Cantos 9 and 10


I was going to finish reading a book by Jean Laplanche – so had “reading” on my todo list. But then I saw my blog and I felt an OCD compulsion to get through to canto 10! There are 120 cantos in the cantos. At this rate it will take me a long time to finish. But maybe if I read 10 a month I can finish in a year. This past weekend was the jewish new. year. So I am going to embark on reading the remaining 110 cantos this year. Lets see if I can do it!

Canto 9 : floods rose/ fought in snows – the cycle of a year – the weather – cyclical time is the tyme of myth – but quickly we are thrown into history – someone is escaping dogs! Who – I have no idea – I read canto 8 month ago. I really like the capital letters and proper nouns in this canto. I enjoy the repetition of And

And the, And they, and one, and he, and old

this continues for a while, interrupted by the occasional other line like – “As old bladder said” I like this line because I like the herb bladderwack – it feels slimy to me – It is a slimy word. Do I have synesthesia? The old wattle-wattle slipped into Milan (is this humor?) Then we go to pages of dialogue or quotations.

My problem is that I cannot distinguish between one canto and another. The distinctions seem arbitrary. They don’t have their own distinct character – they are all a mish mash – its like different kinds of stew. But stew sort of starts to taste the same. Maybe I will be able to distinguish more. Stew is also very filling

Canto 10

I recognize a vernacular here – I contemporary or early 20th century vernacular. This was probably hip at the time and now sounds like something from Downton Abbey (Downtown Babby)

As I read this canto I am drawn in. There seems to be a character, a hero or anti hero, a point of view. It reminds me of the middle section of the wasteland. I am drawn into the emotion of the thing even though there is a block of latin I do not understand – like something on a tomb stone or a decrepit monument.

I am in flow now with the canto

Canto 8


This morning I put “read cantos” on my to do list. I try to limit to three things, really I should have 1 thing, and sometimes it balloons to 7 things – and I don’t always do things on my to do list. My practice is not to have self judgement about this failing but compassion – it is a self-compassion practice.

So imagine my surprise when looking for an old human design reading I saw the cantos and remembered my todo list and began reading Canto 8.

The words that I saw first were “Slut” Bitch” its like one of those new age tests where the word you see in a jumble of letters is the thing you are going to manifest.

But I also saw truth. And shelves and shores. Shelves are not shores Ezra! But they sound like they are. That is false speech – not true.

The feeling of this canto is different – granted it has been a month since I read canto 7 but this feels more personal – an epistle. Peace is being discussed – a public matter – a political matter – but in the language. of privacy and family. I am adopting family/political as a binary – oikos/polos – home/city. There is somethig. of the cloud atlas to this canto, of the virtuosity of a mimic. It makes sense – what a disappointment.



It also feels ike an inventory poem- perhaps like a todo list

But the canto devolves into the old canto format starting with Lyra. It is a magic work and induction to a mystical past away from the political/family mundane business – from the material world to the enchanted world.

and we vacilate between worlds for a bit. And the politics become poeticized. What does that mean? To poeticize – they become open to many meanings / they open to the reader/ to collaborate.

What are the poetics here – what is the structure of this many meaningness / of the opening. The container. is the poem, the entrance is the poetics.

I don’t know I am only at canto 8. The war is negotiated between to men via letters and then narrated via flowery “poetic” verse – the different aspects of the same event have different languages and they look different too.

How to they echo history or pull in the future? Pound pulls in the greek emperor in Florence, the gods (Poseidon/Dionysius). At one aspect history happens all at once, myth exists, and we look for language to express that paradox.

We move to city states and nations – to people ventians, Milanese, Naples to seasons, This poem is so hard to read.

And he was twelve at the ome, Sigismundo,

And no dues had been paId for three years,

And hIS elder brother gone PIOUS,

And that year they fought m the streets,

And that year he got out to Cesena

And brought back the leVIes, And that year he crossed by night over Fogha, and

the end of canto 8

Cantos 7


Truth be told I kept forgetting what canto I was at – and I delayed at making known this uncertain situation.

Eleanor and two other e-words in ancient greek – epsilon. Why are the marble columns false? The marble is false – not the columns – or the entire structure. How is it a theater set? Is it a tromp l’oil, a veneer, a painting, paintings an illusion sometimes. Painting is anti matter – it is decomposed matter -pulverised matter and then cooked into something else – paint – to create an illusion of something else- when it is just rock dust on a flat surface. I have been thinking painting is about geometry, and now, topology. But perhaps painting is really about geology and chemistry and cooking.

