Love, Wine & Nature in the Ever-Living China I: Feng Love Poems

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Shen_Zhou._Reading_in_Autumn_Scenery.Palace_Museum_Beijing.jpg
Shen Zhou

With the Coronavirus kicking in the global lock-down, its time for everyone to reflect & maybe look at projects that have been lying gathering dust for a while. In my case its the compilation of the very best of a certain William Dolby’s translations of ancient Chinese poetry. A brilliant, extremely prolofic man, Dolby has unfortunately passed away, leaving his son as the custodian of his works. Last year I contacted said son, Ieuan, who very kindly sent me a few books – about 8 in total.

I am now in the process of diving into thoise 8 books & digging out the nuggets, all of which I am collating under the umbrella term, LOVE, WINE & NATURE IN THE EVER-LIVING CHINA. The idea is to provide a poetic hotline to a most wonderful time of humanity – millennia before the technocracies in which we dwell. I hope the readers of Mumble Words will deligth as much as I have in Dolby’s genius – I will be changing the word of two here & there, & scribble out stanzas as well, leading to a final result which I believe will benefit the world a great deal.

The first selection of poems are being made from the ‘SHI-CHING,‘ (tr. songs-lyric-warp/weave), China’s earliest poetry anthology. It was compiled c.500 BC in the age of Confucious, who many scholars believe composed new music for the songs. Drawn from all the regions of ancient China, the oldest material goes back to the Shang Dynasty (1766-1122 BC) & are a mixture of court songs, war songs, & of course romantic numbers. It is of the latter sort,l known as the Feng (folk-love-songs) that we shall begin what will become a long essay into Chinese poetry, the culmination of which should be a brand new anthology for the 21st century. The names under the titles, by the way, are the region from where the song was drawn.

 


CURLY EARS
Chou South

Cull & cull the Curly Ears – cerastium,
Don’t fill my lopsided shallow-fronted basket;
Sighing for the one I’m yearning for in my breast,
I put it aside, leave it on the Chou Road.

I go up into the rock-strewn hills,
Till my horses are ill with exhaustion;
For a while I pour wine from the rhinoceros-horn jar,
To stop myself from greiving on & on.

I go up onto the rocky earth-hill summit,
Till my horses are sick with the effort;
My charioteer is poorly now,
&, oh, how I’m sighing now.

GATHERING THE WHITE DAISIES
Shao South

Where is she going to gather the fecund white daisy?
She’s going to the pools & the islets;
Where is she going to employ them?
In the sacriificial services of her lord.

Where is she going to gather the fecund white daisy?
She’s going in among the mountain brooks’
Where is she going to employ them?
In the palace of her lord.

She has an abundance of hair-jewels,
In the pre-dawn she’s with her lord;
She has such a luxuriance of hair-jewels,
As she turns back & goes home.

windandsnow.jpg

THE WIND
Pei

There’s wind, & its violent, moreover,
When you look around at me, you smile,
Your jokes are wild & your laughter scorching,
& deep in my heart I lament over that!

There’s wind & its flying dusr filling the air, moreover,
Its a favour when you agree to come to me!
If you don’t come & go with me,
I long for you endlessly.

There’s wind, & its overcast, moreover,
No sun, & overcast.
When I go to bed, I stay awake, don;t sleep,
Longing for you, I keep on sneezing.

The cloud-covered skies are dark overcast,
The thunder rumbles loud.

LIFE-GIVING EASTERN BREEZE
Pei

The life-giving eastern breeze gently shushes,
Bringing overcast skies & rain;
I strove to be your soul-mate,
You shouldn’t have got angry with me.
When you pick radishes & turnips,
Don;t you include their roots!
If you hadn’t gone against the love between us,
I’d have died together with you at the same time as you die.

I travel the road slowly tarrying,
Deep inside my heart unwilling;
Not a long way, indeed a short onw,
You only saw me off to the threshold of your door!
Who says that the sow-thistle is bitter!
Its as sweet as shepherd’s purse;
You rejoice in your new bride,
As if she were your elder or younger brother!

Alas you didn’t have affection for me,
But on the contrary treated me as an enemy;
Since you warded off my goodwill,
What I was selling wouldn’t sell.
In the old days, I lived in nervousness & at the end of my resources
When you tumbl’d into calamity;
When we’d survived that & flourish’d,
You liken’d me to poison.

I had some fine dried vegetables in store,
Which, to be sure, were to guard against the winter,
You rejoice in your new bride,
& used me to gaurd against hard times.
You were rough, you were wildly enraged,
& you had me hard toil;
You didn’t recall the old days,
When you & I were in love!

OMO: Lesson 7 – Basic Sentences & Syntax

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The panting, light-brown dog – who is very hungry – will happily eat his dug-up bone – which he buried last week


OK troops- so we’ve got ourselves a lovely wee vocab so far, including numbers & a whole heap of cool words to link them all together. That means we’re ready for our first sentence, which of course will be constructed thro OMO syntax, the procedure of which is to be  examin’d in this lesson.

On top of basic interpersonal relationships, a language needs to be able to interpret, refer, enquire, reflect, and other such actions. To achieve as much the core of each declarative sentence shall be based around what is known as the SVO principle – i.e. a word order of Subject + Verb + Object.

A sentence is divided into subject (a person, thing, or topic about which something is said) and predicate (that which is said about the subject), which might be the verb – ‘Jack is playing’ – the object ‘ Jack’s ball’ or both – ‘Jack is playing with the ball.’ For this lesson we shall be constructing our sentences around a core subject-verb-object of ‘DOG-EAT-BONE.’

The overall effect of the SVO principle is rather like the medieval tryptych, from which identification we might call each step a panel, rendering the three steps; subject panel, verb panel & object panel. As with all art, some tryptychs & panesl are more decorative than others, & are open to several levels of development.

Dog              Eat                   Bone

Ko-Ta            Ka-Ma-Va         Mo-Mo-Me

At first glance/experience, it may appear as if there is a lot of OMO action for just three English syllables – but a seasoned OMO speaker will utter the words with concision almost matching the speed of their native language.

It is now time to start playing with, & elaborating upon, the core idea. First things first, we need to add begin with the bridge conjunction doucon, ‘KT,’ meaning ‘the’ or ‘a.’ This means we now have;

The      Dog           Eat                     Bone

KT……..  Ko-Ta…      Ka-Ma-Va…        Mo-Mo-Ma


Panel One: Subject

With Omo, as with the Latin languages, descriptions always follow the word it is describing,  – thus brown dog as said in English is described as dog brown. It is better to let the hierarchy of thought concentrate on the main subject.

