Another Poem, for Forum Critique and Consideration

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archive Thru March 2002: Archive thru March 2002:Another Poem, for Forum Critique and Consideration
By Chrysippvs on Monday, April 29, 2002 - 09:03 pm: Edit

Well, the poem was rejected for the college literary journal on the grounds that it was "too esoteric" and that "the subject matter seems to use a set of symbols unknown, and untranslatable, for the people that would be reading this journal." They concluded with "due to the length we felt that other poems should be included that would be more intelligible to the Millsaps reader."

Is it surprising? Nope. I couldn't honestly expect them to print nearly 100 lines of this...or should I?

- J

PS. I want the opinion of anatomist concerning the poem...I know he will be good and vicious...

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 - 09:32 am: Edit

It is from the title plate of John Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica (Antwerp, 1564), it reads, "Who does not understand, either be silent, or learn."

The aut..aut thingie creates an "either or" statement.

You can read it here:

Dee's work is something tedious, but very insightful.

A fantastic website, I have used it for years.

- J

By Auntieminda on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 - 08:12 am: Edit

While we're at it J, would you help me out with the translation of the Latin? With the help of an online dicitonary, I would guess at "Who doesn't understand keeps silent and learns" though I know that's far from exact.

Auntie M

By Auntieminda on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 06:04 pm: Edit

Becoming, then co-creators, and is that not the goal of the Art?

Their wills are like, the man and God, but they are not the same will.

And though Buddha was one with All, yet he was Siddhartha still.

Can the man will something that God would not will?

I think perhaps this is not possible. Not that we cannot act separately from the Creator. But that we are beyond dualities now, accepting the whole of God, not the halves that we thought God was made up of. Having neither good nor evil, male nor female, love nor hate. Not that our will is not our own, but that there is nothing we can will that God would condemn.

Like Lucifer from "Paradise Lost" we do not want to submit our will to God, but wished to rule over ourselves, separate from the Creator. But he stood in defiance of that which cannot be defied. You cannot defy what has no opposite.

And yes, of course I enjoyed the poem. It's a challenge to my level of understanding.


By Verawench on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 04:12 pm: Edit


By Chrysippvs on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 01:57 pm: Edit

You are on the right track, but both man and God remain, but in a radically new reciprocity. The last statement of Hermes is critical:

The inner vessel is shattered by will
Cherubs stand down, the Deep Well overflows

The inner vessel is the part of the self or mind that used to exist in the dual world. Will itself begins to radically reshape reality in a reciprocal way. "Cherubs stand down" this is a reference to the Cherub that guards the gates to the garden of Eden, man is restored to the Primal Adam or the Adam Kadmon in Hebrew. We exist and walk with God. "The Deep well overflows" this is the "Ayn Soph" or "nothing sea", although I translate it as deep well, it flows out, because we will (allows ourselves to know it can and does) it to do so. God and man are united, in that we share a like will.

"That which was is destroyed and is anew
Man is restored, that which is, cannot be. "

We know that God and man walk together again, and nothing can break the bond of the united wills, and we cannot return to our current state.

The poem is ripe with Biblical, Hermetic, Alchemic, and Stoic imagery and paraphrasing. Literally every line is a form of synthesis of these four school of thought. That is why I continuously use very very technical language ("substance", "will", "fire", "word", etc).

Unity is had, but differentiation is still possible, the logos takes many forms, but is never compounded or confused. There are different people, but we are of one substance. God and man are seperate, but we are of both one will (once the poem ends) and of one substance (although we do not realize this). It is not panthestic, it is panENtheistic, God is in all things, but God is not all things). Subtle, but radical, in my opinion.

I hope you enjoy the poem, and perhaps you can learn something from it, I know it was very spiritual writing it.

thank you for your input, it means a lot to me.

- J

By Auntieminda on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 11:45 am: Edit


Alright, let's see if this lesser mortal is keeping up.

By the end of the poem they are stripped of the illusion of duality. There is no god and man. There is no above or below. There is only the will. The only thing that suprises me is that there are still separate voices for Hermes and Ammon by the time I read the end of the poem. However, they are only discussing doing these things, they haven't actually done them. They have not yet hit the point where done and undone are the same. Nor have I.

