CASE 16: Mayoku Shook the Ring-Staff

Mayoku, with his ring-staff in hand, came to Shôkei. He circled Shôkei’s dais three times, shook the ring-staff and stood there bolt upright. Shôkei said, “Right, right!” Mayoku then came to Nansen. He circled Nansen’s dais three times, shook the ring-staff and stood there bolt upright. Nansen said, “Not right, not right!” Then, Mayoku said, “Master Shôkei said, ‘Right, right!’ Why, Master, do you say, ‘Not right, not right!’?” Nansen said, “With Shôkei it is right, but with you it is not right. This is nothing but a whirling of the wind. In the end, it will perish.”

Irvine Graffiti


I found this on the sidewalk when walking to my mother in laws house–I had planned to be hitching a ride to see Johnny at Hoag, but Ed drove straight there and no one else showed up.

It did give me time to start work on my new favorite poem–called Brother.

A Treatise of Civil Power By Geoffrey Hill

I read this mostly because the back cover said “England’s best hope for the Noble Prize”–which France won this year. Having read this I really understand why.

There is some great stuff in this book, but mostly it is a collection of reading notes, obituaries, and other wet ink writing that might work in monthlies, but does not hold up that well between the covers. A lot of it is very hyper connected and the general voice is consistent throughout the work. My most favorite piece is likely:

On Looking Through 50 Jahre im Bild: Bundersrepublik Deutschland

It is not a matter of justice. Justice is in another world.
Or of injustice even; that is beside the point, or almost.
Nor evne of the continuity of hirelings, the resourceful;
those who are obese — the excellent ehads of hair —
the beautiful or plain wives, secretaries and translators.
The riots and deomstartions that now appear
like interludes, masques, or pageants, or students; rags;
the police water-cannon: yuou look for the film’s director
but cannot find him. There is the captioned Wall;
there the Reichstag, the Brandenburger Tor
variously refurbished, with and without wire;
there’s Willy Brandt kneeling at the Ghetto Memorial
on his visit to Warswa, December of Nineteen Seventy:
I did what people do when words fail them.

which is much more political then the majority of the work, despite the title and some good notes on Blake.

I liked this book, but could use more of the longer pieces–in fact, a book length poem from Hill would be fantastic.