Saturday, March 25, 2017


  Last snowfall here in the Normanskill watershed is slowly melting with temperatures fluxuating from just above to just below freezing for the next few days. My thoughts are to the apple blossoms on the hillside at the Gell Center. CLOUDBURST 2017 is budding with many people already indicating they will be returning. A number of new poets had signed on as well. The Blog here is open for business so please send any submissions you want to pass on and I'll try and get them posted right up.

   On Saturday May 14, 2016 at CLOUDBURST COUNCIL as a group around the table we threw our I Ching Hexagrams which were #59 (Dispersion) changing into #6 (Conflict).  At my first glance, I was uneasy over CONFLICT being a touchstone for our continuing work at the Council, in poetry and beyond. I did know the changing nature of the Tao and the I Ching meant the hexagram CONFLICT was not so much about conflict as it was the forces in movement that allowed conflict. Conflict as a theme for our gathering has some background via national politics and cultural clash. The hexagram has two pieces (the tri-grams) that make it up. These are on top The Creative, Heaven and on bottom The Abysmal, Water. These two halves move away from each other and this the I-Ching says gives “rise to the idea of conflict”. Notice not like a Cloudburst where forces crash together but “Conflict develops when one feels to be in the right.” Back to the two tri-grams that make up the hexagram CONFLICT, Creative is strength and the Abysmal is danger, guile. The indication of conflict is the combination in a person of deep cunning and fixed determination. Here is starts to feel like current events “To carry on the conflict to the bitter end has evil effects even when one is in the right, because the enmity is then perpetuated.”
  In my own book 64 Changes, I can see what I drew out of the day I threw the coins and that particular poem for hexagram #6 got written.   the spiritual trends/of individuals harmonize. The CLOUDBURST COUNCIL was born out of conflict if everyone remembers the first Friday night at the Gell Center. Some poetic conflicts might never end but I do think this harmonizing of spirit that very soon at the first Council and over the years of getting to know each other has occurred. To everyone’s credit and to our future enjoyments.
The causes of Conflict are latent in the opposing tendencies of two different forces.  The I-Ching commentary says to avoid conflict you have to catch it before it starts, in the beginning. “If rights and duties are exactly defined, or if, in a group, the spiritual trends of the individuals harmonize, the cause of conflict is removed in advance.” So practically, in organizing CLOUDBURST COUNCIL are there any potential conflicts that need to be addressed in the beginning?

                                                                            ---Alan Casline