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Translations from the Andromedan
Sloka Five

The Physics of Beauty

Star-riddled roaming Child,
you are not home
Yet on the way will the going
become light
And where home will not be found,
is there
any destination
closer to the lost center
than any other?

In deep green sky a fleece of yellow cloud
mottled beneath with saffron light
dissolves upon Mount Basho where the slopes
are drenched in plaiting streaks the water color
rains across the bluegrass plain below and
drains melodically into the gorges of the Wending Sea

Where sand tinted the hue of bronze
turns to the color of bruised peaches
Asuramaya walks the shore of Epi Kalf alone
and heeds across the estuary dark an evening mist
aglimmer on the backs of black-plumed swans
who glide on currents through the vinca reeds

He hears inside the estuary hush a sound
like sarod eking notes in beads of liquid pearl
exuding slowly from a dense black rush
like ebony-in-flux blown through a flute
his body shudders with the indrawn vowels
enounced in mute and melting rapture

He walks with Pan and Marsyas in his eyes
one satyr dancing and the other flayed
two riddles in a single-scented guise
two mythic visions of the proposition
poetics will presume for human ends:
no mystery without apposition.

Is he content? What does he seek?
What dreaming lent to earth
brightens his brow the moment
silver cranes returned from Lake Manasa
present the divination of his errant rime
compressed into the figure of their flight
just at the point where it turns his mind
returns to incarnation, to doubles
living in two worlds at once and
loving them as one

As if he had
gone further in translation than apposites allow
as if he lingered all too long in vowel-
swept forgone alliteration, each word
tasting single and how is all it takes
if saying makes what it means
yet so mysteriously She dreams, the Muse
beneath her natural ice
must be seduced
before She will inspire
or is it She who will seduce
before confluency break loose?

As if all he could ever do
to keep the rime alive was translate
rag-and-bone by method
undisguised, by divination
risking to describe itself
technique that shows the way
does not get in the way, or so at least
will have been shown, he wishes and
he wills it so his mind divining future deeds
reckoned in rune-like bars of light
between the estuary reeds

The shaman with his eyes aglow
he likens to a strange attractor

And wayward though it was
his method had an edge, each faulty
trans-syllabic strain, each snatch of native rime
evincing the rough slope of the translation
tells him the voice he woos cannot be
just his alone

The gift is granted, then. His effort
will have been fulfilled when evening
slides across the Syrene Limb
one dimming wave of lustrous gel like jade
melted upon a dragonís tongue
displays the utter reaches of the dell
where violet veined with constellating ash
designs new chaos in the star-grained void

Asuramaya looks both ways to reckon home.
His heart to earth is gone. And while
translation flickers in his mind
he will consider silver cranes

nine in a line,
curving on itself into a comma
turns spiral-
wise and
winds into a knot
where cranes
a single
soft white-
a waterspout
shot into spray,
drink and dispel
no longer cranes
but where a flurry of blue-glinting planes
compose a strange attractor
the figure of their flight
converts to lilting aural codes
Asuramaya hears and loads

Star-riddled roaming Child

Navigation by the stars is slow, if time
turns into light and
light into a wave so long to break
so distant and elusive
as if mind alone were a receding sea
and in the tide the dreaming of humanity
set adrift in pictures
the ebb and mull of images
traded from gaze to gaze

poured upon these eyes
such balm of seeing that this blind-
sighted mental congregation
may tremble in one wave-surge like a reef
vibrates to the sea entire, or like
covalent orbs by modulation
infuse desire unto imagination
This wild assemblage
wound on a loom of living threads
like songlines crest and
break upon another shore
another time
Infinity reminds the lot.

