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Sunday, 17 July 2011



View to Mount Nemrut in Turkey, as the highest point in the picture
: photo by Florian Koch, 2003

The land had not yet risen into view: the streams still meandered
lazily across the white sand beds, amid the terraced alluvial
vegetation that brought back, to the dreaming limestone figures whose
severed heads had been planted erratically in clusters upon the high slopes
that ascended toward the summit under a glaring early morning sun,
inchoate recollections of an old haunting
by the petrified spirits of the forerunners, the brave antecedents. And so again

the great inland mariner birds with wings spread out like the mantles of priests

sweeping past overhead across the broad wastes that isolate the plain from the sea
having swept the gray steel towers away, even now
go reeling away, searching away, over the humming earth. From space

certain faint outlines can be tentatively identified. The ruins of the imperial cult,
arranged in a hierothesion, suggest religious ceremonies, as if,
in having these bizarre colossi built and assembled around his tomb, the emperor whose name is now lost

intended himself to be well remembered.

Nemrut Dağı -- now a national park, famous for the antique statuary on the summit, dating back to the Commagene Kingdom
[c. 163 BC-72 AD]: photo by Tony f, 17 July 2010

View to the tomb-sanctuary of Mount Nemrut with heads of huge statues in front:
photo by Florian Koch, 2003

The peak of Mount Nemrut as seen from a distance of 4.5 kilometres from the north-east. The landscape is unforgiving, with little water available (covered in snow during winter) and rough, sharp stones everywhere. Horses, goats, sheep and cows graze here with shepherds to take them safely from one patch of grass to the next:
photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrisen, 3 August 2009




"The land had not yet risen into view" (nor ridge here either, fogbound) -- no "limestone figures" up there, no "emperor whose name is now lost". . . .


light coming into fog against invisible
plane of ridge, bird beginning to chirp
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

which preceded it, likewise
had been copied twice

“what calls on us to think”
but, thus, is a sound

grey white fog against invisible ridge,
circular green pine on tip of sandspit

Ed Baker said...

here a short video re: Mount Nemrut:

isn't Turkish spoken language pure .....
music rather than our musak !

when living in Lindos on a clear day
which most days were except when they weren t

you can climb to the hill above The Bay of Saint Paul
across that blue sea see the coast of Turkey

that first photo? a similar landscape ( is )

The Valley of Mexico

Anonymous said...

From my current traveler vantage-point of an airport hotel in Newark (the challenges of getting here yesterday were steep and the scars will stay with me forever, I believe), I identify with this scene and wonder whether any faint outlines of my own existence can tentatively be identified from space? I know someone who traveled in this area and will send this on to him. I would love to live with those two statue heads and wish I could collect them and bring them with me to Maine, but the airline would confiscate both of them and my head also and charge us for their efforts and my heirs for the shipping costs of the collected remains home in a plain brown non-hierothesion box. Next time we'll drive. She was right about that.

TC said...


I imagined the sadness of the emperor in having his title and legend forgot -- he probably knew the Heads were not very good at names, and perhaps went out each morning, in the cool hours before the ascent of the cruel baking sun, to repeat it to them again -- and from their distance, they might have wondered what it was he was trying to tell them -- each word dimly reminiscent that the words

which preceded it, likewise
had been copied twice

TC said...


I couldn't get that gizmo to operate on the fnutinrod.

There is mucho footage out there, though.

A curious fact:

The Heads were actually dug up in 1947 by a middle-aged Jewish mother from Brooklyn.

TC said...


It's a revelation to learn that many extremely significant world events in the realm of natural history cannot be detected from space. For instance those Great Plastic Trash Gyres that spin in ever widening circles in the oceans. The plastics degrade down to small chunks that congregate into great masses yet are too small to be viewed by the eye in the sky.

I imagine the Heads as looking on impassively, forming dim conceptions every few hundred years or so, as the centuries go by.

However the limestone is crumbling and will be mere dust (or at least for their sake I hope so) long before all those floating polymers have finally flooded the planet.

Between now and then I shall imagine the Heads as presiding contemplatively over your hopefully tranquil lawns in Maine. It might be their first experience of shade.

Ed Baker said...

tough being old & Iconoclastic... in this condition
all is in ruin(s) and I can get anything to work.. hardly !

try again as I do believe this film is one of the earliest .. in B & W

you must've left the "g" off the url &, you know that word (and it s meaning : august ?

I just found out/realized from whence it came...

it has to do with another stone/rock edifice Aphrodite / the Acropolis & that Ultimate Stone / Rock ... the moon

et cetera

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link to Theresa Goell's story. I didn't know about this and will pursue further next week. A couple of weeks ago I read about a camera that's been developed in Silicon Valley that essentially allows you to point-and-shoot at will, whatever the lighting or state of commotion at the scene (including your own commotion, camera jiggling, etc.), and to "fix" the image in multitudes of ways later. I think the Heads probably receive the masses of information in this way and sort it out up the road. Speaking of which, our first and second set of flights were canceled, and because it seemed likely that a proposed third destination would also be axed by Continental, we DID drive to Maine yesterday (10 hours), just as Caroline originally recommended. Once we were on our way, things seemed to get better and it is extremely beautiful here in Owl's Head, where we'll be attending a wedding. I spent time here a long time ago, but I had forgotten quite how nice the Maine coast and woods are in the summer.

TC said...

The Maine woods...ah, the very thought... paradise.