If we want to add texture to the description, this developmental word follows the initial description word, thus delicious boiled egg would have the word order EGG – BOILED – DELICIOUS. With colours, however, to indicate a deep or a paler shade simply posify or negify the word, thus light brown enters into the examplar as;

The      Dog       Light-Brown

KT…      Ko-Ta…  TM-Va-Na-Ka

After the subject is described, we should then include the subordinate verb, which in the case of our dog is ‘panting.’ 

The      Dog        Light-Brown         Panting

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Na-Ca…     Me-Le-Ta

Although not included in our example, it is also possible to describe the subordinate verb, such as ‘panting hard,’ with the word appearing after the verb as with all descriptions. Dog – Brown – Light – Panting – Hard.


Panel Two: Verb

Returning to our sentence, let us turn not to the second panel, & the primary verb, ‘Eat’. This word is a branch of Food/Ka-ma, & adding the past-tense fyre ‘twig’ gives us VT-Ka-Ma-Va. We then discover that our dog that our dog ‘happily eat(s).’ To create ‘happily’ two new words we need to verbify the word happy, i.e. adding ‘M-M’ to ‘Ka-Me-To.’

The      Dog        Light-Brown     Panting      Happily               Eat(s)

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Ma-Ka…  Me-Le-Ta…  MM-Ka-Me-To…  Ka-Ma-Va

The next development is the introduction of the modal verb will – TOE. It is also possible to future-tensify the word eat with a doucon (TV-KA-MA-VA), but in this lesson we’ll be focussing on the modal, to-be, ‘will’ version.

The panting, light-brown dog will happily eat

The      Dog        Light-Brown     Panting      

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Ma-Ka…  Me-Le-Ta…

Will       Eat                Happily

 Toe…     Ka-Ma-Va…   MM-Ka-Me-To.


Panel Three: Object

It is now time to analyze the third panel of our tryptych, the object, which is in this case a bone. First things first, we must connect the bone to the dog with the possessive ‘his‘ – LOE.

The panting, light-brown dog will happily eat his bone.

The      Dog        Light-Brown     Panting      

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Ma-Ka…  Me-Le-Ta…

Will       Happily               Eat                His     Bone

 Toe…     MM-Ka-Me-To…  Ka-Ma-Va…   Loe…   Mo-Mo-Ma

Let us develop even further here, by describing the bone with the past tense dug-up. There is no actual word for dug-up in OMO, but in the given context it will be easily understood.

The panting, light-brown dog will happily eat his dug-up bone

The      Dog        Light-Brown     Panting         Will       Happily

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Ma-Ka…  Me-Le-Ta…     Toe…     MM-Ka-Me-To…

Eat                 His     Bone               Dug (up)

Ka-Ma-Va…   Loe…   Mo-Mo-Ma…    VT-Ka-Ve-Vo


Relative Clauses

Now for the fun part, the relative clauses. They begin with questions such as where & when, & pronouns such as from. They are most often used to define or identify the subject or object that precedes them. For the examplar we’re gonna be using two of these bad boys in order to create a rather volumous first ever sentence in OMO.

The panting, light-brown dog WHO IS VERY HUNGRY – will happily eat his old, dug-up bone – WHICH HE BURIED LAST WEEK.

The word for both who & which is KAO. The word for is/are is AE. Very Hungry is created by posifying (TL) Hungry (Ko-Ke-Le), creating TL-Ko-Ke-Le.  In the second of the relative clauses, the word for He or him is LEO, the past tense of Bury is VT-Ka-Ve-Ve, the word last is that signified by previous – Va-Ka-Ke – & finally the word for week is Me-Te-Te.

Who…          Is…                Very…          Hungry…

KAO              AE                 TL                 Ko-Ke-Lo

Which…    He…     Buried…          Last…          Week…

KAO          LEO      VT-Ka-Ve-Ve     Va-Ka-Ke     Me-Te-Te

Okeydokes (which I’m not translating into OMO), so we now have our very first sentence, with lots of little nuances to show the flexibility of the language, the final version of which is;

The panting, light-brown dog will happily eat his dug-up bone

The      Dog        Light-Brown     Panting

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Ma-Ka…  Me-Le-Ta…   

Who…          Is…                Very…          Hungry…      Will

KAO              AE                 TL                 Ko-Ke-Lo       Toe…

Happily             Eat                 His     Bone               Dug (up)

MM-Ka-Me-To…   Ka-Ma-Va…   Loe…   Mo-Mo-Ma…    VT-Ka-Ve-Vo

Which…    He…     Buried…          Last…          Week…

KAO          LEO      VT-Ka-Ve-Ve     Va-Ka-Ke     Me-Te-Te


New Word Hoards

I hope that was an instructive enough lesson to get a basic grips of how to communicate thro’ OMO. To conclude this lesson I’d like to show you where each word fits into the overall vocabulary.  In the last post I explained how I would be disseminating the trunk words through the interglobal community, & as we hit the word hordes I shall be sending them to the east to languages like Korean & Tamil.

COLOUR: Va-Ma
Sanskrit = Varna

Va-Ma-Va : Rainbow
Va-Ma-Vo: Red
Va-Ma-Ve: Pink
Va-Ma-Ma: Burgundy / Claret
Va-Ma-Mo: Blue
Va-Ma-Me: Purple
Va-Ma-Ta: Black
Va-Ma-To: White
Va-Ma-Te: Grey
Va-Na-Ka: Brown
Va-Na-Ko: Beige
Va-Ma-Ke: Cream
Va-Ma-La: Green
Va-Ma-Lo: Yellow
Va-Ma-Le: Orange

SPEECH: Me-Le
Malayalam = Meāḻi

Me-Le-Va: Voice
Me-Le-Vo: Articulate
Me-Le-Ve: Eloquent
Me-Le-Ma: Stutter
Me-Le-Mo: Babble
Me-Le-Me: Incoherent
Me-Le-Ta: Pant
Me-Le-To: Breathe
Me-Le-Te: Whisper
Me-Le-Ko: Accent
Me-Le-Ka: Fluent
Me-Le-Ke: Expression / Phrase
Me-Le-La: Scream
Me-Le-Lo: Shout
Me-Le-Le: Conversation

DOG: Ko-Ta
Hindi = Kutta

Ko-Ta-Va: Breed
Ko-Ta-Vo: Mongrel / Mix
Ko-Ta-Ve: Thoroughbred / Purebreed
Ko-Ta-Ma: Terrier
Ko-Ta-Mo: Lhasssa Apso
Ko-Ta-Me: Chihuauau
Ko-Ta-Ta: Poodle
Ko-Ta-To: Spaniel
Ko-Ta-Te: Retreiver
Ko-Ta-Ko: Rottweiler
Ko-Ta-Ka: Alsatian
Ko-Ta-Ke: Wolf
Ko-Ta-La: Greyhound
Ko-Ta-Lo: Bulldog
Ko-Ta-Le: Shitzu

PHYSICAL CONDITION: Ko-Ke
Japanese = Choshi

The negified word follows in brackets; Sharp (Co-Ce-Ve) becomes Blunt (TM-Ko-Ke-Ve).

