Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

A literary diary II

12 Jan 2013 Saturday

Theo and Paula are very active in the artistic scene and Theo would love to hear from you, I'm sure, at:
Forwarding this to him.



The day before I had informed him about an unexpected letter from Kamilari, Crete

On Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 6:30 PM, <hattofischer> wrote:
Athens 11.1.2013

Dear Gabriel,
that photo about silence you have sent me already.
About Poetry Ireland, I wonder what has happened to Theo Dorgan and
Paula Meehan. They came with Brendan Kennelly in 1995 to Crete for our
'Myth of the City' conference. The reason I mention this is yesterday
the Cretan village of Kamilari contacted me to ask about the photos I
may have of the event back then: a poetry reading by 15 poets in front
of 500 people from the village and surrounding area. What is wonderful
about this renewed contact is that the person who wrote on behalf of the
cultural committee had experienced back then the poetry evening as a 15
year old girl.

After Kamilari, we went to Festos where we held another round of discussions.

Paula Meehan gave then her remarkable speech about 'wild and tame
places' in cities insofar as human beings need both.

If there is now this reconnection, I hope to revive our tradition and
bring poets to the village for another round of poetry reading.



11 Jan 2013 Friday

Writing about meeting the self when steeping out of the door after yet another discussion about survival of language, Gabriel pokes fun at a joke and at the same time shows the consequences if taken serious. When people want to know if one more butterfly species is good, his reply is only God knows and poets tend to agree no explanation is needed. The same holds as to how many languages mankind needs to survive as human specie? See his article in Poetry Ireland at



at windfall

deep under the rain

shoulders shrug

as if does not matter

whether another cloud

adds more water

to the already soaked ground



10 Jan 2013 Thursday



9 Jan 2013 Wednesday

On Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 12:41 PM, <hattofischer> wrote:
Dear Gabriel,

Sklog is a beautiful answer.
So self evident. A reprise of sunlight.
A tree in blossom and then again with bare branches.
It makes the turning around (Umdrehen) into a common element
of experience (Hegel). There is 'the negation of the negation',
or how nothingness is used to draw borders.
If you behold the question of the glaze of the stranger, that was
also best described by Albert Camus.



ScnØd: an explanation


My name is Sklog.

I have lived almost ninety years.

Trillish is my mother tongue.

I am speaking into a machine.

I cannot write the language.

We never had the letters for Trillish.

My death will be

The death of Trillish.

Not another living soul knows it.

But these few words

Will be there for those to come

If they wish to hear.

We have words in Trillish

That I make out others don’t have.

ScnØd, for example,

ScnØd means… well, it’s complicated…

There’s a tree called the ko-eewa.

It blossoms only once every twenty years –

Beautiful red flowers.

It blossoms and then the flowers fall that same evening.

You can make a kind of tea from the leaves

That cures purple clouds in the mind.

Now, the meaning of ScnØd is this:

Imagine the sunrise blazing up on the horizon.

You look out and the ko-eewa is in blossom!

You begin to dance a few steps.

Stop! Look again!

Only sunlight on bare branches.

A phantasm. Then you look the other way.

You wouldn’t like to stare at something that’s not there.


The exact meaning of ScnØd:

The ko-eewa in blossom, apparently,

A little dance of joy, looking again at the tree

And looking away.


Gabriel Rosenstock.

Translated from the Irish by Paddy Bushe




8 Jan 2013 Tuesday


Portráid Díom Féin (Amach Anseo)

Beidh clog éigin á bhualadh agam is dócha
chun fanacht im dhúiseacht
an tost a bhlaiseadh
idir na clingeanna

Self-Portrait (In the Future)

I'll be tinkling some sort of a bell I suppose
in order to stay awake
taste the silence
between the ringings.


7 Jan 2013 Monday

World Poetry Movement is a bit amorphous, isn't it? It must concentrate on poetry more than ideologies and must ask itself why in many parts of the world, poetry has lost favour with people. It must be broad in allowing for all kinds of poetry and all kinds of multi-media expressions of the written and spoken word.
But what is it, where is it, who is it? Is this clear? Not to me.
Is there a regular newsletter? Are publications planned? I think it should do some international work to establish a FREE POETRY LIBRARY for a start and a long-term plan for a vigorous translation project, with special emphasis on mariginalised languages.  Where is the world in the World Poetry Movement, where is the poetry and where is the movement?
I hope it is fair to ask these questions. I am not being cheeky or provocative, just curious...



6 Jan 2013 Sunday

----- Original Message -----
From: Gabriel Rosenstock
To: hattofischer ; World Poetry Movement
Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2013 2:35 PM
Subject: World Poetry Movement
Here's one thing the World Poetry Movement could do: share and exchange meaningful poems, essays, interviews with one another. Much of what Hirschman says in this interview has a lot of resonance, does it not?


Hirschman is also a prolific translator. It's central to his activism as well as his love for poetry and language(s). Translation must be the engine that drives the Movement! If we can agree on that much, the Movement will thrive!



