Para-Pyramid – The Madonna Lux

  Para-pyramid - a pyramid floating upside down: Such image sometimes reiterates itself in front of me. Heaven might be such a large diamond cube of radiating light, like the stars in night sky being each rose-flower, a singular beautiful heart of the Little Prince, of Saint-Exupテゥry. A star is a kingdom of Himself, a light mirage of "Para-pyramid", which multiplies itself a thousand of soul-stars, through the four square windows of rose.

  Every poem, likewise, is a celestial paradise. In it, Keats's aesthetic thesis abides: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty." And as it is a privileged world, Utopia, "Nowhere," we use for to get there the magic as "Artful Voyeur": "To see the inaudible, and To hear the invisible." These are sine qua non, and the aesthetics TAKACHI usually adopt when got absorbed by inspirations and improvisations.

  The following three poems are from/on my recent favourite thematiques - museums, real and imaginary, the Madonnas of Love, Grace and Mercy, and the Trees of Life and Knowledge. The first, "Nose of the Madonna," is taken from the latest The Cosmic Mirror, 2006. Revised and shortened. The second, "The Inner River" and the third, "Para-pyramid - The Graceful Mansion" are out of five poems conceived while I was staying in London, last summer, and completed and translated in the end of December, 2008.

Nose of the Madonna

In the Museum in New Haven, a fine picture was in exhibition,

"the Garden of Eden," by an anonymous painter 5of 16th century.

A stout fig tree, in place of a usual apple tree, stands in the center of

the Garden,

and Eve, taking Adam's arm, is now receiving a fruit from the hand

of the Devil.

But, O look, the Devil holding out the fruit is a little baby with

the same face as Eve's !

Oh lovely, but how terrible! The body of the baby is a fat serpent,

entwining around the trunk of the Tree of Knowledge.

But on his face, we could witness a drift of gentle, sweet innocence.

Drawn by this charm like Cupid, I went to see this infant's face,

like set in the hand mirror of the Madonna.

That was between 1992 and 93 窶/p>

I was absorbed with Madonna Mary's transformation.

Then I encountered with the portrait of Ginevra Benci of da Vinci in

his youth.

A picture the young Madonna with round face is emerging

out of the background like a dark forest 窶/p>

a rich tree-trunk of motherhood growing with green leaves.

Exactly the tree of life !

Da Vinci must have cherished the archefigure of the Garden, when he

painted this Lady !

I remember seeing, once in London, D.G. Rossetti's last masterpiece,

"Mnemosne," painted with Jane Morris as model.

She, now his eternal memory wearing a light-blue robe, stands out

as mother of Muses carrying the torch symbol of heart.

It is the green Madonna who recomes for leading the artist by her light,

to deify Rossetti and eternalize his fancy into an immortal art,

triumphing over Death.

I sensed out before long

that Madonna Memory, "Mnemosne," of Rossetti is the same as

Dante's Beatrice, Madonna of Grace, to lead the poet to Paradise.

But, now, where did the Child go, vanishing out of the picture frame,

the Baby usually painted on the Madonna's bosom?

Has he, either Rossetti's child or Da Vinci's, been taken

into the painter's persona, or changed into angel or Cupid,

returning to the same serpent's face as Eve's in the Garden of Eden?

The Madonna, La Gioconda, in Louvre, Paris, also embraces no Baby.

I remet her in early Spring.

Under the thin light of the bad weather of February

"Mona Lisa" in the other popular name assumed a dark complexion,

and the smile she returned to me was different from the usual glance.

On another look, my body shivered.

A serpent is raising his head right in the middle of her face !

What was hanging there was exactly the same big nose as Da Vinci's own!

But, no! Is that that?

Da Vinci had never known the woman's real body !

To cover his ignorance, he made his best to depict and project his part

of femininity as beautiful as possible, for Madonna's self.

Because he had not had any actual carnal intercourse with women

his Adam could not come to know what was Eve's eros-center.

Instead, he cast there an artistic anatomy of big serpent-head

of penis,

the same size of sexual symbol of nose of his own, and of St. John's.

Ah, what a sad protrusive revenge of the immaculate love !

And, in the end of his nympholepsy, what a small mouth and thin lips

of Mona Lisa, the spring of love, and origin of life and joy !

After a month, I was in New Haven.

I went to "The Garden of Eden" again, and saw the baby of Devil.

There, a spell ! A temptation !

It seemed all must be exorcised.

It is true that "Mona Lisa" is a figure of ideal beauty, life and light

the master painter has purchased as substitution of Madonna Mary.

But, Madonna of Love in art can not be the same as Madonna Virgin


Such Madonna as the Beautiful Beatrice, that Dante praised for "fin'amor",

was the sacral persona as the divine Madonna to save the poet's soul.

But, Ah, Eve is still my true Madonna !

I know you are more the fancy of the Tree of Life, more Mary of Magdalene,

the Bride of Christ, than Mona Lisa, the dried-up spring of smile.

My real Madonna seems now to emerge out of her,

Lady of Walking Beauty, shouldering the Madonna of Grace on her back,

or Madonna of Flowering Life with both an apple of good Knowledge,

and the serpent's desire of Evil, embodied not only with the "Eyes" of Tree

of sweet heart, but also the "Germs" of Joys of Eros.

"So I am !"

"Me, too !"

In front of me, half in a dream-fancy, there appeared abruptly,

as if jumping out of a green mirror of storm wood,

two little new-born Eve's bodies 窶/p>

one wearing wings of green leaves of fig,

another with fluttering wings of rose leaves.