For every gaze is finite where
it drowns into the well of cosmic seas
seeing makes the looker vanish
where tears brim the galaxies
nebulae welter and swell in technicolor bruises
inconceivable loss is
captured again and
again the multistained solution
erupts in
limpid nodes









Catís Eye




You have heard it said, even a
single tear
can spread and
stain the ocean whole with salt
Taste how the flavor
simmers in your blood
You see with eyes
salty with tears
You marvel at the sparkle on your cheek
as if your grief
were to ignite a signal flare
one glimmer
among billions
where ash-strewn light
outlines galactic limbs
obsidian night
absorbs the milky swirl of a white hole

Out there something calls you to here
invites pale-seamed reincarnation
Be it toroid-desire
be it mere residue or
some prodigious excess
Be it love or longing for
Be it timing or

Where your eyes shine bright with tears
there is gemmation
visions pricked in nucleic dew
in dreamscape
in recycling genes
there is your fate refracted
your masquerade
shot through with images
bathed in sky-black solution
brought back to life
by deathless involution

Behold entities who drown in Vishnuís Dreaming
lovers waylaid under wasting light
caught by disarming limbs
by spiral galaxies that store
ripening troves of romantic lore

And lingering, your boundaries
phased across the slow-
-melting edges of a fractal maze
you are drawn to what intrigues you,
rescue and refuge,
but beyond that singularity you crave
is what you really crave
one open-ended look
one signal
true enough
to spiral for eternity

The craving is so random, yet exact
Like that elusive moment
when time dies
it leaves the diamond heart intact
and leaves you looking wide
bereft and wondering as if
divinity were inside you, so innate
yet from inside you cannot
access the way to it, cannot
unlock the gateless gate

So you must shift your gaze
(not a second now to lose)
be plunged to welcome calm in the dark sea

Andromeda rises long before dawn
Two million light-years and gone

(and you wonder why this babyís got the blues)

So deep in the well of time, Child
looking up now and again
can you see starlight brimming at the rim?

Or looking down into your heart
do you not see abandoned lives
so like your own you cannot bear to look away?

No intervention seals your fate
No human or divine support
No single one can save you all
but each one of you can save
one other
And saving one another one by one
your haunted world is emptied, changed

Your truth is rescue, the lure and danger sweet
the thrill of going with the drift
invites your innocence
and keeps your power pure

But to be deceived by ideal or ordeal
is the same funny fate
Obliged to love
approve and disapprove
is the undoing of that deathless gift

Yet you arrive, Child
Because the message you deliver is innate:
of whence you come, of what you crave
You will encounter the Belated Muse
where the dark sea is rimmed
milky bright
look with the brave eyes of abandon

[Passage in progress: human beauty calls the Muse]

The Andromedan Prince is generous to castaways
and children who so love to play
will invent games to evoke tears
but the human is a creature of serious intent

So serious, it will have been too late
always too late to change
too late -- forever -- for becoming human

For whatever can be done to prevent
accepting what may be given without charge
it will do
it will see in all desiring a means to an end
yet cannot see the end of
moment of
full surrender

So in bondage to fathomless time
sow denial where a cold and desolating wind
blows through the womb of beauty
and bondage,
not bonding
answers to the silent ache
born in the heart of all those bound to be human
Seeds scattered by the wayside
weeds twisted by the chilling wind
sheltered by savage rocks on planets
unnamed and uninhabitable
revolving in galactic barren lots
are less despairing than their glance
For heavenís sake they await a dumb apocalypse
not Vishnu winking now here, now there
rippling the sensate edges of the Dream,
not Shiva flashing Kama to oblivion
but some titanic psychodrama
the end too late to avert
the climax supreme
one long
disconsolating scream

Yet in you the lost paradise is real
It lives within your gaze
You are compass and home in heart
though you know it not and if
there is no time, there is no lack of time
so it is not too late,
but if there is time it might be passing
through you in a slow blood-flow
moments so replete of rare enduring revelation
pain will bless you by its fleeting stroke
scored in the marrow and
known never to lie
even when language failed
and feeling broke

But searching as the lamp for its beam,
wander from a home gone so far in the skies

Andromeda by opal spills a faint gleam

"Light of a burning candle,
shining through translucent horn"

Two million light-years and still unborn
sunk in an ocean of tears
planets tingle and twirl
no peace from the scream of the splintering wind
no sheltering port
no blessed harbor for pilgrims
outbound on the aching dream

But to be there already
To be mirrored in the Other
is the pure and deathless way

Never to have been born

No death is required to release you
No end to your becoming in the living dream

O precious wunderkind, far-wandering Child,
So giving of yourself, so innocent and wise
You are inbound on the light-wave
that anchors the fleet edge of day to the horizon
And what it takes to keep you here on earth
is everything that needs to call you back
plus love
and what you suffer just to imagine
all that it took to be so loved
and beautiful beyond assuming
all that consumed you as earth shook
the crystal marrow in your bones -
even that
will mutate
in wonderment returning

You will have the Andromeda look.

