Richibi’s Weblog

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Month: April, 2020

“Take care of your link with life” – Buffy Sainte-Marie


   Blue Sky (1932) 


         Emily Carr




while on the topic of alternate 

mythologieslook what I found, 

a poem of Buffy Sainte-Marie

on our present collective 



the faith is that of our indigenous

brothers and sisters, who’ve

managed to keep their ancient

stories alive despite years of 

intense political and official 



their lore was never ever less effective

than Roman lore was to the Romans,

Sainte-Marie‘s Mother Nature no less

noble and inspirational than Juno,

queen of Rome’s Heaven, nor, for 

that matter, than to Catholics their 

Virgin Mary




Take care of your link with life


         Hold your head up
         Lift the top of your mind
         Put your eyes on the Earth
         Lift your heart to your own home planet
         What do you see?
         What is your attitude
         Are you here to improve or damn it
         Look right now and you will see
         We’re only here by the skin of our teeth as it is

         So take heart and take care of your link with life 
         It ain’t money that makes the world go round
         That’s only temporary confusion
         It ain’t governments that make the people strong
         It’s the opposite illusion
         Look right now and you will see
        They’re only here by the skin of their teeth as it is
        So take heart and take care of your link with Life


         Life is beautiful
         If you’ve got the sense to take care of your source of protection
         Mother Nature
         She’s the daughter of God and the source of all protection
         Look right now
         And you will see she’s only here by the skin of her teeth as it is
         So take heart and take care of your link with life


         And carry it on
         We’re saying
         And carry it on
         And keep playing
         And carry it on
         And keep praying
         And carry it on


                                   Buffy Sainte-Marie   


R ! chard



“Metamorphoses” (The Giants’ War, VI) – Ovid


     Rainstorm over the Sea (1824 – 1828) 


            John Constable



              Already had he toss’d the flaming brand;
              And roll’d the thunder in his spacious hand;
              Preparing to discharge on seas and land: 


in order to begin to fulfil his decree

of ridding the world of humans, Jove

had toss’d [a] flaming brand, a piece

of wood that’s been set on fire, and

roll’d [ ] thunder, set it to rumble, in 

his spacious, or large, hand, ready 

to cast it upon the seas and land

              But stopt, for fear, thus violently driv’n,
              The sparks should catch his axle-tree of Heav’n. 


an axletree is a beam that connects 

two wheels of a carriage in order to 

make them turn simultaneously 


the suggestion here is that Heaven

is intimately connected to the earth,

both interwoven parts of a functioning, 

and interdependent, mechanism

              Remembring in the fates, a time when fire
              Shou’d to the battlements of Heaven aspire,
              And all his blazing worlds above shou’d burn;
              And all th’ inferior globe to cinders turn. 

Jove remembers that the fates had 

decreed a time when fire would reach 

the very battlements of Heaven, and 

shou’d burn it, as well as the earth 

below, turning everything there to 

cinders, ashes


a counterpart to this event exists in 

Norse mythology, incidentally, which 

Richard Wagner sets to extraordinary 

music, in the last segment, 

Götterdämmerung, or The Twilight

of the Gods, of his four-part opera, 

The Ring of the Nibelungwherein 

Valhalla, the great hall of the Gods, 

goes up in flames, bringing an end 

to the dominion of that hallowed, 

not to mention earlier incontestable, 



do not, despite its lack of subtitles, 

not watch this Götterdämmerung, 

do not not be astonished, Richard 

Wagner is the Pink Floyd of the 

19th Century, let him take you to

the conflagration

I cried



              His dire artill’ry thus dismist, he bent
              His thoughts to some securer punishment:
              Concludes to pour a watry deluge down;
              And what he durst not burn, resolves to drown. 


having decided against fire, his dire

artill’ry, as an effective way of carrying

out his destructive mission, Jove opts 

for water instead, a wat’ry deluge 


need I even bring up here, Valhalla,

an obvious mythological equivalent,

but which of the two was the chicken,

one wonders, which was the egg, both 

trails leading deep into inscrutable,

and indecipherable, antiquity


              The northern breath, that freezes floods, he binds;
              With all the race of cloud-dispelling winds:
              The south he loos’d, who night and horror brings; 


to set in motion his scheme, Jove 

enlists, or binds, the winds, [t]he 

northern breath, and [t]he south 

wind, both of which apply their 

own destructive methods


              And foggs are shaken from his flaggy wings. 


