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Book of Hours

An Artist’s Book for the Anthropocene Rebecca Clark

Rebecca Clark BOOK OF HOURS: An Artist’s Book for the Anthropocene


Introduction4 Matins18 None46 Vespers104 Vigils158 Index214


In the winter of 2007, I saw an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington that would sow the seeds of inspiration for this Book of Hours: Curator John Hand’s extraordinary “Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych.”1 Installed in one intimate gallery were works by some of the great Northern painters of the 15th & 16th centuries: Jan van Eyck, Robert Campin, Rogier van der Weyden, Hugo van der Goes, Albrecht Bouts, Quentin Massys. I’ve always been drawn to medieval devotional paintings and prayer books; I’m moved by their intimacy, honesty, and the purity of spirit that they convey. In seeing these works for the very first time, what struck me most was the dichotomy between the small scale of the diptychs and the quiet power that emanated from them. In today’s age of bold, super-sized, extravagant art, this exhibition was a welcome understatement. Housed in beautifully crafted wooden frames assembled with hinges and clasps, these exquisitely rendered paintings were originally intended as objects for personal meditation and contemplation. Imagining the labor that went into each realistic detail was cause enough for awe, but their clear, rich pigments, applied with such subtlety, was transcendental. They were luminous. The reward for slowing down and reflecting upon these mysterious encased worlds, in an otherwise busy museum setting, was to walk away with a blessing, a secret, an inner glow. Hand-held diptychs from this period were meant to be experienced like a book: opened, viewed, then closed and clasped shut, thereby demanding a personal and direct experience. These are not showy objects for vainglorious display. Unlike the more dramatic and emotionally charged religious paintings from the South, the art of the Northern Renaissance was relatively reserved and reflective. The human subjects seem to carry a quiet acceptance of grief and a resignation to sorrow. It’s as if they possessed some deep understanding of It


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All. This sensibility resonated with me because my own work straddles a line between realism and the metaphysical, and within a context of loss. In the weeks following my viewing of the exhibition, especially as I rode the DC Metro to and from work on my daily commute, I became acutely aware of how deeply absorbed people become when hooked up to their digital devices: heads bowed above the glow of their hand-held ‘books,’ completely entranced. The secular had replaced the spiritual, but the vehicle through which the 15th and the 21st century individual received their rapture was similar: both viewing experiences are framed within a box and, in the case of the iPad, a box that opens and closes, much like a diptych. Both emit a glow. Both demand singular attention. These observations stayed with me. In the winter of 2015, I began corresponding with the wonderful British writer Tom Jeffreys who would eventually publish a piece on my art for his online magazine, The Learned Pig.2 As we discussed the irony of his writing about my work, which he’d only seen online, and my thoughts about the possible advantages of viewing small, highly-detailed work like mine in such a focused, zoom-able, and intimate way, I was suddenly reminded of “Prayers and Portraits” and the observations I’d made of my fellow commuters eight years prior. Perhaps, in certain cases, the digital experience might be preferable to that of the public exhibition space. Could it allow for a more personal, direct, even mystical experience? In support of my speculations, Tom offered that exhibitions only last so long, that galleries are not for everybody, and that the Internet provides a much longer, lasting, more private kind of archive. He also saw an interesting comparison between the time of the art making (which, in my case, is very slow) and the time allowed for in this type of focused viewing. I’d always dreamed of making my own contemporary Book of Hours, but it was through these conversations with Tom that I first conceived of creating an ‘illuminated’ manuscript to be viewed specifically on a digital tablet. The handheld device takes the idea of the medieval prayer book into the virtual age, providing light but also underscoring our vast separation from the natural and spiritual worlds.



It’s taken me two years to complete this Book of Hours. On the outside, it’s a standalone work of art, but it’s also autobiographical in the sense that each and every element reflects the daily reality of my own creative process, both in thought and in practice. It’s a guide for the days ahead: an hourly reminder of the often overlooked beauty of time and season; an acknowledgement of the interconnectedness of all living things and a plea to value the lives of the animals with whom, as temporary visitors on planet Earth, we share time and space; a memento mori for this dark age of the Anthropocene; and, hopefully, a vehicle for transcendence. I’m deeply grateful to the poets, writers, scientists, and songwriters who so generously allowed me to borrow their work for this project. Their contributions were not casually selected; these very songs and essays and poems have long informed my life and art. It was an honor to place my drawings alongside their words and music. In this regard, Book of Hours pays homage to these muses, all of whom are ever present with me in my studio. A special statement about the music: Perhaps more than any other art form, music is my greatest source of inspiration. I could not draw without listening to music. It helps silence the internal chatter in my own head and ushers me into an entirely different realm. Over the years, I’ve collected songs that are most conducive to draw to and organized them in playlists according to times of the day: Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night. These playlists became the structure of my studio practice and were very much the foundation for this Book of Hours. In time, merely hearing that sweeping upswing of Ravi Shankar’s shimmering sitar opening in “Friar Park” would trigger a Pavlovian response in me to put pencil to paper. I came to think of certain bands & musicians as occupying specific phases of the day. The Incredible String Band’s “bucolic psychedelia,”3 for example, I shall always associate with the morning hours – so pure and glistening and full of wonder. Richard Thompson, on the other hand, occupies for me the evening – a time for reflection and contemplation, sometimes biting, sometimes sad, always dark and getting darker. I’m most inspired to draw at dawn and dusk - “that lovely liminal time,” writes Jeanette Winterson, “where light and dark are


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hinged against each other.”4 Perhaps this is an appropriate metaphor for my Book of Hours, a hinging together of light and dark and every value in-between.

- Rebecca Clark, December 2017

1. “Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych,” National Gallery of Art, Washington, November 12, 2006 – February 4, 2007. Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, in association with the Harvard University Museums, Cambridge. The curators were John Oliver Hand, curator of northern Renaissance paintings, National Gallery of Art; Catherine A. Metzger, senior conservator of painting, National Gallery of Art; and Ron Spronk, associate curator for research, the Straus Center for Conservation, Harvard University Art Museums. 2. Tom Jeffreys, “Finite and Alive,” The Learned Pig, August 2, 2015 3. Bob Stanley, “Electric Eden by Rob Young. Once again, with feeling. A strange mixture of truth and legend underscores the rise – and fall – of British folk music,” The Times, July 24, 2010. Review of “Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music” by Rob Young, 2010 (Faber and Faber) 4. Jeanette Winterson, “Why I adore the night,” The Guardian, October 31, 2009




I would like to thank the following individuals for their kind assistance and generosity: Patrick Bageant (The Joseph L. Bageant Revocable Intervivos Trust); Alex Bradshaw (Faber and Faber); Zac Ingraham (Vector Management); Frederick T. Courtright (on behalf of Graywolf Press and the William Stafford Archives); Alicia Dercole (Penguin Random House); Stanley Moss (Sheep Meadow Press); Ray Saunders (; Becky Thomas (Johnson and Alcock); Christopher Wait (New Directions Publishing); Michael Worden (Alfred Music). Thank you to Gregory Staley for his impeccable fine art photography and longtime friendship. Thank you to Aliza Jensen for her beautiful graphic design & typography and for her patience. The following individuals went out of their way to help me in significant and meaningful ways: Jay Armstrong, Joe Boyd, John Hand, Tom Jeffreys, Corrina Seddon, and William Willis. For their support, I am truly grateful.


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This book would never have been made, much less conceived, had it not been for the inspiration, love, and support of my best friend and husband, Jesse Clark. You are my shining star. Book of Hours is dedicated to Jesse and to my little studio mate, Homer, who left this Earth on August 20, 2017.




Book of Hours



BETWEEN two worlds life hovers like a star, ‘Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon’s verge. How little do we know that which we are! How less what we may be! The eternal surge Of time and tide rolls on, and bears afar Our bubbles; as the old burst, new emerge, Lash’d from the foam of ages; while graves Of empires heave but like some passing waves. LORD BYRON Don Juan, Canto XV.Stanza 99


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WALLY: Well, why do you think that is? Why is that? Is it just because people are lazy today, or that they’re bored? You know, when children are poor and they live in the country and have just a few little things to play with, then they’re very, very thrilled by those few little things. But if they’re rich and live in the city and have a thousand things to play with, then they always seem to be bored, and it’s impossible to find anything to interest them. ANDRÉ: Well, the word “spoiled” isn’t a chance word, it’s a strong word. WALLY: Yeah. ANDRÉ: To be spoiled. WALLY: Right. In other words, there’s just – they’re lost, in that sense. I mean, “spoiled” means, you know – I mean, a piece of meat that’s been spoiled can’t be unspoiled. It’s doomed. ANDRÉ: Right. WALLY: So, I mean, is that our problem? Is that what you’re saying? Are we just like bored, spoiled children who’ve been lying in the bathtub all day, playing with their plastic duck, and now they’re thinking, What can I do? ANDRÉ: Okay. Yes. We’re bored now. We’re all bored. But has it ever occurred to you, Wally, that the process which creates this boredom that we see in the world now may very well be a self-perpetuating unconscious form of brainwashing created by a world totalitarian government based on money? And that all of this is


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much more dangerous, really, than one thinks? And that it’s not just a question of individual survival, Wally, but that somebody who’s bored is asleep? And somebody who’s asleep will not say no? WALLY: Uh-huh – ANDRÉ: You see, I keep meeting these people – I mean, I was talking a few days ago with a man I greatly admire – he’s a Swedish physicist, Gustav Björnstrand – and he told me that he no longer watches television, he doesn’t read the newspapers, and he doesn’t read magazines. He’s completely cut them out of his life because he really does feel we’re living in some kind of Orwellian nightmare now, and that everything that you hear now contributes to turning you into a robot. Because there’s no doubt about it – we are becoming robots. Everyone on the outside can see this. I mean, I had dinner with two European friends of mine the other night, and they used to love New York. And they said everybody had turned into robots here – everybody – and the food was robot food, and you said something to people, and you really didn’t get a response. They said New York had become like a morgue. And when I was at Findhorn I met this extraordinary English tree expert who had devoted his life to saving trees, and he’d just gotten back from Washington lobbying to save the redwoods. And he was eighty-four years old, and he always travels with a backpack because he never knows where he’s going to be tomorrow. And when I met him at Findhorn he said to me, “Where are you from?” And I said, “New York.” And he said, “Ah, New York, yes, that’s a very interesting place. Do you know a lot of New Yorkers who keep talking about the fact that they want to leave, but never do?” And I said, “Oh, yes.” And he said, “Why do you think they don’t leave?” And I gave him different banal theories. And he said, “Oh, I don’t think it’s that way at all.” He said, “I think that New York is the new model for the new concentration camp, where the camp has been built by the inmates themselves, and the inmates are the guards, and they have this pride in this thing that they’ve built – they’ve built their own prison – and so they exist in a state of schizophrenia where they are both guards and prisoners. And as a result they no longer have – having been lobotomized – the capacity to leave the prison they’ve made or even to see it as a prison.” And then he went into his pocket, and he took out a seed for a tree, and he said, “This is a pine tree.” And he put it in my hand. And



he said, “Escape before it’s too late.” WALLY: Gosh – ANDRÉ: And you know, Wally, for two or three years now Chiquita and I have actually had this very unpleasant feeling that we really should get out. We really feel like Jews in Germany in the late thirties. Get out of here. Of course, the problem is where to go. Because it seems quite obvious that the whole world is going in the same direction. In fact, it seems to me quite possible that the nineteen-sixties represented the last burst of the human being before he was extinguished. And that this is the beginning of the rest of the future, now, and that from now on there will simply be all these robots walking around, feeling nothing, thinking nothing. And there will be nobody left almost to remind them that there once was a species called a human being, with feelings and thoughts. And that history and memory are right now being erased, and that soon no one will really remember that life existed on the planet. WALLY: Uh-huh – ANDRÉ: Now Gustav Björnstrand feels that there really is almost no hope, and that probably we’ll be going back to a very savage, lawless, terrifying period. But the Findhorn people see it a little differently. They also feel that the world is getting darker and darker and colder and colder, but they also believe that it’s a law of nature – because everything is balanced – that as one thing gets darker and colder, something else will get lighter and warmer. And it’s their feeling that there will be these pockets of light springing up in different parts of the world, and that these will be in a way invisible planets on this planet and that, as we or the world grow colder, we will be able to take invisible space journeys to these different planets, re-fuel for what it is we have to do on the planet itself, and come back. WALLY: Huh. ANDRÉ: And you see, they believe that there have to be centers, now, where people can come and reconstruct a new future for the world. And when I was


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talking to Gustav Björnstrand, he was saying that these centers are actually growing up everywhere, and that what they’re trying to do, which is also what Findhorn was trying to do, and in a way what I was trying to do – I mean these things can’t be given a name – but in a way these are all attempts at creating a new kind of school or a new kind of monastery. And Björnstrand talked about the concept of – I think he calls it “reserves” – islands of safety where history can be remembered and the human being can continue to function, in order to maintain the species through a Dark Age. In other words, we’re talking about an underground, which did exist in the Dark Ages in a different way, among the mystical orders of the church. And the purpose of this underground is to find out how to preserve the light, life, the culture. How to keep things living. You see, I keep thinking that we need a new language, a language of the heart, a language, as in the Polish forest, where language wasn’t needed – some kind of language between people that is a new kind of poetry, that is the poetry of the dancing bee, that tells us where the honey is. And I think that in order to create that language we’re going to have to learn how you can go through a looking-glass into another kind of perception, in which you have that sense of being united to all things, and suddenly you understand everything.

Excerpted from MY DINNER WITH ANDRÉ by Wallace Shawn and André Gregory, copyright © 1981 by Wallace Shawn and André Gregory. Published by Grove Press, an imprint of Grove/Atlantic Inc.