The mirage daughters of six and eight years were staring smiles

with the same rolling cheeks as of my young mother's in a photograph,

and with the same big noses as mine when I was young and handsome.

Those two lovely faces were there, cheerfully and joyfully,

pressing forward, flushing sheer pinky aroma.

The Inner River

"The Madonna in the Cave" by Da Vinci when young has

not the big prominent nose, nor the mysterious smile

of "Mona Lisa" in his senior age.

Instead, she has a large blue river flooding, like tide.

River, flowing out of the rock cave,

river, flowing into the paradise on this terrestrial world.

She is its origin, its water gate.

Mother Mary in blue robe bends herself forward

to hold the baby Jesus and John right and left.

John salutes Jesus, from whom a holy glow shines.

From it, "the pole of dazzling light" Mary of Bethania saw

when she conceived the baby, rises growing taller and taller,

from rock-hill up to Heaven.

And from the mountains in the back, a great river

appears pouring out,

and rushes through the Holy Mother's knees

down on to the earth.

It reminds me of the Amu-Darya river, in Uzbekistan

the blue long dragon I saw from above the sky,

a long creeping mirage in the ruddy twilight.

A castle of clouds, branching like a skyey Tree of Life,

a cosmic skiff floating on high, carrying the sacred house.

The big nose "Mona Lisa" wears on the all-smiling mask:

Behind it a small red river flows.

Behind the tender white visage of "Mother Mary in the Cave"

a greater blue river flows curving, broader and more lively.

It is the same "River of Life" as scribed in the Testament:

"Out of His heart streams a living river."

An outward flux of the Madonna's grace from Heaven,

a blooming-out of flourishes of the Pole of Life,

窶the inner Great River.

"Mother Mary in the Cave" 窶/p>

You are incarnation of the primal Holy Family

Da Vinci has stored and cherished in his breast.

A revelation of the rebecoming of the Tree of Soul

a wonder of light and water, ever returning from the end.

Madonna Mary !

Your half-closed downcast eyes, listening to the invisible,

seeing the inaudible, now reveals to me:

Too white a lily, that emerges out blue image

from the deep of the Golden River of Heaven

as the spring of life;

Too compassionate a heart, that can transform man

into woman.

You are apocalypse, embodying the tenderness

that charms even the rock to pour out the Water of Life.

Para-Pyramid 窶The Graceful Mansion

A gothic chapel, with twin towers, stood there

near a bridge at the base of hill.

Its oak door, decked with solid metal fittings,

was always closed.

If turning the round knocker, the gate would be opened.

But no one seemed to open the heavy door, to enter.

Is that because anyone did not know

angels in white-robes are whirling afloat

and voices of peaceful soprano are singing

in the glowed circles of red and blue light

from the high west-window?

God, are you gone on a holiday

assured of having finished the re-completion and the salvation

of the world?

And, Mother Mary, do you prefer it more pleasant

to go to the museum, showing the face of the Madonna

than to stay in the church, giving mercy?

Is it that beauty is not so difficult as truth?

But truth is that Beauty is mother of Truth.

On the way back from the station,

on the left hand side of the High Street

there is a stone-built mansion with a pretentious gate.

On the pole nameplate, "Physician Surgery" is put up,

but "No Surgery Today" always hangs at the entrance.

When returning from travels, spring and summer,

I almost every time was over-exhausted in physique

and needed some physician's care, of intravenous feeding.

But I have never paid a call to this western mansion.

Doctor, you must be a rich man.

And today too you have driven a Rolls-Royce

to a summer house, in Karuizawa or Fuji resort

not for taking care of any bodies of others,

but for better care of your own heart's luxury?

On the opposite bank of the world, you may see

reflected in the mirror of river, God's rift,

and know what kind of face is witness of absence.

In the bracing rush of river-flow in front of eyes

I always saw the steep beauty of an deep gorge of cleft,

not the rainbow arch of bridge, over the "Water of Life."

But now I think I must change the way of directing eyesight.

The house of the King of Stars ever stands on a tower,

like a pyramid upside down.

Its chamber might be, by means of the crystal optics,

approached, fairly and rightly, like the House of God 窶/p>

The Doctor will, in front of the hearth in a large drawing room,

await his favourite to knock the front door,

having a cup of wine, over parchment pages of white magic.

Pensテゥe is spiritual power of God son, better than love.

And dream is the fastest stairs to climb up to the Height.

The Para-pyramid overhead is afloat in the forest of Jade,

opening windows of rose, in square directions below.



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高市 順一郎

タカチ ジュンイチロウ
TAKACHI Jun’ichiro               D.Litt.Prof. Emeritus of English, Oberlin University, Tokyo. Born in Tokushima,1939. Member of the Japan P.E.N. Club, Modern Poets’ Association and Japan Writers Union.                                  Main publications are The Place of Love (Poems in Japanese/English bilingual edition, Shichô-Sha, 1998), The Cosmic Mirror (Poems, 2006), and The Bell in the Tree (10th Book of Poems, Shichô-Sha, 2009). Among criticisms are Sylvia Plath: Myths of Love and Fame (Shichô-Sha, 2007), and Figuration and Gnosis in Poetry―Shakespeare, Keats, Poe, Whitman, Wilde, Hopkins and Eliot (Shichô-Sha, 2008). Forthcoming: The Rose Window of Eliot (Poetry,2018) and Ezra Pound ― New Apocalypse of Petry, Paradise Scape of Light (Criticism,2019)