater detail of alchemy and his interest in healing. I guess I don't know if they're for you, it was my imagination of the spread of your reading.

I've come across Erasmus recently too, or several times. I guess I think of you doing the period in depth and that one day it'd be nice to get more to grips in that way.

Editado: Set 14, 2019, 12:12pm

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman Kindle ed.

concluding His Dark Materials - a good story, some things to make us think, feels, for me, like a warm up and reminder to get back to Blake and to read Milton.

edit - his take on things does make you think, and also seems highly political, but I'm not sure how comfortable I am with some of it.

Editado: Nov 16, 2019, 12:37pm

I've gone back this year to reading Tolstoy's Wise Thoughts for every day, and am very glad to. That was a fine year of reading when last visited. And vital it's been so far this year. I initially held off hoping to read his earlier iteration of the Thoughts in the form of his Calendar of Reading, but its longer format made it harder to keep up with, and that I don't have it on my phone and so on me in moments I am free. But one year I hope to read it.

It led me, together with my good experience last year of a volume by Henri Nouwen, to try a compilation of his writing in a similar format You are the Beloved, which has also been vital to my year so far. And together they also have me, more occasionally, making my way chapter by chapter through The Imitation of Christ.

But I log this now to record for myself where I can find it that Tolstoy quoted Lucy Mallory yesterday -- and I think on my last read through I looked her up (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_A._Mallory) but am glad I did so again today. I went on from that link to the Tolstoy studies article cited (https://www.tolstoy-studies-journal.com/volume-xxiii) that tells a lot more of her influence on Tolstoy. It all opens a lot that seems so lost in our world these days.

Editado: Ago 20, 2019, 7:24pm

I am Cat by Jackie Morris

beautiful illustrated book, for those with imagination (including adults) - it opens vistas, dreams, a world to observe and dream -- its brevity a statement i think, and call to wonder

edit - i found this beautiful account of the book by the author herself just now, with many of the illustrations and link to them all -


i'm imagining a walk with her and cats.

(tonikat ;) 20/8/19)

Jul 28, 2019, 3:05pm

>28 tonikat: "Just as the ego needs to balance its viewpoints by going to the unconscious, so also does the unconscious need to be balanced by the attitudes of the conscious mind.

Remember Jung’s observation: He said that the ego’s relationship to the huge unconscious is like that of a tiny cork floating in the ocean. We often feel like that. We feel like a cork that is being tossed about in the ocean of life, completely at the mercy of the waves and storms that push and pull us. We seem to have little control or power over anything.

Jung continued his analogy with a startling thing: The cork is nevertheless morally equal to the ocean, because it has the power of consciousness! Although the ego is small, it has this peculiar power of awareness that we call consciousness, and that special, concentrated power gives it a position that is as necessary, as strong, and as valuable as the seemingly infinite richness of the unconscious. The little cork can talk back to the ocean, and has a viewpoint to contribute, one without which the evolution of consciousness cannot proceed. The ego can talk back, and this makes the dialogue one between equals."

Well, this puts a whole new light on one of my favorite, later-career, Beach Boys songs. And, no, I'm not being facetious. Here is the song (scroll down the page, a little, for the lyrics).


Also, I've enjoyed going through your thread, here, today.

Jul 28, 2019, 8:26pm

>64 rocketjk: - thx. I didn't know that song, interesting. I suppose this is all in the nature of corks and oceans and commonality in experience (often out of view). Thanks for the link.

Editado: Jul 29, 2019, 8:14am

I was thinking of posting about any number of things I wish to read or complete at the moment, Girard, Bateson, no end of novels and poetry, Jung etc etc etc. And then there is the no end of things i wish to write. And there is how life deflects us all and how i feel i am deliberately deflected by some. But rocket's comment got me reviewing said thread -- and that theme of many of my threads bout anxiety to read so much, and i read again my first quote at >2 tonikat:. which of course offers the best answer, concluding:

“And what have I taught? ‘This is stress … This is the origination of stress … This is the cessation of stress … This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress’: This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to unbinding. This is why I have taught them.”"
- Siṁsapā Sutta
- Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu. Handful of Leaves: An Anthology from the Sutta Piṭaka (Kindle Locations 7-17). Metta Forest Monastery. Kindle Edition.

a great result -- perhaps to find my way, little bead that i am, beset by storms, to feeling that unbinding in my binds, still, in washing dishes, in the work i am steered into and in thinking on that i am steered away from -- and as i do then that that is most important will be in true dialogue with me, and show itself in what i do, how i do it, and despite trolls and entrapments, real and imaginary, and narratives i have vulnerability to being forced on and coloured with -- this a great result, a clarity, kind of known and now for a moment better held, after all and from all those years of threads that began in a context in which i was diverted from a path that was more in touch with this, and i am sure will now be further challenged, as it is of course for us all. i hope i can find some way to live this again, another step on affirming it in how i live, not deflected and held back.

- edit -- the anxiety to read and write is to find freedom in and through those things -- but, ho, if they are thwarted then no freedom? No, then be, not wrestling hopelessly for that freedom, but finding freedom already known in being, accept it, find it, live in accord with it, building it, the rudiments of a holy life, a seed growing through the weathers.

Editado: Jul 29, 2019, 6:56pm

what is the place of unbinding in the academy?

is there one?

is it often forgotten?

Edit - can i find the place for it in my confusions?

Editado: Set 14, 2019, 12:10pm

The Practice of Ally Work by Jeffrey Raff Kindle ed.

Reading this and von Franz (above) has been powerful. This may not be the place to discuss in some ways. In others its moved me with a supporter of love, so much needed by myself, as for us all. And at this time. They've also led me to Henry Corbin, as has reading Peter Kingsley I think, and other strands too. Long past time, long diverted from.

Editado: Ago 13, 2019, 2:33pm

Dylan Thomas at the BBC

Lovely selection of his readings, transporting. I've had it ages, it was most satisfying during some driving. As was:

Richard Burton reads the poetry of Thomas Hardy

I've not read much of Hardy's poetry. This was spellbinding.

Both for much re-listening, I hope.

