Category Archives: Zeitgeist

“He Chose What Homer Chose”

William Shakespeare
[23 April 1564 - 23 April 1616}

Today marks the Anniversary of the Birth of Shakespeare 450 years ago, and, according to what records we may or may not have, it also marks the Anniversary of the Passing of the Bard 398 years ago. The general facts concerning William Shakespeare support the idea that he was born and died on the same day. In honour of the occasion, of course, there is a repeat of a posting some time ago:

"He Chose What Homer Chose"

He chose what Homer chose; the place,
The measured lisp of every school boy; the time, eternity;
The hour, the glory of the present tense, the panoply
Of stars above the placeless with the taste
Of honeys made pedestrian, obscured by tongues, the paste
Left finite and sour from beyond divinity and the bower of worship--the realities
Of man, the Son of Man, the seat of constancy is faithlessness in cold identities
Obscured beyond the reach of all--
the trial of facelessness becomes their saving grace.
Who knew the eyes of John or Peter, Paul,
or the meek and more obscure Bartholomew
But that the rumours flew and vacancies were filled, their names
Now everywhere and nowhere is it written
How the Christ appeared, or how their God had smitten
What was left of their disguises, appetites and virtues notwithstanding crude
And morbid songs of their demise,

...and cannonlore for all that glory in the flames.

"The past cannot be cured."

--Queen Elizabeth I
[7 September 1533 - 24 March 1603]

“Yes, of Course”

“Yes, of Course”

Yes, of course, it’s in the silences, the gaps; what isn’t there,
A kind of saving grace. Yes, it’s in the wrist and more, a second
Maiden voyage. The news announces daily the Titanic’s jocund
Journey redux, greater for revision less the ware
And less absorbing in the loss of souls from rarer thinner air
Brought faithfully to task but mind you nonetheless a reckoning
Within a construct; no! an edifice of remembrances within the seconding
Of resolutions that determines Elliot’s wave within the self-defining stare
Of relative modernity; but one tsunami in eternity amid the voids of space.
The promise of redemption’s found in balances of degrees
In praise of beauty in the sun spots’ mighty aura, the aurora in the fray
Of loose inebriating Northern Lights–try distraction while you pray–
Try the Northwest Passage in the making high above the Arctic’s former grace
Notes, rhythms in the writ, a metaphor in G, perhaps, but played in C.

“There was peace and the world had an even tenor to it’s way. Nothing was revealed in the morning, the trend of which was not known the night before. It seems to me that the disaster about to occur was the event, that not only made the world rub its eyes and awake, but woke it with a start, keeping it moving at a rapidly accelerating pace ever since, with less and less peace, satisfaction and happiness. To my mind the world of today awoke April 15, 1912. – Jack Thayer, Titanic Survivor

“They Might Have Opened All the Doors”

…again, in honour of the Blessed Event commemorated on this day…Bahá’ís throughout the world commemorate this evening after sundown and tomorrow the Declaration of The Báb, the Forerunner, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Whose purpose was to prepare the world for the imminent appearance of Bahá’u’lláh the Promise of All Ages and Religions and Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. The declaration of His mission on earth came in the early evening hours of 23 May 1844 when He declared His Advent to the first of the believers in His Faith.

“Whom do you claim to be,” he asked the Báb, “and what is the message which you have brought?” “I am,” thrice exclaimed the Báb, “I am, I am, the promised One! I am the One whose name you have for a thousand years invoked, at whose  mention you have risen, whose advent you have longed to witness, and the hour of whose Revelation you have prayed God to hasten. Verily I say, it is incumbent upon the peoples of both the East and the West to obey My word and to pledge allegiance to My person.”

The Dawn-Breakers, p. 316

The Báb (1819-1850)

House of The Báb in Shiráz, Irán [destroyed by Muslims in recent years


On May 23, 1844, in Shiráz, Persia, a young man known as The Báb announced the imminent appearance of the Messenger of God awaited by all the peoples of the world. The title “Báb” means “the Gate.” Although Himself the bearer of an Independent Revelation from God, The Báb declared that His purpose was to prepare mankind for this advent.


