Dagan: a world at your fingertips

I am attempting… to re-construct several of my stories into the world they were meant to be.

The process has been a longtime coming, and I am not sure if/when the completed project will be finished, but I have started on the basic skeleton. If I can find enough threads in the stories so far I may add to it, but I will also need to do some rethinking and rewriting. All just takes time.

Twine is a new program that is used to create hypertext stories, although I believe the more important value may be in constructing hypertext novels. Most hypertext stories are very short, taking the reader through short moments and highly programmed. The hypertext novel is just an evolution of the novel, where further stories outside of the main story can be explored and the world can be defined more deeply in ways that may help the reader appreciate the story more.

Novel: Plan

In constructing this story, I am following a particular set of exercises. The following list describes the exercises. Hopefully by the end of this project, all of these exercises will be complete.

"A bit behind schedule"

1. Character sketches
—–What-if questions
—–Casting charts

2. Chronology of key dates
—–Back stories
—–Wants lists

3. Character dreams
—–Symbols list

4. Character attire and habits
—–Dressing room
—–Ritual activities
—–Alternative viewpoints

5. Storyboarding
—–Content scene notes
—–Direction scene notes

6. Staging
—–Props
—–Setting scene
—–Moving scene

7. Conversations
—–Recording conversations
—–Dialogue scene

8. Action
—–Action scenes
—–Action word lists
—–Rewrite scenes with stronger words
—–Rewrite scenes with (1)characters, (2)dialogue, (3)stage setup
—–Large action list

9. Perspective
—–Tri-perspective scene
—–Exploring distance
—–Rewrite scene with stage setup
—–Rewrite scene with different point-of-view

10. Chapter planning
—–Identify chapter climax
—–Purpose of chapter
—–Character motives in chapter

11. Scene outlining
—–20 scenes
—–6 key scene summaries
—–Key scene sketch

12. Key scenes
—–Write key scenes into Incline
—–Copy other scenes under each key scene

13. Storyline table
—–Problem-solution dialectic
—–Note key scenes in dialectic

14. Scene motives
—–New character wants lists
—–Write scenarios for leading scenes –> key scenes
—–Rewrite leading scenes focusing on deep motives

15. Opening scene
—–Storyboard
—–Dialogue
—–Action
—–Rewrite

16. Closing scene (1/2)
—–Storyboard
—–Wrap-up

17. Closing scene (2/2)
—–Rewrite using images from opening scene

18. Catharsis scene
—–Chain of events –> climax
—–Storyboard
—–Catharsis scene

19. Mid-point scene
—–Chain events to midpoint; then away from it
—–Storyboard
—–Midpoint scene

20. Plot point #1
—–Chain events to PP1
—–Storyboard
—–PP1

21. Plot point #2
—–Storyboard
—–PP2

22. Scene writing [Act I]
—–Scene list
—–Storyboard scenes
—–Write four scenes

23. Scene writing [Act I]
—–Storyboard scenes
—–Write four scenes

24. Scene writing [Act I]
—–Storyboard scenes
—–Write four scenes

…to be continued

Timeline

The following is a tentative timeline for my novel, “The Bridge of Rain.”

General Plagues LADON RUBY WAND OTHER
^500 Falling of the Twin Stars
^500-^301 Great Darkness ^426: the Cliff-Mother is born to Haven and Azure
^300-^181 The Age of Heroes ^201: Firedancer is ensnared to the Cliff-Mother;
^180-^31 ^180: the Cloaked Man is born;
^30-^1 ^30: Judge is born
0 Crowning of Legend Legend is crowned by the Kingmaker
1-25 The Age of Legends 25: Abe is born to Firedancer and the Cliff-Mother;
26-114 114: The Water Woman is born;
115-118 118: Huntring is born to the Monkey King
119-130 130: Jeremiah is born to Legend and the Orient Queen as a bastard;
131-132 131: the Water Woman gives birth to Sam with Legend; 131: Lapoosa is born to the Cliff-Mother and the Kingmaker;
133 The Panthecide
134-139 The Golden Age
135
136 Marta was born to the Demon and the Dreaming
137 Blade is born to Genesis and the Weaver
138 Death is born to Genesis and the Weaver
139 Lyra is born to the Water Woman and Huntring
140 Flame is born to Genesis and the Weaver
141
142
143 Aiko is born to the Cliff-Mother and the Kingmaker
144
145
146 Born to Aura and the Starry Man, who conceived him in a dream
147
148 Peace is born to Genesis and the Weaver
149 Grendel is born to Kareena and the Monkey King
150 The West Wind is born
151
152 Begins his education under Legend, the Hermit-King Dusk is born to Genesis and the Weaver
153 Jeremiah crowned King of Cir Fasconnas
154
155 Jeremiah marries Aura, a wealthy heiress; the Rat is born
156
157 Tania is born to the Cliff-Mother and the Kingmaker
158
159
160 Slays his mentor, the Hermit-King Legend Anna is born; the Angel is born (reborn Zeal) to the Sorrows and the Dreaming; the Arrows is born to Jeremiah as a bastard
161
162
163
164
165 Born to Jeremiah and Aura
166 Aura kills herself, leaving Ladon motherless and Jeremiah mad Discovers a child in his dead mother’s womb and grows the child; a few months later Vinci is born
167 Born to Kareena, with her twin sister Mary Makes trek into the Ether, to search for his dead mother
168 Wand and Peace’s child Hulk is born while in the Ether Storm is born to Genesis and the Weaver
169
170 Moves into Jeremiah’s palace to serve as counselor Purity is born to Genesis and the Weaver
171
172 Abandoned by her mother in the Drifting Concepcion is born
173
174
175 Jeremiah sends Ladon to live with the Glennish Tania marries the Rat, after she discovers she is with child (the Kid), born later that year
176
177 Discovered and raised by the Glennish
178
179 Abandoned by her sister Mary
180 Moves into the City With the help of Huntring, captures Jeremiah and uses his connection with the Nephilim and channels the power of the Starry Man through Jeremiah’s fevered dreams to lure the Nephilim down from the Far Reaches Bart is born to Anna and the Kingmaker
181 Fall of Cir Fasconnas The Nephilim crashes into Cir Fasconnas Succeeds in calling down the Nephilim
182 Earthquakes Begins production of the dreamdrug
183 Becomes addicted to the dreamdrug
184
185 Panther Revolution
186 Moves to the Glittering Colony to join the Dreamers
187 Meteors Ladon begins to care for the Kid
188
189 Met Ladon while he was recovering from battle wounds
190 Battle of Hesperides Ladon marries Ruby; Ladon engages the Eternal City’s forces and wins Marries Ladon
191 Building of the Hiver Ladon and the Kid unleash the Hiver on the Eternal City Gives Concepcion to the Nephilim
192 Illusions Ladon and Ruby’s child Mistletoe is born Gives birth to Mistletoe
193 Fall of the Eternal City Ladon takes the Eternal City

 

 

Character notes: Wand

Character notes: these posts are pre-released information on a novel I am writing.