flaggy, in layers, feathers upon 

feathers, Jove is represented

here, however unusually, with 



              From his divided beard two streams he pours,
              His head, and rheumy eyes distill in show’rs,
              With rain his robe, and heavy mantle flow:
              And lazy mists are lowring on his brow; 


the water that will lay waste the 

earth flows from Jove’s very

physical attributes, his divided

beard, his rheumy eyes, his 

brow, et cetera


              Still as he swept along, with his clench’d fist
              He squeez’d the clouds, 


not only does Jove exude a flow 

of water through divine, though 

intrinsically viable coroporeal 

avenues, but he also actively 

promotes it, squeez[ing] the 

very clouds  




                                               th’ imprison’d clouds resist: 



              The skies, from pole to pole, with peals resound;
              And show’rs inlarg’d, come pouring on the ground. 


February, for instance, in Vancouver

              Then, clad in colours of a various dye,
              Junonian Iris breeds a new supply
              To feed the clouds: 


Iris was a messenger of the gods, 

though of Juno, Jove’s wife, in 



Iris, herself a goddess, of the 

rainbow, was usually depicted 

arrayed, appropriately, in vibrant 



                                             impetuous rain descends;
              The bearded corn beneath the burden bends:
              Defrauded clowns deplore their perish’d grain;
              And the long labours of the year are vain.

clowns, people who’ve been made 

to look foolish, having been deprived,

[d]efrauded, of the fruit of their labour


R ! chard



“Metamorphoses” (The Giants’ War, V) – Ovid


     Allegory of Gluttony and Lust (1490 – 1500) 


             Hieronymus Bosch



             This was a single ruin, but not one
             Deserves so just a punishment alone


the punishment of Lycaon, Jove says,

was not an isolated incident, more 

miscreants need to be held 

accountable for deeds equally as 

blameworthy, equally as horrid

             Mankind’s a monster, and th’ ungodly times
             Confed’rate into guilt, are sworn to crimes. 


Jove doesn’t think much of the human 

race, nor of th’ ungodly times, for that

matter, that promise more crimes, are

sworn, he believes, consigned to them


confed’rate is an adjective here, 

meaning participating, in agreement,

party to the events


             All are alike involv’d in ill, and all
             Must by the same relentless fury fall. 


Jove here, much like the Christian God,

intends to subject the entire human race, 

not just Lycaon, to punishment for its 

pervasive monstrosities, its innate


             Thus ended he; the greater Gods assent;
             By clamours urging his severe intent;
             The less fill up the cry for punishment. 


all Gods are in agreement, the greater, 

and [t]he less, by very clamours urging

Jove’s blanket, and severe, censure,

once he has ended, completed, his 


             Yet still with pity they remember Man;
             And mourn as much as heav’nly spirits can. 


there remains among the Gods, 

however, the memory of early Man, 

which is to say the people of the

Golden Age, but the trials and 

tribulations of earthlings generally 

would not be of much consequence  

to the deities, it is suggested, who 

as immortals, and as a function of 

their infinite longevity, wouldn’t be 

very likely, anyway, to mourn, 

would find it an unfamiliar concept


             They ask, when those were lost of humane birth,
             What he wou’d do with all this waste of Earth: 


if, the Gods ask, all humans were

obliterated from the Earth, what 

would he, Jove, do with what 

remained, bereft as it would be 

of human stewardship


             If his dispeopl’d world he would resign
             To beasts, a mute, and more ignoble line;
             Neglected altars must no longer smoke,
             If none were left to worship, and invoke. 


if Jove were to grant the dispeopl’d 

world, a world without humans, to 

beasts alone, the mute, and more

ignoble species, who would tend 

the altars, who would worship

             To whom the Father of the Gods reply’d,
             Lay that unnecessary fear aside:
             Mine be the care, new people to provide. 


leave it to me, Jove, Father of the

Gods, tells them, I will provide 

a new and improved model

             I will from wondrous principles ordain
             A race unlike the first, and try my skill again. 


from new and wondrous principles,

Jove promises, I will create from the 

scratch, as my German teacher used

to say, a better humanity


let’s see how that turns out


R ! chard 


“Metamorphoses” (The Giants’ War, IV) – Ovid


    “Jupiter and Lycaon” 


          Jan Cossiers




having already warned his court of Lycaon’s

excesses, Jove instructs his deities to


             Cancel your pious cares; already he
             Has paid his debt to justice, and to me. 


