the madman’s inkwell (cut-up poem based on Nietzsche’s madman)

1. after the death of God.

dread the chains no longer

for the grace has fallen!

and so many a land of poverty

pose them to submission,

sanction that mystical obscurity

of a former age

how rich a cluster of attitudes

now liable to feel baffled

once formidable, now shown the awful truth

what deadly terrors the stars now clasp!

as immortal hands throw down their spears

… now the night divides for us

As fading judgement of the lord

who could once twist the sinews of thy heart

Provoke corollary collocations of devotion

what wings dare He now seize?

… shall I aspire the fire,

jostle against chaos?

now that primal impulse is exstinguished

Barren of cosmologised disguise…

Eternal reason be borne!

welcome a proper act and end,

new elaborations invited,

arrays of books, doctrines

testify to new profundities

dread I grasp this anvil?

Deny serenity, the cosmic drama?

that story decay into confession


1.5 interlude.

arrogance unbounded

lost in shimmering light

the creator smiled once more

with ferocious strength

the smile of daybreak

casts a light beyond question

a spirit water’d heaven

so convincing the divine spark

storming depths of thine eyes…

that bore instincts revolutionary

welcome to a new age of paradox!

an impregnable, divinely-ordered world of science

united in mortality

astonish’d, in tears,

only some inner god

Can unleash the greatest self


2. Child falling into language.

In thy well of broken sentence

infant sorrow imagines

its first experience of danger

the world transform’d,


lapping among lapsed souls

weeping, wooing

cursing selfish father

chained in night

not here afore thy sight

these outward eyes

the mind descries

absorb’d by vacant feelings

metaphors firmly upon vision bestows

and vast temples buried

beneath these Willful things

universe within struggling,

striving against binding

Call for fires, smoking paper ruins

Glory in speech!

Abrupt bursts of words!

Finally I see… the very life of things


Continue reading “the madman’s inkwell (cut-up poem based on Nietzsche’s madman)”

art ‘striving for liberation’: quote from W. Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence (novel loosely based on the life of Paul Gauguin)

“when I imagined that on seeing his pictures I should get a clue to the understanding of his strange character I was mistaken. They merely increased the astonishment with which he filled me. I was more at sea than ever. The only thing that seemed clear to me – and perhaps even this was fanciful – was that he was passionately striving for liberation from some power that held him. But what the power was and what line the liberation would take remained obscure. Each one of us is alone in the world. He is shut in a tower of brass, and can communicate with his fellows only by signs, and the signs have no common value, so that their sense is vague and uncertain. We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them, and so we go lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown to them. We are like people living in a country whose language they know so little that, with all manner of beautiful and profound things to say, they are condemned to the banalities of the conversation manual. Their brain is seething with ideas, and they can only tell you that the umbrella of the gardener’s aunt is in the house”

W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence

Continue reading “art ‘striving for liberation’: quote from W. Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence (novel loosely based on the life of Paul Gauguin)”

“this most ancient and original form of frenzy”

Salvador Dalí – The Great Masturbator (1929) 

“If there is to be art, if there is to be any aesthetic doing and seeing, one physiological condition is indispensable: frenzy. Frenzy must first have enhanced the excitability of the whole machine; else there is no art. All kinds of frenzy, however diversely conditioned, have the strength to accomplish this: above all, the frenzy of sexual excitement, this most ancient and original form of frenzy”

– Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

“let the reins fall before the infinite”

Giorgio de Chirico – Perseus with his horse (1940)

“We seek those moments and marvellous experiences when a great power has voluntarily come to a halt before the boundless and infinite, when a superabundance of refined delight has been enjoyed by a sudden checking and petrifying, by standing firmly and planting oneself fixedly on still trembling ground. Proportionateness is strange to us, let us confess it to ourselves; our itching is really the itching for the infinite, the immeasurable. Like the rider on his forward panting horse, we let the reins fall before the infinite, we modern men, we semi-barbarians, and are only in our highest bliss when we are most in danger!”

– Friedrich Nietzsche