WAND
Half-brother to Ladon through his mother Aura, Wand’s father is supposedly the Starry Man, when he first fell to the Earth hundreds of years ago and caused the sundering of the Ether and empowered the first Gods (including his mother). Considered a mistake, he served his step-father Jeremiah and conspired to overthrow him and claim the kingdom for himself with the help of a famous warrior and hero (Huntring), a comrade in arms he had served together in the Ether as adventurers and the founding of the Dolls, a society Wand created to maintain order among the Three Cities. However, during Wand’s experiments he found he poisoned himself with Ether and could no longer bear children, and grew obsessed with the ability to transcend mortal form through the use of ether, as his father had apparently done, so to finance his operation created a drug out of his father’s body to experiment on people to test the effects.

He grew ever more mad and brilliant, and finally sought to control his step-father’s kingdom for himself, so he used the power of his step-father to bring down the Nephilim from the heavens, who destroyed the kingdom and unleashed the Music on the people through a series of plagues and changes constantly terrorizing the cities, which was attempting to purify the imbalance, while Wand used the chaos to create an empire of Dreamers and Dreamrunners, threatening and destabilizing all three kingdoms.

A very charismatic man, meticulous like his brother, but without ethics or presumptions of morality, seeing all men as a means to an end, a perfect society where death is of the past and men live in perfect harmony with the ether. A rampant womanizer, a thousand lovers, a man so addicted to the ether he had failed to distinguish reality from dream. a villain who will destroy anyone in his way, and has no compunction about controlling weak-minded men and throwing his friends to the dogs if they stand in his way. A lover of attention, an adventurer and paragon of power, who seeks to master the ether and even bring back the dead.

Long black hair, unblinking eyes (product of his ether addiction), pale, glowing skin (which he covers except in the presence of his disciples), tall and lanky, undeniably swift but unskilled in any form of combat; a subtle manipulator of guilt and ambition, who uses his mind to control those before him and turn them to his will. While his brother seeks to become a good man, he seeks to become a better man, better than all others, unflinching in pride, ambition, perceived perfection, and absolute hubris.

His favorite place to be is among his admirers, basking in the warmth of their love, giving his love back in return. He loves his disciples with devotion, but expects them to follow his every word, even to their death and his sadness. A dreamer and idealist, he seeks to purify the world not through abstinence, but through full embrace, taking hold of every moment and fulfilling himself in every way.

WHAT IF…
he had a zoo of pets he preferred in his time off (nothing bad, but gives him a sense of peace)
he had a harem of dreamers who were utterly devoted to him
he was a constant fighter in the arena, just for the thrill, but never won, always losing magnificently
he was a close friend and confidante of the Arrows, who also served Ladon as an informant
he traveled extensively in the Ether and compiled a huge number of artifacts in his personal collection
he was a lover of the Angel and Marta, sometimes in conjunction and at the same time
he secretly harvested the dying Midnight Trees through his lover Kareena for experimentation and enhancement of ether powers
he used his father’s memories to construct a duplicate of the Hive deep in the Undercity for his own amusement
he had been killed numerous times and raised back to life by the Angel, who has devoted herself to him
he hunted and sent assassins to stop his mother from finding the Book of Idris and resurrecting in the Ether
he kept his father locked in the Ether for dozens of years just to experiment and enhance Vinci’s creations
he killed his mentor quite by accident as he could not control his ether powers

TIMELINE
146 (0): Born to Aura, who conceived him in a dream
160 (14): Slays his mentor, the Hermit-King Legend
166 (20): Discovers a child in his dead mother’s womb and grows the child; a few months later Vinci is born
166 (20): Makes first trek into the Ether
168 (22): Hulk is born to Wand and Peace while in the Ether
170-80 (24-34): Conspires with Huntring to capture Cir Fasconnas
181 (35): Succeeds in calling down the Nephilim by using his step-father’s dreams and his father’s essence to draw the Nephilim down from the heavens
182 (36): Begins production of the dream drug

Character Notes: Ruby

Character notes: these posts are pre-released information on a novel I am writing.

RUBY
A woman of extraordinary beauty and enchantment, even to her own downfall. Bountiful red hair, pale ivory skin (as opposed to her dark sister Mary). With her sister Mary, she is one of the only people to live with the unique talent to take the ether of another and change it briefly to whatever she desires. While her sister has chosen a far more useful usage of her skill as a Sister (a branch of powerful women who utilize their gifts to shape events), Ruby adopted a more carefree lifestyle, desiring money, power, and the love of others, until she found herself in the care of Ladon, a man she could not touch and who would not touch her. Brought together in the passion of war, they fell in love and married, but her wild life caught up with her and after she refused to touch her own daughter, Ladon exiled her and exiled his heart, although in her madness she continues to love him. She has taken up in the Hallows, brought peace by the elusive Door. She struggles with the madness of an undisciplined mind, and knows to take her place as a queen would surely ruin her husband and so their meetings are few and far, but strong as he brings her peace as much as she brings him passion.

Ruby has aged very slowly, and even in her fifties looks not a year over 30. So attractive that she often has to hide herself when she goes into public, as the unnecessary attentions drive her mad. When her sanity escapes her, she is often found in the company of men, and is renown as one of the Hallow’s most esteemed courtesans, and has taken to bed many of the famous and well-known figures of the city, although they do not remember except for the elation; of her their memory is nothing, as is the power she has over both men and women.

She prefers the home of the Priest, who cares for the downtrodden and diseased, and often helps him in his endeavors, although cautioned against by Door as well as by Joshua, the elusive man who supposedly runs the Godmen out of the home. When her husband visits her, she spends as much time with him as she can, and when he leaves she continues to try and help him, but in her own way. She is Ladon’s voice in the City, and through her he maintains a subtle balance of power.

She and her dark sister Mary were both abandoned in the Drifting by their mother Kareena. The two girls were orphaned at a young age and left in the care of the Glennish, who enforced a strange disciplined wildness on the girls, and later transferred the girls to the Sisters, a branch her sister Mary accepted but she herself rejected the monastic discipline, being ostracized and left to fend for herself on the streets. She later became addicted to the dreamdrug and traveled to be with like-minded Dreamers, where she met the young prince of Cir Fasconnas. The rest is history.

