ditch,

the poetry that matters

Wilna Panagos

Wilna Panagos lives in Pretoria, South Africa, and her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in New Contrast Literary Journal, Gone Lawn, Otoliths, Museum Life, Medusa's Laugh Press, Prick of the Spindle, The Undertow Review.

 

 

Heroides

[letter #49: roof gris-gris, found objects & invasion]

 

 

there he stands in the middle of the road, the old man with his pipe and his hat and his dog, between the living and the dead, and he opens the door and he shuts it and he orders meal #26 from the hoodoo house. He knows all the languages and he speaks for us in the appropriate vernacular and he waits patiently for the pink cheeked parrot to kill its owner. Parrots are social animals after all and they find it impossible to tolerate withdrawal or any displacement activity however necessary it might be.

Fermi's paradox states: there is a very high probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilization.

Where is everybody?

 

Parvati saw the sacred syllable om, and her mere glance transformed it into two copulating elephants who gave birth to lord Ganesha and then resumed the form of the sacred syllable.

We comb Friday's flagrant hair with Macassar oil until she growls at the Mau-Mau and we roll in chocolate, a temporary burial, and we eat red wine pears (welt red and Persian crimson) and gamblers shout her name before throwing the dice while Sumerian, Babylonian and Mesopotamian flood myths are laying down silt between the legs of the Levant. A body of water, warm and salty like blood. Of course it is the Red Sea. In this instance colour appears to be a perceiver and what it perceives is that Friday's motorcycle has been on fire for quite some time and of course it will end in a charred skeleton, ticking as it cools. A sordid and desolate metal umlaut. Let me make this clear, the war swans that used to pull Friday's chariot through the Mississippi mud pie and the cranberry syrup (spangle red) are impervious to any kind of poison, the redshift (Doppler effect red) inevitably eats the torte of disaster when spacetime flatlines about two seconds after the Big Bang and every discourse of desire is therefore simultaneously a critique of language:

Visible spectra can appear redder due to scattering in a phenomenon referred to as interstellar reddening. In many circumstances scattering causes radiation to redden because of entropy.

Extremely red objects (EROs) are sources of radiation that radiate energy in the red and near infrared part of the carnal spectrum. These may be starburst skins that have a high redshift accompanied by reddening from intervening vocabulary, or they could be highly redshifted elliptical galaxies with an extended (and therefore redder) stellar hunger. Objects that are even redder than EROs are termed hyper extremely red objects (HEROs) or lipstick red.

Observations of the redshift-distance relationship can be used then to determine the expansion history of the fever and thus of the fado and the disease

the cosmic hiss has a redshift of Z=scarlet and redshift maps of ardent discourse show a Fingers of God effect due to the scatter of peculiar wants because it is usually not known how luminous objects are and as an object approaches the event horizon the red shift becomes infinite and insatiable

Sheherazade: Why do all the best words hide in the dark? Why are they so afraid of Attila the Sun? Why do they wait for you to look away before they show themselves? Why do they write themselves with lemon juice and then we hold all the wrong pieces of paper over the candles? Why do we want them so badly?

Elizabeth: Not everyone wants them. A lot of people harm them. Kill them even. It is safer that way.

Sheherazade: Sunday mornings are the worst. When there's only one other person awake and you're not allowed to tell any of the stories and you know that to stop telling the stories means death.

Elizabeth: De rerum natura.

Sheherazade: But Nizamuddin Auliya said the stories can cure you.

 

Faust: Who's that there?
Mephisto: Take a good look.
Lilith.
Faust: Lilith? Who is that?
Mephisto: Beware of her.
Her beauty's one boast is her dangerous hair

 

Was Lilith a vampire?