5 Jan 2013 Saturday



4 Jan 2013 Friday

Here is just one of many places in which to explore haiga possibilities, including calligraphy, photography and digital imaging:


I love working with Ron Rosenstock's imagery. We've never got around to do anything with the actual textual incorporation. The site above shows how it could be done ...




3 Jan 2013 Thursday

It seems that Gabriel was reaching at this point an awareness that there is at risk 'sanity' on the internet, or to put it differently, sometimes we can as he writes share too much. Even if it is intended to give feed-back as in this case when he had forwarded the link to a beautiful video about the poem by Brendan Kennelly called 'the beginning', and I had send it to Ann Davis in Canada since she was once a student of Brendan and told the story how Brendan had all of them rolling in the aisles out of laughter,  that it is a way of keeping up meaningful linkages. We hardly ever take notice how important are sometimes these details in life.
Gabriel's reply was:
"Very good!
Let's not get addicted to e-mailing! Some people say I'm indulging in what is called 'over-sharing'!

On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 6:32 PM, <hattofischer> wrote:
Dear Gabriel,

here the response by Ann Davies who enjoyed the lectures given by Brendan Kennelly at Trinity College and after I had forwarded to her what you had drawn my attention to.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Brendan Kennelly
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 09:18:06 -0700
From: Ann Davis <adavis(at)ucalgary.ca>

Dear Hatto

This is very beautiful.  Thanks so much for sending it to me. As our
friends die -  a good one of mine is on his way out, as we contemplate our
own mortality, it is so good to think about beginnings.

Much love

The link to this touching video of Brendan Kennelly is



About him hating the English language and being addicted to the Irish language

Thank you! You may post the story - if it's any help to some poor ould addict out there!

On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 6:29 PM, <hattofischer> wrote:
Athens 3 Jan 2013

Dear Gabriel,

I love that story. Addiction yes, hating English? I doubt if you can
link the one to the other. They are two different worlds.
Naturally you mention the Cromwell times. Brendan Kennelly does as well
in his poems. This is when he confronted for the first time violence in
poetry and through poetry violence.
That is something else to perceive something as an enemy and something
you once loved.
But can ever such a love be taken away.
Maybe by all your versatility as traveler between different worlds, you
have a new task ahead, namely to reconcile these two different spheres
of linguistic influences upon the mind.
What moves us is what kindles love and compassion for the others.
When we correspond with our friends in India all of them write in
English but as the Polish journalist Kapucinski discovered after having
learned the language once he had arrived in that country, he suddenly
realized he had learned the language of the suppressor.
It can be that David living always in Canada has another relationship
to English.
But he does not mean so much the language per say but rather the
confidence everyone needs in order to communicate.

For sure I will post your story on the website if I may!

Thanks for sharing it and it does remind me that you confessed to me
the day we met and went from one pub to the next that you had no money
with you because your wife was afraid of your addiction of gambling!

We will speak about your amazing energy which allowed you to produce
160 books or more by now. The question is what makes you buzz and what
is compulsive? There is a difference between the two but that we do not
need to clarify right now.


On Thu, 3 Jan 2013 18:10:47 +0000, Gabriel Rosenstock wrote:
Dear Hatto,
I once loved English! What made me change? Well, I switched
alliances. This swithcing of alliances can empower one (or enslave
one), can make you see the world anew (or make you blind). One could
say that my passion for Irish became an addiction. There are some
hundreds, if not thousands, of Irish people in the same position. Some
are quite simple minded. Others are writers and intellectuals. I
decided recently that it was time to write a story (in Irish) about
this strange condition. Is it unique? And here it is!



On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 5:50 PM, <hattofischer> wrote:
Athens 3.1.2013

Dear Gabriel,

I can relate to your last letter in several ways.

Last night I thought of how closed I have been to my wife who would love to speak with me in Greek, in her language, and yet till now there was a block inside of me. Maybe she had prevented me from learning the language during our first years of living together in Athens, for she did not wish me to understand everything. Then came the child and we conversed separately in Greek and German while together we speak English. That is still the case today.
We can discuss this more if you want but when I am with others I have no hesitation to use the Greek I know.

I note that you wish to hear other sounds and listen to other tongues. The Inuit's were very successful until now in adapting to Western culture without losing their own roots, values and identities. The Indians were by comparison less successful in this.

Your passion speaks quite loud when you begin to express your attitude towards the English language.

Take a note, therefore, of a letter I received this morning from one of my oldest and best friend in Ottawa, Canada. He was a chemist and studied at Carleton University where I studied Political Science and Economics (1966-69). He still lives a stone throw away from the university, and when in Ottawa I stay at his house. He is an avid traveller by canoe and loves the outdoors. He has written also a huge book reflecting ten years of traveling back and forth to city hall in order to see if a citizen can speak up and against a development plan which makes no sense with regards to what is happening to the earth. Since Canada is at the very least a bilingual country, the language issue for the French especially important, I find it interesting that he and his wife Janice - she used to be editor working for the Ministry dealing with foresty related news - are engaged in providing newcomers with the confidence to communicate in the English language. It is also interesting to see how he responds to my letter below and what he makes out of poets and poetry.