WHAT IF…
she maintained a coterie of girls to help support her lavish lifestyle
she constantly fought with herself for purity versus extravagance, and maintained several lavish abodes to entertain men
she had dreams where she was her sister and her sister was her
she grew more mad with every man’s ether she touched, and was cleansed whenever she met with Ladon
she donated much of her money to the Priest and his mission
she refused the healing touch of Door for fear of who she would remain without her gift
she had first met Ladon when she lived with the Glennish
she later met him when she was a Dreamer
she constantly struggled with an addiction to the dreamdrug
no one knew of her marriage to Ladon, except the two of them
Ladon bestowed on her the wealth of a queen, and she donated that money to the Priest
she never knew her daughter, and was always set to madness upon sight of her
she secretly despised her sister Mary for abandoning her to the streets at such a young age and never trying to help her
she had provided Concepcion to the Nephilim in full knowledge of who he was

TIMELINE
167 (0): Born to Kareena, with her twin sister Mary
172 (5): Abandoned by her mother with her sister in the Drifting
177 (10): Discovered and raised by the Glennish
179 (12): Abandoned by her sister Mary
180 (13): Moved into the City
183 (16): Became addicted to the dreamdrug
186 (19): Moved to the Glittering Colony to join the Dreamers
189 (22): Met Ladon while he was recovering from wounds
190 (23): Married Ladon
191 (24): Gave Concepcion to the Nephilim
192 (25): Gave birth to Mistletoe

Character Notes: Ladon

Character notes: these posts are pre-released information on a novel I am writing.

LADON
Well-built. Strong. Iron jaw. Curling, wavy hair. Stone eyes. Calm under pressure. Calculating mind. Stands on the prow of the ship, his hand gripping the rail, staring straight ahead. At home relaxed, pressure down, collapsing into a chair. Tired but disciplined. Striving to rebuild the fallen remains, from the mess of a chaotic family, loose wife, wild and uncontrollable daughter, and a family that has more problems in it than his own kingdom. Charismatically strong, yet humble with a streak of ferocity and ruthlessness. However, not energetically charismatic or excitable. Hard-nosed, to the point of self-destruction; but open to the opinions of those he trusts.

Tall, around 6’2”, with strong, broad shoulders. a man of few carnal desires, stoic yet enjoys the company of a certain woman (Ruby) who eventually becomes his wife. Not a handsome man, but cunningly smart, knowing how to keep his outrageously charismatic and sinister general (Arthur) in check. Stays very much behind the scenes. Prefers simple clothing, walking among normal people, and throws all the attention and praise on his general while keeping strong control over power players.

Very, very strong, yet soft as a child when not directing armies. A man who smiles little, but whose face can be shrouded even from his best friend.

Combat-hardened, a warrior of frightening skill, but who never knows his abilities except in times of dire need, yet always in every battle, standing and protecting his fighters. Many, many wounds, often to the point of bringing him back from the point of death after a battle. Body full of scars, especially after taking the Eternal City. Suffers greatly and requires doctors to tend to him daily, yet strength of will continues his life until he sees stability passed to another generation. Grows softer and wiser in time, but intellect never dulls. Married in secret to Ruby, but unable to have her at his home due to basic nature; which she herself refuses to live with him, with full knowledge of her peculiarities. Cares deeply for his daughter, even as she struggles to understand the immense chaos within her. Remains pure to his wife, even in the face of his society. Watches over his best friend’s son like his own, but watches in despair as the power from his mind and station corrupt him and tries desperately to teach the young boy honor.

Ladon begins as a young, idealistic prince, recently having witnesses the physical and social destruction of his country from the duplicity of Wand and Huntring have captured a source of incredible energy. He grows into a hardened king, and finally as his country falls apart, takes to the skies and conquers another country under extraordinary odds. Along the way he learns how to be a king, how to command armies, and how to be a good man. Away from his duties he prefers the presence of his wife, and if not available a good, quiet patch of earth to care for, studying the intricacies of nature, and meditating on the invisible forces surrounding all men. Unlike other men, he has never had a connection with the Ether (very unlike his star-studded family) but had to rely on his own power and force. While at first considered by his father an embarrassment, when his father disappeared he showed extraordinary resilience and intelligence in the face of madness.

WHAT IF…
he lived a life similar to Wand in his youth
he had a streak of darkness
he died and was brought back to life by Wand
he hated his father
he best friend was his brother
he was a musician/artist
he took care of his grand-mother in her mad state
he was on the brink of death
he had visions like his father
he had visited the Dreaming and heard the Music
he fought in the arena as a young, precocious youth
he lived for a time with the Glennish as a young child, guided by the Lord of the Dance himself
he maintained a delicate relationship with the Twilight Dance, using his power to influence decisions at the Empress’ court
he used the dreamdrug to relieve his battle scar pain
he used his wealth the support the gunrunning of Sam, to keep his army strong and drive the mad powers of the Far Reaches away
he was never told of his lineage, but learned as the story progressed

TIMELINE
165 (0): Born to Jeremiah and Aura
166 (1): Aura disappears, leaving Ladon motherless
175 (10): Jeremiah sends Ladon to live with the Glennish
181 (16): The Nephilim crashes into Cir Fasconnas
187 (22): Ladon begins to care for the Kid
190 (25): Ladon marries Ruby
190 (25): Ladon engages the Eternal City’s forces and wins
191 (26): Ladon and the Kid unleash the Hiver on the Eternal City
192 (27): Ladon and Ruby’s child Mistletoe is born
193 (28): Ladon takes the Eternal City

A Splendid Peroratio

This month has been one of learning: I’ve gone through both Durant’s “Our Orientatal Heritage” and “The Life of Greece” and I’ve learned more than I can possibly remember, and I’ve forgotten more than I know I could ever learn. Nevertheless, it’s creating a map in my mind of one way of looking at the world (surely not the only way), and regardless, Durant oozes with style making the listen incredibly pleasant.

As I move from “The Life of Greece” to “Caesar and Christ” I feel the necessity to quote the last few paragraphs of “The Life of Greece” if for nothing else their verbal pantomimic generosity.

As a writer Durant is a master at the peroratio, fully bringing his thoughts into form in a beautiful and holistic framework while showcasing his love of words and his passion for history.  This short excerpt is an example of great writing, that I hope at some point to emulate in my own skill.