Editado: Ago 24, 2019, 4:17pm

District and Circle by Seamus Heaney

I'm tempted in my new brevity to say something like, 'it's Seamus Heaney in'nit' and leave it at that, though never tempted like that before.

As that suggests it is lovely and real and well formed and all you may associate with this wonderful poet. I could struggle with what to say, so much could be, and is no doubt already, just google 'reviews' - and this collection won the T. S. eliot prize. So that throws me back to my old standby, speak about what it makes me feel. And again I struggle now as in truth I began it much earlier this year as part of my Heaney reading group and only recently worked through those poems not read then. At present it feels a little distant, so I shall refresh myself as I type.

I saw one review speak of it as a collection of sonnets but it is not just that by any means. Though the sonnets are wonderful.

I was struck by an earlier poem of his, The Underground, which found satisfying overlaps between classical allusions he loves (so much of his education) and a journey in the modern day. This collection traces such a path and much more - poems of his early childhood and rural upbringing and school too, district perhaps and circle, returning to where he started from and knowing the place for the first time. Its beautiful. I'm also reluctant to just go on saying such and pointing out such obvious things, he's never just anything, places and times overlap, speak to each other. One thing I take from him more than anything is finding relevance and bringing to life past writers to the present and to him personally -- giving the wisdom of the page life. And there we come towards some of that classical allusion and talking to shades, maybe. There are poems in memory of and for some of those gone. The underworld so important to poets and with him in other collections too.

The title poem really lives in my memory right now, a journey into the underworld, into himself in that most public space, part of the crowd. In the end I'm struck by his reflection of himself in the carriage windows in multiple ways, in part in reference to Plato's cave, in self portrait and comment on the poet in the world, the image of him in that window also somehow makes me think of Pound's In a Station of the Metro - this face in the crowd petal on again a wet but now rock wall, it somehow inverts that general image whilst respecting it and without direct reference brings out the individual poet - to me anyway -- but so much more, what a poem, and there are many in there.

It makes me feel I have shared some moments of poetry made of moments of a poet's life shared in generosity, never speaking down to me whilst well versed in and in full dialogue with what the best of poetry and related matters have left us with and which so much does not refer to now. Including myself at my worst.

We roll on, I hope, to his final poems in the coming weeks and i have several chapters of Stepping Stones to catch myself up on.

Ago 25, 2019, 11:43am

I feel your love and enthusiasm for the Heaney poems.

Editado: Ago 25, 2019, 11:01pm

>71 baswood: thank you, that and for you to say so makes me happy (edit - happier)

Editado: Ago 26, 2019, 10:50am

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/26/lost-child-turkey-refuge-i... - Elif Shafak on Mount Qaf

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49344152? - Trans conversion therapy survivor: 'I wanted to be cured so asked to be electrocuted'

Editado: Ago 28, 2019, 7:00am

A Honeybee Heart has Five Openings by Helen Jukes Kindle edition

Such an intriguing title, I'd noticed it before but let myself be drawn further in the other day, and it must have been on special offer as that was the clincher for me, at the mo.

I'm very happy that clincher got me as I drank this in this weekend. This memoir follows Helen Jukes, a young woman (do i remember considering turning thirty, I'm not sure, would have to check), but a person who has had several years moving between jobs. I wonder now if that was from town to town, but am not sure of that, maybe. She did spend some time amongst it learning about beekeeping in London from a lovely friend and bee expert.

Now she has moved to Oxford with a new voluntary sector job, able to take a house with a friend. But she seems to have doubts, can she maintain this? Does she want to as her quite familiar in its unfamiliarity workplace is a challenge.

Amidst this it occurs to her that it may be possible to keep bees, keep a hive, in their back garden. The book her journey in her first year of this. Sharing her research into the keeping of bees, the steps in her practise, the links she makes and has with others, important others. Her view of the hive, her link to it, in caring for these lives something seems to stir to life in her, some ways of feeling. Yet the book is subtle, it makes its points quite clearly but sensitively.

In some ways I might wonder if for bees you might substitute many things that we might mix our hearts with and be transformed by. But that's a silly thought in specifics as it is the magic of bees, hives, honey, of these things and also their meanings to humans that really makes this work buzz. Yes other things buzz me, but the point is specific here, amidst the bees it is so hard to be specific of. Wonderfully unspecifically so and beautifully appreciated by her. This memoir is more than a little philosophical, and as with the best wisdom it is therapeutic, not least as we share her bee path and hive building and understandings, wonderings and experiences as observer and on being observed, on observing as more than often supposed.

I don't think I've ever eaten honey, it didn't appeal. Maybe it came with town, suburban life and thinking about where the bees went. Maybe with this lack of care from me (deleted) its no wonder the bees are struggling, my lack part of lots of lack (?) And misunderstandings of what they, and we need. What I need.

It's a lovely book whatever your journey with bees or whatever, highly recommended.

"I’m not sure about the bees, but my friends do change me and what I’m capable of noticing. My own eyes are not always the most reliable ones and sometimes I need other people around to help me see, or to see differently.

Jukes, Helen. A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings . Scribner UK. Kindle Edition. "

edit -- see also the quote in >2 tonikat: , above.

There are parallels that I can find that make this especially powerful for me to read now, but also must draw distinctions, not get lost in a pattern I find in her buzzing words. And whilst at times she is suggestive of the power of bees in many ways, part of them is best not said nor treated too concretely, they escape that. But I want to stay in touch with such suggestion, feel possibility. And, for all my discovery before I have been bad at my gender balance of authors this year. It was good to read this young woman challenged and responding, growing. In a way this, she and her approach are a lovely gentle model, and models can be much needed by me, by anyone.


Editado: Ago 28, 2019, 5:36am


Editado: Ago 30, 2019, 3:05pm

It is certainly possible to have a hive in your back garden. I had an uncle who lived in Wallington Surrey who did just that and as a child I was fascinated by the photographs in his bee-keeping books.

Today I live across the road from a honey making family who have hives all over the countryside around here. Our garden is sometimes full of bees.

Ago 30, 2019, 2:11pm

>74 tonikat: Sounds like a lovely book, as you say, and one I will have to track down.

