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Sunday, October 30, 2016

The 7 Days of CryAction 4: 1065-1129

Dante's Odysseus by ilT + Selkis (see Album)

Two opposite schools
the one unconvincing
the other blasphemous
against heavens order
by putrefying its perfection
[1070] and simple symmetry
that’s why Nature nuts up.
Philosophy fights
against appearances
and refutes the rebels.
To confirm conjectures
reach some remote land
for example Ethiopia
in the heat of Tropics
by the Beasts’ Belt:
[1080] If the sun’s lesser
sphere spins unevenly,
no equinox will ensue;
if defaced Phoebe
shows you her shame,
her mole will sometimes
change its collocation.
Let no Bold-zebub
against Theos’ truth
model skies after Miró!
[1090] Antiquity also affirms
incredible pieces of information;
twenty-five thousand years
are the unbelievable boast
of Egypt, and modern essays
maintain the memory
of its fabulous fictions.
They thought (so do others)
that across the aeons
the first sphere revolved
[1100] not East to West but
North to the southern pole,
so as to supposedly show
that Apollo accelerates
insofar as he swerves.
They even dared say
he rose twice in the West
and twice died at dawn
from West enlightening
then obscure in Orient.
[1110] The spot where the sun
seems to stop a while
(solstice, substantially)
changed, thus causing
such effects—the exploit
of Egyptian genius!
The solstice, they say,
was originally in Gemini
now in Cancer: unquiet
is that fake-fixed point,
[1120] no trustworthy art
no still buoyant bodies
of all manner of matter.
If this were true, then
the North one day will
be switched to South;
and the sun sailing
along a crooked route
will follow a straightforward
course on the Equator.

(to be continued on Nov. 6)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (14)

[16: 46]

Qual infermo talhor, ch'in sogno scorge
Drago o cinta di fiamme alta chimera,
Se ben sospetta, e 'n parte anco s'accorge
Che simulacro sia, non forma vera,
Pur desia di fuggir, tanto gli porge
Spavento la sembianza horrida e fera;
Tal il timido amante a pien non crede
A' falsi incanti, e pur s'arretra e cede.

As a sick man who in his dreams sees
A dragon or a tall, flaming chimera,
Even if he doubts and partly realizes
That that is appearance, not a true shape,
Yet he wants to flee, so great is the scare
Aroused by that horrid and fierce image;
The shocked lover, while not fully believing
In such magic illusions, keeps withdrawing.

Psychology, indeed an already Freudian psychology is one of the strong points of Tasso's modern approach to traditional literary subjects.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Changing one's religion is no child's play

Balloons to be read right to left;
see below for an English translation

Some more words on the complex issue of the Christian/Muslim relationships in Ariosto's and Tasso's long poems. In general, during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, converts were disliked by both the followers of their 'source' religion and even by the followers of their 'target' religion: Honor was more important than statistics. To put it bluntly, could you trust people who had betrayed their God, the God of their fathers? What profit were they trying to get? -- against the troubles of being Muslims in a Christian country, or vice versa.

So, when in Orlando Furioso and Gerusalemme Liberata a noble, disinterested character changes his/her religion, especially when a Muslim knight embraces Christianity, it only happens because they chance to rediscover their older, true cultural roots (see Ruggiero, Marfisa, Clorinda) or because they experience the valor of Christians, the power of Christian faith on the field (see Samsonet, Sobrino). That's basically why -- in Orlando Furioso, canto 41 -- Brandimarte, a now Christian knight who has converted from Islam, fails in his attempt to convince King Agramante, too, to embrace the faith in Jesus by simply giving him a theoretical speech.

Anyway, always personal and carefully considered choices; no mass conversions. The greatest author of "poems of chivalry" in recent times, as it has already been mentioned, is probably the Japanese mangaka and cartoonist, Go Nagai. In his saga titled Jushin Ryger, 1989, the alien invaders are shocked when their best warrior, Dolga, reveals he will side with Terrestrials from now on:
"Are you going to betray us, Maryuo Dolga?"
"It is no treason at all: I simply opened my eyes. -- My god is not the Dragon. My god is Zenshin Argama. -- I have been deceived by [Empress] Zara, who kidnapped me when I was a child. -- The Dragon Empire and the Dragon God are my true enemies!"

