Archives for category: poetry

Heavier than a thousand suns, lighter than a protium atom…

Slowly, slowly climbing the stairs in the vegetable palace of the King of Dreams, winding and winding gradually higher…

On the Siloso, the circular river, where the Lord my father standing at the rail of a fragile cruiser, among the crowds of craft, is a swan among gulls…

In a garden in the pleasure district of Shigoga, where I drew my sword and fought the famous duel of bubbles: those girls in their sumptuous robes giggling and sniggering, heads rocking and eyes blinking, lush and retarded, spirits sunken and sluggish as they float on the stream of the prince’s soul-stealing intoxicants

To arrive in a room in the Ghosts-of-Angels Palace, to look through the window on the chamber where snow is eternally falling from an invisible ceiling, and where, it is rumoured, sometimes a hunter may be seen, sometimes a lord wandering lost in winter

To the children with their little books, to the limited ones with their little dreams: left

We moved on through the crow-haunted wastes of the Desolate Cantons, met a warrior with nose broken in his youth, half an angel and half a boxer, smoked his pipe of raw kaziah, left us all to the sleep of the doomed

Heavier than a falling moon, lighter than a single feather, a feather floating from the iridescent wing of a jester hummingbird purring among the sulphur-throated blossoms of dark orange night-scenting hibiscus

In the scales, the throne of O, set against a single finger’s caress

To be in the regal state beyond the laws

What would you choose?

To be everyone and no one

To be there to feel her touch, to be

so softly undressed

To be high

To be fine

To be Dustless

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It’s written against the times. Against the easy, easy times.

It moves slowly, it’s like the land beneath our feet, the ground itself.

It’s not going to go away, it accumulates gradually, like mountains.

It’s not about destinations, it’s not about journeys. It’s greater than that, and more humble. It’s not about conquest, not about mastery; it’s not about moments, or years; it’s not about you.

It’s not straightforward, but, importantly, it’s not facile. It’s not about the end. There are no maps to it, and it possesses no exterior. It isn’t an object. It isn’t a riddle. It isn’t about winning, or losing. It isn’t about knowing, or finding, or being lost.

It will change you, certainly – but then, what doesn’t change you?

It’s like anything you take up and put down: it returns to itself, and waits.

It’s banal, and modest: a sprinkling of salt on a few green leaves, the light of the setting sun on a line of plane trees in early summer – the shadows your fingers make as you turn a page, the landscape passing as you sleep on a suburban train…

It’s simple, and it waits, serene and alien as a deserted lake: it’s now, it’s here, it’s gone…

It’s Dustless.

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It is said, among certain Marks within the ZirCong, that “the universe has already occurred: it has completed its cycle, and returned to the void. Therefore, why hurry in our lives? They ended, long, long ago”.

If it is true, and the book of this world is already complete, how can we know whether we are near the beginning, or the middle, or the end of the text?

Since the rise of the RoMayZine and SurGaKu dynasties, and the retreat of the ZirCong from influence over terrestrial power, TanZo has put away all such theories of completed days and events already concluded. For the TanZo of these present times, it is considered a deviation from the Way to speculate overmuch upon events yet to transpire, or to sacrifice the present to a possible world to come.

Huddled in their great Metallic mansions, though, the houses of the ZirCong, their ancient bloodlines woven by ShoKun, the Mark of the Hatching Egg, do they still cleave to those old, discredited beliefs? And if so, has their power over the dusts of the mind permitted them some sense of a world to come, yet already over? Down what cerebral corridors may they move, inside what rooms may they sit and listen, straining to hear some faint echoes of futurity?

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River, river, take your time.
In winter, skates and flocks of geese;
and in summer, dragonflies.
Armies ride by the riverside,
armies rise and armies fail;
and lovers walk by the riverside,
mothers with sons, and merchants to sail
down to the city with white wool in bails,
the old with their troubles,
the young with their pride —
but the river does not care
whose figures flicker in the water there,
flicker and are gone:
the river flows on.

River, river, take your time.
In spring, pussy willow and tinkers with knives,
and in autumn, dun oak leaves.
Nobles ride by the riverside,
greatness in bright show of gold;
and beggars trudge by the riverside,
fathers with daughters, and monks who hold
a  treasure of emptiness in their hollow bowls,
the sick with their boils,
the contented with lies —
but the river does not care
whose figures flicker in the water there,
flicker and are gone:
the river flows on.

River, river, take your time.
The singer with songs, the poet with rhymes;
the toothless with laughter, the children with tears:
but the river does not hear
whose voices call by the water there,
call and are gone:
the river flows on.

The river flows on.


Dustless is one of the longest novels ever written, and creates a densely imagined world, and a society with a richly realised culture.

This song comes from Volume 20, The Lover in the Snow [v]. The resonance of the song is amplified by the context in which it is sung: on a pleasure barge, in the mist of a cold winter’s day, on the Siloso — the circular river, in the capital city, Shar.

Please explore…

Dustless | Volume 1

Dustless | Volume 1 is approximately 20 pp./a5

status | published 11 02 2013

Amazon Kindle Store:
India | Dustless | Volume 1
UK | Dustless | Volume 1
US | Dustless | Volume 1

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) | B00BEZL4ZU

 

Between two peaks, the night sky rests;
between two lovers, silence.

I sing a sad song.

Between two seasons, a wind blows;
between autumn and summer.

I sing a sad song.

