John Bjarne Grover
It happened in my house in Szolnok in probably the summer 2015, if not in 2016, that I woke up at night and lit a lamp - and there stood an animal of strange black 'bulby' character on the floor and seemed to look up at me. It was of body length perhaps 10-15 cm, width around 5 cm. The black 'bulbs' could mean that it was sort of the opposite of the lightbulb I had just lit. I hesitated for a moment what to do now, and concluded that I had to help it out. It then quickly hurried in under the bed - moving apparently without legs, on either wheels or floating on air. (Of course I had to speculate if it were an electronic joke equipped with camera and microphone - but I did not take the chance to inspect it more closely). I found a bucket and pulled the bed out - and there it was inbetween some electric cords. I put the bucket over it and pushed a piece of cardboard under the bucket and carried this out in the dark night outside - there I threw it into the night through the air, into the garden.
I interpreted the story in the poem 'Das kosmische Tier' in 'SNEEFT COEIL' which I self-published last year.
A day or two later I observed a plant that suddenly had grown up on the place where it probably would have landed. This plant was green and had a wingspan of about a metre and was of height about 60-70 cm. It carried some fruits resembling green chestnuts hanging upwards - these later burst and exposed a dark or black 'nut' inside. (Germany was flooded with refugees that summer). Every branch and twig seemed to be maximally 'angular' - as if spreading the space out as much as possible.
The fruits The angular plant
I believe that it was not there a few days earlier - since it was just between two 'breasts' of ivy made by the previous owner - two heaps of ivy suspended on a metal wire. I had studied this construction and would probably have seen the plant - it would probably not have grown up that fast. If it were inbetween two breasts it would have grown up from the 'sternum' - hence the 'cosmic animal' coming from the stars.
The plant between the 'ivy-stroppings' Late autumn
The poetic story is told also in William Butler Yeats' poetry book "Michael Robartes and the dancer" from 1921 - the plant would have been Yeats' "The Rose Tree".
In the same summer there also grew up several of the plants with colourful fruits or berries resembling mulberries but much bigger - these plants grew out from 'corners' only - if there lay a brick on the soil, it could grow out from the exact 90 degrees corner between the brick and the ground. Therefore I associated with the 'maximally angular' mystery plant at the 'sternum' place.
The photo to the right shows one such plant growing out from the bottom of an outhouse - just where the wall meets the ground. Of course it could have found a more convenient place to grow up if it had wanted. These plants have red and black fruits and grow to about a metre's height or more - could be two metres.
The next year something similar happened when I one morning observed a tuft of straw resembling wheat stalks that suddenly had come up a few centimetres from the same place - apparently overnight: I used to go along that path every day and would certainly have noticed these - but this morning they suddenly were there, fully grown out. They looked like a splash of water rising up from where a stone or sth similar heavy had fallen into the sea:
I was not certain how to classify the connection between these before I found Li Bai's poem "Spring thoughts" which I translated (from the chinese) as follows:
Li Bai: Spring thoughts
In north Hebei, grass is a strawlike thing.
and in Shaanxi, low mulberries grow where green twigs part.
God brings them back when it is spring:
Life is a concubine of broken heart.
This spring will not new friendship bring.
What is your entrance, silken scapular?
This seems to tell that the 'scapulars' which I had found (probably earlier) were poetically the same as this 'black bulby' animal - which seemed to have come from cosmos into the house by some entrance or other. I had found two (or three) black scapulars: One sunday I took tram 49 down to the 'Ring' at the parliament/Volktheater and changed to line 1 downwards there - when I stepped in through the door entrance I saw a black textile lying on a chair seat there, right in front of me where I stepped in. I believed that somebody had forgotten it and picked it up - it was a little humid even if the weather was fine. I looked briefly at it - it was semi-transparent and seemed to be folded in one third or so (where it was a little less transparent) and probably sewn there. I gave it to the driver of the tram. The next sunday I travelled the same way - and exactly the same happened again: When I stepped in through the door opening of the tram I saw a black textile lying on the seat there. Now it was quite absurd - I laughed and gave it to the driver once again. A third time I saw it from a tram window - it was lying in a slushy water-pond outside at a tram stop - it was raining. I did not go out to look at it. This third was very wet, the two first only half humid. I have concluded that these could have been of a 'scapular' type - the opening for the head being the entrance opening of the door - or the two tram lines that symbolize the 'cognitive' permutations etc. (Aspects of these 'scapular' stories are reflected in my poem 'Die Verwandlung' in 'SNEEFT COEIL').
