03
Nov
08

Hades

As he lies fatally ill in bed, June of 323 B.C., Alexander, in the delirium of his disease, must have envisioned the journey that he was about to take through the underworld of Hades.

By Lake Avernus, a malodorous sheet of bad water, was a cavern leading to the underworld. Make sacrifice to the dreaded goddess of night. On the road frightful forms of disease, hunger, death-dealing war, mad discord. Then innumerable spirits at the juncture of two great rivers begging the ferryman, Charon, for transport to the other shore, he choosing only the properly buried who also had the coin, the remainder doomed to aimless wandering with never a rest.

Alexander Afield

“The fang,
horn,
claw,
sting,
snarl,
hiss,
roar,
trumpet,
hoof,
all have fallen to me in the hunt.
I scuffle to hold my ground, to stay on my feet.
In my ferocious roaring, howling, grunting in the beast’s ear, fear of myself stands my hair on end.
In war,
The thrilling war chants,
cries and shrieks,
dust of plains,
bloody wounds,
singing saber,
splintering lance,
clash of shields,
flesh bruised, broken, stuck,
sweat, stench, terror,
wrenching struggle
all have fallen to me in battle.
But this enemy, here, now, inside,
unseen, silent,
strikes me deep,
stabs me with sure death.
Time is brief. The tether to earthly life is short.
Mother!
One secret of Alexander — not from Siwah, mother!
Foresight! Vigor! Beyond necessary!
Blinds the quickly dead!
Preemptive energy, my life, now of no avail.”

There, Hermes! To lead him down.
[JFD says: I have been “carpet bombed” with spam and am closing
the comments section permanently. Next, I will take down the entire blog,
soon. I do not have the time to deal with that kind of behavior.
I do not know what those “bombers” hate in what I do, but I am
exasperated. It is foolish. Those spammers want publicity by
sending me their stealth “ads” comments for me to put up. Bye!]

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03
Nov
08

ENTER MY UNDERWORLD of Poetry

These pages embody my philosophy of poetry and life.
Just as a theory is a statment that attempts to account
for all the known facts in a field of inquiry, a philosophy
is an attempt to organize a body of knowledge; in the case of my
philosophy, it’s how I’ve got it together.

To repeat,
scansion is my thing, not perfect all the time, but it defines poetry
as free or disciplined. It takes poetry somewhere beyond rambling
emotion. It adds the intellect to a weightier presence because
the emotion is an intellectualized form of passion. It brings
the possibility of eloquence, which I define as an achievement,
or effect, issuing only from the amalgam of intellect and
passion. Poetry is something more than an affair of the heart,
a feeling, worn on the sleeve. Poetry makes one feel and think,
think about what you feel,
and feel what you think.
No dichotomy there.

I write according to general principles of scansion. I am not
free under the rules, except in imagination. The discipline
of the rules forces greater attention to the content expressing the
ideas. Therefore, I try to be a “strict constructionist”.
I tire of the scofflaw verse that careens
out of control across the page
ignoring the rules of the road,
missing the elements of rhythm.

 

23
Oct
08

The Dark Realm

William Cullen Bryant wrote in his poem, Thanatopsis:
“So live that when thy summons comes to join the innumerable caravan that moves to that mysterious realm where each shall take his place in the silent halls of death, thou go not like a quarry slave, scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

This is hell, down here, the underground of this web site. Of the five billion people on earth, you are probably one in a billion who may come this far into the labyrinth I have dug. That is, besides the creepy web “crawlers” you find squirming around in dark places like this. (The content will never be finished for any of my pages for as long as I may live.) Who are you, here echoing with the cries of curiosity in the caverns of my mind? That is, besides the mute spiders seeking dumb testimony to my existence. Who you are I cannot imagine.

Who would want to go to hell? Alexander would. There was no other concept for him. But he had to face the rigors of the journey. It took him several days to realize that he was surely going to die. Then it took him several more to get the job done. Our contemporary medical investigators have determined that the paralysis ascending from his extremities may have made him appear to be dead when his mind may still have been active. In that time, he may have heard the violence among his survivors swirling about him, and his delirium from his illness may have magnified his spiritual convictions to the extreme. His body was reported not to have begun to decay for an unusual time, six days, after his “death”, before the Egyptian embalmers started their task. Thus I stretch my imagination to not unreasonable lengths.

If this were an opera or a film, the dramatic possibilities are great. Easier on film than the stage. But I have it on the stage. I am sorry no one is interested. I have communicated only with mutes.

I will use the ancient Greek conception of hell to arrange these final pages. To fill them, I have put down some sentiments and poetry I have written.