Silentium

She has not yet been born:
she is music and word,
and therefore the un-torn,
fabric of what is stirred.
 
Silent the ocean breathes.
Madly day’s glitter roams.
Spray of pale lilac foams,
in a bowl of grey-blue leaves.
 
May my lips rehearse
the primordial silence,
like a note of crystal clearness,
sounding, pure from birth!
 
Stay as foam Aphrodite – Art –
and return, Word, where music begins:
and, fused with life’s origins,
be ashamed heart, of heart!
 
Osip Mandelstam
Aphrodite
Osip 1891 – 1938

An ‘Open Sea’

Indeed, at hearing the news that ‘the old god is dead’, we philosophers and ‘free spirits’ feel illuminated by a new dawn; our heart overflows with gratitude, amazement, forebodings, expectation – finally the horizon seems clear again, even if not bright; finally our ships may set out again, set out to face any danger; every daring of the lover of knowledge is allowed again; the sea, our sea, lies open again; maybe there has never been such an ‘open sea’.” Nietzsche

Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Andersen. 

I returned – and understand

And I, unfaithful, yearned and sorrowed

And, filled with the poetic impulse,

Abandoned without need

My native haunts.

But my heart sensed a language that

My ears could not hear – in solitude;

And in belated tenderness

I returned – and understood.

(Aleksander Blok – 9 June 1901)

The 1918 Fort Riley/Kansas/USA Global Flu Pandemic

Global pandemics

Russian Flu 1889/90 – 1 million dead

Asian Flu 1957/58 – from 1.5 to 4 million dead

Hong Kong flu 1968/69 – from 1 to 4 million dead

The Fort Riley/Kansas/ USA FLU of 1918

(Or even The GITCHELL FLU – after Private Albert Gitchell of the US Army)

(Wrongly called ‘Spanish Flu’ because Spain was neutral in The Great War and was thus the only country reporting honestly about the effect of the pandemic – how ironic!)

World population at the time was 1.8 billion

500 million infected

If we take the lowest estimate as accurate – 17.5 million deaths – then just under 1% of the global population died. This flu had little effect on the older population – probably because they had built up immunity during and after the Russian Flu.

Some, however, estimate that 25 million died, others 35 to 50 million

The epicentre: USA

In March 1918 Albert infected 100 fellow soldiers, as did many unknown soldiers who had caught it, in other army camps (just imagine the chronic crowded conditions) around the States. Thousands of these soldiers (the same applied to soldiers in Europe) were already suffering from the ‘usual influenza.’ It was these soldiers – first batch 84,000, second 118,000 – who carried the  deadly virus to the battlefields of France and then the rest of Europe. By June there were 31,000 reported cases in the UK alone.

Goodbye ‘Purple Fingers’ for another year – and ‘Diolch,’ Thank You, Dziekuje Ci …

ACTUALLY, WE HAD WHITE ONES THIS YEAR AS WELL.

Milicroques (Foxgloves) * by Jean Gebser

A butterfly dancing
by the sea,
a foxglove emerging
fragile and fierce
cleaving
to a granite wall:

A glittering chalice
captures the whole sky,
a single wing
bears the sun entire:
fate’s transformations,
and pure transference:

A flower
evolving into flight,
and flight
dissolving into light.

Milicroques is the regional name of a delicate blue flower that blooms on the walls of Santiago de Compostela (Province of Galicia). [J.G.] Gebser’s delicate-blue flower (flor de un azul delicado/zartblauen Blume) is more commonly known as the foxglove (digitalis purpurea, literally, ‘purple fingers’). Its long, bell-shaped, pale violet petals fit over the fingers, hence the Latin name.

Jean Gebser was a Polish linguist, philosopher and poet. He died in 1973.  He lived in Italy and then in France. He then moved to Spain, mastered the Spanish language in a few months and entered the Spanish Civil Service, where he rose to become a senior official in the Spanish Ministry of Education.

“The marvellous stag of Arthur, That lofty white stag leap … “

Towards Break Of Day

WAS it the double of my dream
The woman that by me lay
Dreamed, or did we halve a dream
Under the first cold gleam of day?

I thought: “There is a waterfall
Upon
Ben Bulben side
That all my childhood counted dear;
Were I to travel far and wide
I could not find a thing so dear.’
My memories had magnified
So many times childish delight.

I would have touched it like a child
But knew my finger could but have touched
Cold stone and water. I grew wild.
Even accusing Heaven because
It had set down among its laws:
Nothing that we love over-much
Is ponderable to our touch.

I dreamed towards break of day,
The cold blown spray in my nostril.
But she that beside me lay
Had watched in bitterer sleep
The marvellous stag of Arthur,
That lofty white stag, leap
From mountain steep to steep

USA Summer 2020 –

If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

MANIC STREET PREACHERS

And if you tolerate this then your children will be next
And if you tolerate this then your children will be next
Will be next, will be next, will be next

Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next https://youtu.be/cX8szNPgrEs via @YouTube

The future teaches you to be alone The present to be afraid and cold So if I can shoot rabbits then I can shoot fascists. Bullets for your brain today But we’ll forget it all again Monuments put from pen to paper Turns me into a gutless wonder.

As per usual with the Manics, the lyrics were draw from art, culture and history – as they put it, ‘using the past to illustrate what’s missing from the present’. Inspired by George Orwell’s ‘Homage To Catalonia’ and a phrase written on a poster calling for recruits to fight in the Spanish Civil War, Wire was driven to write one of their most rousing rallying cries.

“All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”  George Orwell ‘Homage to Catalonia’ … and more …  

“For some reason, all the best matadors were Fascists.” GeorgweOrwell

“If you had asked me why I had joined the militia I should have answered: ‘To fight against Fascism,’ and if you had asked me what I was fighting for, I should have answered: ‘Common decency.” George Orwell

Nicky Wire born Blackwood 1969