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Saturday, 24 March 2012

A Basket of Snakes


Snake charmer, Varanasi, India: photo by fredcan, 2006

Beyond the shadow of the ship
..I I watch'd the water-snakes...

When Coleridge "saw" the water snakes

was he having

"The Horrors"? Poisonous coils

of those

notoriously assail

"Poets in their Youth". Later


and Madness

allow so much less

free time.

Bapuji & his daughter, Varanasi. India. This sadhu is a Khareshwari Sita Ram Baba (Vishnu devotee) who has already been doing tapasya for over 10 years, that is making a vow to keep standing for 20 years, a mortification of the body to concentrate on the mind: photo by fredcan, 2007


TC said...

The obvious locus classicus for this small dismal thoughtlet (admittedly sea-changed somewhat in the serpentine channels of Time):

We Poets in our youth begin in gladness;
But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.

Wordsworth, Resolution and Independence (writ 1802)

Anonymous said...

The pendulum handed me

arcs wildly in a distant
though not disembodied way ‒
my friend once more flailing between
disappointment and belief


Ghosts I never saw still
the hairs rose at the nape . . .

conversing with her (long) dead husband . . .

seems now so ordinary

no hypnosis necessary

Terror a walking commonplace

An explanation for everywhere

(Those years few after all)

TC said...

In the end what else can we say but Let It Go?

TC said...

But was Sam able to do that when Charles Lamb (knowing his penchant for the supernatural) asked him Whether the higher order of Seraphim Illuminati ever sneer?

Anonymous said...

I have no answer to Mr Lamb's Questions but I do take away the word 'oppugned'

Anonymous said...

I really like Empson's 'Legal Fiction'

Anonymous said...

T misquote Mr. Empson:-

I'm no' mad yet

Anonymous said...

Well it mentions a snake and is one of my more crazy pieces of scribble??? Segues with "let it go" too?

Everything goes

The story has been revived several times – a farce with stars
filmed more than once

illustrates a talent for assuming various disguises
Banished you say to a time and a place where popular taste

and lack of imagination are the same thing And not
how in the hell are we going to end the first act? How here

and how to get moving the dead weight of it all at all?
Fallen in love you mistakenly leave behind a quartet

of sailors Now there will always be a waiting shore for them
If we are to discuss an impending marriage there is also

a machine-gun in tow Hope heard it Moon admits it
and we get to make a new costume out of an assortment of stuff

the details of which are quite amusing but would be a dead giveaway
to mention It’s an awkward business and a merger seems as unlikely as

that bluebird in your wood stove a few years back
If I try to invent some decent explanation I may be asked to lead

a revival in the ship’s lounge therefore snake eyes
and send both factions to the brig or pen instead some Chinese

characters with a fake beard made of dog’s hair the particulars
of which have been widely circulated elsewhere

Even should I glimpse the mysterious girl she will be no doubt
in the company of her mother and idiot fiancé makes me seasick

and eager to confess some true identity to any Wall Street broker
whose indecencies exposed is still idiot enough to listen

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Methinks that madness
hath no constraint—

Let that thought loose
lest the mind feel pain.

--Saffilis Zaengmac

Nin Andrews said...

Yes, I suppose madness comes to us.
And about snakes, my sister used to catch snakes, copperheads included. She and my mother were always chiding me for not being willing to give it a try.
Then one year my sister got a pet boa, and its dinner-mouse ate it. Ugh.
Sounds like someone's eating popcorn in here, my mother commented.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


I wonder at the Wordsworth ... it seems, for himself at least, he got it backwards ...


TC said...

Stanza VII of Wordsworth's poem Resolution and Independence goes like this:

I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy,
The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride;
Of Him who walked in glory and in joy
Following his plough, along the mountain-side:
By our own spirits are we deified:
We Poets in our youth begin in gladness;
But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.

The "marvellous Boy" was dead at 17; the ploughman is Robert Burns, dead at 37.

I don't know how much Joy and Gladness WW himself would go on to experience in old age. Comfort, yes. A post office sinecure, nice. But one suspects the despondent moments crept in every now and again, the morose brown studies.

But now, Nin's mother -- better than joy and gladness or despondency and madness is good old tough laconic wit.


Robb said...

Despondency and madness ... no wonder I'm so busy doing nothing.