VENUS / APHRODITE
[In the Order of Appearance]

 

1.

and again I whispered: G. Seferis. From, "Memory 1." E. Keeley & P. Sherrard, translators.
in golden sandals: "Venus's 'sandals of bright gold, coifed with a veil of what do you call it gossamer' results when Bloom hears Lynch's 'in her yellow shoes and frock of muslin, I do not know the right name of it.'" J. Gordon, "Some Joyce Skies." James Joyce Quarterly, Spring 1996.
Johnny Cash: "Johnny Cash used to sweep into Casitas Springs like he owned the place. But those days were over. On the morning of Jan. 10, 1968, Cash passed quietly through town while en route to LAX from his parents’ home in Oak View. He no longer owned the big house on the hill above Nye Road in Casitas; it had gone to Vivian Cash in the divorce, which had become final a week earlier. Vivian was in Las Vegas that day, getting ready to marry Dick Distin on Jan. 11. And Johnny? He was on his way to prison." M. Lewis, "Johnny Cash and His Ojai Rings of Fire." http://theojai.net/johnny-cash-and-his-rings-of-ojai-fire
Showed the clouds: J. Cash. From, "Big River."

the shell of a turtle: Oracle Bone Script (jiagu wen) are pieces of turtle plastron, or ox scapula, used for divination from the Middle to Late Shang dynasty (approximately 1500 BCE to 1000 BCE). They are also the earliest form of Chinese writing found so far.
all the way down: "The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever", said the old lady. 'But it's turtles all the way down!'" In, S. Hawking, A Brief History of Time. New York, 1988.
as living fossils: C. Zimmer, “Crunching the Data for the Tree of Life.” New York Times, Febuary 10, 2009.
like those made by poets: I have in mind the Lake Country Poets of early nineteenth century England, such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey.
walking sticks: "In its best dress, philosophy wears hiking boots and carries a walking stick, wandering trails that lead into the heart of our wilderness—both natural and cultivated." R. Frodeman, "Philosophy in the Field." In, B.V. Foltz and R. Frodeman, Editors, Rethinking Nature. Bloomington, ID, 2004.
Venus' shadow: "The opening was on a track in the ceiling that could be moved to follow the path of Venus. She assumed it was focused on the spot where Venus would appear sometime after dark. Even in daylight, isolating a piece of sky changed the way she perceived it, turning it deeper and bluer, giving it a new meaning. Claire glanced behind her to see if there was enough light from the sky to cast a shadow and found there was not." J. Van Gieson, The Shadow of Venus. New York, 2004.
a rabbit: "On the day Christine de Pizan's youthful Duke first falls in love, he prays first to Venus, then goes off to hunt rabbits." H.D. Brumble, Classical Myths and Legends in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. London, 1998.

2.

As for us.: R. Jeffers. From, "Carmel Point." (Line lengths changed a bit.)
it was a wolf: Aphrodite's animals are wolves and panthers. W.D. Norwood, Jr., "C.S. Lewis' Portrait of Aphrodite." Southern Quarterly VIII, 1970.

3.

the beautiful in nature: I. Kant, The Critique of Aesthetic Judgement. Oxford, UK, 1969.
where hag sits: "As late as the Middle Ages, the witch was still the hagazussa, a being that sat on the Hag, the fence, which passed behind the gardens and separated the village from the wilderness. She was a being who participated in both worlds. In time, however, she lost her double features and evolved more and more into a representation of what was being expelled from culture, only to be reborn, distorted, in the night." H.P Duerr, Dreamtime: Concerning the Boundary Between Wilderness and Civilization. Oxford, UK, 1987.
The most beautiful: R. Wagner, "Tannhäuser Overture." 1845. Tannhäuser was a legendary medieval German poet/knight who stayed with Lady Venus on her mountain for one year, tempted by her "red lips that never stopped smiling." After one year (Odysseus also stayed with the enchantress Circe on her island for one year) he left and traveled to Rome, where he asked Pope Urban to forgive his sins. The Pope refused, saying, "Not until leaves begin to grow on this dry stick will your sins will be forgiven!" So the Tannhäuser returned to Venus Mountain, and three days later leaves began to grow on the Pope's dry stick.

