chantez-le, sam

couvert sous une pluie, une pluie, une pluie, vous et moi et chacun...

Iseult Anna Livia Plurabelle Proserpiledathel
3 February
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  • amhranaiochta@livejournal.com

I can't say anything about myself right now; I'm subject to existential terrors occasionally, and the current one has been running my mind since late January. I can't shake it. So I lack definition.

But. Um. My name is Kitty, Kayt, Katherine—I'm slightly schizophrenic when it comes to onomastics—and I'm seventeen, a wonderful number. I'm the quiet girl with the long hair.

Croí Amhránaíochta means 'singing heart.' It's the Chinese name for my cadence.

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Δόξα Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ καὶ Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι, καὶ νῦν καὶ ἀεὶ καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, Ἀμήν.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum, Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. For thine is the kingdom, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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Der Vogel kämpft sich aus dem Ei. Das Ei ist die Welt. Wer geboren werden will, muss eine Welt zerstören. Der Vogel fliegt zu Gott. Der Gott heisst Abraxas.

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“The relation between the mind and heart of man is a delicate mystery, and hardness is catching. It will, I believe, be found that there is a valid connection, at some level however deep, between what I have called ‘literalness’ and a certain hardness of heart. Listen attentively to the response of a dull or literal mind to what insistently presents itself as allegory or symbol, and you may detect a certain irritation, a faint, incipient aggressiveness in its refusal. Here I think is a deep-down moral gesture. You may, for instance, hear the literal man object suspiciously that he is being ‘got at.’ And this is quite correct. He is. Just as he is being ‘got at’ by his unconscious through the symbolism of his dreams. An attempt is being made, of which he is dimly aware, to undermine his idols, and his feet are being invited on to the beginning of a long road, which in the end must lead him to self-knowledge, with all the unacceptable humiliations which that involves. Instinctively he does not like it. He prefers to remain ‘literal.’ But of course he hardly knows he prefers it, since self-knowledge is the very thing which he is avoiding.”

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“Most ingenious Theuth,” said the god and king Thamus, “one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users belongs to another; and now you, who are the father of letters, have been led by your affectons to ascribe them a power the opposite of which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practise their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are not a part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.”

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“Bygmester Finnegan, of the Stuttering Hand, freemen’s murer, lived in the broadest way immarginable in his rushlit toofarback for messuages before joshuan judges had given us numbers or Helviticus committed deuteronomy (one yeastyday he sternely struxk his tete in a tub for to watsch the future of his fates but ere he swiftly stook it out again, by the might of moses, the very water was eviparated and all the guenneses had met their exodus so that ought to show you what a pentschanjeuchy chap he was!) and during mighty odd years this man of hod, cement, and edifices in Toper’s Thorp piled buildung supra buildung pon the banks for the livers by the Soangso. He addle liddle phifie Annie ugged the little craythur. Wither hayre in honds tuck up your part inher. Oftwhile balbulous, mithre ahead, with goodly trowel in grasp and ivoroiled overalls which he habitacularly fondseed, like Haroun Childeric Eggeberth he would caligulate by multiplicables the alltitude and malltitude until he seesaw by neatlight of the liquor wheretwin ’twas born, his roundhead staple of other days to rise in undress maisonry upstanded (joygrantit!), a waalworth of a skyerscape of most eyeful hoyth entowerly, erigenating from next to nothing and celescalating the himals and all, hierarchitectitiptitoploftical, with a burning bush abob off its baubletop and with larrons o’toolers clittering up and tombles a’buckets clottering down.”

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I am a stag: of seven tines,
I am a flood: across a plain,
I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the Sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff,
I am a thorn: beneath the nail,
I am a wonder: among flowers,
I am a wizard: who but I
Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?

I am a spear: that roars for blood,
I am a salmon: in a pool,
I am a lure: from paradise,
I am a hill: where poets walk,
I am a boar: ruthless and red,
I am a breaker: threatening doom,
I am a tide: that drags to death,
I am an infant: who but I
Peeps from the unhewn dolmen arch?

I am the womb: of every holt,
I am the blaze: on every hill,
I am the queen: of every hive,
I am the shield: for every head,
I am the tomb: of every hope.

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Standing on the flagstones of the sidewalk at the entrance to Hades
Orpheus hunched in a gust of wind
That tore at his coat, rolled past in waves of fog,
Tossed the leaves of the trees. The headlights of cars
Flared and dimmed in each succeeding wave.

He stopped at the glass-paneled door, uncertain
Whether he was strong enough for that ultimate trial.

He remembered her words: “You are a good man.”
He did not quite believe it. Lyric poets
Usually have—as he knew—cold hearts.
It is like a medical condition. Perfection in art
Is given in exchange for such an affliction.

Only her love warmed him, humanized him.
When he was not with her, he thought differently about himself.
He could not fail her now, when she was dead.

He pushed open the door and found himself walking in a labyrinth,
Corridors, elevators. The livid light was not light but the dark
of the earth.
Electronic dogs passed noiselessly.
He descended many floors, a hundred, three hundred, down.

He was cold, aware that he was Nowhere.
Under thousands of frozen centuries,
On an ashy trace where generations had moldered,
In a kingdom that seemed to have no bottom and no end.

Thronging shadows surrounded him.
He recognized some of the faces.
He felt the rhythm of his blood.
He felt strongly his life with its guilt
And he was afraid to meet those to whom he had done harm.
But they had lost the ability to remember
And gave him only a glance, indifferent to all that.