Thanks for all the fish,
Auntie M

By Chrysippvs on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 10:19 am: Edit

well, at this point, the poem is my attempt to distill something clearly hermetic rather than the usual gnostic/hermetic rehash that history tends to give. It is clear to me that there was a purely hermetic system of thought prior to the gnostic X-tianity of the 1st and second centuries. It was very much a form of neo-platonism, but not dualism, which was key to most gnostic thought-patterns and worldview.

What then does the poem say about this, that gnosis is primarily something dealing with the deconstruction of reality (atleast the dual-method of understanding reality) and the reconstruction of said reality in a more non-dualistic or possibly even monistic (my theory) form. This is troublesome to most becuase most of the things people hold dear are dualistic (love, good, pleasure, hope) and must be replaced with monistic notions (or distilled natures as some would call them) which is difficult at best. It is difficult not to be able to love anyone or to simply call something evil (such as the holocaust) in those methods or words any longer. Thus the hermetic method is very much Stoic (from which around 85% of their vocab is extracted) and akin to my liking. It provides a great metaphyics for my worldview.

At any rate, see if the poem makes more sense after having read this diatribe....

- J

By Auntieminda on Saturday, March 16, 2002 - 10:09 am: Edit

I haven't done any real study in the Hermetic tradition. What little I read did not seem to be much in my style or chosen path, but I could see (from what little I know of you) where it would appeal to you. However, if your poem is a distillation of what you've studied so far, then perhaps Trismegistus is more interesting than I thought. I like the progression of the levels of understanding. Feel free to elaborate on your studies. Break it down, man, break it down.
Auntie M

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 11:41 pm: Edit

I have never dealt with him. The most recent poet I had devoted any time to has been Rimbaud. I am actually deeply dealing with the Hermetic Corpus (of which this poem is heavily in depth).

I must say that this text (The Corpus Hermetica) has influenced my thought more than any other text corpus outside of the Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta.

- J

By Marccampbell on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 10:36 pm: Edit


there are many editions of Christopher Smart's poetry for sale at the Advanced Book Exchange
( Some are very reasonably priced.

Smart was subject to religious epiphanies that
pretty much made him appear insane. he spent the last years of his life in asylums.

By Blue on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 10:31 pm: Edit


How did he throw it all away?

By Robman on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 10:30 pm: Edit

Don't be too impressed. I have that nearby because his work was put to choral music by Benjamin Britten in what I think is Britten's best cantata. The excerpts are from Smart's poem Jubilate Agno.

By Robman on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 10:26 pm: Edit

What's his story? The only thing I know about him is that he was committed.

By Larsbogart on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 10:20 pm: Edit

Scheesh! [jeez sauce chripes]
I'm impressed that you would have that nearby. Dont bother looking for his books, I've searched every bookstore east of Chicago and only found two, but both illustrated.

By Larsbogart on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 10:13 pm: Edit

Not only do I too think he was a genius, but I was impressed at how he threw it all away. For no reason.
The Christopher Smart Award is given at Columbia to the person with the most promise, who has come the farthest, yet throws it all away.

By Robman on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 10:12 pm: Edit

Another excerpt I really like:

For I am under the same accusation
with my Saviour -
For they said, he is besides himself.
For the officers of the peace are at variance
with me, and the watchman
smites me with his staff.
For Silly Fellow! Silly Fellow! is against me
and belongeth neither to me
nor to my family.
For I am in twelve HARDSHIPS,
but he that was born of a virgin
shall deliver me out of all.

Sounds like Mr. Smart could have qualified for the counter-culture absinthe-drinking sect of artists had he lived in the right time.

By Robman on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 09:47 pm: Edit

Christopher Smart - a genious madman!

"For the mouse is a creature
of great personal valor,
For - this is a true case-

Cat takes female mouse,
male mouse will not depart,
but stands threat'ning and daring.

...If you will let her go, I will engage you,
as prodigious a creature as you are.

For the mouse is a creature
of great personal valor.
For the mouse is of an hospitable disposition."

That's from "Rejoice in the Lamb", a Benjamin Britten choral work based on writings of Christopher Smart. I've always enjoyed that.