Ko-Ke-Va: Hard (Soft)
Ko-Ke-Vo: Strong (Weak/Soft)
Ko-Ke-Ve: Sharp (Blunt)
Ko-Ke-Ma: Flexible (Inflexible)
Ko-Ke-Mo: Tight (Loose)
Ko-Ke-Me: Stuck (Unstuck)
Ko-Ke-Ta: Smooth (Rough)
Ko-Ke-To: Tidy (Messy)
Ko-Ke-Te: Wet (Dry)
Ko-Ke-Ko: Flat (Uneven)
Ko-Ke-Ka: Balanced (Unbalanced)
Ko-Ke-Ke: Still (Active)
Ko-Ke-La: Thirsty
Ko-Ke-Lo: Hungry
Ko-Ke-Le: Tired

POSITIVE MANNER: Ca-Me
Korean = Gamejong

Ka-Me-Va: Enthusiastic
Ka-Me-Vo: Optimistic
Ka-Me-Ve: Confident
Ka-Me-Ma: Dignified / Elegant
Ka-Me-Mo: Generous
Ka-Me-Me: xxxxxxx
Ka-Me-Ta: Pleased
Ka-Me-To: Happy
Ka-Me-Te: Silly/Giddy
Ka-Me-Ko: Humble
Ka-Me-Ka: Compassionate
Ka-Me-Ke: xxxxxxx
Ka-Me-La: Kind
Ka-Me-Lo: Charitable
Ka-Me-Le: Helpful

FOOD – Ka-Ma
Hindi = Khaana

Ka-Ma-Va: Eat
Ka-Ma-Vo: Swallow
Ka-Ma-Voe: Chew
Ka-Ma-Ma: Meal
Ka-Ma-Mo: Soup
Ka-Ma-Me: Dish – Recipe
Ka-Ma-Ta: Rice
Ka-Ma-To: Pasta
Ka-Ma-Te: Noodles
Ka-Ma-Ka: Chips / Fries
Ka-Ma-Ko: Cereal
Ka-Ma-Ke: Nuts
Ka-Ma-La: Sandwich
Ka-Ma-Lo: Wrap – Kebab
Ka-Ma-Le: Burger

PHYSICAL ACTION: Ka-Ve
Hindi = Kaary

Ka-Ve-Va: Place / Affix
Ka-Ve-Vo: Dig
Ka-Ve-Ve: Bury
Ka-Ve-Ma: Spread
Ka-Ve-Mo: Push
Ka-Ve-Me: Pull
Ka-Ve-Ta: Hook
Ka-Ve-To: Fold
Ka-Ve-Te: Bend
Ka-Ve-Lo: Catch
Ka-Ve-Ka: Drop
Ka-Ve-Ke: Lift
Ka-Ve-La: Tie
Ka-Ve-Lo: Put
Ka-Ve-Le: Spray

BODY, INTERNAL: Mo-Mo
Korean = Mom

Mo-Mo-Va: Skeleton
Mo-Mo-Vo: Spine
Mo-Mo-Ve: Ribs
Mo-Mo-Ma: Bone
Mo-Mo-Mo: Blood
Mo-Mo-Me: Muscle
Mo-Mo-Ta: Flesh
Mo-Mo-To: Sweat
Mo-Mo-Te: Digestive System
Mo-Mo-Ka: Vomit
Mo-Mo-Ko: Burps
Mo-Mo-Ke: Fart / Flatulance
Mo-Mo-La: Poo / Defacate
Mo-Mo-Lo: Pee / Urinate
Mo-Mo-Le: Diarrhea

SEQUENCE: Va-Ka
Tamil = Varicai

Va-Ka-Va: Last
Va-Ka-Vo: Ultimate
Va-Ka-Ve: After
Va-Ka-Ma: Series
Va-Ka-Mo: Repeat
Va-Ka-Me: Progression
Va-Ka-Ta: Initial
Va-Ka-To: Before
Va-Ka-Te: First
Va-Ka-Ka: Penultimate
Va-Ka-Ko: Next
Va-Ka-Ke: Previous
Va-Ka-La: Between
Va-Ka-Lo: Middle
Va-Ka-Le: Queue

DAY (date) – Me-Te
Nepalese = Miti

Me-Te-Va: Monday
Me-Te-Vo: Tuesday
Me-Te-Ve: Wednesday
Me-Te-Ma: Thursday
Me-Te-Mo: Friday
Me-Te-Me: Saturday
Me-Te-Ta: Sunday
Me-Te-To: Weekend
Me-Te-Te: Week
Me-Te-Ka: Today
Me-Te-Ko: Tomorrow
Me-Te-Ke: Yesterday
Me-Te-La: Day After Tomorrow
Me-Te-Lo: x
Me-Te-Le: x

OMO: Lesson 6 – First Word Hoards

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An auxiliary language is essential, one wee phrase book to be anywhere in the world, a language simple enough for anyone to learn but complex enough to 8handle most situations. There are limits to OMO, but the limits were very much intended in order to open it up to the wider population of the world. Better to obtain mastery in a new, equal-for-all & quite finite language, than learn a complicated alien tongue as if one’s mind were a mere colony of an imperial power.

It is very difficult to get people to switch habits. A child in Botswana cannot be expected to learn the complexities of English or Mandarin, for example, two of the most widely spoken tongues. Learning a new language is a difficult task, but I hope to present to the world a simple to learn, easy to communicate universal language. Auxiliary in consistence, it is complex enough to facilitate huge swathes of our Human interactions, but not so complex as to prohibit its learning to proficiency by the general masses of the planet.

We are on our way, however, & it is time to get into the nuts & bolts of OMO, the main vocab. As mentioned in Lesson 3, when combining the 15 core sounds into ‘double onset’ pairs, we can create 225 different words such as Le-Lo & Va-Me, with the stress being made on the first syllable, rendering the two examples Lee-lo & Vay-me. These 225 words constitute a basic strata, a primordial phonology, on which human communication may exist utilising words such as ‘book,’ ‘computer’ & ‘meat.’ In this lesson we shall look at three Trunk words & their 15 branches,supplying us with 45 new ‘triple onset’ words to learn, plus their fyres. That there are hints of the English language in these root words. I felt that this method would negate Karl Haag’s criticism of how artificial languages create their lexicon, when he wrote;

It is precisely because artificial languages randomly accumulate the plundered detritus which forms their core, that, from a logical point of view, they are fundamentally inferior to real and historically-attested languages; they often destroy both the logic and the aesthetic beauty of any inner conceptual interconnection and elaboration which, thanks to the root words, permeate a natural language when it is allowed to grow naturally, and they thus offend the mind as much as the sensitivities.

As we proceed through the Lexicon, the root word phonetics shall be dispensed across the many languages of the planet, thus creating a vocabulary that has commonality with almost every tongue on the planet. Esperanto & Ido, for example, have mainly stemmed from European languages like Latin, Spanish, French, German, and English, which precludes them from two thirds of the world obtaining at least the hint that I attempting to provide.


ALCOHOL: La-Co

Language is essentially expressions and sentences are deeply rooted in the real world, & more or less everybody loves a drink. Before we look at the rest of its word hoard, lets see how fyers may be applied to the word for alcohol.

M-M-La-Co: To do Alcohol is essentially getting drunk
V-K-La-Co: To personify Alcohol is to deem somebody an alcoholic. In each instance here the ‘la’ element would be stressed and sound as ‘laay.’

With branch words, the stress comes with the middle syllable, so whiskey is pronounced something like Lay-Coor-Ve.

La-Co-Va: Brandy
La-Co-Vo: Whiskey
La-Co-Ve: Wine
La-Co-Ma: Rum
La-Co-Mo: Saki / Rice Wine
La-Co-Me: Stout / Guinness
La-Co-Ta: Gin
La-Co-To: Vodka
La-Co-Te: Tequila
La-Co-Co: Ale
La-Co-Ca: Cider
La-Co-Ce: Home Brew / Moonshine
La-Co-La: Bubbly (Champagne / Prosecco)
La-Co-Lo: Baileys / Irish Cream
La-Co-Le: Beer / Lager

Like Alcohol, the sport of Athletics is a truly international entity, & one which would benefit from a universal language. An athlete would then be a V-K-Le-Te, with the ‘le’ sounding like ‘lee.’


ATHLETICS: Le-Te

Le-Te-Va: Olympics
Le-Te-Vo: Track
Le-Te-Ve: Field
Le-Te-Ma: Race
Le-Te-Mo: Marathon
Le-Te-Me: Relay
Le-Te-Ca: Long jump
Le-Te-Co: High jump
Le-Te-Ce: Triple jump
Le-Te-Ta: Shot put
Le-Te-Ta: Javelin
Le-Te-Ta: Discus
Le-Te-La: National anthem
Le-Te-Lo: Medal
Le-Te-Le: Podium

Continuing the theme that a useful auxiliary language must have a vocabulary drawn from universal themes and every day occurrences, our final root word of the lesson is TOOL, pronounced TO-LO. These are objects, so Tools is T-T-To-Lo & Screwdrivers are T-T-To-Lo.


TOOLS (To-Lo)

To-Lo-Va: Drill
To-Lo-Vo: Saw
To-Lo-Ve: Measuring tape
To-Lo-Ma: Sandpaper
To-Lo-Mo: Nails
To-Lo-Me: Screw
To-Lo-Ca: Screwdriver
To-Lo-Co: Hammer
To-Lo-Ce: Spirit level
To-Lo-Ta: Bolt
To-Lo-To: Nut
To-Lo-Te: Washer
To-Lo-La: Scissors
To-Lo-Lo: Spade
To-Lo-Le: Wrench

To conlcude this lesson, it is the using of 2 or 3 syllable words with stress which allows for an easy understanding & a natural separation of words by the mind. This system also taps into the origins of language, for both Vedic Sanskrit & ancient Greek possess a similar system of accentuation in which pitch is dominant. That’s gotta be a good thing, right?

OMO: Lesson 5 – Prime Words, Doucons And Fyers

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Without further ado let us now introduce the word families based upon the Consonant-Vowel-Vowel construct. This gives us 5 blocks, then, each of which consists of six words. The five blocks have been distributed through the most important preopositions & conjunctions – the glue which holds sentences together – alongside such significant words as Questions & the Modal Verbs.  Thus the whole C-V-V section can be considered as vital to Human communication, & should be considered as prime words. When pronouncing these words, the stress should fall on the first vowel; so in the case of CAO, it would sound like ‘caay-oh.’

———————

QUESTIONS

When speaking Omo, the stress always falls in the early sections of an individual word. This opens the possibility of allowing a raised stress at the end a word to imply the context of a question being asked. Alternatively, just use these curt babies!

CAO – Who / Which
COA – When
CEA – How
CAE – Why
CEO – Where
COE – What

———————

PRIME CONJUNCTIONS

LAE – And
LEA – But
LOE – Or
LEO – Nor
LAO – So
LOA – Yet

——————-

MODAL VERB

A modal verb is a type of verb that is used to indicate modality – that is: likelihood, ability, permission, request, capacity, suggestions, order, obligation, or advice.

TAE: Can
TEA: Could
TOE: Will
TEO: Would
TOA: Shall
TAO: Should

——————

PREPOSITIONS OF PLACE

Place prepositions are a rigid bunch that really do fix other mimesi/words in position. Note I have done away with the nuances of on (the table), at (the disco). From this defusion of confusion, one should understand exactly what is meant by the context in which the statement is made.

MAE: On, At
MEA: Around/About
MOE: Between
MEO: Against
MAO: In, Inside
MOA: Outside

————–

PREPOSITIONS OF TIME

As with the Prepositions of Place, I have done away with the nuances of at (5PM), on (the 6th of June) & in (ten minutes). Again, one should understand what is meant by the context. With the word VOE, again context will dictate meaning. Even then, the shades of difference in meaning are also so subtle that there should be no mistakes in understanding.

VAO: Before / Since
VOA: After
VEA: Approximately
VAE: At / On / In
VEO: Until
VOE: For / During / Throughout / While

————–

Another section of the conjunction word-types, along with what are known as fyers, have been allocated to the Doucons, a word which means double consonant. In essence, these are the ‘twigs’ which shoot out of branch words & trunk words. Examples of these rapidly spoken entities are the T-T doucon, which sounds something like ‘ter-ter’ & the K-M doucon, pronounced ‘ker-mer.’