I have studied beekeeping, but never had my own hives. Where I live now, there is someone who seeks gardens for his hives each summer, and it is on my next year garden list, when I have a longer range of flowering plants. I do have a slate flagstone patio, covered in various thymes, and on sunny days when they are in flower, the plants seem to actually move with all the bee activity in them. They are an endless source of fascination.

Ago 30, 2019, 3:52pm

>74 tonikat: Have you seen the film Honeyland? It's on pretty small distribution, I imagine, but if it comes around near you I highly recommend. It's not about beekeeping, per se, but about an entire culture and culture clash, and the whole thing is really interesting. Plus it's just gorgeous.

Ago 30, 2019, 6:41pm

>76 baswood: -- those sound happy memories. And bees with you now. I don't know anything about French bees, and comparative honey. Do they do better in France where agriculture is more traditional (if I remember the tropes of what is said). It sounds lovely though.

>77 SassyLassy: - it is lovely, I think. I think I was very taken by the model she offered of a young woman facing challenge and finding life. I was a bit unsure of adding my experiences of bees and linking to being trans - but drafted submission for a trans organisation, that separates the two bit more.

Bees have my fascination now, at last, properly. Good luck with your plans. When where I am is clearer I want to start learning more in practice.

>78 lisapeet: I haven't seen that but want to now -- they seem to lend themselves to many thoughts including on culture. Gorgeous sounds good and the sort of film I like I'm thinking.

A long time ago I was supposed to read The Fable of the Bees for a course and gave up on it, so this may be a good time. And now I see its subtitle, what am I in for!

Thanks for comments, a good time to get them.

Ago 30, 2019, 9:30pm

>49 tonikat: “no one seems to drop in much these days ”

I will catch up, Kat. Promise. Slowly.

Ago 31, 2019, 9:37am

>80 dchaikin: thx dan, out of context that hits harder, but yeah interacters are good

Editado: Nov 16, 2019, 12:43pm

On the bees i got a rare chance to sit in a garden and go at its speed this week, I read a little, but mostly enjoyed the light and the company of a few bees and butterflies working at their pace and the butterflies also basking in the sun, up close i the border i was by. This is so basic it sounds wrong to say it, but miss it a bit and, well.

let us descend
to the speed of leaves
butterflies and bees
bathe in the sun
sneeze nectar
find what is there
for the moment

K. H-H / A. H (7th September 2019)

Ago 31, 2019, 2:37pm

I planted a butterfly bush several years ago. It not only attracts butterflies, but hummingbirds and bees, as well. But the past two years, the number of bees has dropped considerably. It may be due to the problem with bees dying off. I don’t really know.

Ago 31, 2019, 2:57pm

wow hummingbirds, none of them in these parts, that would be lovely -- sorry to hear about your bees though. no one really knows :(

Editado: Set 14, 2019, 12:10pm

The Gifts of Reading by Robert Macfarlane Kindle ed.

A lovely short essay on reading and sharing books as a gift -- a gift in the sense meant in The Gift by Lewis Hyde, that brings relationship. In the process he shares a friendship with a fellow booklover, sharing their enthusiasms, one of which is an old one of mine A Time of Gifts, which he may prompt me to reread now. Another a book in my TBR The Living Mountain. He's also enthusing me to walk, and in a certain manner. I'm also slowly reading his The Old Ways and that leads also to edward Thomas, whose In search of Spring I started in the Spring but Spring outpaced me. We'll see what I'm allowed. Sometimes I need to balance him with Kathleen Jamie in my bid for balance. I wasn't sure in some ways about a reference he made to a politician's popular autobiography, which to me did not seem to fit a generous tone, but we may all fall like that. He does prompt me to get on myself with what is possible in our straight-line time of products.

Editado: Set 14, 2019, 12:07pm

The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air: Three Godly Discourses by Soren Kierkegaard Kindle ed.

I read a review of this which appealed and got a copy soon after. I think I may have commented on being carried away by it for an hour whilst I waited on a car repair. I think that was December '17 but I can't find my comment on a quick scan back. I finally got back to it yesterday.

A very beautiful book. Kierkegaard commented elsewhere on Christ's comments on the Lily and the Bird. This writing has a lyrical lucidity of great power, beauty and import. Much to think on, act on.

He contemplates what we may learn of silence, obedience and joy from the lily and the bird. One interesting point is of the poet as a particularly poor practitioner of such.

I've dabbled with Kierkegaard, but more with the books from his left hand, by his own reckoning, this book from his right hand (non pseudonymous) has really connected and stimulates me to read on and with this left hand / right hand distinction better understood, in feeling.

Editado: Set 22, 2019, 8:27am

>87 tonikat: I had some more thoughts on Kierkegaard as it sank in as I realised either / ors are immediately a binary. And then a little googling showed, of course, that this is well recognised issue. It set me off on my ohh it'd be lovely to accept this and for it to be simple and then as ever it hurt, as it is not all of reality, and of course it leaves me wondering if this is me and how I am distant but no, I think there are other ways of framing gender at least (from the non traditional binary) and for me in any distance of Or from the Beloved you cannot escape the Beloved is always somehow stlll there, accepting, love possible. Of course he was not writing of gender binary, its just a fundamental one that gets linked immediately to the Beloved by certain traditional views, making challenge to gender binary necessarily to distance yourself from the Beloved as they claim to hold her.

I was wondering about our age as an age of Pharisees the other day (isn't it always?). At least at some levels, often those that seem, unsurprisingly, to set the frame of public debate. (a debate that's mostly seeming to me these days to be a clash of previously worked out products and not much to do with mutual understanding and striving -- and I fear just saying that can cause consternation and reason to dismiss -- and, well we do have Greta and the climate protests and emergency, some hope some artists too, some art).