GREEK civilization was not dead; it had yet several centuries of life before it; and when it died it bequeathed itself in an incomparable legacy to the nations of Europe and the Near East. Every Greek colony poured the elixir of Greek art and thought into the cultural blood of the hinterland- into Spain and Gaul, Etruria and Rome, Egypt and Palestine, Syria and Asia Minor, and along the shores of the Black Sea. Alexandria was the port of reshipment forideas as well as goods: from the Museum and the Library the worksand views of Greek poets, mystics, philosophers, and scientists were scattered through scholars and students into every city of the Mediterranean concourse. Rome took the Greek heritage in its Hellenistic form: her playwrights adopted Menander and Philemon, her poets imitated the modes, measures, and themes of Alexandrian literature, her arts used Greek craftsmen and Greek forms, her law absorbed the statutes of the Greek cities, and her later imperial organization was modeled upon the Greco-Oriental monarchies: Hellenism, after the Roman conquest of Greece, conquered Rome even as the Orient was conquering Greece. Every extension of Roman power spread the ferment of Hellenic civilization. The Byzantine Empire wedded Greek to Asiatic culture, and passed on some part of the Greek inheritance to the Near East and the Slavic north. The Syrian Christians took up the torch and handed it to the Arabs, who carried it through Africa to Spain. Byzantine, Moslem, and Jewish scholars conveyed or translated the Greek masterpieces to Italy, arousing first the philosophy of the Schoolmen and then the fever of the Renaissance. Since that second birth of the European mind the spirit of Greece has seeped so thoroughly into modern culture that “all civilized nations, in all that concerns the activity of the intellect, are colonies of Hellas” today.

If we include in our Hellenic heritage not only what the Greeks invented but what they adapted from older cultures and transmitted by these diverse routes to our own, we shall find that patrimony in almost every phase of modern life. Our handicrafts, the technique of mining, the essentials of engineering, the processes of finance and trade, the organization of labor, the governmental regulation of commerce and industry- all these have come down to us on the stream of history from Rome, and through Rome from Greece. Our democracies and our dictatorships alike go back to Greek exemplars; and though the widened reach of states has evolved a representative system unknown to Hellas, the democratic idea of a government responsible to the governed, of trial by jury, and of civil liberties of thought, speech, writing, assemblage, and worship, have been profoundly stimulated by Greek history. These things above all distinguished the Greek from the Oriental, and gave him an independence of spirit and enterprise that made him smile at the obeisances and inertia of the East.

Our schools and universities, our gymnasiums and stadiums, our athletics and Olympic games, trace their lineage to Greece. The theory of eugenic mating, the conception of self-containment and of self-control, the cult of health and natural living, the pagan ideal of a shameless enjoyment of every sense, found their historic formulations in Greece. Christian theology and practice (the very words are Greek) stem in large part from the mystery religions of Greece and Egypt, from Eleusinian, Orphic, and Osirian rites; from Greek doctrines of the divine son dying for mankind and rising from the dead; from Greek rituals of religious procession, ceremonial purification, holy sacrifice, and the sacred common meal; from Greek ideas of hell, demons, purgatory, indulgences, and heaven; and from Stoic and Neo-Platonic theories of the Logos, creation, and thefinal conflagration of the world. Even our superstition is indebted to Greek bogies, witches, curses, omens, and unlucky days. And who could understand English literature, or one ode of Keats, without some tincture of Greek mythology?

Our literature could hardly have existed without the Greek tradition. Our alphabet came from Greece through Cumae and Rome; our language is littered with Greek words; our science has forged an international language through Greek terms; our grammar and rhetoric, even the punctuation and paragraphing of this page, are Greek inventions. Our literary genres are Greek- the lyric, the ode, the idyl, the novel, the essay, the oration, the biography, the history, and above all the drama; again nearly all the words are Greek. The terms and forms of the modern drama- tragedy, comedy, and pantomime- are Greek; and though Elizabethan tragedy is unique, the comic drama has come down almost unchanged from Menander and Philemon through Plautus and Terence, Ben Jonson and Moliere. The Greek dramas themselves are among the richest portions of our inheritance.

Nothing else in Greece seems so foreign to us as its music; and yet modern music (until its return to Africa and the Orient) wasderived from medieval chants and dances, and these went back in part to Greece. The oratorio and the opera owe something to the Greek choral dance and drama; and the theory of music, so far as we know,was first explored and expounded by the Greeks from Pythagoras to Aristoxenus. Our debt is least in painting; but in the art of fresco a direct line can be traced from Polygnotus through Alexandria and Pompeii, Giotto and Michelangelo, to the arresting murals of our own day. The forms and much of the technique of modern sculpture are still Greek, for upon no other art has the Hellenic genius stamped itself so despotically. We are only now freeing ourselves from the fascination of Greek architecture; every city in Europe and America has some temple of commerce or finance whose form or columnar facade came from the shrines of Greek gods. We miss in Greek art the study of character and the portrayal of the soul, and its infatuation with physical beauty and health leaves it less mature than the masculine statuary of Egypt or the profound painting of the Chinese; but the lessons of moderation, purity, and harmony embodied in the sculpture and architecture of the classic age are a precious heirloom for our race.

If Greek civilization seems more akin and “modern” to us now than that of any century before Voltaire, it is because the Hellene loved reason as much as form, and boldly sought to explain all nature in nature’s terms. The liberation of science from theology, and the independent development of scientific research, were parts of theheady adventure of the Greek mind. Greek mathematicians laid the foundations of trigonometry and calculus, they began and completed the study of conic sections, and they brought three-dimensional geometry to such relative perfection that it remained as they left it until Descartes and Pascal. Democritus illuminated the whole area of physics and chemistry with his atomic theory. In a mere aside and holiday from abstract studies Archimedes produced enough new mechanisms to place his name with the highest in the records of invention. Aristarchus anticipated and perhaps inspired Copernicus; and Hipparchus,through Claudius Ptolemy, constructed a system of astronomy which is one of the landmarks in cultural history. Eratosthenes measured the earth and mapped it. Anaxagoras and Empedocles drew the outlines of a theory of evolution. Aristotle and Theophrastus classified the animal and plant kingdoms, and almost created the sciences of meteorology, zoology, embryology, and botany. Hippocrates freed medicine from mysticism and philosophical theory, and ennobled it with an ethical code; Herophilus and Erasistratus raised anatomy and physiology to a point which, except in Galen, Europe would not reach again till the Renaissance. In the work of these men we breathe the quiet air of reason, always uncertain and unsafe, but cleansed of passion and myth. Perhaps, if we had its masterpieces entire, we should rate Greek science as the most signal intellectual achievement of mankind.