Cantos 7 and 8 is about none of these things. We start with the ancients – Homer, Ovid, Dante (less ancient), we move from mythic storytellers to an empty home with ghosts. A friend says I have a ghost- that I am haunted – I have a Dybbuk. Hauntology is a new field of philosophy invented by Derrida.

There are no sounds in this house, no knockers on the door, no story tellers. There are lots of images though – a lintel – a low ceiling – four chairs -a cloth sunk top “The scarlet curtan throws a less scarlet shadow,” This sentence makes no sense, but s-es, the sibilene sneak. “And her moving heIght went before me,” I love this image – moving height. heavy height static flight, tall hole, heavy hole, moving cavern, moving castle. I love sentences that start with AND -when there are a few of them – and when they are written by a famous poet. “Words lIke the locust-shells, moved by no inner being,” “Square even shoulders and the satin skin,”

I read “Lies heavy in my arms, dead weight” It copies as “LIes heavy m my arms, dead we1ght” I misread it as “Legs heavy in my arms, right wraith.” “mooning” mooming mooing booming mawing yawning beijing because we have random injections of china.

“LIfe to make mock of motIon For the husks, before me, move,” This makes me sad – is it always true? No

And this is me

“Eternal watcher of things, Of things, of men, of paSSIOns Eyes floating in dry, dark alr,”

Eternal watcher of air, atmosphere floating leaves and branches and still shadows

This canto feels like a lacuna a cesura a pause a silence a rest so I am going to stop. I was going to read Cantos 7 and 8 but I Can-not (get it) I only am doing 7.

M&A Book Club – Grimms Fairy Tales – The Faithful Animals


In this story a man saves animals from children by paying the children money. Out of money he steals from the king, is caught, and locked in a box with holes, water and loaf of bread and tossed into a river. The animals he saved try to break him free but cannot with out the help of a magic stone. The man gets the magic stone and wishes for a castle. After a while merchants come to the castle and the man foolishly trades his stone for some clothing. His castle disappears and he is back in the locked box in the river, the animals connive to steal the stone from the merchant – but then when they are swimming to release the man the bear forces the monkey to make idle chit-chat and drops the stone. They then scare the frogs into collecting all the stones from the river. One old fat frog finds the stone – because it has a red ribbon – the man once again wishes for his castle and lives happily ever after with his animals.

What the hell is this! Well it is not a story where love conquers all. Again it is a story about transaction, money, value, identifiers. I am so fucking tired. Colors: red. Elements: stone, water. Symbols: Boxes, Bread.

Who are the animals – our elemental nature. I have been reading about huddhism and the 6 realms: gods, jealous gods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell. In each realm there is a path towards liberation – freedom – liberation from the 6 realms all together. The 6 realms are on a wheel. Do we experience all the realms in one life, one realm per life. On my vision quest I saw wheels. When I see a wheel in my minds eye I see a decoder wheel.

The story reminds me of the origin of the chinese zodiac story where a bunch of animals try and cross a river.

How do we remember to find our magic – our transcendence our freedom – remember the red string.

Cantos 5 & 6


“Great bulk, huge mass” – yes this is the cantos

Ecbatan – ancient capital of Medes (Iran) reminds me of Ozymandias – Shelley – also in a poem by Archibald MacLeish

Measureless seas and stars – measureless to man – Iamblichus that old neoplatonist which a crazy cosmology. How is this poetry – it is words linked together forming images but is there a story – a through line? a thread? Is it legible?

What is canto 5 about? blue, the elements, color?The color of Ecbatan – of ancient Iran. We move to the world of romance, knights and spain where does this follow from Medes? So many names, proper nouns, and quotations. Siga siga (slowly slowly) Shanti Shanti Shanti

Canto 6 – I feel the rhythm of the thing now – backward and forward in time from mythology to history from English to French to Italian to Greek to… from personal to national (oikos to polis). A mash up of history. Time does not exist everything exists simultaneously amongst a web of associations. Where is the poetry though? Is it in the juxtaposition, in the associations, in the language, in the line breaks, in the ‘d,

“And he

“And mixed

“And went

“And was

Cantos 3& 4


I have zero energy.l have negetropy. And now I think of Keats and THAT WORD that eluded me. I looked through Wikipedia, through the life of keats. NOTHING. But searched Keats idea theory -negative capability.

I don’t even know what negative capability IS – although the blogosphere was all lit up with it a few years ago. It is letting the mystery be. I feel that – I am full of negative capability. Negative capability brown is my new name. That or Finn Finkelstein or Meredith Finn or Finn Meredith. Finnith.

