Poem: Supremacy by Edwin Arlington Robinson

There is a drear and lonely tract of hell
From all the common gloom removed afar:
A flat, sad land it is, where shadows are,
Whose lorn estate my verse may never tell.
I walked among them and I knew them well:
Men I had slandered on life’s little star
For churls and sluggards; and I knew the scar
Upon their brows of woe ineffable.

But as I went majestic on my way,
Into the dark they vanished, one by one,
Till, with a shaft of God’s eternal day,
The dream of all my glory was undone,—
And, with a fool’s importunate dismay,
I heard the dead men singing in the sun.

Giordano Bruno – The Kabbalistic Ass

Now, to come to us, you’ll ask me, ‘‘What is this you send me? What is this book’s subject? Of what thing have you deemed me worthy?’’ And I answer that I bring you the gift of an Ass: I present you the Ass that will do honor to you, will increase your rank, will place you in the book of eternity. It doesn’t cost you anything to acquire it from me and have it for your own; it won’t cost you anything to maintain it, because it doesn’t eat, doesn’t drink, doesn’t dirty the house. It will be yours eternally, and will last longer than your miter, purple robe, cope, mule, and life—as, without much discussion, you and others may perceive. I have no doubt here, my most reverend monsignor, that the gift of the ass will not be unrewarding to your prudence and piety: I do not say this by reason derived from the custom of presenting great masters not only with a gem, a diamond, a ruby, a pearl, a perfect horse, an excellent vase, but also with an ape, a parrot, a monkey, an ass. And this ass, then, is necessary, exceptional, doctrinal, and not of the ordinary—! The ass of India is precious, and a papal gift in Rome; the ass of Otranto is an imperial gift in Constantinople; the ass of Sardinia is a royal gift in Naples. And the kabbalistic ass, which is ideal and therefore celestial—do you wish it to be less precious in whatever part of the world by whatever personage of rank, when through certain benign and lofty promises we know that one finds the terrestrial even in heaven? I am certain, then, that it will be accepted by you with the same spirit with which it is given you by me.

(Giordano Bruno – The Cabala of Pegasus)

Eric Voegelin: Lasting & Passing

“What lasts and passes, to be sure, is existence, but since existence is partnership in being, lasting and passing reveal something of being. Human existence is of short duration, but the being of which it partakes does not cease with existence. In existing we experience mortality; in being we experience what can be symbolized only by the negative metaphor of immortality. In our distinguishable separateness as existents we experience death; in our partnership in being we experience life. But here again we reach the limits that are set by the perspective of participation, for lasting and passing are properties of being and existence as they appear to us in the perspective of our existence; as soon as we try to objectify them we lose even what we have. If we try to explore the mystery of passing as if death were a thing, we shall not find anything but the nothing that makes us shudder with anxiety from the bottom of existence. If we try to explore the mystery of lasting as if life were a thing, we shall not find life eternal but lose ourselves in the imagery of immortal gods, of paradisiacal or Olympian existence. From the attempts at exploration we are thrown back into the consciousness of essential ignorance. Still, we “know” something. We experience our own lasting in existence, passing as it is, as well as the hierarchy of lasting; and in these experiences existence becomes transparent, revealing something of the mystery of being, of the mystery in which it participates though it does not know what it is. Attunement, therefore, will be the state of existence when it hearkens to that which is lasting in being, when it maintains a tension of awareness for its partial revelations in the order of society and the world, when it listens attentively to the silent voices of conscience and grace in human existence itself. We are thrown into and out of existence without knowing the Why or the How, but while in it we know that we are of the being to which we return. From this knowledge flows the experience of obligation, for though this being, entrusted to our partial management in existence while it lasts and passes, may be gained by attunement, it may also be lost by default. Hence the anxiety of existence is more than a fear of death in the sense of biological extinction; it is the profounder horror of losing, with the passing of existence, the slender foothold in the partnership of being that we experience as ours while existence lasts. In existence we act our role in the greater play of the divine being that enters passing existence in order to redeem precarious being for eternity.”

(Order & History Vol 1)

PROSE LEVEL…TOO BEAUTIFUL

Also reminds me of Dan’s poem Big Red.

Eric Voegelin: The Community of Being

“We move in a charmed community where everything that meets us has force and will and feelings, where animals and plants can be men and gods, where men can be divine and gods are kings, where the feathery morning sky is the falcon Horus and the Sun and Moon are his eyes, where the underground sameness of being is a conductor for the magical currents of good or evil that will subterraneously reach the superficially unreachable partner, where things are the same and not the same, and can change into each other”

(Order & History Vol 1)

Chinese Expression: 華佗再世

Chinese Translation of Maijou Otarou’s Smoke, Soil & Sacrifices. An idiom used to describe a really good doctor.

Wikipedia:

Hua is considered a shenyi (Wade–Giles: shen-i; 神醫, “divine doctor”) and is worshipped as a medicinal god or immortal in Daoist temples. “Hua Tuo zaishi” (Wade–Giles: Hua To Tsai-shih; 華佗再世, “Hua Tuo reincarnated”) is a term of respect for a highly skilled doctor.

