Hey Poets— I know some of you have time to burn. Why not listen to these echoes from the Roman ruins for a while until, set free from earthly moorings, ready or not, you are launched into eternity to meet your righteous maker.
A detour from Nietzsche –
but fear not, ye Higher Men (and Women),
Zarathustra’s noontide shall flood us with pure light again soon.
In the meantime, enjoy this prose-as-poetry
from that great psychedelic master Kenneth Grahame
to the sounds of Pink Floyd’s 1st album:
The line of the horizon was clear and hard against the sky, and in one particular quarter it showed black against a silvery climbing phosphorescence that grew and grew. At last, over the rim of the waiting earth the moon lifted with slow majesty till it swung clear of the horizon and rode off, free of moorings; and once more they began to see surfaces—meadows wide-spread, and quiet gardens, and the river itself from bank to bank, all softly disclosed, all washed clean of mystery and terror, all radiant again as by day, but with a difference that was tremendous. Their old haunts greeted them again in other raiment, as if they had slipped away and put on this pure new apparel and come quietly back, smiling as they shyly waited to see if they would be recognised again under it.
Fastening their boat to a willow, the friends landed in this silent, silver kingdom, and patiently explored the hedges, the hollow trees, the runnels and their little culverts, the ditches and dry water-ways. Embarking again and crossing over, they worked their way up the stream in this manner, while the moon, serene and detached in a cloudless sky, did what she could, though so far off, to help them in their quest; till her hour came and she sank earthwards reluctantly, and left them, and mystery once more held field and river.
Then a change began slowly to declare itself. The horizon became clearer, field and tree came more into sight, and somehow with a different look; the mystery began to drop away from them. A bird piped suddenly, and was still; and a light breeze sprang up and set the reeds and bulrushes rustling. Rat, who was in the stern of the boat, while Mole sculled, sat up suddenly and listened with a passionate intentness. Mole, who with gentle strokes was just keeping the boat moving while he scanned the banks with care, looked at him with curiosity.
‘It’s gone!’ sighed the Rat, sinking back in his seat again. ‘So beautiful and strange and new. Since it was to end so soon, I almost wish I had never heard it. For it has roused a longing in me that is pain, and nothing seems worth while but just to hear that sound once more and go on listening to it for ever. No! There it is again!’ he cried, alert once more. Entranced, he was silent for a long space, spellbound.
‘Now it passes on and I begin to lose it,’ he said presently. ‘O Mole! the beauty of it! The merry bubble and joy, the thin, clear, happy call of the distant piping! Such music I never dreamed of, and the call in it is stronger even than the music is sweet! Row on, Mole, row! For the music and the call must be for us.’
Behold the terrible glory HERE
O happiness! O happiness! Would you sing, 0 my soul? You are lying in the grass. But this is the secret solemn hour when no shepherd plays his pipe. Refrain! Hot noon sleeps on the meadows. Do not sing! Still! The world is perfect. Do not sing, you winged one in the grass, 0 my soul – do not even whisper! Behold still! – the old noon sleeps, his mouth moves: is he not just now drinking a drop of happiness, an old brown drop of golden happiness, golden wine? It slips over him, his happiness laughs. Thus laughs a god. Still!
“O happiness, how little is sufficient for happiness!” Thus I spoke once and seemed clever to myself. But it was a blasphemy: that I have learned now. Clever fools speak better. Precisely the least, the softest. lightest, a lizard’s rustling, a breath, a breeze, a moment’s glance – it is little that makes the best happiness. Still!
What happened to me? Listen! Did time perhaps fly away? Do I not fall? Did I not fall – listen! – into the well of eternity? What is happening to me? Still! I have been stung, alas – in the heart? In the heart! Oh break, break, heart, after such happiness, after such a sting. How? Did not the world become perfect just now? Round and ripe? Oh, the golden round ring where may it fly? Shall I run after it? Quick! Still! (And here Zarathustra stretched and felt that he was asleep.)
“Up!” he said to himself; “you sleeper! You noon napper! Well, get up, old legs! It is time and overtime; many a good stretch of road still lies ahead of you. Now you have slept out-how long? Half an eternity! Well! Up with you now, my old heart! After such a sleep, how long will it take you to – wake it off?” (But then he fell asleep again, and his soul spoke against him and resisted and lay down again. ) “Leave me alone! Still! Did not the world become perfect just now? Oh, the golden round ball!”
“Get up!” said Zarathustra, “you little thief, you lazy little thief of time! What? Still stretching, yawning, sighing, falling into deep wells? Who are you? 0 my soul!” (At this point he was startled, for a sunbeam fell from the sky onto his face.) “0 heaven over me!” he said, sighing, and sat up. “You are looking on? You are listening to my strange soul? When will you drink this drop of dew which has fallen upon all earthly things? When will you drink this strange soul? When, well of eternity? Cheerful, dreadful abyss of noon! When will you drink my soul back into yourself?”
Thus spoke Zarathustra, and he got up from his resting place at the tree as from a strange drunkenness; and behold, the sun still stood straight over his head. But from this one might justly conclude that Zarathustra had not slept long.