Archives for posts with tag: LuinShar

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:
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UK | Dustless | Volume 1
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ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) | B00BEZL4ZU

 

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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 political system in O (the “western lands”) is a four-thousand-year-old empire, the SolTanZoZon – “the Empire of the Pure Way”.

After an indefinite period of time known as the Clouded Era, the empire was created, and in some ways based upon, the lost ancient civilisation of the race known as the ‘Metallic ones’.

The empire was initially created by armies of clans originating in the geo-political centre of the continent, the Metallic city of LuinShar. These clans followed certain traditions, and grouped together in Marks — a Mark is thus an association of like-minded clans.

At the centre and summit of the city — well over 1,000 metres above sea-level — is the SuMu, the sacred, Metallic citadel. Here, the court (the GoMin-U) is housed.

The emperor – the ShionDo (the “lord over the lords”) – is a dynastic ruler. When, for whatever reason, a dynasty comes to an end, a new dynasty must be inaugurated.

The organisations responsible for inaugurating a new dynasty are known as the Five Bodies. These are all ancient, pre-imperial institutions, and were all based in the SuMu, a place considered sacrosanct by even most degenerate warlord of the Clouded Era.

The Five Bodies are:

ShimThet – the ancient “celestial” police force, who used to police the SuMu.

ShoKun – the Mark of the Hatching Egg, who since time immemorial, have been responsible for collecting the blood of all aristocratic families, and of overseeing the matrimonial arrangements of the clans of the western lands. Their responsibility is to ensure the “purity of the blood” of the people of O. Their headquarters is based in the complex of buildings around the great Library of Blood, up in the SuMu.

ViwaShar – the Mark of the Five Towers. The body of people who, before the formation of the empire, guarded the SuMu from any external threat. With the foundation of the empire, the Five Towers Mark becomes an organisation dedicated to guarding and serving the emperor, and of ensuring continuity across dynastic changes. The ViwaShar organise the emperor’s household, and supply him with his personal bodyguard.

MarZom – the political body responsible for governing the Marks. The empire is a clan-based system. Each clan is governed by its aristocratic head, and each noble clan is known as an hereditary House. The heads of the clans (Isens) are in turn governed by the head of whichever Mark the clan belongs to. The heads of the Marks meet in council and are governed by the MarZom.

MuKesho – a highly revered monastic body, whose monks and nuns were responsible for guarding and maintaining many of the most precious buildings of the SuMu. Above all, the MuKesho are responsible for the metal books — books of sublimely complex signs, known as “hypergrams”, or “Shofi” — which are the indecipherable texts of the Metallic ones, and are stored in SharAmor, the “sacred tower”, at the absolute centre of Shar.

The society of the Empire of O is ruled by an ornate hierarchy, at the top of which is the emperor, the ShionDo, the Dustless One.

O is a clan-based culture. Over millennia, individual clans have formed with other clans into associations, each association differentiated by a Mark – a Zor, an emblem.

The Marks themselves are divided into two main groups — ZonO, and ShiO.

For much of the Clouded Era, the unfathomable period of time before the establishment of the empire, the most prestigious Marks and clans were ZonO. These clans valued blood, terrestrial power, wealth, property, and cultivated a world of fashion, wit and manners. They ruled the various city-states and kingdoms that made up the western lands in the Era of Clouds.

ZonO clans looked down on the more austere, spiritually inclined Marks who called themselves “ShiO“.

ShiO clans valued a more ascetic, philosophical way of life than ZonO. ShiO clans read and followed the wisdom of the sutras. These sutras, gathered together in the AmorZine, the “sacred book”, taught TanZo – the pure Way. For hundreds of years, ZonO regarded ShiO as a joyless and humourless  culture, given to useless “celestial” speculations, believing in a system that insisted on great discipline and patience, and denied worldly pleasures.