job accomplished

             Yet what his crimes, and what my judgments were,
             Remains for me thus briefly to declare. 


let me tell you briefly, however, how

I came about it, Jove confides


             The clamours of this vile degenerate age,
             The cries of orphans, and th’ oppressor’s rage,
             Had reach’d the stars: 


he tells them


                                               I will descend, said I,
             In hope to prove this loud complaint a lye. 


in order to prove that these clamours 

stood for nothing, this loud complaint 

a lye, or lie, he would, Jove explains,  

descend to Earth in order to investigate  


             Disguis’d in humane shape, I travell’d round
             The world, and more than what I heard, I found. 


from his travels around the world,  

his proofs, Jove claims, were mostly 

personally obtained, rather than 

having been merely hearsay


humane here, note, is an archaic 

spelling of human


             O’er Maenalus I took my steepy way, 


Mount Maenalus, Latin for Mainalo, was 

mountain in Ancient Greece, sacred, 

incidentally, to the god Pan, god of 

rusticity, undomesticated nature 


             By caverns infamous for beasts of prey: 


beasts of prey, note, would not have

been unexpected in Pan‘s territory

             Then cross’d Cyllene, and the piny shade
             More infamous, by curst Lycaon made: 


Mount Cyllene, or Kyllini, is again a 

mountain in Ancient Greece, this one 

sacred to the god Hermes, god of 

messages, communication, travellers, 

speedy deliveries


what Lycaon did to make the piny shade 

of Mount Cyllene more infamous, I’m 

afraid I haven’t been able to ferret out


             Dark night had cover’d Heaven, and Earth, before
             I enter’d his unhospitable door. 


nighttime permeates Jove’s arrival in

this new, and unfamiliar, unhospitable,



            Just at my entrance, I display’d the sign
            That somewhat was approaching of divine. 


as he entered this unfamiliar place, 

Jove says, he display’d the sign of

his divinity, but one only approaching 

of divine, he specifies, a subtle sign, 

something merely suggestive 

             The prostrate people pray; the tyrant grins; 


[t]he prostrate people get it, prostrate,

face down in reverence or submission, 

Lycaon, the tyrant, however, doesn’t


            And, adding prophanation to his sins, 


prophanation, profanation

            I’ll try, said he, and if a God appear,
            To prove his deity shall cost him dear. 


Lycaon challenges the god, any god,

to, should he appear, prove his divinity,

goddesses, surely also, would’ve been 

similarly confronted, otherwise any

impostor would grievously suffer

            ‘Twas late; the graceless wretch my death prepares,
             When I shou’d soundly sleep, opprest with cares: 


while Jove sleeps, giving respite to 

his cares, Lycaon plots his murder

             This dire experiment he chose, to prove
             If I were mortal, or undoubted Jove: 


[t]his, or what is to follow, Jove points out, is

the method Lycaon had already decided he

would try out to determine Jove’s undoubted, 

or indubitable, divinity


             But first he had resolv’d to taste my pow’r; 


the test

             Not long before, but in a luckless hour,
             Some legates, sent from the Molossian state,
             Were on a peaceful errand come to treat: 


legates, ambassadors


the Molossians, a tribe of Ancient 

Greece come to peacefully confer 

with Lycaon


             Of these he murders one, he boils the flesh;
             And lays the mangled morsels in a dish:
             Some part he roasts; then serves it up, so drest,
             And bids me welcome to this humane feast. 


humane here again is an olden form

of human, as in they were feasting 

on human flesh

             Mov’d with disdain, the table I o’er-turn’d;
             And with avenging flames, the palace burn’d. 


Jove thunders, see above

             The tyrant in a fright, for shelter gains
             The neighb’ring fields, and scours along the plains. 


Lycaon has realized that this guest is 

indeed a god

             Howling he fled, and fain he wou’d have spoke;
             But humane voice his brutal tongue forsook. 


fain, or most willingly


again here humane means human, 

Lycaon could no longer speak in a 

human voice

             About his lips the gather’d foam he churns,
             And, breathing slaughters, still with rage he burns, 


though his voice and lips begin to be

affected, Lycaon continues through 

this channel to fume, rage, breath[e] 



             But on the bleating flock his fury turns. 


but his anger, his fury, is now directed 

towards flocks of bleating sheep

             His mantle, now his hide, with rugged hairs
             Cleaves to his back; a famish’d face he bears;
             His arms descend, his shoulders sink away
             To multiply his legs for chase of prey. 