 

19. In answer to your question concerning Lilith, I shall explain to you the essence of the matter. Concerning this point there is a received tradition from the ancient Sages who made use of the Secret Knowledge of the Lesser Palaces, which is the manipulation of demons and a ladder by which one ascends to the prophetic levels. In this tradition it is made clear that God formed Lilith out of the same clay from which he made Adam and then Lilith left Adam after she refused to become subservient to him, and she mated with archangel Samaela. This is the account of Lilith which was received by the Sages in the Secret Knowledge of the Palaces: Lilith the Sinful, Lilith the first wife, Lilith as the incarnation of lust. Lilith that refused to take it like a man.

Armenian Adam, however, fell in love with Lilith, but Lilith was indifferent because Armenian Adam was a creature made of soil, not fire and Mr. Fortune writes: The Virgin Mary is reflected in Lilith and: Lilith is the source of licentious dreams (red velvet cake red)

Lilith eventually reveals her secret names to Elijah in the conclusion. These lost names are said to have caused Lilith to lose her power: lilith, abitu, abizu, hakash, avers hikpodu, ayalu, matrot, ailo

 

'Hey Vito, where is my Car' red! Cara mia crimson! Sicilian vermilion! Little red riding hood red. Flush red (the blood, not the red)

 

we beg for a mojo hand and we eat the pound cake from Marie Laveau's tomb, we commit medicine murders and we dance a pasodoble in the mud, sequins and glitter and the dying bull's blood everywhere (death madder or Spanish red), including on the dress of the Mobius dervish, begging the Obeah to grant the feverish djinn. We shake the cape and we fling red flowers (opium poppy red or Lilith poppies) at its feet and then we cry with a sword in the chest, covered in hundreds and thousands and in suicide grasshoppers with heart red wings.

Theseus' paradox states: you can replace any component of a ship, and it is still the same ship. So you can replace them all, one at a time, and it is still the same ship. However, you can then take all the original pieces, and assemble them into a ship. That, too, is the same ship you began with.

don't tell me you're unaware of the fact that the first persons in animal skins sprinkled the entrances to their caves with blood because it appeases the demons who have an insatiable thirst for blood and are attracted by its smell. The above said first persons took mouthfuls of red mud and put their hands against their cave walls and blew. And they tied little bunches of their hair to twigs and painted their prey and their spirits with its own blood over their red ghost hands. These ghost hands reaching for meat and apologizing to it for its death

For the hunters of the Mastodons: have good dreams

deities spill their blood on the ground and things grow out of it, flowers and deer and children. Blood falls from Medusa's severed head and a beautiful horse is born. Pegasus with his white wings and his sea foam blood and his infamy. Giants and furies and ash tree nymphs and Aphrodite herself materialized from Oranos' spilled blood. Someone shot the moon and the moon's blood spilled all over the earth and fierce Yanomamo people emerged. Sky Father and Earth Mother’s blood spills on Tuma's head at the Maori dawn of time and what do you know, there you have red ochre. Ajax committed suicide and hyacinths leaped from the blood on the floor and Hermes accidentally killed Krokos with his discus and Hermes transformed him into the crocus flower, the stems red from the unfortunate blood. Anemones grow wherever a drop of Adonis' blood falls.

Nonetheless, we must not put confidence in the assertion that viticulture replaced blood sacrifice even though we now frequently spill auburn wine and turn into werewolves and howl in the dark and bite each other

So, let's just pretend for a minute that we've got the grapes straight and move on:

a full bodied merlot (little blackbird) is an unpredictably hedonistic midnight carmine, nose thick with crushed berries, plums and languor. It has a very alluring ocean smell to it. In the mouth, the wine is slightly metalliferous with just a touch of sorcery and opulence.

 

tale no. 89: the goose girl, driving the geese out through the dark gateway, addresses Falada's head under the doorway: Alas, Falada, hanging there!

And the sorry horse head answered: Alas, alas, if thy mother the queen knew, her heart would break in two. And the goose girl climbs into the stove and tells her story and the king listens at the stovepipe. And he believes the story and royal garments were placed on her, and it was marvellous how beautiful she was!

 

Is Elvis alive?