Morning. Morning Prayer. Dawn. Spring. Birth and re-birth. New beginnings, new possibilities. Awakenings. First light. First birdsong. Eden. Praise. Ecstasy. New roots, new shoots emerge from the Earth. Brahmacharya ashrama. Aries, Taurus, Gemini. Music Ravi Shankar :: Incredible String Band :: Cat Stevens :: Van Morrison :: The Beach Boys :: The Beatles :: Bhagavan Das & Richard Sales :: George Harrison :: Georgia Seddon :: Pink Floyd :: Neil Young :: The Byrds :: Tinariwen :: Steve Shehan & Baly Othmani :: David Crosby :: Jerry Garcia :: Sufjan Stevens Text Mike Heron: Chinese White Jennifer Spector: A Sail Horse David Abram: Becoming Animal Thich Nhat Hanh: Interbeing Mike Heron: You Get Brighter


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6am - 9am RAVI SHANKAR - Friar Park

INCREDIBLE STRING BAND - The Half Remarkable Question

CAT STEVENS - Morning Has Broken

VAN MORRISON - Give Me My Rapture

BEACH BOYS - Add Some Music To Your Day


THE BEATLES - Across The Universe


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BHAGAVAN DAS & RICHARD SALES - Light From The Lighthouse


VAN MORRISON - Vanlose Stairway


VAN MORRISON - Full Force Gale

VAN MORRISON - In The Garden/You Send Me/Allegheny



9am - 12noon GEORGIA SEDDON - Bird


PINK FLOYD – Grantchester Meadows

NEIL YOUNG – Natural Beauty


THE BYRDS – 5D (Fifth Dimension)

BEACH BOYS – Please Let Me Wonder


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TINARIWEN – Afours Afours

STEVE SHEHAN & BALY OTHMANI – Eilan Akabar Warigazaz




VAN MORRISON – Vanlose Stairway/ Trans-Euro Train/Fool For You



Chinese White By MIKE HERON

The bent twig of darkness Grows the petals of the morning; It shows to them the birds singing Just behind the dawning. Come dip into the cloud cream, lapping I can't keep my hand on the plough Because it's dying. But I will lay me down with my arms ‘Round a rainbow And I will lay me down to dream. Oh, will your magic Christmas tree be shining Gently all around?


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Climbing up these figures The sun is tugging at my shoulder And every step I take I think, my feet are getting older; I see the crystal dreams unfolding I can't keep my eyes on the book Because it's mouldering But I will lay me down with my arms ‘Round a rainbow And I will lay me down to dream Oh, will your magic Christmas tree be shining Gently all around?

CHINESE WHITE Words and Music by MIKE HERON Copyright © 1967 (Renewed) WARNER-TAMERLANE PUBLISHING CORP. All Rights Reserved Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC




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At Punta San Lorenzo de Veraguas, Panama

Tell me a story Of a thousand birds Rousing your children Trailed to the ear-slippered earth Seventy million years ago Plates diving divining Sea-flood of hawk, buzzard, caracara, tinamou braiding Possum, fox, deer, armadillo, the green Tree boa, the pirate birds mooring only to roost On cliffs, shelters shantying in shrub the hill once barren now Flush of life garnering wind off coasts as far as BahĂ­a Honda Geometry hitched to incongruous territories


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Tell me a story Of rain and torches Of strident sun riding this green aileron of howlers Boas, frogs, deer, rabbit, the juvenile iguanas stricken From clutch hatching buried nests dug to surface ‘Night-hopping’ the moon in pods dewlaps displayed As they swim through reeds in clutches of twenty a palette of landscape Swathed for miles through this vivarium with port to San Pedrillo Beach blurring longitude expression of shelter rising like shute Tracking revenants in this coastal, stealth Soná cantata



Of how elements tent canopied shelters beam Exposure, wolfsbane and vetch, gorse, perilla, the hale And Pacific shepherding hazels And setchell in bloom of parade Batten, trumeau, gable leg and hand of House in a wind-shelled omphalos Arum avulsed off the sum in light-shade Of river, at the mangrove swamps swimmers and cluster Lintel like sandur our frond of sun One bird notches the aureole as we collect our tea bristle silver on the soft Shake of tail align with moon-burned tide It is the first morning of time And the morning today

By Jennifer Spector, from RELIQUIAE, Volume Four, copyright Š2016. Edited by Autumn Richardson and Richard Skelton. Published by Corbel Stone Press. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


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Becoming Animal By DAVID ABRAM

How monotonous our speaking becomes when we speak only to ourselves! And how insulting to the other beings – to foraging black bears and twisted old cypresses – that no longer sense us talking to them, but only about them, as though they were not present in our world...Small wonder that rivers and forests no longer compel our focus or our fierce devotion. For we walk about such entities only behind their backs, as though they were not participant in our lives. Yet if we no longer call out to the moon slipping between the clouds, or whisper to the spider setting the silken struts of her web, well, then the numerous powers of this world will no longer address us – and if they still try, we will not likely hear them

Excerpt from BECOMING ANIMAL: AN EARTHLY COSMOLOGY by David Abram, copyright © 2010 by David Abram. Used by permission of Pantheon Books, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.


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Book of Hours




In the Psalms, it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” “Be still” means to become peaceful and concentrated. The Buddhist term is samatha (stopping, calming, concentrating). “Know” means to acquire wisdom, insight, or understanding. The Buddhist term is vipasyana (insight, or looking deeply). “Looking deeply” means observing something or someone with so much concentration that the distinction between observer and observed disappears. The result is insight into the true nature of the object. When we look into the heart of a flower, we see clouds, sunshine, minerals, time, the earth, and everything else in the cosmos in it. Without clouds, there could be no rain, and there would be no flower. Without time, the flower could not bloom. In fact, the flower is made entirely of non-flower elements; it has no independent, individual existence. It “inter-is” with everything else in the universe. Interbeing is a new term, but I believe it will be in the dictionary soon because it is such an important word. When we see the nature of interbeing, barriers between ourselves and others are dissolved, and peace, love, and understanding are possible. Whenever there is understanding, compassion is born.

Excerpt from LIVING BUDDHA, LIVING CHRIST by Thich Nhat Hanh Copyright © 1995 by Thich Nhat Hanh. Used by permission of Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.


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You Get Brighter By MIKE HERON

You get brighter every day And every time I see you. Scattered brightness in your way And you taught me how to love you. I know you belong to everybody But you can’t deny that I’m you. In the morning when I wake I moor my boat and greet you. Hold your brightness in my eye And I wonder what does sleep do. For you get brighter every day And every time I see you. Scattered brightness in your way And you taught me how to love you. I know you belong to everybody But you can’t deny that I’m you.


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Oh, wondrous light Light, light, lighter. You give all your brightness away And it only makes you brighter. For you get brighter every day And every time I see you. Scattered brightness in your way And you taught me how to love you. I know you belong to everybody But you can’t deny that I’m you. Krishna colours on the wall You taught me how to love you.

YOU GET BRIGHTER Words and Music by MIKE HERON Copyright © 1969 (Renewed) WARNER-TAMERLANE PUBLISHING CORP. All Rights Reserved Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC




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Book of Hours




Mid-Afternoon. Ninth Hour. Summer. Sun. Full bloom. Labor. Chopping wood, carrying water. Cleaning windows. “Make hay while the sun shines.” Human activity. Human foibles. Do, do, do, do. Doing, not reflecting. Bright, bold colors. Verdant. Maya. “All this world is but a play.” Grihastha ashrama. Cancer, Leo, Virgo. Music Incredible String Band :: Väsen :: Richard Thompson :: Lo’Jo & Django :: Van Morrison :: Bob Dylan :: Sufjan Stevens :: Shirley Collins & The Albion Country Band :: Eddie Vedder :: Fairport Convention :: Judy Dyble Text Robin Williamson: Maya Leonard Koren: Wabi-Sabi Gary Snyder: statement for the Paterson Society Denise Levertov: Come Into Animal Presence Gary Snyder: Toward Climax Mike Heron: A Very Cellular Song Alastair McIntosh: Soil and Soul Martin Shaw & Tony Hoagland (translators): Deirdre Remembers A Scottish Glen Kate Tempest: Icarus Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: IV.4.5


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12noon - 3pm


VÄSEN - Marsch I April

RICHARD THOMPSON - The Angels Took My Racehorse Away

LO’JO & DJANGO - Jah Kas Cool Boy

VAN MORRISON - Cleaning Windows

BOB DYLAN - Dignity

INCREDIBLE STRING BAND - Pig Went Walking/ See All The People/Swift As The Wind

VAN MORRISON – Alan Watts Blues


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SUFJAN STEVENS: The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Me They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh! Let’s Hear That String Part Again, Because I Don’t Think They Heard It All The Way Out In Bushnell In This Temple, As In The Hearts Of Man For Whom He Saved The Earth The Seer’s Tower The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders Riffs And Variations On A Single Note For Jelly Roll, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, And The King Of Swing, To Name A Few Out Of Egypt, Into The Great Laugh Of Mankind, And I Shake The Dirt From My Sandals As I Run





3pm – 6pm


VÄSEN – Mitt I Livet (In the Middle of Life)


FAIRPORT CONVENTION – Liege & Lief Come All Ye Reynardine Matty Groves Farewell, Farewell The Deserter The Lark In The Morning, Rakish Paddy, FoxHunter’s Jig (Medley) Tam Lin Crazy Man Michael


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FAIRPORT CONVENTION – Bonny Bunch of Roses

RICHARD THOMPSON – Mingulay Boat Song


FAIRPORT CONVENTION – Flowers of the Forest

JUDY DYBLE – Satisfied Mind





Dust of the rivers does murmur and weep
 Hard and sharp laughter that cuts to the bone
 Ah, but every face within your face does show
 Going gladly now to give himself his own And twelve yellow willows shall fellow the shallows
 Small waves and thunder be my pillow
 Upon the gleaming water two swans that swim
 And every place shall be my native home The east gate like a fortress dissolve it away
 The west gate like a prison, oh, come break it down
 Island, I remember, living here
 Wandering beneath the empty skies In time her hair grew long and swept the ground
 And seven blackbirds carried it out behind
 It bore the holy imprint of her mind
 As greenfoot slow, she moved among the seasons The great man, the great man
 Historians his memory
 Artists, his senses, thinkers, his brain
 Labourers, his growth, explorers, his limbs


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And soldiers his death each second
 And mystics his rebirth each second
 Businessmen, his nervous system
 No-hustle men his stomach Astrologers, his balance, lovers, his loins
 His skin it is all patchy
 But soon will reach one glowing hue God is his soul, infinity, his goal
 The mystery, his source
 And civilisation, he leaves behind
 Opinions are his fingernails Maya, Maya, all this world is but a play
 Be thou the joyful player
 Maya, Maya, all this world is but a play
 Be thou the joyful player The wanderer no sense does make
 His eyes being tied in the true love’s knot
 The trees perceive his soul
 Do not detain him long Dear little animal, dark-eyed and small
 Caring for your fur with pointed paws
 This hawk of truth is swift and flies with a still cry
 A small sweet meat to the eyes of night Oh, dandelion be thou thine
 Reflecting the sun in sexual glory
 In ever changing tongues
 The ever changing story



The book, man, bird, woman, serpent, sea, sun
 Blessed, oh, blessed are they of the air
 Your eyes, they are the eyes of the glad land
 Ye twelve that will enter the seasons The great ship, the ship of the world, long time sailing
 Mariners, mariners, gather your skills
 The great ship, the ship of the world, long time sailing
 Mariners, mariners, gather your skills Jesus and Hitler and Richard the Lionheart
 Three kings and Moses and Queen Cleopatra
 The Cobbler, the maiden, the mender and the maker
 The sickener and the twitcher and the glad undertaker The shepherd of willows
 The harper and the archer
 All sat down in one boat together
 Troubled voyage in calm weather Maya, Maya, all this world is but a play
 Be thou the joyful player
 Maya, Maya, all this world is but a play
 Be thou the joyful player Maya, Maya, all this world is but a play
 Be thou the joyful player
 Maya, Maya, all this world is but a play

MAYA Words and Music by ROBIN WILLIAMSON Copyright © 1969 (Renewed) WARNER-TAMERLANE PUBLISHING CORP. All Rights Reserved Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC


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Book of Hours


Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional.

The Metaphysical Basis of Wabi-Sabi What is the universe like? Things are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness. As dusk approaches in the hinterlands, a traveler ponders shelter for the night. He notices tall rushes growing everywhere, so he bundles an armful together as they stand in the field, and knots them at the top. Presto, a living grass hut. The next morning, before embarking on another day’s journey, he unknots the rushes and presto, the hut de-constructs, disappears, and becomes a virtually indistinguishable part of the larger field of rushes once again. The original wilderness seems to be restored, but minute traces of the shelter remain. A slight twist or bend in a reed here and there. There is also the memory of the hut in the mind of the traveler – and in the mind of the reader reading this description. Wabi-sabi in its purest, most idealized form, is precisely about these delicate traces, this faint evidence, at the borders of nothingness.



While the universe destructs it also constructs. New things emerge out of nothingness. But we can’t really determine by cursory observation whether something is in the evolving or devolving mode. If we didn’t know differently we might mistake the newborn baby boy – small, wrinkled, bent, a little grotesque looking – for the very old man on the brink of death. In representations of wabisabi, arbitrarily perhaps, the devolving dynamic generally tends to manifest itself in things a little darker, more obscure, and quiet. Things evolving tend to be a little lighter and brighter, a bit clearer, and slightly more eye-arresting. And nothingness itself – instead of being empty space, as in the West – is alive with possibility. In metaphysical terms, wabi-sabi suggests that the universe is in constant motion toward or away from potential. Wabi-Sabi Spiritual Values What are the lessons of the universe? Truth comes from the observation of nature. The Japanese have tried to control nature where they could, as best they could, within the limits of available technology. But there was little they could do about the weather – hot and humid summers, cold and dry winters, and rain on the average of one out of every three days throughout the year, except during the rainy season in early summer when everything is engulfed in a fine wet mist for six to eight weeks. And there was little they could do about the earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, fires, and tidal waves that periodically and unpredictably visited their land. The Japanese didn’t particularly trust nature, but they learned from it. Three of the most obvious lessons gleaned from millennia of contact with nature (and leavened with Taoist thought) were incorporated into the wisdom of wabi-sabi. 1. All things are impermanent. The inclination toward nothingness is unrelenting and universal. Even things that have all the earmarks of substance- things that are hard, inert, solid – present nothing more than the illusion of permanence. We may wear blinders, use ruses to forget, ignore, or pretend otherwise – but all comes to nothing in the end. Everything wears down.


