Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Rock


Mount Behistun [Iran]: photo by Ali Esfandian, 2 August 2010

Again, and again

to return

to the rock

face, asking

the same


of the mute


oracle. How

long, then? And

if not

now, when?

Monument to Darius I the Great at Behistun
: photo by Patrick C, May 2009

File:Darius I the Great's inscription.jpg

Darius I The Great's inscription, Mount Behistun
: photo by Aryobarzan, 15 October 2010

File:Faravahar at Behistun.jpg

Farahavar at Mount Behistun
: photo by Patrick C, May 2009

Mount Behistun: route of ascent to the inscription
: photo by KendallKDown, 1969; image by Tambo, 23 May 2011

Farhad Tarash, at the foot of Mount Behistun
: photo by Coffeetalkh, 10 July 2010

File:Map of the Achaemenid Empire.jpg

Achaemenid (Persian) Empire, c. 500 BC
: map by William R. Shepherd, 1923; image by Giro720, 19 September 2005 (U. of Texas Libraries)


Conrad DiDiodato said...

Note how the rock fissures instead of backgrounding seem to let opposing ("natural") forces stop the Darius I story from being told (perhaps even seen), or rather allow a much more interesting Figure to appear.

After all, where is the rock, line, mountain and where the Darius figure? In order to see it, the mountain must become less a surface and the cracks in its surface more the lines of a real work in progress.

As a thing of the hand it's subject to a much more interesting "deformation" & "indiscernibility".

(Reflections on Mount Behistun after reading "Francis Bacon: the logic of sensation" by Gilles Deleuze)

David Graham said...

"Questions/ of the mute /stone": here are some more lines from Abbie Huston Evans, who had a thing for rock...

Motion, that far-off whisper--it was there
In quartz, in beryl, in the mica sheath.
In crystal-building and in fusion flash
The poles of speed declare themselves, and what
Is cataclysmic, loosed in a splintered second,
Innocuous creeps down its millionth year.

--Abbie Huston Evans. from the title poem of *Fact of Crystal* (1961)

Ed Baker said...


that map THAT MAP ! drawn/composed in 1923 !..
a Beauty....

if I wasn't stuck in this I'd use been a becoming
doing maps like this & in these colors
exploring on parchment-like sheets

now.... why IS "Parthia" underlined ?

looks like maybe it is/was important center along that Silk Road ?

will be a "giggle" if we ever get beyond this present
political CRAPPO
and return to those days of yester-yore

where Every Thing is written in Stone !

Tee See : "keep on keeping on"

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...


The poem at the top:

A capstone.

TC said...

Darius I had that monumental relief on the mountain face carved, and the text, detailing his life and lineage, and framing his ancestry and achievements in a larger history of Empire and empires, inscribed in three languages (Elamite, Old Persian, Babylonian).

His text mentions more than once, in case anyone was not paying sufficient attention, that he is the rightful emperor by the grace of Ahura Mazda, the Zoroastrian God.

Darius also walked the walk. He built and rebuilt and restored temples and palaces, crossed the Black Sea, took much of Eastern Europe, conquered the Pharaohs and the Babylonians, beat back uprisings and revolts.

He had his Tomb carved into the rock face of another mountain, and left to his son Xerxes the work he had left undone.

But no Empire is forever, and Xerxes ran into that most challenging of adversaries, Time.

TC said...

The tombs of the Achaemenid emperors are cut into a single rock massif, high above the ground, and from a distance appear almost identical. They are called locally "the Persian crosses".

Ed Baker said...

the question
DID Darius lie to
the ancient Iranians' supreme god

-- Ahuramazda ---

(who was invented out of Zarathustra who
was (it is written) around-and-about
6,000 years BEFORE Plato)

about his (Darius') killing of Smerdia on

29 September, 522 BC ?

I suppose that the answer is written in those stones....

TC said...

That is a bit of a worried point, Ed. And I think that one of the principal purposes of the inscription was to clear that matter (among others) up -- for "all time," like they say. And perhaps also to silence the querulous. (Good thing you are twenty-six centuries beyond the range of his imperial power.)

Ed Baker said...


let's just hope that we don't send in our drones and smart bombs and blow it all to smitheriens

I mean

we no longer wait for the next generation to 'get born'
before going into another "holy war"

... simultaneously birth AND death through those sacred cave entrances...

let us penetrate



Darius, Xerxes, and let us not forget Ozymandias, beyond whose fallen monument Shelley reminds us "The lone and level sands stretch far away" --


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, golden-crowned sparrow’s dear me
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

to say nothing and by means
of it, no concealment

visual moment, what amounts
to it, not subject to

grey white of fog to the left of point,
whiteness of gull on tip of GROIN sign

TC said...

I have had similar thoughts --

'another "holy war"'

'... simultaneously birth AND death through those sacred cave entrances...'

That "holy war" has been only a hair away e'er since the heyday of Bush II (speaking of empires that are intended to last forever... like the Five Thousand Year Reich... Hitler tasked his intelligence experts to find out everything they could about the meaning of Darius the Great's inscription, by the way).

The only reason that next unholy war hasn't happened is that the last two flopped so badly.

'to say nothing and by means
of it, no concealment'

has been pretty much the substitute for diplomacy, in regard to Iran --

and of course blowing antiquities to smithereens with 'smart' bombs remains one thing we're 'good' at... which causes one to fear for the dusty remains of those Achaemenid emperors, in their 'hardened' tombs (air war had never entered their planning).

let us penetrate

Elmo St. Rose said...

in the book "The Morning of the
Magicians" the attentions of the
Nazis to the occult and their relationship to antiquities and
other Gods was well described though how historically accurate
I don't know.
I know the 12th Imam's progenitor
will go over the line past
diplomacy and nuclear weapons may
end up being used.
Masada math...intended for Hitler
finds its way all over the world
beyond the influence of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists....
Checkout their clock