Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pearls From The Dung-Heap (2017 complete series)

Pearls From The Dung Heap.
(Title piece from a series of Emblemata of the same name).
"Pearls From The Dung Heap" is inspired by Andrea Alciati's book of moral emblems (1546).
My interpretations are based on a selection of ideas from that book. The allegories chosen may offer relevant insights into the behavior, quandaries and possible solutions to contemporary moral maladies.
This series is dedicated to my Mentor, William Van Hettinga.
(Please click on individual images for larger view)

Title piece of “Pearls From The Dung Heap”

As pearls from the dung heap assume many forms,
friendly and spherical or baroque and forlorn…
Beauty & Truth stand to All men exposed
whether befouled in pig shit
or in full Sun… Behold!

Mind, not outward Form, prevails

The Mind in knowing knows itself,
creates its mask, indeed All else…
the action and the stage and set,
and all the Play in which it rests.

Let Him Who has Ears, Hear…*

As Dog is God spelled backward…Let him who has ears hear.
Does he warn us with his barking,
Or simply happy when we’re near?
(*the original inscription from Andrea Alciati’s book of moral emblems reads:
Sed Ex Me - The ear is completely deafened to divine warnings, alas! blocked by too many human pleasures. But God so that he might remove the dirt with one finger (this power is his alone), caused them to be open.)

Many Thorns Hidden in the Roses.

What price beauty? The Rose, it seems, is free.
Most everyone has felt the  jab of the thorn.
Yet, do we carry on. What’s a drop of blood anyway?
A fair bargain for the prize of May...

Be Not Too Credulous!

When you’re worked up in a frenzy…thoughts are tangled writhing snakes. Stage lights, masks, all smoke and mirrors, divide the Truth from shadowy fakes!
So if Medusa is stalking your dreams…
Awake! Things aren’t always what they seem…

The Shadow flees those who follow it & pursues those who flee it.

We sometimes flee the light of Truth
or chase those dreams impossible.
Yet stand exposed in Sunlight’s rays,
all shadow play now laughable…
But if clarity is too blinding, remain unconscious… hiding.

Too Much ! *

You may go bat-shit crazy
and on the floor may piss…
pink elephants may dance a jig…
strange women offer a kiss…
(and the tempting snake may hiss).
In chaos reel, kick dogs and cuss…
shout expletives and such!
Yet, you never know when you’ve had enough…
until you’ve had too much!
(*borrowed from a quote by William Blake -
“You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.”)


What is gratitude?
How is privilege dispensed?
Do we define ourselves through Culture’s mask?
Do we determine our existences within the borders of a chosen vocation?
Do we approach the plateaus of the Mind like beggars,
hoping for Wisdom’s dispensation?
(* Inspired by a quote from Sir Francis Bacon - “Take tomorrow with Charity, lest it destroy you…”)

Power, lacking Consul, crumbles under it’s own weight. How fallen is the Mighty.
His weight becomes too great.
He heeded not the warnings…
Black birds now cry - “Too Late ! Too Late!”

Scrutiny leads to endless questioning.
The Ego separates itself from cause & effect. The bigger picture remains unseen.
Distortions spiral in and out. Scrutiny leads to endless questioning. Seek your own answers from within.
“Ne te quaesiveris extra”.

To see ourselves as others see us !
(The Hunchback sees not his own but sees his neighbor’s)

He sees his neighbor’s but not his own
So accustomed to his flaws
He adopts that mocking tone.
The Truth admitted only when Alone…

Nature is the Art of God
and Pascal sought that Gallery out…
Yet the perspective was so complex,
his sphere of vision by such Art was vexed.

“Nature is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere.” - Blaise Pascal

Judge Not A Book By It’s Cover (or,  Don’t trust appearances)

Lonesome Mary Shelly dreamed a dream
of a Modern Prometheus and Women’s self-esteem.
Yet was she troubled by her own written lines…
As o'er the world of Man loomed her monster…
(“I am alone and miserable. Only someone as ugly as I am could love me.”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein)

Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face -
or - The Ego attempts to separate itself from Action
What if the Actor left the stage
and in the audience did sit…
because he knew too well the play,
and mistook Reality for it ?

Life’s Joys & Sorrows -or- To the Personality, a Joy or Sorrow
may be more actual than a table or a chair.
We may feel as much when dreaming as we do fully awake.
Sometimes, a joy or sorrow endure as long as  we live…
while material possessions accumulated have long since vanished.

Resolutions -or-
(If Thine Eye Offend Thee)

If you don’t like what you’re seeing,
then Perspective is a tool
which can  easily make you wiser…
So why remain a Fool?

She hid her secrets behind a veil -
(Velo latet abdita)
Glamor, a world problem,
may cast its age old spell…
so oft’ we are hard-pressed
the Truth from False to tell.
Skin deep claims on Beauty Jars
the mirrors may reveal,
so thoroughly we are convinced
by All that they conceal.

The Crow & the Flatterer are One

Her folly in fashion was her undoing.
Along came the Flatterer to her a-wooing…
Like the Crow whose cackle is heard far and wide…
so his insincere praise laid her low by and by.
(From Your Lips To Gods Ear)
There is nothing too hidden, arcane, complex or
purely personal that cannot be asked of God.
Prayers may be answered, though we may not like the response.
Or we may be confounded by the modus operandi of the delivery.

Freedom (Cranes Are Flying)

I heard a cry from that vast sky,
when Cranes were flying overhead.
It seemed to swell from every part of Nature’s liberated play.
Its message formed All energy
and Freedom was its name.
*   The original idea came from Pythagoras:
“Where Do you come from? What have you done? What right thing have you refrained from doing? -or- Where did I go astray? What did I do? What duty was left undone?

Unity... Step into the sheath of Beauty
and let your heart be gay…
The moon and stars gleam in the night…
The Sun shines bright in day.