the metamorphosis of Lycaon has 

begun, he wears a hide instead of 

a mantle, an overgarment, his back 

becomes hairy, his arms become 

legs as his shoulders sink away

a transformation appropriate to 

hunt prey 


             He grows a wolf, his hoariness remains, 


hoariness, the condition of being 

old and grey, a remnant of his 

earlier human self

             And the same rage in other members reigns.
             His eyes still sparkle in a narr’wer space:
             His jaws retain the grin, and violence of his face 


Lycaon’s members, or limbs, rage, 

or exhibit fury


his eyes become narrower


Lycaon has turned into a wolf


R ! chard




“Metamorphoses” (The Giants’ War, III) – Ovid


    “Charon Carries Dead Souls across the River Styx(1861)


           Konstantin Makovsky




Jove, god of Thunder, speaks


            I was not more concern’d in that debate
            Of empire, when our universal state
            Was put to hazard, and the giant race
            Our captive skies were ready to imbrace: 


I was not especially disturbed, Jove says,

when the state of our universe was 

challenged, or debate[d], when the giants 

tried to usurp our territory, were ready to 

imbrace, or embrace, take on, our  

vulnerable, [o]ur captive, skies

            For tho’ the foe was fierce, the seeds of all
            Rebellion, sprung from one original; 


because the enemy, then, the adversary, 

came from the one original source, its 

however manifold predations, its 

however myriad desecrations, would’ve

been identifiable to Jove, not foreign, not

unmanageable, he would’ve recognized

the black sheep of the Olympian family,

the giants  


            Now, wheresoever ambient waters glide,
            All are corrupt, and all must be destroy’d. 


ambient, nearby, related, infected, corrupt,

all has been corrupted

            Let me this holy protestation make,
            By Hell, and Hell’s inviolable lake, 


here’s another anachronism, for Hell wouldn’t’ve 

been even a concept in the era of Ovid, where

the Underworld, and Hades, entirely different

afterworlds, would’ve prevailed, areas of 

persistent gloom and shade, see Homer here,

for instance, or Virgil


the Underworld of the ancient world was 

surrounded by five rivers, Hell’s inviolable 

lake, the most famous of which was the 

river Styx


in the Divine Comedy, Dante updates this 

watery boundary for his own 14th Century

readers, and makes it the passageway to

the fifth circle of Hell, where Charon 

remains, after even over a thousand 

years, the very same ferryman


see above


nor was there either any of our present

conception of Heaven, Heaven would’ve 

been Olympus then, the exclusive domain 

of the Gods, either Greek or Roman 


            I try’d whatever in the godhead lay: 


Jove says, I tried everything a god 

could use

            But gangren’d members must be lopt away,
            Before the nobler parts are tainted to decay. 


you’ve got to lop[ ] away, cut off, the bad 

parts before they infect the more vital 

components of the body

            There dwells below, a race of demi-gods,
            Of nymphs in waters, and of fawns in woods:
            Who, tho’ not worthy yet, in Heav’n to live,
            Let ’em, at least, enjoy that Earth we give. 


not all beings are corrupt, but nymphs 

and fawns, innocents, Jove pleads, 

should be given consideration on 

Earth, if they be not yet worthy of the 

majesty of Heav’n, and granted earthly 

areas of enjoyment in the confines of 

their forsaken place 

            Can these be thought securely lodg’d below,
            When I my self, who no superior know,
            I, who have Heav’n and Earth at my command,
            Have been attempted by Lycaon’s hand? 


if Lycaon could attack me, Jove, god 

of Thunder, asks, how can these 

innocents, nymphs, fawns, ever be 



             At this a murmur through the synod went,
             And with one voice they vote his punishment. 


the punishment of Lycaon, which we’ll 

soon encounter

             Thus, when conspiring traytors dar’d to doom
             The fall of Caesar, and in him of Rome,
             The nations trembled with a pious fear;
             All anxious for their earthly Thunderer: 


Thus, or in a similar manner, did the nations

of the earth tremble when Caesar, their 

earthly Thunderer, was assassinated 


nations, incidentally, is another anachronism,

nations didn’t appear on earth until the 

18th Century, with the French Revolution


             Nor was their care, o Caesar, less esteem’d
             By thee, than that of Heav’n for Jove was deem’d: 


Ovid addresses Caesar here, his contemporary,

and compares that emperor’s esteem for nations, 

his reliance on their allegiance, to the esteem 

Heav’n has for Jove


             Who with his hand, and voice, did first restrain
             Their murmurs, then resum’d his speech again. 