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The planets and stars, and even intangible things like reputation, family heritage, historical memory, scientific theorems, mathematical proofs, great art and literature (even in digital form) – all eventually fade into oblivion and nonexistence. 2. All things are imperfect. Nothing that exists is without imperfections. When we look really closely at things we see flaws. The sharp edge of a razor blade, when magnified, reveals microscopic pits, chips, and variegations. Every craftsman knows the limits of perfection: the imperfections glare back. And as things begin to break down and approach the primordial state, they become even less perfect, more irregular. 3. All things are incomplete. All things, including the universe itself, are in a constant, never-ending state of becoming or dissolving. Often we arbitrarily designate moments, points along the way, as “finished” or “complete.” But when does something’s destiny finally come to fruition? Is the plant complete when it flowers? When it goes to seed? When the seeds sprout? When everything turns into compost? The notion of completion has no basis in wabi-sabi. “Greatness” exists in the inconspicuous and overlooked details. Wabi-sabi represents the exact opposite of the Western ideal of great beauty as something monumental, spectacular, and enduring. Wabi-sabi is not found in nature at moments of bloom and lushness, but at moments of inception or subsiding. Wabisabi is not about gorgeous flowers, majestic trees, or bold landscapes. Wabi-sabi is about the minor and the hidden, the tentative and the ephemeral: things so subtle and evanescent they are invisible to vulgar eyes. Like homeopathic medicine, the essence of wabi-sabi is apportioned in small doses. As the dose decreases, the effect becomes more potent, more profound. The closer things get to nonexistence, the more exquisite and evocative they become. Consequently to experience wabi-sabi means you have to slow way down, be patient, and look very closely.



Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness. Wabi-sabi is ambivalent about separating beauty from non-beauty or ugliness. The beauty of wabi-sabi is, in one respect, the condition of coming to terms with what you consider ugly. Wabi-sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else. Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view. Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace. To wealthy merchants, samurai, and aristocrats who practiced tea, a medieval Japanese farmer’s hut, which the wabi-sabi tea room was modeled on, was a quite lowly and miserable environment. Yet, in the proper context, with some perceptual guidance, it took on exceptional beauty. Similarly, early wabi-sabi tea utensils were rough, flawed, and of undistinguished muddy colors. To tea people accustomed to the Chinese standards of refined, gorgeous, and perfect beauty, they were initially perceived as ugly. It is almost as if the pioneers of wabi-sabi intentionally looked for such examples of the conventionally not-beautiful – homely but not excessively grotesque – and created challenging situations where they would be transformed into their opposite. The Wabi-Sabi State of Mind How do we feel about what we know? Acceptance of the inevitable. Wabi-sabi is an aesthetic appreciation of the evanescence of life. The luxuriant tree of summer is now only withered branches under a winter sky. All that remains of a splendid mansion is a crumbled foundation overgrown with weeds and moss. Wabi-sabi images force us to contemplate our own mortality, and they evoke an existential loneliness and tender sadness. They also stir a mingled bittersweet comfort, since we know all existence shares the same fate. The wabi-sabi state of mind is often communicated through poetry, because poetry lends itself to emotional expression and strong, reverberating images that


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seem “larger” than the small verbal frame that holds them (thus evoking the larger universe). Rikyu used this oft-repeated poem by Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241) to describe the mood of wabi-sabi: All around, no flowers in bloom Nor maple leaves in glare, A solitary fisherman’s hut alone On the twilight shore Of this autumn eve. Certain common grounds also suggest the sad-beautiful feeling of wabi-sabi. The mournful quarks and caws of crows. The forlorn bellowing of foghorns. The wails of ambulance sirens echoing through canyons of big city buildings. Appreciation of the cosmic order. Wabi-sabi suggests the subtlest realms and all the mechanics and dynamics of existence, way beyond what our ordinary senses can perceive. These primordial forces are evoked in everything wabi-sabi in much the same way that Hindu mandalas or medieval European cathedrals were constructed to emotionally convey their respective cosmic schemes. The materials out of which things wabi-sabi are made elicit these transcendent feelings. The way rice paper transmits light in a diffuse glow. The manner in which clay cracks as it dries. The color and textural metamorphosis of metal when it tarnishes and rusts. All these represent the physical forces and deep structures that underlie our everyday world. Wabi-Sabi Moral Precepts Knowing what we know, how should we act? Get rid of all that is unnecessary. Wabi-sabi means treading lightly on the planet and knowing how to appreciate whatever is encountered, no matter how trifling, whenever it is encountered. “Material poverty, spiritual richness” are wabi-sabi bywords. In other words, wabi-sabi tells us to stop our preoccupation with success



– wealth, status, power, and luxury – and enjoy the unencumbered life. Obviously, leading the simple wabi-sabi life requires some effort and also some tough decisions. Wabi-sabi acknowledges that just as it is important to know when to make choices, it is also important to know when not to make choices: to let things be. Even at the most austere level of material existence, we still live in a world of things. Wabi-sabi is exactly about the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom from things. Focus on the intrinsic and ignore material hierarchy. The behavior prescribed for the wabi-sabi tea room is a clear expression of wabi-sabi values. First, as symbolic act of humility, everyone either bends or crawls to enter the tea room through an entrance purposely designed low and small. Once inside, the atmosphere is egalitarian. Hierarchical thinking – “this is higher/better, that is lower/worse” – is not acceptable. The poor student, the wealthy business person, and the powerful religious leader – distinctly different social classes on the outside – are equals within. Similarly, to the sensitive observer, the essential qualities of the objects inside the tea room are either obvious or they are not. Conventional aids to discernment, like the origins and names of the object makers, are of no wabi-sabi consequence. The normal hierarchy of material value related to cost is also pushed aside. Mud, paper, and bamboo, in fact, have more intrinsic wabi-sabi qualities/ value than do gold, silver, and diamonds. In wabi-sabi, there is no “valuable,” since that would imply “not valuable.” An object obtains the state of wabi-sabi only for the moment it is appreciated as such. In the tea room, therefore, things come into existence only when they express their wabi-sabi qualities. Outside the tea room, they return to their ordinary reality, and their wabi-sabi existence fades away. The Material Qualities of Wabi-Sabi What objects/motifs/juxtapositions express our understanding of the universe, or create that understanding in others? The suggestion of natural process. Things wabi-sabi are expressions of time frozen. They are made of materials that are visibly vulnerable to the effects of


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weathering and human treatment. They record the sun, wind, rain, heat, and cold in a language of discoloration, rust, tarnish, stain, warping, shrinking, shriveling, and cracking. Their nicks, chips, bruises, scars, dents, peeling, and other forms of attrition are a testament to histories of use and misuse. Though things wabi-sabi may be on the point of dematerialization (or materialization) – extremely faint, fragile, or desiccated – they still possess an undiminished poise and strength of character. Irregular. Things wabi-sabi are indifferent to conventional good taste. Since we already know what the “correct” design solutions are, wabi-sabi thoughtfully offers the “wrong” solutions. As a result, things wabi-sabi often appear odd, misshapen, awkward, or what many people would consider ugly. Things wabi-sabi may exhibit the effects of accident, like a broken bowl glued back together again. Or they may show the result of just letting things happen by chance, like the irregular fabrics that are created intentionally sabotaging the computer program of a textile loom. Intimate. Things wabi-sabi are usually small and compact, quiet and inwardoriented. They beckon: get close, touch, relate. They inspire a reduction of the psychic distance between one thing and another thing; between people and things. Places wabi-sabi are small, secluded and private environments that enhance one’s capacity for metaphysical musings. Wabi-sabi tea rooms, for example, may have fewer than a hundred square feet of floor space. They have low ceilings, small windows, tiny entrances, and very subdued lighting. They are tranquil and calming, enveloping and womb-like. They are a world apart: nowhere, anywhere, everywhere. Within the tea room, as within all places wabi-sabi, every single object seems to expand in importance in inverse proportion to its actual size. Unpretentious. Things wabi-sabi are unstudied and inevitable looking. They do not blare out “I am important” or demand to be the center of attention. They are understated and unassuming, yet not without presence or quiet authority. Things wabi-sabi easily coexist with the rest of their environment.



Things wabi-sabi are appreciated only during direct contact and use; they are never locked away in a museum. Things wabi-wabi have no need for the reassurance of status or the validation of market culture. They have no need for documentation or provenance. Wabi-sabi-ness in no way depends on knowledge of the creator’s background or personality. In fact, it is best if the creator is of no distinction, invisible, or anonymous. Earthy. Things wabi-sabi can appear coarse and unrefined. They are usually made from materials not far removed from their original condition within, or upon, the earth and are rich in raw texture and rough tactile sensation. Their craftsmanship may be impossible to discern. Murky. Things wabi-sabi have a vague, blurry, or attenuated quality – as things do when they approach nothingness (or come out of it). Once-hard edges take on a soft pale glow. Once-substantial materiality appears almost sponge-like. Oncebright saturated colors fade into muddy earth tones or the smoky hues of dawn and dusk. Wabi-sabi comes in an infinite spectrum of grays: gray-blue brown, silver-red grayish black, indigo yellowish-green. . . . And browns: blackish deep brown-tinged blue, muted greens, . . . . And blacks: red black, blue black, brown black, green black. . . . Less often, things wabi-sabi can also come in the light, almost pastel colors associated with recent emergence from nothingness. Like the off-white of unbleached cotton, hemp, and recycled paper. The silver-rusts of new saplings and sprouts. The green-browns of tumescent buds. Simple. Simplicity is at the core of things wabi-sabi. Nothingness, of course, is the ultimate simplicity. But before and after nothingness, simplicity is not so simple. To paraphrase Rikyu, the essence of wabi-wabi, as expressed in tea, is simplicity itself: fetch water, gather firewood, boil the water, prepare tea, and serve it to others. Further details, Rikyu suggests, are left to one’s invention. But how do you exercise the restraint that simplicity requires without crossing over into ostentatious austerity? How do you pay attention to all the necessary details


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without becoming excessively fussy? How do you achieve simplicity without inviting boredom? The simplicity of wabi-sabi is probably best described as the state of grace arrived at by a sober, modest, heartfelt intelligence. The main strategy of this intelligence is economy of means. Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry. Keep things clean and unencumbered, but don’t sterilize. (Things wabi-sabi are warm, never cold.) Usually this implies a limited palette of materials. It also means keeping conspicuous features to a minimum. But it doesn’t mean removing the invisible connective tissue that somehow binds the elements into a meaningful whole. It also doesn’t mean in any way diminishing something’s “interestingness,” the quality that compels us to look at that something over, and over, and over again.

By Leonard Koren, from Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, Imperfect Publishing, Point Reyes, California. Copyright © 1994 and 2008 by Leonard Koren. All rights reserved. Used by kind permission of the author.




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“AS POET I hold the most archaic values on earth. They go back to the late Paleolithic: the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and re-birth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.�

GARY SNYDER in a statement for the Paterson Society, 1961


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Come Into Animal Presence By DENISE LEVERTOV

Come into animal presence. No man is so guileless as the serpent. The lonely white rabbit on the roof is a star twitching its ears at the rain. The llama intricately folding its hind legs to be seated not disdains but mildly disregards human approval. What joy when the insouciant armadillo glances at us and doesn’t quicken his trotting across the track into the palm brush.


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What is this joy? That no animal falters, but knows what it must do? That the snake has no blemish, that the rabbit inspects his strange surroundings in white star-silence? The llama rests in dignity, the armadillo has some intention to pursue in the palm-forest. Those who were sacred have remained so, holiness does not dissolve, it is a presence of bronze, only the sight that saw it faltered and turned from it. An old joy returns in holy presence.

By Denise Levertov, from POEMS 1960 -1967, copyright Š1961 by Denise Levertov. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.




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Toward Climax By GARY SNYDER

I. salt seas, mountains, deserts cell mandala holding water nerve network linking toes and eyes fins legs wings teeth, all-purpose little early mammal molars. primate flat-foot front fore-mounted eyes – watching at the forest-grassland (interface richness) edge. scavenge, gather, rise up on rear legs. running-grasping-hand and eye; hunting. calling others to the stalk, the drive. note sharp points of split bone; broken rock. brain-size blossoming on the balance of the neck, tough skin-good eyes-sharp ears – move in bands. milkweed fiber rolled out on the thigh; nets to carry fruits or meat.


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catch fire, move on. eurasia tundra reindeer herds sewn hide clothing, mammoth-rib-framework tent. Bison, bear, skinned and split; opening animal chests and bellies, skulls, bodies just like ours – pictures in caves. send sound off the mouth and lips formal complex grammars transect inner structures & the daily world – big herds dwindle (- did we kill them? thousand-mile front of prairie fire -) ice age warms up learn more plants. netting, trapping, boats. bow and arrow. dogs. mingle bands and families in and out like language kin to grubs and tees and wolves dance and sing. begin to go “beyond” reed flute – buried baby wrapped in many furs – great dream-time tales to tell.



squash blossom in the garbage heap. start farming. cows won’t stay away, start herding. weaving, throwing clay. get better off, get class, make lists, start writing down. forget wild plants, their virtues lose dream-time lose largest size of brain – get safer, tighter, wrapped in – winding smaller, spreading wider, lay towns out in streets in rows, and build a wall. drain swamp for wet-rice grasses, burn back woods, herd men like cows. have slaves build a fleet. raid for wealth-bronze weapons horse and wagon-iron-war. study stars and figure central Never-moving Pole Star King.


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II. From “King” project a Law. (Foxy selfsurvival sense is Reason, since it “works”) and Reason gets ferocious as it goes for order throughout nature-turns Law back on nature. (A rooster was burned at the stake for laying an egg. Unnatural. 1474.)

III. science walks in beauty: nets are many knots skin is border-guard, a pelt is borrowed warmth; a bow is the flex of a limb in the wind a giant downtown building is a creekbed stood on end. detritus pathways. “delayed and complex ways to pass the food through webs.” maturity. stop and think. draw on the mind’s stored richness. memory, dream, half-digested image of your life. “detritus pathways” – feed the many tiny things that feed an owl. send heart boldly travelling, on the heat of the dead & down.



IV. two logging songs

Clear-cut Forestry. “How Many people Were harvested In Viet-Nam?” Clear-cut. “Some Were children, Some were over-ripe.”

Virgin A Virgin Forest Is Ancient; many – Breasted, Stable, at Climax.

By Gary Snyder, from TURTLE ISLAND, copyright ©1974 by Gary Snyder. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.


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A Very Cellular Song By MIKE HERON

Winter was cold and the clothing was thin But the gentle shepherd calls the tune. Oh, dear mother, what shall I do? First please your eyes and then your ears, Jenny Exchanging love tokens say goodnight.


