Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Lathe of Heaven:

When I touch the spinning
Wood with sharpened steel
It speaks! Foot flies
On the petal; my head, or this room
Like the belly of a fiddle
The spindle reaches out to
Form the axis of a wheel
On which the stars are inscribed
And spinning eons on.
The rim of that wheel rubs
A cord of gut, stretched taunt
To the throat
Of the hanged man, who sings.
What he sees; the present, the future,
And the past, but inverted
And no way to
Cipher which is which.

A, E, I, O, U – vowels, yes and words,
You didn’t think of
Come wobbling down the songline
Like quivering blobs of jelly.
Sentence, cause like I said
There’s nothing certain. Even
The drone of the vibrating string
Could be anything, or cease suddenly –
So that you can’t hook them end to end
Anymore, the things inside the blobs of
Duration I mean, being sung by the hung
Man, who’s dangling,
Suspended by his feet,
Naked and singing
Of what was, is, and will be,
On the axis of that tree ~ he has
A density shaving in his head ~ is that a sentence?

(To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven.(知止乎其所不能知,至矣。若有不即是者,天鈞敗之。)((a faulty translation from the Tao))


Cathy said...

Good lord, Dan. That's amazing. Love the subtle, almost-not-there rhyme scheme, and the Tarot references.


Dan Dutton said...

Hee! (Thanks!) I love the two mistakes you found (petal/pedal & taut/taunt) - that turn in into a palimpsest as well.

Considering it's a lathe, maybe we should perform the inversion as well, so that it's a palindrome.

Cathy said...

Palimpsest? Now you're just showing off, heh heh.

Dan Dutton said...

Hey, that's what art is!

SBD said...

Arriving on your blog is like taking a transcendent trip through space and time...
Cresses and prayers, noble tombstones, fragmented wanderings...
Flowers of words flung far is magic.