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (13)

[16: 45]

Clorinda fui, né sol qui spirto humano
Aspetto il suon de la divina tromba,
Ma ciascun altro ancor, franco o pagano,
Ch'al Ciel non può volar, quasi colomba,
Astretto è qui dal suo destin sovrano,
Non so s'io dica in corpo o 'n viva tomba.
Son di senso animati i rami e i tronchi,
E micidial sei tu se legno hor tronchi.

"I was Clorinda, and not only my human
Spirit waits here for the divine trumpet, (*)
But all others, either Christians or Muslims (**)
Who cannot fly dove-like towards heaven (***)
Are fastened by their supreme fate to these --
Whatever, either bodies or living graves.
Both the branches and the trunks are sentient: (****)
If you fell a tree, you will prove a killer."

(*) The signal of Doomsday; usually imagined to be played by Archangel Michael.
(**) An unusual, interesting case of interfaith event.
(***) See, in part, the legend about the final destiny of King Arthur, who will rise either as a dove or as a raven, depending on the eternal sentence on him. Tasso, by mixing such imagery and Dante's (see previous post on this episode), presents the forest as a sort of permanent limbo. It must be recollected, anyway, that all this is a hallucinogenic effect created by devils.
(****) The manuscript endows the trees with senso in the singular. In the final printed version the word was changed into sensi in the plural, meaning the "senses" in a more general way. Sentient trees existed in Paradise, according to some Jewish Rabbis whose opinion Tasso reports in Il Mondo Creato, and he seems to accept it.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Christianity and Islam: Nicholas of Cusa's goof

Dante's Limbo; or, The fathers of our culture (see further)

In 1461, just few years after the conquest of Constantinople by the hands of the Turks in 1453, Catholic Cardinal and philosopher Nicholas of Cusa (from Kues, now Bernkastel in Germany) wrote a book called Cribratio Alkorani, "Sifting the Quran." By carefully -- or allegedly so -- examining the holy book of Muslims, he dug for its "true" message and tried to show that it led to the orthodox faith in Jesus Christ.

The attempt was obviously doomed to fail. Not only and not mainly because the Latin translation of the Quran he used included some misunderstandings, but especially because of his very approach: the Cribratio Alkorani examines the text in the abstract, without any actual contact with the people who followed its teachings. Nicholas of Cusa, moreover, as a disciple of Greek philosophy, proves unable to handle the often paradoxical, nonlinear Middle-Eastern way of thinking and telling. -- Only his metabolized faith prevents him from noticing that the Hebrew Bible, the so-called "Old Testament," is built like that too.

The most interesting parts in the Cribratio concern the history of the knowledge of the Quran in the Western world, as well as the descriptions of the assorted religious market in the 7th century. The book has been recently published in Italian, Lettura dialettica del Corano, Rome: Città Nuova, 2011, very well translated and edited by Prof. Maria Rosaria Matrella.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The 7 Days of CryAction 4: 991-1064

About the contrary routes
(the upper sky hauling
the lesser against the stream)
some said each sky has
a center around which
a whole sphere spins;
farther than firmament
there is no super-sky
but seven are below
[1000] that add harmony
to the celestial lyre;
each sky has its spheres
like a collection of cars
of a big billionaire who
uses one to reach a ranch
another to drive back.
On the number of bodies
opinions are millions.
Eudoxus endowed the sun
[1010] with three carrier spheres,
as many as the moon’s; four
to the planets to transport
them back to their bases—
while one less to Luna
who doesn’t need a nurse.
Callippus added two carriers
to the sun and two as well
in the service of Selene.
In sum fifty-five spheres
[1020] listed by philosophers.
So many gold starry ships
so many machines
so many motions
serve the supreme mass
that turns within itself.
The inspirer of scholars
even almighty Aristotle
following them, fixed
too much matter and
[1030] not enough angels.
Our own Era however
upsets all ancient tenets
makes motions relative
and verifies vibrations
in changing approaches;
unbelievably bold they
defy the old times by
theorizing turns and returns
around scores of centers
[1040] in a timeless continuum.
Others held Hipparchus
or Ptolemys supposition
that abused the stars
with crooked courses,
an amazing monster!
He gave Apollo a triple
sphere whose center was
not the cosmic center,
not to speak of stars;
[1050] and the twisting sun
rolls now close now far
from the cosmic core.
In the biggest globe
a smaller one revolves
around private poles
even eccentrically:
here the sun shifts
higher or Earthwards
or against the signs
[1060] or in the same stream.
Ditto does the moon
whose well-shaped
ring would be irregular
with a quirky course… 

