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Posts Tagged ‘art’

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YIDAM YEW

As though through the bark
The tree remembers
every storm
Every wild sunset.
every dream of fleeting light captured, savoured.
Every rip tide and cloud race, every
Second’s shade and bright reveal.
A mad visionary truth,
The taste of an ultimate, near ultimate, real,
Stretching and scattering certainty of form and view.

At its heart is a red darkness,
a blue darkness,
a glow of orange sunrise and sunsets,
a weight of waiting
and a weight of watching.

It will see you looking at it
through your own eyes.
It will measure the coming and going of your breath,
and know that it is dreaming.

Those who name it,
do not know its name,
which began at the beginning of things
And will continue beyond their ending,
and then will not be completed, even then.

Though there is a snake hiss silence,
though the spine fills and hollows with dust,
though one moment shatters in black light,
though there is a taste of pollen and old books,
though there is a stutter thought,
though there is a window or a mirror.

A perfect dance of stillness,
a perfect song of silence,
a filled void that drowns and opens out.
A cease and a spinning.
Location lost.
A reorientation in a million shards of shadow shimmer.
Wordless is the wisdom of compassionate beasts.

Whetever form it takes,
it is light and time and endless mind
Stretched out in sunlight, flowing as wind and rain,
A map of constancy, road to all things.

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‘Yidam’ is the Tibetan word for ‘meditational deity’. It has energetic presence that encourages awakening and is dressed in a form and metaphor that excites attention. Like all deities/spirits/thought forms, it is paradoxically illusory and of an independant existence more real than the individual personality could ever be. ‘Wrathful’ deities have the appearance of dynamic, fear-provoking, fiery forms that destroy illusion and false concepts.

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DHRUPAD 11 (august night)

The hollow hills resounding.
The resounding hollow hills,
Knee-deep in starlight,
Knee-deep in patient oaks,
And the white cries of the fox
And the stretched white cries of owls
And our sleeping souls rising like smoke
Through open windows on this warm night,
Weightless, free of thought now,
Flicking through centuries
As the ashes’ fingers fall and drift
And the berries ripen, sun-polished.
And the dead (who are always with us)
Watch and ripen, remembering old hymns
In an old language, and the music of quiet gossip
And the food of woodsmoke and pipe tobacco
And the too short, long evenings
And the too short, oblivious nights.
Carded and spun these days of commotion,
Made a single yarn end to end,
A story with familiar patterns,
With certain purpose, worthwhile
And righteous, worthy of some eternal reward,
Surely, surely.

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BARDIC REPLY

Our art is not about sanity.
You, who have learned neither name nor edge,
Who insist there is one word, one view, one meaning.
You can know nothing of this glory, this defeat, this wonder.
Whose life must be pleasant above all things,
despite death and all its monsters, despite the shadows, the whispers.
Trained neither to remember nor forget, muddling through.
Oh the mirrors are sharp and they are fine, but they lie.
That is never your face that looks out -just a trick we
Have become accustomed to, knowing no better.
Staring into dark pools hypnotised, dissassociated, becoming
Numb, drained of decisions, drained of moments,
the buzzing of summer flies, the click of electrical circuits.

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TERRACOTTA ARMY
( for kenza)

Who would not smile, immortal now and beside comrades?
(We are all clay, for the most part unfired, liable to dissolution, unremembered.)
In silent order, under cool earth, set to wait, bellies full, what could be better?
Dreaming of heaven is, perhaps, as close as one can get, without a girl.
The way of Tao is a mystery of dust and the sound of distant waters.
The whispers of the tourists, the cicada click of camera shutters,
The passage of sun and moon like the passing of emperors and empires.
Not quite outside of time, we count our ranks like the monks, mantras.
No need of other weapons: all die before us, our far off stares, our calm smiles.

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DHRUPAD 5 (bluebells)

Shimmers so
there,
unlikely unsky
sky,
woven down by green air
in the water washed wood
and the cherry sound
of chiffchaff chiffchaff,
chaffinch, twig twitter song.
Glory, glory, the deepest blue but not,
but violet but not,
but smudged heaven taste beyond eyes,
cell washed deep sound,
a sound even lying on it all,
lying across it all.
A sky blanket sun dipped.
Kingfisher blue, as if,
sudden flash blue, as if,
floating violet pink haze blue.
There
not there.
In passing flicker flicker from
a deep seen somewhere else,
from a silent safe mind springing up
with smiles.
Language unwrapped,
unfolded, spread open,
smoothed
there now, there now,
sun at last
sun at last,
sun, at last!
we shall push on push up
take colour become
come ring sound
and swing down singing
down the slopes,
a tumble bells sighing sound,
swaying dance a deeper dance,
down down the deeper sky,
sunless starless moonless,
a sea sky
footsteps
footsteps
the wooded
wooded
bluebell
way.

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DHRUPAD 3 (blackbird song)

Blackbird rain, blackbird river,the rich so rich evening cool air, evening rich scent air, blackbird still river standing cool. Pines whisper the breeze the breeze the slide knife heart song thrills, mellow knife heart knife song. Rounded world voice river now ripple now voice. Apple rounded, juice voice, drip drip drip voice, echoed stone voice, remembering voice, saying floating cool rain voice. Golden smooth and jet black shiny voice. Rain split, rainbowed wrapped twist thread, weaving woven gold and gilded through and through, this warm this cool this water clear air song voice moment. Stopped and started time held and space thrilled, sun and moon and stars all, all named together, one river named, one moment twirled named, this river sorrow joy river, this eye opening out, vast vast this throb, this little throat, this heart, heart full, rain washed, cool washed, all washed, voice river, named.

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DHRUPAD 1 (mountain air)

slow now, slow the grey cool,

slow
the
way
down.

The gods love this – space free of souls,

no
weight
of prayer.

Small thought light as wings, light on light,

shimmer stacking cloud.

The journey is one breath belonging to horizons
all ours.

They hover here,
hover here,

endless attractors
the cascading distant waters,
the air breezed
from
high
ice
centuries abiding in white.

Slow now, the in and out

suffering little from its movement,

revolving an axis honeyed.

If there are words, they become smudged distance. If there is

sound,

it drifts cloud and misty vapour,

sand, grained and free,

slipping
sift
away,

slow, now, slow.

I have been listening to a lot of Classical Indian music lately, especially rudra veena and surbahar that are instruments ideal to interpret the ancient style of dhrupad. Dhrupad is a vocal devotional music that slowly and thoroughly uncovers the notes and patterns of each piece. There is a lot of repetition and sequences, and although words are sung, it is the emotion within the notes of the raga that creates its profound effect. These poems take some of the rotational effects of dhrupad and its exploration of motifs and rhythm. Originally written as a continuous text, they will best be presented in an open arrangement so that the eye intuits the timing of its narration/reading by the various groupings of words and phrases. (I do not think I will be able to accomplish it very well here within this page structure, but hopefully there will be some of the flavour I intended). There may be something of e. e. cummings, and something of Harold Budd, something of the word patterns of George Macbeth and something of the helter-skelter pace of Dylan Thomas. But most of all, I hope, the slow savouring of sound and image suggested by the alap and jhor of dhrupad.

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