"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

23 May 2018


celestial (adj.)
late 14c., "pertaining to the sky or the visible heavens; pertaining to the Christian or pagan heaven," from Old French celestial "celestial, heavenly, sky-blue," from Latin caelestis"heavenly, pertaining to the sky," from caelum "heaven, sky; abode of the gods; climate," which is of uncertain origin; perhaps from PIE *kaid-slo-, perhaps from a root also found in Germanic and Baltic meaning "bright, clear" (compare Lithuanian skaidrus "shining, clear;" Old English hador, German heiter "clear, shining, cloudless," Old Norse heið "clear sky").

The Latin word is the source of the usual word for "sky" in most of the Romance languages, such as French ciel, Spanish cielo, Italian cielo. Transferred sense of "heavenly, very delightful" in English is from early 15c. Celestial Empire "China" is from 1808, translating native names.


The first study for the man that wants to be a poet is true complete knowledge of himself: he looks for his soul; examines it, tests it, learns it. As soon as he knows it, he must develop it! That seems simple: a natural development takes place in every brain: so many egoists proclaim themselves authors: there are plenty of others who attribute their intellectual progress to themselves! – But the soul must be made monstrous: after the fashion of the comprachicos, yes! Imagine a man planting and cultivating warts on his face.

I say one must be a seer, make oneself a seer.

The Poet makes himself a seer by a long, rational and immense disordering of all the senses. All forms of love, suffering, madness: he searches himself; he consumes all the poisons in himself, to keep only their quintessence. Unspeakable torture, where he needs all his faith, every superhuman strength, during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed – and the supreme Knower, among men! – Because he arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his soul, already rich, more than others! He arrives at the unknown, and when, maddened, he ends up by losing the knowledge of his visions: he has still seen them! Let him die charging among those unutterable, unnameable things: other fearful workers will come: they’ll start from the horizons where the first have fallen!

I’ll go on:

So the poet is truly the thief of fire, then.

He is responsible for humanity, even for the animals: he must make his inventions smelt, felt, heard: if what he brings back from down there has form, he grants form: if it’s formless he grants formlessness. To find a language – for that matter, all words being ideas, the age of a universal language will come! It is necessary to be an academic – deader than a fossil – to perfect a dictionary of any language at all. The weak-minded thinking about the first letter of the alphabet would soon rush into madness!

This language will be of the soul for the soul, containing everything, scents, sounds, colours, thought attaching to thought and pulling. The poet would define the quantity of the unknown, awakening in the universal soul in his time: he would give more than the formulation of his thought, the measurement of his march towards progress! An enormity become the norm, absorbed by all, he would truly be an enhancer of progress!

Arthur Rimbaud

David Rawlings, "Midnight Train"


When the starry sky, a vista of open seas, or a stained-glass window shedding purple beams fascinate me, there is a cluster of meaning, of colors, of words, of caresses, there are light touches, scents, sighs, cadences that arise, shroud me, carry me away, and sweep me beyond the things I see, hear, or think. The “sublime” object dissolves in the raptures of a bottomless memory. It is such a memory, which, from stopping point to stopping point, remembrance to remembrance, love to love, transfers that object to the refulgent point of the dazzlement in which I stray in order to be.

Julia Kristeva


The great painter Degas often repeated to me a very true and simple remark by Mallarmé. Degas occasionally wrote verses, and some of those he left were delightful. But he often found great difficulty in this work accessory to his painting. (He was, by the way, the kind of man who would bring all possible difficulty to any art whatever.) One day he said to Mallarmé: “Yours is a hellish craft. I can’t manage to say what I want, and yet I’m full of ideas …” And Mallarmé answered: “My dear Degas, one does not make poetry with ideas, but with words.”

Mallarmé was right. But when Degas spoke of ideas, he was, after all, thinking of inner speech or of images, which might have been expressed in words. But these words, these secret phrases which he called ideas, all these intentions and perceptions of the mind, do not make verses. There is something else, then, a modification, or a transformation, sudden or not, spontaneous or not, laborious or not, which must necessarily intervene between the thought that produces ideas – that activity and multiplicity of inner questions and solutions – and, on the other hand, that discourse so different from ordinary speech, which is verse, which is so curiously ordered, which answers no need unless it be the need it must itself create, which never speaks but of absent things or of things profoundly and secretly felt: strange discourse, as though made by someone other than the speaker and addressed to someone other than the listener. In short, it is a language within a language.

Paul Valéry


Taylor, Birmingham Reference Library, The Reading Room, 1881

Libraries, whether my own or shared with a greater reading public, have always seemed to me pleasantly mad places, and for as long as I can remember I've been seduced by their labyrinthine logic, which suggests that reason (if not art) rules over a cacophonous arrangement of books.

