Recapitulations - Poems and illustrations by Rod Hemsell and Angele Mason
Author: Rod Hemsell
Last Updated: November 19, 2012
BY ROD HEMSELL
ILLUSTRATIONS BY ANGELE MASON
The Paper Cosmonauts
Our divine contradiction
Child of the Dawn
To angele mason
The Music of Life
The blue gaze
Up stream, down stream
Are you allowing love
The Paper Cosmonauts
Why don’t they break out of their bounds
And stretch toward the future?
These bureaucrats in their crash helmets
Strapped into frames of flimsy plastic furniture,
What would they stand to lose or we to gain
If they sacrificed everything they have
To youth, discovery and the golden rain?
Instead they calculate and plan,
Make cardboard rules and boundaries in the sand
To prevent every possible catastrophe,
Guard us from every type of sin,
Predispose our destiny by the doctrinairy spin.
They absorb our energy like cosmic leeches
Then leave us dry on their barren authoritarian beaches.
What could not be revealed by mosquito coil, incense, fan
crowds of men standing idly about in villages,
and the loud blare of bus horns, heedless of anything human ?
What more could be invoked by the loudspeaker cacophony
mixing the shrill shehnai music of temples, bells and gongs
with frivolous cinema songs, in oblivious unholy symphony ?
What other signs need we find than bullock carts, tea shops
motor bikes, rickshaws spouting black fumes, and the happy
hordes of uniformed girls on their way to schools, striving to be tops
To remind us of the centuries before and those to come after
in the land where Lakshmi divine pours the soma wine
to settle the dust of roads and quench the thirst of souls who suffer ?
Will the men of India while away their time, then,
while the innocent girls have their unnumbered babies, and the nation’s
resources reach their end, and will the mighty Indus someday begin again ?
Our divine contradiction
What can we do to uplift mankind,
What on earth can be done?
Justice and compassion have been tried
But neither has worked, and all have died.
We have witnessed genocides, we have won wars,
And we have lost our ability to hope.
Now we reflect on the levels of love,
We explore our capacity to feel and to think.
We sit in seminars and process our fears,
We indulge our dreams with sex and dope
And stretch ourselves to achieve, beyond
All reasonable limits; we rise above our kind
And in the end we denigrate the enemy and the friend.
Victorious over all we find ourselves alone.
From a plane of peace above the mind
A transparent gaze can pierce the dense fog
Below and then reactive perception becomes
Compassionate flow; we see the one in all,
We understand difference, we glorify complexity;
Each and every part is as amazing as the whole;
And in the stillness of our burnished gold reflection
We condone contradiction as a necessary condition
For the reduction by negation that dissolves
Every difference, and transforms in one blazing fire
The discords that arise at each instant of time
Into energies sublime that unite the infinite
Mind, life, body of form and name in waves
Of power and light, the spiritual beauty of the Same.
Calling Forth the Word
At age 65 I was remembering words that Allen wrote:
“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets
at dawn looking for an angry fix,
Angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient
heavenly connection to the starry dynamo
in the machinery of night…” (Allen Ginsburg, Howl, 1955)
And I thought:
I have seen the best minds of my generation
Growing steadily toward the light of a heavenly fire
Reaching inwardly, calling silently, lifting themselves powerfully,
Like plants with leaves athirst,
Burning toward the equal blaze of a honey-gold sun
That draws them upward helplessly from the desert soil of life
And bathes them in the vivifying streams of a luminous love.
The best minds of his generation
Were lost in the last waves of a dying world
Where he howled until he finally found Nirvana
And “sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness”
Of cold Himalayan nights, freed from the sordid noise
Of cities, and illumined by his own inner fire.
You too have seen the best minds of two generations –
His and ours – and you have experienced
Their twin emanations:
Some of those minds crossed the globe
And the frontiers of inner space
To find the source of earth’s unease
And her sudden yearning for peace,
Love, freedom from the shackles of history,
That a new world may be born.
Those were her sons and daughters,
Called to her mother’s bosom
By the timeless memory of an ancient pact.
Nayana parame vachi
Sarvan ye asmin jagati
Ichchanti tvam divedive
Goddess of love and light
Illumine us with the Word supreme
Make perfect everything in this world
Day by day, with your Call!
And the best minds of a new generation
Stepping yet slowly onto the stage
Of discovery and exploration –
Through the brilliant light
And through the terrible dark –
To find the divine…
Fearless, guiltless and young
Living in glowing silence,
Sweet and ferocious,
To heal with their words
They choose to take their time,
They hide their light
Waiting for the listener to awake,
To present their masterpieces of thought
That can unravel the years and years of confusion,
Full of light, shining sources of love.
Meeting minds, bodies, hearts, spirits
Best and worst, flowing, whirling
Endlessly swirling, blurred into
One vast galactic movement into infinity,
Slow motion slowing to stillness
Still, vibrating, pulsating,
Power of silence.