I do feel you are at risk to overstating your hostility to the English language. But then I do not live in Ireland but in Greece where I can also not practice my native tongue, namely German on a daily basis. Still, I can pick up the phone and link up with my friends in Germany. But when I refer to risk, then that you might blame the English language for too much as to what is going wrong and then oversee that there are countless other factors which do play a role in how you feel.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: New Year (was how to educate children in face of so much loss of life? )
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2013 17:35:13 -0500

From: mcnicoll/dowling

Hi Hatto:

Thanks so much for your (serious) note.

There is a chinese character for reality and yet another chinese character for reality (Buddhist in origin) that has illusion built in the character/drawing itself. Thus we enter the impossible challenge of trying to communicate (film being something I have worked in for about 40 year). So much communication is reduced now to sales/propaganda etc so trying to communicate using poetry is special (often with the angels). But when we talk we are not approaching the reality of the planet!

In the English Conversation group where Janice and I have participated for over 10 years the new canadians (refugees, visiting scholars etc) arrive in a variety of situations. They need to be able to communicate in English. Naturally each person is different. Some have the ambition and ability to read. Poetry is usually too provocative and complicated. Newspapers are peppered with sales and propaganda. And of course they are lying usually (or at least highly suspect). I resist the format.

In plain language I tend to use the time to verbally increase their confidence at communicating with me. I see it as power, or as a power substitute. So communicating (and in its political response - what we might call democracy) is about allowing all 7 billion humans to communicate and listen. Of course we have a long way to go. In that sense the calibre of Canada is not democratic and is without accountability. Fortunately someone who speaks farsi at home can still love.

Ralston Saul noted that roughly 5000 people die each day (majority civilian - women and children) from the approximately 50 wars (undefined) that are ongoing at any one time on this planet. Rather disturbing. But the death of 3500 people (twin towers) or 26 kids and teachers does fit in a twisted pattern. Or 10 people from a drone. The pathology of politicians is an odd mixture but lead by an avoidance of (comprehensive) reality and their part in it.

New year arrived with friends at their farm up the valley, heavy snows left many guests having to walk after rescue by younguns on snow boards. It was a clear windy night with a great deal of live music - fiddles, drums and guitars. Songs of Celtic, Scottish and Canadian origin. Tons of conversation, kids and dog everywhere. Fireworks and hot airs balloons two of which flew away into the night sky. Food and drink when required. Janice and I spent an hour outside with Cindy as we prepared her fort for an invasion that never happened. A stew of tough loving people. Sleeping on the floor and next morning after a few hours sleep, a giant breakfast before we drove back into town for two other parties.

take care my lad


The entire discussion about the English and Irish language started after I had forwarded to him what Norb Blei had send around, namely the Manifesto by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Dear Hatto,
In a way I prefer his erstwhile colleague, Jerome Rothenberg and the 1968 anthology
In Technicians of the Sacred we were introduced to voices outside of the Anglosphere. That's where my heart goes, my ear, my destiny.
It's hard for me to respond to Ferlinghetti's manifesto because his is the language of our daily oppression, on radio, television, billboards, shops, trains.... even when they landed on the Moon, their conquest was linguistic as well as everything else...
Let us look beyond the Anglosphere ...it is our duty, I believe, to withdraw our support for all its pomps and works and seek out and nurture the voices on the periphery...thus WIDENING our horizons!
For a long time now my ears have been closed to the Anglosphere. It is an impersonal language that speaks to me in elevators, or when I try to pay a bill and cannot find a human being to answer my call, a human voice with which can engage in a conversation or guess where the voice or accent may be from.
English is becoming lifeless for me. I still read a lot in English, and about 20% of my writing is now in English but .... there are other songs to be heard, other sounds, older sounds, other traditions. We have a choice as to what we wish to influence us, enrich us, shape us. We are willy-nilly influenced enough by the Anglo-American Empire and its minions... stuffed, in fact, by their products. I've had enough to last a thousand life times.
Give me an Inuit any day! Ah, crisp! Fresh! Delicious!


2. Jan. 2013 Wednesday


------- Original Message --------
Subject: Something different
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2013 20:29:47 +0000
From: Gabriel Rosenstock
To: hattofischer

A Chinese poet translated by Paddy Bushe into English, with my versions
in Irish.




The day started with Gabriel providing a link to a poem by Brendan Kennelly.

Bain sult as!/Enjoy!


1.January 2013 Tuesday

I won't judge poetry written in English, as English-language poetry is mediated through a language which is the world's number one virus today.... so my remarks would be coloured by that observation!

Gabriel Rosenstock

It was my uncle second degree, Helmut Frieser, who introduced me to Hagelstange's poems, in particular the one called 'die Verschütteten'.


On Tue, 1 Jan 2013 12:01:30 +0000, Gabriel Rosenstock wrote:
Hagelstange stayed with us in our home in Kilfinane (a long time



31.12.2012 Monday and heading into the New Year 2013

I love the news that never ever makes it as far as The News!

On Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 4:31 PM, Mark Kermode wrote:

The annual commemoration of the judicial murder of Illiam Dhone
(William Christian) will take place, as always, at 2.00pm prompt on the 2nd January at Hango Hill near Castletown, Isle of Man / Mannin. This year is the 350th anniversary of this crime.