Then came across this and read some Blake and others and maybe such thoughts should always go quietly, must, the wheels have broken many butterflies, I think


it was here in fact - and believe it or not my thought was before i read the article


Editado: Set 22, 2019, 8:26am

Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition by Peter Kingsley

My read of Kingsley steps back to his first book I think (there was a very interesting translation before I think of Claude Addas' Quest for the Red Sulphur)

So, many of the themes of this book were familiar to me. It was still a lovely read - though I think he changed his style in the later books, to simply tell the story clearly whilst still heavily referenced, he leaves those to the end. I found much of this work suggestive, also arguing in detail with others, which in a way interrupted the flow and clarity. But it certainly framed his interests and quest and whilst i began with him with Parmenides it is Empedocles at the centre here (but much else, the nature of those times, culture, Pythagoreans, Orphic belief, mysteries, myth, the true complexity of what people think across time -- and how that transmitted down the line he suggests of free thinkers, alchemists, gnostics, Sufis, hermeticsts, mystics . . . )

Along the way I've learned so much of the background of Pythagorean and Orphic belief and the background of those times and places, especially Sicily -- he has fuelled thinking and reading and maybe writing for a good long time. Helped me understand first myself and given much to consider as to later 'philosophy'. His work may help me change my life.

Editado: Set 22, 2019, 11:54am

"Hjorth uses repetition, line by line and scene by scene, in a way that feels truthful of someone trying to process trauma"

"What Hjorth does powerfully convey is how not being believed can be as damaging for victims as the original trauma. Will and Testament is a reminder that it’s easier to hide darkness than face it. Some of the best bits widen this out to a societal level: Hjorth argues cogently that conflicts and atrocities often stem from what a nation represses or denies."


I attended a lecture recently by Madeleine Scherer on the classical underworld as a memoryscape -- and how it informed a lot of literary works since. And out of it got an idea that may also be related to Rachel Falconer, but maybe also is as old as the hills, that peace in this world is related to our relationship to the dead --- and that has all sorts of powerful lines to think on, not least how death works with us now in hospitals now for example. I thought about that when I added that second sentence above. And I think about the pressure our times seem to give to be a product, and how little it understands processes and judges attempts.

Editado: Out 3, 2019, 8:54pm

Rites of Passage by William Golding

I've had this ages and elsewhere someone suggested a shared read of this and the rest of the trilogy it is part of. Aye aye said I as I've had it staring at me for ages.

This book takes the form of a journal by one Edmund Talbot. A young gent on his way to the antipodes for a career supporting the governor. He's been asked to complete it by his Racine translating aristocratic Godfather. He himself not an aristo I think, but often taken for one not least due to his manner.

They are sailing towards the end of the Napoleonic wars. The crew somewhat sad to be out of the action -- or maybe captain and officers so. The ship is ageing and has been converted for passengers (those of some social status, separated from emigrants and the general crew at the same end of the ship as officers).

We learn a lot of edmund from his journal - I think he's a bit of a nob in many ways, as we may say here. In that I see something of a writer's journey in him. At his best he's great - a very memorable evening on deck acquainting himself with the ship as he recovers from seasickness in this new environment. But whenever he's sure of his ground he becomes blind in several directions (including to himself). Its very delicately done and superb. Limitations of perspective are a strong theme and explanation of events.

Things sail on as edmund gets his sea legs and loses them -- anxiety, unspoken, seems a big part of the book and society and hiding it. He has the support of the crewman/servant for his side of cabins, a wiley knowing seaman who in some ways writes some of what happens and whom i wonder if knocked him out for a while -- he promises his panegyric gets stronger as the voyage goes. It certainly does. edmund in his anxiety tries to assert himself inappropriately in getting to know the captain -- ignoring standing orders as to how. Fundamental to blindnesses throughout the book is how what we think we know means we miss what is.

He gets away with this due to his patron. But his actions seem part of what leads the captain to explode at another passenger, one Parson Colley. It is of course more complicated. But we see how this develops from edmund's point of view as he himself is somewhat discombobulated and enamoured (even as he dismisses her) with a female passenger. What happens with her itself shocked me as I was not sure it was not rape. That interaction leads him to miss a seroius further development for the Parson that he may have challenged. This further develops and leads to a more serous situation. I will not spoil it further.

But later our perspective enlarges. The Parson becomes clearer to edmund and to us through his own journal. edmund begins to learn more of the limitations of his view, of the wholeness of a human beyond the labels and judgements he has given them, in his own social security and defence -- or does he, it is a glimpse, maybe it will grow, maybe. In that it reminds me of writer's journey. But there is still evidence of his blindness in his possible impact on Wheeler (the crewman/servant), and in hearing opinions in passing from others he never thinks they could be of himself - though I cannot be sure of either.

But beneath it all is a strand of how we are well known to others in ways we may not know - how this may not even be a matter of spoken agreement, but plain. And also of how we may be unaware of the impact of ourselves on others by having placed them, as though in glass in our minds.

There is central horror in this book -- those rites work in several ways. What happens in itself independent of all else, but also surely fostered by a need for companionship amidst hatred, and maybe another blindness to self. Something in matters of sexuality that may still be a matter of shame sometimes. I had to remember the outside of this bubble at times and it is important to remember that abuse and bullying may be survived, that love exists and understanding beyond shame given so others may seem secure.

Part of that horror is an almost theatrical episode - Golding himself compares it to theatre. As I read I thought of Rilke's line to be a 'ringing glass that shatters'. Maybe edmund shatters a little, another more so. But that sequence made me think of it as shattered glass acting out its shattering and explaining why it must remain so each piece in its place -- and woe to any challenge to that view.

I wondered if edmund may reconstruct his glass, but I think he can only carve his shard as he sees it.

It does not leave me very hopeful in some ways, for change.

In others, that it was written like this, with a delicacy that somehow allows content to reflect back the narrative voice in its knowingness as blind or ignorant, gives hope. That reminded me of the voice in Dickens' The Signalman that I read recently. In some ways it also reminds me of Kafka's In The Penal Colony. That ignorance also seems somewhat a colonial attitude. I wondered if there were reasons Talbot is packed off to the far side of the world, with a suggestion to write his experiences for his literary godfather. He may develop he may not. Do we? I say he reminds me of a writers' journey for a reason. His voice reminds me of others I have known, maybe one Golding the teacher also knew, especially in (some of) the highly educated young, of myself.