For his defense he had a nine-stringed lyre.
He carried in it the music of the earth, against the abyss
That buries all sound in silence.
He submitted to the music, yielded
To the dictation of a song, listening with rapt attention,
Became, like his lyre, its instrument.

Thus he arrived at the palace of the rulers of that land.
Persephone, in her garden of withered pear and apple trees,
Black, with naked branches and verrucose twigs,
Listened from the funereal amethyst of her throne.

He sang the brightness of mornings and green rivers,
He sang of smoking water in the rose-colored daybreaks,
Of colors: cinnabar, carmine, burnt sienna, blue,
Of the delight of swimming in the sea under marble cliffs,
Of feasting on a terrace above the tumult of a fishing port,
Of the tastes of wine, olive oil, almonds, salt.
Of the flight of the swallow, the falcon,
Of a dignified flock of pelicans above a bay,
Of the scent of an armful of lilacs in summer rain,
Of his having composed his words always against death
And of having made no rhyme in praise of nothingness.

I don't know—said the goddess—whether you loved her or not.
Yet you have come here to rescue her.
She will be returned to you. But there are conditions:
You are not permitted to speak to her, or on the journey back
To turn your head, even once, to assure yourself that she is
behind you.

And so Hermes brought forth Eurydice.
Her face no longer hers, utterly gray,
Her eyelids lowered beneath the shade of her lashes.
She stepped rigidly, directed by the hand
Of her guide. Orpheus wanted so much
To call her name, to wake her from that sleep.
But he refrained, for he had accepted the conditions.

And so they set out. He first, and then, not right away,
The slap of the god's sandals and the light patter
Of her feet fettered by her robe, as if by a shroud.
A steep climbing path phosphorized
Out of darkness like the walls of a tunnel.
He would stop and listen. But then
They stopped, too, and the echo faded.
And when he began to walk the double tapping commenced again.
Sometimes it seemed closer, sometimes more distant.
Under his faith a doubt sprang up
And entwined him like cold bindweed.
Unable to weep, he wept at the loss
Of the human hope for the resurrection of the dead,
Because he was, now, like every other mortal.
His lyre was silent, yet he dreamed, defenseless.
He knew he must have faith and he could not have faith.
And so he would persist for a very long time,
Counting his steps in a half-wakeful torpor.

Day was breaking. Shapes of rock loomed up
Under the luminous eye of the exit from underground.
It happened as he expected. He turned his head
And behind him on the path was no one.

Sun. And sky. And in the sky white clouds.
Only now everything cried to him: Eurydice!
How will I live without you, my consoling one!
But there was a fragrant scent of herbs, the low humming of bees,
And he fell asleep with his cheek on the sun-warmed earth.

♠ ♥ ♣ ♦

Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant—
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—

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This, finally, must be serious.

I've often been alone but I've never lived alone. When I was with someone, I was often happy but it seemed like a coincidence. These people were my parents, but it could have been others. Why was this brown-eyed boy my brother, and not the boy with the green eyes on the opposite platform? The taxi-driver's daughter was my friend, but I might as well have put my arm around a horse's neck. I was with a man, I was in love, and I might as well have left him and walked off with the stranger I met in the street.

Look at me, or don't. Give me your hand, or don't. No, don't give me your hand and look away.

Tonight is the new moon. No night can be more peaceful. There won't be any bloodshed in the city. I've never toyed with anyone, yet I've never opened my eyes and thought 'Now, this is serious'. At last it's becoming serious.

I've grown older. Am I the only one who wasn't serious? Is it the times that lack seriousness?

I was never alone, neither on my own nor with others. But I would have liked to be alone. After all, to be alone means to be whole. Now I can say it—as from tonight I'm alone at last. I must put an end to coincidence.

The new moon of decision! I don't know if there is destiny, but there is a decision. So decide! We are the present day now.

The whole town, the whole world is taking part in our decision.

We two are now more than us two.
We incarnate something.
We are sitting in the place of the people and the whole place is full of people who are dreaming the same dream.
We decide everyone's game.
I am ready.
Now it's your turn.
Now you've got to decide.
Now or never!

You need me. You will need me. There's no greater story than ours—a man and a woman. It will be a story of giants—invisible, but transferable, a story of new ancestors.

Look, my eyes. They are the picture of necessity, of everyone's future. Last night I dreamed of a stranger. It was my man. Only with him could I be alone, open up to him, wholly, wholly open for him, welcome him wholly into me, surround him with the labyrinth of shared happiness.

I know. It's you.

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Mignonne, allons voir si la rose
Qui ce matin avoit desclose
Sa robe de pourpre au Soleil,
A point perdu ceste vesprée
Les plis de sa robe pourprée,
Et son teint au vostre pareil.

Las ! voyez comme en peu d'espace,
Mignonne, elle a dessus la place
Las ! las ses beautez laissé cheoir !
Ô vrayment marastre Nature,
Puis qu'une telle fleur ne dure
Que du matin jusques au soir !

Donc, si vous me croyez, mignonne,
Tandis que vostre âge fleuronne
En sa plus verte nouveauté,
Cueillez, cueillez vostre jeunesse :
Comme à ceste fleur la vieillesse
Fera ternir vostre beauté.

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Addendum—why I like my college:

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