Against the backdrop of the Lord of Mann's wife, Countess Charlotte de Tremouille, preparing to use the Island and its people as a bargaining counter to secure her Royalist husband's release (he was captured in England but, unknown to anyone in Mannin, then executed), Illiam Dhone / William Christian negotiated a peaceful surrender of the Island to English Parliamentarian forces on the precondition that the Island and its people "retained their former rights and liberties". The alternative was a drawn out, bloody and ultimately futile defence with thousands dead and possible punitive massacres as had happened throughout Ireland. The Island would also be absorbed into England with its feudal system of laws.

Upon the restoration of the English Crown, the Lordship of Mann was returned to the Stanley family and the title passed to the executed Lord's son. Driven by an irrational hatred of Illiam Dhone for a perceived but unfounded act of treachery (Illiam Dhone's actions also probably saved both the lives of the Lord's family and the Lordship for the twisted ingrate), the new Lord had Illiam Dhone arrested on a trumped up charge of treason.

After a trial which saw two juries sworn in, the second being both "packed" and threatened to return a guilty verdict, Illam Dhone was sentenced to death. A Royal Pardon from English King Charles II arrived hours too late to save his life: He was shot near to Hango Hill (a small, natural mound) on the 2nd January 1663.

An oration in the Manx language will be delivered by Christopher Lewin followed by another in English by Mark Kermode. Contrary to some people's belief, these orations are not translations of each other. These will be followed by a wreath laying and the singing of the National Anthem. The attendants are then invited to warm themselves in the Ship Inn, Castletown and hopefully listen to some traditional music or continue to a Church service at Malew Church, where Illiam Dhone is buried.

Mark Kermode
Mannin Branch Secretary
Celtic League


This news makes one ponder if language is celebrated like religion and becomes something holy, spiritual and indeed absolute, even for only forsaken in case the name does not sound right! What is needed in dialogues with those who have made language into a fetish while being forsaken by the language they believed in once, is to overcome that inner sense of betrayal. That thought figures greatly in Brendan Kennelly's epic poem about 'Judas'.



On Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 7:59 PM, <Hatto Fischer> wrote:
Athens 31.12.2012

Dear Gabriel,

there are many things in need to be uploaded onto the website. I prefer
to do it at a pace so that I can read and understand what you send me.
Everything is precious and very rich material.

I have uploaded your two essays dealing with poetry-language issue as
well as the essay you forwarded to me by Liam O Muirthile. So far he has
not send his poems, so when you contact him (I have not his email
address), let him know that his essay is up. It is a rich overview as to
what might be called a paradox of going on a journey in order to stay.


In the New Year I will want to pick up German poets starting with
Hagelstange and others till we come to the contemporary ones. This
should refer as well to the work done by Thomas Wohlfahrt at Literatur
Werkstatt and whom you said you know already.

What are you up to for New Year? Give my best regards to your wife who
I remember when both of you came to visit me when I stayed for one night
at Trinity College thanks to Brendan Kennelly.



PS. I catch up on all the other materials in the New Year


30.12.2012 Sunday


Éanlaith Strae i Maigh Eo/ Stray Birds land in Mayo

Gabriel ends the day by pointing out what translation he has done of the poem by Tagore (Nobel prize winner in 1913) and how he presented this Indian poet, painter and philosopher as "man of the universe" at Utsava Maigh Eo.

As part of the Utsava Maigh Eo festival 2012 an event took place called, "Celebrating Tagore". This clip shows the introduction to the event by poet Geraldine Mitchell and Gabriel Rosenstock reading from his translation of Rabindrnath Tagore's work, "Stray Birds". As Gabriel says, you have heard of 'stray dogs' and 'stray cats' but what are stray birds?


Stray Birds / Éanlaith Strae

by Gabriel Rosenstock, Rabindranath Tagore

for the translation of Tagore's 'Stray Birds' see:


On Sun, 30 Dec 2012 13:19:42 +0000, Gabriel Rosenstock wrote:
Dear Hatto,
Three essays, two by me and one by a poet of my own generation, LIAM Ó MUIRTHILE whose selected poems (translated mainly by me) are due shortly. I have asked him to send you a copy.


Note: These essays touch upon the Irish language and what situation Irish poets have to face due to the dominance of the English language.


Subject: for Hatto & Friends
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2012 15:57:16 +0000
From: Gabriel Rosenstock


al llegar
las cinco
de Irlanda

upon arriving
I kissed
the five
of Ireland

ar theacht
i dtír dom
cúig ghoin

la hierba
a reírse
de gusto

the grass
to laugh
out of joy

chrom an
ar gháire

el viento
al mismo
me tomó
de la mano

the wind
at the same
took me
by the hand

gan smaoineamh
an ghaoth
lámh liom

mis pies
como dos
la tierra

my feet
like two
the Earth

mo dhá chos
mar dhá
an Domhan

A poem by Francisco X. Alarcón. The title is a composite of Éire (Ireland ) and Aztlán, home of the Aztecs. It was written on Francisco's arrival in Dublin on 14 March, 1992, his first time in Europe. I had brought him over to celebrate the publication of his book that I had translated into Irish. Cuerpo en llamas/ Colainn ar Bharr Lasrach. This was, perhaps, the first meaningful cultural exchange between the civilisation of the Gaels and the Chicanos.