Along the way it was vivid - I feel a bit like I stood on deck for a moment as the night fell, shared a cup with some Napoleonic officers too - if only in a shared dream-nightmare. And was reminded of the limited understanding that we get by on so much of the time, and facing an internal impossibility in humanity amongst those uncaring of it -- and how if edmund can be blind so may I. I was also struck by the clarity and brevity of Golding - suggesting as much as saying. His characters are vivid and whole - so much so he reminded me of Shakespeare, and also as I felt he had invested them with an empathy of great appreciation for their shoes.

I have Close Quarters from the library and hope to set sail (hope?) again in the next week.

Out 3, 2019, 8:47pm

I have also had Rites of Passage on my shelves for ages. It sounds excellent.

Out 4, 2019, 5:34am

The trouble with Golding’s trilogy is that it makes all the other books about the Georgian navy look light and frivolous... And you have to read all three fairly close together to keep up the intensity and be properly upset by the ending! Brilliant stuff: probably getting towards time for a reread for me as well.

Editado: Nov 16, 2019, 10:29am

Quantum Poetics by Gwyneth Lewis

A short book of three lectures given by Gwyneth Lewis (Newcastle/Bloodaxe Poetry lectures). I did not attend. In some ways I've been unsure of connecting to her work for a confusing eccentric reason of my own that has nothing to do with her. But a friend and fellow survivor writer extolled her to me and I started here whilst I awaited some poetry.

I remember some coverage of the lectures at the time and in my messed up directions in life probably shrugged and put it down as another person there first in my own little journey. But then in writing just about every place has already been visited (even though we're each unique and I know this?) -- and of those that have not, what I wonder would be the balance between blessings and curses be?

My stumbling block in my own process is lack of poetry and literature education. It leaves me an annoying, sometimes talented amateur in ways that show to those apprenticed more fully - not just in terms of being better read - I think in many ways versed in their working out and presentation. Though I take a wabi-sabi sort of recompense and think how it saves me from the annoying ways I keep finding to think I know what I am doing - I nevertheless end up taking such positions on my own approach, not discouraged by my privileged education, albeit light on literature. The remedy as I approach at best is to do my own working out, openly, honestly in what I write, keeping at it (and those that have have never worked on it all, just their bits - its just we're bombarded with completed process and gain from the broadcast experts (mostly)).

But so someone writing on these lines may have irked me then. The idea of it, the nerve. But then the thing about poetics, I realise more and more, is despite the great words of all that have been and are way ahead of me, the only thing that matters is my own way to my own, and others using their words of theirs cannot dint that at all, I think, nor in important ways close routes through some sort of intellectual copyright. Of course AI may complicate that - but it occurred to me that say it were to be able to offer endless permutations of work, we still need readers to select and empathise with it.

Sorry, a diversion upon a diversion.

These three lectures are:

1. The Stronger Life - this title is taken from Wallace Stevens who suggested 'the poet is the stronger life'. Gwyeth Lewis writes (spoke) of the poet's task as being to enter emotional spaces others may avoid. She notes, and I agree strongly for me, that not writing was a cause of her distress. And argues that in fact exploring these spaces is not in fact a cause of illness (the trope of madness and creativity) but in fact fosters resilience (not always simply smoothly of course, care must be taken). Again I whole heartedly agree. I'm also sure many others do as well. Of course there is a massive tendency in much mental health to assume everything the subject says is not to be taken with anything but at least one pinch of salt. Clarifying that the process can be as such is invaluable and may help many.
Along the way I learned again of Taliesin and a story I had not heard for a long time and has a different meaning now I have had certain experiences. One of those blanks has been lifted as his name often comes up, but yes, he's that guy and the ocean. Which all led to a purchase of her recent translation of his poems with Rowan Williams The Book of Taliesin. She goes on to introduce an idea of poetry as a 'quantum field of potential' - an idea that again gives truth to any fear any poet by observing and setting a moment in ink precludes our own adventuring, worshippings, pilgrimage to what grace we seek. All a very healthy project.

2. What Country, Friends, is This - a title taken from Twelfth Night - using the example of Illyria and (also a little crossdressing in that quest) she looks further at the space poets go to, some underlying field maybe if we look in a quantum informed way. For me this chimed very much with this year's reading of Jung, von Franz, Johnson and a little Henry Corbin on Active Imagination. She says more specifically in relation to poetry of a musical sea, looking at the writings and experiences of others as well as her own on this sea, on finding it, on bringing tales of it.

3.Quantum Poetics - "In fact, I'm going to argue that, in certain ways, the world behaves like a poem and that poetry itself is a kind of science." (p41) she sets out and it is lovely. I am always reserved on science in the arts, but of course the best don't much distinguish unlike the technological/technocratic traps the rest of us are then left in, or have to keep dealing with/make. This lecture further shows resonances in ways of seeing between quantum views and poetic.

So, she's had a go at the relevance of physics to poetry (a personal theme for me) and also connected this to mental health (such connection and also subject also themes for me) -- grrrrr? but no, she's done it beautifully (more beautifully than literarily half way there me) and such as to open infinity, none of it closes what I or anyone could say -- which after all is nonsense, which I knew anyway, though such looking is curiously rampant and infectious, I think.

I was about to return it to the library but I think I want to read it again now before I do. I also have to add her poetry for further reading.

Editado: Nov 15, 2019, 6:31pm

The Comforters by Muriel Spark

What a lovely book. Thanks Mark for your inspiration, I now want to read her next.

I like her tone and observation. I noticed how she often began with a scene setting that she often then explores more deeply. I began to think that maybe these turns were almost automatic writing that she then works on to work plot through (moving backwards in time a lot ad sometimes, I think, forwards) -- and that gave Caroline's typewriting Comforter/s an interesting dimension.

I borrowed this book from the library and it came with a helpful quote from Job on comforters that someone had pencilled into the title page. But that hasn't quite clicked for me - maybe it is so, but I was more interested in the possibility of other divine links and the meaning of the word Paraclete which fits with other parts of the theme and maybe also her acceptance of this wisdom (?). And again this fits with my feeling about her own method which seems curiously to invite reading of identification if not with content with the metas that abound throughout. (And also fits with that reading of mine this year, mentioned in my last post, curiouser and curiouser.)