Free yourself to be a tool,
A better tool of the divine.
Can we name them? Can we count them?
Can we understand their thought?
This mind is not like that.
It isn’t a form of art to compare,
To like, to detest;
It isn’t a personal creation.
It doesn’t belong to a person.
This mind is different.
The best minds of this generation
Aren’t made of the thoughts
Or the ideas of a person alone;
They are of all, they are a mixture, a group
A reflection, made of all the thoughts,
The souls, the visions, all the emotions
The best minds of this new generation,
The best thoughts,
We do not yet know.
When will the baby come?
The child of the future?
The light you are…
Will you be heard?
(composed with friends at a birthday party, 2009)
Child of the Dawn
I saw a soul descend
in clouds of golden fire;
It lodged within a shining silvery sphere,
like a seed of crystal light,
To fill the new born form with life
and pour its peaceful radiance on the world.
(Leif’s birthday, 2011)
(moon musing by angele mason, 8/2011)
To angele mason
the meeting of India and Greece
in the forest of divine visions
where word is pure revelation
this is the plane above mind
where gods and goddesses
of divine inspiration dwell
but we must travel through lifetimes
of hell to find, and we discover the temple of time,
the history of the future unfolds,
our destination and road home are known
(moon musing by angele mason, 9/2011)
The idea of hope
is not Zen
The idea of Zen
is not to move about seeking
The idea of freedom
is to be without restraints or limits
The idea of justice
is not to make laws
So that some can assert
superiority over others
The idea of society
is not something easy to achieve
Like the idea of a universe
it implies our need to be part of a whole
But the idea of a whole
does not exist anywhere on earth
The idea of a just society
and of freedom from restraints
The idea of being part of a whole
are objects of the seeking soul
Tinged with the aura of hope
that it attaches to its favored ideas
In a world that exists apart
like a mirror of what is not.
The idea of truth
is like a thousand radiant suns
Bringing to birth the power to be.
The idea of hope is not Zen.
Grihastha (The Music of Life)
Worlds of truth, beauty, power, and delight
Are there; and their opposites.
The path of language is an endless pilgrimage
Winding and unwinding without recourse
The spiral of discourse to discover rapture
In the recursive measure and release the captive, pleasure
Bursting through the tangle of meaning
Into the sunlight, singing and seeing.
To preserve a certain intensity of expression
This “Rational behavior” is the transfer of energy
In every movement of every living thing
Evaluating itself and its environment
Giving it information about itself, making it
Conscious of the unfolding of itself in time.
The mystical inclination is to recognize
That the purpose of existence is this
Singing back-up with itself, seeing unity in every difference
Repetition of the same in every joyful gain and every painful loss
The expression of the unity of being through song
In the outpouring of meaning is the music of Life.
The world revolves
The sun stands still
The moon waxes and it wanes
The tides rise and fall
Beautiful new-born life arrives
Grand old death departs
A little girl giggles, a little boy cries
Joys and griefs, pains and pleasures
Beginnings and endings, ups and downs…
Forever go the twain –
The dualities of existence never ending –
Until, in an unexpected moment, silent and magical
One bursts like a star into boundlessness
Beyond the divided highway
Into the open space of oneness
In the hushed silence and vastness
Of the universal cosmic transcendent Absolute
A shared aspiration
A continual inspiration
A source of frustration !
Our shared strength
Helps us appreciate our weakness
Our singular, oceanic heart
Welcomes all rivers
Patience is needed to tame our wildness
The reward is learning how to see
The rapture and agony are one and the same
Growing up sometimes looks like growing down
In the mirror of his eyes I grow wings
And I dive deep down
Rooting down in the soil of our shared heart
Into the sacred darkness, infinite mystery
Unfolding work of art, crazy perseverance
Absolute daring to sprout into the light
Blossom in worlds of bliss, love a delight
Rooted in our shared aspiration
Surrendering and flowering in the Beloved
Finding the rhythm
Companionship and trust
Love and sacrifice
Jealousy, happiness, sadness,
Pleasure, pain, passion, devotion
Nothing can compare to this
Emotional roller coaster of love
From brahmacharya, grihastha grows
But without brahmacharya, grihastha cannot be.
The meaning of grihastha in this world
Is the evolution from the spirit;
Without this, vanaprastha cannot be.
Therefore we perceive
The meaning of grihastha in our life
Is sannyasa – no doubt about it.
Grihastha in life is our sannyasa.
