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Tuesday, 16 June 2009



File:C solarcorona2003.gif

A shower of gold on the wave
Wings make
A black hole
Opens in the sky
And clarity comes through
Like water from a hose
Call it daybreak

File:Sunrise in Constanta,Romania.JPG

Solar corona: photo by Tomruen, 2005
Red sunrise over the Black Sea: photo by Moise Nicu, 2009


Dale said...

Tom, these solarity poems are terrific. I like their contemplative leads into place---the Colorado poem in particular shows how the solar and the telluric meet through human intrusion. Boulder is written on our future, as you know. I wonder about the geography of our lunacy, too.

Mariana Soffer said...

IT's like the sun is a black hole, seems like a paradox, but it's not because the black holes come from suns.
Amazing images, and a beautifull text.

TC/BTP said...

Dale, Mariana,

Many thanks.


That blackout effect of the solar corona (which is made apparent to us in the animation--the work I believe not of the original photographer but of an uploader named Saperaud) does indeed fill the mind with the daunting challenges of paradox.

The summer solstice seemed the time to furtively tiptoe to the brink of this braintwister--in fact one of the oldest of paradoxes, the Paradox of Nothing, a problem with a history extending back beyond the mischievous Renaissance players-upon-paradox all the way to those original perceivers of the built-in deep limitations of language and logic, the pre-Socratics.

I am put in mind of the greatest of poems upon the Paradox of Nothing, done at the winter solstice by John Donne (a lawyer/logician manqué who always loved to play upon paradoxes, including the one in his own name, "done" and "Donne"): it is a masterpiece of making Something out of Nothing, and at the same time a moving statement of grief upon the loss of a beloved Other. As poems go, I've always regarded it as the equivalent of a solar corona:

A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy's Day, Being The Shortest Day

'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world's whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar'd with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death: things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
I, by Love's limbeck, am the grave
Of all that's nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light and body must be here.

But I am none; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all;
Since she enjoys her long night's festival,
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's, and the day's deep midnight is.

Mariana Soffer said...

I discovered the pre-socratic Greeks 20 years ago approx, and they blew my mind. I loved their ideas about time, things, thoughts, and many other stuff. Thanks for sharing this great work with us.

TC said...


Not till I'd posted that poem did I remember I had your solstices reversed--it's nearly "the world's deep midnight" where you are!


Reflecting a bit further on the Ed D. line to which you have alluded, and on its original context, and on your implied present situation--the two situations fraught with not entirely dissimilar uncertainties--I'm reminded of the relatively hopeful and clear prospect of another epoch, now forty years gone and pretty much
beyond our present ken:

"I know that peace is soon coming, and love of the common object,
and of woman and all the natural things I groom, in my mind, of
faint rememberable patterns, the great geography of my lunacy."

(E. Dorn, "Geranium", from "The Newly Fallen", 1961)

It's to be hoped that however late in the game, and wherever on this earth, a bit of peace may soon be coming for us all.

At least the sun appears to be coming up this morning...

TC/BTP said...

Did I really say "forty years gone", when it's fifty?

Ah, the residual rose colored tint of the ineffectual spectacles of senior dementia.