It is possible that the black textiles can be recognized in Nelly Sachs' poem 'Ein schwarzer Jochanaan' in her 'Und Niemand weiss weiter' (1957).
I add also the story of the metal wire that fell down from a plant in one of my windows in Zinckgasse - it was one of the first spring days and the mood was very fine and I thought with myself: "Spring has come" - then I pulled the curtain aside and the following metal wire sprang out from the top of a green plant in the window sill and fell to the floor with a 'springing' sound:
It is true that the metal wire (here photographed on a centimetre grid) looks as if it could have been taken from the other window where there is a metal grid from the roof of a construction I had made just outside the window there, but I had not taken it or put it on the plant and it would have had to be burglary if anybody else had done it - and the coincidence was anyhow noticeable with the first spring day and the 'spring thoughts' of mine.
Now it seems that all this is summed up in my own poem 39 from TEQ book 15 - that is poem #1493 in the work:
What do you say?
A pure puré! 01.04.05
The theme is very simply my 'fundamental theorem of linguistics' (a theme of vol.4 of my collected works) - what you say derives from two and only two items being the same in two different realities - and this 'reduction of two realities into one' being the origin of the human language faculty. The garden in Szolnok seems (in these stories) to contain more than one reality - and the 'Planteneger' is then the combination of the cosmic blackness ('neger') with the plant that grew up where it landed with a splash of straw. Human language derives from the redundacies that arise from the reduction of two items of two different realities into one - and 'divine revelation' can be seen as related to the occurrence of the 'surplus' that was lost in this reduction.
Is it about a 'pure revelation'? It is definitely a wrong interpretation to see it as related to 'excrementation' - that is when politics does not understand in time that it must tread carefully in such fields.
It happened in Venice in a pasticceria where I had gone for a morning coffee that I came into conversation with an apparent tourist woman who was eating a chocolate moussé - she commented on the breakfast food herself. Then suddenly a voice spoke over the heads of the congregation: "È un ragazzo". She said 'what does it mean?' I explained what I thought it meant. Could be what was said was a 'mousse moussé'. It was a pure voice.
As usual such things balances very finely and it is not smart to go in the ditch of believing that it has anything to do with the back opening of the body - or 'homo' or anything the like. That is precisely what it is not!
I comment on my own poem Gentlemen #39 that it seems to contain the whole complex of Yeats and Li Bai very densely but precisely. It is not so nice if people do not understand the poem and therefore quickly leap to the conclusion that it is 'not goodenough'. It is only with this dense packing of the poetic observations - from an inner poetic articulation - that the phenomenon of 'twice and only twice' occurrences of a word in a book can be meaningfully interpreted as significant of poetic or divine revelation. Had I explained it more elaborately, such as in the present prose piece, the number of word occurrences would have been different.
Do you find it scaring that they can be up to two metres height? I mean the plants, not necessarily the animals? It is not wise to convert such ideas into terror - blasting in srilankan churches etc. The animals are as nice as you are.
Could be I should not have thrown away the bottle of possible nitroglycerine which I got from the woman in the park in Paris - but I had no safe place to store it since I had no place to live. It was my meagre budget which was the reason for that. It is not right to keep my work suppressed (and me on a low budget) under the pretext of 'not goodenough' - and then convert own ideas of 2 metres height into terror in an attempt to annex illegally the rights to the work - could be for getting it 'under control'. It is important to avoid the ditch of 'homo' and it is important to avoid the ditch of letting the self be scared by 'ideas' of poetic interpretation. If you believe that the mousse means 'homo' then you wont hear any voice - and then you wont be scared by two metres? But that is no solution - to put the head in the ground like an ostrich.
It is likely that the logic of terror is to think of the animals as nice as you are - or as dreadful if you are a terror-inclined politician and then try to get the transcendent scare under your control for making a political tool out of it. But that is just the ostrich. It is very wrong to keep me going for a ubiquitous presence which can be invoked for activating that political tool.
© John Bjarne Grover
(The hebrew parallel text to Gentlemen 39 is a fragment from Talmud Erubin, the classic Vilna edition, El Hamekoroth, Jerusalem 1947/48).
On the web 23 april 2019
© John Bjarne Grover