This is my foot, this yours, and this the rope - Borges
Thursday, August 27, 2015
“This is my foot, this yours, and this the rope,”
es mi pie; esto el tuyo, esto la soga."
Jorge Luís Borges: The Golem
Translated by James Honzik
If (as affirms the Greek in the Cratylus)
the name is archetype of the thing,
in the letters of “rose” is the rose,
and all the Nile flows through the word.
Made of consonants and vowels,
there is a terrible Name,
that in its essence encodes God’s all,
power, guarded in letters, in hidden syllables.
Adam and the stars knew it in the Garden.
It was corroded by sin (the Cabalists say),
time erased it, and generations
The artifice and candor of man go on without end.
We know that there was a time in
which the people of God searched for the Name
through the ghetto’s midnight hours.
But not in that manner of those others
whose vague shades insinuate into vague history,
his memory is still green and lives,
Judá the Lion the rabbi of Prague.
In his thirst to know the knowledge of God
Judá permutated the alphabet through complex variations
and in the end
pronounced the name that is the Key
the Door, the Echo, the Guest, and the Palace,
over a mannequin shaped with awkward hands,
teaching it the arcane knowledge of
symbols, of Time and Space.
The simulacrum raised its sleepy eyelids,
saw forms and colors that it did not understand,
and confused by our babble
made fearful movements.
Gradually it was seen to be (as we are)
imprisoned in a reverberating net of
Before, Later, Yesterday, While, Now, Right, Left,
I, You, Those, Others.
The Cabalists who celebrated this mysterium,
this vast creature, named it Golem.
(Written about by Scholem,
in a learned passage of his volume.)
The rabbi explained the universe to him,
“This is my foot, this yours, and this the rope,”
but all that happened, after years,
was that the creature swept the synagogue badly.
Perhaps there was an error in the word
or in the articulation of the Sacred Name;
in spite of the highest esoteric arts
this apprentice of man did not learn to speak.
Its eyes uncanny,
less like man than dog and much less than dog but thing
following the rabbi through the doubtful
shadows of the stones of its confinement.
There was something
abnormal and coarse in the Golem,
at its step the rabbi’s cat fled in fear.
(That cat not from Scholem but of the blind seer)
It would ape the rabbi’s devotions,
raising its hands to the sky,
or bend over, stupidly smiling,
into hollow Eastern salaams.
The rabbi watched it tenderly but
with some horror. How (he said)
could I engender this laborious son?
Better to have done nothing, this is insanity.
Why did I give to the infinite
series a symbol more? To the coiled skein
on which the eternal thing is wound,
I gave another cause, another effect, another grief.
In this hour of anguish and vague light,
on the Golem our eyes have stopped.
Who will say the things to us that God felt,
at the sight of his rabbi in Prague?
Jorge Luis Borges – 1958
afirma el griego en el Cratilo)
nombre es arquetipo de la cosa
letras de 'rosa' está la rosa
el Nilo en la palabra 'Nilo'.
de consonantes y vocales,
terrible Nombre, que la esencia
Dios y que la Omnipotencia
en letras y sílabas cabales.
las estrellas lo supieron
Jardín. La herrumbre del pecado
los cabalistas) lo ha borrado
generaciones lo perdieron.
artificios y el candor del hombre
tienen fin. Sabemos que hubo un día
el pueblo de Dios buscaba el Nombre
vigilias de la judería.
No a la
manera de otras que una vaga
insinúan en la vaga historia,
verde y viva la memoria
León, que era rabino en Praga.
de saber lo que Dios sabe,
León se dio a permutaciones
letras y a complejas variaciones
y al fin
pronunció el Nombre que es la Clave,
Puerta, el Eco, el Huésped y el Palacio,
muñeco que con torpes manos
para enseñarle los arcanos
Letras, del Tiempo y del Espacio.
simulacro alzó los soñolientos
y vio formas y colores
entendió, perdidos en rumores
se vio (como nosotros)
en esta red sonora
Antes, Después, Ayer, Mientras, Ahora,
Izquierda, Yo, Tú, Aquellos, Otros.
cabalista que ofició de numen
vasta criatura apodó Golem;
verdades las refiere Scholem
docto lugar de su volumen.)
le explicaba el universo
es mi pie; esto el tuyo, esto la soga."
al cabo de años, que el perverso
bien o mal la sinagoga.
hubo un error en la grafía
o en la
articulación del Sacro Nombre;
de tan alta hechicería,
aprendió a hablar el aprendiz de hombre.