The three knew, of course, that contrary to popular opinion (and petty details like police and coroners' reports) that the King was very much alive. They were also aware that, thanks to strenuous workouts and a healthy diet, he looks more like the old Elvis we first knew and loved and they laughed and laughed at the tabloids' feeble efforts to sell newspapers by running 'recent' photographs of Elvis. Would someone trying to be anonymous get himself up in a sequined jump suit and strut about with his guitar strung over his shoulder?

 

we all know what a roof looks like, but how well do you know the farm planted with desire? Are you intimate with the orchards of loss and adamance? Are you familiar with the canals that irrigate the fields with blood? The red (river red) canals with their regattas of white paper boats and the words written on the paper inside the folds? The blossoms of delirium that cover the ground, and the crops of smoke? We can't leave it now, it's so radioactive and abandoned.

Moore's paradox states: it's raining, but I don't believe that it is.

Water and dust and here we are. We are mud. If Mr. Moore doubts of this, let him go to Barberton, and there he will find the fields swarming with the memory of clay, begot of the first soil, alive with atavism, to the great calamity of the inhabitants. The lonely Eobacterium isolatum has been there by itself for three billion years. That's a long time for something so small.

Without rhyme or reason you have a bed of clay. It multiplies and becomes a crowd of clay. Sediment has plans. The faithful memory of bay mud cradles the memories in the folds of its bed (burnt umber) The dramatic meaninglessness of the early earth bleeds red ochre blood and consequently we rub it into our hair and it turns into La-La music and chocolate. Haematite and cinnabar and eight thousand chocolate beans and if one falls you pick it up as if an eye has fallen. You can buy a slave with one thousand chocolate beans.

xocoatl: if you think chocolate and mud are interchangeable, you are making a grave mistake. Yes, chocolate is bitter and brown and sugar doesn't have anything to do with it, but mud can sleep and chocolate cannot. Chocolate is armed and dangerous. Aztec sacrifices who felt too melancholy to join in ritual dancing before their death were often given a gourd of chocolate tinged with the blood of previous victims to arouse them. A becoming colour for her obituary dress would be roan of peat (corpse brown), burnt carmine and amaranth (love lies dead red). Welcome to the jungle baby, you're gonna die and your plague mask beak isn't gonna help in the least, Van Dyke Brown or not, rather just add some gilt and a few bower bird feathers and go to Venice

 

the Irresistible Force paradox postulates: what would happen if an unstoppable force hits an immovable object?

Muddy Waters: Please Don't Go, You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had, Howlin' Wolf, Burying Ground, Mud In Your Ear, Sad Letter, They Call Me Muddy Waters

 

it's dark and it's raining light and we dance to the lascivious paradoxes of nihilism (please note that Mr Hegarty infers, correctly, that the absence of meaning seems to be some sort of meaning), and we succumb to Newton's 3rd law of lust (fog red) and sometimes we have to concede that a goat on the roof is not necessarily an indication of a room filled with infatuation or graveyard dirt.

And sometimes we admit that once the irrational and suggestive have been introduced, and an air of likelihood imparted to it, we must accept it in spite of the fact that the absurdity is veiled by the poetic charm with which the poet invests it, and that in the epic poem the absurdity passes completely unnoticed. And sometimes we simply bear the preposterous lure until we lower ourselves into the river Lethe, and we forget everything and everything forgets us and blood is blue and we have peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anatomy of a carrier pigeon

 

[air things and some found objects from How Hegel put Goethe’s Urphänomen
to Philosophical Use by Andy Blunden,
and Benjamin Lee's Twitter account Middle Class Problem]

 

