Eight Phases

Max Ernst-Mer et Soleil 1925


Your rays subliminally influencing
Events in the sublimest fashion
A make believe that control
Is this sense of utter desolation

Waxing Crescent

From this perspective nothing more
Than a finely paired sliver of fingernail
A silvered slice of a majesty
Abstract sterile and unforgiving

First Quarter

Approaching the rapprochement
You’re taking me higher
Away from the prison of self
Seeing from a new vantage point

Waxing Gibbous

Down below an Empire of Dust
Always in danger of drowning
Beneath the tides and waves
Commanded by a baleful Goddess


Turning cycling transforming
Through periods of lunacy
A lucidity that threatens
To consume me with consolation

Waning Gibbous

Finely woven silken threads
Form a ladder between spheres
Tentatively I step before running
With eyes closed in between spaces

Third Quarter

Stately slow celestial procession
The magnificent isolation of beauty
Cold and barren yet inspiring
Worshipful hymns of devotion

Waning Crescent

Nearing the inevitable death
The dark side beckons, smothers
Then the Heavenly metronome
Pauses for a beat, starts again

Dream Vision

The Four Seasons-Artist Unknown-circa 15th Century

Straying from the centre and its concentric streets
I wandered without purpose through woods and near precipices
With the sun scorching at the nape of my neck
Shoulders aching from the straps arching inwards
Into the skin so tender and too sensitive
Longing for a symbol looking for a sign
Of a new determination forged by a force of destiny
That would reveal to my shuttered senses a revelation
Of a harmonious strength sensuous and holy
To repair and make whole this riven world.

Exhausted by my exertions I searched for a spot
Where I could rest for a while from the rapid changes
Beneath the ground and up above always generating
Growing only to gradually decay before dying
The heat was intense so I lay down on the shady side of the hill
Closed my eyes and slowly drifted through clouds and islands
Past fields of lilies and ponds of lotuses
Valleys where all the birds of the air alighted vaingloriously
To be granted a vision of valour and grace
In a endless pasture of flowering ethereal peonies

With the clear bright gaze of the celestial bound
She surveyed all around and subdued with a glance
Beckoning the beast with a wave of her arm he approached
Slowly the Lion stretched arching its back before lying down
Prostrating its Majesty before the greater power of Her Majesty
Hers was an imperious strength that neither strove or imposed
A will reconciled with the way of the revolving spheres
Of the Empyrean above eternal and absolute
Soft and dark, serpentine and divine
Dream vision of a vaster dimension


Illustration from Boccaccio’s De Casibus Virorum Illustrium

For how long had I stared at these walls in silence?
My entire world confined to a despairing vision
Of masses of grey stone always damp to the touch
A barred window above excluding any natural light
The taciturn warden who brings me my slop twice daily
The only sounds the tantalising jangle of heavy keys
But I know that there is no escape possible from here
So I console myself with thoughts from the past

Because it hasn’t always been this way, not so long ago
I lived in palaces with ante-chambers larger than this cell
My wealth and prestige derived from illustrious ancestors
I spoke and Popes, Emperors would listen attentively
My sage counsel would be deliberated by the Senate
I held the world in the palm and from my fingertips
Flowed power in its purest untrammelled essence

Reminiscing of yesteryears glories I lulled myself asleep
And then the dank cell was filled with the softest glow
Emanating from the beautiful visage of a celestial presence
Raising myself from the hard mattress I tried to speak
But the Angel or Goddess placed her finger on my lips
And told me to be quiet and to still my racing heart

“Do you not recognise me, you who spoke so eloquently
On my behalf on many occasions, defending my ways
Against the slanders of the uncouth and ignorant?
I would say you have no reason to be afraid of me
But that wouldn’t be strictly correct, because I am Destiny,
Lady Fortuna, she who must spin the Wheel of Fortune

If you require consolation in your present plight
Do not ransack your memory for vanished luxuries,
You who toyed around with ideas of ethics and philosophy
Were you so enraptured with the transitory pleasures
Of this realm of the senses that you forgot you were human
Eternally subject to the constant Divine Law and Way
That requires that everything that goes up must come down?

One minute you are at the top, Lord of all you survey
The next, after I turn the wheel that requires turning,
You inadvertently offend those you strive to serve
And bemoan the nature of your temporary lodgings
As if it wasn’t the empty space that makes the room
And the state of mind that defines the state of grace
Realise that complete reality isn’t some trajectory
It is nothing more and nothing less than a circle.”

Between Lives

Jean-Jacques Lequeu-Temple of the Sun-Persian Sanctuary

Sunlight streams through the smeared panes of glass
Illuminating the static emptiness of this strange room
Pregnant with the possibility of an expanding silence
Even the dust hangs still, motionless, frozen in the air

Odd how here nothing stirs, constant and unchanging
I am seeking to hold fast to this unmovable centre
For I know that it is the only way towards the mean
That contains at its heart the secret of meaning

Without desire and attachment
Without anger and aversion
With knowledge and serenity
All is temperate and tranquil

Yet the cycle re-commences as it must by nature and necessity
For clearly I am not ready yet to experience the ultimate bliss
My span here was merely a pause without measure, a hiatus,
So at the sound of rustling wings I feel nothing but perturbation.

Encounter at the Obsidian Gates

Retreat in the Spring Hills-unknown artist circa 12th Century CE

“To pass through these Obsidian Gates that separate the known world
From the barbarous Western Lands populated with dog-headed peoples,
Bizarre creatures, devouring demons and ferociously hungry ghosts
You must give an account of the Way, for I know who you are, old man
I saw through your disguise of being a humble hermit straight away
I know that you are the Archivist of the Most August Emperor
You are the one they call the Old Master, the Ancient Child,
A transformed butterfly, the eternal dragon of the Southern Sky.”

The hermit was silent while the mists dissipated and gathered again
There was a definite chill in the late autumnal air, winter was near
The night watchman huddled closer to the flickering flames of the fire
But the old man didn’t move an inch, just sat without saying a word
He seemed to the night watchman to be melting away into the fog
As he fall into a daze watching the play of shadows on the walls
Against the damp stone he thought he glimpsed something other
Then the Old Master began to speak in tones more ancient than days

“Do you know what you ask when you demand an account of the Way?
I alone am still, I recognize no signs, I flow as water and with time
What words or characters could convey the Way, by definition ineffable?
Worse, names and words divide and subdivide the world indefinitely
There are many righteous paths to follow if you wish to go astray
A thing becomes this and a thing becomes that when really it is of itself
But if you insist I will say in terms terse, enigmatic and ambiguous
Because the things we cannot speak of we must forever remain silent.”