I also had a sense of the ending as less worked out, something of a gush that is somehow proper. It feels a bit like an arch or ironic 'reader I married him', yet at the same time has an openness to miracle and faith, that somehow comes across as a bit simple and you wish she said more, yet not doing so seems to be the point, but still? I only finished it today so for once Kat shut up and let it settle more and maybe read it again. Or, 'reader, miracles do happen'.

I really like how it comments on narrative and identification of these in life and identification with them - so much so it may be such comforters act, more silently, for all, it's just she has learned of this. The then gives massive questions as to what we can do, not so much to fight predestination (really?) as to match ourselves to the highest editorial standards (she says whilst looking up numbers for monasteries). It has really chimed with having seen the Czech New Wave film Closely Observed Trains, which I read in some ways as having characters as the trains each on their own narrative paths, made me wonder how far this is human and how far we ever really touch. So I remember now, though I have a ton of things to finish that I want to read Bohumil Hrabal's book soon, right now really.

I love that Mrs Jepp seems to have left the social tropes behind (was she ever in them?). And it encourages me to try to do so, more. The plot a coincidence really, along the way of letting it all explore and find limits and sometimes breathe with freedom (sometimes even when not).

Strangely I read yesterday this article about a form of AI now released and efforts really to predict from language, so politically relevant and I think on Spark's background and also themes in SF (Asimov and Herbert) and think of clockwork universes and things happening, as in the book, whilst I drift on zephyrs and shiver in winters and think others have been wondering more actively on such.


I suppose then I should try to dance with some grace within these strings, with them, as though without them and see we all are doing so, find sympathy, seek grace, dispense with anything but the best truths. Quite health giving and inspiring.

(and on the narrative thing I also think 'look and you shall find' - and think again as to finding the best way to look, to find the best not just what we predefine - look at the Baron for instance.)

I think I just found a reason (justification?) for faith I'd not been aware of (or was I, long ago?)

Editado: Nov 15, 2019, 10:49pm

>98 tonikat: Welcome to the ever-growing band! :-)

Paraclete sounds like a good word to get excited about. It ought to be the title of a John Tavener piece, really (maybe it is?)(*)

It didn’t occur to me when I read The comforters, but in her memoir, Spark talks about how unfortunate it might have been that she wrote a book prompted by her experience of hallucinations induced by prescription drugs just at the time when, unknown to her, Evelyn Waugh was working on The ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, about his own rather similar experience. And how nice Waugh was to her about it, even giving her novel a favourable review.

(*) Or a spare part for a hang-glider.

Editado: Nov 16, 2019, 10:28am

>99 thorold: thanks -- and ahh I see -- I'd picked it up as the novel came after those medications, but if whilst that fits of course - trippy! (to quote Pulp Fiction)

Hang-glider :)

(Waugh being nice about it may fit with some of my last but one post?)

Editado: Nov 20, 2019, 4:43pm

Closely watched trains by Bohumil Hrabal, kindle ed.

Struck while the iron was hot (see above), and it is only short - but how wonderful in its wonder in the face of the awful. The film is also very beautifully observed, it has a quality of presence that reminded me of that in the documentary about La Grande Trappe (if I remember correctly) Into Great Silence* and this is a trip into silence. Just at times in observing the places, being with them, in them.

The characters may be like trains but they do connect too, I think, and Milos' voice is so lovely, maybe a poet, an artist on his way to his family repetition, is he misunderstanding what he finds, is that his lesson? It has also, like The Comforters an interest in fate and destination.

I thought, when I saw the film and learned of it, that I liked Hrabal, and yes I do and will want to read him more. He makes writing look easy. This so full of life, understanding.

* oops not La Grande Trappe, but Grande Chartreuse.

edit - my question, usually, is what does it make me feel -- and am I getting sloppy with that, losing track of it, I've kind of said, but have not too. and I'm in awful sidetracks of justifying myself to myself these days and having to be right on something, not just clever, but seeing and knowing and speaking from something, attained(?) that can't be - and the best way not to be trapped is just to react -

so, what I feel is partly linked to the film which does realise it beautifully and is very true to this vivid book (Hrabal wrote the screenplay with Menzel). It feels very very honest - observation throughout so present and clear and fresh. I could read it again, it will stay fresh. It held me, a page turner. Is it tragic or comic - it occurs to me it is elegiac, yes for what happens specifically in the text but it speaks of a tender, bitter, loving, sad, happy despite, knowing of a place and its people silent in some ways as worked over and over. I love it, and all of them in these eyes -- and the ending is a bit different from the film and I have a strange feeling of familiarity with those moments and wonder if they were read to me once at school on on tv. But who knows. In a way it makes me feel for that age me, and my very different world gone in which i was nowhere near as good - and needing to return to presence.

Editado: Dez 10, 2019, 12:21pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIR5ps8usuo - Leonard Cohen's Prince Of Asturias Speech

I hope people don't mind me posting links - I see my thread as a sort of scrapbook journal, it was time for a new post for some, its unfortunate it moves it in recent posts, thanks for your patience, and over the years.

https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/melting-with-tenderness/ - Nabokov interview

https://bloom-site.com/2019/11/12/the-secret-story-k-l-cook-on-whats-hidden/ narrative as about secrecy, the un/veiling of reality - and so also its understanding/ misunderstanding / representation / misrepresentation

https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/05/color-book/ - before Pantone






Nov 24, 2019, 9:59am

I'm just watching Michael Gove on Marr, and I found myself thinking about Mrs Hogg (see above).

Nov 24, 2019, 11:45pm

Don't think I could bare to watch Michael Gove

Nov 25, 2019, 12:05pm

I know the feeling, someone else put it on. It's best not to discuss, I should not have said.

Editado: Dez 10, 2019, 9:29pm

I just re-read the first few sides of Conversations with Kafka that I so loved in another wonderful year. My copy has mementos of that time in it. But anyway. Teenage Janouch has his diary not read by his Dad, yay. But who does not see why not read his poems (those no destroyed), have them typed up and hey why not show them to Franz Kafka. Holy Sacre Bleu - my teenage self is writhing inside thirty years later - I'd have gone to mush. I'd totally forgotten about that remarkable start. Can you imagine, even now, havng your developing poems shown to {insert contemporary literary hero/heroine here} -- and my goodness, it is just as well if they like them, isn't it?