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Lay down my dear sister Won’t you lay and take your rest. Won’t you lay your head upon your saviour’s breast And I love you but Jesus loves you the best And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight. Lord I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight. One of these mornings bright and early and fine Goodnight, goodnight. Not a cricket not a spirit gonna shout me on Goodnight, goodnight. I go walking in the valley of the shadow of death Goodnight, goodnight. And his rod and his staff shall comfort me Goodnight, goodnight. Oh John, the wine he saw the sign Goodnight, goodnight. Oh John say, “I seen a number of signs” Goodnight, goodnight. Tell A for the ark that wonderful boat Goodnight, goodnight. You know they built it on the land getting water to float Goodnight, goodnight. Oh, tell B for the beast at the ending of the wood Goodnight, goodnight. You know it ate all the children when they wouldn’t be good Goodnight, goodnight.



I remember quite well, I remember quite well Goodnight, goodnight. And I was walking in Jerusalem just like John Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight. Who would lose and who would bruise Or who would live quite prettily? And who would love what comes along And fill the air with joyous song Who would go and who would come Or who would simply linger? And who would hide behind your chair And steal your crystallized ginger? Nebulous nearnesses cry to me At this timeless moment someone dear to me Wants me near, makes me high. I can hear vibrations fly. Through mangoes, pomegranates and planes. All the same When it reaches me and teaches me To sigh. Who would mouse and who would lion Or who would be the tamer? And who would hear directions clear From the unnameable namer? Who would skip and who would plod Or who would lie quite stilly? And who would ride backwards on a giraffe? Stopping every so often to laugh


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Amoebas are very small

Oh ah ee oo There’s absolutely no strife Living the timeless life, I don’t need a wife Living the timeless life If I need a friend I just give a wriggle Split right down the middle And when I look there’s two of me Both as handsome as can be Oh, here we go slithering Here we go, slithering and squelching on Oh, here we go slithering Oh ah ee oo There’s absolutely no strife Living the timeless life Black hair, brown hair feather and scale Seed and stamen and all unnamed lives that live Turn your quivering nerves in my direction Turn your quivering nerves in my direction Feel the energy projection of my cells Wishes you well. May the long time sun shine upon you All love surround you And the pure light within you Guide you all the way on.



May the long time sun shine upon you All love surround you And the pure light within you Guide you all the way on. May the long time sun shine upon you All love surround you And the pure light within you Guide you all the way on. May the long time sun shine upon you All love surround you And the pure light within you Guide you all the way on. May the long time sun shine upon you All love surround you And the pure light within you Guide you all the way on.

A VERY CELLULAR SONG Words and Music by MIKE HERON Copyright © 1968 (Renewed) WARNER-TAMERLANE PUBLISHING CORP. All Rights Reserved Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC


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In To Have or to Be? Erich Fromm suggests that when we substitute outward power for inner presence of being, we act out of the delusion that it is possible to ‘have’ in order to ‘be.’ The human self that is not centered inevitably collapses into being selfcentered. The ghillie’s day on a sporting estate is filled with snippets of discourse that demonstrate such substitution of money for love in human relationships. ‘Who is he?’ ‘Is he anybody?’ one guest might ask another, as they head off to the loch. ‘Oh, he’s quite somebody,’ comes the reply. ‘He’s …’ such and such a company, title, spouse, connection or landed property. And, of course, if ‘he’ happens to drop down a rung or two in life, then he’s ‘ruined.’ It’s as if a person’s possessions are their being. Disproportionate and unaccountable power, then, is not healthy. It merely bolsters an artificial sense of being somebody. It carries its price to pay. The more a man or woman builds themselves up in a community, the more others feel put down. The trouble is that the person in power rarely sees that in marshalling their assets and expecting honour, they’re only playing out their own inadequacies. In a world of real need, outward riches thereby betray inner poverty. The flashy car, boat or aeroplane amplifies the impression of power, of solidity, of reality. But the soul ossifies, and the environment pays, and a culture of envy, fear and dissatisfaction develops based on acquisitive addiction to the all-consuming thrill of speed or the chase or the boardroom takeover. In the lotus-eating economy that results for the few, the majority, with a deficit of outward power, slog daily in factories making toys for the rich, instead of building homesteads for the poor. Their labour is degraded by the unacceptability of lives rendered futile.


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This is why economic power to which justice is not germane is always a form of violence and why such an economic system is, in theological language, idolatrous. ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ asked Jesus when the Pharisees enquired about paying imperial taxes. They had showed him a coin, a silver denarius. The head was the Emperor’s; his title, ‘TIBERIUS CAESAR, SON OF THE DIVINE AUGUSTUS, AUGUSTUS.’ Before famously replying ‘Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,’ Jesus sidestepped the small question and threw back the big one. He asked them, in effect, ‘In whose economy do you place your confidence? Is it that of Caesar, who sets himself up as an imperial god, or that of God, whose passion is for the widow, the orphan and the poor?’ And that’s the problem with both old-style imperialism and modern corporate globalization: both serve money before love. The real ethical question of our times, then, is not which of biotechnology, organic agriculture, the motor car, heart transplants, fair trade or computers are, in themselves, ‘a good thing.’ That is a meaningless question. The real question is, rather, how and why and who and what do these things serve? Do they free the spirit and feed the hungry? Do they honour the diversity of life on Earth? Or do they, somewhere or for somebody or something, mean enslavement? Quaint though it may seem, we must push further this question of idolatry – the question of what happens if we worship any god other than love.

By Alastair McIntosh, excerpted from SOIL AND SOUL: PEOPLE VERSUS CORPORATE POWER, copyright © Alastair McIntosh 2001, 2002, 2004.Published by Aurum Press. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.




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Deirdre Remembers a Scottish Glen Translated by MARTIN SHAW and TONY HOAGLAND MAY 19, 2014

Irish, unknown, possibly fourteenth century

Glen of my body’s feeding: crested breast of loveliest wheat, glen of the thrusting long-horned cattle, firm among the trysting bees. Wild with cuckoo, thrush, and blackbird, and the frisky hind below the oak thick ridge. Green roof that covered a thousand foxes, glen of wild garlic and watercress, and scarlet-berried rowan. And badgers, delirious with sleep, heaped fat in dens next to their burrowed young. Glen sentried with blue-eyed hawks, greenwood laced with sloe, apple, blackberry, tight-crammed between the ridge and pointed peaks. My glen of the star-tangled yews, where hares would lope in the easy dew. To remember is a ringing pain of brightness.

DEIRDRE REMEMBERS A SCOTTISH GLEN, translated by Martin Shaw and Tony Hoagland, May 19, 2014. Reprinted by kind permission of the translators.


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Soaring the skies that had always been beyond his reach, he felt like a champion. His feet kicked the clouds. His arms bound in the feathers of his fathers labour, which, a little while later would be ashes and vapour. Cumbersome limbs furnished with powerful things. He heard the wind speak every time he felt his wings beat. His father flew before him, and so his course was set, he said – don’t fly too low or your wings’ll get wet. But don’t fly too high or the Sun’ll melt the wax. Just stay on my path, son, follow my tracks – But Icarus, enamoured with the feeling of flight, just had to fly higher and get closer to the light. The Sun was hot against him but he carried on ascending, he felt strength in him increasing like the heat that was so tempting. Beneath him was the world he’d left behind in search of better things, but to achieve this feeling, he sacrificed everything. Icarus, come down from the sky you’re flying too high. Icarus heed your fathers words, this aint your territory. No-one even noticed as he splashed and hit the sea bed. I wonder what he saw before he fell and if he needed some help, would he have asked for it? Probably he wouldn’t. Probably he thought he was invincible, he weren’t. In principle he burnt, he smouldered in those myths, so that we who never flew before can learn from what he did. Given the gift of flight, it was too easy to ignore the warnings of his father. How could he be truly responsible when really all he wants to do is soar above his station and become the Sun’s equal? But the Sun can have no equal. Poor Icarus, that flicker in his eye, that distant picture in the sky about to catch the light he sought. Oh foolish young pride, silly mancub – how can you learn to fly if you aint even learnt to stand up? If he’d listened to his father, he never would have drowned, but the happiness he felt is one he never would have found. Gifts are dangerous when they are given and not earned – a lesson merely heard is never


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a lesson learned. By the time his father turned, the wax had completely burned – feathers scattered on the waves, they just rolled on unconcerned. But for that small moment, before he fell into the sea, Icarus the headstrong had been completely free. I told him – Icarus, come down from the sky you’re flying too high. Icarus, heed your fathers words, this aint your territory. No-one even noticed as he splashed and hit the sea bed. I wonder what he saw before he fell and if he needed my help would he have asked for it? Probably he wouldn’t. Probably he thought he was invincible, he weren’t though. In principle he burnt, he smouldered in those myths, so that we who never flew before can learn from what he did.

Kate Tempest “Icarus” from Everything Speaks In Its Own Way (Zingaro Books). Reprinted by permission of Kate Tempest and Johnson & Alcock Literary Agency. All rights reserved. Kate Tempest & Luke Eastop © 2012.




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You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.

– Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (IV.4.5)


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Evening. Sunset. Dusk. Autumn. Diminishing light. Reflection. Contemplation. Duende. Earth tones. Dying. Vanaprastha ashrama. Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius. Music Solomon Burke :: Richard Thompson :: Bob Dylan :: Richard & Linda Thompson :: Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny :: Billy Bragg & Wilco :: Tinariwen :: Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt :: Eddie Vedder & Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan :: Van Morrison :: The Beach Boys :: Incredible String Band :: Fairport Convention :: John Lennon :: Nick Drake :: Sandy Denny :: George Harrison :: Rob St. John :: Djeli Moussa Diawara & Bob Brozman :: Sultan Khan :: The Beatles :: Bhagavan Das :: Mahavishnu Orchestra :: Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh :: Arvo Pärt Text John Muir: John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, 1938 Jeanette Winterson: Why I adore the night Robin Williamson: October Song Richard Thompson: Take Care The Road You Choose John Burnside: Traveling South, Scotland, August 2012 John Burnside: Being and Time John Burnside: Celebrating the animal encounter Autumn Richardson: Two Poems - Coven / White


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6pm - 9pm


RICHARD THOMPSON – Take Care The Road You Choose

BOB DYLAN – Most Of The Time


BOB DYLAN – Trying To Get To Heaven


BILLY BRAGG & WILCO – California Stars

BOB DYLAN – Not Dark Yet

TINARIWEN (featuring Kyp Malone) – Iswegh Attay



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VAN MORRISON – Into The Mystic



FAIRPORT CONVENTION – Who Knows Where The Time Goes?

JOHN LENNON – Watching The Wheels

NICK DRAKE – Time Has Told Me


GEORGE HARRISON – All Things Must Pass




9PM – 12midnight


ROB ST. JOHN – Your Phantom Limb


SULTAN KHAN – Raga Mishra Tilang

THE BEATLES – Tomorrow Never Knows

BHAGAVAN DAS – Sri Krishna Arati




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BOB DYLAN – Shooting Star #2

NICK DRAKE– Which Will



THE BEATLES: Golden Slumbers Carry That Weight The End

ARVO PÄRT – Spiegel Im Spiegel for violin and piano



“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”

JOHN MUIR, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, 1938


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Why I adore the night By JEANETTE WINTERSON

It’s human to want light and warmth. Our pagan ancestors had a calendar of fire festivals, and God’s first recorded words, according to the Hebrew Bible, were: “Let there be light.” Night belongs to the dark side, literally and metaphorically: ghosts, scary monsters, robbers, the unknown. Electricity’s triumph over the night keeps us safer as well as busier. But whatever extends the day loses us the dark. We now live in a fast-moving, fully lit world where night still happens, but is optional to experience. Our 24/7 culture has phased out the night. In fact we treat the night like failed daylight. Yet slowness and silence – the different rhythm of the night – are a necessary correction to the day. I think we should stop being night-resisters, and learn to celebrate the changes of the seasons, and realign ourselves to autumn and winter, not just turn up the heating, leave the lights on and moan a lot. Night and dark are good for us. As the nights lengthen, it’s time to reopen the dreaming space. Have you ever spent an evening without electric light? It doesn’t matter whether you are in the city or the country, as long as you can control your own little pod. Make it a weekend, get in plenty of candles, and lay the fire if you have one. Prepare dinner ahead, and plan a walk so that you will be heading for home in that lovely liminal time where light and dark are hinged against each other. City or country, that sundown hour is strange and exhilarating, as ordinary spatial


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relations are altered: trees rear up in their own shadows, buildings bulk out, pavements stretch forward, the red wrapper of brake lights turns a road into a lava flow. Inside, the lights are going on. Outside, it’s getting dark. You, as a dark shape in a darkening world, want to hold that intimacy, just for one night. Go home. Leave the lights off. We have all experienced negative darkness – those long stretches of the night when we can’t sleep, and worry about everything, and so we know that “dark time” can seem interminably long, compared with daytime. Yet this slowing of time can be the most relaxing and beautiful experience. Spending the evening in candlelight, and maybe by the fire – with no TV – talking, telling stories, letting the lit-up world go by without us, expands the hours, and alters the thoughts and conversations we have. I have noticed that when all the lights are on, people tend to talk about what they are doing – their outer lives. Sitting round in candlelight or firelight, people start to talk about how they are feeling – their inner lives. They speak subjectively, they argue less, there are longer pauses. To sit alone without any electric light is curiously creative. I have my best ideas at dawn or at nightfall, but not if I switch on the lights – then I start thinking about projects, deadlines, demands, and the shadows and shapes of the house become objects, not suggestions, things that need to done, not a background to thought. The famous “sleep on it” when we have a dilemma we can’t solve is an indication of how important dream time is to human wellbeing. The night allows this dream time, and the heavier, thicker dark of winter gives us a chance to dream a little while we are awake – a kind of reverie or meditation, the constellation of slowness, silence and darkness that sits under the winter stars. I live in a wood in deep country, so inevitably light and dark keep their natural, non-



city qualities for me, and I find myself responding to the changes in the light, and adjusting my ways from outdoors to indoors. I read more in the winter, write more, think more, sleep more. I don’t plan any of this – rather I don’t resist the seductions of darkness. And what could be better, on a winter afternoon, than getting into bed with someone you love? Then the darkness is complicit. Bed is where you should be. If it rains outside, that only adds to the pleasure. And don’t put the lights on. The Shakespearean bed trick, where it is so dark that somebody ends up making love to the wrong somebody (or as it happens, ultimately the right somebody), could never happen in our bright bedrooms, but the soft velvet of darkness turns even a familiar lover into an unknown encounter. Making love in the afternoon is completely different in summer and winter. To begin as the afternoon light is fading, to wake up, warm and heavy, when it is completely dark, to kiss and stroke the shared invisible body, to leave the person you love half asleep while you go and open wine … then the moment of standing barefoot in the kitchen, just a candle and two glasses to take back to bed, and a feeling of content like no other. It may be an illusion, it may be the bonding hormone called oxytocin, but it is a gift of darkness too, and the slow extended time of love and night. I like the slowness of night. When friends from London arrive, high on electric light, like hamsters on a 24/7 wheel, I slow them down by feeding them food with darkness sealed in it: deep red venison stewed in claret, carp from the bottom of the river, root vegetables grown in rich black earth. Just as our bodies use the sun to store up vitamin D for the winter, so the root vegetables common to autumn and winter have used their summer foliage to lock in the sun. There is a wonderful alchemical image of a black sun – dark, not