But the lover of philosophy will only reluctantly yield to science and art the supreme places in our Grecian heritage. Greek science itself was a child of Greek philosophy- of that reckless challenge to legend, that youthful love of inquiry, which for centuries united science and philosophy in one adventurous quest. Never had men examined nature so critically and yet so affectionately: the Greeks did no dishonor to the world in thinking that it was a cosmos of order and therefore amenable to understanding. They invented logic for the same reason that they made perfect statuary: harmony, unity, proportion, form, in their view, provided both the art of logic and the logic of art. Curious of every fact and every theory, they not only established philosophy as a distinct enterprise of the European mind, but they conceived nearly every system and every hypothesis, and left little to be said on any major problem of our life. Realism and nominalism, idealism and materialism, monotheism, pantheism, and atheism, feminism and communism, the Kantian critique and the Schopenhaurian despair, the primitivism of Rousseau and the immoralism of Nietzsche, the synthesis of Spencer and the psychoanalysis of Freud- all the dreams and wisdom of philosophy are here, in the age and land of its birth. And in Greece men not only talked of philosophy, they lived it: the sage, rather than the warrior or the saint, was the pinnacle and ideal of Greek life. Through all thecenturies from Thales that exhilarating philosophical bequest has comedown to us, inspiring Roman emperors, Christian Fathers, Scholastic theologians, Renaissance heretics, Cambridge Platonists, the rebels of the Enlightenment, and the devotees of philosophy today. At this moment thousands of eager spirits are reading Plato, perhaps in every country on the earth.

Civilization does not die, it migrates; it changes its habitat and its dress, but it lives on. The decay of one civilization, as of one individual, makes room for the growth of another; life sheds the old skin, and surprises death with fresh youth. Greek civilization is alive; it moves in every breath of mind that we breathe; so much of it remains that none of us in one lifetime could absorb it all. We know its defects- its insane and pitiless wars, its stagnant slavery, its subjection of woman, its lack of moral restraint, its corrupt individualism, its tragic failure to unite liberty with order and peace. But those who cherish freedom, reason, and beauty will not linger over these blemishes. They will hear behind the turmoil of political history the voices of Solon and Socrates, of Plato and Euripides, of Pheidias and Praxiteles, of Epicurus and Archimedes; they will be grateful for the existence of such men, and will seek their company across alien centuries. They will think of Greece as the bright morning of that Western civilization which, with all its kindred faults, is our nourishment and our life.

unClouds (4haikus)

Trying on a gown,
she decides against the blue,
falls asleep once more.

Dreaming of songbirds
and two little white girls,
balancing two cups.

One: riverwater,
Two: memories of sunlight;
symphonies of hope.

Western winds blow west,
but before they can conjoin,
Eastern winds blow east.

On the wall

Voices from the distance,
an insect chorus mends the air
and I sit here in silence,
loving the world as it slips past.
The sound of my own voice startles me,
and among my collapsing thoughts,
the wind is little comfort,
singing in my ears, bringing the
twinkle of birds in his breath.
Ants crawl among the wall;
this is their land, their life,
they will know nothing else –
I, on the other hand, am a fool,
tomorrow to leave this place a memory,
to rest among the pylons of my past;
there is darkness here, left by me,
I see it in the distance,
shouldering itself against the corn fields,
hidden beneath the branches of pyramid trees,
and I leave a little lighter, my burden less,
but the stones speak their own truth:
they have been here forever,
footsteps on stone, the sound of blood in the air,
and through the beauty, the darkness is always known.

Rules and universal things

I tell myself I have no say,
my mother tells me not to say,
and so silent I am, supposed in time, frozen,
living my life one day at a time,
Waiting for that beautiful moment when you are
there, your figure in the mist,
me in the mist, us surrounded by dew,
but I am told No Wait Now isn’t the time
and I scream – harmonics be damned,
the melody and chords and rhythm
of this song can go to hell, because
the faintest hope that you are there with me
can give me good mornings for a week,
can bring sunshine on my darkest days,
but I am told The Time Is Not Right.
I write these verses in rebellion, in anger,
frustrated by the manacles on my lips,
pissed by the fragility of my heart, but also
bloody incensed at the unfairness of it all.
– I am shot, my little heart broken,
and I cry myself to some kind of sleep
because, because, but the laws – I feel dulled.

An Acmeist Wordmonger, unspoken

(I speak not elegies,
nor mind the right and wrong)
Oh deist, mine own,
eternally in the sky.
They say your son is a devil,
shining in the moonlight,
his grimace a shimmer
and his laughter gone.

(The elegy crows through me,
riveted to the now)
The edge of the mirror,
pock-marked, studded with rust,
it hinges on the wall.
My visage is a blur,
who is this face in the pale?
His eyes are uncolored.

(Falling behind, moving away,
the elegy is on the run)
Oh heavens, you leave me pondering
on the seers and prophets who glance
in the sea, only to see the waves,
only to see the waves. The curls
are their prison, as the foam grows
and becomes death.

(The music fades, sentenced
to a life of servitude)
The density of my soul,
no, that’s not right, for I am acme,
a block of iron dumped into the sea,
my words are worth nothing, my
definition becomes like the vision
of a distant mountain, unknowable.

It’s hard being back in the saddle.
It will come soon, though. The old feeling,
the bump and sliding of the tongue.

The Avenues

Poetry has fled for a moment,
replaced by the grinding of gears
and a shiny new cover.

It has returned, though,
much to my surprise.

It is perhaps more common,
more heady, touched
with the necessitudes of a life
not yet lived.

To dream is divine, yet to live
is somewhat benign,
unless one walks bravely to the cliff
and faces the wind
with the water on their face.

