Watched PBS magical-mystical program last night on origin of 3 Kings. Magi may have been Zoroastrian astrologers from Babylon & environs. On April 17, BC 6, there was an eclipse of Jupiter by the moon in the constellation of the Ram (which signified Israel). Gold : royalty; frankincense : holiness, priesthood; myrrh : death & burial. Lo & behold, there on the program as one of the commentators was William Dalrymple, whose book I mentioned here a few days ago (From the Holy Mountain).
Here's a very old HG poem :
I give you the parables as I received them -
my mother's voice, the nursery rhymes,
the memorized rhetoric and the anthem
leading us like sheep to death sometimes.
The mystery ringing in our ears,
the noise of the cultivated howl
of ubiquitous unknown lusts and fears,
the music of monkey, wolf and owl.
In silence before music and the word,
a voice already prepared to save
delivers you into a pastoral world,
out of the dank and bestial cave.
A cadence I cannot repeat just right -
the pristine choir of many morning birds,
or the patience of children in the dancing light
performing the ritual of careful words.
Looking around at home, I found these curious precursors of the long river-poem (Forth of July). Sections of a poem called "Octaves":
Is it the sea or is it a voice,
or is it a sea-voice (rocked
by heartbeats long ago docked
in petrified wave-lengths, ice-
water)? Or the wind in a tree.
That one, rising like a broken delta.
Speaks through me.
Rafted away now... Huckleberry. Selah
Gravel and silt slide down the stream.
Spell it out, spell out your dream.
Why should I spell it out for you
(New York - D.C. - California)?
I hit the road before you do.
& finally, here's an couple of odd (as usual) bits of something for the day, from The Grassblade Light:
The snow covered the ground like the shoulders
of his white bull, only colder, colder; he saw a cloud
of ice breath, chill between warm heartbeats. Old
Blackstone, in clear December light, ponders, ponders.
Some penetrating sound, a loon-call through the aether,
or... some answer to a riddle, rectifying denouement,
perfect solution... some snow-crystalline all right,
like the moon sailing across deep soothing black... or...
Good King Wenceslas looked out
on the feast of Stephen
when the snow lay round about
deep and fresh and even
High clear children's voices above the dark
tops of pine trees, as they make their way
through snow from house to house. Gradually,
slowly, peacefully (in the cold night). Hark
the herald angels sing... He looked out toward the mangers
of the world. There... on the outside of the inns...
in the cold, among animals, straw, the thin
coverings, the sparse walls... the hungers, the dangers.
And like Balthasar astride his mule (riding west
and staring east) old Blackstone thought:
what One is this? - as, bright-wrought,
an arc of moonlight moored above that nest
(a lowly nef, berthed under a lofty shell).
An airship, or some hovering bell... it shed
a sweet, translucent music overhead. And
music changes everything (as Wenceslas could tell).
In December, in the snow, in the clear cold air,
everything grows double, everything is allegorical,
like those distant crows, high over the Bruegel
valley, and the hunters turning home, bare
bodkins, empty-handed; a half-moon, small
and delicate, glows through a haze,
and the stiletto of one star beside it says:
behold tight-woven final acts of good and evil
here now passing... upon theatrical soil.
Here simplest things are full of profundity:
hungry wayfarers, winecellars of reality...
gypsies, flocks, shepherds... an angel.
Meanwhile, under the dome, the black stone
of Isaac waits. And gathering specific gravity,
to the city - through Stephen's Gate - comes Jubilee,
like spring streams down from Zechariah's canyon.
And he will stage these holograms of Incarnation
(strange attractors, gathering wise men toward one
star's dark matter)... cask them, roll them on board,
until the ark of Wenceslas is full, and Stephen's crown
goes round again, millennial - in those meadows
where Time does not run down, but circles...
where May Goulding conceived, and Stephen's bulls
are papal, Romany... where Blackstone throws
his final boomerang : a child is born,
and everything is changed. Come down,
you shepherds, to the manger now, come down,
behold - how God is cradling Isaac like a son.
Wishing you holiday cheer & lights - *