Between two banks, a river flows;
between two lovers, silence.

I sing a sad song.

Between a bell’s chimes, no bell sounds;
between silences, tolls a bell.

I sing a sad song.

Between two moments, midnight comes;
between two lovers, silence.


 

Excerpt from Dustless | Volume 20 [in preparation],
The Lover in the Snow [v]

Please explore…

Dustless | Volume 1

Dustless | Volume 1 is approximately 20 pp./a5

status | published 11 02 2013

Amazon Kindle Store:
India | Dustless | Volume 1
UK | Dustless | Volume 1
US | Dustless | Volume 1

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) | B00BEZL4ZU

 

Here we sit, the mirror, my shilka doll and me.
It is still early: the moon, hardly risen, has a long way to go.

What great light upon the lake. What cheerful company.
Yet we are quiet, the mirror, my shilka doll and me.

I wonder, who will be the first to speak?

ooo


Excerpt from Dustless | Volume 20 [in preparation],
The Lover in the Snow [v]

Please explore…

Dustless | Volume 1

Dustless | Volume 1 is approximately 20 pp./a5

status | published 11 02 2013

Amazon Kindle Store:
India | Dustless | Volume 1
UK | Dustless | Volume 1
US | Dustless | Volume 1

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) | B00BEZL4ZU

We walked by the SilOso
on the fire side of the city
among the market crowds
near the Bridge of Dreams.

It was cold, and the first snow fell
among our footsteps.
Winter snow falling, and footsteps falling
slowly, by the Bridge of Dreams.

Thoughts, and the memories of thoughts.
Boats, and the reflections of boats –
the empty boats, tied up beside
the SilOso, rocking in a gentle breeze.

What is the fall of snowflakes?
We parted, as winter came.
You went to your home
across the Bridge of Dreams.

Your home, on the side of ice.
My home, on the side of fire.
And the snowflakes of winter falling,
and footsteps, in between.


Excerpt from Dustless | Volume 26 Master Darkness [vi]

Be Dustless | Master darkness…

Dustless | Volume 9

I have no home and no need of one
(and the breeze blows softly).
I have a lover, yet I am alone,
here in this room overlooking the water
in a town without a name.

It’s hot now, and the summer’s been long,
but you can feel the autumn coming.
The summer dies upon the stem
like flowers, and the dragonflies with them.

The light has been a great light,
and the sun has burned my arms.
I know little, and want to know no more,
but am content to write my words
rough and useless though they are.
I know little, but must know some more,
though I have already learned all there is to know.
Love? – well, it’s just like money and time:
there’s never quite enough.

Enough –
there’s never quite enough.

The wind blows softly, what else can it do?
There were bees among the wisteria
and the blossoms hung like empty grapes.
I am a lover, yet I am alone,
here in this room overlooking the river
in a town without a name.

She lies naked and her back is so beautiful,
strong, but who can carry time?
It’s hot now, these are summer’s last days,
drought has left the fields all dust,
and burned the flowers on their stems
and my words with the flowers,
and dragonflies…

A white butterfly dead beside
the statue of a saint
gold, and peaceful in meditation:
a white butterfly, with grey-spotted wings
on a wooden floor, beside a man
made of wood, sitting in zamen:
the insect and the saint
rest in the empty morning light,
made of the same stuff…

But Love? – well, it’s just like money and time:
there’s never quite enough.

Enough –
there’s never quite enough…


Excerpt from Mask [ii], Volume 10 of Dustless

Please lose yourself in…

Dustless | Volume 9

The process of composition lasted for years. Composition was the living organism: the novel itself was the shell the organism accumulated through its life. Like a nautilus or a conch, when the living organism ends, and decays away, the shell alone is left to remain on the seabed. Here is the shell: but of such a vast scale that a Titanic might lie inside it, near its lip, the broken vessel a mere speck of angular dust, its keel resting on a plain of mother of pearl. And perhaps, over the years, by a magical process, this shell will continue to expand, until it might mimic a human mind, and be a place you can put the ocean.

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In the House of Long Shadows…

In the Heart of Eternity, on a barren plateau where, since long before the Clouded Era, a high sea has dried, and a ship has slowly turned to crystal

By the Bug Stone, along a road no one travels, each night, a fire shines out from the summit of the lonely watchtower

In a lush meadow outside LuinLibar, in a grass-stained robe, a young lady of the Mark of the Dancing Crane, wearing the Gram of the Blue of a Midnight in Autumn, watches a butterfly emerge from a cocoon: she is motionless, and once the butterfly has flown, the cocoon is empty.

She knows

she can’t fit the butterfly back into the cocoon

She understands everything

In the Sun’s Tears Coffee House in District 8 of Faded Glory

Under the soaring shade of the sacred tower, in the Black Palace — because it is winter, and ritual demands it — the young emperor is fretful. Although he is the Dustless One, and his mind winnows emptiness to refine the void, the Lotus Crown is heavy on his head, and walking alone on the veranda of golden teak, facing the Gardens of the Four Moondials, wearing a coat of white Usurian mink, under icicles long and jagged as the teeth of translucent Shy’aamese dog sharks, shivering, he dreams of summer and the emerging of butterflies

Enter the Building where everything is contained…

And walk without deviation through the world of dust

a desert of atoms in the palm of your hand

sands enough to bury an ocean

Be no one | Be strong | Vanished, with no rest

Be utterly serene

Be Dustless

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