Swift and savage persecution at the hands of the dominant Muslim clergy followed this announcement. The Báb was arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and finally on July 9, 1850 was executed in the public square of the city of Tabríz. Some 20,000 of His followers perished in a series of massacres throughout Persia. Today, the majestic building with the golden dome, overlooking the Bay of Haifa, Israel, and set amidst beautiful gardens, is the Shrine where The Báb‘s earthly remains are entombed.

“They Might Have Opened
All the Doors”

They might have opened all the doors; they might have paced the floors;
They might have seen His image somewhere in the dream or lingering
In atavistic traces of His family line, the graces, strong and nimble fingering
Upon the instrument, the shrill nib carving statues from the stone,
in voice a thousand rapturous scores.
They might have seen themselves beside Him somewhere there in the breach,
His sun’s withdrawal at implosion, His apogée at dusk approaching
Whispering luminosities, crescendi in the vibration in clefs defying
barriers and shibboleths, crouching
In scattered catacombs, beyond the reach
Of mortals East and all expectant worshipers at West, in haste ancipating
Bas-relief scrawled along the walls and fractured vents
up from the seabed of all humanity,
Famed and storied such that His arrival only rivalled Bethlehem’s nativity
And by appointment, lest the Great Announcement
failed to spawn a catholic antipathy.
With but a word, the pantheon of deities and vain imaginings
that once were stone
were given breath to stifle such precocity in letters as the pen
Cannot recall nor circumscribe: that night, the Nineteen found their mark
as lightning from East to West and back again.

…admittedly obscure, my few words here will find their meaning in the hearts of all Bahá’ís who know the significance of this day; to all the rest, I beg indulgence for these few hours…

43:1 Afterward he brought me to The Báb, even The Báb that looketh toward the East: 43:2 And, behold, Bahá’u’lláh came from the way of the East: and His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory.

43:3 And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.

43:4 And Bahá’u’lláh came into the House by the way of The Báb whose prospect is toward the East.

Ezekiel

“Mirage”

“Mirage”

The mirage moves comfort
When truths in volumes fail,
As winds in doldrums seduce forgotten sails,
The mousse, the whipped cream of the sort
That fattens the appetite in consumption
But flattens with rapidity in use
As its natural abuse argues justification and excuse
To to reign but seconds only while crude absorption
Reconnoiters seamless swift returns to the predetermined mark
The very limit of experience hat fickle fascination claims
Is wisdom albeit relentless common sense and reason wanes
And interests drain as the catalyst of desire departs.
What more do fools expect from denial and delusion
Than that instincts greed define what spirits call illusion?
Their mouths are never closed, their policies and words
Like noxious clouds forever block internal securities
In external declarations of truths whose missions are  insecurities.
These, the foam and refuse, the gathering curds
Of failures gleaned from mother’s milk, exacerbate  the many coloured quilt
Of blessed existence, provide the nourishment for fellows
In the hydræ of ancient deadly causes, a bellows
For pernicious anaemia, the fires of self-destruction, deceptive silks
In Chinese red and imperial yellow glory in what otherwise is so easily tainted.
Eyes though sightless, ears though blocked,
Rudiments and remnants, plaque and pittance locked
Away for timed released by those whose painted
Images rehearsed by those who know no peace,
Whose appetites are not satisfied will never cease.

Yes, of course, there were the mysteries and questions in the mind, if not, the heart of Cain.  In those few seconds of lucidity with his brother before his passing, Cain was asked, “Why?”  And Cain replied, “what was so precious about your sacrifice to Him.  Was it so different from my own?”  Abel whispered. “There was no difference, my brother; why are you so wroth?”  “He asked the same of me.  How was I to bear the weight?  What would you have done?” Abel whispered, I would have asked what I could do to make my sacrifice acceptable.”  Cain’s reaction was the first premise of history;  it was Abel’s last.