I’ve seen the avenues
that proudly stand,
their trees and broad trunks
of my own pastime,
yet I hold the future is unwritten,
to be taken by my whim,
my hopes, and my fancy.

tomorrows

men with gloves cook lamb by moonlight
you are with me, beside me, around
charcoal smoke fills the tent
dusty and burnt sticks are crushed into the ground
the dull sound of the street from outside

the cold envelopes us
you are with me, beside me, around
tv light from apartments flicker inside windows
a police car, flashing colors, is parked ahead
dark shadows of bicycles are an illusion behind

I fall asleep to the sound of conversation
you are with me, beside me, around
a scarf wrapped about my neck
the warm inside air conflicts with the chill
the stairs sound hollow against our shoes

empty streetlights blink yellow
you are with me, beside me, around
headlights loom in the distance
lego-like buildings pass by, mere ghosts
a gas station glows in the night

a large padlock is wrapped around the gate
you are with me, beside me, around
the guardhouse is illuminated
my door opens quietly, unobtrusive
I settle into my bed, dreaming of tomorrows

Lyrics to a birthday

the old men in the park remind me of children
they play their games and laugh and drink
the old days fade into dusty yellow books
they smile at me, their teeth askew
the old memories, they never go away
I am a year older

the morning brings cats, hiding in the bushes
they meow and hiss and slink away
grandmas walk little white dogs
boys and girls kick balls between cars
my brakes squeal, the front tires rattle
I am a year older

the river is frozen solid
under the bridge the water has broken
men fish on ice, poles in water-holes
they are like modern eskimos, without the hoods
cars pound smoke into the street
I am a year older

today they sang happy birthday in two languages
sheng ri kuai le, they sang, happy birthday to you
being here, at this moment, feels like watching rain
the window slashed with streaks of water, ragged, smooth
dreams of green hills and laughing children fill me
I am a year older

Five Statements of Being at a Local Park

I. Steam; boiling mist
spills over rusty, black bikes;
bushes, withered, dry.

II. Moving arms; palms wave;
red brick apartments surround;
twilight exercise.

III. Spaceship trains, guns raised,
children at the helm, silent,
winter on their face.

IV. Monkey temples rot,
thrashed by time’s terrible war,
while old men play chess.

V. Windows reflect sun,
burning my eyes, while winter
synchronizes me.

诗 (Poem)

今天是秋天, 很 冷;
千落叶;
我睡在花的床里。

Jīn tiān shì qiū tiān, hěn lěng;
qiān luò yè;
wǒ shuì zài huā de chuǎng li.

Today is autumn, very cold;
many leaves are falling;
I go to sleep on a bed of flowers.

Harbor-song

Those golden lights grace
our harbors of memory,
imbued in blue.

Night lampposts diffuse
ephemeral threads, hushed in
chiaroscuro.

Waiting by the road,
listlessly taken by the
nevermore of stars.

*

My peace comes in breaths,
stolen from the cold, ripe air;
dreams dream of dreamers.

My own, slashed, gutted,
fed to monsters of the deep;
to the future, sung.

Hands

It’s a different way of thinking.
Picture this:
A man, his face torn and bloody,
sits on the bottom of a dark and dusty shaft.
He believes himself forgotten, displaced, so
when he cries out (which he does) his voice is
silent. He is like this for many years.
And then a hand is placed on his shoulder, and
helpless, destitute, he knows he can see, and
the shaft is filled with light.
He looks into the eyes of his savior, and he
is amazed. He is common, ordinary, but
he carries a warmth, an invisible light.
And as the old man opens himself, the warmth fills him.

[Romans 1:7]

The Passing

They sit on their temples,
songs passing over heads, swimming
with the clouds, vanishing among
the stars, faded moon, and the sun-filled
heavens. They watch the multitudes,
in their bright and wild colors, pass.
They remark to one another: How
strange they are! How remarkable.
When midnight comes, and the darkness
envelopes even the light from their eyes,
they shudder and cry out. In
the morning, some of them are
different, as if they caught the light
of the rising sun. They stand and process.

[Romans 1:6]

Meditation on Face

The river, quiet. Clouds sparkle, shadowed by thick mountains.
A lone tree, shivering. The breeze is slight, traveling on a breath.
The man sits on the grass. He has green eyes,
like the forest’s bloom. He lies on his back, asleep.
Peace fills his face. Birds speak in the leaves.
The grass, the dew, the dawn sky. The sun floods the heavens,
it becomes like reeds through the clouds.
God is here, on the earth. His feet, as if a rumbling storm,
his heavy-laden voice, as if the high wind.
The man stirs in his sleep. The water of the stream bristles.

We are the men by the sea. We sleep in dreams forged by
the heavens. We hold the earth in our hands, we hold
the power given to us by God, yet we are too much of the flesh.
We cry out to him, and then shield our eyes.
The steel we have taken from the earth covers our eyes,
we are blind to him who made us. We are silent,
our mouths sewn shut by our own hearts.
We sleep by the wayside. We feel the breeze against our face.
We sleep on the green groves. We see the sun dawn the sky.
We meditate on the waves of the river, and we
listen to the song of the birds.

But his face seeks us. His face is like the brightest sun,
and through his creation, he calls to us. Through the intricate lines
in his memory, through the blood in the trees and the
feathers on the bird, through the vales in the mountains and
the lines in the river, he calls to us. As we embrace his call,
the crowing of creation flows back to us, and we are at peace.

[Romans 1:5]

Fall

What is in a name? By what glory
do you stand before me, and shout your
radiance? What right have you?
I am among the dead men; they
breathe and die, are reborn a second
time, and quest for the eternity of
the horizon. They smile plastic smiles,
pure smiles, lustful smiles, mad smiles,
all the while counting their toes
and dancing on thin air. They suck up
the blood of flesh, and dry their teeth
on beggars� rags. They know nothing, yet
everything. They chisel their name
on temples, and compose ballads to the sun.

The magnificance of the light beyond the sea;
we strive everyday, sacrificing our children,
like lambs upon the altar of dolls; we forget the
wisdom of our grandfathers, and in lieu,
we fight amongst the circles of time, believing
ourselves to be heralds of the coming age.

Our savior is a breath away. He dreams when
we are awake, and stirs us in our fantasies;
he has no tangible name – for it is impossible to
name love. It merely is, yet it is not dead,
like the sun or moon, with their lifeless shores;
it is alive, spinning, transforming, becoming, arriving;
we are poles to this grace; we fall into his arms.

[Romans 1:4]

Girl of Sacrifice

Above the azure haze,
where the crown meets a maze of light,
little children sleep on beds of oak,
leaves browned by the summer sun
fly between shafts of light, raining
upon shattered dreams and sworn hopes,
and the little girl lying on the grass
with her heart in her teeth and
a blaze across her cheeks, her eyes
like the sun unclouded and her
laughter tolling across the green,
that glorious voice bounding across
the heavens, glittered with tyranny and
majesty, this little girl falls peacefully to sleep.