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radiating outwards but inwards – and that packed-in power is what you get in the autumn root vegetables. Little red turnips and ruby-black beetroot, small rough brown swede and deep orange rounds of carrot are dark suns. Eating seasonally is not a green fad; it is way of connecting the body to what is really happening out there. We are seasonal creatures – the over-ride button is scarcely 100 years old. Give the body back its seasons and the mind is saner. I believe in pleasure – but not the same pleasure all the time. Seasonal pleasure prevents boredom and cynicism. There is great pleasure to be had from coming home on a wild night when the weather is vile, and pouring a glass of good red wine, and cooking dark food, such as mushroom risotto or braised beef and turnips served with dark green cabbage and truffle mash. If you have only 15 minutes to cook, make it mushrooms on toast with chopped parsley, and a chicory and endive salad. But keep the good red wine … This kind of cooking and eating cheers you up in winter, because it is what the body needs. If you want to be depressed, spend the long winter nights eating out-of-season food. This is not the time for caesar salads or anything with the words “slim” or “diet” or “low calorie” on the label. After a day in the office, a brisk walk home – even if takes an hour – followed by real winter food, will give you good spirits of the kind not to be found in the over-lit-overheated-bus-in-a-traffic-jam situation, followed by a ready meal. In the autumn, make the bedroom cooler, not warmer. In winter, keep it slightly chilly, so that there is pleasure in that tingle of cold before you leap into bed with a hot water bottle, a good book and a glass of whisky. It is a mistake to fight the cold and the dark. We’re not freezing or starving in a cave, so we can enjoy what autumn and winter bring, instead of trying to live in a perpetual climate-controlled fluorescent world with the same day-in, day-out processed, packaged, flown-in food.



I have a tiny woodburning stove on my girlfriend’s balcony in London. She thinks I’m crazy, but I like to sit in front of it with the lights of the city elsewhere, heating a pan of soup or roasting chestnuts, and yes, I could do that on her fancy Falcon cooker, but I wouldn’t be where I like to be in my mind – which is dark without being melancholy, brooding without being depressed. Food, fire, walks, dreams, cold, sleep, love, slowness, time, quiet, books, seasons – all these things, which are not really things, but moments of life – take on a different quality at night-time, where the moon reflects the light of the sun, and we have time to reflect what life is to us, knowing that it passes, and that every bit of it, in its change and its difference, is the here and now of what we have. Life is too short to be all daylight. Night is not less; it’s more.

Publishd in The Guardian on Saturday, 31 October 2009 © Jeanette Winterson 2015


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I’ll sing you this October song Oh, there is no song before it. The words and tune are none of my own For my joys and sorrows bore it. Beside the sea The brambly briars, in the still of evening Birds fly out behind the sun, And with them I’ll be leaving. The fallen leaves that jewel the ground They know the art of dying And leave with joy their glad gold hearts In the scarlet shadows lying. When hunger calls my footsteps home The morning follows after I swim the seas within my mind And the pine-trees laugh green laughter. I used to search for happiness And I used to follow pleasure But I found a door behind my mind And that’s the greatest treasure.


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For rulers like to lay down laws And rebels like to break them And the poor priests like to walk in chains And God likes to forsake them. I met a man whose name was Time And he said, “I must be going,” But just how long ago that was I have no way of knowing. Sometimes I want to murder time Sometimes when my heart’s aching But mostly I just stroll along The path that he is taking.

OCTOBER SONG Words and Music by ROBIN WILLIAMSON Copyright © 1967 (Renewed) WARNER-TAMERLANE PUBLISHING CORP. All Rights Reserved Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC




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Take Care The Road You Choose By RICHARD THOMPSON

If I ever get out of these shoes And I shrug off a skin or two I’ll come looking in the wasted places Beat-up, last ditch rendezvous If it had been some other place Some other time to find me If I had been in my right mind Not looking for ghosts behind me Then I’d hold you with my fingers burning Kiss your little tears of yearning But sometimes there’s no turning Take care the road you choose If I ever get out of my mind Guillotine myself to stop me dreaming And let my heart go where it will Without those other voices screaming


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Some take the high, some take the low Some take the straight and narrow Some still standing at the crossroads Some fly like an arrow With my radar I’ll find you, darling No regrets to blind you, darling And never look behind Take care the road you choose

TAKE CARE THE ROAD YOU CHOOSE Words and Music by RICHARD THOMPSON Reprinted by kind permission of Richard Thompson and Vector Management All rights reserved.




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Traveling South, Scotland, August 2012 By JOHN BURNSIDE

‘Necessity is not the mother of invention, play is.’ Ian D. Suttie It gets late early out here in the lacklustre places, wind in the trees and the foodstalls’ ricepaper lamplight, fading and blurred with rain, the wire fence studded with fleece and indelible traces of polythene wrapping; marrowfat clogging the drains on the road that runs out to the coast then disappears. A last bleed of gold in the west, like a Shan Shui painting, then darkness. The animals are gone that hunted here: wolves coming down from the hills, that immaculate hunger, rumours of bear and cat, quick martens and raptors. The rain is darker now, though not so black, oil-iridescent, streaked with the smell of lard - it gets late early out here; though late, out here, has a different meaning:


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stars in the road and the absence of something more than birchwoods or song, pallet fires, tyre-tracks, grubbed fields clouded with grease and palm oil, hints of molasses and lanolin, tarpaper, iron filings. A narrow band of weather on the road, then houses; though we scarcely think of them as that. I remember a meadow at dusk in another rain (and this is nostalgia now); I remember I stood in a wind like gossamer and watched three roe fawns and a doe come quietly, one by one, through the silvering grasses, wary, but curious, giving me just enough space to feel safe, their watchfulness reminding me of something lost, a creaturely awareness I could only glimpse in passing. That meadow is gone, and dusk isn’t dusk any more - or not out here just miles of tract and lay-by on the way to junkyards and dead allotments, guard dogs on tether, biomass, factory outlets, the half-light of ersatz dairies petering out on rotting fields of rape and mustardseed.



We’ve been going at this for years: a steady delete of anything that tells us what we are, a long distaste for the blood warmth and bloom of the creaturely: local fauna and words for colour, all the shapes of ritual and lust surrendered where they fell, beneath a fog of smut and grime and counting-house as church, the old gods buried undead beneath the rural sprawl that bears their names, or wandering the hills of Lammermuir and Whitelee, waiting out the rule of Mammon, till the land returns - with or without us chainlink going down to bindweed, drunken thistles in a sway of wind and goldfinch on the dead estates, fat clusters of moss and gentian, broken


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tarmac with new shoots of coltsfood breaking through like velvet, till the darkness of the leaf unfurls into a light we could have known but failed to see by choosing not to find the kingdom-at-hand: this order; this dialectic; this mother of invention, ceaseless play.

John Burnside. “Travelling South, Scotland, August 2012.� Reprinted by kind permission of the author.




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“ . . . that everything was finite and alive, cradled in warmth against the ache of space . . .”

Extracted from Being and Time by JOHN BURNSIDE, from The Light Trap (Jonathan Cape, 2002)


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Celebrating the animal encounter By JOHN BURNSIDE

When we drive home from the west of an evening, the children in the back of the car, quietened by fatigue or boredom, we have to pass through a strip of dense woodland just a couple of miles from the open fields where we live. Even as a grown-up, I can see that this is one of those magical woods: the trees arching over the road on either side to form a long, halflit tunnel that could bring us out anywhere, hints and winks of silver in the lit, viridian undergrowth and, not a rare event at this time of day, though always a small miracle when it happens, a hint of other lives, swimming or leaping through the greenery, sometimes shying away at the last second and sometimes streaming across the road, two or three or five of them together, panicky, but not too quick to make out – and always, no matter how suddenly it happens, we are all aware of the eyes, of the fleeting, gorgeous exchange of a look, while we shift from the humdrum of a homeward journey into vivid life again, just for a moment, and the boys call out or whisper, wonderingly: “Deer!” It seems such a small event, yet this animal encounter is an occasion of quiet, if short-lived joy every time it happens, because, like the grown-up I am now, as opposed to the halfwild boy I was in a different, more populous seeming world, my children very rarely see animals in the wild. Even when they do, it is usually through a car window, as we drive to school in the morning through Kippo woods, or on occasions such as this when, half-asleep, they get home wondering if they dreamed it all – and the worst thing about this is that we very rarely know what we are missing. It takes a true encounter to realise that real animals, wild animals, have all but passed from our lives. I remember stopping my car one morning in early May and getting out to stretch my legs, somewhere in northern Norway: the thaw had begun


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a few days earlier but then it had snowed again and the land was frozen for miles, which is probably why I saw the fox, its white winter coat just starting to turn brown. Why it didn’t see or sense me sooner I don’t know, but we came close enough to exchange a look and, for a long moment, I felt that same joy my sons feel when they catch sight of something in the woods: a strange joy that cannot be communicated but is real nevertheless. After a few breathless seconds, the fox turned and wandered away, seemingly unconcerned, but as my excitement and wonder faded, I began to experience something else. Something like grief; or maybe the sense that I was, in the full sense of the word, bereft. The human ecologist Paul Shepard has said: “We hear much these days about the loss of species and biological diversity, usually in terms of diminished ecosystems, destabilised environments and the loss of unknown physical resources. I suspect that the greater loss is of another kind – the way a local fauna links the concept of the self and the uniqueness of place in different cultures. The loss of non-human diversity erases nuances in identity. We are coarsened by the loss of the animals.” We are coarsened by the loss of the animals. True, we are intellectually aware that species loss is a catastrophe and some of us still feel that it is the most urgent environmental problem we face, but we have yet to understand that it is not only the presence of an acceptable number of specific creatures that matters. What is essential – the one thing that could stop us being coarsened to other lives – is that we feel a great, living wave of animal life all around us, covering the earth. I may know that there are still a few pandas out there somewhere but that sense of being bereft comes from living day to day with the near absence of wild things. The few exceptions, in my case, are flocks of pink-footed geese in the winter, a few buzzards and hares, the odd frantic deer skittering across a road, a passing fox or badger, a glimpse of weasel or stoat on the road. None of these creatures is rare or particularly prized – there are even official bodies and quangos empowered to decide how many may be killed per annum by pylons and wind turbines to furnish us townsfolk with automatic garage doors and patio heaters. So what hope is there, in such a world, for someone whose heart lifts at the sight of a family of rabbits,



grazing on a verge, after a long day at the theme park? With this sometimes unrecognised sense of a coarsened life hanging over us, nature poetry has become more urgent than ever. In parallel with the coarsening of the past hundred years or so has come a steady growth in animal encounter poetry. When Robert Frost wrote “Two Look at Two” in the early 1920s, he could make it seem the most natural thing in the world that, as night approached, two human beings could stand by a broken wall, gazing in wonder – and at close quarters – at a doe and then a buck deer and it was even possible for them to feel a great wave from it going over them, as if the earth in one unlooked-for favour had made them certain earth returned their love. Yet a few minutes earlier, when the buck first appears, he challenges the human beings with a look that seems to say: . . . “Why don’t you make some motion? Or give some sign of life? Because you can’t. I doubt if you’re as living as you look.” The reader, a century ago and now, feels the discomfort of being caught out, for we are not as living as we look; we are tamed and we have almost lost the common stamp of creatureliness that other animals, arguably even the most domesticated, have retained. What Frost would have us understand here, even as he invokes the possibility that earth returns our love, is that there is so little of the wild in us, so little sign of life that, as dusk falls, we could be mistaken for inanimate things. As the century wore on, not only did we become less animate but, as we felled old woodlands and cleared the way for new superhighways, we also set out on the systematic destruction of life itself. There is no question, now, that many of us knew what we were doing but we did it for the good of our species – good seeming to consist of floodlit golf ranges, municipal Christmas lights in October and day-long television (on which documentaries about lost wilderness are a weekly, if not daily, feature). More than anything else, good consisted in speeding across the land in trucks and cars, occasionally glimpsing some living creature out in the grey of it all, very frequently leaving said creature behind as roadkill.