The last phase of the Clouded Era, however — known as the Era of Rival Clans — saw a gradual shift of power, away from corrupt and inefficient government by ZonO, and towards the more disciplined and organised ShiO Marks. Though smaller in number than ZonO, the ShiO clans were largely revered by the wider population, and were seen as pure and just.

Eventually, the rise of the ShiO clans and Marks couldn’t be resisted by the old ZonO order, and after thousands of years of rule, the world of “Society” and the aristocracy was overturned. Following decades of bloodshed, intrigue and struggle, control of LuinShar, the greatest city in O, passed into the hands of ShiO.

The effective end of ZonO power came when the first emperor of Shar, and of O, was declared: this was Jara-so-zirma I, who, after climbing the Five Thousand Steps, in the sacred precincts of the Palace of the Changing Moon took the Lotus Crown, and ordered the calendars to be set to a new system, with Year 0 starting on the first day of his rule.

Jara I and his immediate successors, steeped in their ShiO tradition, ruthlessly purged ZonO, and in many cases broke and destroyed ZonO clans, accusing them of deviating from the Way. Many ancient bloodlines were destroyed: properties were seized, possessions scattered. Nobles whose families had ruled their fiefs for hundreds of years, and were used to honour and the submission of the crowd, found themselves cast out from their lands, and – if they were lucky – sent to live in the public streets, covered with dust and with no way back to their former eminence.

For tens of centuries, those ZonO clans and Marks that survived the creation of the empire were forced to live remote from the Court and from the government. Their lifestyles were curtailed, and they were obliged to follow the Way. Shows of luxury were prohibited, and the ShiO laws of the empire were systematically and pitilessly applied.

Slowly, however, the ShiO tide began to wane, and the zeal that accompanied the formation of the empire began to recede. Once the whole Land of O was conquered and integrated into the empire, the imperial government began to relax its laws, and ZonO clans and Marks were permitted their ancient luxuries.

A historical coolness between the Court and the ShiO Marks developed, which in the long run benefited ZonO. With the waning of ShiO influence over the emperor, ZonO was once again allowed to rise, and to regain terrestrial power.

While each clan is unique, and each Mark distinctive, allowing for many different shades and nuances of opinion, there is no doubt that, fundamentally, there exists a deep traditional bitterness between ZonO and ShiO. ShiO despise ZonO for its deviation from the Way, for its love of pleasure and luxury, its devotion to appetite and matter. ZonO resent ShiO for its power, for its devotion to the Way, for its insistence on ritual and discipline.

Such is the main order of division between the clans and Marks of O: ZonO, and ShiO.

Those who before did not bow, now bow • and those who were kings and queens are sent either to the void or to the streets where the masses toil • Those who ruled are now ruled • and those who sipped wine from crystal cups • must now beg each breath • a sword forever crescent • over their bared necks | This is the fate of impurity • for impurity attracts dust • and dust gathers power | Only the Dustless are beyond the fate of the rising and falling, the living and dying, the strong and the weak | Only the Dustless cannot be sent to the dusts | Therefore, consider the fates of these lords and ladies now brought low • and how the trivial conceits of terrestrial power • end in a beggar’s death • lonely beside a busy road • dust filled with dust • while on the Way • calmly, the Dustless move ever on

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

Perhaps most of the worlds of all the universes possess no language, and are dumb, utterly inexpressive – silent as the airless moon – but O-yon is not like this.

Language is born of language | Languages possess architecture, and in O-yon, there are many lost and buried tongues, branches that are broken from the tree or do not blossom, or blossoms which, caught in the desert of time, become like fragile fossils, dry, perfect, but without scent…

In O-yon, it is said, there was a time before speech, but of that time, necessarily, we are ignorant || Then came the oldest language, the hypergrammatic language of the Ancients, the ‘Metallic ones’ | Their mysterious characters, inscribed in metal books, without date, without lexicon, are too complex for modern minds to comprehend, and so their beautiful, miraculous world remains closed to us, a matter of yearning, debate and controversy.