 

this spiritual breath

that is simple and abstract, you place at the very beginning

towards air and light by means of the three moments

thus out of rocks and even something metallic you prepare for us granite, which has itself come to desire this air and light

depositing a pair of such phenomena before the philosopher’s door: two pigeons and the heady portent of radio static

we can utter Gestalt , for example, but it is just a word

it is an empty whole, a mere sign

but when ennui arrives at absolute knowledge and is able to look back on itself

the single circle bursts through the haze trails

and garlands the beautiful robot man and the falcon gargoyles

one can mention:

long deep keel or, the eight flight feather must curve, for instance, but it doesn't mean saxe blue or lift

what has happened to clarity? words must be exact, they carry messages

part of the problem has hinged upon the difficulty that by simply attempting to demonstrate a correlation between two events you do not prove causality

birds are poor survivors, not nearly as good as stones for example. A grey rock, says Mr Ruskin, is a good sitter. Sitting is a perfectly good piece of behaviour and there are a lot of stones to prove how effective it is

but

(close your eyes):

 

soar, dovecote, olive branch, flock, airmail

 

a full grown pigeon has ten thousand feathers

a pigeon can recognize its own reflection in a mirror

a pigeon can distinguish between all twenty six letters of the alphabet

can you imagine that! we, the pigeon people, have one million words? only one hundred pigeons' worth of feathers

through the air:

we whistle and whisper and breathe at each other and sing (radio signals) we ring bells and we look

we say the sounds of letters (glyphs), we sign and gesture,

think flags, smoke, drum beats, Day Shapes

everything has meaning

 

aerology:

air is light when compared with the stone, says Mr Descartes, but is heavy when instead it is compared with the wholly pure matter of the heaven, The World or a Treatise on Light. One hears it whistle when it divides and, if one moves in the air something very light and very extended, one will rise high enough to hear Homer say: 'Messene's towers for silver doves renowned', or hear another Greek recite Ode to a Carrier Pigeon, all the way from 532 BC. If you listen carefully to air, you will hear

everything

the philosophers assure us that there is above the clouds a certain air much subtler than ours, when bodies move in this air, we do not usually notice the White pigeons, the sacred race of Babylon, first seen in Greece near Mount Athos during the Persian wars, because we are accustomed to conceiving of the air only as an empty space. But by international convention the Kármán line marks the beginning of space where human travellers are considered astronauts

nonetheless we must examine in greater detail why air, although it is as much a body as the others, a ghost body but a body nevertheless, cannot be sensed as well as they. By doing so, we will free ourselves from an error with which we have been preoccupied since childhood, when we believed that there were no other bodies except our own. If air were one of them, then, because we sensed it so faintly, it at least could not be as material nor as solid as those we sense on clear days. Also, most philosophers assure us that sound is nothing other than a certain vibration of air that strikes against our ears. The arrival and departure of two of the three moments

Rayleigh scattering makes the sky blue. What you are seeing is scattered blue light. Blue wavelengths scatter more easily than the others. How can scattered nothing possibly have a colour? granting, if it must, Kali blue seems to be the correct one. or Alice blue.

 

not air but feathers all the same:

we touch things to know what the message is. dominoes, braille dots, the teeth of keys,

each other

there are pictures of pigeons on the temple of the Queen of Heaven and Earth in Sumeria, there's a guiltless dove mosaic in Emperor Hadrian’s villa

a good carrier pigeon has bright eyes, bright eyes that can see all the colours plus the ultraviolet light we, the pigeon people, wish we can see. but we have other talents

 

message bound to a pigeon's leg: own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it!

 

Mr Kripke says that naming is necessary and Mr Russell agrees: everything needs logically proper names because, as Mr Heidegger would also tell you, language is the house of being, being and pervaded by being. being-in-the-world occurs only after naming

pigeon no.1: truth

pigeon no.2: beauty

 

semiotics: the study of the transmission, reception and meaning of signs and symbols in general

space binding: transmitting information across space (paper)

time binding: transmitting information across time (stone)

flight: something moves through air

the four forces of flight: lift (facilitated by air flow), gravity or weight (hindrance), thrust, and drag (air is something) and words are subject to the forces of flight

range: pigeons can fly between 600 and 700 miles in a day, with the longest recorded flight 7000 miles in 55 days, but what is the reach of a word?