(to be continued on Oct. 30)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (12)

[16: 44]

Che poi distinto in voci: - Ahi troppo (disse)
M'hai tu, Tancredi, offeso; hor tanto basti.
Tu del corpo che meco e per me visse,
Felice albergo già, mi discacciasti:
Perch'il misero tronco a cui m'affisse
Il mio duro destino ancor mi guasti?
Crudel, dopo la morte offendi i lassi
Spiriti, e 'n tomba riposar non lassi?

That then distinctly said, "Ha, too much did
You already hurt me, Tancred! Now stop.
Out of that body that lived with and by me,
A then happy home, you drove me away: (*)
Why are you damaging the wretched tree trunk
To which my hard fate forced me to stick? (**)
Why do you, cruel, hurt after death the tired
Spirits? Let them rest in peace in their graves!"

(*) With an echo of Eve being forced to leave Eden.
(**) See Dante, Inferno 13: 97-100, and 106-108, referring to suicides -- another form of violent, sacrilegious death.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Cathedral of Memory (lost)

The history of the strained Christian/Muslim relationship in the Mediterranean area during the Renaissance 'might' have been painted, or rather mosaicized in the Cathedral of Messina, Sicily (Italy). The building had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1908; it was rebuilt "as was," and the long work of its embellishment was under way when. . . the church was destroyed again, this time by the air raids during WWII. It has been rebuilt once again, but the inner walls have remained blank.

In 1930 the project for the mosaics -- after a false start -- was entrusted to one of the main Italian artists of the late 19th century and early 20th century, Giulio Aristide Sartorio (1860-1932). He however died quite soon, before completing the job, and many reasons led to a different solution. But, what would have made the cathedral unique was the series of pictures devoted to the most important episodes and personages in the religious life of the city of Messina, from Saint Paul preaching there (see, indirectly, Acts of the Apostles 28: 12) to the present era. Several pictures dealt with the clashes with the Muslim world in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, including a map of the Battle of Lepanto, 1571.

Such images would probably be labelled as "politically incorrect" nowadays, but this would be a short-sighted approach. Having a cathedral adorned like that would have meant preserving the memory of centuries of flesh-and-blood interaction between the two cultures, though not always an easy one, that's anyway better than spending one's time playing with a smartphone and thinking that Muslims come from some other planet. And both peoples would have been honored by the great, innovative sacred art of Sartorio.

Gioacchino Barbera, Anna Maria Damigella, I bozzetti di Sartorio per il Duomo di Messina, Palermo: Sellerio Editore, 1989, pages 158, some 20 x 30 cm, with the reproduction of all the sketches and many other documentary materials. In the picture above: The death sentence on Antonio Duro, from Messina, who in 1473 'terroristically' attacked by stealth and set fire to some ships in the harbor of Constantinople.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (11)

[16: 43]

Pur tragge alfin la spada, e con gran forza
Percote l'alta pianta: o maraviglia!
Manda fuor sangue la recisa scorza
E fa la terra intorno a sé vermiglia.
Tutto si raccapriccia, e pur rinforza
Il colpo, e 'l fin vederne ei si consiglia;
E quasi d'un sepolcro uscire ei sente
Un sospiroso gemito dolente
. . .

This notwithstanding, he draws his sword and
Hits the tall tree powerfully -- and lo!
From its very bark, broken off, blood spouts (*)
That makes the ground all around him red.
However horrified, he repeats his
Blow to see what will happen in the end;
And as from a sepulchre, he then hears
A sighing moan that echoes with sorrow. . .

(*) An impressive variation on a topos of fantasy literature from Virgil and Dante, see Aeneid 3: 22 ff. and Inferno 13: 31 ff. See also, more humorously, Ariosto in Orlando Furioso 6: 26-28.