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In 1956, William Stafford wrote the laconic and unsettling “Travelling Through the Dark”, about finding a dead doe on his drive home – a not infrequent event. Though the road is narrow, he stops, because it is usually best to roll them into the canyon: that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead. He is only doing his duty when he gets out to push the deer off the edge of the road and into the river. When he touches the animal, however, he realises that she is pregnant and the fawn is, for the moment, still alive inside her. It should be said that there is no sentimentality here: aware that he can do nothing for the unborn fawn, the speaker of the poem wavers only a moment before carrying on with his unwanted task. He hesitates nonetheless and, in one of the most beautifully dramatised moments in modern poetry, creates a scene in which the only live thing seems to be the car engine, and the man, who is in every rational sense guiltless, becomes complicit with some greater, existential sin, a sin against life to which, as he slowly realises, wild nature is always a witness: The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights; under the hood purred the steady engine. I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red; around our group I could hear the wilderness listen. No sense here that earth returns our love. The wilderness watches and listens; the man, having “thought hard for us all”, does what he must before driving on. The animal encounter poem is now so distinct a genre that it would be possible to create a full-length anthology from deer encounter poems alone and many varieties of experience would emerge from such an exercise. Take Mary Oliver’s “Picking Blueberries, Austerlitz, New York, 1957”, in which the speaker recounts a childhood memory of having fallen asleep while out picking blueberries and then, when she woke, frightening a deer that had stopped to nuzzle her. Here, there is a sense of elegy not just for the deer but for a former self, lost when she somehow lost contact with the creaturely (“Beautiful girl,/ where are you?”). One of the most troubling items in such an anthology would be Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s astonishing “Dead Doe”, from her 1995 collection, Song. Here, from the first, the speaker seems torn between a Romantic or pastoral impulse and stark realism: The doe lay dead on her back in a field of asters: no. The doe lay dead on her back



beside the school bus stop: yes. Where we waited. Her belly white as a cut pear. Where we waited: no: off from where we waited: yes at a distance . . . – and that “at a distance” is crucial, because the speaker is afraid of the dead animal, afraid it might somehow rise from the dead and come near, or that she – and the child she is accompanying to school – might be touched by this otherness. Throughout the poem, Kelly shifts from poetic convention to hard, often prose like qualification, so that a moment comes when the fear seems to have been dispelled and the dead deer, lying on her back, “with her legs up and frozen”, is transformed by wishful looking into a vision of two swans: . . . we saw two swans and they were fighting or they were coupling or they were stabbing the ground for some prize worth nothing, but fought over, so worth that, worth the fought-over glossiness: the morning’s fragile-tubed glory. And yet, in the end, this vision is not as comforting as it seems, given that the transformed creature still eludes the speaker and her child, and even though they are no longer afraid, they should be, as they . . . watch her soul fly on: paired as the soul always is: with itself: with others. The poem ends with a wonderful ambiguity – “Child. We are done for/in the most remarkable ways” – and yet, even as we linger on the more obvious meaning of “done for”, it is at this point, in what had seemed the most unpromising of situations, that we see for a moment a flicker of creaturely possibility, and while we may doubt, now, that earth returns our love, we are still capable of the loving care that any animal has for its child. This is not enough, of course. Faced with an inarticulate grief at the loss of the animals, however, coupled with a growing refusal to be coarsened by that loss, we human creatures might yet find ourselves not in Eden (that was always a dream and never a very good one) but alive on earth, living truly among the fellow animals we had lost sight of for too long.

John Burnside, “Celebrating the animal encounter in poetry,” from New Statesman, 15 August 2015. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


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Among the dark trees are deer and fog glowing close to earth only shoulders and heads are visible as disembodied they drift lit tapers in the fog-light and branches allow them passage through arteries of instinct and memory return them to Oligocene forests where hoof-beats are blood murmurs above stones and rivers and antlers are the calcium of the air.


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stone sky wind silence of lichen and granite ptarmigan ghosting through stones through snow ermine shuddering through the drifts scenting for prey in a blind world of white

By Autumn Richardson, from RELIQUIAE, Volume Four, copyright Š2016. Edited by Autumn Richardson and Richard Skelton. Published by Corbel Stone Press. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.




Night. Nightwatch. Night Prayer. Winter. Dormancy. Darkness. Dark night of the soul. Atonement. Death. Requiem. Reckoning. Internal. Introversion. Going within. Withdrawl. Recluse. Hermit. Solitude. Sannyasa ashrama. Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces Music French, Frith, Kaiser, Thompson :: The Inward Circles :: Godspeed You! Black Emperor :: Nick Drake :: Pink Floyd :: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart :: Richard Thompson :: Bill Fay :: Arvo Pärt :: John Lennon :: Richard Skelton :: Incredible String Band :: Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh Text William Stafford: Traveling Through The Dark Hayden Carruth: Essay Lacrimosa, from Dies Irae sequence in the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass Richard Thompson: Beat The Retreat Peter Wadhams: A Farewell To Ice Jennifer Spector: The Arrow Jennifer Spector: Notions Left Gary Snyder: Burning The Small Dead Robert Haas: Analysis of Gary Snyder’s Burning The Small Dead Richard Skelton: Line Paul Bowles: Baptism Of Solitude Mike Heron: Douglas Traherne Harding Seamus Heaney: St. Kevin And The Blackbird Joe Bageant: Escape From The Zombie Food Court


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12midnight - 3am


THE INWARD CIRCLES – Two Opposed Leaves At The Root


NICK DRAKE – Black Eyed Dog

PINK FLOYD – Welcome To The Machine


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THE INWARD CIRCLES – Ancient Arithmetic Of The Hand

THE INWARD CIRCLES – From Animals Are Drawn Burning Lights

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART – Requiem in D Minor, K 626: 3. Sequentia: Lacrimosa



3am – 6am

RICHARD THOMPSON – How Will I Ever Be Simple Again

BILL FAY – Don’t Let My Marigolds Die

ARVO PÄRT– Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten for String Orchestra and Bell



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INCREDIBLE STRING BAND – Douglas Traherne Harding






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Traveling through the Dark By WILLIAM STAFFORD

Traveling through the dark I found a deer Dead on the edge of the Wilson River road. It is usually best to roll them into the canyon: that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead. By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing; she had stiffened already, almost cold. I dragged her off; she was large in the belly. My fingers touching her side brought me the reason – her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting, alive, still, never to be born. Beside that mountain road I hesitated. The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights; under the hood purred the steady engine. I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red; around our group I could hear the wilderness listen. I thought hard for us all – my only swerving - , then pushed her over the edge into the river.

William Stafford. “Traveling through the Dark” from Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems. Copyright ©1960, 1998, 2014 by William Stafford and the Estate of William Stafford. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota,


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So many poems about the deaths of animals. Wilbur’s toad, Kinnell’s porcupine, Eberhart’s Squirrel, and that poem by someone – Hecht? Merrill? – about cremating a woodchuck. But mostly I remember the outrageous number of them, as if every poet, I too, had written at least one animal elegy; with the result that today when I came to a good enough poem by Edwin Brock about finding a dead fox at the edge of the sea I could not respond; as if permanent shock had deadened me. And then after a moment I began to give way to sorrow (watching myself sorrowlessly the while), not merely because part of my being had been violated and annulled,


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but because all of these many poems over the years have been necessary, - suitable and correct. This has been the time of the finishing off of the animals. They are going away – their fur and their wild eyes, their voices. Deer leap and leap in front of the screaming snowmobiles until they leap out of existence. Hawks circle once or twice around their shattered nests and then they climb to the stars. I have lived with them fifty years, we have lived with them fifty million years, and now they are going, almost gone. I don’t know if the animals are capable of reproach. But clearly they do not bother to say good-bye. (1970s)

Hayden Carruth, “Essay,” from Brothers, I Loved You All: Poems 1969-1977, ©1978, Hayden Carruth. Reprinted by permission of The Sheep Meadow Press.




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Lacrimosa dies illa Qua resurget ex favilla Judicandus homo reus. Huic ergo parce, Deus; Pie Jesu Domine, Dona eis requiem. Amen.

Full of tears will be that day When from the ashes shall arise The guilty man to be judged; Therefore spare him, O God, Merciful Lord Jesus, Grant them eternal rest. Amen.

Lacrimosa from the Dies Irae sequence in the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass


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I’m beating my retreat Back home to you I’m beating my retreat Back home to you I’m burning all my bridges I’m burning all my bridges I’m burning all my bridges I’m running back home to you I’m trailing my colors Back home to you I’m trailing my colors Back home to you


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This world is filled with sadness This world is filled with sadness This world is filled with sadness I’m running back home to you I’ll follow the drum Back home to you I’ll follow the drum Back home to you There was no joy in my leaving There was no joy in my leaving There was no joy in my leaving I’m running back home to you

BEAT THE RETREAT Words and Music by RICHARD THOMPSON Reprinted by kind permission of Richard Thompson and Vector Management All rights reserved.




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A Farewell To Ice By PETER WADHAMS

Our planet has changed colour. The first photograph of planet Earth rising from behind the Moon, taken by the Apollo-8 astronauts, shows a delicate blue sphere, isolated in the cosmos, which contains all that we know of life. That sphere was white at both ends. Today, from space, the top of the world in the northern summer looks blue instead of white. We have created an ocean where there was once an ice sheet. It is Man’s first major achievement in reshaping the face of his planet… ••• I have spent my entire scientific life, from the age of twenty-one, working on the science of sea ice and polar oceans. What do these changes mean to me as I prepare to say a personal farewell to this magical landscape? Overwhelmingly I feel that this is a spiritual impoverishment of the Earth as well as a practical catastrophe for mankind. Our own greed and stupidity are taking away the beautiful world of Arctic Ocean sea ice, which once protected us from the impacts of climatic extremes.

By Peter Wadhams, extracted from A FAREWELL TO ICE: A REPORT FROM THE ARCTIC, copyright ©2016 by Peter Wadhams. Reprinted by kind permission of the author and Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Random House UK.


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Take the diamonds from your hair and lay them down. The deer-grass is thin. The timothy is brown. The shadow of an external world comes near. -Wallace Stevens Now the winds sail disquiet scour the fields for that heart in port

who is sounding at the breaks slippering dark rooms what shards and glyphs chisel camber in the heart?

where I have landed there is bark to be carried and plinths to root blistered with scorch the ghetto flower


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it is the hour we who have wildered burn our cressets turn back to the road outskirt the village try our broken drums

something luffed in the wind caught like bloom & must on the whaled skiff where I am laid ferries me say the dryland arrows also are turning

By Jennifer Spector, from SHEARSMAN MAGAZINE, 111 & 112, copyright Š2017. Edited by Tony Frazer. Published by Shearsman Books. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.




winter sails the branches follows the deer passes the wormwood passes the drifter also following the snow a kind of charter or perhaps notion that our leaving is marked

By Jennifer Spector, from RELIQUIAE, Volume Four, copyright Š2016. Edited by Autumn Richardson and Richard Skelton. Published by Corbel Stone Press. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


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Burning the Small Dead By GARY SNYDER

burning the small dead branches broke from beneath thick spreading whitebark pine. a hundred summers snowmelt rock and air hiss in a twisted bough. sierra granite; mt. Ritterblack rock twice as old. Deneb, Altair windy fire

By Gary Snyder, from THE BACK COUNTRY, copyright Š1968 by Gary Snyder. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.


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Here is Gary Snyder in the western mountains in the 1950s:

burning the small dead branches broke from beneath thick spreading whitebark pine.

a hundred summers snowmelt rock and air

hiss in a twisted bough.

sierra granite; mt. Ritter black rock twice as old.

Deneb, Altair

windy fire

A couple of facts about the poem. Whitebark pine grows in the highest elevations of the Sierra Nevada, just below timberline, so in this poem we must be at least 10,000 feet above sea level, high up there in the American sublime. The pines are very tough plants to survive ice and snow; their branches are often low-growing and contorted, and they flourish in their habitat, being perfectly adapted to it since at least the last ice age. So Snyder’s description of them – “thick spreading,” “twisted” – is apt and accurate. According to foresters the tree has a life span of about 120 years, so that next line is about right too. The branches might very well be 100 years old and they are made of snowmelt, rock, and air. Pines, like other conifers, stop supplying water and minerals to their lower branches as the new growth of the higher branches does the work of


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photosynthesis. The shut-down lower branches die, and they are the ones broken off and burned in the poem. In the dancelike movement of Snyder’s accentual verse, when you come to the verb “hiss” you can almost hear the sound of the branches in the campfire giving off the oxygen that nourishes them. The Sierra Nevada, geologists now think, began to form into a single massive block around 80 million years ago, began to rise 10 million years ago, and was carved into massive peaks and canyons by glaciers even as it continued to rise about 2.5 million years ago. Looking at the rock, looking at the fire, the speaker in the poem finds himself thinking about time. And from that elevation in the central Sierra, the distant glimpse of Mount Ritter and the Minarets is a familiar sight. Geologists tell us that the almost chocolate-colored rock of Ritter is very old, volcanic, and ancestral to the gray granite of most of the Sierra Nevada. Any time you get that high up, you see it, and it’s a striking sight. It takes the mind far back into the geological history of the Earth. Another thing you see in summer in the Sierra Nevada with a special brilliance as dark comes on – when you might be starting a fire – are the three stars of the summer triangle, Deneb, Altair, and Vega. They are, of course, also fire, and that leads the mind of the thinker in the poem to leap from the small campfire to the fires that fashioned Sierra granite over millions of years to the windy fire of the stars and to the origin of the universe.

Robert Haas, American Ecopoetry: An Introduction, from THE ECOPOETRY ANTHOLOGY, edited by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Grey Street, copyright ©2013 by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Grey Street. Published by Trinity University Press, San Antonio, Texas




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What line did the river first write in the valley? What sense, made over and over, now senseless? Dissolved salts. Glacial memories. Inklings of maternal violence written in moraines, in alluvium, in pulverised rock. (A syllabary, loosened from grit and clay.) What is the true note deep within the foss, heard, straining, above the froth and laughter? An ancient, unchanging music that scores the valleys, intones, beckons, ushers them into existence.

By Richard Skelton, from LANDINGS, copyright Š Richard Skelton 2005-2015. Published by Corbel Stone Press. The author’s moral rights have been asserted. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


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Baptism of Solitude By PAUL BOWLES

Immediately when you arrive in Sahara, for the first or the tenth time, you notice the stillness. An incredible, absolute silence prevails outside the towns; and within, even in busy places like the markets, there is a hushed quality in the air, as if the quiet were a conscious force which, resenting the intrusion of sound, minimizes and disperses sound straightaway. Then there is the sky, compared to which all other skies seem fainthearted efforts. Solid and luminous, it is always the focal point of the landscape. At sunset, the precise, curved shadow of the earth rises into it swiftly from the horizon, cutting into light section and dark section. When all daylight is gone, and the space is thick with stars, it is still of an intense and burning blue, darkest directly overhead and paling toward the earth, so that the night never really goes dark. You leave the gate of the fort or town behind, pass the camels lying outside, go up into the dunes, or out onto the hard, stony plain and stand awhile alone. Presently, you will either shiver and hurry back inside the walls, or you will go on standing there and let something very peculiar happen to you, something that everyone who lives there has undergone and which the French call ‘le baptême de solitude.’ It is a unique sensation, and it has nothing to do with loneliness, for loneliness presupposes memory. Here in this wholly mineral landscape lighted by stars like flares, even memory disappears...A strange, and by no means pleasant, process of reintegration begins inside you, and you have the choice of fighting against it, and insisting on remaining the person you have always been, or letting it take its course. For no one who has stayed in the Sahara for a while is quite the same as when he came. Perhaps the logical question to ask at this point is: Why go? The answer is that when a man has been there and undergone the baptism of solitude he can’t help


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himself. Once he has been under the spell of the vast luminous, silent country, no other place is quite strong enough for him, no other surroundings can provide the supremely satisfying sensation of existing in the midst of something that is absolute. He will go back, whatever the cost in time or money, for the absolute has no price.

