"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

31 May 2011

Ry Cooder, "Let It Shine"


When I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

- Walt Whitman

Happy Birthday, Whitman.

Walt Whitman was born on this date in 1819.

Happiness, not in another place but this place ... not for another hour, but this hour.
- Walt Whitman

30 May 2011


Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness, but come down into the green valleys of silliness.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein


Doisneau, Un enchantement simple, 1950

For ages you have come and gone
courting this delusion.
For ages you have run from the pain
and forfeited the ecstasy.
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

Although you appear in earthly form
Your essence is pure Consciousness.
You are the fearless guardian
of Divine Light.
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

When you lose all sense of self
the bonds of a thousand chains will vanish.
Lose yourself completely,
Return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

You descended from Adam, by the pure Word of God,
but you turned your sight
to the empty show of this world.
Alas, how can you be satisfied with so little?
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

Why are you so enchanted by this world
when a mine of gold lies within you?
Open your eyes and come ---
Return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

You were born from the rays of God's Majesty
when the stars were in their perfect place.
How long will you suffer from the blows
of a nonexistent hand?
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

You are a ruby encased in granite.
How long will you decieve Us with this outer show?
O friend, We can see the truth in your eyes!
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

After one moment with that glorious Friend
you became loving, radiant, and ecstatic.
Your eyes were sweet and full of fire.
Come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

Shams-e Tabriz, the King of the Tavern
has handed you an eternal cup,
And God in all His glory is pouring the wine.
So come! Drink!
Return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

Soul of all souls, life of all life - you are That.
Seen and unseen, moving and unmoving - you are That.
The road that leads to the City is endless;
Go without head and feet
and you'll already be there.
What else could you be? - you are That.

— Rumi


I urge you to find what truly comes near to you, that can be used for weighing and for considering. Read deeply, not to believe, not to accept, not to contradict, but to learn to share in that one nature that writes and reads.
- Harold Bloom

More here.

The original text is here.

Cultural Offering on the subject.


ParkeHarrison, da Vinci's Wings, 1998

Don't pursue your passion directly. At least not yet. Instead ... pursue the things that will empower you. Pursue knowledge. Be relentlessly curious. Listen, learn.

Read the rest of the 2011 commencement address to the graduating architects from the Harvard Graduate School of Design here.

Head in the clouds.

Thursday evening, May 27, on the backroads between Croton and Appleton ...

Il Prete Rosso.

A long-awaited book came this weekend ... H.C. Robbins Landon's Vivaldi: Voice of the Baroque. As the author of definitive biographies of Beethoven, Haydn, Handel, and Mozart, Landon was a master in the field of musicology. My first contact with him was with 1791: Mozart's Last Year, in which he set the record straight following mystification of Mozart in Amadeus.

The cultural context of the composers' work is expertly described and the intimacy that Landon enables in both books is what appeals to me. He draws extensively from letters, which paint a very human picture of these geniuses.

A great interview with Landon can be found here.

Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in D Major "Grosso Mogul" RV 208. Viktoria Mullova, fiddle, with Il Giardino Armonico.

Head in the clouds.

The ceiling of my home office ...


I have tried to be both meteorological and philosophical about the sky, but I constantly find its spiritual qualities outweighing its weather influences.

I believe that the sky was created for pure beholding; that one of man's greatest pleasures can be simply looking at the sky. Living with the skies and knowing what they were up to was once one of the joys of living.

If different qualities of air had different colors, the sky could look like the writhing flow of colored lights in those old-fashioned juke boxes, never quiet, always mixing.

Quiet seemed in tune with the wind that haunted the high places like a hymn, and I felt as though I constantly walked in an atmospheric cathedral. The provocative landscape and overwhelming skyscapes stirred my emotion into a spiritual experience and wherever I looked there was a meaningful picture to be painted.

It was there and then I decided to make painting my life work and to make the sky my theme.

- Eric Sloane

Sloane's site is here.

Masterpieces abound.

Head in the clouds.

Big Poppi has been looking up ...

Thanks, Frazier.