Monday, October 17, 2016

How to sing Ariosto's poetry

Reading Ariosto -- as well as "other" Renaissance authors -- is a charming experience, and even more charming is having an opportunity to listen to his verses sung as they were in his own times. These street performances were so important that, at least on one occasion, Ariosto himself changed the text in order to have it match the way it had become popular. In fact, the very first line in canto 25 of Orlando Furioso had been written as: È gran contrasto in giovenil pensiero, but people, especially kids, tended to sing it modified into a better cantabile: Oh gran contrasto in giovenil pensiero, and this became the definitive version.

Thanks to a dear cyberfriend, the great expert and performer of Medieval & Renaissance music Matteo Zenatti (see his G+ profile) it has been possible to retrieve some passages of the poem sung as they used to be in the 16th century, plus a selected bibliography on this subject.
The passages can be listened to here and here. 

Balsamo, Maria Antonietta, L'Ariosto, la musica e i musicisti, Florence: Olschki, 1981.
Bronzini, Giovanni Battista, Tradizioni di stile aedico dai cantari al "Furioso," Florence: Olschki, 1956.
Cardona, Giorgio Raimondo, "Culture dell'oralità e culture della scrittura," in the Einaudi collection Letteratura italiana.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The 7 Days of CryAction 4: 931-990

(from the "DantEsq." set, work in progress: see)

More astounding is the art
and Paternal providence
by which the crooked courses
of planets are programmed,
and even stricter the sun’s
which never swerves from
its direction dividing
the Zodiac into zones.
The others are odder,
[940] less or more, and the moon
roams throughout its ring.
Venus even leaves her circle,
she shameless and fertile,
therefore in Africa and India
the horny wilderness
has plenty of species:
Let no one blame Baal
if on top of the totality
of his created chains
[950] fierce and fossil beasts
add decorum and awe.
But the Sun by preserving
his prescribed path
provides a true teaching
to emperors, the hard
voyage of virtue.
When his flame faces
the Moon who smashes
the Dragon’s head or tail,
[960] Helios denies his beams
by inserting the Earth
and Artemis turns pale.
Or as she approaches him—
namely twice in Gemini—
he is partly veiled instead.
Now, if heavenly light
can be slightly lost,
no worldly light, no
Fortune (that flashes into
[970] the eyes of idiots)
can help losing power;
this raises our thought
to the holy eternal Light
that never rises nor sets
nor fades nor fails.
But after becoming Body
He caused an eclipse
in an unexpected period
saddening Nature and
[980] in spite of astronomy.
On the sun’s distances,
the moon’s emerging
late and setting early,
why Saturn Jupiter Mars
contrariwise rise
at dawn, then go down
and many further effects
appearing in the spheres
many causes were conjectured
[990] by different thinkers.

(to be continued on Oct. 23)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (10)

[16: 42]

Cotai note leggendo, egli era intento
De le brevi parole a' sensi occulti.
Fremere intanto udìa continuo il vento
Tra le frondi del bosco e tra' virgulti;
E un suono uscir, che flebile concento
Par d'humani sospiri e di singulti;
E un non so che confuso instilla al core
Di pietà, di spavento e di dolore.

Reading the text, he was intent on grasping
The hidden meaning of that brief message.
Meanwhile he kept hearing the wind tremble
Among the wood's branches and younger shoots,
And a sound came from it, that seemed a feeble
Concert of human sighs and human sobs;
Which into his heart instilled a vague mix
Of compassion, and terror, and suffering.

See Freud's anguish theory.
This is Tassean poetry at its apogee.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

When Francis saved the world

The whole cultural difference between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance may be summarized in one curious detail. The subject is avaritia, a Latin term that does not correspond to avarice, but greed. It was considered one of the greatest evils on earth, maybe the worst one (see I Timothy 6: 10). Both Dante and, expressly drawing on Dante, Ludovico Ariosto described it by means of the icon of the she-wolf.
How to get rid of it?
Dante, Inferno 11, thinks that a new start in human history was provided by St Francis of Assisi, who first found out that Poverty was not a monster as frightening as Death but, right the opposite, a beautiful Lady whom he symbolically married.
As for Ariosto, Orlando Furioso 26, he thinks that the she-wolf will be annihilated by Francis. . . I, the King of France. And he will do so not by embracing poverty, absolutely not, but by exercising generosity and munificence, as well as by promoting virtue and justice i.e. by waging wars.

