Canto 97: Olympian

It is a fact that beautiful surroundings create an atmosphere, benefit the emotional-mental state, & rest or stimulate a man according to their nature

Paul Brunton


We are shining stars,
each a light unto ourselves,
yet bound together
Larry Schug

An age of freedom, long after the fall
Of liberty, in Italy, my song
Prepares its lyre, tightens its strings, sets stall
With poets of the sweeter chimes among;
Poi… Adesso!
Giro d’Italia,
Arquata del Tronto, where Tony Loffreda,

A man of eighty-seven years,
Such a wonderful tale did tell,
Of how a Scotsman dissapears
From the German hounds & yell,
At last the Gustav line appears
To break their trickster spell,
Now Jack McShiel stands tall, ‘Hugo’ no more,
Hugs his young friend & gallumphs back to war.

I, too, embraced that man so good ,
For he was still alive,
I stopp’d & stood in Dante’s wood,
Approaching thirty-five,
To share Tony’s affection for the world
which he did strive.

Ascoli Piceno

Frolicking Bard

To see a World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
William Blake

The world has changed, men claim, & forever,
Airflight grown cautious with anxiety,
Great mountains ‘neath us, dipping thro aether,
We cross the soul-bath that is Italy;
Its Vatican
Spools holily below –
My gaming soon begun I aim for Anzio.

Tranquilo with my morning’s play
I sail the warm sea Pontine
To aulden smuggler’s hideaway,
Rounding Ponza’s shores serene,
The mainland reach’d – Naples, Pompeii –
Poeticizing keen –
Whence driven by my rhymings I did go
To view a world famous Abbazio!

Lone hut amid an olive grove
This tender summit shar’d,
Oft do I rove from cave to cove
But ne’er have I prepared
A better light for writing verse than which this firelight flared!

Monte Cassino


Outwardly, I enjoy wine, women and song.
And inwardly I work for the benefit of all beings.
Outwardly, I live for my pleasure
Drukpa Kunley

From Santa Catarina up the coast,
I sent my silent thoughts out to the day,
These are the moments Muses love the most
When shell-murmuring cauldrons come to play;
Euterpe first
Shall leave a lyric there,
To ease my rambling thirst for all the world to

Finding fairest pharie abode
Of delicious asphodels,
As if my younger poet strode
Thro’ the woods by Tunbridge Wells,
Still trundling on in tryptych mode
To form my Book of Kells,
From engineering & endurance carv’d,
An inimitable instance unstarv’d!

Upon the cliff, high over sea,
Some fisherboat below,
My thought flies free, pure melody,
Thro’ poesy’s pantings flow,
Beneath the slanting Torre Santa Maria dell’Alto


Ascending Parnassus

Fireflies weaving aërial dances
In fragile rhythms of flickering gold,
What do you know in your blithe, brief season
Sarojini Naidu

Leaving Brindisi, Diomedes sire,
I sail’d for Hellas on a busty breeze,
To where Xerxes & Persia’s proud empire
Defiled upon the Isle Pelopponese;
Thro’ night we swept,
‘Til Dawn in purpling robes
About Lefkadi crept with gold, dust-finger’d probes.

At Sami Bay we mused & moor’d –
Silver-tongued Odysseus
Built here his famous multi-floor’d
Pillar’d pearl of palaces –
& further down the coast restor’d
The sea-cove of Phorcys!
On such stuff we Litologists depend,
To serve our pens when versifyings end.

I wander’d on in melody,
With notebook, fruit & pen,
Lidoriki, Galaksidi,
Itea’s olive glen,
& on up to Parnassus, yonder Chrissos town, &



But you
Went on writing postcards. For days I rhymed
Talismans of power, in cynghanedd
Ted Hughes

Ye Bards! this is what sunset should look like
From Delphi, blood-orange, immaculate,
I urge on thee come take this healthy hike
Up to the trench where Pegasus placed foot;
Come curb your thirst!
This Castalian Spring
Shall make ye poet first, & then a druid-king!

But only if ye persevere
Thro’ twenty years of training,
Sing lyrics when the skies are clear,
Write renku when them raining,
Embrace the decades full austere,
Ever be abstaining,
From all the crude distractions of a life,
Whose only succor comes with thy true wife!

Deem women, where the Muses dwell,
Heart, twinkle, touch & trust,
Art’s dewy dell more musty cell
When lusting them non-plussed,
My love lies with me as I write, without her I am dust!



Not in the fabled landscape of a lay,
But soaring snow-clad through his native sky,
In the wild pomp of mountain majesty
Lord Byron

Parnasso now – body, mind & soul –
A promise made indecadent before,
When Calliope wove vortical squall
While Clio taper’d arrows for World War;
An oracle,
A phantasy, a dream –
Yon Arachova’s hill I stepp’d across the stream,

Gently passing wild sparagmos
Which the maenads madly gorge,
Beside nymphaean thyiados
For the higher slopes feet forge,
Where juicy orgies soak’d the moss –
For England & King George
I plant myself upon the pointed steep,
Some Wallace on a bleeding Saxon Heap.

Just Aborigenes who see
Jasmin Valencia,
Could ever be this close to me,
Burnley’s Che Guevera,
Whom on a pittance tour’d the world to sing its

Mount Parnassus

Dance of the Muses

Only the things touched
by the love of other things
have a voice
Fiama Hasse Pais Brandão

As the Beatles, however circumspect,
Together only won a nation’s hearts
& total televisual effect
Comes from a congregation of its parts;
My Muses nine
Hold hands in merry ring,
& I, sipping my wine, as, at the beginning…

She dons the mask of comedy,
She holds a globe & compass,
Two lyre a tender melody,
Euterpe wields her aulos,
Wearing a veil, Melopmene,
Fills the air with pathos,
Clio translating scrolls from ancyent days
While Calliope floats on sacred lays.

From Heaven Lord Apollo drifts,
With Mercury mid-flow,
The moment shifts, Euterpe lifts
Us onto sandall’d toe,
As one we fly oer mountains high, the mortal
world below.



Eagles & isles & unaccompanied things
The self-reliant isolated things
Release my soul, embrangl’d in the stress
Wilfrid Gibson

I landed me beside a gorge of green
& greys & beige in rugged rock ingrain’d,
Beholden to a beauty rarely seen,
Aeromancy momentary obtain’d;
Where silver lines
Swept ‘cross the snowy tops,
Below those hoary pines to roaring water drops.

I saw the twelve Olympians
Resume their former glories,
Mars & his rude centurions
Are banish’d to old stories,
Satanus & his minions
Beaten, & what’s more is,
Their dark endeavours ever put away,
The celebrating Gods before me play.

This hymnographic psaltery
Was slowly pass’d among
The company, a symphony
Of poetry & song,
Sing Plato, Aristophones & Xenophon along!

Mount Olympus


Look at a scorpion; it is attractive and tender,
Touch it and examine, it is too interesting.
Its ancestors are older than mammoth
Azim Suyun

All afloat thro’ rootless modernity,
Ilmarinen’s anchors of intension
I’ve plung’d into this vast posterity,
Found everything frozen in suspension;
This bardic art
Both past & future sees,
As summit mistlings part, gyr falcons drink the breeze.

I climb’d the mountain fast & free,
Funambulistic sailing,
Upon the peak-caps turn’d to see
The universe unveiling,
Futures luteus flew to me,
Visions uncurtailing,
Of Nostradamianical content
Mimesi messianical frequent.

Actions, places, names & dates,
Bejimbling in a dream
Of allied states, of psyche’s gates,
This is the saffron stream,
Hu preaching on a Pendragon thro’ star-fleec’d snorts of steam.

Mount Olympus

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