4.

As Goddess: S. Rowland, The Sleuth and the Goddess. New Orleans, 2015.
of transgender women: ” C. Feit, “Mortal to Divine and Back: India’s Transgender Goddesses.” The New York Times, July 24, 2016. “Since their initial discovery, hundreds of figurines of Upper Paleolithic origin have been found. A wide variety of images exist; many are obviously female, some are male, others lack obvious gender, and still others are anthropomorphic animal figures.” K.R. Vandewettering, “Upper Paleolithic Venus Figurines and Interpretations of Prehistoric Gender Representations.” Pure Insights. Vol 4, Article 7, 2015. “There are male stones, female stones, and non-male non-female stones. They are placed in the sky and in the earth and are called heavenly stones and earthly stones.” E. Dogen Zenji, “Mountains and Waters Sutra."

5.

Court of Cathay: Poetic name for China. From Medieval Latin Cataya. Name of a Tatar dynasty that ruled Beijing 936-1122.
last mountains and rivers poet: Yang Wan-li: (1127-1206) The last of the great Sung Dynasty poets, Yang Wan-li was born of a prominent family, served as an advisor to prime ministers and emperors, then retired to the mountains, to write poems and pracrtice Ch'an (Zen) meditation.

6.

J.B. Jackson: (1909–1996) He defined the beauty of what he called the "venacular landscape," by which he meant "the organization of man-made spaces" that do not function according to nature's rules, but as a scaffolding for human culture. (Figure in a Landscape: A Conversation with J.B. Jackson: http://psu.kanopystreaming.com ) Jackson was the founding editor of Landcape Magazine. He lectured at Harvard University and The University of California, Berkeley, but always returned to his home just south of Santa Fe.

7.

drumming: "What has the beautiful, golden, smiling one to do with the god of war? What are the implications of a union of Venus and Mars? Of the visibility and delicacy of love and beauty with Mars caecus and Mars insanus as he was named-blind and insane-the lord of battlefield rage?" J. Hillman, "Beauty and War: An Exploration." Philosophical Intimantions: Uniform Edition of the Writings of James Hillman, Vol. 8. Putnam, CT, 2015
solitude: S. Shamdasani, Lament of the Dead: Psychology After Jung's Red Book. New York, 2013.

8.

out of: R. Bringhurst. From, "Empedokles' Recipies." In, The Beauty of Their Weapons. Port Townsend, WA, 1985.

9.

drawing me out: S. Fox. From, "Venus Hangover." In, Sheer Indefinite: Selected Poems. New Orleans, 2012.
my language's: “when reading an alphabetic text the reader finds himself in relation not only to a set of written injunctions, or a clutch of compellingly written stories, but also to a voice, strangely like his own, that nonetheless seems to speak from an unchanging dimension apparently impervious to the growth and decay of bodily life. The alphabet, in other words, opens a new zone within human experience, a linguistic dimension that seems wholly unaffected by the flux of time." D. Adram, Becoming Animal. New York, 2010.

10.

up underside J. Weishaus. From, "Touching it." In, Feels Like Home Again: Collected Poems. New Orleans, 2015.
to examine: “For Aphrodite, every small sensuous detail of every form is important, the askew as well as the symmetrical. Every slip, symptom, aberrancy, depression, fragment and failure has a beauty or value of its own.” R. Schenk. "The Soul of Beauty: A Psychological Investigation of Appearance." Ph.D. diss., University of Dallas, 1989.
what's behind:
“She revitalizes the tension between opposites and yet permits union between them: nature and culture, body and spirit, sky and ocean, woman and man.” G. Paris, Pagan Meditations. Putnam, CT., 2005.

11.

is not welcome: "Furthermore, Basho's words 'We sought a place to stay for the night, but no one was willing to offer us one' are not true to the facts." M. Ueda, The Master Haiku Poet Matsuo Basho. Tokyo, 1970.
embroidering: "As (Aphrodite) spoke she loosed from her bosom the curiously embroidered girdle into which all her charms had been wrought — love, desire, and that sweet flattery which steals the judgement even of the most prudent." Iliad, Book 14.
bear(ing) witness: K. Cline, “The Shaman’s Song and Divination in the Epic Tradition.” Anthropology of Consciousness, Vol. 21 (2) 2010. Cline goes on to say: "This is, literally, poesis: silence passing into sound, voice, utterance, language, meaning. The Epic of Gilgamesh, classical Greek poetry, and The Ozidi Saga of West Africa all have as their origin the orally based poetics of the shaman; what contemporary ethnologists have termed the 'shaman’s song,'"
namesake tree: Basho = Banana Tree.