Expression: Marriages & Sea Sponges

Another interesting expression/idiom

偕老同穴(かいろうどうけつ): Till Death Do Us Part (lit. Together Death Same Hole)

Kotobank quotes the Book of Odes which contains the poem:

穀則異室、死則同穴。
謂予不信、有如皦日。

While living, we may have to occupy different apartments;
But when dead, we shall share the same grave.
If you say that I am not sincere,
By the bright sun I swear that I am.

(Translation from ctext)

Apparently, in Japan, this expression is also used as the name for the sea sponge called a Venus’ Flower Basket. To quote Wikipedia:

In traditional Asian cultures, this particular sponge (in a dead, dry state) was given as a wedding gift because the sponge symbiotically houses two small shrimp, a male and a female, who live out their lives inside the sponge. They breed, and when their offspring are tiny, the offspring escape to find a Venus’ flower basket of their own. The shrimp inside the basket clean it and, in return, the basket provides food for the shrimp by trapping it in its tissues and then releasing wastes into the body of the sponge for the shrimp. It is also speculated that the bioluminescent light of bacteria harnessed by the sponge may attract other small organisms which the shrimp eat.

Source: Yoru no Mijikashi

四条木屋町《しじょうきやまち》の交差点から高瀬《たかせ》川を下った暗い街中に、木造三階建の古風な西洋料理店があって、高瀬川沿いの並木に温かい光を投げている。

ただでさえ温かみのある光景だが、中はもっと温かかった。むしろアツかった。

偕老同穴《かいろうどうけつ》の契りを交わした新郎新婦はまさに天衣無縫と言うべく、お姫様抱っこで接吻《せっぷん》を交わすところを写真に撮られてもなお恬然《てんぜん》としている神をも畏《おそ》れぬアツアツぶりは、たちまち参会者たちを黒焦げにした。

Translation

When you walk down the Takase river from the intersection at Shijoukiyamachi – down that dark street into downtown – there’s a certain old 3-storey Western restaurant done up in wood. The trees running alongside the Takase river are bathed in the warm light from over there.

But, even in this normally warm scenery, there was something even warmer within. It had crossed the threshold to piping hot.

Having just pledged their eternal dues, the newly married till-death-do-us-part couple could be said to be the very article of heavensent flawlessness – and while he carried his princess in his arms, exchanging those full kisses for the camera to catch – they piped hotter than hot cross buns in that very state of matrimonial contentment – fearlessly piping to the point where the surrounding congregation were burnt black in their boots.

Expression: Violence Begets Violence

The Japanese version is:

行使された暴力がさらなる暴力を招く

Which translates directly to ‘Exercised violence begets further violence’

Source: Yoru wa Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome

「おともだちパンチ」を御存知であろうか。

たとえば手近な人間のほっぺたへ、やむを得ず鉄拳《てっけん》をお見舞する必要が生じた時、人は拳《こぶし》を堅く握りしめる。その拳をよく見て頂きたい。親指は拳を外からくるみ込み、いわばほかの四本の指を締める金具のごとき役割を果たしている。その親指こそが我らの鉄拳を鉄拳たらしめ、相手のほっぺたと誇りを完膚《かんぷ》なきまでに粉砕する。行使された暴力がさらなる暴力を招くのは歴史の教える必然であり、親指を土台として生まれた憎しみは燎原の火のように世界へ広がり、やがて来たる混乱と悲惨の中で、我々は守るべき美しきものたちを残らず便器に流すであろう。

Translation

Perchance you would know what a “Friendship Fist” is?

If – that period comes about which necessitates directing a fine visitation of an iron-fist upon the soft muscular of a proximal human’s cheek, we grit our fists. I shall kindly illustrate it for you. Kindly witness the thumb, left on the outside to enclose the fist – namely, the other four fingers… stuck together like metal fittings while locked in by that mechanism. The fact of this thumb is what charges up the fist, ensuring that this comrade’s cheek and pride shall undergo a full pulverization until not an unbesmirched locale is left. There is that ever so important expression left to us in history that “the act of violence shall invite further violence” – and with this thumb as the starting point, may we find the flames of our hate spreading outwardly into the fields of the world, and in that soon forthcoming madness and despair – shall all of our most cherished and beautiful be placed into the gutters and pisspots without a single exception.

Saltless Dan

Dan Schneider used the word ‘saltless’ in his poem The Finn for this line:

” this time of year, in the saltless ego made ”

Which I thought rather strange, but it the context of the poem it could be referring to the sea – and Dictionary.com give this as one example sentence:

Within a few seconds there is not a living thing left in the world, and the saltless waves dash up on a barren shore.”

Kagerou Touryuuki – A Dark and Narrow Room

照らすものといっては狭い一間の端の、行灯の火灯りばかり。古風な光源からでは光までも古びているようで、闇を照らしだすどころか陰を濃く見せている趣がある。

Translation

And to speak of the light sources in the room, we would have to point to only the lamplight of a paper lantern in a single nook. Coming from an old illuminant like that, even the light itself looked old, and there was the charm of the deepening shadows wherever the light encountered the darkness.

Source