What is happening in the cantos 3 and 4? They are themselves. I am reading about the birth of dryas and nymphs from oaks and water. The Dryas – the younger dryas – which is also the ice age. Dryas is a plant in the Rose family – Rosaceae – native to the artic. The winter rose of Grimm.

We move from myth and the creation of elementals or supernatural to El Cid! I read El Cid when one of my parents was in the hospital in my 20s. Which one? I think my mother. It is hard for me to order memories these days. This is why I am a computer programmer – it does the ordering for you. Also why I so enjoy a good seder.

Do I have to spell it out?I am going to leave it all in negative capabilities.

Seals and Gates and towers and sand and all I can think is of Lord of the Rings.

“Drear waste, the pIgment flakes from the stone, Or plaster flakes, Mantegna pamted the wall Sxlk tatters, ” Nee Spe Nee Metu ‘ Without hope – without fear

The fourth canto and we are back in Troy! “And by the curved, carved foot of the couch, claw-foot and hon head, an old man seated” I had a dream once – perhaps a recurring dream of a claw-foot tub in a beautiful home. on Dorchester in hyde park with a beautiful door knocker and there was a secrete here. To get back to this house! Dreams are part of the eternal return.

Very architectural very stoney – is canto 4. 4 is the number of the builder. It is my life number.

Repetition – glitter, trees, tis, ivory, shadows, vidal, blaze, muttering, Actaeon, nymphs- a fish scale roof – what is in the collective unconscious? Flaking off

A pine! A white pine? A red pine? A locus a lotuss

“One scarlet flower IS cast on the blanch-whIte stone” a bit obvious Ezra

We move back to the Chinese – the Chinese wind – and then the greeks again – Danae

is Ezra just showing how clever? what of the language Is it hard to enjoy when you know everything is a reference an index – a bunch of fingers pointing?

Cantos 1 &2


This is increasingly my reading log/blog. A painting friend texted that she was reading Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Now I have dipped into the cantos but have never read them cover to cover. I am not going to talk about the cantos because I really don’t know anything about the cantos – and everything I know is probably wrong. I do know that Ezra Pound edited that modernist classic -The Waste Land. And so this is sort of waste land ish -and also sort of James Joycean – those were the influences.

My friend sent a screenshot of a commentary on the text comparing logopoeia with phanopoeia. The play of ideas versus the play of images. The cantos being phantopoeia. Now what are the images of the first two cantos!

Canto 1 is from the Odyssey! It is reworked from a dated translation. It begins with a ship! We are going on a voyage my friend! My friend Orit and I decided that we should make an animated tv show about noah’s ark but it is a decadent party ark- because it is the end of the world. There is something magical about this passage – setting sail – a ocean passage – an adventure (although I prefer Cimmerian not Kimmerian), rituals and sacrifices and gods (Pluto and Persephonie) And the dead. To begin we must go back maybe but not to repeat. I just wanted the D&D movie with my kids and in that movie to they go and talk to the dead. What do the dead have to tell us?

Canto 2 we continue but we enter into history from mythology of legend – we talk to Robert Browning – a poet! We are not connecting with tradition – with our transmission from poet to poet – the great golden chain. “Under black fur-hood, hthe daughter of Ocean,” This line is so tactile. Reading the greek – I am reminded eleanor is helen – but what if I did not read greek – what would this look like to me – these arcane symbols. The format changes in the middle of canto 2 – I don’t know the proper name.

“Leopards snrffing the grape shoots by scupper-hole, Crouched panthers by fore-hatch,” No idea what is going on here. But Images YES! Runa Puma

“And So-shu churned In the sea, So-shu also, USIng the long moon for a churn-stick” All mythology and the milky ocean of Rama and the milky way and all poetry and mythology is about the cosmos/ the world – I am that!

“And we have heard the fauns eluding Proteus m the smell of hay under the olive-trees.

And the frogs singing against the fauns In. the half-light



I also wants to put something about Boothby’s book Death and Desire on Lacan and Freud’s metapsychology. The first 30 pages are about painting and the relationship between the foreground and teh background but what if everything is just atmosphere and certain objects have more weight more gravity in the atmosphere. Monet’s heystacks and different from Millet. Millet has gleaners – people – subjects – objects. Monet has light – the heystacks are just as they appear in light. They arise from. the atmosphere. How do we organize our experience. Lacan is about language – language is the structure of the unconscious – Jung (or maybe Hillman) is about images – images are the structure/of the unconscious (or perhaps archetypes for Jung). Freud is also about myths and drives – oedipus, the death drive. Logopoeia and phanopoeia in another place. When I think of ordering – i think of yes – computation. What if the order is the first thing and from that the word and the image arise.