Editado: Dez 16, 2019, 4:39pm

Collected Love Poems by Brian Patten

It's been a different year, difficult, but it has also been a good year amongst it. This book most definitely part of that. In a new place for me it was recommended to me by a poet for a lovely reason I appreciated in a strange place, whilst I'm not sure I agreed with him altogether. I'd not read Patten but in the enthusiasm of the recommendation and as I started to read I remembered, I think, a tv documentary when I was at school that enthused me about him. I thought it a South Bank Show, but can see no sign of that, but remembered learning of his Parisian life and of course it seemed great. But those I tried to speak to about him put me off, they must have been as lost as me, academically, maybe more than me if taking english.

This has been a gift that has enthused me, helped me get over myself, a bit, refocused me on what poems are - and love, love, love -- love and wisdom -- free, free to be honest, felt, beyond the bounds of claims to validity in structural rules, these breathe with validity and integrity and fun and love, with life and loss and grief and living. Constructed with great care and love. Sensitive and alive without living in hock to justifying themselves through reference and established ways. A model refreshed for me, a reconnection to that and to a younger me. Breath that fed into so much more this year, reading Hafez and Rumi, especially Rumi, into Spring, into reading Kingsley and Jung and von Franz and Johnson, and with living in new places a bit, and all in living with challenges all that love helping sustain me. And worked through slowly - sometimes with a wonderful connection in picking them up at times they helped, magically relevant on occasion. I will read and read again and his other work.

He has a website here, and I recommend the guestbook to get a sense of his realness and substance -www.brianpatten.co.uk/guestbook.html

There are some poems there too.

Dez 19, 2019, 12:16am

>108 tonikat: Brian Patten appeared in the Penguin Modern poets series (No.10) He shared the edition with Adrian Henri and Roger McGough and they were known as the Liverpool poets. After all it was published in 1967 the year of the Beatles and so everyone knew where Liverpool was. It is one of my most thumbed collections.

Editado: Dez 20, 2019, 10:23am

>109 baswood: thanks :) I knew about the liverpool poets, though I think something kind of put me off, maybe my stupidly academic school, i don't know i remember a sense of them looked down on (probably not even by english teachers) as 'popular', it may have been some peers or some peers confused or some peers deliberately confusing me and also my own confusion. I do remember a general sense I was put down for gushing about that film and so wish I'd gushed out of that place and off to Paris. McGough frequently says things I like, but manages to annoy me somehow a lot of the time. Henri I have not got into. I know about that collection but haven't seen it. I loved the Beatles at that time too, still do of course.
deleted how that was part of the start of many slides, best not to.

Dez 20, 2019, 11:18am

>108 tonikat: - >110 tonikat: There was a BBC Four documentary a couple of years ago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Penguin collection, but that obviously can’t be the one you remember from school!

Editado: Dez 20, 2019, 5:21pm

>111 thorold: thanks -- no this was the mid 80s. Maybe it too was a shorter mention amongst looking at the others' too, I just remember thinking as ever how much cooler it was in the 60's, and how i'd be hopeless trying to live like that (then at least, and pretty much still now, though have come on a bit).

I ordered a copy of the collection, finally.

Editado: Dez 21, 2019, 9:38pm

The Freedom Artist by Ben Okri

I've not read Ben Okri before. He studied at my first Uni, some years before me, different subjects. So, lots of people have recommended him to me over the years and I know how proud so many were of him, staff and students, some people I love/d. Stupidly I did not read him, I'm not sure how conscious it was that I did that, maybe to plough my own path as lots of others did read him, it was no comment on him. But he always interested me and I've enjoyed watching, listening to and reading interviews.

Then recently he was at a lit festival and I was able to attend a conversation with Margaret Busby. He said lots I liked. Some things that challenged too, or some of the writing he read did. It's something else waking me up to the past, though for me that's not all good. I especially liked how the interview went, his pace, how relaxed he was - the kind of conversations I (I'd) like to have and that seem so rare. And I am a well trained humanistic counsellor, yet need more of that in my life and in find them rare, partly due to the pace of life, partly due to some things that have diverted me from clarity daily (treatments). And I must have my own part in it as I try to get back towards myself, I'm co-un-creating it all a bit, listening to others is a big part of it, which I'm good at, but the tone of this is thwarted sometimes when not as clear personally.

We did get to reminisce about a core course at essex that is important on the enlightenment. It might not have been my favourite, but I often think of things encountered on it. All this also on my mind in this month of elections and this time which in a way challenges many of those values.

Then there is his book - which explores very beautifully a society in which such values have been challenged, and further. A society dear LTers (hold on to your hats) in which books have almost totally disappeared!Oh how sadly familiar it seems. A society in which thinking is dangerous and in which it seems everyone is asleep and in which the founding myths of the society are rewritten to be palatable to the Hierarchy.

We step alongside several lives in those circumstances - a young mythmaker guided by his grandfather who goes onto a Shamanic journey really, a healing journey. And a young man and his beautiful lover who is 'disappeared' as happens in some repressive societies. We follow the young man, Karnak, on his own journey with this loss, his awakening to his society as it seems to deteriorate further and the glimpses he has of ways forward. We also meet Ruslana, the daughter of the last bookseller as she finds and makes her own path in this context.

A challenging book. Though my own experiences make it seem very familiar to me. It tweaks things I recognise beyond my own experience. It also does so with magical vision, both of hellish things and throughout and in conclusion with visionary hope. So, right up my street, as visionary hope in the imagination is where I have had to try to find myself too -- and of course for many others too is perhaps where freedom lies (William Blake at the top of my list).

