Tag Archives: meaning

Threat of the New…


The man who has plotted the course of science

will have discovered in its development

the key which unlocks the doors to knowledge and understanding.

Both portals have fictitious hinges and hypothetical handles.

By stepping beyond their frame our senses become subtle.

The eye reacts to ‘the new’ by immediately reproducing ‘the familiar’ as if in counter-point…

In this way can that which is ‘alien’ move secretly amongst us.

…The novel sound initially causes so much pain to the ear

that we even seek to model a foreign tongue

on our own meanings…

“Wie spate ist es?”


“What is the time?”

As if time were a mere matter of counting.

Yet, how many hours have come and gone

since the ‘beginning’ of time?

Precisely none!

…To be involved in exceptional experiences, therefore,

is to become, in part, their inventor.

In this our art knows no bounds.

Time Lines III…

Image result for humbaba sumerian


… “And everywhere literalism rears its convoluted head.”

“I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

“I mean, I don’t think these people regarded those so called entities as we do.”


“Just because one creates a form to represent something doesn’t necessarily mean that one believes that a being lives and breathes in that form.”

“You mean the form is just a focus.”


“A focus through which an effect can manifest.”

“The form facilitates a manifestation.”

“It’s not clear to me how that helps us.”

“It renders fear redundant.”




Time Lines II…

Image result for Pazuzu


… “In later Assyrian Mythology, Anzu becomes Pazuzu.”

“Am I missing something, here?”

“Pazuzu is a ‘wind demon’ responsible for bringing plague and pestilence, and whatever else we may think about the notions of a demon, in that region of the world, a wind that brings both pestilence, usually locusts, and plague, does indeed exist.”

“Am I still missing something here?”

“Pazuzu is reputed to be the brother of Humwawa!”

“Ah, The Spirit of the Cedar Forest from Gilgamesh, I think I’m starting to see… But are you sure?”

“Well, there has been a certain amount of degeneration in the iconography, which is only natural, given the time span’s involved, but we can, I think, clearly see the resmemblance…”

“We can, particularly in the positioning of the arms…”

“Both ‘demons’ are described by the authorities as having a skull-like ‘canine’ or ‘lionine’ head.”

“I can go along with skull-like, but I would not like to be drawn into the dog or cat debate.”

“Very wise…”

“Ugly looking spud, though, isn’t he?”

“He is, although, almost incredibly, back in the day, his figure was made into amulets, worn, usually around the neck, and used to ward off other, more malevolent, forces.”

“The ancients’ attitude to what we might regard as ‘good’ and ‘evil’ was, to say the least, somewhat ambivalent.”

“It is at least possible, then, that the actions of the heroes in Gilgamesh were directly responsible for the creation of this ‘environmental bane’.”

“But if a good wind can be turned bad, surely a bad wind can be turned good?”

“That, my dearest Wendlebury, is what still remains to be seen.”



Time Lines…

Image result for Anzu and Ninurta


“And what have we here?” says Wen in that provocative way of hers which means she is up to something.

“Anzu and Ninurta.”

“Nope, not doing it for me.”

“Anzu, Guardian of the Threshold, who stole the Tablets of Destiny from the Gods, and Ninurta, the God of agricultural and pastoral fertility,  who was sent to slay Anzu and retrieve the tablets.”

“Hmmm… This is a late interpretation of the iconography I take it?”

“What makes you say that?”

“Oh, let’s see now, ‘Anzu’ was a Thunder-Bird, was possibly the Thunder-Bird and ‘Ninurta’ is carrying Lightning-Bolts.”

“That’s very good. A straight forward depiction of the thunder-storm.”

“Well, hardly straight forward but, essentially, yes…”

“No, those figures could hardly be described as straight forward…”

“Legs going one way…”

“…Body going the other.”

“Didn’t we have that, monster ‘looking-back-over-its-shoulder’ thing as symbolic of time at one point?”

“We did, and again, this may well be our original depiction of that concept. Not a bad effort given that, in one interpretation, this monster stole the Tablets of Destiny.”

“Not a bad effort given that, in another interpretation, thunder and lightning occur simultaneously but we see lightning first.”

“I think I like that interpretation better.”

“Even though this culture might not have known that thunder and lightning are simultaneous?”

“They knew an awful lot about the stars, and the sky, and if this is a depiction of a thunder storm, then they clearly did know. Besides, its more organic.”

“Or less contrived. Is this part of Gilgamesh?”

“Strictly speaking, no…”

“And leniently speaking?”

“Well, therein lies a tale…”

“I’m all ears.”




Fancy Dress…


Pity the man who sees too deeply

for he alone knows the terrible secret of superficiality.

It is self-preservation that demands we be fickle, and false, and frivolous.

Anybody dependant upon this ‘sorbet of surfaces’ to any extent

must at one time have tried and failed to penetrate beneath it.

Yet to find pleasure in falsifying life’s image,

precisely to the degree in which their own world was spoiled,

can be regarded as the mark of an artist.

And perhaps it is only artists that can dress man

in colour, and light, and goodness

so that we no longer have to suffer

at the unadorned sight of ourselves.

Heart and Soul…


Pious people generally are unaware

how much latitude is necessary for

 a scholar to take the religious problem seriously.

It is only by viewing the question historically

that it seems to make any sense at all.

But even then our scholar stands no nearer piety.

Every age possesses its signature niavety

of which all other ages are envious.

How charming the notion that a pious man

be surpassed by the scholar,

by that presumptious half-man,

inventor and High-Priest of ‘modern ideas’!


Cycles of Life…


Does the religious life require leisure,

or the idleness of the leisured class?

Certainly, those classes have always held work to be degrading.

It is easy to see why.

Modern labour, predominantly indoors and sedentary can educate one into disbelief.

The past two-hundred years have shown us how work in heavy industry

is wont to render refinements of the soul redundant.

A generation or two after any revolution of this sort

and the very term ‘religion’ elicits only a dull, uncomprehending stare.

But could there be a correlation between religious sentiment and the natural life?

Most traditional deities slot seamlessly into the seasonal round.

And work in this realm serves to remind one of the greater cycles that govern existence.

One of which, it may be argued, is… religion.




Endless Round…


To gaze with eastern eyes

Into the abyss of pessimism

Is to emerge

On the other side of life

And to wander for a time, agape,

In the antipodes…


Here, we take in anathema

As though it were nectar

Or some other more exotic god-food.


This new lust for life leads to…

An insatiability for all that was, and is, and will be…

To the extent that no other outcome of events is conceivable or desirable.


In fact, it leads…

to an Endless Round.

Of Sophists and Soporifics…


With the advent of the Peripatetic Philosophers and their schools,

where students could learn to aspire,

to all that is good in life,

and the roaring success of these ventures,

came, inevitably, another sort of instruction,

one based solely on false promises,

and flattery,

and mutual ‘appreciation’,

and favour.

In short, on rhetoric, or hot air…

very expensive hot air.


First, one yawns…

Then, one becomes drowsy…

And finally, one falls asleep.