ojos, menos de hombre que de perro
menos de perro que de cosa,
al rabí por la dudosa
de las piezas del encierro.
anormal y tosco hubo en el Golem,
ya que a
su paso el gato del rabino
escondía. (Ese gato no está en Scholem
través del tiempo, lo adivino.)
a su Dios manos filiales,
devociones de su Dios copiaba
estúpido y sonriente, se ahuecaba
cóncavas zalemas orientales.
lo miraba con ternura
algún horror. '¿Cómo' (se dijo)
engendrar este penoso hijo
inacción dejé, que es la cordura?'
qué di en agregar a la infinita
símbolo más? ¿Por qué a la vana
que en lo eterno se devana,
causa, otro efecto y otra cuita?'
hora de angustia y de luz vaga,
Golem los ojos detenía.
nos dirá las cosas que sentía
mirar a su rabino en Praga?
Mark Budgen's Aura
Monday, August 24, 2015
|Mark Budgen's Aura - Illustration Ian Bateson - Osoyoos 2015|
In the old 20th century my writer friend Les Wiseman harped
on one thing if you wanted to be a writer (he was and is a very good one). He
harped, “Write about that which you know.”
I soon found out that there were a couple of corollaries. The
first is that if you don’t know you interview and write about someone who does
know. A second item quite easy in this 21st
century is that if you
don’t know you can find out on the net. That was not so easy back then. My friend Mark Budgen
(of whom this blog is about) was one of the best free-lance writers I ever met who was justly famous for going to incredible lengths of tireless research before he put pen to paper. Now you can always check first with
Of the meaning of the word aura I know a just a bit so here
is the stuff from my Wikipedia:
In parapsychology and
spiritual practice, an aura is a field of subtle, luminous radiation
surrounding a person or object like the halo or aureola in religious art. The
depiction of such an aura often connotes a person of particular power or
holiness. It is said that all objects and all living things manifest such an
aura. Often it is held to be perceptible, whether spontaneously or with
practice: such perception is at times linked with the third eye of Indian
spirituality. Various writers associate various personality traits with the
colors of different layers of the aura. It has also been described as a map of
the thoughts and feelings surrounding a person.
Skeptics such as
Robert Todd Carroll contend that people may perceive auras because of effects
within the brain: synaesthesia, epilepsy, migraines, or the influence of
psychedelic drugs such as LSD. Other causes may include disorders within the visual
system provoking optical effects. Eye fatigue can also produce an aura,
sometimes referred to as eye burn.
For most of my life the only aura I ever experienced was
the aura of Kodak b+w Infrared Film. Exposures with this film had a curious
glow around things but particularly around human figures. This was because the film didn't have the anti-halation layer
(found in all film except for the now, alas, discontinued Kodak Infrared Film),
so the light bounces around within film backing creating that aura.
In 1966 I went to a show of Jefferson Airplane at the
Fillmore West in San Francisco. Of the show I remember little. What I do have in
my memory is a sharp image of a young woman sitting on a corner staring at a little
glass containing crème de menthe. She must have been under the influence of LSD
and she was seeing (perhaps in my imagination) a perfect green beyond greenness
- a green approaching a Platonic essence of a perfect form of green.
I think I may have been close to seeing that kind of
green (very sober) when Rosemary would descend from Mexico City to Orizaba,
Veracruz on our way to visit my mother who lived in the port of Veracruz.
Tropical Orizaba oozed green.
While still living in Mexico my friends always made fun
of my straightness and tried (unsuccessfully to get me drunk or high). The
latter came with an experiment where I
was given some peyote to consume. I threw it up immediately without any ill
effects or visions of any kind.
In Vancouver my friend Maurice Depás made me put some of
his best hash into my pipe while we were sunning ourselves on Wreck Beach. My pipe, in which
I usually smoked the best pipe tobacco was ruined and all I experienced was an
inability to move and extreme stuttering. That was it as far as pot was
concerned. My only other drug experience happened at Gary Taylor’s Rock Room,
where chubby young woman with a smile on her face said to me, “Are you Alex
Waterhouse-Hayward?” I nodded yes. She told me to open my hand and poured a
white powder. “Sniff it,” she ordered. I did not think I had a choice so I did.
She came back later to ask me about my experience. “It was like going up the
stairs of the New York City subway on a hot summer day. The cool air rushed as
I went up.” Apparently this was the wrong answer and I never saw her again.
