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Recapitulations - Poems and illustrations by Rod Hemsell and Angele Mason

Author: Rod Hemsell

Last Updated: November 19, 2012






The Paper Cosmonauts

Jai Hind

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 visitor



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.


Jai Hind


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


1st voice:


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:


 2nd voice:


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.


3rd voice:


Mahalakshmi namostute

     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!


4th voice:


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.


5th voice:


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.


6th voice:


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

They share;

The best minds of this new generation,

The best thoughts,

We do not yet know.


7th voice:


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


perfect transmissions

divine blessings

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

Enlightenment, realization,

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

    Of evening


The dense immobility

  Of stone over which

     It descends


The black and twisted

  Trunks that support

    The dream of life


And the endless

  Green turmoil

    Of its awakening


The waves of sunset

  Gold that bathe

    The earth in light


And the opalescent

  Blue into which

    It ascends


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

a request


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     


 in silence                                                                                                   

              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    




The visitor


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?