Sunday, May 10, 2015


   We managed a meeting in Corning, New York  before Alan Casline's poetry reading on October 13th.
I brought up whether we wanted to use a throwing of the I-Ching as the way to provide the Cloudbust Council with meaning and an overall theme. Everyone at Corning thought it had worked before so yeah they wanted to go forward with it. I had six different people throw the coins (three U.S. pennies) for one line each. We asked what was Cloudburst to do to proceed. We threw the hexagram 22 Grace which is the image of mountain with fire below (mountain over fire). The throw had two changing lines the first (bottom most) and the fifth (second from top) this changed the hexgram to one that tells of the future movement. The hexagram is 52 which is Keeping Still which is the image of mountain over mountain. I will follow this e-mail with some digging into the meaning of these throws and please join in the fun. 

One  thing is this from Pi / Grace:
Grace brings success. However, it is not the essential or fundamental thing: it is only the ornament and must therefore be used sparingly and only in little things.

I mentioned the word "ornament", as it seems a bit jarring and yet also important. Stephen Lewandowski said we need to get hold of the Chinese translaters (or at least look in other translations of the I-Chung) for that word. I bet it has a context I am not yet seeing. 
                                                                             -- Alan Casline  November 24, 2014

Definite problem with "ornament." Also, is "success" the reason to attain or feel the presence of "grace"?
                                                                             -- David Landrey November 29, 2014

Suppose "success" means achieving what you wish to achieve, rather than the crass American interpretation (money, awards, fame, etc.)? If "grace" is taken in the religious sense, so that it might mean success that is freely given (to some extent not worked for), that suggests one reading. If it means beauty in execution of the work (as in graceful), then something else. I don't read Chinese, but these both seem reasonable readings from the limited amount I know of the culture. From the point of view of poetry making, it connects in my mind with the idea of poems that come with very little revision as opposed to those we have to work hard to finish. I've always considered the first category "gifts," nice to get but not the real point and not to be expected. Maybe also being in the right place at the right time 

                                                                                --Judith Kerman  November 29, 2014
"Grace" is pretty clearly not being used in the Christian religious sense, but in the sense of "graceful" exterior or surface ornament. I had a Chinese art history course one time, and recall great pains taken by commentators to differentiate the inner vitality of a painting (or a poem or a martial art) from its extrinsic charm. The latter is at best a pleasing extension of "Spirit Resonance" or ch'i. At worst, a misleading distraction.

                                                                                  --John  Roche  November 29, 2014


By the way, came across Aleister Crowley translation of 22:

PI: Ornament, should have free course indeed.
But - in its place: it shall not take the lead.
Adorn thy feet, and have no need of horses.
Adorn thy beard, for dignity is due.
Adorn, seek firm correctness in thy courses!
Horsed, winged, desire the honest and true!
Though poor, suburban, there's good work to do.
Clad in pure white, simplicity thy force is.

Translation by Aleister Crowley
                                                                  -- David Landrey November 30, 2014
Here is a hexagram 22 poem I wrote ( from 64 Changes my book be published by FootHills)

I started the discussion with the images first...This hexagram 22 being fire under mountain. Makes me think of the creation myth of Greek mythology, time of fire and mountains rising and falling and then Mother Nature mending things

then we become hexagram 52 Mountain (keeping still)

humanity is rubble
the bricks, decaying metal & glass
the gardeners must till.

the yielding comes / gives form to the firm

poured concrete cracks
the tender shoot
rises in the spring

the firm ascents /  gives form to the yielding

encouraging their community
dwelling with love
they gather new friends.

                                                                    --Alan Casline  November 30, 2014
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this very subject:

by John Logan 1923–1987 

We suffer from the repression of the sublime. 
—Roberto Assagioli

This artist’s sculptured, open box of mahogany
(ivory white inside) is strung
with vertical and horizontal layers of mus-
ical wires that sing when struck, and bits of bright garnet   
rock tremble where they intersect.
These gems flash in the candle light,
and before me all my beloved childhood looms up
in the humming levels, each one deeper than the other.
I tip this sculpted box and my child laughs and moves there   
in his own time. You’ll hear me moan:
Oh, you will hear me moan with all the old, sure pleasure   
of what I’d thought I’d lost come back again.
Why, we have never left our home!
On the leather lace fixed about my neck, blue, yellow,   
red and black African trading beads begin to glow:   
their colors all weave and newly flow
together like translucent and angelic worms.
And beneath these my neck is as alive with gentle,   
white bees as is a woman’s breast.
Beside and in the light river
figures come on stage exactly
as they are needed. I tell you, I conduct my own   
act! A boy poses so youthfully,
so beautifully, his slim arms a graceful arrow
over his small, brown head, and he dives!
Limbs and body push supple as a whole school of fish.   
And then his vacant place is taken by another—
a man dressed in denim and in boots of red rubber.   
He is wrenched from the shore and pulled
through the fresh, bright stream by a kid
who tugs on one of his hands and holds a fishing rod.   
And, too, this man is dragged in the opposite direction
by a red dog on a leash shaking his wet
great coat into the stippled light.
That man just sashayed: he zigzagged
this way and that. The man is me!

A bluejay does a dance for us!
He hops beside a tree that rises inside of me.   
He half-glides, his iridescent,
blue back striking like a brush
of Gauguin on the bare canvas of the air and then:   
he flies! leaving behind him a small, perfect feather,   
which I find shades from blue to brown—
my brother’s color into mine.
Now in the space the diver and the booted fellow   
left, my brother and I are there
fishing together, our poles glinting in the water.   
My mouth moves. My eyes are alive!
I cry to my brother with joy.
For that bluejay was a messenger of what I want!

Gregory my friend and guide on this voyage seems benign.   
He brushes my chest and my stretched,
naked arms open to the sun
with a branch of the fragrant pine.
“Be healed,” he chants with each glancing
stroke. “Be healed.” The needles prick my skin back into life,   
and I go down to bathe my feet in the stream. The veins   
form a light, mottled web along my white ankle.   
I feel my kinship with the pine,
the jay, the luminescent stream
and with him—or is it with her,
the Mother? Gregory, my oracle, my teacher.
He leans there in the door of our tent by the river,   
his face glowing, hair long and shining as a woman’s,   
his belly fat with life—pregnant with the two of us:   
my brother and I, unborn twins who lie entangled   
in each other’s developing
limbs. Soon we will be born! He and I will taste of milk
for the very first time! And taste of strawberry pop
and of bright bananas. And we will eat, my brother
and I, a great, shining, autumn-red apple fallen
from our father’s tree as if from the long sky, and you
too will taste this apple with us,
for we all have the same mother, and her name is Grace.

John Logan, “Grace” from John Logan: The Collected Poem
                                                                        --Helen Ruggieri November 30, 2014

          I am very confused by this flurry. I find the I Ching confusing enough without the problems of translation culture and personal readings. I like its confusion, however, since it's intentional.

John Logan's poem moves me.

After all, I just need to know how many people will need to be fed, five times
                                                                   ---Stephen Lewandowski   November 30, 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment