May

Hawthorne

The copper in turquoise,
the green-patina sea foam,
the sky: metallic rose,
Aphrodite light upon scalloped ridges,
the sea waves sway.
Lucifer falls slowly through the dawn light,
the firebrand raging in the evening:
two torches of heaven —
the witches fly home.
Bonfires of Beltane on the mountains,
celebrate the verdant fields,
the cattle warded between the smoke,
the flowers waltzing under Maypoles,
fertile: the promise of Midsummer.
Fire of young love burns
red like brimstone volcanoes
of crippled Hephaestus
pining for the swan trumpet
fanfare of Love’s arrival.
Fiery flowers of hawthorn
decorate the doorways, fairy
blessings from the May Bush
as spring dew melts in the blazing sun.

*[ WSB ].

Explication of Yeat’s “Leda and the Swan”

Yeats constructs “Leda and the Swan” around an allusion to the events central to Homer’s The Iliad, for the offspring engendered from the mythological forceful rape perpetrated by Zeus as swan upon the vulnerable Leda is Helen of Sparta whose willing defection ultimately crumbles the Trojan fortress. The parallel to Judeo-Christian lore is noteworthy: the spirit of God in the form of a white bird impregnating a virgin, the resultant child of historical import.

Leda and the Swan

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
                                  Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

W. B. Yeats —

The poem’s first two quatrains relate Leda’s helplessness within a flurry of feathers, the closing septet: the aftermath. The dizzying rape rages within the sonnet’s pithiness. “A sudden blow” propels the attack in media res the moment that Leda is buffeted by Divine will (1). The phrase snatches the reader’s attention to the violent indifference of rape notwithstanding its heavenly origin. The alliterative parallel of “blow” and “beating” compressed in the first line highlights the clash against the edge of divine knowledge, an implicit meaning of the poem. Any tenderness suggested in “thighs caressed” is immediately challenged by metonymic portioning of the avian incarnation, the darkness of the webbed feet: webs suggestive of capture, not a willing interaction on the part of the virgin. Yeats then immediately proves the capturing motif with Zeus’ beak clamping another tender point of erogeneity. The last line of the first quatrain rounds the concerns of capture and awkward intimacy with more alliteration: “He holds her helpless breast upon his breast,” ensnarement in the H’s and impingement in the B’s — the thoracic repetition stresses the union, and more to the theme of approaching godlike power, the terror (4).

The first line of the second continues contemplating the terror but in light of the disparity between the spiritual and the mundane by reversing expectations of reality, for the somatic attributes of Leda become insubstantial: her fingers “vague,” her thighs “loosening,” under the assault of the incarnated “white rush,” the spiritual blood propelled by heartbeat. Other snapshot phrases amidst the violent incursion underscore the disparity between god and mortal. The hurled bolts show up in certain bestial phraseology: “The great wings beating”, “dark webs”, “feathered glory” and a “white rush” (1-7). These make myth corporal.

Oppositely, Leda is helpless against divine concupiscence; relegated to weak phraseology: “the staggering girl”, “caught” and “helpless” (2-4). The mystery of intimacy between the spirit and the clay contemplated by the poet appears in “Did she put on his knowledge with his power / Before the indifferent beak could let her drop ?”; by posing the question at the end, Yeats plants a seed of contemplation within the reader’s mind, thereby extending the poems affect on the reader.

A shudder in the loins” marks the climax destined to spark war in Ileum some years hence (9). The progeny of this ill-fated union will generate crumbling Trojan walls, mentioned in synecdochic fragments: “broken wall” (10), “burning roof and tower” and “Agamemnon dead” (10-11).

*[ WSB ].

The Wheels

Rotas

Turns askew the serpent
cross the magic square:
a prayer and a shield
that from the axle
will not fly the wheels
of the plow astral
worked by the sower
that also reaps the field.

*[ WSB ].

Principia Mathematica [Incompletum]

2SetTheory

Using formal logic of groups
360 pages prove
that 1 + 1 = 2,
but any theory contains loops.
So, to keep from jumping through hoops

put incompleteness in a box:
a set containing paradox;
unlike Pandora, keep it locked!
Maintain our collective senses,
and just relax in consensus.

*[ WSB ].

Forever Rewards

TrinityArt

Version: Holy Trinity. [1620]. Hendrick van Balen the Elder.

Belief in belief
guarantees truth
(even diametrically
opposed assertions),
negating refutation
by subject experts
[nudge, nudge; wink, wink]
as fake reporting
of reality;
unfulfilled maybe,
but soon to be realized
after 2000 years
in the apocalyptic
waiting room.

Millions of bodies
rise from shattered
graves, dirt sprinkling into
the eyes of the naysayers,
as a cosmic loudspeaker
proclaims the winning
lottery ticket numbers.

Congratulations.
Your steadfast,
single-minded, cultic
dogma is, indeed,
the correct one out
of the thousands
in the competition.

Winning ticket holders
please take the escalator
UP to receive your
forever rewards.

*[ WSB ].

Levels of Nothingness

No objects
                     [whozits and whatzits galore;
                                     and no, you can’t have more—
                                     but you can have less].
No air
                                   [N2, O2, Ar, CO2, Ne, He, CH4, Kr,
                                     and varying levels of wetness, von
                                     Guericke’s vacuum].
No matter
                                   [condensates: fermionic and Bose-
                                     Einstein; solids, liquids, gases
                                     and quark-gluon plasmas].
No particles
                                   [in six Baskin-Robins, six monochromes,
                                     and one god; quantum excitation of
                                     fields predicted by mathematics,
                                     irreducible and exhibiting Poincaré
                                     symmetries—quantized waves in the
                                     qubit ocean].
No radiation
                                   [Gravity Ripples ’n the Swerving
                                     Micetaps; infrasoundultra, seismic;
                                     particular alpha (α), beta (ß), proton &
                                     neutron cosmicomics; electromagnetic:
                                     radio, micro, infrared, Mr. Roy G. Biv,
                                     ultraviolet, X, and gamma (γ)].
No fields
                                   [classical & quantum into the cauldron:
                                     scalars, vectors, tensors, and spinors;
                                     a falling apple, the flux of Gauss,
                                     wrap in Reynold’s to Stoke the flow;
                                     and to be fair—
                                     blow in a drag of D’Alembert;
                                     covariance of Lorentz to bundle
                                     the bubbles, and to tame the strange,
                                     a little pinch of Lagrange].
No force carriers
                                    [weak and last, W & Z of intermediate
                                     vector, heavier than iron; jumbo pack of
                                     crayons, gluons gathering quarks in
                                     paren; photons, 8.3 minutes from the
                                     sun, a tensor product for Fock state; and
                                     generally relativistic geodesic falling].
No vacuum
                                    [cosmological constants, spacetime
                                     curvature, virtual particles flitting into
                                     and out of existence, foundation of
                                     something, angular jittering- pendulum
                                     space points].
No spacetime
                                     [Minkowski manifolds Euclidean or
                                     pseudo-Riemannian, all relativistic
                                     Cartesian points: x, y, z, and t;
                                     dimensions bidirectional and
                                     unidirectional, all gravitomagnetically
                                     warped inertial frames].
No nonphysical
entities

                                    [emergent minds circuitously thinking
                                     about thinking, philosophies outside
                                     spacetime: souls, spirits, ghosts, gods,
                                     demons; other myths, lore, or legends;
                                     abstracta: mathematics, logic, sets,
                                     universals].
No possibilities
                                    [nonactual things from possible worlds
                                     popping in unexpectedly, Chaos (always
                                     a priori), modes within or without reality].
. . . . . . . ?

No,
                                    [none of that either].

*[ WSB ].

Alvin at the Bottom of the Sea

Alvin

Inky smoke swirls from the Beebe Hydrothermal
Vent Field explored by Alvin of Woods Hole.
Submersible and crew study the flue,
ranges of ridges rising from tectonics askew.
Cold water creeps through the seafloor cracks,
and minerals flow when the magma interacts.
Under the crushing weight of watery miles
crustaceans scuttle sideways, tube-worms smile.
Capsule of titanium and syntactic foam
allow the-little-sub-that-could to roam
and to study with spotlights and robotic limbs
shipwrecks, geology and creatures that swim.
The latest upgrade can comb ninety-nine percent
of the basin connecting the continents.

*[ WSB ].

A Hush

WinterInterrupted

The interlaced crystal glaze
instills wistful
bliss:
a hush;
until,
the unsullied vapor dust
tapers to slush
muddied,
studded with stuff —
a wonderland interrupted.

*[ WSB ].