Remembrances of that morning in 2001…”My Eyes Looked Up”

Remembrances of that morning in 2001…


“My Eyes Looked Up”

My eyes looked up and what I saw was more
Than they could bear; a rushing through the halls
With the roar of sorrow in the ears; I heard the call,
A warning, a deafening “Danger! Be reminded here before
The fact that what’s been said will never
Be unuttered; fractures in the zeitgeist, ciphers of a shrine
To endless days of contemplation, meditation in the marrow, brine
And bitter herbs will be the fare from this day until the day of rest; if ever
Was a day of mourning this one is!” Students
In the classroom all abuzz and even verging on a levity
–They had so little to employ their hours–proclivity
To expect experience on a screen or in the rubrics
Of the media, always in the past and never present in the sixes and the sevens.
Another trumpet, another decade, and another word for it: ubiquitous now as “9/11″!

“The Changeling’s Off”

“The Changeling’s Off”

The changeling’s off degrees from centre stage;
Regrets but he neglects quitting early, spurns all but firm resolve
To be what he must be and in evasion and denial dissolves
In endless traction in the newborn age
That leaves him far behind,…or so he dreams.
He is the less for it; it’s true, but greater in the breach,
He leaps or lunges toward such goals as were never his, the reach
Beyond what was intended only days ago. Hours, he deems
His monumental costs delayed as what amount to pearls strung, displayed–
Themselves but miniatures, schemes so grandiose that rival truest choice
In actions innocuously exposed as are his works that cannot find a voice–
The either side of which are more commanding than the plays,
Themselves, no more nor less demanding on the patronage of audience:
Such bubble baths of bathos spawn endless hopes, awash in incidental arrogance
and to within an inch of anger and doomed, perhaps, to decadence.
“The child’s fallen through the cracks,”
They say, and sure, he knows it! Neither factions
Nor an infinity of purple lines, nor silence as a sanction
bring his thinking past the moment of attack,
The root, the centre of delight and gravitas
And at that age? Amazing! Teachers raise
Their hands and he applauds the praise
Of cause to no effect. He will salute the animas
Of every passing spark without a thought
To ground the notion. Lightning strikes
Inevitably–obverse of confirmation– to light
A path to pains that cannot be contained nor bought
And wonders how it is that others neither flatten nor allay
His ignorance and, leaving, lay to waste his salad days,.
The catalysts detached, and safe from harm and apathy
Reduce integrities to nothing more than sport. Liabilities, he earns; enjoined
Or praised: he treasures troubled space but only when purloined,
And, bowing low, he surgically removes the parasites of hosts. Relief
From all that’s supine trumps perception of the hand that’s dealt with deft
Disclosure hidden in the modus. Others merely operate and analyse;
The oil they seek is crude; his sensibilities refine the blatant lies,
And all those wisdoms as from boils are drained. The bereft
No longer fool the wwise, nor falsely warn the fool!
His simple confidence entrapped, he walks away, displays no sympathy
For maudlin sentiment, and, drowned–as was Voltaire!–
in trivial pursuit, antithesis, and antipathy,
He confidently scorns all suckers born upon  A ferial day; the hours cooled
In cauldrons, the stench of raw indifference is masked in nosegay;
Satisfactions realized, the succubus smiles and simply steals away.

……A deed without a name….

…in recognition of the dark events that presently becloud the entire spectrum of world events….

Thou canst not say I did it: never shake
Thy gory locks at me….

…Great business must be wrought ere noon:
Upon the corner of the moon
There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
I’ll catch it ere it come to ground:
And that distill’d by magic sleights
Shall raise such artificial sprites
As by the strength of their illusion
Shall draw him on to his confusion:

He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear
He hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace and fear:
And you all know, security
Is mortals’ chiefest enemy….

… Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble…… By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes…
… How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
What is’t you do?…
.…..A deed without a name….

…by William Shakespeare [1564-1616]……
… A writer without a name….

….or at least, he let us think his name was thus and so and that he lived in Stratford once upon a time….

