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Monday, 17 August 2009

Night in Hell


Strange weather we've been having lately, said I to my friend.

This is only the beginning, my friend said to me.


The hallucinations are innumerable.

Indeed this has always been my problem: no faith in history, total obliviousness to the principles on which it's based.

I'll say no more about this. Poets and visionaries would be envious of me.

Look, the clock of life has just stopped. I'm no longer in the world.

Theology wasn't kidding: hell is certainly
down there.

And the sky is up.

Ecstasy, nightmare, sleep in a nest of flames...

And I will now strip away the veils that conceal all the mysteries: religious, natural; death, birth; future, past; cosmogony, nothingness. I will make the phantasmagoria dance.

...The flame rises again, with its damned soul!

File:Arthur Rimbaud rouge volcan.Png

"Les hallucinations sont innombrables..."
: Nuit en Enfer, from Une Saison en Enfer: Arthur Rimbaud, 1873

The sky after tonight's storm: photo by Barry Janowitz, June 26, 2009
Freakin' weird weather (mammatus clouds, New York City): photo by Jason Kuffer, June 26. 2009
Montage en rouge: Arthur Rimbaud et éruption volcanique: image by PRA, 2007


Anonymous said...

This piece is really intense. In my personal view, hell is here, in this world. We choose to live in it or not. We choose to be haunted by ghosts or set our souls free on their way to happiness. Happiness is inside us.

TC said...


In my current attack of unknowingness I'm like those elephants I imagined interrogating the lost ones about what's to come. And so far they're keeping mum. I suffer from a certain burden of the material, as in gravity, tugging me earthward (as Rimbaud puts it, en bas, or as I've translated, down there). And I believe in a paradise of the natural (your enchanted wood land horse in your new post reminded me) from which as an urban dweller I am pretty much excluded.

There is an urban hell I see around me, though I didn't exactly choose it (just got stuck); many days I feel I have no choice but to inhabit it, with its dead and living ghosts, solely as a physical place from which soul has vanished like a lost wandering Psyche. But as my eyesight fails I remember too that the blind man Tiresias was the only one who "kept his wits about him in the House of Hades" and was thus not quite dead even there (it's like what they say about the ageing brain, use it or lose it). So I'd like to believe it's as you say, if Psyche is lucky enough to discover within herself a good roadmap, or Tiresias comes up with a useful intuitive hunch, maybe some way out for all of us may yet be found. (Do you suppose by the way that internet transgressor bots are really ghosts sent to chain us to an electrical rock in hell, like Jimmy Cagney in the movie White Heat being fried on those oil refinery towers?)

Stu said...

'This is only the beginning'.

The local media here have been focusing on our state's preparedness for the next bushfire season, after the hell that was Black Saturday. Much collective anxiety; the government trying to allay fears with pronouncements about 'moving forward', etc.

I wonder how Rimbaud would write today's city? Actually I think that was one of the questions that got me started...

TC said...


"Only the beginning..."

The lower image here came from one of your fire seasons--scary:


Once in a while I see a crumbled Rimbaud on the streets, bumming cigarettes and spare change, awaiting the Deluge. Or whatever is coming next... possibly

Asperatus Clouds?

file said...

so? Even more clouds! Great juxtopositioning with thoughts, as ever.

just in case you hadn't seen it already there's the cloud appreciation society site with asperatus and many other stunning photo's.

btw btp (or should I call you Tom now?), this piece is not so different from
came the angels
at kumo file (in a way). We seem to be obsessing with clouds at exactly the same time, how strange!

TC said...


Nice angels. Here are a few in exchange:



As to obsessing with clouds: I have been guilty of this curious disorder from some time now. Mostly the conventional types, cirrus, cumulus, stratocumulus.


However the recent proliferation of dramatic sightings of mammatus (like these from one June night in New York City) and asperatus have convinced me the Aether has a screw loose somewhere, so in recent image searches I've been shuttling back and forth between those peculiar manifestations and what remains of what was once called the natural world (though I suppose as in my mind I'm capable of expanding this category to include angels and the Crab Nebula, excluding weird surreal clouds doesn't make much sense... as though anything did, these days).

Zephirine said...

I recently downloaded the rather wonderful Stellarium program (free from which shows you the night sky in your part of the world with all the constellations marked.. There's an option to have 'artwork' which is monochrome illustrations of all the constellation characters and animals plastered across the sky. Although it isn't very wonderful art, there's something about seeing these grey beings, more cloudy than starry, filling the sky space which is at once alarming and somehow right, as if one is now seeing what the sky is for... I can't explain it any better but the program is worth a look anyway.

Zephirine said...

Aha - you can see what I'm on about here without downloading the whole thing. Though the example of constellation artwork is jovial rather than alarming :)

human being said...

an epiphany!

TC said...

Thank you Zeph and HB for being brilliant luminaries in my night constellation. It takes a lot to light up the night sky around here--most nights it's just a red toxic light haze. Wandering around like a blind man in the dark last week trying to get a glimpse of those Perseid meteor showers...


For those who are having trouble with Zeph's link, try:


And there's a shortcut here to some

Stellarium screenshots

(The second shot from right, bottom row, shows how different amounts of light make the universe invisible, this I found relevant to my Perseid-shower-viewing difficulties.)

Meanwhile for those with download issues and other late arrivals, here's an interim post that has stars, a blue planet, a planetarium and a clown:

Like Real People

...And some nights in my dreams I like to visit


Zephirine said...

(Thank you Tom, I don't know why my links didn't work, *sigh*)

Annie said...

Always late to the party...just slipped the tethers to find

cloud movies

TC said...

Thanks Annie, lovely flotation... no tethers shall e'er constrain a cloud!