On the accompanying tape, Francisco begins with an invocation in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, a language known by his grandmother, a language spoken by two million people to this day.

At our readings together, Alarcón would burn dried sage in a shell as an offering to the ancient world. This was poetry as prayer, as ritual, as magic. There were times when I thought we had slipped into Castaneda's world of A Separate Reality

The above poem is quite mysterious. Alarcón had no previous connection to Ireland. What are the five wounds? Did he intuit that Ireland once had five provinces, and that the Irish word for a province, cúige, means a fifth? The reference to serpents is interesting. Ireland once had a Druidic serpent cult (destroyed by St. Patrick). Rudolf Steiner talks about a mysterious figure that leaves Ireland, follows the Gulf Stream and ends up in Mexico as Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent.

Before leaving Ireland, Alarcón gave me a 'secret' name, Xolotl, twin of Quetzalcoatl. Empowered by this name, I wrote a long poem, XOLOTL, in rapture. Later I looked at those strange scribblings and decided I would put them away for a decade - or I myself might be put away. I eventually unearthed those scraps of paper and shaped the poem as it exists today, attached.

Derek Ball put music to it and will send an MP3 of our performance of Xolotl in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, on request:


That's it!

Gabriel Rosenstock


29.12.2012 Saturday

It is raining a lot in Athens. The temperature starts to sink. It is that moist coldness which creeps into your bones. Even while it is unusual to follow weather reports since most of the time the sun shines, some anticipation is made possible by weather forecasts given by the BBC and CNN. It is something else to give a clear forecast with regards to 2013.

Another message that day was reference to a special work of his

The Pleasantries of Krishnamurphy

Revelations from an Irish Ashram

The Pleasantries of Krishnamurphy: Revelations from an Irish Ashram combines humour, fantasy and the wellsprings of spiritual traditions, East and West. There is a distinct Sufi flavour to The Pleasantries, with the earthy wisdom and humour of Nasroodeen (that wise fool and foolish wise man), and all the refined and airy wit that those who know and love Ireland and the Irish will recognise.

About the Author

Gabriel Rosenstock is an author, translator and poet whose work includes fiction, essays in the Irish Times, radio plays and travel writing, and of course poetry. He writes mostly in Irish (Gaelic), being a member of Aosdána (Irish Academy of Arts & Letters), but has taught haiku in Vienna and received the Tamgha I Kidmat medal for services to literature. He has given readings and performances in Europe, US, India, Japan and Australia.

Gabriel Rosenstock


Click here to read sample


On Sat, 29 Dec 2012 12:53:29 +0000, Gabriel Rosenstock wrote:

Dear Hatto,

The 'Freedom Poetry' link was a bit of a joke. I was not endorsing that site. I think most people who talk about freedom in this way are gung-ho moronic enemies of true freedom.

Further to DENNIS O' DRISCOLL. He was often called 'an Irish Larkin'. I never liked Larkin very much and what little I know of his biographical details doesn't make me want to know any more. What is pitiable is to compare any Irish poet to his English 'superiors'. This is the type of neo-colonial mess which we wake up to each morning in the Anglosphere, I'm afraid!

Have a look at the Index to the newly-published „Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry“


My friend and contemporary CATHAL Ó SEARCAIGH doesn't get a mention!
It is ridiculous. He is a poet of world standing! Oxford should know that.

What is wrong with them?

I attach some poems of his in my translation. Please post them on your site as a downloadable attachment, perhaps? (For reading purposes only, not for reproduction elsewhere).

His memoirs, published by Simon & Schuster are also worth reading.



Here appears this key topic which I have discussed lately as well with Merlie M. Alunan who experiences in the Philippine likewise the post colonial era as something suppressing longings for a truer life, one in which the self can find not being destructive to nature for the sake of both sheer survival when only poor or else in need of purchasing expensive water when in a crowded urban centre like Manila. The 'colonized subject' was a key theme at the Institute for Science of Religion at the Free University of Berlin when Klaus Heinrich was the leading professor. But there were as well others in Ethnology who followed this attempt to become free from the imperial yoke while taking on a humanistic trait rather than fall victim to the new kinds of gang warfares making everyone in Africa and elsewhere feel unsafe.


In an earlier note Gabriel points out that:

People are making a lot of  Irish-Indian musical connections these days.
(The Celtic scholar Myles Dillon had a lot to say about the Celt and he Hindu, as did  Proinsias Mac Cana).
The music by Jack Harrison is called 'enchanted islands'.

Another trailer:





Bliain an Bhandé/Year of the Goddess

- Gabriel Rosenstock calls this collection of his poems his own East-West fusion. The collection was published in
Dublin 2007 and is bilingual (English / Irish).