“Just Another Evening’s Fast”

“Just Another Evening’s Fast”

Just another evening’s fast,
By chance, a simple dinner, happenstance within the seams
And lining of sidling sibling intercourse that satisfies or possibly redeems
The thing that leaves its fossils free for future scavengers, no past
To contemplate, a coroner’s delight from the proceeds of a centrifuge.
Cleverness of movement mounts in moments somehow cleft
And processed as lesions in the lard of what’s been left
To marinate or age. Discharge, wastes from the deluge
Along the banquet boards, but dammed provide
A watershed, the simple servant to all cardinal sins
To celebrate with sufficient zeal a subtrahend
That will not be outgrown nor decompose and cannot break its stride
With backdoor vipers or ill-used garden snakes. At harm’s length
Visitations of the witnesses can only grow in strength.
And in the wake of rampant spending never-ending apostrophes
Display en masse in parliaments and congresses the celebrants
Of leisure indiscretion and rhymed
across the continents to vindicate the sycophants
That feed on chaff and tares and festering entropic
Taste. The eyes and ears devour content until the alloys
Reduce the whole by more than mere attrition: cues, inordinate;
Views, the outrageous comedy of news of Abel’s subordinate
To Cain’s disorderly conduct. Ephemeral sensations void
All issues in the ideology; the syncope
Will do while conflict sounds so much more human,
Don’t you think, or do you really trust a politician, man or woman
Whose distinction lies in dropping g’s? Possibly, or maybe
Not, but give us rolled up sleeves and no tie, please!
The tissues, lies, of course!
but please. No more peace.

…a revision of the poem…”Swept Aside”

…a revision of the poem…

“Swept Aside”

Swept aside, all moments and celestial mementos collide
And waste no never-mind on credence and retention
In the wake of greater cosmic rinds and supine celestial reflection.
Mortality by definition lies; not so through what histories imply
But in the daily interaction of missives from the Goal
And penultimate ilunga * of the Source or
Sanctions of interaction in the triumphant triad of the coarsest
Ores of time, of space, and all that matters. Time, the cosmic linen folds
Of space and active order; space, the theatre of experience at the heart
Of the observer; matter, but an audience, a phenomena in passive
Active shadows of Creation and its nemesis. Simplicity is massive,
Complexity but a word; a question’s languages are art
And science while the answers form the pathos and the abstract.
What is more pathetic than to be and yet be nothing in the act?
Simplicity in the classic form requires
The prefects of a perfect vacuum
Combined in such a way as compliments the acumen
Of a strident meme, the jealous zeitgeist, tests that to the whole inspire
An urgent need to pause, to linger over bodies no longer really there,
A little more than a half a generation’s substance in a given time.
So granted this, so beautifully and tragically resigned,
Aloud comes the elegies of episodes to “Move along!”or “Retire!”
With such a cry inscribed, there was and always is
A here and there in rapid profit worshipped, fierce
As gallstones of desperation: “This, our chosen age, rehearsed
Upon a cross of memories little more than lyrics of an ancient tryst!”
And, equally, the many crowned and catalogued, remain aloof
Through symmetries of perfection in a sacred dynasty of embroidered truth.

*The word is ilunga, from the Bantu language of Tshiluba, and means a person ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.

When there is this, that is.
With the arising of this, that arises.
When this is not, neither is that.
With the cessation of this, that ceases.

His Holiness The Buddha

“The Cells”

“The Cells”

The cells call out their scholarity,
Mighty spires reach for skies
That live seasons in the earth’s penumbra and expire
Forever, so they say. Turn, then, to odd peculiarity,
Particulars in ornate stone formations possibly deliberate
When once they housed a single evening’s temple
Built by want and ignorance of what is simple,
Worshipped by multitudes within, immediate
To some, an intimacy of bodies petrified
And sprung from some light’s supple
Flight that had a need for nuptials–
She, the goddess; he, the priest. So sanctified,
They possessed a night that launched a myriad cliffs
And in that blackest of shadows, its oceans shifted.

–Once

“The poem… is a little myth of man’s capacity to make life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see – it is, rather, a light by which we may see – and what we see is life.”

~Robert Penn Warren
[April 24, 1905—September 15, 1989]