navigation: pigeons (conveyors) navigate by the earth’s magnetic field and the sun, roads, low frequency seismic waves, listeners

interference: semantic noise and noise of syntax, cultural noise (language), anger or sadness, ambiguity, silence (there is air but there is no message), vagueness, encoding (subterfuge)

 

analysis of subjective logics:

rhetoric (in this particular sequence): provoke, persuade, endear

translation: linguistic transparency

 

air superiority blue:

we need an agreeably rounded head and a tall and gracefully tapered neck with a gradual curve continuing down the back to the tail. think of kimono lines in a floating world woodprint. think two open tildes at the waist of a violin

and balance. balance is another thing that a good pigeon must have. when holding the bird this is not easy to judge at first as it takes handling a lot of birds until you find the one that sits and feels comfortable in the hand

 

and it has sent back a little sound for us to listen to

 

we have three moments, two pigeons and one word

the word says: I am air

I am nothing

breathe

 

don't open your eyes

 

 

middle class problem (Pegasus the platitude, Pegasus the bogus pigeon):

 

really sick and tired of this place using too much orange zest in my brunch mimosa

 

my wallet is too small

 

I eat sushi too much

 

the worst part about my mum having a cupcake business is that I hate cake and that's all there ever is to eat

 

had to wake up for the ironing lady to come and collect our clothes AND SHE STILL ISN'T HERE

 

renting a duck for a shoot is pricey if it is still alive

 

 

beryl blue: pigeons don't tweet #tag

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red herrings [book excerpt]

 

Don't draw Chekhov's gun unless you're prepared to fire it.