You are in me


Brightest of beings

In sun-surprised February

Flower out of season

You illuminate the night

A falling star

Shower after shower

My sky is empty now

You are in me


Taoi ionam


A bhe luisneach

A ghrian gan choinne i mi Feabhra

A bhth roimh am

Soilsionn Tu an oiche

Titeann Tu Id realta reatha

Sprais i ndiaidh spraise

Is ta mo speirse anois lom

Taoi ionam

In a note Gabriel Rosenstock explains why he uses black shades to bring out some other nuances in words
having hidden meanings:

One does not often think of the tripartite goddess who gave her
blessed name to Ireland—Éire, Banba, Fódla—not to mention
other goddesses who have left their trace on the landscape, Danu
of the Paps of Danu for instance. Devotional poetry in India goes
by the name of bhakti. In the heel of the hunt, a bhakta does not
really adore or pine for any god or goddess; as with Mirabai’s
love affair with Giridhar (Krishna), or Muktabai singing her own
glistening Self; what is sought and what is praised is the brightness
of eternal brightness, our shared Self, knowing neither birth nor
death. Some words in this poem sequence are ‘shaded’ to allow for
another reading of a line, or a faint echo, a game much cherished
by the Celtic poets of yore. Thus, the reader sees the word as the
world when written as world and encounters bhakti invocations
such as ma (mother) hidden in the word mad!


Dedication to the Korean poet 

Ko Un
Bhí fhios agam nach raibh ann ach crann
(do Ko Un)

Bhí fhios agam nach raibh ann ach crann
ach claochlaíodh le soilse é
le maisiúcháin
le sneachta bréige
agus i dtús an 21ú haois
thugamar ómós de shaghas éigin dó

Is gearr go mbeidh orainn é a chaitheamh amach
is é a thabhairt d'inneall athchúrsála
thuas ansin ar Chnoc Chill Iníon Léinín
is béicfidh sé
mar a bhéic anuraidh
is an bhliain roimhe sin -
an spíonlach -
cad is ea é?

Cad is ea sinne?

I knew it was only a tree
(for Ko Un)

I knew it was only a tree
but it had been transformed by lights
and decorations
artificial snow
and now, early in the 21st century
we pay it obeisance, of sorts

We'll have to throw it out soon
and give it to the recycling machine
up above on Killiney Hill
and it will scream
like it screamed last year
and the year before -
the needles -
what are they?

What are we?

Gabriel Rosenstock



Gabriel forwarded some of Ko Un's poems to draw our attention to his writings. It furthers mutual appreciation. Dileep Jhaveri had responded already on Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 7:56 AM after having received from Gabriel as well these poems by Ko Un.

Dear Gabriel,
Because of you we have warmth in the winter with poems of Ko Un. Here is a poet of sadness, simple joys, vast dimensions, unity with universe, continuity with time, rich with past and open for future. His personal suffering has not turned him cynic. He has picked plain and profound wisdom from pain.
Reading his poems is more fruitful than any discourse in philosophy.
Thank you very much.
with love


28.12.2012 Friday

Non-Duality Highlights

Today's ND message (below) is No. 4797. I've been reading these compilations now for a decade or so. There's a lot of wisdom out there and a lot of beauty. (Not out there but within, a Non-Dualist would say). Many people reject wisdom-nuggets as mere candy floss for the soul. It's easy to be cynical about the wisdom of the ages or to reject given teachings in favour of working everything out for yourself.
Where wisdom traditions and literary pursuits coalesce: this is a very fertile ground that interested Yeats, Emerson, Whitman, Tagore, the Beats and countless others.One can easily see how wisdom traditions, particularly Buddhism, has coloured the great poetic output of Ko Un, but he never  parrots these traditions... often, indeed, we find him exploding them, in fact, so that we get a better insight into the Void that is ever-new.
The haiku of J W Hackett would be vapid were it not for the influence of Zen. And so on ..
One way or the other, it's about caring and if caring leads you to esoteric spiritual practises or to writing and acting along radical left-wing lines, it's the caring that's important.
My brother Greg wrote a novel (pseudonymously) called Who Cares


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gloria Lee <gleelee@comcast.net>
Date: Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 4:24 AM
Subject: [NDhighlights] #4797 - Thursday, December 27, 2012 - Editor: Gloria Lee
To: NDH <NDhighlights@yahoogroups.com>, NDS <NondualitySalon@yahoogroups.com>


#4797 - Thursday, December 27, 2012 - Editor: Gloria Lee
The sun is simply bright. It does not correct anyone.
Because it shines, the whole world is full of light.
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

Thy sunshine smiles upon the winter days of my heart,
never doubting of its spring flowers.
~ Tagore
by Alan Larus

If we remove all the rubbish, all the thoughts, from our minds,
the peace will become manifest. That which is obstructing the
peace has to be removed. Peace is the only reality.
~ Ramana Maharshi

When you look at what is happening to our world—and it is hard to look at what
is happening to our water, our air, our trees, our fellow species—it becomes
clear that unless you have some roots in a spiritual practice that holds life
sacred and encourages joyful communion with all your fellow beings, facing the
enormous challenges ahead becomes nearly impossible.
~ Joanna Macy: World as Lover, World as Self

