Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mary Butts, "Sequences"

We are running again
Where we ran once,
This time along the parallels that meet.

*     *     *     *    *

So I went out.
The stairs fell away,
I walked out onto the back of the moon.

Cloud upon cloud
Whirled up and broke
An each piece a perfect silence.
There was no colour,
The silence turned them
To pure light.

The snows flew,
Whirled round my hair,
Drifted on my breasts.
My body also
Dissolved in the dance,
They subdued all things to silence and radiance and speed.

Then came a time
When I was surrounded
On the back of that star
With bees.

Out of space
Out of cold
Life came. . . . .
Touched my body and became light.
Light became snow
Snow became bees,
Quiet bees.

Not the golden swarm,
The Danaan shower,
White bees, star-bred.
The Harrow road lay before me
Like a slip of the moon.
Soundless they spun down and touched my lips.

Up there you were lying,
Curled in your cold bed.
You hated me
Because of those bees.

You are so small
You and your lovers,
Greedy, afraid of the cold.
You have had me for your lover
The Companion of the Bees.

A myriad bees are better than one girl.

*     *     *     *     *

You will not come again…
She comes
She hated you.
Even when you had gone
Like a whip-snake
Her hate followed you.
A little snake over the polished floor
It followes even your memory
Into this house,
Into my mind.

I also have crawled with the snake in the dust
Remembering you.


  1. Jane Roberts, from the channeled poetry and songs of the Sumeri: "Know us who wander beneath the moon of your brain," which, in the original, is said with a single word: DEMECIUS.

  2. Aiwass, via Aleister Crowley, Liber AL vel Legis, sub figura CCXX, as delivered by XCIII=418 to DCLXVI, i.e. the Book of the Law: "The unveiling of the company of heaven/Every man and every woman is a star//Burn upon their brows, o splendrous serpent/O azure-lidded woman, bend upon them!//Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well! He, my prophet, hath chosen, knowing the law of the fortress, and the great mystery of the House of God.//But to love me is better than all things: if under the night stars in the desert thou presently burnest mine incense before me, invoking me with a pure heart, and the Serpent flame therein, thou shalt come a little to lie in my bosom. For one kiss wilt thou then be willing to give all; but whoso gives one particle of dust shall lose all in that hour. Ye shall gather goods and store of women and spices; ye shall wear rich jewels; ye shall exceed the nations of the earth in splendour & pride; but always in the love of me, and so shall ye come to my joy. I charge you earnestly to come before me in a single robe, and covered with a rich headdress. I love you! I yearn to you! Pale or purple, veiled or voluptuous, I who am all pleasure and purple, and drunkenness of the innermost sense, desire you. Put on the wings, and arouse the coiled splendour within you: come unto me!//I am the blue-lidded daughter of Sunset; I am the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night-sky."

  3. James Joyce, Finnegans Wake: "O here how hoth sprowled met the duskt the father of fornicationists but, (O my shining stars and body!) how hath fanespanned most high heaven the skysign of soft advertisement! But waz iz! Iseut! Ere were sewers! The oaks of ald now they lie in peat yet elms leap where askes lay. Phall if you but will, rise you must: and none so soon either shall the pharce for the nunce come to a setdown secular phoenish."

  4. From the Algonquin, trans. by Jerome Rothenberg, "The Stars:"

    For we are the stars. For we sing.
    For we sing with our light.
    For we are birds made of fire.
    For we spread our wings over the sky.
    Our light is a voice.
    We cut a road for the soul
    for its journey through death.
    For three of our number are hunters.
    For these three hunt a bear.
    For there never yet was a time
    when these three didn't hunt.
    For we face the hills with disdain.
    This is the song of the stars.

  5. Anonymous [Georges Bataille?], Acéphale, "Fascicule VII, Volume II," Le Da Costa Encyclopédique: "Whoever has not chosen obscenity, recognized in obscenity the presence and the shock of poetry, and, more intimately, the elusive brightness of a star, is not worthy to die and their death will extend upon earth the industrious anxiety of priests."

  6. Arthur Machen, "The Great God Pan:" "You see that parchment Oswald Crollius? He was one of the first to show me the way, though I don’t think he ever found it himself. That is a strange saying of his: ‘In every grain of wheat there lies hidden the soul of a star.’”

  7. Aleister Crowley, The Book of Thoth: “And: blessing and worship to the prophet of the lovely star”

  8. Duane Michals, "The Human Condition:"

  9. Thomas Jefferson, letter to Benjamin Rush (Sept. 23, 1800): "I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten. I do not know that it would reconcile the _genus irritabile vatum_ who are all in arms against me. Their hostility is on too interesting ground to be softened. The delusion into which the X. Y. Z. plot shewed it possible to push the people; the successful experiment made under the prevalence of that delusion on the clause of the constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro'the U. S.; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians & Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson (Decr. 3. [18]13): "Allegiance to the Creator and Governor of the Milky Way and the Nebulae, and Benevolence to all his Creatures, is my Religion. Si quid novisti rectius estis, Candidus imperti."

  10. John Wieners, "July 30," The Journal of John Wieners is to be called Scott Street for Billie Holiday 1959: "XN666 the license number on the car aside us as we go the shoreroad back from Gorda thru the Big Sure mountains to San Francisco.//The Great Beast and his/Book of the Law/Liber al vel Legis. 66 revelations therein made to him,/April 4?, 1909. A thirty year time lag: E Pound 1929 editing/Exile brings MEASURE out 1959 with golden marigolds/hanging off its ears and a white bone in my pocket from the/fields telling me the way is of the jungle//*magice is the science of the jungle,* Jung says and the/mountain cat becomes the spade cat prowling thru Killmore/Street. Between midnight and dawn. Don't discount the dawn for at 6 AM the junkies meet at the Hot Dog Palace to score. And the bats return home to the roof of Stone House to sleep. And I was born then. And poets go to sleep then. Into a new birth. And we are lucky when we dream. Practicing containment. To adhere to the structures of my being. *Whether they fall away into the sea or not.*//Is I comin or is I goin/is it something or is it nothin/is I livin or is I dyin/is/all I want to know/is is...

  11. Ibid., "'...the demonic horses/harnessed to the chariot of our life, the conscious ego being/only the driver. So that there is nothing for it but to resign/oneself, like Goethe's *Egmont,* --to hold fast the reins and to/steer the wheels clear, now to the left, now to the right,/here from a stone, there from a precipice.--'/Zimmer/The King & the Corpse p. 21//And so be done, be gone with it/into some gentler night where/winds of ennui are not so fierce/and fires from the void so drear.//One must remember that 'The speech of birds' is the/language of angelic communication.--AKC"

  12. Ibid., "The Night of December 26 1959:"

    "In the green shadow of the lamplight absolute reality is all I am interested in, the light shining on the silver edge of these keys, the magic formation of the letters in rows upon the green field of the paper, looking like the shadowed corner of a garden, elaborating on none of this, entering into communion with it, picking up speed as I go further in, looking out that nothing disturbs me from it, this place, which cd. be called,/magic, but which/is not, is only//here, 707/Scott Street, San Francisco"

  13. Ernest Fenollosa, The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry, ed. Ezra Pound: "Will is the foundation of our speech. We catch the Demi-urge in the act."

  14. A.E. Van Vogt, from The World of Null-A: "What star are you calling?” the robot’s voice asked matter-of-factly.