Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (BBC)

LISTEN: Kubla Khan: A Vision in a Dream (The Forum on BBC.co.uk)
High in the Himalayan foothills of Kathmandu, Nepal is the famous Boudhanath stupa.
Sri Lankan Buddhist stupa
I maintain "Kubla Khan" is a Buddhist poem, which is to say, a poem based on Buddhist features of a real place and person. Coleridge knew of it because he read about the mysterious East and its ancient treasures.

They were recorded in a travel book he was reading when he wrote "Kubla Khan" titled Purchas's Pilgrimes by the English cleric Samuel Purchas about his pilgrimages in Asia. Purchas traveled and reported what he saw back to the English-speaking world.

The "dome of ice" is a clear reference to a sparkling white stupa (Buddhist reliquaries, burial mounds, kurgans popularized by the Scythians/Shakyans of Central Asia based on burial mounds going back millennia in Central and North Asia, even up to portions of Ukraine). They are now built all over Asia.

There really was a Kublai Khan, a Mongol ruler (son of Temujin, "Greatest Warrior," known to all as Genghis Khan), who built a great city (or set up fabulous temporary city of yurts) called Xanadu (Shangdu) but then abandoned it for a better center of trade from which to rule in Beijing, China. (Why did the Chinese lose to Mongol invaders? They may have been weakened by germs from working in nightsoil paddy fields).
POEM: Kubla Khan
Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
   The shadow of the dome of pleasure
   Floated midway on the waves;
   Where was heard the mingled measure
   From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

   A damsel with a dulcimer
   In a vision once I saw:
   It was an Abyssinian maid
   And on her dulcimer she played,
   Singing of Mount Abora.
   Could I revive within me
   Her symphony and song,
   To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Were giants ever real?

Steve Quayle shared images of sculptor Mark Patrick's elongated skull on his Jan. 8, 2018 Coast to Coast appearance. "We will have this and a full size 12-foot giant on display at our True Legends Conference in September," Quayle writes. "These giants literally bit the head off their human prey and ate their bodies like a piece of jerky," he added. Giants are real, and the Titans (Asuras) of Buddhist lore are fierce.

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