By Paul Bowles, from Their Heads are Green and Their Hands are Blue: Scenes from the NonChristian World, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., copyright Š 1957, 1963 by Paul Bowles



Douglas Traherne Harding By MIKE HERON

When I was born I had no head My eye was single and my body was filled with light And the light that I was, was the light that I saw by And the light that I saw by, was the light that I was And many’s the time that I’ve passed by the river And saw no tollman and needed no ferryman to cross And I enjoyed the world aright For the sea itself floweth And warm I was and crowned. But one day walking by the river I met a tollman with an angry face And many’s the time I passed through his tollgate And paid no silver and paid no fee But rather I did hide my sheep and goats under the bags of oatmeal And cold I was, no crown did I wear But if you’re walking down the street Why don’t you look down to the basement And sitting very quietly there is a man who has no head His eye is single and his whole body also is filled with light


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And the streets are his and all the people And even the temples and the whole world And many’s the time he walks to the river And seeing the ferryman and seeing the tollman The light within him leaps to greet them For he sees that their faces are none but his own One light, the light that is one though the lamps be many “You never enjoy the world aright Till the sea itself floweth In your vein and you are clothed With the heavens and crowned with the stars”

DOUGLAS TRAHERNE HARDING Words and Music by MIKE HERON Copyright © 1969 (Renewed) WARNER-TAMERLANE PUBLISHING CORP. All Rights Reserved Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC




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St Kevin and the Blackbird By SEAMUS HEANEY

And then there was St Kevin and the blackbird. The saint is kneeling, arms stretched out, inside His cell, but the cell is narrow, so One turned-up palm is out the window, stiff As a crossbeam, when a blackbird lands And lays in it and settles down to nest. Kevin feels the warm eggs, the small breast, the tucked Neat head and claws and, finding himself linked Into the network of eternal life, Is moved to pity: now he must hold his hand Like a branch out in the sun and rain for weeks Until the young are hatched and fledged and flown.


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And since the whole thing’s imagined anyhow, imagine being Kevin. Which is he? Self-forgetful or in agony all the time From the neck on out down through his hurting forearms? Are his fingers sleeping? Does he still feel his knees? Or has the shut-eyed blank of underearth Crept up through him? Is there distance in his head? Alone and mirrored clear in love’s deep river, ‘To labour and not to seek reward,’ he prays, A prayer his body makes entirely For he has forgotten self, forgotten bird And on the riverbank forgotten the river’s name.

By Seamus Heaney, from Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996 (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), copyright © Seamus Heaney 1998. Used by kind permission of the Estate of Seamus Heaney and Faber & Faber Ltd.



Escape from the Zombie Food Court By JOE BAGEANT

April 3, 2009 Joe Bageant spoke at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University in Lexington, and the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, where he was invited to speak on American consciousness and what he dubbed “The American Hologram” in his book Deer Hunting with Jesus. These are the final paragraphs, from an excerpted text version of the talks he gave, assembled from his remarks at all three schools. It is fair to say that television and the American culture are the same thing. More than any other factor, it is the glue of society and the mediator of our experience. American culture is stone-cold dead without it. If all of the TVs in America went black, so would most of America’s collective consciousness and knowledge, because corporate media have replaced nearly all other previous forms of accumulated knowledge. Especially the ancient forms, such as contemplation of the natural world, and the study and care of the soul. And I do not mean “soul” in the religious sense, either. I mean the deeper self, the one you go to sleep with every night. The media have colonized our inner lives like a virus. The virus is not going away. This commoditization of our human consciousness is probably the most astounding, most chilling, accomplishment of American capitalist culture. Capitalist society, however, can only survive by defying the laws of thermodynamics, through endlessly expanding growth, buying and using more of everything, every year and forever. Thus the cult of radical consumerism. It has


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been the deadliest cult of all because, so far, it has always triumphed, and has now spread around the earth and its nations. Why has it been so viral, so attractive to so many for so long? How did it come to grip the consciousness of so much of mankind, from Beijing to Bangladesh? Thuggish enforcement accounts for part of it, of course. But it has succeeded, too, because it requires no effort – no critical thinking, not even literacy – just passive consumption. The easy addiction to consumption is probably hardwired into us. Every one of us will go right out of this door tonight and continue to play out our lives as contributors to ecocide and global warming, mainly because it’s easier. And, besides, we are not offered any other real options, and we don’t know any other way. Nor can we ever know any other way without making a great effort. How to make that effort? (Assuming you even want to.) As I said, consuming images and goods, or buying your identity at Old Navy or a retro-clothing shop, takes no real effort or thought. Just money. Text messaging your whereabouts at the mall may be a technological wonder, but you’re still absolutely nowhere if you are just one more oral-grooved organism in the food court at the mall moving in a swarm toward a Quiznos sandwich shop. So how do you escape the programming of the food court, and, I might include, escape even those parts of this school that may serve more to indoctrinate than enlighten you? All pedagogy, even the best, is nevertheless about control. How does one escape such a total system? In a word, service. Humble and thoughtful service to the world. It is heartening that we do have concerned Americans studying to alleviate the great suffering of so much of humanity. I have no proof of it, but seems like earnest idealism is making a comeback since its decline following the optimistic 1960s. People and institutions such as this one are attempting to move American society forward again, to heal us of our national sickness to the extent that you can, after decades of regression, not to mention repression. Of course, to solve problems you must first identify them.



Let me say here that one of the most profound things I have learned from the Third World, perhaps the only thing I have learned – and, as psychologists, you’ve surely heard it before – is this: The diagnosis is not the disease. Which is why our prescribed treatment never seems to work in places like Africa. Or even in the Bronx or South Philly. Even our most well-intentioned thinking, and our study of the afflictions of Africa and Latin America, of American inner cities or Appalachia, suffers from hubris, because whatever approach we adopt is necessarily the product of the Western propertized and monetized thinking that caused the problem in the first place. So now we study our victims with great piety, and supposedly teach them solutions to the problems we continue to cause for them. Western people studying globalization’s horrific effects, or rape in Africa, or world poverty, are doing so under the assumption that such things can be dealt with through some social mechanistic means, through analysis and unbiased reason and rational, value-free science. Or by a network of officially sanctioned agencies. For years, I have wanted to see the opposite take place – to see well-fed, educated Americans learn from the poor of the earth. I’d like to see them do what Gandhi advised: Let the poor be the teachers. Go among them with nothing, with one set of clothing and no money, keep your mouth shut, and do your best not to affect anything (which is impossible, I know. But you can come, as they say, “close enough for government work.”) Then just let the world happen to you, like they do in the so-called “passive societies,” instead of trying to happen to it in typical Western fashion. Don’t try to “improve” things. Maybe practice milpa agriculture with Mayans on the Guatemalan border, watching corn grow for three months. Fish in a lonely dugout, sun-up to sun-down, in the dying reefs of the Caribbean, with only a meal or two of fish as your reward. Do such things for a month or two. First, you will experience boredom, and then will come an internal psychic violence and anger, much like the experience of zazen, or sitting meditation, as the


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layers of your mind-conditioning peel away. Don’t quit – keep at it, endure it, to the end. And when you return you will find that deeply experiencing a non-conditioned reality changes things forever. What you have experienced will animate whatever intellectual life you have developed. Or negate much of it. But in serious, intelligent people, experiencing a non-manufactured reality usually gives lifelong meaning and insight into the work. You will have experienced the eternal verities of the world and mankind at ground zero. And you will find that healthy social structures which our well-intentioned Western minds seek are already inherent in the psyche of mankind, but imprisoned. And you will come to the startling realization that you and I are the unknowing captors. In conclusion, I would point out that the high technological imprisonment of our consciousness has been fairly recent. There are still those among us who remember when it was not so entrapped. A few of us still know what it was like to experience non-manufactured realities – life outside our mass-produced kitsch culture. Particularly some aging Sixties types, who sought to pass through the doors of perception. Many made it through. But in my travels to places such as this one, I also meet a new breed of younger people, who get it completely. I meet them in the more advanced psychological venues such as the Adler School of Professional Psychology. And especially in the ecological movement. They already seem to know what it took me a lifetime to learn: that each of us is but one strand in the vast organic web of flesh and blood chlorophyll. All things and all beings are inextricably connected at the most profound level. Any physicist will confirm this. We are bound by its every wave and particle, all of us – the lonely night clerk at Motel 6 and the leviathans of the deep, the sleeping grandmother in New Haven, Connecticut, and the maimed Iraqi child in Kirkuk. It can be understood by anyone, though, simply by owning one’s own consciousness. And in doing so we find that ownership and domination are both temporary and meaningless. And that the animating spirit of the earth is real and within us and claimable. The purpose of life is to know this. Einstein glimpsed it. Lao-Tzu knew it. So did Saint Francis. But you and I are not supposed to. It would shatter the revered,



digitized, super-sized, utterly meaningless hologram – the one that mesmerizes us, and mediates our every experience, but isolates us from universal humanness and its coursing energies. Such as love. Mercy. Compassion. Existential pain. Hunger. Or the unmitigated joy of simply being alive that one finds in children everywhere, even among the poorest. Most of the human race still lives in that realm. Blessed is the one who joins them. Because he or she learns that the truth is not relative, and that because the human mind seeks balance, social justice is not only inescapable in the long run, but inevitable. I won’t be around for that; but on a clear day, if I squint real hard, I can see down that road ahead. And on that road I can see the long chain of human beings like yourselves walking toward the light. And for your very presence on this earth and in this room, I am grateful. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Joe Bageant excerpted from “Escape from the Zombie Food Court” from Waltzing At The Doomsday Ball: The Best of Joe Bageant, edited by Ken Smith, 2011 (Scribe Publications). Reprinted by permission of Patrick Bageant and The Joseph L. Bageant Revocable Intervivos Trust. All rights reserved. Copyright © The Joseph L. Bageant Revocable Intervivos Trust.


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Homer, 2012 graphite on paper 10 x 22 in.

Pg 13

Whale 1, 2015 Graphite, colored pencil, watercolor and oil pastel on paper 22 x 30 in.

MATINS Pgs 18-19

Matins, 2017 Graphite, colored pencil, oil pastel, watercolor, shell gold, and gold leaf on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in.

Pg 21

Pussy Willow Branch, 2012 Graphite and colored pencil on paper 7 x 5 in.

Pgs 22-23

Matins Playlist 1 (Sweet Pea), 2017 Graphite and colored pencil on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in.


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Pgs 24-25

Matins Playlist 2 (Witch Hazel), 2017 Graphite and colored pencil on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in.

Pg 28

Emerge, 2012 graphite, colored pencil and pastel on paper 30 x 22 in.

Pg 33

Bird 1 (The Passing Wisdom for Barry Lopez), 2013 graphite on paper 9 ¾ x 10 in.

Pg 35

Bird, Bee, and Late Summer Grass, 2011 graphite on paper 30 x 22 in.

Pgs 36-37

Bird 16 (Swerve), 2013 graphite on paper 11 1/4 x 13 in.

Pg 39

Bee 17 (Prāna), 2011 graphite and colored pencil on paper 11 ¼ x 13 ¼ in.

Pgs 42-43

Bee 18 (Pilgrim), 2011 graphite and colored pencil on paper 10 x 15 ½ in.

Pgs 44-45

Bee 22 (Nebulous Nearnesses), 2011 graphite and colored pencil on paper 30 x 22 in.



None Pgs 46-47

None, 2017 Graphite, Terre Verte & Rose Madder pigments, shell gold, and gold leaf on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in.

Pg 49

Blades of Summer Grass, 2012 graphite on paper 7 x 5 in.

Pgs 50-51

None Playlist 1 (Rose Petal), 2017 Graphite and colored pencil on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in.

Pgs 52-53

None Playlist 2 (Rose Hip), 2017 Graphite and colored pencil on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in.

Pg 57

Bee 31 (Yard Bee), 2011 graphite on paper 30 x 22 in.

Pg 58

Maple Seeds 2, 2017 graphite on paper 10 x 8 in.

Pg 68

Maple Seeds 3, 2017 graphite on paper 10 x 8 in.


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Pg 71

Howl (for Jesse), 2014 Graphite on paper 30 x 22 in.

Pg 74

Oisín, 2014 Graphite on paper 30 x 22 in.

Pg 81

Family Tree, 2014 Graphite and colored pencil on paper 30 x 22 in.

Pg 82

Worlds Without End, 2015 Graphite, colored pencil, pastel, and oil pastel on paper 18 x 22 in.

Pg 87

All Will Be One (remix), 2011 Archival digital pigment print on paper 30 x 22 in.

Pg 90

St. Francis in the Age of the 6th Mass Extinction, 2013 graphite on paper 22 x 30 in.

Pg 93

Deirdre’s Hare in Loveliest Wheat, 2017 graphite and watercolor on paper 10 x 8 in.

Pg 94

Deirdre’s Long-Horned Calf and Trysting Bees, 2017 graphite and watercolor on paper 10 x 8 in.



Pg 95

Deirdre’s Fox and Blackberry, 2017 graphite and watercolor on paper 10 x 8 in.

Pg 96

Deirdre’s Badger, Delirious With Sleep, 2017 graphite and watercolor on paper 10 x 8 in.

Pgs 100-101 Wing (for Manon), - detail, 2012 graphite on paper 30 x 22 in. Pgs 104-105 Vespers, 2017 Graphite, shell gold and gold leaf on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in. Pg 107

Sweetgum, 2012 graphite on paper 16 ¾ x 22 in.

Pgs 108-109 Vespers Playlist 1 (Leaf), 2017 Graphite and colored pencil on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in. Pgs 110-111 Vespers Playlist 2 (Acorn), 2017 Graphite and colored pencil on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in. Pg 113


Nik’s Squirrel, 2013 graphite on paper 8 x 11 ½ in.

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Pgs 122-123 Tree of Life, 2012 Graphite, watercolor, and colored pencil on paper 17 ž x 22 in. Pg 124

Oak 5, 2001 graphite on paper 12 x 9 in.

Pg 125

Oak 7, 2002 graphite on paper 12 x 9 in.

Pgs 128-129 Kestrel 1 (Again, Alive, for Richard Skelton), 2014 graphite on paper 16 x 20 in. Pg 134

Deer (Finite and Alive for John Burnside), 2017 graphite on paper 10 x 8 in.

Pg 137

Squirrel, 2017 graphite on paper 10 x 8 in.

Pg 139

Fox, 2017 graphite on paper 10 x 8 in.

Pg 140

Hare, 2017 graphite on paper 10 x 8 in.