She is unaware, blissfully so, of sacrifice.
She dreams of golden stars and polished temples,
she fights off demons in her sleep.
The din and echo of mortality has
faded from her innocent face; she shouts joy.
The immortality blasted across the threads of hair,
chiseled upon her serendipitous nose; the etching
of time slowing in her silk-fed hands,
all of this she is unaware of the sacrifice.
Peace comes with a price; the falling of a
blade is heralded with gifts. Joy is not free.
When she wakes, the illusory world sways
before her eyes; filigrees of hair shield
the sun from her eyes. A bird calls out from a tree.

[Romans 1:3]

Ages

Did you forget, my son?
Did you forget when I held the sky
for you, and stopped the storms?
Did you forget when I blew the wind
to make you cool, and grabbed
a bit of the sun to warm you
on a cold night? Did you forget?
Do not forget, my son, of the birds
in the trees whose song I made for you,
of the rumble of the clouds to awe you,
of the beauty of scales, so when light
flashes across the surface of the water
the ocean is alive with beautiful,
moving stones. Do not forget, my son.

Long ago, when I held the first light
in my grip, when I carved the mountains
from my fist, as I watched the planets align
by my song, in the dwelling of your grottos
you slept, waiting until love came to grace
the earth and fill your belly with food �
Will you forget this, my son? I am a sad
one, for I see the oscillations, the mirrors
of the future, and you my son, will forget,
and so I will provide, giving you a field
to sleep in and wheat to harvest, animals
to sleep by your side and companions to guide,
and when the time comes, to give you rules to live
and prophets to speak – and you will remember.

[Romans 1:2]

slave

Barren woods,
the realms of lofty dreams all
measured next to nothing
when compared to the light
of the future; the light that
drifts from home to home,
carried by a star, carried by
a torch, carried by the glimmer
of a man’s eye; he keeps this light
in his pocket, in his purse, in
the shelves of his wallet, waiting
for a sign, waiting for the star
that falls from heaven, all the while
his hand is burning.

While the slave, who sits among
piles of garbage and ruminates on
the shadows as stones of immaculate
grace, the star burns on his forehead,
the tempest blue, bright red, blazing
into a night sky filled with the horrors
of the day, trampled screams, fearful
hesitations, the drawing of the knife
and the wasting of the earth – he burns
through the night, and his voice is like
a field grown with honey and mint,
reaching into the folds of the soul and
measuring the wealth of a man not by
his pleasantries, but by his rule.

[Romans 1:1]

night maestro

we laugh and play by the rocks at the sea,
we dance to the sound of the earth,
it washes against us, and we feel the tug of time.

somewhere on the beach, there is a song,
it is soft like sand, but echoes among the cliffs,
a fire roars into the night sky.

from where I stand, I see the flickers of flame,
they signal the stars and silence the watchers,
they stand in some sort of holy observance.

we are the masters of the night,
we are the pinnacles of light,
we fly as heralds of sight,
we are the might
of the night.

Children sent by heaven

stars are among us.
we are the dancing comets,
the heralds of the future,
constellations make our name,
we are the children of the past,
and the descendents of our grandchildren,
we cry out to lost stones,
raise our fists to the irony of the wailing road,
and ponder the mystery of time’s last repose.

We are the child of the present,
lost in the haze of the city,
our hands and feet touch the lights of windows,
our mouths speak truths made of thorns,
our hands build monsters of pearl.

We are the future.

We are here, the living, the wanted.

a wedding of particular peculiarities

waveforms on a wave, flying through the air,
curling beneath the sand, our legs drenched,
filled to the brim with starstones, dying of crystals,
we are the memory of time, slip-drunken and fled,
silenced by the moment in which we fail to understand
the intricacies of the inlaid moon, with her silver lines
and mysterious shadows; seconds pass in storms,
flush with red and violent and blue-green leaves,
while the season comes to an end, and we find ourselves
at the gate, where a pale-faced woman greets us,
asks us our name, and hands us two iron bars.

time has flown

left alone, left alone,
beside the tunnels of the soul,
we sing among the golden alleys
and lift the thorns from heavenly melodies,
but too late, too late,
the time has come
for mocking’s sweet sigh,
cradling in high,
the unborn waves upon the sand,
the wind and tails of a forgotten land.

traveling to solitude

I.
Locked in, transparently
held by my own hand;
wearisome, the toil of
eyes placed over and
around my throat.

II.
Vapid smiles, rancid
rolling laughter:
in the fog, corporate steeples
pledge their souls
to alien words.

III.
Lifted slightly, sunbeams
crashing into the shore;
sand grown on the
back of kings; scepters
lying in the river, alone.

glorious, vain glorious

when you go to sleep, sleeply dream,
dream of berries bright, heavy with delight,
dream of blessings, son, don’t ever play the sun,
for earthly things are mortal, mortals be,
away from darkly lit, the skies are hallowed see,
mill the words of old, and seek the holy fawn,
who sleeps in sleepless dreams,
among the glades of men,
yet within the barrows lost,
lie mysteries unforgot,
and heaven lies in wait,
for he whom tomorrow takes.

Dew

Generations come and go, but
we remain. We remain silent,
the ones behind, the ones with
the philosophy of wayward souls:
but words like this mean nothing,
they care not for weary tirades
or serendipity and souless skies.

It is like a dark blade of grass
under a new morning, the sun
shedding her light over the
phosphoresence, the glisten of
the dayfire shuddering across
the tip of green.

Clappity-Clappity

Alive and well, it seems.
I stamp in the ether,
my feet making fog-holes,
the clappity-clappity muck
sound frogging the effervesence.

Wherefore art the single-minded?
Where has the poem gone?
Into the netherworld, the solemn
and dark land of delights, chocolate,
and cream fingers.

The Music Men

Where are the juke-boxes?
Where are the simpletons in
the plastic hats, waving their arms
and singing folk tunes while
carrying backpacks of rocks and
burning the land in their wake?

I saw a lad not long ago,
he sat by the fire in Tomble-Toe.
He drank a glass in one hand-right,
and strung his soul with eyes of light,
he filled the room with music fatly,
while the world outside burned luminescently.

He�s a bard yes, of that terrible time,
one of the pack, they said, who roamed
the land with string in hand and voice
of silk, who could capture your soul with
just one note, and wait until the world outside,
became as ash of a dark, dark day.

They pass, as they always have, but
their shadows turn to figures, and those
figures taken upon the earth, gathering up
within the ash and taking form, to play
the lyre once again, the music of the earth.

Hall of Memory

In a world of memorable skylights,
of jumping rat-a-tats and chorusing
larks, the invisible sits beside the stone,
fingers mimicrying shadowmen,
the honey oozing from the eyes,
flooding the hall with light.