Star-riddled Child,
it is difficult to know and harder still to say
how you will come this way
unable to divine your fate
yet watched by all you love

For there is no fatal angle in the all-mirroring gaze
no intent to deceive
but fleeing in shame from natural bliss and
going blind in all the vital organs
there is
this sea-surge
cell by cell

Silence indwelling
whose sound wakes the Unborn

The myth for saving earth
will have been co-created there
and nowhere else, and
nothing but the myth will save
Not what it says, the content
or the message clear and apposite
as it might be, but in making it
be rendered free
released in the act of releasing
one to one
each care
each move
each fear
each dare
each fragile inspiration
each moment apposite to now
each look and gesture
transposed toward the Other
fulfills the Bodhisattva vow

If all that ever happened once
is happening now
then every action can be changed
The story made on earth is not a myth
like any other. The plot
must have a pair of human lovers,
the hero and the muse, but never
never never in a million years
imagine the Divine assuming human guise
unless it be yourself, unless it be your lover.

And lovers, in your cosmos dreamed for good
no God is more excellent than the smell of the white peaches.
For you have sprung from earth
like pollen of the Godhead and until
that moment when divining fills your gaze
and you assume the sky-bestowing stain,
you cannot reach the shallow bowl on the sill
beside the yellow curtain flecked with rain.

If this, your fatal vice, to taste
flesh of the Gods, is what it really takes
to get you through the night,
then get the story right:

When manhood died
one starborne seed was sown into the earth
Not sacrifice but surely in surrender
Divinity did enter human throes,
did suffer
and did die -
consider Liebestod -
crucified on the cross of sexual fatality,
but found death wanting
inadequate to rescue or repose

Right there on earth it happened,
one to save one
And so bereft in tremulous embrace
when muse and hero interfused
love-death was not forlorn
for once, not wasted
And so accepting to return, to be reborn
this is true conscious death
this is rapture
and its flavor is sublime

Good taste makes good companions.

As for that champion of all lost causes,
if he ever lived he must have loved a woman
and for her alone, not for humanity,
raised the bloody crossbeam
with arms outdrawn
as if to leap into a spiral dance,
and seeing all the earth
turn vermilion
the moment a few wide-open eyes
saw him emerge,
mutated in the figure of a
gliding swan

"The Lord is a mosaic gel, and his Consort is a scarf - "

Asuramaya heard his consorts whisper from afar.
Sometimes they sang as one, a triple muse
time-lapsed, the image of a single woman
multiplied by three whose sweet talk
guides him in translations
"An Orphic tale refracted by a Gnostic lens
could tell so much to those aside -"
"But on earth the bias is despair, the result
of believing the flesh of Gods is a delicacy rare -"
"So they will see compulsively in any mystic pair
Christ and the Magdalen -"
Asuramaya shrugged and laughed.
"The peaches smell sublime" he signaled back
"but will the Muse impart the clue in time?"
"Belated, but never a moment too late -" they chimed.

The poet stood knee-deep in the Wending Sea,
translations in a sheaf beneath his arm, and
wondered how all he wrote was always known on earth
but lost to human reason, distorted, disremembered.
Translations were a pretext, then, a way to offer
what they had already, a gesture of recovery, perhaps.
So much was elementary on M31
he felt he had only just begun
to make the runic divination plain,
and yet it was almost complete.
His offering
was taking coloration
he glimpsed in skies above the Wending Sea
three swelling hues of amber light
trace a taoist glyph upon the greenish cast
where earthrise looms and rays of shivering jade
surge past the fractal edge of cosmic night.

In this setting his offering looks sure
but what becomes of whatís becoming?