But my dear Anton, what if the gun is a red herring? says Agatha and touches the silkiness of her pearls. Ha-ha, good one, Aggie, says Arthur, the herrings are only red if the brine is strong enough. A small flame flares and leaves a spectral orange dot adrift in the dark, brightening and waning as Alfred draws on the cigar, its orange ghost twin mocking it beyond the invisible glass with every drag. I love the conservatory at night, Archer, says Amelia, what a novel idea. The red sea is terribly salty, but it's not red, says Archer the liar, a red herring! An under-spin skids on to the batsman and bite is the turn a spin bowler is able to produce on a pitch. Short leg is the most dangerous fielding position. The lip of the bottle rings a little bell as Archer refills his flute. I'm rather thinking of blood, says Arthur. Red, salty, necessary. Warm. Red herring was a hunting term. A dead character is usually a red herring. 'Next, to draw on hounds to a scent, to a red herring skin there is nothing comparable.' Says Agatha, Thomas Nashe, fifteen ninety nine. But really Archer, shepherd's pie and champagne? says Alfred as he gropes in the dark for the bottle of Krug. I like red herrings. Everybody laughs. We know, Archer, says Anton. Amelia's flute tilts and spills a bit of champagne on her dress as she leans back into the bearish armchair embrace and a begonia touches her hair. Touch. Touch. She looks up through the imperceptible roof at the tiny stars and sighs. I didn't know amaryllis have a scent, says Arthur. You can only smell it in the dark, says Archer, because you can't see anything. If letters have colours, won't 'A' be red? Yes! says Agatha. Yes! Yes! Yes! says Arthur and Alfred and Amelia. Anton coughs in the dark. Blood is the red herring inside bodies, says Archer, the red ghost inside the machine, hot and full of love and anger and tragedy. It usually doesn't mean a thing. And you cannot see it from the outside. You can see it, says Agatha, but only very faintly, just a blush of it. And Arthur sees tiny little lights swarming Alfred's cigar coal and he says: there are fairies with little lanterns outside, look! It's fireflies, Arthur, Jesus, says Archer and brushes a flame lily away from his face, leaving pollen stains on his forehead and hand that he will only discover in the morning. You can see it if the body bleeds. Yes, Arthur, that doesn't help the body very much, does it? This blood is better off  hiding inside its house, says Agatha and rests her flute on the voluptuous curve of the chair's armrest. Can I have more champagne, Archer? she says. Something thuds into the window and Amelia jumps. What was that?! says Anton. Nightingale says Archer, or a robin. Blackbird or something. Another thump and Alfred's cigar coal shivers as the window vibrates and the firefly lights blink out. Owl, says Archer and shrugs, was probably after the other one. Amelia feels like crying and finishes the last half of her Krug in one gulp. Didn't you catch and sell canaries for money, Anton? says Arthur. Goldfinches, says Anton. But we all like to watch, says Alfred, we're all voyeurs in the end. My best red herrings are black and white. What's sex got to do with it? says Archer. We're not talking motel vice-girl one o'clock in the morning after the Caprice Tuesday here, Archer, says Alfred. Voyeur means 'one who looks', he says, we all look. All the time. We can't help it. We need to see very much. Alfred's cigar stub goes out as he falls asleep. But what we see is usually not the truth, says Agatha and listens to Anton coughing on the other side of the table. What did you say is the Crocosmia's common name, Archer? Falling stars, says Archer. Exquisite, elaborate circus acts, meaningless feats, he says. Illusionists uses red herrings too, misdirection. The flourishing red paper carnation usually says: while you are looking at me, so red and flamboyant, you've already been had elsewhere. Sleight of hand. Yes, the fish is rotting in Denmark! Everybody except Alfred: Hamlet! Hamlet! Hamlet!  Yes! says Anton. My plots are red herrings. They are ghost plots. They don't exist entirely! Your plots are more like snipe hunts, Anton, says Agatha and everybody burst out laughing again. Yes! he says and coughs for a while, they express thoughts in pauses and between the lines and in replies consisting of single words. What is the opposite of a red herring? When enormously important things are hidden among insignificances and banalities, masquerading as inconsiderabilities themselves, he says. MacGuffins, says Arthur and puts his feet on the table, tipping Alfred's ashtray onto the floor in the process. No! No! everybody shouts. Telling detail. Mousetrap, says Agatha. No! Repetitive designation, says Amelia, thematic patterning, she says. No, no, no! Chekhov's gun, says Archer. Agatha points two fingers at him with the thumb sticking up and makes a surprisingly realistic gunshot sound. Archer pops the cork of another bottle of Krug and it hits a window with a crack. Shit! he says. Anton's pince-nez falls off his nose with a glint and his mourning black clothes rustle. Alfred jerks awake and drops his dead cigar butt and for a moment all you can hear is the sibilance of the champagne. Arthur thinks he can hear a ghost breathing.

Life, says Amantine in the dark from underneath the piano. Those immense inconsiderabilities. A theatre of mood. It's called life. Let's fight a dual, Anton, I do like a man with a cough.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Greek geography [book excerpt]

 

There is a gate. It's called death, or grief. Then there is darkness. This darkness is called Erebus. The newly dead wait here. There is the Elm to which False Dreams cling. There is the river on your right called Acheron. Acheron is the river of pain. And there are the two rivers to your left, Phlegethon and Cocytus. Phlegethon is a river of burning lava and the Cocytus the river of wailing. Right in front of you, where these three rivers meet, is a rock. Its name is Ascalaphus and it's the son of Acheron. Behind the rock is a swamp. The man with the boat waits here. His name is Charon. He is fearsome and ugly, and beautiful as an angel. He carries a hammer. He will ask you to get into the boat and he needs two obols for the fare. And he will row you across the swamp and across the relentless Styx that skirts the swamp on the other side. It is the river of hatred and it circles the underworld nine times. On the opposite bank of the icy Styx, Charon will say goodbye and row his boat back into the cold mist over the swamp. You will look until you cannot see him anymore and you will turn around and and... Cerberus the bronze-voiced dog. He guards the gate to the underworld behind him. His three heads will tear the clothes off your body and the flesh from your bones.

