Category: Stream of Consciousness

Painted Pebbles in the valley of the Moon

John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era. He was also an art patron, watercolourist, prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, education and political economy. For the last quarter-century of his life, he lived at Brantwood – a house he designed on the shores of Lake Coniston. Despite this, one of … Read More Painted Pebbles in the valley of the Moon

A Hundred Years of Calais

You took us to your window To see the cliffs of dawn Across the miles they shone like sheets Hung on a washing line We knew, you said, beyond the chalk On scribbled boards you waited And prayed that you were searching, too For those who searched for you… ©Stephen Tanham

Horseman in the Mist

The town of Cassel, near Lille in Northern France, is shrouded in mist – the same mist that had accompanied our first ever visit to the World War One cemeteries of Vimy and Notre Dame de Lorette. Six of us are slotted, snugly, into the mid-size people carrier bouncing at speed into the centre of Cassel. Behind us are a variety of warm coats … Read More Horseman in the Mist

The Opening

I know the words The long-learned words With which this view is framed These slats of wood I crafted round The Opening… ➰ Yet there it lies, unshut before me The rawness of the world Behind my words I kneel, now Afraid to stop their flow’s intent In widening my wood ➰ One day the words will be unspeakable The splinters brushed aside By … Read More The Opening

The Bedouin

It is said we learn most from those we would wish to emulate. Not copy, perhaps, but take from them an essence of thought, of action. If we are younger, of style, even… There must have been a thousand people in the room. The university hall was full. When he stood up to speak, his movements were relaxed. His body language gentle, open. What … Read More The Bedouin

Afternoon in Scorpio

Half grasped, leaving like silk, much less remembered

Gilgamesh descending (9) – final part

And now you will want an ending… Like day gives way to night, though there is no single point where we could all agree that it was either… Like the moment of sleep or awakening, though one drifts into the other and each knows little of its twin… Like the point in the play where the character releases the player from his undertaking and … Read More Gilgamesh descending (9) – final part

Gilgamesh descending (8)

The portal through which all the others have passed – except ghostly Enkidu and forlorn Gilgamesh – shimmers and fades. My brother – his twin – fades… And he and I… and then only I am left alone in the middle of the most threatening inner space I can imagine… There is the dominating sense of ‘nowhere else to go’; and yet I know … Read More Gilgamesh descending (8)

Gilgamesh descending (7)

I watch as he runs. I am tired of his slow-witted learning. Act Four is half way through, but already he has exhausted the patience of everyone but his mother…. Where did that come from! One of the features of a central role in these mystery plays is a certain degree of exhaustion. Even if you are familiar with it, the script will have … Read More Gilgamesh descending (7)

Gilgamesh descending (6)

Faces… If there is one thing upon which Gilgamesh would wager his life, it is that life is all about faces… His own face now burns with a permanent redness; whether from anger or something deeper, he does not know. But it burns… and gets hotter with every passing encounter with the faces that fight to decry and destroy what he has achieved as … Read More Gilgamesh descending (6)

Gilgamesh descending (5)

And now we must move swiftly, as the king’s heartbeat quickens with purpose. Again, he watches the Fate Dancers… and begins to see the depths of what they do. These movements describe a ‘whole’. They are parts of how that unity evolves itself, while carrying its essential nature, unchanged… except for the result of its own process, working on the material of that which … Read More Gilgamesh descending (5)

Gilgamesh descending (4)

And as I watch Gilgamesh ascend towards the vast cliff-edge from which his life must fall, I wonder about the origin of the ‘play’ in human consciousness. The plot already contains characters – one of whom is dominant. They have their ‘I’s’ when invested with a player, an actor, who gives the ancient words new life. These I’s are as garments, waiting to be … Read More Gilgamesh descending (4)

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