Choose the candidate you like better. The wolfish demon of Greed is still out there, anyway.

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (9)

[16: 41]

Fra i segni ignoti alcune note ha scorte
Del sermon di Sorìa, ch'ei ben possede:
- Tu che ne' chiostri de l'avara Morte
Osasti por, guerrero audace, il piede,
Deh, se non sei crudel quanto sei forte,
Deh, non turbar questa secreta sede.
Perdona a l'alme homai di luce prive:
Non dee guerra co' morti haver chi vive -.

Among those unknown signs he recognizes
Some words in Arabic, (*) which he masters:
"You, who in the sanctuary of greedy Death
Dared set foot, O brave-hearted warrior,
If you are not so cruel as you are strong,
Oh, please don't violate this secret place.
Have pity on souls now devoid of light:
Let the living wage no war on the dead."

(*) Literally, "in the language of Syria," where "Syria" meant the Middle East in general. Paladin Roland also could read and speak Arabic, and precisely this caused his fury and ruin in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso.
While the Egyptian hieroglyphs in the previous octave conveyed a sense of mystery, these words in Arabic refer to Clorinda as their alleged author, since she was a Muslim.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The 7 Days of CryAction 4: 865-930

When it comes closer
nel mezzo del cammin,
hours go fifty-fifty
and the wind warms.
Zephyr breathes, Spring
[870] is green and grins
with her flourishing family,
our pregnant Planetess
now safe from snow
cannot help whelping:
all plants spring up
animals are animated
and super-perpetuate
insofar as the sun
navigates northwards.
[880] When it comes to Cancer
and dilates the day
and at a peaceful pace
rides above our roofs
and warms our air, it
also dries soil and seeds
and ripens apricots.
The sun rejoices in July
and darts direct rays
at earth from heaven;
[890] days obtain time
shadows shorten instead
if days diminish, bodies
cast stretched shadows.
We see it so, who live
between Apollos line
and the Bears’ border
next to the Seven Oxen.
We constantly cast
shadows northwards;
[900] in tropical latitudes
natives don’t cast any
once and twice a year
when sun’s in the South
with vertical rays.
It even happens there
that narrow wells
blaze to the bottom,
see Syene, Berenice
and the prestigious palace
[910] between Nile branches
with the title and tomb
of Cambyses’ sister.
Beyond the balmy land
of Arabia, the Amphiskioi
show two shadows both
south- and northwards
as soon as the sun
passes past Aquilo
and felicitous Fall
[920] offers fruits and wine
out of verdant vines.
Summer’s now softened
and shades are sold up,
Libra levels the hours
and sees us to winter
when Sol leaves again
and journeys to India.
Such are the sun’s ways
such are time’s turns
[930] the managers of Man.

(to be continued on Oct. 16)

Friday, October 7, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (8)

[16: 40]

Alfine un largo spatio in forma scorge
D'anfiteatro, e non è pianta in esso
Salvo che nel suo mezzo altero sorge,
Qual piramide eccelsa, alto cipresso.
Ei là si drizza, e nel mirar s'accorge
Ch'era di vari segni il tronco impresso,
Simili a quei ch'in vece usò di scritto
L'antico già misterïoso Egitto.

He finally sees a wide area shaped
As a Roman theater, without a tree
Except, in its middle, rising as high
As a pyramid, (*) a very tall cypress.
He goes straight there, and there notices
That in its trunk many signs are carved
Like those which, instead of an alphabet,
The ancient, mysterious Egypt employed. (**)

(*) In Western art, from the Middle Ages up to the 18th century (see Tiepolo), Egyptian pyramids were usually represented much more elongated than they are.
(**) The Renaissance experienced a real hieroglyph-mania, with all kinds of interpretations of them, and the invention of new ones 'after the manner of.' See e.g. the monumental Triumphal Arch engraved by Albrecht Dürer for Emperor Maximilian.
There is another subtle hint here. A woman actually carved words of love for Tancred on trunks: Princess Erminia -- in Gerusalemme Liberata; then renamed "Nicaea" in the Conquistata -- though he does not reciprocate her sentiment. The knight is in love with a she-knight, Clorinda (see more about this). But he himself has just killed her by mistake. And, as a matter of fact, in a past episode he had already chanced to follow Erminia/Nicaea thinking he was following Clorinda. In this "Freudian" episode, is Tancred's subconscious trying to reveal something to him?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ro-Land of the Rising Sun

