Dharma Bums

“The warm wind made the pines talk deep one night when I began to experience what is called ‘Samipatti”, which in Sanskrit means Transcendental Visits. I’d got a little drowsy in the mind but was somehow physically wide awake sitting erect under my tree when suddenly I saw flowers, pink world of walls of them, salmon pink, in the Shh of silent woods (obtaining nirvana is like locating silence) and I saw an ancient vision of Dipankara Buddha who was the Buddha who never said anything, Dipankara as a vast snowy Pyramid Buddha with bushy wild black eyebrows like John L. Lewis and a terrible stare, all in an old location, an ancient snowy field like Alban (“A new field!” had yelled the Negro preacher-woman), the whole vision making my hair rise. I remember the strange magic final cry that it evoked in me, whatever it means: Colyalcolor, It, the vision, was devoid of any sensation of I being myself, it was pure egolessness, just simply wild ethereal activities devoid of any wrong predicates…devoid of effort, devoid of mistake. “Everything’s all right,” I thought. “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form and we’re here forever in one form or another which is empty. What the dead have accomplished, this rich silent hush of the Pure Awakened Land.” – Jack Kerouac

“When you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you” – Frederich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

“Every portion of the Universe appears to be a mirror, in which the whole creation is represented” – Madame de Staël

“Language is the perfect element in which interiority is as external as exteriority is internal” – Hegel

“Poetry is a speaking picture while painting is silent poetry” – Horace

Ode On Indolence

John Keats

‘They toil not, neither do they spin.’

One morn before me were three figures seen,
With bowed necks, and joined hands, side-faced;
And one behind the other stepp’d serene,
In placid sandals, and in white robes graced:
They pass’d, like figures on a marble urn,
When shifted round to see the other side;
They came again; as when the urn once more
Is shifted round, the first seen shades return;
And they were strange to me, as may betide
With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore.

How is it, shadows, that I knew ye not?
How came ye muffled in so hush a masque?
Was it a silent deep-disguised plot
To steal away, and leave without a task
My idle days?  Ripe was the drowsy hour;
The blissful cloud of summer-indolence
Benumb’d my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;
Pain had no sting, and pleasure’s wreath no flower.
O, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense
Unhaunted quite of all but – nothingness?

A third time pass’d they by, and, passing, turn’d
Each one the face a moment whiles to me;
Then faded, and to follow them I burn’d
And ached for wings, because I knew the three:
The first was a fair maid, and Love her name;
The second was Ambition, pale of cheek,
And ever watchful with fatigued eye;
The last, whom I love more, the more of blame
Is heap’d upon her, maiden most unmeek, –
I knew to be my demon Poesy.

They faded, and, forsooth!  I wanted wings:
O folly!  What is Love? and where is it?
And for that poor Ambition – it springs
From a man’s little heart’s short fever-fit;
For Poesy! – no, – she has not a joy, –
At least for me, – so sweet as drowsy noons,
And evenings steep’d in honied indolence;
O, for an age so shelter’d from annoy,
That I may never know how change the moons,
Or hear the voice of busy common-sense!

A third time came they by: – alas! wherefore?
My sleep had been embroider’d with dim dreams;
My soul had been a lawn besprinkled o’er
With flowers, and stirring shades, and baffled beams:
The morn was clouded, but no shower fell,
Though in her lids hung the sweet tears of May;
The open casement press’d a new-leaved vine,
Let in the budding warmth and throstle’s lay;
O shadows!  ’twas a time to bid farewell!
Upon your skirts had fallen no tears of mine.

So, ye three ghosts, adieu!  Ye cannot raise
My head cool-bedded in the flowery grass;
For I would not be dieted with praise,
A pet-lamb in a sentimental farce!
Fade softly from my eyes, and be once more
In masque-like figures on the dreary urn;
Farewell!  I yet have visions for the night,
And for the day faint visions there is store;
Vanish, ye phantoms, from my idle spright,
Into the clouds, and never more return!

Song of Amerigen

translated by Robert Graves

I am a stag: of seven tines,
I am a flood: across a plain,
I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the Sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff,
I am a thorn: beneath the nail,
I am a wonder: among flowers,
I am a wizard: who but I,
Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?

I am a spear: that roars for blood,
I am a salmon: in a pool,
I am a lure: from paradise,
I am a hill: where poets walk,
I am a boar: ruthless and red,
I am a breaker: threatening doom,
I am a tide: that drags to death,
I am an infant: who but I
Peeps from the unhewn dolmen arch?

I am the womb: of every holt,
I am the blaze: on every hill,
I am the queen: of every hive,
I am the shield: for every head,
I am the tomb: of every hope.