You are now a skeleton.

In front of you, and to your right, are the fields of Asphodel, the place where the ordinary former persons dwell in the flavourless existence of shadows. Here there is no punishment or pleasure and the mind is confused and oblivious. Here the skeletal former persons flit around with no sense of purpose. They are exactly the same as in life. Overall the Greek dead are considered to be irritable and unpleasant, but not dangerous or malevolent. They play dice and board games to pass the time.

To your left is the Vale of Mourning where those who were consumed by unhappy love reside along with the blood-spattered famous warriors, and beyond that and beyond the curling Phlegethon and below the surface of the underworld, is Tartarus. A brazen anvil falling down from earth, guarded by sleepless Tisiphone in her bloody robe. On other maps it might say: here be dragons. Here it's a bit worse than that, at least you can do something about a dragon if you know a few riddles and have a good sword. Here nothing can help you. Here the wicked are tormented for their sins. Here Cronus is king. He was one of the twelve first-children. The king of the twelve Titans. He attacked Uranus with his mother's sickle of grey adamant and he pushed the sky away from earth. He married Rhea and their reign was the Golden Age of happiness and innocence. Then he remembered that Uranus foretold that one of his children would overthrow him and seize his throne. Subsequently he ate all his children as soon as they were born. Rhea got tired of this and she replaced child number six with a stone. Cronus swallowed it. The saved child was Zeus. You can see how this ended. But back to the map. Beyond the Asphodel fields and the Vale of Mourning, between Tartarus and the palace of Hades on the right, is the Plain of Judgement. Here Minos, Rhadamanthys and Aeacus will pass the punishment for those condemned by the gods. Hold thumbs that you don't need to go there, they are unpleasantly creative. You don't want to join Ixion or Tityos or Tantalus, do you? No. And there's a lot more where that came from.

To the right of Hades' palace is the river Lethe. The river of forgetfulness and oblivion. Don't worry about the palace of Hades. Nothing goes on there. Hades sits there with his beautiful dark eyes waiting for six months of the year for Persephone to return. The other six months of the year, well, I'm sure I don't need to spell it out. Persephone is there. She hasn't been there for six months and soon she's going to be gone again. Hades loves her. OK. The Lethe. Here live all those who are not born yet, swimming along the banks of oblivion. And those who are not saved by good sense, drink more than the measure and forget everything. Destined for reincarnation, they quench their troubles in forgetfulness and return to earth afresh without their memories. And after they had fallen asleep, a sound of thunder is heard and these former persons are wafted in different directions to their birth like shooting stars.

Further away, between the Lethe and Hades' palace, are the Elysian Fields and beyond that the starry Eridanos, full of Heliades' tears. Eridanos is the border on the other side. The Elysian Fields are for those of greatness and proximity to the gods. It contains the Isles of the Blessed. If a former person achieved the luminous plains of Elysium it can stay or it can be reborn. Often the choice of a new life is determined by the habits of former lives. So for example: Er saw Orpheus' soul selecting the life of a swan, unwilling to be born of a woman, because women had been the cause of his death. In the same way the soul of Ajax was unwilling to become a man and chose the life of a lion, not being able to forget the adjudication of the arms of Achilles. If a former person is reborn three times and achieves Elysium all three times, it receives eternal paradise and may stay in the Isles of the blessed.

Congratulations you are now immortal.

Thus life and death are qualities of existence, not lack of it. The Underworld is a remembrance of the fact that the dead person existed and Greek heroes are ignored here. Euridyce is somewhere here. Here Orpheus spends his life playing music to the birds and the mountains.

But Ajax left without a word. Through the gate of Ivory. Its name is Sleep.

 

Charon: Any more for Lethe, Blazes, Perdition, or the Dogs? Come along now, any more for a nice restful trip to Eternity? No more worries, no more cares, makes a lovely break! Aristophanes, The Frogs

 

 

 

                                                                                                             January 12, 2014