Its conclusion is very symbolic - fits very much with all that alchemical reading of mine this year and very liberating. I've read a bit this year and thought a lot about double binds - and in therapy it can be helpful to reframe them. It seems to me that the ultimate reframe is to look at things with love, to feel it, show it, make it real. Which for me was a challenge due to how I doubted myself and due to social messages, despite seeming to have all I could need to make this true. Maybe it relates to some other things above and how each day has been distanced too, especially since my counselling, unlike myself, almost to show others a lesser me in this -- and in fact shame often silences me going anywhere near trying to say this, and may also lead me to fear consequences for doing so (Okri writes of people disappeared and silenced, the latter i effectively recognise, also some of my experience of mental health (not of working in it as I have in a less intense way) - in which it has always felt part of my treatment was for coming from the arts). But we (I) have to try to find our (my) way to freedom, and trust as in Jung and Rogers that that will bring social gain. Dare to show love, make it - knowing I'll (we'll) fail in some ways, and learn - and not be trapped in frustration and not quite getting to the heart of matters. Ben Okri keeps love very much in focus - for others, self esteem (and how it may be knocked) and how it may be shown in art and literature and shared or not) - he shows how humanity may avoid traps and double binds, with simple humanity, faith in S/self and others - the beautiful lover most importantly has a beautiful spirit.

The resolution is a beautiful, visionary realisation of this in hearts, beyond words - a utopian vision the true conclusion to such dystopia.

So, for me this read is part of some healthy steps at the moment and helps me make them and break from some lies and misunderstandings I have been given -- and whilst I know them they insist upon themselves. Very validating, rather wonderful.

He notes at the start of the book to read it slowly - and followers of my threads will know that under two weeks is fast for me. But I will reread. His style is also deceptively simple and I like it a lot - it could lead you to go too fast. I think in many ways it was just the (a) right book at the right time for me in multiple ways. I hope it sounds of interest and brings hope to others.

Dez 21, 2019, 12:00am

>113 tonikat: Interesting - not many people own this book

Editado: Dez 22, 2019, 4:31pm

>114 baswood: not sure why that is - it's been out a while. I like it.

Editado: Dez 24, 2019, 9:08am

I've felt a bit embarrassed at times this year starting the thread off with that poem, less so of the title line, not sure about the rest. But the privilege of the year has been to start to remember the issue of grace, which itself helps.

I don't plan to put a poem in next year, at least not to frame the year. There is still a way to go to get there too, but want to take this chance to respond to that start above.


“the experience of being delivered from experience”, Martin Luther

a figure awaiting her own sculptress
to deliver her from stone retreat
knows a dream – sun marbled skin uncovered
ease of limbs free to be observed
simply present, still, in every moment
truth ringing through her pose

A. H / K.H-H (7th November 2019)

Jan 1, 2020, 3:10pm

You Are the Beloved by Henri Nouwen

I very much enjoyed The Way of the Heart by Nouwen last year. Part of a string of things that have helped validate such thinking/feeling in our oh so cognitive age which I think deliberately undermines such thinking, the sacred. More could be said, what is the point.

These have been a beautiful accompaniment through the year. It's where I got that Luther quote above, which fits so well too with the Milosz/Heaney quote above too. I hope to read him more, need to. I think I'll read it again next year. I was good at doing it daily, together with the Tolstoy, but got behind in November and was always catching up to the end of the year.

Editado: Jan 1, 2020, 6:25pm

Wise Thoughts for every day by Tolstoy

A very good decision to read this again. Why not I thought - there would be no reason. A book that Tolstoy was most proud of having written at the end of his life, of all his books. It went through several versions, I have his Calendar of wisdom I think its called which is made up of more quotes from others, but its not as handy, plus its a big book, so hard to have on me, whilst this is on Kindle. It was suppressed by the soviets (he was too free for them). A very lovely and helpful book, challenging of many assumptions, but very wise and worth pondering on those challenges.

edit - coincidentally i just found this site: https://www.tolstoytherapy.com/start-here/

Editado: Jan 1, 2020, 4:40pm

My year of most completed books, by some way, apparently. Though I was sure in another year it may have been a bit more with books I did not count for some reason - like having never counted two of Robertson Davies' Deptford trilogy as I have not yet read the third.

I don't like too many stats, 35 individual books completed. 38 with rereads.

I feel I let go of trying to read 50% women authors, but in fact 9/38 is probably my best percentage yet, about 24%. So, not good enough, but progress. I definitely feel it helps me.

Coming toward the end of the year I thought I might push this total much further with a slew of books to complete. But, life, and Christmas. Plus I got Kingsley's Catafalque: Carl Jung and the end of humanity at Christmas which has been my main reading since, about 2/3 of the way through the lovely volume one.

It has been one of my most enjoyable reading years. Nouwen and Tolstoy above were a great help together with less regular progress with The Imitation of Christ. I travelled a lot for seven months and much less tv my have helped - in fact shaken out of a lot of habits. My reading and group on Jung and active imagination was huge - this fed into discovering Rumi properly, Henry Corbin too, some Swedenborg (more of him). And being recommended Brian Patten's poems fitted right in. Then also reading Peter Kingsley has been fantastic - my small reading round pre-socratics had noted their spiritual side and in comparison with Plato, but his wonderful, scholarly argument has helped so much. Scholarly yet generously clear in prosess, telling a story well, heavily referenced but this added not to distract. And to clarify traditions in thinking and wisdom that fit with some of those other strands and are most misunderstood and controversial to some ways of thinking. Personally I value freedom of the imagination and have experienced those who cannot tolerate that (but then, for example a doctor once told me that my arts degree, in fact all arts degrees, was/were "ten-a-penny" and that I needed to be taught how to think, despite all high achievement and no other complaints, and in fact was able to enforce this view, may yet do so again. But this reading is good, fosters creativity (also discouraged) and thoughts on spirituality (also discouraged) and is clearly healthy. Stick with rationalisation if you want, I've not abandoned that, but balance.

I have read a lot else - a thesis online was helpful. Parts of many books, essays, poetry of course. I think I have wondered before about noting such things more. Looking back at the decade I'd quite like to see which years I was reading some of my unfinisheds and part reads. Maybe I'll find a way at least with important books (to me).

Best wishes for good reading and a happy and peaceful year in 2020, we all need that, and maybe some of that wisdom that sometimes seems irrational, but is our best learning on how we got here, not what we are so often foisted with now.

next year's sea of song