Knight vs dragon: Could a more 'western,' Renaissance indeed, subject be dealt with? But the great sagas of chivalry have long been made trivial and boring in the West, so the duty has been transferred to a Japanese author: Go Nagai. His Jushin Ryger, created in 1989, has just been published in Italy in a wonderful edition (big format, good paper, accurate translation). The plot is an impressive elaboration of typical Nagaian themes, Japanese culture, and European lore and even religion. In this case, both the knights -- wearing armors that follow partly Renaissance, partly samurai types -- and their enemies are giants, therefore their combats demolish whole neighborhoods. And in the end, the very end of the world impends, but thank God, our heroes [NO SPOILER].

The text and art of Jushin Ryger provide a triumph of the purest Go Nagai with his pros and cons, his cons being as lovely as his pros. Fast, extreme, epic, essential while Baroque, tender and high-tech, humorous, sexy, and furious. Just one critical remark: since the basic look of Ryger the Divine Cyborg is absolutely glorious, it is a pity that he is often modified into less interesting fight modes. Anyway, if an uglier armor makes him able to save the world, it is welcome.

Go Nagai, Jushin Ryger, Torino [Turin]: Hikari, 2016, pages 424, euros 18

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (7)

[16: 39]

Stupido sì, ma intrepido rimane
Tancredi; e poi che il tutto intorno è cheto,
Ne le soglie di morte empie e profane
Entra securo, e spia l'alto secreto.
Né più apparenze inusitate o strane
Né trova alcun, tra via, scontro o divieto,
Se non se il nero bosco horrido troppo,
Che per se stesso a' passi è duro intoppo.

Tancred, however amazed, (*) keeps his head;
And since everything around (**) is now still,
Into the evil, ungodly realm of death
He walks safely, peeking at that mystery.
No more unusual, strange appearances,
No enemies or obstacles he sees,
Except the black forest, all too horrid,
Which simply by itself hampers his steps. (***)

(*) Tasso had used the adjective stupido, that in old Italian meant "amazed" but means "stupid" in more modern parlance, so he finally replaced it with a synonym, maraviglioso. The former term is spelled stupito in current Italian; the latter, meravigliato.
(**) "The sky" is still, in the final printed version of the poem.
(***) That is the meaning of the words selvaggia, aspra, and forte in Dante, Inferno 1: 5.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The 7 Days of CryAction 4: 802-864

Out of the Silent Planet: a Soroborn

Thirty years, tho looking lazy,
does Saturn run swifter
than all fellow planets;
twelve, slowcoach Jupiter;
two years, Marshal Mars
(more exactly, Malacandra);
one year obviously the sun
and a little less the star
[810] that delights dawn
as Lucifer, later called
Hesperus when it sets.
More or less the same
with the winged messenger;
twenty-seven days does
the moon’s loop last
tho seemingly speedier
in its shorter circuit
towards its given goal.
[820] It in fact first taught
how to divide one year
in months (entry: Numa)
because it catches back
the sun after twelve times—
but the Greeks preceded
and the Hebrews earlier.
Romulus, less interested
in calculus than carnage,
stated ten clumsy parts;
[830] the mistake was emended
by the wise Sabine king.
Thus the two lofty lamps
are watches wound up
by God their guide.
Year” means sun yearning
for the same sign
it started from, or rather
the very same spot
(by just joining the same
[840] star it would see it
shifted to a different place
by the pilot sphere).
Who makes them work?
The West names them
after the bogus gods
but they are angels
people of Providence
who obliquely ordained
the seven and the sun
[850] for the seasons sake
and it consequently causes
us to be and cease to be,
bios and thanatos in turn.
When the sun stays
faraway southward,
nights get unusually long
the air incredibly cold
the soil feels upset
rain falls and snow
[860] concretes into ice
on rocky backbones
re-pressing the rivers
while pool and ponds
become like crystal.

(to be continued on Oct. 9)