After the Ancients, came the LateAncients, whose language, made up of ‘Gonfi’ – ideograms – permits us the tantalising sense that we may understand their greater minds, and even that we might touch the glory of their forebears, the Metallic ones. For it is into the Gonfic LateAncient language that certain key Metallic books are said to have been translated, and of these books, the most wonderful book of all, the book of Metallic sutras, known as AmorZineZirIramOAram­TanZo, which means, transcripted into our common tongue, The Sacred Book of the Whole World of the Word of the Law of the Beautiful and Simple Way – the book to which all signs are ultimately drawn, and from which all signs ultimately proceed.

Pages: 1 2 3

I am just a jahzig girl.
My village is called Alone.
Drummers drumming, flags unfurled
they came from the Forbidden Zone.
And he was a pretty soldier boy,
made for kisses and for joy,
and he said, Now come with me
to the Heart of Eternity –
the Heart of Eternity.

I followed them, the column long,
in summer on the dusty roads.
We walked in a trail of wheels and songs
carrying our loads.
For he was a pretty soldier boy
made for kisses and for joy,
and he said, Soon you will see
the Heart of Eternity –
the Heart of Eternity.

LuinShar, oh LuinShar
the city of a thousand towers
and of imperial powers
where moonlight on the Sacred Tower
burns down all our human hours
to the sudden moment of a falling star
gliding over LuinShar.

For weeks we marched over the plains,
at night upon the endless roads
he bound me up with such soft chains
I carried a precious load.
He was such a pretty soldier boy
made for kisses, made for joy,
and so we laid beneath a dusty tree
in the Heart of Eternity –
the Heart of Eternity.

I grew sad in LuinShar
for the world of orphans we made there.
But he would never make a father
or care about another’s care.
For he was a pretty soldier boy
made for kisses and for joy,
and left us under autumn trees
at the Heart of Eternity –
the Heart of Eternity.

LuinShar, oh LuinShar
the city of a thousand towers
and of imperial powers
where moonlight on the Sacred Tower
burns down all our human hours
to the sudden moment of a falling star
gliding over LuinShar.

*     *     *     *     *

N  O  T  E  S

jahzig |  Meaning, roughly, “peasant”

Forbidden Zone | Buffer zone, created to protect the Western from the Eastern Lands

Heart of Eternity / LuinShar | LuinShar is the great central capital city of the Empire of the Western Lands. (Luin means “city”, and Shar means “tower”: LuinShar is thus also known as “the City of Towers”. Another name for Shar is “the Heart of Eternity”.


RE-POST | Originally posted November 2013

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 culture of O is in many ways obsessed with and dominated by the number five.

The original reason for the importance of this number is lost in the Clouded Era. However, the number five also appeared to be crucial to people of the revered ancient civilization, known as the OnDomin, and the remnants of their culture have floated down the millennia and been incorporated into the current order.

Examples abound of the way the number five is inscribed into the culture of O:

The dynastic succession of the imperial clan, or the accession to the throne of a new clan, is overseen by the Five Bodies, the KorBan.

The imperial Mark, the ruler’s household Mark and the imperial bodyguard, is ViwaShar, the Five Towers Mark.

The ancient Han-nah Camellia Map – a map contained within one of the famous metal books of the Ancients – divides up the territory of the Land of O into fifty cantons. (In fact, there are fifty-one cantons on the Han-nah Map, but the central canton, Oron, with the great capital city LuinShar at its heart, is known as the “sublime canton”, a place of transcendent spiritual purity, and considered to be beyond the power of “description by numbers”.)

The culture of O is TanZo. “TanZo” is made up of two Gonfi (LateAncient characters), “Tan“, meaning “simple”, “pure”, “undivided”, “unadulterated”, and “Zo“, meaning “path”, “direction”, “way”. In the current tongue, TanZo is translated as “the simple Way”, or the “pure Way”.

TanZo has “five essential tenets”. People who live by the rules of TanZo perform the “five essential prostrations”.