Unity in life, like a song
Soothing to the ears
Truth in living
Every step one takes
Is an experience to share
Knowledge is humility
The end of every situation:
Happiness should prevail
Let there be progress continuously
And in the end there will always be time
For me and family to live the life
We all desire, in laughter kindled
By the fire of a love
Born of a soul that makes us one
Part of the whole family of man and god,
Surrendered, laying down the sword
(Rod and friends, birthday poem, Oct 16, 2011)
How silent can the space between us be
and yet sometimes a surge of cosmic feeling
seems to consume the empty space with fire
and the face, the form appear of a bare
unspoken longing and an open free expression
of desire, to be one and consume in one embrace
the distance, the loneliness, the absurdity of repression.
Then, just as suddenly the illusion of that passion
is unmasked and rejected by another apparition
as the inner being projects itself in joyful light
across the timeless spaceless reality of the whole,
and in that instant we stand together in the unity of the soul.
When that energy begins to flow, so peaceful and complete,
filling us with its luminous presence, dissolving every difference,
in its smile of joyful recognition all questions drop,
who we are and why we came are known forever;
the divine grace illumines us; this is the truth we share.
How stale the being that was could be, before this change,
stuck between the limits of inner experience, outer convention,
waiting for catastrophe perhaps, waiting for the end of illusion;
until the lightning storm of inspiration comes rushing in
and the soul borne upward by a surge of spiritual force
bursts through its cloud of desperation, transformed by fire
into radiant light, drenched by the rain of sweetness and delight,
swelling outward in waves of sympathy, in tendrils of compassion,
spreading a fearless freedom, an unlimited energy over life.
The forces of resistance, obstruction, and denial cannot stand;
the beings of the higher realms must come down;
our minds and bodies, prepared by fire and light, must greet them
with a calm and steady gaze, an open heart, a willing and happy self-giving.
Through us they shall purify the past, and recover from oblivion what was lost,
they shall liberate the present from its shadows, releasing worlds of truth new-born;
they shall loose the bonds, break the chains, reveal the shining pathways of the future.
Until then let us stand in the stillness and the void,
heads bowed before the emptiness, in an absoluteness of being,
in an utter concentration of self-giving, on a pyre of flaming light,
burning our offering of self, in a sacrifice of perfect consecration
to the fire, seeing ourselves consumed by the radiance, transparent, peaceful, free.
So this is where philosophy begins…
Where the spirals of the shell of time solidify,
And beliefs and institutions crucify life,
And right and duty are the slaves of authority.
Then, within this carapace of night
A light begins to shine, a radiant pulsation
Spreads within and illuminates the darkness.
Then, slowly, truth and beauty awaken again.
Thought and inspiration raise their heads
And stretch their arms and open the gates
Of this necessary prison; like the poison in Socrates’ drink
That spreads within his veins, the power of thought
Explodes the prison walls, empowering Plato to think.
In the cave of shadows some will see, some discover the luminous key.
The blue gaze
I have become
The luminous energy
The dense immobility
Of stone over which
The black and twisted
Trunks that support
The dream of life
And the endless
Of its awakening
The waves of sunset
Gold that bathe
The earth in light
And the opalescent
Blue into which
I have become
The bardo of silence
In which it ends
(to Lila, Crestone 7/29/09)
Silence up above
silence down below,
the space between
hears our thoughts
(Upstream, downstream, watercolour and poem by Rod, 2012)
Poem and collage by Angele Mason
are you allowing love a mirror
are you following joy a kiss
are your senses open a declaration
is your witness watching a promise
synchronistic signs of remembrance surround a sun
is your heart receptive and receiving a question
is your mind silent and surrendering the answer
will you stand at the threshold of a divine enfolding and release the barriers you have built against it
do you see your perfect eden embodied all around you a vision
do you feel the hands of these words leaning in to press against you a desire
how shall we come to trust the beloved once more
how shall we live these lives of presence awakening within us
i listen the birds are speaking
i hear the trees are singing
i embrace radiant songs of life being lived
feast at my table upon fruits raised within my garden's walls i offer
in her name the questions are asked
in her name i answer the call
Is this white raiment
that fills the space around me
a sign? Is it a hand
that reaches out to touch my face
from within that radiant dress
and calm me with a soft caress of happiness?
Is this a cloud divine that covers
a golden sun, like a translucent garment
hiding the glowing body of a goddess inside
whose movements in this space
surround us, whose light illumines every face,
making every sight seem glorious?
Is this the shift that was foretold
and with it this fairy presence has come
to bless us with its sweetness
and give to us a sense of delight
and a permanence, an all embracing
sense of right and balance that lasts?
Is she that vision whose rays shine
suddenly into infinity, burning obstacles
instantly away and leaving everything
transparent and nothing more impure or hidden?
Is this the one who stays, who builds,
who illumines and inspires and accomplishes her will?
And in this glowing stillness, whose sound is a silence,
whose breath is a radiance, whose vision is a well of peace,
where self is a vast and empty space, where all are one,
will she speak to us of worlds to come, and of victory,
will she show us how to nurture every soul, open every heart,
banish every fear, and stand united, unveiled, before the sun?