Jove calls for silence in the assembly

before speaking again

             The Gods to silence were compos’d, and sate
             With reverence, due to his superior state. 


The Gods … sate, or sat, then took heed,

bowing to Jove’s superior position


the tale of the punishment of Lycaon

will follow  


R ! chard



“Metamorphoses” (The Giants’ War, II) – Ovid, 110


      “The Marriage at Cana (1563) 


              Paolo Veronese




Jove “sigh’d;” if you’ll remember, “nor 

longer with his pity strove; / But kindled 

to a wrath” which was worthy of him

           Then call’d a general council of the Gods;

           Who summon’d, issue from their blest abodes,

           And fill th’ assembly with a shining train. 


Jove calls the gods together to discuss 

the abhorrent conditions on Earth, who, 

upon being summon’d, leave their blest, 

or blessed, homes, and fill Jove’s 

assembly hall with their glittering train, 

their advancing pageantry


           A way there is, in Heav’n’s expanded plain,

           Which, when the skies are clear, is seen below,

           And mortals, by the name of Milky, know. 

when the skies are clear in Heaven’s

expanded plain, its wide expanse, 

mortals can see the Milky Way


           The ground-work is of stars; through which the road

           Lyes open to the Thunderer’s abode: 


this Milky Way is paved with stars, which

lead to Jove’s, the Thunderer’s, domain


           The Gods of greater nations dwell around, 

           And, on the right and left, the palace bound;

the dwellings of the gods who represent 

the greater nations of the era, of Rome, 

for instance, or Greece, surround,

encircle, the Thunderer’s abode, his 



           The commons where they can: the nobler sort

           With winding-doors wide open, front the court. 


the more common gods, those of 

lesser nations, live where they can, 

while the winding-doors of the nobler 

gods, doors which can be activated

mechanically, on hinges, though 

perhaps here divinely, stand wide 

open for this colloquy, this exalted 

conference, before the celestial 



           This place, as far as Earth with Heav’n may vie,

           I dare to call the Louvre of the skie. 


if one were to compare [t]his place

this court, to anything on Earth, have 

it vie with, one would liken it, Ovid 

says, to the Louvre


there’s evidently an anachronism 

here since the Louvre didn’t exist at

the time of Ovid, so that the translators 

have replaced the “Palatia” of Ovid’s 

original Latin, which refers to the 

Palatine, the most central of Rome’s

Seven Hillswhere imperial palaces

were built at the time of Augustus

63 B.C. to 14 A.D., which is to say 

during Ovid’s time, 43 B.C. to 

17 /18 A.D., by this relatively more 

recent palatial residence, the Louvre,

in order to make the text more

contemporary, like settings and 

attire are used in Renaissance

art to kindle the viewer’s sense 

of connection


see, for instance, above, where 

Veronese depicts the scene of Jesus 

attending a marriage at Cana, a village 

in Galilee, and transforms water there 

into wine to accommodate a shortage,

midst Roman, note, rather than Galilean, 

trappings, splendour


           When all were plac’d, in seats distinctly known, 

           And he, their father, had assum’d the throne,

seats distinctly known means the

traditionally assigned places, with 

Jove, “their father”, at the head of

the convocation 

           Upon his iv’ry sceptre first he leant,
           Then shook his head, that shook the firmament: 


leant, or leaned, [t]hen shook his head

in revulsion


           Air, Earth, and seas, obey’d th’ almighty nod;
           And, with a gen’ral fear, confess’d the God. 


the elements, Air, Earth, and seas“, 

acknowledge, or confess’d, the God, 

with quivering anxiety


           At length, with indignation, thus he broke
           His awful silence, and the Pow’rs bespoke. 

Jove, after a silence, bespeaks, or 

addresses, the assembled Pow’rs, 

the other divinities


R ! chard




“Metamorphoses” (The Giants’ War) – Ovid


    The Giant (1943) 


      Nicholas Roerich



The Giants’ War

            Nor were the Gods themselves more safe above;  

“justice” might have returned to Heaven

but that didn’t mean the Gods there 

were not affected by strife, nor immune 

            Against beleaguer’d Heav’n the giants move. 


where do the giants come from, who 

knows, I suspect there might be a

vestigial recollection here of larger 

entities, dinosaurs, for instance, 

lurking in our prehistoric memory, 

our primeval consciousness, finding 

expression and acknowledgment 

in our myths

            Hills pil’d on hills, on mountains mountains lie,
            To make their mad approaches to the skie. 


the giants were piling hills on hills, 

mountains on mountains, building 

pathways, however “mad”

notion, to the “skie”, or sky


see above

            ‘Till Jove, no longer patient, took his time
            T’ avenge with thunder their audacious crime: 


Jove, god of thunder


            Red light’ning plaid along the firmament,
            And their demolish’d works to pieces rent. 


lightning “plaid”, or played, at the edge 

of the heavens, destroying there the 

“works” the giants had erected, the 

high hills, the expanded, the extended, 



rent, past participle of the verb to rend,

to tear asunder


            Sing’d with the flames, and with the bolts transfixt,
            With native Earth, their blood the monsters mixt; 


the blood of these giants, “[s]ing’d with 

flames”, and “transfixt”, or pierced, 

riven, by thunderbolts, mixes with earth


            The blood, indu’d with animating heat, 


hot, propulsive, generating blood


indu’d, or endued, which is to say,

supplied with


            Did in th’ impregnant Earth new sons beget: 


the blood of the giants impregnates 

the Earth, begetting sons, there, and 


            They, like the seed from which they sprung, accurst, 

            Against the Gods immortal hatred nurst,

the sins of the father are carried on to  

their sons, and daughters, who maintain, 

have maintained, “nurst”, or nursed, the 

primitive rancour


            An impious, arrogant, and cruel brood;
            Expressing their original from blood. 


the children of the giants were recognizably 

the children of these “original[s]”, these

preliminary giants, an impious, arrogant, 

and cruel brood”

            Which when the king of Gods beheld from high 


the king of Gods, Jove

            (Withal revolving in his memory, 

            What he himself had found on Earth of late,
            Lycaon’s guilt, and his inhumane treat), 


“withal revolving”, or having revolved,

considered,“in his memory”, what he’d 

recently seen on Earth, the reprehensible 

behaviour of a certain Lycaon, Lycaon’s

monstrous discourtesies, his “inhumane

treat[ment]”, of which we’ll hear later


            He sigh’d; nor longer with his pity strove;
            But kindled to a wrath becoming Jove: 

an ire, a fury, worthy of the king of Gods 


stay tuned


R ! chard




art in a time of crisis


     “Prelude to Alice (1955) 


         Charles Blackman



in all the fallout from the very early 

reactions still to the present global 

crisis, self-isolation, a retreat from 

the, not only usual but consolidating, 

aspects of our communal interactions, 

there remain effective manners of 

dealing with this sea, this profoundly 

existential, change we are viscerally



a social animal is being asked to 

eschew – Gesundheit – social contact, 

this is not an inconsequential ask


religions might’ve earlier been common

recourses for many believers, but the 

restrictions on assembly are already

impeding such solutions, we are left,

therefore, to find personal answers to 

our prescribed isolation – what do I do 

with my time, how do I subsist when 

my supports are disintegrating 


let me suggest immersion in the lessons

art has bequeathed us through the ages


it isn’t a bad time to review, for instance,,

the majesty of Homer’s Iliad, Ovid’s 

Metamorphoses, his interpretation of 

the origin of the world, its genesis, 

Shakespeare’s tragedies, Beethoven’s

transcendental music, since many of us 

are confined to our homes


rather than rue, bristle, use our time, I

suggest, to contemplate, learn, discover 


in looking for flowers recently, for a 

friend who’s undergone her own 

private agony, unrelated to the 

recent international medical crisis,

I fell upon, again, the magical 

inventions of this utterly inspired 



like many other, even celebrated, even 

revered, artists, this, however insulated,

however apparently isolated, visionary,

with the strength of his inspiration, 

gives weight to the power of mere 

poetic passion, a thrust towards what

is thought of as beautiful, however

individual, suggesting that each our 

own aesthetic is of value, when

fervently followed, pursued,

check him out

meanwhile, I’m learning to sing, creating 

a repertoire, what have I got to lose


R ! chard




“Metamorphoses” (The Brazen Age / The Iron Age ) – Ovid


     British Industries. Steel 


              Richard Jack





The Brazen Age

          To this came next in course, the brazen age:
          A warlike offspring, prompt to bloody rage,
          Not impious yet… 


brazen, of brass, the pride, and collective 

title, of the military, not to mention of

industrialists, CEOs, still 


yet…., or the Iron Age, follows



The Iron Age

          Hard steel succeeded then:
          And stubborn as the metal, were the men.
          Truth, modesty, and shame, the world forsook:
          Fraud, avarice, and force, their places took. 