In short I have seen very well, very sharply all of my
life with one long and painful exception.
Between 1980 and 2002 I suffered debilitating migraines.
They came with lights similar to the little flying lights in Close Encounters of the
Third Kind. During the painful episodes my vision was blurry. The only drug
that helped was a powerful prescription medicine called Gravegol. Thirty
minutes after taking it I could survive a thrashing from the worst
mother-in-law-from-hell with aplomb.
Curiously the only other person in my circle of friends
who had migraines was my friend Mark Budgen. As soon as I was 60 my migraines
petered out. I sometimes get pre-migraines but with no lights. Budgen still
gets them. Some months ago he woke up with a terrible one, so painful he went
to the hospital.
To make the above story short,, Budgen was diagnosed to
have three brain tumours. All but the third were removed and after a two-week
radiation treatment in Kelowna, Budgen is alive, all here but aware that his
months might be counted with the fingers of one hand.
Before the radiation treatment Budgen described to our
mutual friend Ian Bateson (and me) during a separate but same-day drive to the
hospital in Oliver, a strange and terrible aura that he saw behind us on the
hospital wall and around our body. This aura which he called a hallucination
came with terrible visions of his visiting brother from England dying (he did
not) on his trip back to home.
Our friend Bateson, who is a most capable artist (beyond
the fact that he is a trained designer and a very good editorial illustrator
has been experimenting with his iPad and a program called Procreate.
Bateson and I decided to visit Budgen last Monday, August
24th. We drove in our Malibu to Oliver on a day that was most
unusual. Such was the smoke and haze from the forest fires in Washington State,
that beyond Hope little was visible in what was golden haze (it was sunny above
it). When we approached Kelowna the lake was only visible for a few yards.
Nothing on the other side was visible. We had a little picnic on a sandy beach
in Penticton in which we could have easily, beyond the sand, have been in the
middle of a foggy ocean.
Paradoxically the “aura”
we experienced was not matched by Budgen’s. He saw perfectly with his glasses
and asked Bateson to put his favourite podcasts by (Melvyn Bragg, Baron Bragg a British
broadcaster, author and parliamentarian.) on the list of favourites in
his iPad. When we first visited Budgen he could not have used his iPad or even
read anything as it was all clouded by the visions of his aura.
Bateson presented Budgen with his portrait, a 5x7 inch
lovely interpretation of an aura (see above). He liked it (did not say anything) but instructed Bateson to put it on his bedside table. Before we left he moved it beside him on his bed.
Bateson and I talked at length driving back on how the man
we knew from our past was almost exactly the man we had visited for three
hours. He was precise, concise and oozing with intelligence. As always it was contrasted (or aided?) by his almost near whisper but all perfect diction.
We discussed, too, Budgen’s exact answer to Bateson’s
question. “Where are you going from here?”
Esa Cara Que Un Sueño Nos Devuelve
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Jorge Luís Borges
Cuando nos anonada la desdicha,
durante un segundo nos salvan
las aventuras ínfimas
de la atención o de la memoria:
el sabor de una fruta, el sabor del agua,
esa cara que un sueño nos devuelve,
los primeros jazmines de noviembre,
el anhelo infinito de la brújula,
un libro que creíamos perdido,
el pulso de un hexámetro,
la breve llave que nos abre una casa,
el olor de una biblioteca o del sándalo,
el nombre antiguo de una calle,
los colores de un mapa,
una etimología imprevista,
la lisura de la uña limada,
la fecha que buscábamos,
contar las doce campanadas oscuras,
un brusco dolor físico.
Ocho millones son las divinidades del Shinto
que viajan por la tierra, secretas.
Esos modestos númenes nos tocan,
nos tocan y nos dejan.
Shinto - Jorge Luís Borges
Translated by Hoyt Rogers
When sorrow lays us low
For a second we are saved
By humble windfalls
Of mindfulness or memory:
The taste of a fruit, the taste of water,
That face given back to us by a dream,
The first jasmine of November,
The endless yearning of the compass,
A book we thought was lost,
The throb of a hexameter,
The slight key that opens a house to us,
The smell of a library, or of sandalwood,
The former name of a street,
The colors of a map,
An unforeseen etymology,
The smoothness of a filed fingernail,
The date we were looking for,
The twelve dark bell-strokes, tolling as we count,
A sudden physical pain.
Eight million Shinto deities
Travel secretly throughout the earth.
Those modest gods touch us--
Touch us and move on.