tag : bright yellow-green apples: in praise of insanity

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Saturday, December 18, 2004

in praise of insanity

figure 4.1. it takes all sorts

Isaiah had a vision of the throne of God, it's shuddering jolt almost overwelmed him, yet set him on a course to principally challenge so much around him. There are some artists around today who’s vision is a little bit wild, who see the world to a bit of a tangent, and shine it back in our faces anew. Indeed, I found a quote in Mass Culture that tells us where we need to turn at times like this, when all around us there are people trying to claim us:

“Our most reliable guide to the holy and eternal now is not the men shouting the latest odds at his stall in the marketplace of personalities, but the artist, poet, or priest who stands at an individual angle to the traffic-chocked highway and looks obliquely into the ravaged and aspiring heart of men. This is the voice for which we must keep an ear in tune.”

I think it’s about time someone celebrated the poetry of Phil, not to be confused with Phill, who also goes under the stage name of Phoenix. I respect him hugely for his ability to weave fantastical panoramas that tell the stories of our time with the very rawest of elements. The freely lyrical symbolism is literally sublime, even as so gritty. Many pieces can be found in the 24-7 forum poetry space, and this dream tale of struggle against demons is a good example of his rich verse:

The pilgrimage towards Hell’s gate

Reality phases as Engeoff’s ghost remains caught between two worlds.
Floating across the bleak non-existence of the Void.
The cold mists slowly parting to reveal man’s heart.
Hammers, spades, tools of all kinds collected into a haphazard pile.
People of all kinds, striking out with swords at the tools- steel striking steel.
Lost in their efforts, as amused demons erupt with laughter at this absurd site.
[*Flick- It is paramount that the Creationist truth prevails against the lies of secular science- the preacher concludes- Flick*]
Further down the path the mists retreat against the onslaught of absurdity.
A trio of men sitting down, backs against a great gnarled tree.
There bodies abandoned to pain as small insects slowly bite away at skin and flesh.
Yet faces remain locked in smiles, as the trio exchange jokes, without the slightest move to escape the insects.
[*Flick- I feel depressed, yet as Christians I should show I’m different by the joy I now hold…I must not a be good Christian, I feel depressed- such thoughts are circular-Flick*]
Leaving the suicide tree, the gates of hell come to dominate the landscape.
A closer look, journeys end, a pilgrimage of sorts.
That defiant gate of steel, those walls of blackest night.
Symbols of death, bleeding pain into the recesses of the mind.
A myriad of demons collected on the walls, arrows notched and blasphemous voices raised.
Yet here reside a further group of peoples, running to and fro.
Shields raised high, but being not quite big enough as the arrows rain down.
The captives are paraded through those gates, as these people still seek cover.
[*Flick-So Faith falls into an obsessive set of principles for sin management-Flick*]
The journey incomplete, Engeoff’s ghost passes through that gate to view within.
The sight of that proud gate melts into this scene of decimation.
Never again will the Blood War be fought on heaven’s fields it seems.
Thief’s running through the streets, ready to plunder the halls of Hades of its souls.
Warriors, priests, the wild people of God roar with fury for the mission.
The pilgrimage finished as Engeoff’s ghost finds where he came to be.
Floating across the splintered remains of Hell’s front gate.


Blogger ash said...

truely a fascinating entry there laurence, and Pheonix quoted there to great effect, excellent as always.
perhaps this is why Blake chooses to open his Songs of Experience thus: "Hear the voice of the Bard!" (full text is most ingenious).

Coupeland, to comment on the visual aid here, is a marvellous example of one who's potentially prophetic voice should not go ignored.

and now to wonder if we can't fit into this somehow.


10:28 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

g'day. some interesting points but i fancy a tangent (not a tangerine, tho, tis the season)

you used "Hey Nostradamus!" as your pic. have youread it? i didn't think it was as good as his others (that i have read) i.e. microserfs, miss wyoming, gen x, shampoo planet...

10:52 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Sarah -

Generation X is maybe rightly celebrated, but I’d still say Hey Nostradamus! makes for a better novel. And this is precisely because it’s a stronger narrative, more driven by a sense of people’s stories. Perhaps this is paradoxical of me to say so, given Generation X’s nature, but I found some stronger identification with the latter as a story, a satisfying whole work of art. Principley, I put that image up because of some of the themes latent within it - of people’s place in systems, how God is found in sharply pressing events, how we construct our worlds. Plus the image is perfect for singular visionaries! But as Ash said, he’s a truly prophetic voice in literature, even as he speaks totally within the lingo of the times…

Ash -

…talking of prophetic voices, good to see you flagging up the great William Blake - he does the outrageous dreaming of mythical picture talk so well. People like him, Bunyan, Milton, and Dante are the patron saints of challenging modern visionaries.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Martin said...

Woo, I bought Hey Nostradamus today, what a coincidence!

I like Phoenix's poem, although it is a bit Arthurian. But I'm particularly pleased to see someone else acknowledging that perhaps it's not lack of faith that leads to depression.

9:44 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

That’s an angle I hadn’t considered, but certainly a very important one - so many people seem to get in a right tis when trying to come to terms with any form of depression in the context of faith.

12:27 AM  
Blogger ash said...

yes... us Christian sorts seem to get depressed a lot. maybe we're all barking up the wrong tree?

9:15 PM  

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