Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Football long after Picasso

On Jerome Rothenberg's wondrous blog, 'Poems and Poetics', at, for Sunday, January 24th, 2010, to be savoured, to be treasured even with grubby fingers is Akira Tatehata: Seven Poems, with a note in praise of  (translated from Japanese by Hiroaki Sato) .
Even in translation, even in prose, it is that rare shock of authentic poetry, coming from the sidelines in this age of ersatz.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Sol, companion of El.

Unlike most of the stars in the galaxy, our sun is a solitary, as alone as the unnameable El became, after he subduced himself from the Babylonian pantheonUntil now... is reckoned that Sol's lost siblings should have remained on a similar circular orbit about the galaxy and, although the birth cluster dissippated about 4.6 billion years ago, with the launch of GAIA in 2012 it should be possible to identify 10 to 60 of such stars and thereby isolate details of solitary Sol's birthplace, its whereabouts and size:

"in a March 2009, draft pre-print, a computational astrophysicist argued that the chemical abundances found in the Solar System and the observed structure of the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt constrain the initial mass and radius of Sol's star cluster of birth to between 500 and 3,000 Solar-masses (distributed among an estimated 1,500 to 3,500 stars) within a radius of 5 light-years (1.5 parsecs). Although the cluster dissolved over the past 4.6 billion years with the dispersal of the Sun's sibling stars into the surrounding the Milky Way, the stars should have remained on a similar orbit around the galactic center. While Sol's siblings now lie hidden among many millions of stars, 10 to 60 such stars should still be orbiting the galactic core within a distance of 300 light-years (100 parsecs). With the launch of the European Space Agency's GAIA astrometry mission now scheduled for 2012 (to gather positional and radial velocity measurements for a billion stars within five years and create a 3-dimensional galactic chart of the Milky Way), these sibling stars can be identified with accurate measurements of their level of heavy elements as well as positions and velocities of their motion within the galaxy, and the discovery of even a few such siblings should strongly constrain the original size and location of Sol's birth cluster (Simon P. Portegies Zwart, Scientific American, November 2009, pp. 40-47; and Simon P. Portegies Zwart, 2009). "

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Dalkey Archive

The Dalkey Archive (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) The Dalkey Archive by Flann O'Brien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

O'Brien, but possibly not De Selby, would appreciate how I came to re-read this: I was in a pound shop, as we call them in Britain, when among the batteries that exhaust in a day and the year-old crisps, I beheld, I think that's the right verb for the occasion, a whole row of this book, without companions.

I had to buy one, even if it cost me a quid.

In the name of A Bash in the Tunnel and the Third Policeman


View all my reviews >>

Monday, 4 January 2010

Black Annis

From First Flights (pub. posthumously 1797) by John Heyrick Jnr

(this curiosity is generally credited with putting flesh on the bones of the Leicester legend of Black Annis, although some believe it has much older roots. The author was a Lieutenant in the dragoons and his book of mainly occasional verses was published just at the time of his early death.  He was of the same family as the 17th century poets Robert Herrick and Thomas Heyrick. Many of the author's poems are addressed to young ladies, although mainly slightly older ones than the diminutive putative enquirer who occasioned this.)


(being an answer to a very young lady's enquiries about the story of Black Annis)

Where down the plain the winding pathway falls,

From Glenn-field vill, to Lester's anceint walls,

Nature, or Art, with imitative power,

Far in the Glenn has plac'd Black Annis' Bower.

An oak, the pride of all the mossy dell,

Spreads his broad arms above the stony cell;

And many a bush, with hostile thorns array'd,

Forbids the secret cavern to invade;

Whilst delving vales each way meander round,

And violet banks with redolence abound.

Here, if the uncouth song of former days,

Soil not the page with Falsehood's artful lays,

Black Annis held her solitary reign,

The dread and wonder of the neighb'ring plain.

The Shepherd griev'd to view his waning flock,

And trac'd the fistlings to the gloomy rock.

No vagrant children cull'd the flowerets then,

For infant blood oft stain'd the gory den.

Not Sparta Mount* for infant tears renown'd,

Echo'd more frequently the piteous sound.

Oft the gaunt Maid the frantic Mother curs'd,

Whom Britan's wolf with savage nipple nurs'd;

Whilst Lester's sons behld aghast the scene,

Nor dar'd to meet the Monster of the Green.