We stand beside the invisible,
contemplating the source of song.
We stand behind desks, holding
lightbulb pens, penciling out cursive
recitals to our unknown gods and
playing moss-laden flutes, while
the world in memory shudders by,
jumping in juxtaposed flashes of light,
time as indefinable as an empty star.

Birds of Prey

We are the flight-birds, wheeling our cries
over a stark and barren world.
We have wings of steel and eyes of pale
moonlight, and we hunt in the noon-time
for chariots and herons, not having
slept during the night for fear
that our dreams would come and haunt
us during the day.

After we hunt, we sleep amongst
a pile of stones, sapphire, basalt,
concrete, and ruby, and we see the world
as it always was, but could never be dreamt.

Poetry Written near those Mansions

Morning calls on the zenith
of our lives; stars wheel above;
the Master watches us in repose,
and we are slights to his gaze.

Memory serves its purpose…
hissing through the clouds,
heady on the invisible wine,
man speaks volumes of rubies,
spilling into a bowl outside of time.

Glowing, the fires of manna,
they fall like dazed and
awestruck children, spilt like
stains over velvet carpets;
the cajolers cajol in their romanticism,
while I am alone in my mind.

Time exists outside;
the snap of a fishes jaw,
the scent of a burnt rose;
these are inside me; explosions.
The crackle of fire against glass,
the sound of a whistling kitchen,
steam pouring out in raptured breath,
and yet, even so, the words never end.

The sixth: wondering acephalous in free

Upon a night of midnight clear,
the Runner fled among the golden tombs,
he was a man of ancient and high renown,
who by the fate of heaven was scattered below,
and left in madness to hear a voice of fire:

“Oh Man, who caused the sun to fall,
who sleeps beneath the moon and dreams of pain,
fear not, for I will raise you from the dead,
and bring you back among the temple’s Knights,
to Run among the sunless, godless men.”

But he, the Runner, shrunk back in fear,
for though it was his wish to dream again,
he feared the light and warmth of summer’s skin,
and so he ran, in dreams, in darkless light,
to the east he ran, away from Fire’s Hand.

The world in form was dark and deep,
the Ministry of Man had died in sleep,
those cities of gold now stood so silently,
and Man, like shadows, fought the rage of time,
while biding till the end of darkless days.

And so, the Runner ran from Man,
towards the ending of the world’s great Dark,
and leaping off those pitiful, wretched shores,
he found himself alone on a forgotten isle,
and fell to sleep, to dream of better days.

The fifth: accentual verse

What are you talking about?
The sun has risen,
The moon has fallen,
Daylight has come on a star.

Longing for one little spark,
You sing in circles,
You build your steeples,
Yet nothing you do brings me hope.

God, in his visage, will watch,
You fling sand castles,
You have no master,
You follow your own ruling, raw.

I tall-tale the message of love,
It speaks of trials,
You see me smile,
And realize I am now you.

The ending is far from now clear,
You and I, we fly,
To the moon, we cry,
For now we have nothing to lose.

The fourth: the poet upon a bed

Can’t think.
What is a poet without inspiration?
I haven’t read any good poetry lately.
It’s all a farce, anyhow.
I’ve been watching movies all day,
and now Richard Gere is on the screen,
in a blue bathrobe; the side of his face
is profiled, his hair is grey, and although
he is trying to sound tired and dull, he can’t.
He doesn’t look to be the kind of person
who can write poetry, though.

But a poet is not writ on the skin,
but in the hand. It is not the sparring
of the soul against the mutiny of the world,
but rather, it is the humiliation of defeat
before the awesome presence of a golden drum,
forever beating day by day, past the horizon,
and knowing that with every pound,
you lose one more breath of air.

The third: nonesense (or, a pictoral of my room)

line one: a flute on the wall
line two: wrapped in strips of black cloth
line three: the boy fights long-toothed dragons
line four: he holds his sword blazing
line five: the world stares down at a wooden floor
line six: the panels reflect the names of cities
line seven: clothes are draped over a suitcase
line eight: a white-collared shirt and a receipt bag
line nine: an elephant shoehorn hanging on the wall
line ten: the plastic trunk has faded
line eleven: a mirror tacked onto a poster
line twelve: it reflects the closed blinds

line thirteen: as the color streams through the room,
line fourteen: the shadows are illuminated

The second: about a stone

Mesmerized by the inconsequence
of a single act of unrequited brilliance
the young boy steps forward and
while settling his mind on a small stone
placed in the palm of his hand, he remarks
to himself how beautiful God has made
this stone, how the edges are perfect,
the color glorious like the end of a sky,
the size is a bite-sized rendition of
a romantic song; then taking the stone
in two fingers he lifts it above and throws,
the stone cascading through the sky like
a fallen bird, steering through the mists
until it lands in a lake, splashing
in a torrential burst, the waves on the water
flickering away from the impact, escaping
the realm of the immobile.

The first: green men

Woe upon those men of green,
who sink beneath the land,
they thrash and wail and scream and haunt,
but nothing does ever come of their want.
They are the men who live within,
who live alone, unfeared, untouched,
those men who we forget to see,
yet live our lives and daily be.

They dance upon a rolling green,
with grass so strong it cannot bend,
the clouds are made of wires,
the sun is a terrible fire,
the hawks that fly above
sing songs like disharmonious doves,
and the little green men
who sink beneath the land,
can only breath and shudder.

Words Just Because

Corporeal, we will feel,
the bite of life’s last drop.
That time comes like a fallen top,
rushing to meet our doomed doom zoom.
Fantastically, we fling rascally,
amazingly, we sight flirtateously,
but below the belt of azure’s wrath,
within the glare of knife’s bent gaze,
we sweep the porch of sightly might,
clear the ivory-covered kite,
flow into the golden-hued air
on wings of trespass; it is night,
we are our generation’s last hope,
to save the rest of them with only a rope;

a rope?
yes, a rope.

[Lotus Seedpod Men]

In water-caltrop raiment clad, with belt of floating-heart,
you dwell in faerie wonderlands.
Such lush jade-green, your perfumed hue –
tho’ wind may cease, its fragrance yet expands.
Egrets’ reflections grace the pond no more,
only the autumn wind’s soughing, a soughing so glum.
Alone, but for the rush flower, you bear the nocturne wake
and await the heavy dew that with the morn with come.
With greasy make-up swept away,
true character takes form!
Red garments loud, stripped off, display
strength of a subtler norm!
Live up to what Lianxi said:
stand up “pure, straight and tall”.
Follow not the withered leaves
in chilly ponds to fall!

-Lu Xun, 1900