MOVEMENT CONJUNCTION

ML: Across
MK: Over
MT: Pass
MV: Towards

———–

BRIDGE CONJUNCTION

KM: To
KL: For
KT: The / A
KV: Of

———–

CONDITIONAL CONJUNCTION

LM: If
LK: Unless
LT: Although
LV: Despite

————

FYERS

In the case of a Fyer doucon, these are affixed to the start of a word in order to modify its meaning. Examples of each fyer are given in brackets

T-T: plurify (dog to dogs)
M-M: verbify (swim to swimming)
L-L: Objectify (the game football to a football)
V-V: Adjectify (charity to charitable)
K-K: adverbify (quick to quickly)

—————–

TM: negify (small to tiny)
TK: Anti (happy to unhappy)
TL: posify (strong to mighty)
TV: future tense (play to will play)

————–

VM: comparify (tall to taller)
VK: personify (farm to farmer)
VT: past tense (run to ran)
VL: intensify (smart to smartest)

——————
The use of the negator prefix T-K allows us to dispense with hundreds, if not thousands of negative-themed words, which means less words to learn overall! the presence of the negative marker at the beginning of the word is also in a global majority. Under the umbrella comes sane & insane, lead & mislead, etc..

OMO: Lesson 4 – Numbers

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The global understanding of numbers presented as 1-9 & so on is the closest to a universal communication system possessed by our species. The alphabet of OMO affords a near-perfect way of representing numbers. The name of each number is given in the vowel-consonant-vowel format. The word for one is Omo, which is also the name of the entire language. The significance is that the Human race will become as one when it speaks a universal language. OMO also transchispers into Homo, a Latin word that means human. This word derives comes from the Greek word homos, meaning the same.

Let us begin with the numbers one to ten, which are written as follows;

1: OMO
2: EMO
3: OKO
4: EKO
5: OVO
6: EVO
7: OTO
8: ETO
9: OLO
10: ELO

When counting to ten, flipping between the word-opening O & E sounds is somewhat quite pleasing on the ear. As you can see the ending of all numbers is ‘O’ which is the unique quality that marks it out as a number. If this letter were changed to an ‘E’ or an ‘A’ then the meaning of the word changes to either a position or a fraction. Thus EKO, 4, becomes OKE, fourth, & EKA, a quarter. The only exception is no such fraction as 1, so this word – OMA – we shall designate as zero.

The final set of numbers are known as ‘brackets,’ & reflect of each fresh numerical level, and the adding of a new zero. Their meanings are as follows;

AMO: Hundred
AKO: Thousand
AVO: Tens of Thousands
ATO: Hundreds of Thousands
ALO: Million

Like the first ten numbers, this new set may also be altered by the final vowel, creating words like AVE – the thousandth – & ALA – a millionth (of). There is no room for the word, billion or trillion here, I’m afraid, not yet anyway. I mean, its not like its in every day use, is it? ‘Excuse me, can I have a billion onions please? We’ll get by without them for now.

So, how are OMO’s numbers actually spoken? Well, numbers between 11 & 99 are simply the two visible numbers spoken unlinked, as in omo-omo (11) & olo-olo (99). A round decade, like thirty, is said 3-zero, & thus in this case, ‘oko-elo’. To state a decade of numbers, like the 70s, you simply pluralise the number (see lesson x).

Once we start getting into the bigger numbers, the largest is mentioned first followed by how many of them, ie 500 hundred is said as AKO-OVO (hundred five). If the number is something like 582, then you would say AVO-OKO as before, followed by each number, here 8 then 2, resulting in AVO-OVO-ETO-EMO. It is also possible to dispense with the formal introduction of the numberscape via the bracket & simply say the numbers in sequence, tho once you reach tens of thousands & beyond it is probably better to introduce the bracket.

Lelo amo-evo-evo = Route 66

In the case of three hundred & twenty-eight thousand, seven hundred & sixty five (328765) you will say; ATO-EKO (hundreds of thousands x 3) then EMO-ETO-OTO-EVO-OVO (28765). There are nuances I haven’t covered here, but the general schema is on the table & I do believe it works. Thus four lessons in we can differentiate between people & also understand who owns what. We can also count, which in a weird way reflects the mercantile dna inherent in Human Kind. But we are beadcounting cavedwellers no longer, & its time we had a wee gossip or summat. But before we go I’d like to introduce what is called an ‘Objectifyer,’ which places the double consonant L-L directly before a number to create ‘second, third, etc.’ First has its own word which we’ll come to in the seventh lesson.

Second: LL-EMO
Third: LL-OKO
Tenth: LL-ELO

OMO: Lesson 3 – Word Construction

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So, on with the course. Having established the script of OMO, we can now assemble the core sounds. Combining the five consonants with the three syllables gives us fifteen possible core sounds being;

ME – MO – MA
VE – VO – VA
KE – KO – KA
LE – LO – LA
TE – TO – TA

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These core sounds, or ‘morphemes,’ are never used individually to create a word. The creation of the vocabulary begins when we add two core sounds together. These combinations create 225 different words such as Le-Lo & Va-Me, the idea being that they constitute a basic strata, a primordial phonology, on which human communication may exist utilising words such as ‘book,’ ‘computer’ & ‘meat.’ There is no scope for intelligent conversation, per se, but there will be enough variety & flexibility in these 225 words to form a general & global sense of understanding. This level provides enough communication to survive & interact in life, & may transpose easily into a situation where we find ourselves in any non-native lingual area.

When designing a universal language, I understood that it should inherently contain layered levels of proficiency to reflect the natural acquistion of language. Like infants we first learn the sounds, then create a word pool to enable communication with our family members & playtime friends. After establishing this skill-set, & as the infant brain is enabled with greater powers of speech, the natural instinct for Humans is to converse. To facilitate this, each basic word then becomes a trunk for 15 new compound words, which are all connected familially to each other through the trunk. Linguists have a word for this kind of synthetic language, ‘agglutinative,’ derived from the Latin verb agglutinare, which means “to glue together”.

There are four sets of words that differ from this general schema,the first being six basic words consisiting of two vowels only. When pronouncing them the main stress should be on e first vowel, such as E-A sounding like eee-ay. These are;

AE : Is/are
EA: IS  Not/Are Not

OE : Yes
EO : No

OA : With
AO : Without

The other three sets to differ from the principle schema are; (1) the numbers, formed from a vowel-consonant-vowel combination, (2) Linking words like prepositions & conjunctions (see next lesson); & (3) the pronouns & possessive pronouns such as ‘you’ & ‘yours.’ The latter group are created from the 30-strong word pool formed by the diphthongean ‘consonant-vowel-vowel’ combination. Not all of the 30 possibilities have been utilised, which should ensure ease of understanding. Note how some words represent several of shades of the core meaning, subject-object superfluities which may be dismissed to ensure a smoother running of the Unversal langauge.

