Ravenna Diagram

As testified by both Annie Akhmatovy & Wheelliam Bootler Yeats (not to mention Wally Stuyvens), nobody knows like they do how much poetry depends upon the foul rag-&-bone shop of the dump.  So I confess I am very obscurely fixated on a work of probable horoscopic Masonic garbage (if seemingly very diligently researched) by one David Ovason, titled The Secret Architecture of our Nation's Capital.  Ovason appears to have turned poor Henry Adams on his Educational head.

Adams, scion of the original American Presidential-Egyptian dynasty, built his own historical philosophy on the contrast, the dialectic, between the Virgin & the Dynamo : the feminine-poetic-Christian heritage of the Middle Ages (Chartres, Notre Dame) vs. the technical-scientific Chaos of modern Power (Washington, Chicago...).    Yet according to Ovason, the landscape, architecture & sculpture of Washington, D.C. emanate a controlling hermetic geomantic pattern, overlaid on the nation's capital by the Masons - a radiance of the constellation Virgo, or the Virgin - the Corn Maiden, the Rite of Spring, Pocahontas, the Statue of Liberty... all those images & psychic icons certain ecstatic-Platonic poets (unacknowledged legislators) like Hart Crane articulated and defended as embattled (in prosaic America).  Somehow the Corn Maiden got in on the ground floor of the national grain elevator.

So I wrote in previous blog post about my personal affinity for ut pictura poiesis - the idea that at the heart of poetry is this visionary-shaping painterly dimension.  Poetry, by way of its rhythmic sonic mesmerism, communicates wave-lengths of vivid images - drawn from life and adequately mirroring living (as opposed to absent, detached, prosaic, humdrum, depersonalized) reality.  In the long-poem project Ravenna Diagram, I reckon that, for me, Ravenna represents a kind of civilizational matrix for this particular sense of incarnational iconophilia.  The "venn diagram" of Ravenna Diagram is a visual image of the union of two-in-one, the sacred marriage of spirit & flesh.  As an historical phenomenon : as a pivotal event which frames one's sense of the direction of our future world.

There are lots of things going in today's excerpt, which cluster around these ideas, along with others... I can't go into them all.  The idea of the "lattice" and the "Path P" are allusions to the chi-rho symbol : the pneuma (Spirit) P rising (like the Ghost Dance) over the lattice of the "X"... the "Path P" also refers to "poetry", thinking of Dante, buried in Ravenna - whose masterwork was completed in Ravenna, and which features, at its very end, another venn diagram (Dante's vision of the Trinity as a mysterious set of interlocking rainbow circles).


If I whisper out of this backyard garden
& word went forth from Ramah
Rachel weeps... no more
a cricket shuttles through the iron

lattice – churring chi-rho, chi-rho
a pigeon croons là-bas
là-bas... labarum... abba...
baa... lambs on a radius go

round, skip stones, elliptical
(up to the mountaintop).
Rough clay lips elope
for steppes, ignite pyramidical

lens – Nile coming-forth-of-July
in one almond canoe;
wooden frame for yew
rainbow (adieu beyond river-eye).

Beneath an avalanche of violence
the lattice rusts, the eye
corrodes.  Still clay
will coalesce, in tinder hands;

Giuliana in her mossy coat
& frowning eye signal
another way; lips channel
shapes (mosaic, inchoate)...

Ravenna diagram, vertiginous cross-
road into Washington.
Path P, star-tangled almond
tree – here chariots bloom (manes toss).


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