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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Vallejo: The Vedic Fiber


If it rains tonight, I'd withdraw from here
a thousand years.
No, a hundred, no more.
As if nothing had occurred
I'd believe I were
in a state of becoming, still.

Or without a mother, without
a lover, without
the unending feeling
for a pulse
on a night like this, I'd be
combing the Vedic fiber,
the Vedic wool, diabolical
indication, having pinched
by the nostrils
the two clappers hidden
inside a single bell.

Toting up my life
or claiming I've never been born
won't release me.

What hasn't yet come along won't, but
what's already come and gone,
but what's already come and gone.

Trilce XXXIII: César Vallejo (1922), trans. TC
Asperatus clouds, Schiehallion in Perthshire, Scotland: photo by Ken Prior, 2007


Anonymous said...

a grain of sand
a tilt

file said...

Hi Pale,
powerful words, as always.

particularly moved by the phrase: "the unending feeling/for a pulse" as if we're never sure it's still there, as if we who feel the pulse of the universe can't stop, as if any of us was born without a mother...

I often enjoy reading here, many thanks for putting so much up and so frequently. Was stunned today to be greeted with those amazing Asperatus clouds! Noticed them recently as there are folk fighting for their recognition as 'type' of cloud in their own right, tho as you say "What hasn't yet come along won't" and they've been around for eons but only now have need of a naming.

I wonder, perhaps, if you've already been to kumo file as the asperatus roam freely there too. Been a bit obsessed with clouds of late so you might enjoy some of the pics (tho the words won't stand much comparison to yours here, I fear!)

TC said...


Good to hear from you. And I hadn't known about your blog, so thanks for the tip -- interesting. I see we both have our heads in strange clouds these days.

Vallejo's mysterious Vedic fibers made me think of the image I've used here.

As to the asperatus: whether these weird ropy, twisting clouds have been around for a while is an open question. But worldwide recognition of their existence, and growing speculation as to their possible relation to climate change, has developed rapidly in the three years since a woman in Cedar Rapids, Iowa photographed a flock of them from her downtown office building window. They've been been dubbed asperatus (or undulus asperatus ) after the Latin verb aspero, to agitate or roughen-up. Virgil used the term to describe the surface of a choppy sea. There are those people now who regard these strange twisted cloud masses as signals of alien visitation. But of course when finally the finger must be pointed, the true aliens destabilizing the natural patterns of this planet always turn out to be the same usual suspects, the humans. (Are there Vedic fibers on Jupiter?)

Inevitably in the worldwide attempt to explain asperatus conspiracy theories abound, mostly involving electromagnetic fields and chemtrails, all part of a complicated doomsday scenario:

They Have Been Planning All This For Years... The Time is Now

But the phenomena exist. Anybody who thinks these freaky new clouds are a photoshopped hoax, or something that's been around forever and we just haven't noticed, ought to check out any of the dozens of available videos. They are jaw-dropping (but no, Virginia, it's not The Rapture... yet):

Undulus Asperatus

And what's interesting is this: though video technology has existed for some time, the videos of asperatus displays date almost exclusively from the past few months. Which has given rise to the corollary question: Is Something Happening?

Do You Feel Odd?


"a grain of sand/ a tilt/ emergence": may we read this knotty little oracular poetic gnomon as an encapsulation of whatever process it is that has resulted in the abovementioned whacky meteorological phenomena? If the sand grains be understood as pinballing experiential moments and the tilt as a general global loss of balance, that which emerges might be the tangled neurological confusion Keats alludes to in a cancelled stanza of his Ode on Melancholy, in which he imagines the seeker after melancholy to be sailing on a vessel rigged with ropes from a curious source:

Although your rudder be a Dragon's tail,
Long sever'd, yet still hard with agony,
Your cordage large uprootings from the skull
Of bald Medusa...

To which one can reply only:

Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb

human being said...

it rains tonight... as it is always raining...

xileinparadise said...

At first, that photo looked like something by Turner. Very seldom do we see as dramatic a cloudscape out here on the coast. Can one tire of endless Maxwell Parrish sunsets? Or the lead cork of an unremarkable foggy overcast?

Most poets are amateur nephologists of one stripe or another, from Han San to Baudelaire. There’s something about reading the sky that’s an ancient magic and from which poets of old derived their prophetic gifts. That and understanding the antics of birds.

~otto~ said...

This is what I still hear in my head after a second read:

a thousand years.
No, a hundred, no more.

The photo is wonderful, as are the words.

file said...


thanks for putting up those links. I have read some about undulus asperatus and was aware of the very recent growth in sightings but hadn't heard anyone claim they might be 'new' before (just that they were an unclassified species of undulus and were getting more common). Not doubting you for a minute, just to say that I heard it here first!

Neither had I heard tell of the link with JFK, the illuminati, aliens and the fake moon landing but after you mentioned it I see there are many folk 'out there' who are happy to explain how our fluffy friends are no innocent harbingers.

Not to be too cirrus about this as there is surely (as one of your clips mentions) an odd feeling abroad these days. I'm a firm believer in intuition (more, say, than most conspiracy theories) and I wonder why so many of us are being drawn to look at the skies Right Now. (Not that we didn't before, just that it feels different)

When I got 'the call' to write Came the Angels it was one of those strange flashes of inspiration and the whole story was there in front of me, dragonflies dancing down my spine. They returned when I came here yesterday and saw those choppy skies here too.

dragonflies, eyes on the skies, vague hysteria what could it all mean? Is Elvis coming back?

or is the mundane truth that we have truly facked up the environment finally coming to roost?

Me, I shun the experts and look to artists for answers, so here I am!

Mariana Soffer said...

Very good text indeed.
I always thought that the worst you could feel is when you had an important thing, like a love or a parent, and you lost it, because if you never had it before you can not feel sad because you do not have it now, cause you do not have the idea in your mind of how you feel when you have that, and also you can not miss what you never had.
But it is also a terrible thing to live your life paralized, still, totally limited by your own brain issues and things, that could be as painfull as loosing something you really loved.
Take care my friend!

TC said...

Thank you all, these responses encouraged and in some details specifically guided the subsequent expedition into the dark continents of the three posts that follow. Nephological, Baudelairean, roll-cloudy, eyes on the skies, experiencing the vaguely suppressed hysteria of the historical, centennial in sweep-out because it's too late now for the luxury of the new-millennial, we must limit ourselves to destroying ourselves one century at a time, inside our interesting nimbus of wellmeaning braindamage. It is at least a cultural advance that poets look to clouds and flying things for signs, the old business of haruspicy and carving up of hepatic sections was just astrology with blood on its hands.

Anonymous said...

It is wonderful to think how the raindrops can take us down to a world beyond the senses. To the world of our minds. And it has rained all day long in here...

TC said...

These worlds beyond the senses, which we all inhabit...

(Pero si no lo sabía para hoy hay algunos copos de nieve sobre tu Lago Lácar, tal vez?)

Julia said...

Those incredible new clouds and YOUR Vallejo are wonderful!