When you expand your vision and awareness, you see that you are a part of
everybody. If people around you are suffering, you do not simply shut your eyes
and say, 'I'll be really happy.' The subtler you go and the more refined you are,
you feel for everyone in the world. You start feeling for trees, animals and
plants as well. You begin to care for the environment."
~Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

We must never permit the voice of humanity within us to be silenced.
It is man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man.
~ Albert Schweitzer

Dogs emanate a goodness that people respond to. One of the joys of walking your
dog is often people come up to you and immediately their hearts open. They are
not interested in you, of course. They want to pat your dog.
~ Eckhart Tolle, Guardians of Being
The hope for the animals of tomorrow is to be found in a human culture which
learns to feel beyond itself. We must learn empathy, we must learn to see into
the eyes of an animal and feel that its life has value because it is alive. Nothing
else will do.
~ Kenneth White


I was sad one day and went for a walk; I sat in a field. A rabbit noticed my
condition and came near. It often does not take more than that to help: just to
be close to creatures who are so full of knowing, so full of love that they don't
chat, they just gaze with their marvelous understanding.
~ St. John of the Cross

"Every single creature is full of God, and is a book about God. Every creature
is a word of God. If I spend enough time with the tiniest creature, even a
caterpillar, I would never have to prepare a sermon, so full of God is every
~ Meister Eckhart, 14th C .Christian mystic



27.12.2012 Thursday

Gabriel starts the day by sending me first one message about the poet O'Driscoll:

Beannacht Dé leis.

I looked it up. The tribute to this poet O'Driscoll says that he was a witty man who wrote a biography about Seamus Heaney, Ireland's Nobel Prize Winner.

Thus I answered his message with following three lines:

Dear Gabriel,
what a pity for such a man to die so young! (he died at the age of 58)
Have you read his biography about Seamus Heaney?
If he was both poet and critic, what was his standard for poetry?

Greetings from Athens with the sun shining

His answer came promptly:

"I liked Dennis as an essayist and knew him quite well. He had a respect for both linguistic traditions in Ireland. His brother Proinnsias Ó Drisceoil uses the Irish form of his name and is a Scots-Gaelic literary enthusiast. His poetry was too wry and earth-bound for my taste but he was an obsessive collector of views about poetry. His 'poetry pickings' showed the vast extent of his reading (at least in the Anglosphere):




What can be said after such an annoucement about the death of a poet, if not a poem in his honour and may no one forget his name and the poetry he left behind.


Life is a strong whisper

Often it is when the wind dies down to a whisper

That cats flirt with other cats! While strolling down lanes,

No one overlooks the chimneys blowing smoke like steam ships.

Since walking on roof tops is not everyone's skill, let the imagination

find you a route through life with a definite end with Auden saying

something like that never happened to him before it was hard

to bite not into a piece of bread, but instead hear a human voice receding,

fading out, till all lights go out and not even a whisper can be heard.

Hatto Fischer


And then in a second message of the day, Gabriel Rosenstock sent me some Haiku-poems to images captured by Mark Granier. He calls this new art form 'Photo Haiga'.


Image: Mark Grainer                            Text: Gabriele Rosenstock


lampa caolsráide

chun locháinín (nó mún ó inné)

a shoilsiú

alley lamp
to illuminate a puddle

(or yesterday's urine)


More of these photo haigas can be seen at



Reflections at the end of 2012 and Photo Haiga

Approaching the end of the year, some poets might wish to clean out their desks as if pipes becoming chimneys with mine sweepers suddenly appearing out of nowhere. The imaginary power is not just a gift. Nor is drunkeness necessarily a sign of a healthy life. In Ireland too many of the good poets, among them Brendan Kennelly, suffered the consequences of drinking too much. It was an expression of their trust in life that it would give back something when living hard off the edge. But so much trust makes the daily light appearing early in the morning whether rain or shine, into a stark contrast as to what eyes can observe. And the poem seem to have gone off to work like everybody or like a woman with someone else. If that is not re-imaginating the self if only she had stayed! Love gone makes the streets appear more naked than ever. That stinking self! And that smoke lingering in the clothes. Somehow all of this life in Ireland is captured in that simple Haiku poem by Gabriel Rosenstock when he sents six of them over along with images, one of which goes like this about the latern.

Athens 27.12.2012

Dear Gabriel, if Mark and you agree, I can post your texts with his images on our website www.poieinkaiprattein.org as I have started a special section on Haiku Poetry. More comments shall follow about what such a form provokes, but as you can gather as well from the section on our website called 'the arts beyond images', this need to go further than what pictures can convey and yet our perception being if not bounded by them, then at least sparked to look anew at our world, that can make for anyone a happy day. In particular, I like the latern with light reflecting possible a pool of urine of yesterday. It was Lenin who said you cannot reflect the world in a puddle. Well, there you go out of reach of any wisdom with those three lines alone but you bring in that specific Irish note as observed by James Joyce. thanks hatto

The answer of both was that they agree, with Gabriel adding the following:

That's great, Hatto, any feedback appreciated. Photo-haiga is a relatively new art-form.

And a first reaction came from Najet Adouani who compared the Photo Haiga to hymns.