No one really knows. Asuramaya was ready
but translation was only half the challenge,
half the rite. His venture in a myth of mirrored lives
came to expression to be co-created
but intimately by natural selection of those
who might perceive the role of love
in all that they believe,
and the less believed the better!

The offer was intact, conditions ripe.
He had a calling for the human species:
to realize in the link to supernatural life
not moral understanding, but adventure
and to claim in their Divinity
not the Swan who guides the sun
mistaken for a son divine
not some bogus carnal reflection from above
but free play of a humane ethos in passionate
and sensuous love
one story at a time

Thus he would bind them in a spell of words
in scattered rhyme, syntax
collapsing verb by verb
contrived though it might be
was ample for the myth he sung.
The cure is in the dose.
The sample (strange to say) came to his mind
inflected from Orion:
Becoming human in this kind reflection
the offering to make is nothing less
than the most exquisite thing you can imagine Ė
and so imagine, for Orionís sake.

And you Child, looking up from earth
behold in awe the double life you weave
divine light surging back to you

Your memory a rush of whispered tales
Your heartbeat on the switch
Your moment found in doubled lives
pouring out compassion
or drinking from it
You need not know which

Come to grace against all reservations
Slow to learn, slow as the soundless
wheeling of the Constellations...

So listen
when you are alone, how silence in all-
whispering flight and the circling
down of the deep-set Constellations
makes no outer sound
where the pooling ink of the star-brimmed ocean
circles round and round no visible center
pictures enter and pass on the currents of nightwind

Cygnus the soaring Swan
Perseus a brave and bashful troubadour

If navigation by the stars is slow
and home is no destination to be found
then earth must be a distant lonely world
as far from anywhere as you can go
The laughter is divine that lifts the curse
but self-engendered cunning never asks
if somewhere in the sky the naked eye
shows you at last your home,
that parallel universe

"Be watchful Children" as the Blue Prince sings
"Welcome the day by ever letting loom
play in your breathing where each moment
prove a myriad guises of the fear of death
transmuted by an all-divining love, not power
will make over what is killing you is
all you have denied to live a stable life and
keep the fear in check

Yet something gives where pride or arrogance
disguise an aspiration from the depths
your heart will have divined its apposition
and marked with feeling by the sign
revealing why you suffer and how the wound
you leave in time will not be hidden nor healed

So till you will it open unto death
you cannot reach us
Lord and Muse

For every gaze is finite
where it sounds the well of cosmic seas
all guises of emotion are yours to lose and
shiver if you will when slackening fire
sets cool edge on the nerves in desperation
scream out for delay in hopes to animate
a fast-dissolving dream

So stream to us for toward us
all the currents run exquisitely away
Where sky and sea dissolve and merge
accept the day as all there is,
knowing youíre not to live save by dying
find Beauty even in the womb where pain
conceals its cure

Our love is dangerous and pure
Flame from the lips of laughing Gods
will sight the elements of sin and burn you clear

Our love is tremulous and near
If flowing in your breath the rise and fall of
ecstacy is ever felt let death blow
through you as it will and suffer to be
sundered where you melt

[Passage in progress]

Where nightwind hastens dawn
Soft currents in the sea-womb
Stir a veil settling to rest
Andromeda sinks toward the West

Distant thunder steadies the earth.

Far aloft wide wings in a soaring cross
Mark the solitary flight of Cygnus
Banking high off the Milky Way
Time in a veiling dust of distant suns
Spatter the breast of the paling Swan

Starlight is dawn in disarray
when morning lifts the stellar veil
desire beckons at the earthís soft rim and
humankind consigns to day the errant fate
it loves to hate
its tragic way of looking good

Across the night sea listen, Child
Born in solitude to love
Go welcome in the wilderness
Above is not different from below
Light wakened in the eyes divines the day

How nightwind hastens dawn
Where you go, Child
is still beyond the places you have gone

Without a center found above
make solitude the round for love
and having come this far to be
whoever guessed it might be you
having come this far the dream to come true
right here, right now and ever on
in the homing down of the star-grained breast,

reach the planing Swan

Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2018 by John L. Lash.