Acrylics by Candia Dixon-Stuart
Primitive I ate my fill of a whale that died And stranded after a month at sea. . . . There is a pain in my inside. Why have the Gods afflicted me? Ow! I am purged till I am a wraith! Wow! I am sick till I cannot see! What is the sense of Religion and Faith : Look how the Gods have afflicted me! Pagan How can the skin of rat or mouse hold Anything more than a harmless flea?. . . The burning plague has taken my household. Why have my Gods afflicted me? All my kith and kin are deceased, Though they were as good as good could be, I will out and batter the family priest, Because my Gods have afflicted me!
Medi/Eval My privy and well drain into each other After the custom of Christendie. . . . Fevers and fluxes are wasting my mother. Why has the Lord afflicted me? The Saints are helpless for all I offer-- So are the clergy I used to fee. Henceforward I keep my cash in my coffer, Because the Lord has afflicted me. Material I run eight hundred hens to the acre They die by dozens mysteriously. . . . I am more than doubtful concerning my Maker, Why has the Lord afflicted me? What a return for all my endeavour-- Not to mention the L. S. D! I am an atheist now and for ever, Because this God has afflicted me!
Progressive Money spent on an Army or Fleet Is homicidal lunacy. . . . My son has been killed in the Mons retreat, Why is the Lord afflicting me? Why are murder, pillage and arson And rape allowed by the Deity? I will write to the Times, deriding our parson Because my God has afflicted me. Chorus We had a kettle: we let it leak: Our not repairing it made it worse. We haven't had any tea for a week. . . The bottom is out of the Universe!
Conclusion This was none of the good Lord's pleasure, For the Spirit He breathed in Man is free; But what comes after is measure for measure, And not a God that afflicteth thee. As was the sowing so the reaping Is now and evermore shall be. Thou art delivered to thine own keeping. Only Thyself hath afflicted thee!
Photos by Candia Dixon-Stuart All Rights Reserved
He who fears he shall suffer already suffers what he fears: Michel de
or, as my granny used to admonish: If ye fear a fear, it’ll come
I doubt she had read Montaigne, but folk wisdom is
watered-down philosophy and not always diluted!
anarchy, Andromeda, Animal Farm, Burne-Jones, Cassiopeia, casuistry, censorship, Diaz, Dr Atl, etymology, free expression, guerilla warfare, hacendados, Heaven, Hell, Liberty, liberty/licence, Pre-Raphaelites, Prometheus, revolution, volcanoes
Another poem inspired by Prometheus Unbound
by P B Shelley:
Andromeda by Burne-Jones: Wikipedia
A wheel will come full circle, you will find.
The outcome’s in the etymology
of ‘revolution.’ Think ‘Animal Farm.’
‘You seize the flower; the bloom is shed,’ Rab said.
Heaven and Hell are one’s inner landscapes.
Give a man an inch; he’ll take a mile.
Liberty/ licence – where to draw the line?
Free expression/ censorship : who can judge?
Anarchy is based on casuistry.
Prometheus played with fire and was burnt.
Imagination versus tyranny.
He who is king over himself is free.
Cassiopeia took the liberty
of a frank assessment of others’ looks.
Say nowt if you can’t say anything nice.
Why did the Pre-Raphaelites feel free
to create soft porn from mythology?
Liberty bodices off; shackles on.
‘When tigers are unleashed, who controls them?’
said Diaz, while Dr Atl opposed
slaves’ exploitation by hacendados,
exploding guerilla warfare into print,
like lava from his beloved volcanoes –
but he still became a neo-Nazi.
So, I’m suspicious of all these Titans,
larger than life, whose words stream in the wind.
They’re the self-acknowledged legislators,
crying, ‘Liberty, equality… (Blah!)
prior to being overthrown – not by a coup –
yet everywhere men are free, but in chains.
A poem to celebrate the bi-centenary of ‘Prometheus
Unbound’ by PB Shelley:
We always want slightly more than our share,
whether it’s food, or perceived liberty
and we, like Prometheus, play tricks,
but gods fore-know what is our little game.
Everyone wants to live in Mecone,
in a Golden Age of wealth, abundance,
with a personal cornucopia;
or to be on the same standing as gods –
expressing a modicum of Free Will;
able to question who has sovereignty.
The problem with challenging Order is,
it often involves (slight) deceit.
Liberty! Desirable; dangerous!
There is shame in personal ownership:
else, why do we hide sparks in fennel stalks,
or in off-shore tax havens, for that matter?
The flames of liberty need to be fed.
They will consume us, as they are consumed.
Demeter found there was a compromise.
Persephone, you lied. You were not forced
to eat pomegranate seed. You screamed rape.
Pandora, with a thief’s temperament,
you actually had the soul of a bitch.
Is it better to reign in Hell, or serve
in Heaven? Prometheus, your attempt
just raises the age-old dichotomy:
liberty / licence. Where is the balance?
Some can subsist on sacrificial smoke;
Titans and men require sustenance:
labour, nourishment and nobility.
(Tarrawara Estate. Creative Commons attribution edwin.11)
When I was in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, a couple of years ago, I
was fortunate enough to see Ian Fairweather’s series ‘The Drunken
Buddha‘ at Tarrawarra, in the art gallery attached to the famous vineyard.
It takes me some time to process things I have seen, so I was delighted to
begin to read the original literary work, in translation, last week.
Here is a choka I wrote as a poetic response to chapter 1:
Life’s a paradox.
Yes, it is good to seek peace,
but engagement yields
understanding through conflict.
There are nuances
between life and death and each
marks vital process,
on the way to extinction
of Ego. Volunteer!
Go another round
on Reincarnation’s wheel,
though you have ‘arrived.’
Do it for your fellow men.
Help them to Enlightenment.
Trusting there’s justice
causes disappointment, when
was not honoured in his day.
Gangkwai was moral,
yet his life was not easy.
Servants desert you
and friends are often fickle.
Today men don’t keep their word.
means sometimes you’ll be surprised –
pleasantly, one hopes.
If you are open-minded,
you’ll navigate through Life well.