M&A Book Club – The Singing Springing Lark


So many stories ? Why so many? Part of my personal journey I suppose is relishing in the abundance and the multiplicities. We forget the importance of this in the monoculture we now cultivate.

I forgot how much I love these stories. How I want to make a Grimms fairytale video game. How now the song ‘play a video game’ by Lana Del Rey is in my ears.

The story follows a stupid father and his three daughters. He asks them what they want, and the first wants a diamond the second a pearl and the third a singing springing lark – whatever that is. He can buy the first two but not the last.

Throughout the story I see money. What can money buy? What transactions exist without money? I think about this with cryptocurrency and the possibility of a new way to transact other than debt.

In order to get the lark the father must give his favorite daughter to a lion! Which he does.

As it turned out the lion was really a prince so although the daughter thought she was walking to her doom she walked towards something else. Not sure what – this looks like self-sacrifice to me.

Again one of the other sisters get married and there is a snafu where the lion gets turned into a bird for 7 years. SEVEN! This is a magic number- again. And again, the daughter/wife self sacrifices to go chase after the lion/bird. but this is an example of a woman going on a quest not a man – so I suppose this is interesting different. What is a female questor? I alway think about what is the heroine’s myth – but perhaps this is part of the old culture that we must leave behind for a new collective myth without heroes or heroines but some other story line.

The daughter/sister gets help from the winds, gets magic trinkets, and goes through trials, there is an almost marriage of the lion/bird to another and then the duagher/sister prooves herself.

These stories are all so similar? Why are there so many of them? What is the difference that makes the difference?

M&A Book Club – Grimm’s Fairy Tales


Through the magic of bibliomancy I selected “The Summer and the Winter Garden” for our next tale. This seems to be a version of beauty and the beast.

This tale appears more modern. There is much less symbolic language and repeatedly the heroine suffers from “anxiety”. I wonder what this word is in the original german -maybe Aya knows.

So lets start with our symbols. First we have three daughters and a sort of negligent or thoughtless father. The father is a merchant – I imagine the magician from the tarot deck – a hustler. The merchant asks his daughters what gifts they want. The eldest wants a dress, the middle wants shoes and the youngest a rose. Of course the youngest is his favorite. What is the meaning of 3 – the three fates I have mentioned before, also matter soul and spirit. There are more. A dress is the costume we wear – our persona. our shoes concern how we travel in life and how we are grounded to the earth. A rose is our connection with beauty. The petals of the rose are the same as the movement of venus through the sky in a 5 year cycle.

It is midwinter. I think of In the Bleak Midwinter by Rosetti and of Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer. As I write this, midwinter is fresh in my memory. There are no roses in midwinter. The father searches and searches and eventually steals a rose from a garden that is half in sunshine and half under snow – a summer garden and a winter garden.

I see this image very strongly in my mind’s eye. A walled courtyard half in summer and half in winter. I have been thinking a lot about the Dionysian impulse and the Apollonian impulse from Nietzsche’s birth of tragedy – and then explored in Walking with Nobby. I have been thinking about another impulse – The Artemisian – which comes from Artemisian the maiden huntress and goddess of the moon (and twin of Apollo). Artemis is the goddess of the third way – and it is at where three roads meet that Oedipus meets the Sphinx and that births psychology. The winter garden and the summer garden makes me think of Demeter and Persephone. What is a Demeterian culture and a Persephonian culture. We cannot eat the food of the underworld if we ever want to leave it. But do we want to leave the underworld – maybe no – maybe a life in the underworld is ego death – a life in radical plutionan truth and riches.

Ok – so the idiot father steals the rose a beast runs after him and says he can keep the rose but he will marry the beautiful most loved daughter in a week.

A WEEK! weeks figure in this story. But not seven days. A week is an aggregate. I think of the Sorites paradox – when does a grain of sand become a heap. When does a bunch of days become a week?

Then does winter become summer? When does the beast become a man? When does a woman fall in love? This is starting to sound like a bad bob dylan song.

Anyway, this is about phase transitions – which is the neglected corner of metaphysics and epistemology. So obv the girl does not go to the beast in a week, and the beast goes and kidnaps the girl. This is problematic for me, even though I have been an instrument of the patriarchy for much of my life – and still am in many respects – and now with full consciousness of this fact. The girl falls in love with her kidnapper – we call this Stockholm syndrome – and it is FUBAR. This is why we need new tales and new myths. Aya is writing these and we will publish them in 811.