On that Thursday, 27.December 2012

Gabriel Rosenstock drew my attention as well to one saying:

aiteann uirbeach -

ní cuimhin leis cad is dorchadas ann urban gorse - it cannot remember what darkness is.


And then he started to introduce me to Padraic O'Conaire's "Exile"


Tá úrscéal mór Phádraic Uí Chonaire ar fáil anois san Fharóis.

This is because the Pádraic Ó Conaire's masterpiece Deoraíocht/ Exile now available in Faroese.


Deoraíocht (Exile) is a neglected masterpiece by Pádraic Ó Conaire, one of the most European-minded of early twentieth-century Irish-language authors. I assisted in its rebirth in Faroese by matching Ó Conaire with another gifted eccentric, Agnar Artúvertin.

I have translated poems and stories by Artúvertin into Irish. The book is called Ifreann (Hell), with a hellish cover by Pakistani artist Mohsin Shafi. Before the publication of Ifreann, Artúvertin was relatively unknown in Ireland. Now he is completely unknown.

I am very happy to see Deoraíocht in Faroese. The author had lost his head in more ways than one: in 1999 four men from County Armagh, Mr Garret Leahy, Mr Gavin McNaney, Mr John McManus and Mr Garry O' Connor decapitated him - (i.e.his statue in Eyre Square, Galway). My own novel, incidentally, is called My Head is Misssing but has nothing to do with the Galway incident (as far as I know). It has a cover by the Indian artist Amit Kalla:
I tried to bring Agnar to Ireland for the launch of Ifreann but, as far as I remember, the Danes would only offer him €100.00 or so and this would not go very far in the Dublin pubs where our launch was going to happen (i.e. in a dozen or so pubs more or less simultaneously).
You may contact Agnar at: agnarster(at)gmail.com
Our pool of consciousness widens. Actually it doesn't. It's as wide as Original Mind. It is simply becoming conscious of itself!
Very few people go to bed at night thinking of Faroese (not even the Faroese). We must change all that!
Let's hear from Agnar on your site and how he enjoyed translating Deoraíocht into Faroese and whatever other little miracles he cares to mention...





On that Sunday I went to the office of Poiein kai Prattein to download all emails and there was already one by Gabriel Rosenstock.

It was one in which he congratulates Michael Bürgermeister about the way he presented Wystan Hugh Auden in a documentary to  be viewed at http://www.michaelbuergermeister.com/
Subject: Auden Trailer
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2012 13:52:42 +0000
From: Gabriel Rosenstock <grosenstock0(at)gmail.com>
To: Michael Buergermeister <michbuerg(at)yahoo.de>

Well done!


That same day he draws in a short note (without any further explanation) attention to a documentary about Pearse Hutchinson available at




Also he passed on a call for anyone willing to submit 3 original poems to Freedom Verse Poetry the address for which can be discovered when going to YouTube for further instructions:


The call by Freedom Verse Poetry for submitting poems means that they have to be happy and uplift the spirit and they should be in reference to the intentions of the Founding Fathers of America when they drafted the Constitution.

Deadline: 31st of December 2012

When I asked for his opinion about this call, the answer came prompt and swift:

Dear Hatto,
The 'Freedom Poetry' link was a bit of a joke. I was not endorsing that site. I think most people who talk about freedom in this way are gung-ho moronic enemies of true freedom.


In other words, we agree that political or happy correctness has no place in poetry, and as for freedom, if sad, then be sad and let the earth be drenched by tears. Always smiling faces to keep the customers happy as if on a permanent flight which obliges the crew and especially the sterwardesses to be friendly, that makes life difficult. For you no longer know when after hours of such flight you finally set feet again on the ground what was it that bothered you the most? Was it the person sitting beside you but not saying a word, or because this kind of quick travel from one place to another covers huge distances but flies as well over a lot of people never to be experienced but a part of the global population. Gabriel's objection entails a true element about the meaning of freedom.




Dear Hatto,
I haven't read Language and Symbolic Power but I often think that language activists
need a better reference library than most of us have.





On that day just to make sure I get to know his vast universe and original mind, he referred me to


By Matsuo Basho
(1644 - 1694)

Irish & English version by Gabriel Rosenstock

ice bursts
the water jar

dúisithe ag oighear    an próca uisce    scoilte aige


16 December 2012 Sunday

On Sun, 16 Dec 2012 18:42:04 +0000, Gabriel Rosenstock wrote:

I see that Merlie is also concerned about language and I salute her

broad stand on this issue! The linguistic map of the world is changing

at a very rapid rate and if poets (for whom language has always been

sacred), do not show concern - then who will?



Note: Gabriel refers here to the response by Merlie M. Alunan to the shooting of the children in Newtown and to what she perceives as the danger of poets being silent when similar massacres happen in the Philippines. Her essay on "Writing the National Literature" can be found at


Education of children through literature, national narratives at that, touches upon something Walter Siti, writer from Italy stated at the Conference held in Paris, Nov. 21-24, 2012. He reiterated that literature had also cultivated the illusion of greatness, when in fact we sit in small rooms and are afraid of the wide open world.

^ Top

« A literary diary I | Diary III »