By Larsbogart on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 09:38 pm: Edit

Have you ever read any of the religious poetry of Christopher Smart? Or heard of the Christopher Smart Award given out at Columbia University?
Just wondering.

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 07:23 pm: Edit

Here is another poem that is going to make it ways into the schools literary magazine in March. Any thoughts or interpretations would be fantastic.


An Alchemic Allegory
A Conversation Concerning Transmutation, between Hermes: Trismegistus and his Student Ammon:
(in blank verse)

“It is now manifest that the occult properties in things are not from the nature of the elements, but infused from above…” – Agrippa De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres: XV

The creature made anew in this great work

The cosmos is ill understood this day
Only in rejection can it be found.

I Mortification Gemini

Hermes: Man! Is your nature dual, of flesh and soul?
Ammon: Certainly it is so, created thus.
What good is there with no evil latent?
All action will provide some reaction
Hermes: Draw your fleam and bleed away this error.
The flesh and soul are bound with silver cords.

II Congelation Taurus

Hermes: End your two-fold recollection of time!
Ammon: That which is, made in essence, made intact
From chaos or nothing, substance expelled
We desire divine sight, wisdom of Thoth!
Hermes: Emanation, single nature ensues
Substance is made quick and malleable.

III Fixation Aries

Hermes: Form is dispelled, and structure soon dissolves
Ammon: Restore us, sing familiar lyrics yet
Turn our gaze at some hope: stability
Make irreducible our nature swift
Hermes: In this method, substance is return-ed
Singular strong, not of the final archon.

IV Solution Cancer

Hermes: Abandon your thoughts, emerge from the caves!
Ammon: Form turns liquid in total, substance lack
With some divine element, reaction
Mixed with God, the dual nature blends to one.
Hermes: Such a state is brevity, then no more
For in an instant, all is liquid truth

V Digestion Leo

Hermes: Within the divine vessel, destruction!
Ammon: We commit grave sins, all is true this day
Make soap of flesh! Burn the port alive!
All is relative, we see as God now!
Hermes: Strong water destroys their sight fiercely swift
Their price has come before their destruction.

VI Distillation Virgo

Hermes: Divine essence in the form of aethyr
Ammon: From fire the divine and wretched emit
Some essence, some spirituous new creature
Made of one form, and compound of confused
Hermes: The new being, aethyrial, descends
Regains shape, then form, and makes procession

VII Sublimation Libra

Hermes: Spiritual form takes hold but is fickle
Ammon: Again a dual nature! That once and now
Crystal and aery substances undone
Certainly there is some error, some hope!
Hermes: That has fallen below is and is not
It has no substance, only thy forced will

VIII Separation Scorpio

Hermes: Being and nothing, the great divide, lost!
Ammon: That, which is not, has no infinity
Verily it cannot hold substance still
Our eyes are open, phantoms yet abound!
Hermes: The mind must be abandoned to the will
For the substance of will exists truly

IX Conjunction Sagittarius

Hermes: Witness the formulation of thyself
Ammon: Dual nature! You phantom, illusion strong.
That which is and is not are truly one
Bound by the fire and word. Hermaphrodite!
Hermes: The Monad of man is made in union
Of male and female, one hold parent.

X Cibation Capricorn

Hermes: The word and fire united in one will
Ammon: We do not move but are moved by union.
The fire and word create new force and will
Divine fluctuations persist and drive
Hermes: That occult persistence moves then anew.
The new creature is renewed, stronger yet.

XI Revivification Pisces

Hermes: The new creature is profound in substance!
Ammon: With fire and word one perceives without eyes
Measures without rod, and knows without mind.
Breather into by willand divine in number
Hermes: With form, mastered by will, one emerges
Rendered by Gnosis, lurching toward the flame

XII Projection Aquarius

Hermes: With radical truths one strives to the word
Ammon: Divinity! Meet one at the center
Drip down, a union of sacred symbols
Will emenation, shaping that which is.
Hermes: The inner vessel is shattered by will
Cherubs stand down, the Deep Well overflows.

That which was is destroyed and is anew
Man is restored, that which is, cannot be.



Thanks for reading...any thoughts are well received and appreciated.

- J

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