remember conscience, from the Golden Age,

now, during this Iron Age“fors[aken]”


          Then sails were spread, to every wind that blew.
          Raw were the sailors, and the depths were new: 


note “sails” here, a perfect example of a

metonymy, where the word means not 

only the cloth, the canvas that catches 

the wind, but also its larger self, the 

ship, which benefits from that integral

propulsive action, like the body the



          Trees, rudely hollow’d, did the waves sustain;  


hollowed out trees could manage to

remain above the water, could float


          E’re ships in triumph plough’d the watry plain.


our archetype here would again be Columbus,

however ignominiously

          Then land-marks limited to each his right:
          For all before was common as the light. 


though all land had earlier been common,

available to all to freely enjoy, now fences,

signposts prohibited collective access

          Nor was the ground alone requir’d to bear
          Her annual income to the crooked share, 


crooked, awry, disproportionate

          But greedy mortals, rummaging her store,
          Digg’d from her entrails first the precious oar; 


“greedy mortals”, mining, not only from

“the ground alone”, but from the earth’s 

very “entrails”, her “oar”, or ore

          Which next to Hell, the prudent Gods had laid;
          And that alluring ill, to sight display’d. 


the “prudent Gods” had set the precious 

metals near that unholy place to ward off,

however ineffectually, eventually, potential  

pilferers, plunderers 


          Thus cursed steel, and more accursed gold,
          Gave mischief birth, and made that mischief bold: 


or again Truth, modesty, and shame, the 

world forsook: / Fraud, avarice, and force, 

their places took.“, lines 3 and 4 from the 


          And double death did wretched Man invade,
          By steel assaulted, and by gold betray’d, 


double death, assault and betrayal, invade, 

become components, properties, of Man

          Now (brandish’d weapons glittering in their hands)
          Mankind is broken loose from moral bands; 


immoralities follow

          No rights of hospitality remain:
          The guest, by him who harbour’d him, is slain,
          The son-in-law pursues the father’s life;
          The wife her husband murders, he the wife.
          The step-dame poyson for the son prepares;
          The son inquires into his father’s years. 


the stuff, at present, of all of our arts and 

literature, of our collective consciousness, 

we are the Iron Age



          Faith flies, and piety in exile mourns;
          And justice, here opprest, to Heav’n returns. 


“justice” has flown, fled, to Heaven,

to our universal, and grievous, 




R ! chard







Metamorphoses (The Silver Age) – Ovid


      “Poor Woman of the Village” 


              Gustave Courbet



the good times wouldn’t last, however,

discord among the gods would bring 

on the Silver Age 


           But when good Saturn, banish’d from above,
           Was driv’n to Hell, the world was under Jove. 


Saturn, god of plenty, had presided over 

the Golden Age


Jove, or Jupiter, god of thunder, was 

king of the gods


there would be consequences for this

disarrangement, this strife

           Succeeding times a silver age behold,
           Excelling brass, but more excell’d by gold. 


silver might not have been gold, but it

was still better than brass, as, later,

we’ll see


           Then summer, autumn, winter did appear:
           And spring was but a season of the year. 


no longer “immortal” 


by casting Saturn into the Underworld, Jove

set off the cycle of the seasons, whereby

Saturn, clutching his way back to the realm

of the deities, after his initial fall, would inspire

regeneration, the return of springtime, for a

while, before being ousted again, and again, 

and again

           The sun his annual course obliquely made,
           Good days contracted, and enlarg’d the bad. 


in keeping with the suns “oblique[ ]” 

progressions, not parallel, not at  

right angles


           Then air with sultry heats began to glow;
           The wings of winds were clogg’d with ice and snow; 


the emergence of heat and cold

           And shivering mortals, into houses driv’n,
           Sought shelter from th’ inclemency of Heav’n. 


see above


           Those houses, then, were caves, or homely sheds;
           With twining oziers fenc’d; and moss their beds. 


oziers, or osiers, shrubs of which the 

branches have traditionally been used 

to make baskets, basketry


           Then ploughs, for seed, the fruitful furrows broke, 
           And oxen labour’d first beneath the yoke.

not to mention Man, the advent of agriculture,



R ! chard