TanZo is supported by the “five pillars”.

These are:

TineZo | The Way of Blood | rules governing the flow of ancestral resources

QuingZo | The Way of Harmony | rules governing intimate customs and social behaviour

HungZo | The Lawful Way | law over property and social behaviour

ZorZo | The Marked Way | rules governing the organisation and behaviour of Marks

MarZo | The Way of the Clans | rules governing the organisation of clans

The “five pillars” are designed to implement the wisdom of the Way across the whole of O.

MarZo, the Way of the Clans, is a set of laws designed to ensure that the basic unit of society, the noble clan, is run according to TanZo. The noble heads of households are responsible for ensuring that all the members of the clan behave according to the Way, and seek to follow the teachings of the sutras, and to live peaceful, gentle, vigilant lives.

ZorZo, the Way of the Marks, is designed to ensure that clans behave according to TanZo. Nearly all clans are members of Marks, which are associations of clans. The member clans of each Mark behave co-operatively, and seek to assure mutual safety and well-being. Thus, the Isen (“head”) of the Mark has power over the noble heads of individual clans.

HungZo, the Lawful Way, is the set of laws that apply to all people and all social bodies in O. There are two organisations charged with implementing HungZo: KinChogan, known as “Protecting Hand”, who have power over all non-noble households; and ShimThet, colloquially known as “Black Star” – their Mark is Black Star – who have power over all households, both noble and common, and whose elite members, known as “erasers”, have the right to take life in the pursuit of justice. In theory, even the imperial household and the court must submit to the rulings of ShimThet.

QuingZo, the Way of Harmony, is an intricate system of rules designed to ensure that people treat each other according the wisdom of the sutras, and particularly the Strict Order sutra, one of the sutras making up the AmorZine. “Quing” literally means “smooth”, “silk”, “frictionless”. QuingZo governs every relationship in O, and seeks to ensure that everyone shows appropriate vigilance and respect, as laid down in the Strict Order sutra.

TineZo, The Way of Blood, is a set of laws relating to matrimony and succession. In O, the ancestors are revered, as the ancestors were responsible for maintaining the Way over eras of generational struggle. All people of a certain rank in society are obliged to have samples of their blood taken by ShoKun, the Mark of the Hatching Egg, who oversee the matrimonial arrangements of noble clans. The great Library of Blood, in LuinShar, is supposed to contain millions of samples of blood, and ShoKun is responsible for ensuring the health and purity of the noble bloodlines of O.

Thus, from the ground up, from the lowest to the highest, bonds of TanZo are formed. The lowest class of citizen recognized under imperial law is a Murli, a serf, whose family has been bound to a noble clan for five generations. Murli have the right to life and protection, and the Lord or Lady of the clan is responsible for ensuring the Murli are allowed to live according to TanZo. Even the Murli, whose freedoms are strongly curtailed, have the legal privileges known as the Five Bearing Rights of the Strict Order sutra. These Five Bearing Rights are: the right to meditate and follow the Way, right to cleanliness, including care for health, right to shelter, right to food and right to respect.

The clan’s retainers, who exist in a hierarchy, from the humble Murli to the educated and sophisticated chamberlains of the household, must ensure that the “lowest” are allowed full TanZo. All the clan retainers are ultimately responsible to the Lord or Lady of the clan. Should the Lord or Lady themselves prove to be corrupt, then the Isen of the Mark should step in, and seek to ensure that the Mark is cleansed of any impure clan. The Isens, although often tremendously powerful, are still accountable to ShimThet. And ShimThet, in theory, is accountable to the Ministry of Resolution, one of the Five Ministries, who together make up the imperial government.

Thus, it is said in O:

From the Five Bearing Rights to the central summit of the Five Towers, Mark of the Dustless One, from the ant to the lion, from teardrop to ocean, from a lone flame to the heat and light of the sun, all is TanZo

 

Five Towers Mark