'Tis said the soul of mortal man recoil'd

To view Black Annis' eye, so fierce and wild;

Vast talons, foul with human flesh, there grew

In place of hands, and features livid blue

Glar'd in her visage; whilst her obscene waist,

Warm skins of human victims close embrac'd.

But Time, than Man more certain, tho' more slow,

At length 'gainst Annis drew his sable bow;

The great decree the pious Shepherds bless'd,

And general joy the general fear confess'd.

Not without terror they the cave survey,

Where hung the monstrous trophies of her sway:

'Tis said, that in the rock large rooms were found,

Scoop'd with her claws beneath the flinty ground;

In these the swains her hated body threw,

But left the entrance still to future view,

That the children's children might the tale rehearse,

And bards record it in their tuneful verse.

But in these listless days, the idle bard

Gives to the wind all themes of cold regard;

Forgive, then, if in rough, unpolished song,

An unskilled swain the dying tale prolong.

And you, ye Fair, whom Nature's scenes delight,

If Annis' Bower your vagrant steps invite,

Ere the bright sun Aurora's car suceed,

Or dewy evening quench the thirsty mead,

Forbear with chilling censures to refuse

Some gen'rous tribute to the rustic muse.

A violet or common daisy throw,

Such gifts as Maro's lovely nymphs bestow;

Then shall your Bard survive the critic's frown,

And in your smiles enjoy his best renown.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A Given Oracle

On Hexagram 40 (from Chris Lofting's I Ching plus:

40 Deliverance Relaxed Structuring
Within a context of containment we utilise (sudden) awareness.

"HSIEH : loosen, disjoin, untie, sever, scatter; analyse, explain, understand; release, dispel sorrow; eliminate effects, solve problems; resolution, deliverance. The ideogram: horns and knife, cutting into forward thrust." ERANOS p444

Image :
"[With containment comes awareness] : Deliverance. One generously responds to forgiving wrongdoing."

Class: Integrating

Commentary :
Cooperative Format : In hexagram 40 we have the explicit form of release from tension; the loosening of structure. The first flash of lightning and crack of thunder signalling the break of a storm. In the image, from a position of security one is able to forgive generously, and thus reduce tension. This is an explicit act of tension release, compared to the hexagram's complement, hexagram 37 The Family, where the implicit nature of the structured environment is relaxing; here it is the release of structure that works. Contextually, from a position 180 degrees apart, we develop through compromise and thus deliverance - the relaxing of structure. Hexagram 40 is the general expression of that described by hexagram 09 where the emphasis is on making small gains to succeed, thus the accumulation acts to reduce tension. In 40 the accumulation is 'in the air'.

Oppositional Format : Hexagram 40 manifests thunder against constraint.

Structural Relationship (Being) : Hexagram 40 is the opposite of hexagram 37. Both hexagrams deal with tension release but 40 covers the release through relaxing of structure, whereas 37 deals with tension release through maintaining of rigid structure.

Temporal Relationship (Doing) : The Goal of 40 is hexagram 51 (or 'how do I 51? - 40' How do I enlighten, become more aware? Sudden release of tensions)

Five-Phase Relationships : The trigram of Water reflects Consumption. The trigram of Thunder reflects raw Production. Consumption (containment aspect) expressed through 'sudden' production is expressed as a sudden relaxation of tension.

40 is the goal of 54 (or 'how do I 40? - 54 - How do I release tensions? high, intense output of energy)

Extended Commentary
Referring to the Quality Matrix below, the raw context from which hexagram 40 derives is described by analogy with hexagram 64, a general sense of remaining or becoming 'open', avoiding closure. Once within hexagram 40, base level is described by analogy with the general nature of hexagram 38, (avoiding) Oppositions, in that hexagram 38 is linked to the bottom line of hexagram 40 and expresses the general focus on tension reduction. The development path of qualitative expression works up through the lines of hexagram 40 where at line 5 it is best expressed by analogy to hexagram 06, Compromising, where the intent of the development is to reduce tensions through compromise. This tension reduction through relaxation'' need is finally transformed at the peak of the hexagram, line 6, into the expression of relaxation of structure to allow for flexibility.