Allen Ginsberg on Dharma Poetics – 16

Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) – photo by  Étienne Carjat

Allen Ginsberg on Dharma Poetics continues from here

AG: I think time is going on and I think I better (go on) and I haven’t even gotten halfway through this.  So I’ll make a reading list or pronounce (a) list or just go through now swiftly touching on themes that we’ve already heard a bit of.

For the notion of the path of the spiritual seeker or realizer of appreciation of his own struggle and confusion what I would recommend is from Arthur Rimbauds A Season In Hell the section that ends “Charity is that key – This inspiration proves that I have dreamed”.

(Now only recently, being on the point of giving my last squawk, I thought of looking for the key to the ancient feast here I might find my appetite again,  Charity is that key – This inspiration proves that I have dreamed!

Or, tout dernièrement m’étant trouvé sur le point de faire le dernier couac ! j’ai songé à rechercher la clef du festin ancien, où je reprendrais peut-être appétit. La charité est cette clef – Cette inspiration prouve que j’ai rêvé !) –

[Editorial note – this section that Allen quotes isn’t actually the end of the section and he is, of course, drawing specific attention to all the lines prior to it – see, for example, one translation – here]

Because that’s one of the archetypal pictures of self-struggling with reality or with illusion or with ego in the Western world, and Rimbaud’s been an inspiration, just on this point of the representation of the dramatic struggle from immaturity to maturity, or to some mode of possessing the truth in one body and one mind – of unifying body and mind.

For the notion of loneliness on the path, James Joyce‘s loneliness, in which he declared was “to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of the race,” which is a totally bodhisattvic vow as an artist, as well as his phrase, “Silence, exile, and cunning” which is the artist hermit’s motto in the 20th century.  That’s a phrase of Joyce – “Silence, exile, and cunning” -as the character of the artist’s solitary struggle to be truthful and pay attention to his practice.

“I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church; and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can  and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use  – silence, exile and cunning.”

to be continued

One comment

  1. kindness or cunning?
    to be true to oneself demands knowing first who that is?
    Ginsberg was quick to figure it out. Sometimes, like with Yeats, it takes a lifetime. It’s about the search I guess and then the honesty. thank you.

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