12.

Out in this desert: A. Rich. From, "Trying to Talk With a Man." "The poem was written at the sight of a nuclear bomb test. Helen Vendler argues that in this volume the war is 'added as a metaphor...for illustration of the war between the sexes rather than for especially political commentary,' but I believe Rich depicts the relationship between politics and personal life as more complexly interdependent." C. Nelson, Our Last First Poets: Vision and History in Contemporary American Poetry. Champaign, IL,1982.
cells within cells: D.C. Dennett, "The Normal Well-Tempered Mind.: A Conversation with Daniel C. Dennett." http://www.edge.org/conversation/normal-well-tempered-mind
serpent's knowledge: "Ishtar of Babylon, successor to Inanna, was identified with the planet known as Venus....Ishtar was depicted sitting upon the royal throne of heaven, holding a staff around which coiled two snakes. One seal from Babylon, which shows Ishtar holding the serpent-entwined scepter, was inscribed 'Lady of Vision of Kisurru.' Ishtar was elsewhere recorded as 'She who Directs the Oracles. and Prophetess of Kua." M. Stone, When God Was a Woman. New York, 1976.
everything becomes water: "The opus begins when everything becomes water." 16th Century alchemical saying. Floods, too, mythological or not.

13.

yellowing: "Yellow signifies a particular kind of change—usually for the worse: withering leaves, ageing pages, and long-stored linen, old teeth and toenails, liver spots, peeling skin, indelible stains of food and semen. The process of time shows as yellowing. The alchemists spoke of it as 'putrefaction and corruption.'" J. Hillman, "The Yellowing of the Work." In, Alchemical Psychology. Putnam, CT., 2010.
phosphorescent:"Phosphorescence is derived from Phosphorus, meaning “light‑bearer”, the name of the morning star, also known as the planet Venus or the star of Aphrodite when she appears brightest in the sky before sunrise. In literary contexts up to the early nineteenth century, long after the discovery of the chemical element, Phosphorus is still primarily used as the Greek name of the morning star, whose Latin equivalent is Lucifer. But Lucifer, as we know, was also the name of the rebel archangel, cast down from heaven and identified in the Christian tradition with Satan." M.V. Skagen, "Putrefaction and the Scent of Thunderstorns." In, M. Hagen and M.V. Skagen, editors, Literature and Chemistry. Aarhus DK. (n.d.)
beauty doesn't meet the eye: "When you say someone has beautiful eyes, you do not expect the other to take out an eye and hand it over, as Baudrillard once joked. The parts of other people or things that
we like—somebody’s red hair, the shining of gold, the curves of the hills, the light flickering on the river—we do not like as such, but as parts of a whole, as radiating from that whole. And at that point, the part has transcended its role as a part." L.Spuybroek, "The Compass of Beauty: A Search for the Middle." In, Architectural Materialisms: Nonhuman Creativity. M. Voyatzaki, Editor. Edinburgh, 2017.

14.

these flows: "Hot Lava Flows Discovered on Venus." http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Venus_Express/Hot_lava_flows_discovered_on_Venus
Don Quixote's rusty horse: Rocinante. Like Don Quixote, he is old and dysfunctional.
in the attitude of each: G. Paris, Pagan Meditations. Dallas, 1986.
you go away: B. Dahlen. In, A Letter at Easter. http://littleredleaves.com/ebooks/catalog/beverly-dahlen-the-first-three-books

15.

