Thursday, November 30, 2006

La Finistra (Italy November 2006)

The insignificant hole
in Monte Forato
watches Barga like an
almond eye.

Though my attention is,
on a higher peak,
Pania della Croce,
to which,
I thought,
I strode towards,
through Autumn’s Chestnut leaves.

But maps and paths did not relate,
and I was strangely lost,
until I met three ‘alpinista,
who put me straight
and led me
via Foca di Petrosciana
to Monte Procinto and Forato.

Collapsed, exhausted
by a final climb,
above, from mist, a massive limestone arch looms out,
a natural entrance
to a shining light.

Climbing, I collapse again,
death, chestnut leaves away,
unconscious life,
humus of flowers and ferns,
bursting forth.

“to the light,”
entering with awe,
and watching from the other side,
light, streaming,
through the mist
on force lines through
a giant magnet.

Mountain reaching out,
to hold;
the light,
the setting sun,
or moon,
or you,
in her embrace.

like a finger
“to the summit.”

We eat our sandwiches,
leave our bags,
and after one last smoke,
climb to,
the summit caves-

“The final stand.”

Peace at Barga, Italy

Entranced, we sat or walked around the hill top church of Barga.

We were on holiday. Alone on this beautiful hill top looking over; the town, the Autumn forests and the mountains Constance and I were so happy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Zen and 'Serpent' by Niel Gunn

A well read student of English literature was asking me for book suggestions.

‘Serpent’ by Neil Gunn gripped me and since I’d just finishing it this morning I'd planned to write about it for her.
But now with ‘blogarrogance’ I thought others might be interested too.

‘Serpent’ contains an intensity of vision of ordinary life that points to nothing less than Enlightenment. He takes us into those moments of insight, those moments of awareness:

.....and off sped the light over the grass and in among the wild roses and glittering across the sea. The sheer freshness of such a moment had surely the spirit of creation in it.

It is a deep love story:

It was then no doubt, imperceptibly, little by little, that there was born in him a first real intimacy with the earth, the earth of his own land.

Imperceptibly, because at first it was not the earth but Janet......

Presents a mature acceptance of tradition and change:

.....(he) had the individual responsible for his own bit of land, while at the same time he was an active member of the community, abiding by its customs and laws, just as his own bit of land was part of the communal land…a true balance between the maximum freedom of the individual and the common welfare of all, and at the same time-and this is where the anarchism comes in-they had no bosses, no tyrants, no bureaucrats, no profit-drivers among themselves.....

And enters meditation:

.....the moment of extreme pause when it seems that the veil which divides being from not-being becomes filmy, verges on complete translucence. Here the last illusion seems to be dispelled and time in stillness completes itself; the beginning and the end are comprehended.

Neil Gunn lived from 1891 to 1973 and had written ‘Serpent’ and many other books before 1953 when he read ‘Zen in the art of Archery’ by Eugen Herrigel. Now he found echoes of his own ideas in Zen and among of many books ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’ by Paul Reps was a favourite.

His last novel is ‘The Other Landscape’ 1954 and his last book an autobiography, ‘The Atom of Delight’ 1956, both of which I look forward to reading.

I fetch water. I break sticks. Miracles happen.

P’ang-yun , favourite poem of Gunn.

John Burns, A Celebration of the Light (Cannongate 1988)

Picture is Anna 2002 by John Bellany because he shows us another brighter world (Sorry couldn't load pic. yet.)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Charlotte, my new Grandaughter and the Serpent

The serpent illustrates that we are just the right size. It's from an interesting book by physicist and cosmologist Joel Primack and Nancy Adams.

It's just published and develops a description of a science based cosmology revealing how extraordinarily central we are in the universe.

The website expains more and has good songs by Nancy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Merav Israel at Edinburgh Dance Base

At 1100, on the web, I read about Merav's class . Hesitating a moment, I ran for a bus. The traffic and road works made me anxious I'd make it. Running from bus to class I arrived 5 minutes late tense and exhausted.

But soft and gentle Indian music played and as I joined the little circle with Merav and her two other students I relaxed into a deep awareness of my body and the way it moved.
We sat, slightly moving the head up and down, then left and right, then mixing the movements.
Similarly, lying, we raised our arms, understanding the way they move, and 'dancing' through them.

Later we studied drawings of the pelvic skeleton and the class continued through long improvisations exploring movement from the hips.

Merav is a wonderful teacher. She has a dance degree from Jerusalem and is a performer as well as a teacher.