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PRONOUNS

MEO – Me, I
VEO – You
KEO – We, Us
TEO – They, Them, Those
LEO – Him, He
LEA – She, Her

POSSESSIVES

MOE – Mine
VOE – Yours
KOE – Ours
TOE – Theirs
LOE – His
LOA – Hers

A simple study of the 12 words will show immediately how the pronouns & the possessive pronouns are different yet phonetically similar. Keep it in the family to speak. So, have a pop at learning & sayong aloud these 12 words & speak OMO for the first time in your life. If you’re inclined to stress sounds within words, then press a little on the first vowel please, but in this OMO instance stress is not important. However, for the rest of the lexcion stress plays an important part…

OMO: Lesson 2 – Phonetics

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We designate the study of sound pertaining to the act of speech by the term phonetics, the study of sound pertaining to the system of language by the term phonology
N.S. Trubetzkoy


As a language needs a script, the Universal Language needs a universal script. It is a fascinating facet of human creativity that alphabets look so different across the planet; Chinese, Tamil, the Roman of the west, there are literally 100s of different characters in play every day. It is during my experiences of traveling the vast medley of regions & tongues that is India, that I first began to understand the fractious nature of communication between the races & nations of the Earth. During these same journeys I would also find myself sat at keyboards in various internet-cafes, my fingers completely flummoxed by the altered letter-placements, & in some cases no Roman letters at all. Composing an email which would have taken me two minutes on my laptop at home, had now become a laborious & boring task. Thus, when coming to the creation of a new language, I knew the script would have to be created from scratch, ensuring a certain fairness to all the other alphabets of the world. This would thus be a completely fresh enterprise; there would be no remoulding or rehashing of an existing tongue, only words created by art & the natural impulses of the Human spirit.

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An early version of the script
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The final version of the script

To keep OMO fair, I knew I needed a completely original script, & one that could be understand by everyone. This led me to envisioning chracters based upon how the letters appear when being made by the mouth. Also, as an auxiliary language, there would have to be used a modicum of letters able to squeeze easily onto any future keyboards. The English language is the de facto universal language as it stands, but its phoentical range, if you inclde dipthongs, is forty-five distinct sounds. I began to ponder upon which letters & sounds would be suitable. I ultimately decided upon eight letters, which means they easily can fit into modern day keyboards in an auxiliary fashion. The letter consist of five consonants – V, T, M, L, K – & three vowels… two gutturals, A & E, & the labial O. The vowels are  extended, I’m from Burnley & I’m inventing the language, so I pull rank – & vowels definitely sound warmer when extended. Thus we have low, lay lee, but never pock pack & peck.

In the above video I show how the pictorial images correspond to the mouth-shapes. In addition, by using only eight easy-to-ascertain letters, a deaf person would be able to dispense, in the main, with the need for sign-language. One language for everybody. That’s a Universal Language.

OMO: Lesson 1 – A Universal Language

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Civilizations should be measured by the degree of diversity attained
& by the degree of unity retained
WH Auden


Back in August I both enjoyed & decried the creation of A New Divan, in which poets of different races, lands & languages created poetry which was then translated into English. Quite a lot of effort really, & I ended my review with the following statement;

Perhaps the powers & attentions of such a Samgam of international poets would be better suited to creating & perfecting the Universal language of humanity instead. Of course, every one of Babel’s tongues will be cherished & possibly curated forever, but projects such as the New Divan are very much like the UN where an excess of time & money are spent upon translations & their translators.

If you want a job doin’ right, ya gotta do it yerself, innit. So, since August, I’ve been working on the creation of a Universal Language. I have also been transcreating A New Divan into The New Divan, & at some point in the future the two streams are going to cross, that is to stay I will be translating The New Divan into my Universal Language. It makes sense, for A New Divan is a truly international collection, whose widely-wrought vocabulary will give a complex flavour to my lexicon. This will also add a certain literary meritability to the language, which in the main shall be focussed on its simplicity. Nobody wants to speak an uninteresting robotic language, so the vocabulary of The New Divan will infuse my new tongue with the poetical speech of the planet, creating a language both easy to learn & interesting to speak.

A great deal of time has passed in the Human experience since the Judeo-Christian deity purportedly splintered the ancient common language into hundreds & thousands of variants at the Tower of Babel. This so-called curse, this ‘confusion of tongues,’ would lead to Mithridates VI, King of Pontus, having to become skilled in the twenty-two tongues of his dominions. Two millennia later, the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, would quip, ‘I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, & German to my horse.’

This division of tongues has ultimately led to conflict & wars & misunderstandings & a right mess, really. A principle step on the road to acheiving global harmony is to create & disseminate throughout the world a single lingua franca fit for all. Introducing such a sociolinguistic change into international culture is the next step in our evolution, when the hindrances & obstructions created by the ‘confusion of tongues’ are removed, the Human mind will with more freedom soar.

There is definitely room, almost desire, for an auxiliary universal language which, while respecting the intrinsic diversity of Humanity, will serve as the common glue between us all. An auxilliary language will sit alongside our mother tongues, not conquer them. Fluency in our native speech must be always encouraged, to promote deeper discourse, & to discover those sweeter shades of meaning which comport existence with its peculiar breadth of beauty. An evolution in communication will ensure an evolution in Humanity, & just as the World Wide Web has enhanced all our lives & enriched our wisdom, so the World Wide Word will also.

The advantages of lingual standardization are clear. In 2020, the fragmentation of human speech is phenomenal, the linguistic heterogeneity of Human populations fascinating. There are almost 7000 living languages spoken in a world of 271 nations, which equates to 25 languages per country. Nigeria, a nation of 141 million people, speaks 527 languages alone. Thro’ the globalizing internet, each of Nigeria’s 141 million are open to communicating with speakers of the other 6500 languages across the planet. The numbers heady, & the solution simple – a universal language most be designed to please everyone. The English language is taking on the mantle at this current time, but its script is alien to billions, & its ever-increasing complexities preclude its easy mastery from the incredulous masses.