No ancient warror's: This refers to M. Basho's: "Summer grasses— / all that remains / of warrior's dreams." (natsugusa ya / tsuwamonodomo / ga /yume no ato) In, "The Narrow Road to the Deep North." D.L. Barnhill, Basho's Journey: The Literary Prose of Matsuo Basho.Albany, NY, 2005.
mustard: Venus' thick clouds consist mainly of sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid droplets. The average Venusian temperature is 850 degrees F., heat-trapped by carbon dioxide, the primary constituent of the Venusian atmosphere and a model for extreme global heating.
What is your substance: W. Shakespeare. From, "Sonnet 53".
Venus is often: H. Devlin, "Was Venus the First Habitable Planet in Our Solar System?" The Guardian. Oct 17, 2016.

16.

The stone woman rises: R. Bringhurst. From, "Dongshan Liangjie."
golden fields: "What life, what pleasure is there without Golden Aphrodite? / May I die when I no longer care about such things / as clandestine love and canjoling gifts and bed..." Minnermus. 7th C. BCE.Fragment 1.15. In, M.S. Cyrino, Aphrodite. London, 2012.
here to see: "the concern with 'seeing' is at the heart of the enterprise." J. Rothenberg. In, J. Rotherberg, Editor, Revolution of the Word. Boston, MA, 1974.
re-cite more than gods: "In sum, the evidence we have outlined suggests that the walls of Catal-hoyuk structures were ritually important. They were, we argue, thought of as permeable interfaces between people in the building (and therefore already in a lower level of the cosmos) and a spirit world that lay behind the walls." D. Lewis-Williams and D. Pearce, Inside the Neolithic. London, 2005.

17.

One morning: November 9, 2016.
Plants chattered: "
Researchers are unearthing evidence that, far from being unresponsive and uncommunicative organisms, plants engage in regular conversation. In addition to warning neighbors of herbivore attacks, they alert each other to threatening pathogens and impending droughts, and even recognize kin, continually adapting to the information they receive from plants growing around them. Moreover, plants can 'talk' in several different ways: via airborne chemicals, soluble compounds exchanged by roots and networks of threadlike fungi, and perhaps even ultrasonic sounds. Plants, it seems, have a social life that scientists are just beginning to understand." D.Cossins, "Plant Talk." The Scientist, January 1, 2014.
beings who can see:
E. Kohn, How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human. Berkeley, 2013.
When nature withheld: T. Hillerman, Listening Woman. New York, 1978.

18.

Hephaistos: While she was in love with Ares,Aphrodite married the crippled craftsman Hephaistos as arranged by Zeus as a reward for Hephaistos releasing his wife (and Hephaistos' mother) from the bounds of a golden throne Hephaistos had sent her.

19.

no Venius who is not: . “according to Plato (Sophist 266c), dream images are comparable to shadows, ‘when dark patches interrupt the light,’ leading us to a kind of ‘reflection.’ The reverse of the ordinary direct view.’” J. Hillman, The Dream of the Underworld. New York, 1979.
tall tree: "Linnaeus spent a lifetime searching for what he believed existed: one single, perfect, true natural order. He believed that there was one solution to the puzzle of the living world, one and only one correct path out of its chaotic labyrinth. Scientists have continued to believe this---merely replacing Linnaeus’s vision of God’s natural order of things unchanged since the day of creation with a vision of the evolutionary tree of life. But therein lies Linnaeus’s mistake and ours—the rest of us—as well. There is not just one solution. There is not just one way out.” C.K. Yoon, Naming Nature.: The Clash Between Instinct and Science. New York, 20
09.

20.

are the words: Hsieh Ling-yun (385-433) A poet and painter of the mountains-and rivers school, "Hsieh's mountain landscapes enact 'nonbeing mirroring the whole' (empty mind mirroring the whole), rendering a world that is deeply spiritual and, at the same time, resolutely realistic." D. Hinton, Translator. Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China. New York, 2005.
knees throb: "In fact the knees are strangely prominent in Homer as the seat of Vitality and strength. 'As long as I live' is expressed by 'As long as I am amongst the living and my knees are active.'" R.B. Onians, The Origins of European Thought. Cambridge UK, 1951.
The crows would come: U. Ko. From, "Abandoned Old Man." In, Himalaya Poems. Copenhagen, 2011. This refers to the Tibetan "sky burial," bya gtor, in which, as an act of giving back to nature, the corpse is hacked apart and the pieces left on a mountaintop to be eaten by carrion birds.