Without these violent overtones, we could read the story of the girl and the beast as the light and the shadow, beauty and the ugly, the sacred and the profane, the refined and the brute, the play of duality – the alchemical play of duality that creates something new – in this case the young prince resurrected from the dead beast buried under cabbages – but I digress.

The girl falls in love with the beast – ugh. But the girl misses her father. The beast has a MAGIC MIRROR. I sometimes wear an ankh pendant. This is very 1970s of me. I wear it because it symbolizes the mirror- to keep my mirror clean, of dust, of projections, to see clearly what is reflected in our world – the maya – which is also an illusion like the mirror. In the magic mirror the girl sees her sick father – heart sick – and goes home. BUT the beast says she needs to come back in ONE WEEK (not 7 days).

She goes home and then her father dies. The girl is consumed with grief and forgets to return in a week. I am reminded of Antigone. Where do new rules come from? I am really into this idea?.Where do we get the laws? Our own laws? Our transvaluation of values? Peter Kingsley has some provocative words on this – and dream incubation … but perhaps new laws come from grief – or perhaps grief breaks laws. Grief is a rupture – a lacuna.

The girl returns to the beast too late. The castle is covered in dark cloth. There is no summer garden only a winter garden. She sees Cabbages! Cabbage heads, actually. Brassica oleracea. Most Indo-European words for cabbage include the word head. Cabbage comes from caboche meaning head. There is something about cabbage that is about decapitation. Apparently, cabbages and grape vines cannot grow next to each other. With grapevines, we cut the first growth because the second one propagates – that is the stories about the two sons. Also people thought if you ate cabbages you would not become drunk. This has no relevance for the story.

The dead beast is buried under the cabbage heads. The girl waters the beast and comes alive, becomes a handsome prince, and the castle is restored and the summer garden returns.

The male principal is the one that transforms -the beast – but the woman does all the work.

The Gnome – M&A Book Club on Grimm’s Fairy Tales


The best thing about this story is the end! Not because the story was bad but because the end is so weird.

I loved this story so much. More and more I see these fairy tales as intertwined with similar characters and symbolism.

I find it difficult to write about this story. I cannot seem to organizing my thoughts. My main thought is about tests and proofs again. But it is more about personal decision making than proofs.

How do I know what to do in the moment?

The “evil” brothers strategize and do not really think for themselves, they accept what the gnome tells them without question. The other brother (Hans) appears to act his conscious. Why do the evil brothers think the good brother is stupid? Maybe because simplicity appears stupid. Our society definitely seems to prioritize complexity over simplicity – over DO EASY!

I do think this is about nonduality and awareness, as everything is really. Sense-make in the moment – all evil – all karma comes from strategizing and acting thoughtlessly according to rules. The stupid brother is really engaged in a transvaluation of values – thank you Zarathustra.

Symbols and Observations

Three – The king has three daughters, and there are three huntsman

9, 7, 4 – the number of heads on each of the dragons. What do these numbers mean? In the first story we read there was a dragon with 9 heads.

Apples (trees) – this reminds me of the garden of Eden

Gold (Golden apples)

Magic – The flute





A Search ( the huntsman search for the missing daughters)

Necklaces – the First princess gives the stupid brother a neckless after he kills the dragon

Headlessness – the brother’s heads are chopped off

Gnomes (I think this is the first time we have met a gnome).

Music (I think this is the first time we have music – but we have a magic flute that calls the Gnomes to Hans)

Stupidity – this is the first story that talks about stupidity – Hans is considered stupid, although he turns out to be the smartest or most successful. To me, this is about acting without a strategy (or malice or manipulation).

Final Thoughts

Three are the fates – the past present and future. Music is the medium of time. We go under the earthin this story; as so above so below perhaps. Or perhaps there is something to discover – perhaps this is about orientation and dimensionality, up and down.

The hero – the stupid brother – is named Hans. And I picked this story because the last story we read ended with a story about Hans.

“Kling, klang, gloria.
Who sits within this tower?
A King’s daughter, she sits within,
A sight of her I cannot win,
The wall it will not break,
The stone cannot be pierced.
Little Hans, with your coat so gay,
Follow me, follow me, fast as you may.”

Is the huntsman the little hans? Does he have a gay coat? At least Hans could probably help the princess out.

Our story today ends with the following strange line: “When the wedding took place, I was wearing a pair of glass shoes and stumbled over a stone. The stone said, Clink! and my slippers broke in two.”

So this to me leads to a story about glass slippers? Also how does stone speak? There is a book called if stones could speak – and it is about cemetaries.