Alberto Manguel

Echo & The Bunnymen, "Villiers Terrace"


What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
  Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
  And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
  And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
  Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
  Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
  Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
  And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
  Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
  In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
  Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
  Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
  Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
  We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
  Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
  Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
  Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
  With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
  Learn to labor and to wait.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

21 May 2018

Echo & The Bunnymen, "Never Stop"


For even the most dehumanized modern fantasies depend on some older and simpler figure; the adventures may be mad, but the adventurer must be sane.

G. K. Chesterton

Led Zeppelin, "Tangerine"

Morrissey, "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden"


The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.

Ernest Hemingway

Happy birthday, Waller.

Fats Waller was born on this day in 1904.

"Louisiana Fairy Tale"

20 May 2018


Hughes, Star of Heaven, 1903

The painter should not become conscious of his insights without taking the way round through his mental processes. His advances, enigmatic even to himself, must enter so swiftly into the work that he is unable to recognize them at the moment of transition. For him, alas, who watches for them, delays them, they change like the fine gold in the fairy tale which can no longer remain gold because some detail went wrong.

Rainer Maria Rilke


After his solo flight across the Atlantic, Charles Lindbergh landed safely in Paris on this day in 1927 ...

Happy birthday, Ortelius.

Ortelius, Typus Orbis Terrarum, 1570

Abraham Ortelius was born on this day 1527.


Barry Lawrence Ruderman has quite a collection ... HERE.

Mozart, Piano Concerto No.17 in G major, K.453

Dezső Ránki performs with the English Chamber Orchestra, directed by Jeffrey Tate ...


17 May 2018

Echo & The Bunnymen, "Crocodiles"


Blake, I want! I want!, 1793


I would not be the person I am without the authors who made me what I am- the special ones, the wise ones, sometimes just the ones who got there first. It's not irrelevant, those moments of connection.

Neil Gaiman

XTC, "King for a Day"


Technique is the proof of your seriousness.

Wallace Stevens


Ssssssssstones, "Star Star"

Happy birthday, Satie.

Erik Satie was born on this day in 1866.

Aldo Ciccolini plays Gymnopédie No. 1 ...


16 May 2018


Webern’s paradox: spare solitary
elements, yet each wound in the web that’s torn apart,
then stitched, then fused, the gleaming cicatrix
become the very twisting of the thread.
Can one encounter fix the axis of a life?
A single glance, the brush of hands,
an indrawn breath: all specificities
preshadow loss, hold at their centre
absence, empty echo of the ardent voice.
When I have won through to the end, done
with the world, I shall have made it simple,
clear, the infinite variety of circumstance
set to one side so that in this,
my world, there will exist no tragedy.

Jan Zwicky



Childhood boredom is a special kind of boredom. It is a boredom full of dreams, a sort of projection into another place, into another reality. In adulthood boredom is made of repetition, it is the continuation of something from which we are no longer expecting any surprise.

Italo Calvino

Maynard Ferguson, "In a Mellow Tone"

It's sandwich time.


An excellent album ...


The world of men has forgotten the joys of silence, the peace of solitude, which is necessary, to some extent, for the fullness of human living. Man cannot be happy for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul. If man is exiled constantly from his own home, locked out of his spiritual solitude, he ceases to be a true person.

Thomas Merton

Bach, Musical Offering, BWV 1079

Jordi Savall performs with The Concert of Nations ...


To learn to see- to accustom the eye to calmness, to patience, and to allow things to come up to it; to defer judgment, and to acquire the habit of approaching and grasping an individual case from all sides. This is the first preparatory schooling of intellectuality. One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts.

Friedrich Nietzsche

15 May 2018

Respighi, The Birds

Evgeny Svetlanov conducts the State Academic Symphony Orchestra ...


Goldsworthy, Hedge Crawl and Walk, 2014


There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company,
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere.
There is a thing in me still dreams of trees.
But let it go. Homesick for moderation,
Half the world’s artists shrink or fall away.
If any find solution, let him tell it.
Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation
Where, as the times implore our true involvement,
The blades of every crisis point the way.
I would it were not so, but so it is.
Who ever made music of a mild day?

Mary Oliver


Ah, what Dedo would've done with a few more francs in his ratty pockets.


Happy birthday, Norgay.

Tenzig Norgay was born on this day in 1914.

The BBC's documentary on Norgay's guiding of Sir Edmund Hillary to the summit of Everest in 1953 ...



In the name God, stop a moment, cease your work, and look around.

Leo Tolstoy


I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

William Wordsworth

14 May 2018

John Hartford, "Old Time River Man"

And they light their pipes and go off in the night
Or was that fireflies instead?


Unknown, Jimmy Buffett and Willie Nelson, 1975

I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.