Pg 143

Bird 4 (Brahman, for Rick Reese), 2013 graphite on paper 8 ¾ x 6 ½ in.

Pg 144

Bird 2 (Sattva), 2013 graphite on paper 6 ½ x 6 ½ in.

Pg 145

Bird 3 (Liminal), 2013 graphite on paper 7 x 7 ½ in.

Pgs 146-147 Barn Owl 2, 2016 Graphite, colored pencil, and ink on paper 10 x 8 in. Pgs 154-155 Coven (for Autumn Richardson), 2017 graphite on paper 5 ¼ x 8 ½ in. VIGILS Pgs 158-159 Vigils, 2017 Graphite, watercolor, charcoal, pastel, mica, shell gold, and gold leaf on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in. Pg 161

Oh, What Did You See, My Blue-Eyed Son? (for Tom Jeffreys), 2017 graphite and colored pencil on paper 3 ½ x 7 in.


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Pgs 162-163 Vigils Playlist 1 (Honesty: Lunaria annua), 2017 Graphite, watercolor, Scriptorium walnut ink, and mica on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in. Pgs 164-165 Vigils Playlist 2 (Stick), 2017 Graphite and colored pencil on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Pgs 166-167 Winter Twigs, 2009 graphite and colored pencil on paper 9 x 11 ½ in. Pgs 170-171 Stafford’s Deer (for Bill Willis), 2013 graphite on paper 22 x 30 in. Pg 174

Reynard, 2014 Graphite on paper 30 x 22 in.

Pg 177

Lacrimosa, 2014 Graphite and colored pencil on paper 30 x 22 in.

Pg 180

Bee 33 (Evening), 2012 graphite on paper 21 ¼ x 10 ¾ in.

Pg 183

Ice Melt (for Peter Wadhams), 2017 graphite and colored pencil on paper 10 x 8 in.



Pg 184

Bee 25 (Collapse), 2011 graphite on paper 5 x 7 in.

Pg 185

Skull, 2017 graphite and on paper 10 x 8 in.

Pg 191

Mt. Ritter (for Gary Snyder), 2017 graphite and on paper 10 x 8 in.

Pg 194

Roots/Mole (detail), 2008 graphite and coffee grounds on paper 30 x 22 in.

Pg 195

Fossil 1, 2017 Scriptorium walnut ink on paper 10 x 8 in.

Pgs 202-203 No Head (Jesse), 2017 graphite and Naples Yellow pigment on paper Diptych: each panel 10 x 8 in. Overall: 10 x 16 in. Pg 211


Boy and Sea (Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End), 2016 Graphite on paper 30 x 22 in.

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MATINS (6AM – 9AM) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.


Ravi Shankar, “Friar Park” from Tana Mana, 1987 (Private Music) Incredible String Band, “The Half-Remarkable Question” from Wee Tam and The Big Huge, 1968 (Elektra/Warner Music Group) Cat Stevens, “Morning Has Broken” from Teaser and the Firecat, 1971 (Island and A&M) Van Morrison, “Give Me My Rapture” from Poetic Champions Compose, 1987 (Mercury) Beach Boys, “Add Some Music To Your Day” from Sunflower, 1970 (Brother/ Reprise) Incredible String Band, “Chinese White” from The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion, 1967 (Elektra/WEA) The Beatles, “Across The Universe” (take 2, 1968) from Anthology 2, 1996 (Apple and Capitol) Bhagavan Das & Richard Sales, “Light From The Lighthouse” from Holy Ghost Sessions, 2004 (GlassWing) George Harrison, “My Sweet Lord” (side 1, track 2) from All Things Must Pass, 1970 (Apple) Van Morrison, “Vanlose Stairway” from Beautiful Vision, 1982 (Warner Bros.) Incredible String Band, “You Get Brighter” from Wee Tam and The Big Huge, 1968 (Elektra/Warner Music Group) Van Morrison, “Full Force Gale” from Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast, 1984 (Mercury) Van Morrison, “ In The Garden/You Send Me/Allegheny” from A Night in San Francisco, 1994 (Polydor)

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MATINS (9AM – 12NOON) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Georgia Seddon, “Bird” from Georgia Seddon, 2009 (Bandcamp) Incredible String Band, “Puppies” from Wee Tam and The Big Huge, 1968 (Elektra/Warner Music Group) Pink Floyd, “Grantchester Meadows” from Ummagumma, 1969 (Harvest/ Capitol) Neil Young, “Natural Beauty” from Harvest Moon, 1992 (Reprise) Incredible String Band, “The Yellow Snake Coils” from Wee Tam and The Big Huge, 1968 (Elektra/Warner Music Group) The Byrds, “5D (Fifth Dimension)” from Fifth Dimension, 1966 (Columbia) Beach Boys, “Please Let Me Wonder” from The Beach Boys Today!, 1965 (Capitol) Tinariwen, “Afours Afours” from The Radio Tisdas Sessions, 2001 (Wayward) Steve Shehan & Baly Othmani, “Eilan Akabar Warigazaz” from Desert Blues 1 – Ambiances Du Sahara, 1995 (Network Medien) David Crosby, “Laughing” from If I Could Only Remember My Name, 1971 (Atlantic) Jerry Garcia, “The Wheel” from Garcia, 1972 (Warner Bros.) Sufjan Stevens, “Chicago” from Illinois, 2005 (Asthmatic Kitty/Secretly Canadian and Rough Trade) Van Morrison, “Vanlose Stairway/Trans-Euro Train/Fool For You” from A Night in San Francisco, 1994 (Polydor)

NONE (12NOON – 3PM) 1. 2. 3. 4.


Incredible String Band, “Maya” from Wee Tam and The Big Huge, 1968 (Elektra/Warner Music Group) Väsen, “Marsch I April” from Mindset, 2013 (Northside) Richard Thompson, “The Angels Took My Racehorse Away” from More Guitar, 2003 (Beeswing) Lo’Jo & Django, “Jah Kas Cool Boy” from (Various) Festival in the Desert, 2003 (World Village)


Van Morrison, “Cleaning Windows” from Beautiful Vision, 1982 (Warner Bros.) 6. Bob Dylan, “Dignity” from Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume 3, 1994 (Columbia) 7. Incredible String Band, “Pig Went Walking/See All The People/Swift As The Wind” from Live at the Fillmore 1968, 2013 (Hux) 8. Van Morrison, “Alan Watts Blues” from Poetic Champions Compose, 1987 (Mercury) 9-16. Sufjan Stevens, eight-song run from Illinois, 2005 (Asthmatic Kitty/Secretly Canadian and Rough Trade) 17. Incredible String Band, “Job’s Tears” from Wee Tam and The Big Huge, 1968 (Elektra/Warner Music Group) 18. Incredible String Band, “A Very Cellular Song” from The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, 1968 (Elektra/WEA) 5.

NONE (3PM – 6PM) 1.

Shirley Collins and The Albion Country Band, “The White Hare” from No Roses, 1971 (Pegasus) 2. Väsen, “Mitt I Livet (In The Middle Of Life)” from Trio, 2003 (Northside) 3. Eddie Vedder, “Hard Sun” from Into the Wild (soundtrack), 2007 (J) 4-11. Fairport Convention, Liege & Lief (full album), 1969 (Island and A&M) 12. Fairport Convention, “Bonny Bunch Of Roses” from Full House, 1970 (Island and A&M) 13. Richard Thompson, “Mingulay Boat Song” from (Various) Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, 2006 (ANTI-) 14. Fairport Convention, “A Sailor’s Life” from Richard Thompson: Watching the Dark, 1993 (Hannibal) 15. Fairport Convention, “Flowers Of The Forest,” from Full House, 1970 (Island 15. 16.


and A&M) Judy Dyble, “Satisfied Mind” (Cassingle 1974) from Anthology: Part One, 2015 (Earth) Richard Thompson, “Wall Of Death” from Two Letter Words, 1996 (Flypaper)

Book of Hours

VESPERS (6PM – 9PM) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.


Solomon Burke, “Fast Train” from Don’t Give Up On Me, 2002 (Fat Possum and ANTI-) Richard Thompson, “Take Care The Road You Choose” from Live Warrior, 2009 (Beeswing) Bob Dylan, “Most Of The Time” from The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006, 2008 (Columbia) Richard & Linda Thompson, “Beat The Retreat” from Richard Thompson: Watching the Dark, 1993 (Hannibal) Bob Dylan, “Trying To Get To Heaven” from Time Out Of Mind, 1997 (Columbia) Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny, “Spiritual” from Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories), 1997 (Verve) Billy Bragg & Wilco, “California Stars” from Mermaid Avenue, 1998 (Elektra) Bob Dylan, “Not Dark Yet” from Time Out Of Mind, 1997 (Columbia) Tinariwen (feat. Kyp Malone), “Iswegh Attay” from Tassili, 2011 (ANTI-) Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, “Raga Tilak Kamod – Dhun” from The Best of Hindustani Instrumental, Vol. 1 & 2, 2006 (Music Today) Eddie Vedder & Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, “The Long Road” from Dead Man Walking (soundtrack), 1996 (Columbia) Van Morrison, “Into The Mystic” from Moondance, 1970 (Warner Bros.) Beach Boys, “’Til I Die” from Surf’s Up, 1971 (Brother/Reprise and EMI Stateside) Incredible String Band, “October Song” from The Incredible String Band, 1966 (Elektra) Fairport Convention, “Who Knows Where The Time Goes?” from Unhalfbricking, 1969 (Island) John Lennon, “Watching The Wheels” from Acoustic, 2004 (Capitol/EMI) Nick Drake, “Time Has Told Me” from Five Leaves Left, 1969 (Island) Sandy Denny, “Geordie” (home demo) from A Boxful of Treasures, 2004 (Universal Island) George Harrison, “All Things Must Pass” from All Things Must Pass, 1970 (Apple)



Richard & Linda Thompson, “Dargai” from Shoot Out The Lights, 2010 (Rhino) – note: disc 2, previously unreleased live version

VESPERS (9PM – 12MIDNIGHT) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Richard & Linda Thompson, “Night Comes In” from Pour Down Like Silver, 1975 (Island) Rob St. John, “Your Phantom Limb” from Weald, 2013 (Song, By Toad Records) Djeli Moussa Diawara & Bob Brozman, “Almany” from Desert Blues 2 – Rêves D’Oasis, 2002 (Network Medien) Sultan Khan, “Raga Mishra Tilang” from The Best of Hindustani Instrumental, Vol. 1 & 2, 2006 (Music Today) The Beatles, “Tomorrow Never Knows” from Revolver, 1966 (Parlophone) Bhagavan Das, “Sri Krishna Arati” from Now, 2000 (Karuna) George Harrison, “Run Of The Mill” from All Things Must Pass, 1970 (Apple) Mahavishnu Orchestra, “I Wonder” from The Lost Trident Sessions (1973), 1999 (Sony) Bob Dylan, “Shooting Star #2” from The Deeds of Mercy (bootleg), 1996 (Razor’s Edge) Nick Drake, “Which Will” from Pink Moon, 1972 (Island) Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, “Easter Snow” from Music for an Elliptical Orbit, 2014 (Diatribe) Van Morrison, “Take Me Back” from Hymns To The Silence, 1991 (Polydor) The Beatles, “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End” from Abbey Road, 1969 (Apple) Arvo Pärt, “Spiegel Im Spiegel for Violin and Piano,” (1980 version) performed by Tasmin Little, Martin Roscoe, Richard Studt Bournemouth Sinfonietta, from Fratres, 1994 (EMI Classics)



French Frith Kaiser Thompson, “The Killing Jar” from Invisible Means, 1990 (Windham Hill)

Book of Hours

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

The Inward Circles, “Two Opposed Leaves At The Root” from Nimrod is Lost in Orion and Osyris in the Doggestarre, 2014 (Corbel Stone Press) Godspeed You! Black Emperor, “The Dead Flag Blues” from F#A#∞, 1997 (Constellation, Kranky) Nick Drake, “Black Eyed Dog” from Time Of No Reply, 1987 (Hannibal) – (note: one of the “final 4” recordings from July 1974) Pink Floyd, “Welcome To The Machine” from Wish You Were Here, 1975 (Harvest – Columbia) The Inward Circles, “Ancient Arithmetic Of The Hand” from Nimrod is Lost in Orion and Osyris in the Doggestarre, 2014 (Corbel Stone Press) The Inward Circles, “From Animals Are Drawn Burning Lights” from Nimrod is Lost in Orion and Osyris in the Doggestarre, 2014 (Corbel Stone Press) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Requiem in D Minor, K.626:3. Sequentia: Lacrimosa” from Mozart: Requiem, Sir Neville Marriner conducts Academy and Chorus of St. Martin in the Fields 1991 (Philips)

VIGILS (3AM – 6AM) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.


Richard Thompson, “How Will I Ever Be Simple Again?” from Daring Adventures, 1986 (Polydor) Bill Fay, “Don’t Let My Marigolds Die” from Time of the Last Persecution, 1970 (Dream) Arvo Pärt, “Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten,” Paavo Järvi conducts Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, from Summa, 2002 (Virgin Classics) John Lennon, “Mother” from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, 1970 (Apple) Richard Skelton, “Of The Sea” from Verse of Birds, 2012 (Corbel Stone Press) Incredible String Band, “Douglas Traherne Harding” from Wee Tam and The Big Huge, 1968 (Elektra/Warner Music Group) Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, “Lithosphere” from Music for an Elliptical Orbit, 2014 (Diatribe) Incredible String Band, “Bright Morning Stars” from Across The Airwaves: BBC Radio Recordings 1969-1974, 2007 (Hux)



My heartfelt thanks to the poets, writers, scientists, and songwriters whose inspiring work comprise the Book of Hours.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

David Abram Joe Bageant Paul Bowles John Burnside Hayden Carruth André Gregory Robert Haas Seamus Heaney Mike Heron Tony Hoagland Leonard Koren Denise Levertov Alastair McIntosh John Muir

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Autumn Richardson Martin Shaw Wallace Shawn Richard Skelton Gary Snyder Jennifer Spector William Stafford Kate Tempest Thich Nhat Hanh Richard Thompson Peter Wadhams Robin Williamson Jeanette Winterson


Photography: Gregory Staley Graphic Design: Aliza Jensen

so play the game Existence to the end of the beginning, of the beginning

Book of Hours  

An Artist's Book for the Anthropocene

Book of Hours  

An Artist's Book for the Anthropocene