Monday, March 24, 2008

Prophetic Hearing: Nite

Continuing from my post on Feb. 18, “Further Literary Notes,” and the next one on March 19, “A Memorable Fancy,” this post gives an example of building up a poem in multiple layers. It is entitled Nite, and is the fourth in the series “Lanskaeps in Aengziyettee.” It is written in a series of layers, each layer based, not on a constant conceptual substrate, but rather on sound.

Normally we think that a poem’s message is based on one or more (related?) ideas, or built up from images and events, or perhaps even constructed out of rhythm and meter. Normally we don’t think that a poem’s foundation is a body of abstract sounds that we must translate into our known language. Nite works from this latter premise. I have extracted a Divine Melody from the downpouring of my mind, “sounds” that precede words. Have I heard “Messiya kumz” or “Deziyer kums?” I have heard both, and more, and here is what I have extracted from that melodiousness.

Nite: 1st layer

"Yu will see Messiya kum
"An hiz armee a bilderz
"Tu be slotter on the plaenz.
"But all thaer hope iz still uninterrd."

Nite iz kum with its kallus moon.
The perpel figs ar skatterz on the grownd,
Over-ripe. The waggen weelz griend them down,
And he hu iz keeper the orcherd
Iz looz proffet and perpes allike:
     Taengellen branchen in wont ov hevvee pruningz.

Like a wall of shale; like a sheet of slate.
Theze long and eregguler Pardaes hallz.
Beyond the sferen ov moon and sun,
Beyond this ribben ov mezhermen, tuch,
Beyond the sensen ov thot and konshents.
Limmitless nuthinglee shaepless nite.

Akeva taeks hart. "This iz the forres
     "Ware the trael tu Messiya must be fownd.
     "I will not sees till I breeng Him tu don,
     "And leed the pepel tu a Pardaes beyond.

A wall ov shale. The borderz ov nite.

Nite: 2nd layer (incomplete)

Deziyer kumz
With disarmen mieldness,
Plotting withowt planz
And all yur hoeps so still, inferd.

Wut mite kum frum such a kaerless mooding?
Perpel fewgz, dissembel ov sownd.
Outlienz: aggonnee deeplee engraend;
The seekerz ov luv torcherd
With lawz and liez and powetree;
     Taengeld embrasez with a hevvenlee prommis.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Memorable Fancy

From The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Blake writes, "The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and I asked them how they dared so roundly to assert that God spoke to them;... Isaiah answer'd, 'I saw no God nor heard any, in a finite organical perception;...'"

Prophetic hearing is very difficult, and requires much effort and struggle. It is the ability to distinguish the Divine melodiousness in the cacophony of Mind. Mind overflows with multiple streams of thought, sensations in all their internal and external downpourings, the non-sensual communications and interactions between people, and how much more? Merged into all of this is what I call the Divine melodiousness. But do not imagine this is a separate thing, and that all that is required to hear it is to tune out all the rest. This is a common error, called "false prophecy" in the Bible. Isaiah did not hear God's voice. Isaiah, discerning melodiousness in the cacophony, extracted, superposed, wrestled with, and haltingly translated a human message out of the totality of his experience. He did not tune out and close off. Just the opposite. He opened the floodgates as wide as he dared, often at the edge of drowning.

If you think you can "hear" God's voice, you are already lost and deluded! The god that talks in a human voice, who tells people to "declare to the world my word," is more accurately known as "ego," and usually an arrogant ego claiming an authority it doesn't have.

Let us be more careful, and not let our imagination run away with us. Listen closely. To experience, in its most basic form, the Divine melodiousness is not so hard. It is what we know as the "spiritual experience." There are so many faces to this experience: peace, wholeness, bliss, eternity, infinity, healing, atonement, grace, thanksgiving. The more difficult work begins when we want to understand and transmit this experience. Over the millenia, it has been translated into many different languages and many different/similar religions, but often with a sense of literalness that can make this literature misleading. Let us translate with care, with whatever accuracy we can muster, and with at least a little humbleness. We live in a world that is only approximately true, and we can only approximately discern Divine intention. So let us try to translate, knowing that our words, too, are only an approximation.