With only twenty percent of the world’s population speaking English – 350 millions worth – is it correct to teach the intransient morass of word variants, idiomatic expression & endless unstandardized dialects to a Peruvian rustic mountain child, or an office worker in an off-track Chinese country town, & we have reached a natural impasse. There are 400 million native Spanish speakers on the planet, & 870 million, natural Mandarin speakers, so why should they be expected to English? This conundrum, this fractive state of international communication, I hope to solve. My attempt is not the first, many have been made before, but none have ever reached the shores of wide acceptance, shackledby various reasons all of which can be linked to an inherent lack of universality – somebody somkewhere is being excluded. Esperanto, for example, is written only in Roman script.

Humans are primevally renown’d for inventing tools, & to find an antidote for a multiplicitous Earth constantly abuzz with the chitter-chatter babbling of confused tongues, a universal language is a correct & fair solution. With its creation, I hope to facilitate mutual commerce; I hope to assist the international interchange of ideas & culture & goods; I hope to assist foreign travel in an increasingly reachable world; I hope to aid the spreading of knowledge which would inevitably lead to the disintegration of ignorance, when the unmasking & elimination of many wild errors can only lead to an indissolvably beautiful world;  & the name of our universal language…. OMO.

The Madness of Merlin

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Those whom the gods destroy, they first make mad
Euripides


In recent years, in other places, I have demonstrated that King Arthur really did once exist, when from the obscure seed that was his life sprung up the legion of legends that constitute the Arthurian myth. If our great king existed, then, is it not also possible that the other members of his pantheon are also real? This leads us to Merlin, the spell-singing court sorcerer of Camelot, whose vitality supported by a wide array of sources. The Welsh chronicle known as the Annales Cambraie tells us.

573 AD: The battle of Arfderydd between the sons of Eliffert and Gwenddolau son of Ceidio; in which battle Gwenddolau fell; Merlin went mad.

A medieval Welsh triad sums up the battle perfectly;

The three frivolous causes of battle in the Isle of Britain.
…The second was the action of Arderydd, caused by a bird’s nest, in which 80,000 Cambrians were slain…

The battle of Arfderydd & Merlin are tied together in a number of old Welsh poems. They tell the story of a great civil war among the native Britons,  climaxing at the battle of Arferydd. After the battle Merlin lost his mind then ran off to be a hermit in the Caledonian Wood. A sterling effort in finding the battle site was made by the great nineteenth century Scottish antiquarian, William Forbes Skene. His ‘Notice of the site of the Battle of Ardderyd or Arderyth‘ in the PSAS of 1864-65 shows this often brilliant scholar at his very best.

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Where, then, was this battle fought? We ought, in the first place, to look for it in one of the great passes into the country; & a curious passage in Fordun gave me a clue to the probable situation. In his notice of Saint Kentigern, he describes, evidently from some older authority, his meeting in the desert a wild man, who informs him that his name was Merlin, & that he had lost his reason, & roamed in these solitudes because he had been the cause of the slaughter of so many men : ‘qui interfecti sunt in bello, cunctis in hac patria constitutis satis moto, quod erat in campo inter Lidel et Carwanalow situato.  The last part of the Latin means, ‘fought on the plain between Liddel and Carwannok.’ Liddel, as is well known, is the name of the river which flows westward through Liddesdale, & joins the Esk about nine miles north of Carlisle. Near the junction is the border between England & Scotland, & from thence the flat & mossy district, called the Debateable Lands, bounded on the east by the Esk, extends to the Solway Firth

This nugget of information was the catalyst for Skene, who now begins to hone in on the battlefield, near Longtown in Cumbria, where a small settlement called Athuret immediately raised his heckles. Taking the train down from Edinburgh, Skene found a place to stay in Longtown, whose landlady was quite shocked to see anybody staying in the area at all. Skene continued;

About half a mile from Longtown is the church & rectory of Arthuret, situated on a raised platform on the west side of the River Esk, which flows past them on a lower level; & south of the church & parsonage there rise from this platform two small hills covered with woods, called the Arthuret Knowes. The top of the highest, which overhangs the river, is fortified by a small earthen rampart, enclosing a space nearly square, & measuring about 16 yards square. On returning to Longtown, I asked the old guard whether he knew of any place called Carwandlow. He said that Carwinelaw was the name of a stream which flowed into the Esk from the west about three miles north of Longtown, & also of a mill situated on it, & that beyond it was a place called the Roman Camp.

At this point Skene visited the ‘camp,’ which is today known as the Moat of Liddle. He thought it a magnificent native strength, & was taken aback by its splendid views, including the knowes at Athuret in the distance. He went on;

Between the fort & Carwhinelaw is a field extending to the ridge along Carwhinelaw, which is about half a mile off… The old farmer of the Upper Moat, who accompanied us, informed me that the tradition of the country was that a great battle was fought here between the Romans; & the Picts held the camp, in which the Romans were victorious; that the camp was defended by 300 men, who surrendered it, & were all put to the sword & buried in the orchard of the Upper Moat, at a place he showed me. This part of the tradition is curious, as the Triads mention the Gosgord of Drywon-ap-Nudd at Arderyth which consisted of 300 men.

The name of Erydon, which Merlin attaches to it as a name for the battle, probably remains in Ridding at the foot of the fort, & I have no doubt at all that the name Carwhinelaw is a corruption of Caerwenddolowe, the caer or city of Gwenddolowe, & thus the topography supports the tradition.

This is all breathless work, & leaves us moderns with a few scanty crumbs to discover. The only object of interest I could scrape up myself concerned another fortification, a mile or so to the North of the Moat of Liddel, where; ‘there is a slight eminence called Battle Knowe by Prioryhill farm near Canonbie. It feels like a burial mound & tradition says that a battle was fought here & human bones have frequently been dug up but no authentic information can be obtained to confirm the supposition. (Ordnance Survey Name Book 1858)

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Having discovered battlefield where Merlin went mad, let us now practice the very modern art of Psychoanalysis on his mind. By studying the old poems & stories surrounding Merlin, it is clear he had paranoid schizophrenia, the modern terminology of a condition as old as humanity itself. Joan of Arc heard voices & in the first Book of Samuel, Saul shows all the classic symptoms of a lunatic. The following are extracts from a report by the World Health Organisation in 1992.

Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common type of schizophrenia in most parts of the world. The clinical picture is dominated by relatively stable, often paranoid, delusions, usually accompanied by hallucinations, particularly of the auditory variety, and perceptual disturbances. Examples of the most common paranoid symptoms are:
Delusions of persecution, reference, exalted birth, special mission, bodily change, or jealousy; Hallucinatory voices that threaten the patient or give commands, or auditory hallucinations without verbal form, such as whistling, humming, or laughing;
Hallucinations of smell or taste, or of sexual or other bodily sensations; visual hallucinations may occur but are rarely predominant. Thought disorder may be obvious in acute states, but if so it does not prevent the typical delusions or hallucinations from being described clearly. Affect is usually less blunted than in other varieties of schizophrenia, but a minor degree of incongruity is common, as are mood disturbances such as irritability, sudden anger, fearfulness, and suspicion.

Merlin appears the medieval tale Lailoken and Kentigern, which states: “…some say {Lailoken} was called Merlynum.” This name change leads us to the 9th Century Historia Brittonum of Nennius, which states that in the late 6th century, ‘Talhaiarn Tataguen was famed for poetry, and Neirin, and Taliesin and Bluchbard, and Cian, who is called Guenith Guaut, were all famous at the same time in British poetry.’ Nobody has ever established the further identity of Bluchbard, but the ‘Luch’ embedded in the name links it to the ‘Lok’ within Lailoken. Thus Lailoken the Bard easily becomes Luch the Bard, then Bluchbard. Perhaps, perhaps not, but there’s enough in there to believe it so.

Moving on from digressive conjecture, in the tale of Lailoken & Kentigern, Merlin is depicted as seeing visions & hearing voices, the classic symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. On one occasion a voice from heaven says; ‘because you alone are responsible for the blood of all these dead men, you alone will bear the punishment for the misdeeds of all. For you will be given over to the angels of Satan & you will have communion with the creatures of the wood.‘ We probably all have experienced a moment in public when a person of obvious insanity wanders around screaming wildly & talking to themselves. Lailoken and Kentigern reports the same thing of Merlin, who used to interrupt the services of his clergy by shouting out prophecies. It also has Merlin seeing bright visions of ‘martial battalions’ lighting up the sky shaking their lances ‘most fiercely’ at him, & then dragged off into the woods by an evil spirit. In another text, the Itinerarium Kambriae of Giraldus Cambrensis, he is said to have lost his mind just before the battle of Arferydd when he saw a monster in the sky.

On Thursday 11th September 2008 The Independent ran a fascinating story about the son of Patrick Cockburn, a foreign correspondent. His name was Henry, who told the paper; ‘do I have schizophrenia? My mother and father and the dreaded psychiatrist definitely believe I am schizophrenic. They have grounds for their belief, such as my being found naked and talking to trees in woods. Yet I think I just see the world differently from other people.’ Patrick added, ‘Jan and I soon became familiar with the distorted landscape of the strange world in which Henry was now living. The visions and voices, though the most dramatic part, were infrequent. He spoke vaguely of religious and mystical forces and was extremely ascetic, adopting a vegan diet and not wearing shoes or underpants.’

Henry certainly sounds like a modern day Merlin. When the mind is being bombarded by extra-sensory stimuli, there is only one true way to ‘let of the steam,’ & that was summed up nicely by Henry;  ‘my main strength was art, and it was through art that I understood my world.‘ Among the all the arts poetry is perhaps the oldest, yet its beauty is that anyone can write a poem. The writing of them is seen by modern psychology as a therapeutic tool to aid schizophrenia. In the  Journal of Poetry Therapy (June 2010), Noel Shafi writes; ‘a patient exhibited negative symptoms including social withdrawal. Under clinical observation she successfully wrote renkus describing her everyday life & seasonal feelings. After 13 months of renku therapy the therapist observed improved social functioning &decreased negative symptoms in the patient.’

This brings us neatly to the ‘therapeutic’ poetry of Merlin himself. While he was in the woods, fuelled by the typical poetic salve that is insanity, Merlin composed a number beautiful poems, of which 6 still survive. In them solid traces of schizophrenia can be found. They also show the skill of an accomplished bard, the first step on the ladder to becoming a Druid. Inbetween is the Ovates, the title given to a bard after twelve years of intense poetic training. On attaining this second rank, the bard will develop visionary powers, being able to see into the future & commune with long dead ancestors. It must have been a total nightmare experience for Merlin once he lost control of his visionary mind. He was not the bearded wise-man of Arthurian mythology, but a man in need of series help.

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Throughout his poetry we can detect the possible reason behind Merlin’s madness, the catalyst that sent him over the edge. It begins with the tradition of Gwendydd being his twin sister, which is given in the aptly titled, ‘The Dialogue Between Myrddin and His Sister Gwenddydd’ from the Red Book of Hergest.

Myrddin
Since the action at Arderydd and Erydon
Gwendydd, and all that happened to me,
Dull of understanding I am–
Where shall I go for delight?

Gwenddydd 
I will speak to my twin brother Myrddin, 
wiseman and diviner, 
Since he is used to making disclosures 
When a girl goes to him.

The tone of the first stanza is sullen & reflective. We can work out why from the following stanza from the Black Book of Carmarthen;

Sweet appletree that grows in the glade!
Their vehemence will conceal it from the lords of Rydderch,
Trodden it is around its base, and men are about it.
Terrible to them were heroic forms.
Gwendydd loves me not, greets me not;
I am hated by the firmest minister of Rydderch;
I have ruined his son and his daughter.
Death takes all away, why does he not visit me?
For after Gwenddoleu no princes honour me;
I am not soothed with diversion, I am not visited by the fair;
Yet in the battle of Ardderyd golden was my torques,
Though I am now despised by her who is of the colour of swans.

So here we have Merlin talking to the trees. It also introduces Rydderch Hael into the story, the King of Strathclyde who had married Merlin’s sister. With the line, ‘I have ruined his son and his daughter,’ we have a clue as to why Merlin went mad. If Rydderch is his brother-in-law, then the children in question were his nephew & niece. In the next line he says that ‘death takes all away,’ which hints that it was Merlin himself who killed them. No wonder his sister ‘loves him not!’ The emptiness of the last few lines portray his soul in dejected reclusion. His lord Gwenddoleu is dead & his mind is full memories of when he was wearing the ‘golden torques.’  The pathos of the piece gives us an excellent insight into Merlin’s mind at the time of his madness. He is obviously suicidal, a thread which the Dialogue poem expands on;

Myrddin
Great affliction has fallen upon me,
And I am sick of life–

I feel heavy affliction.
Dead is Morgenau, dead is Mordav,
Dead is Moryen, I wish to die!

Could Merlin, by surrounding himself with nature & solitude, be seeking reaffirmation with a forgiving god in the woods. Not wanting to disturb him too much, I think we should leave Merlin in the soft, safe confines of his Caledonian Woods. We find him talking to a little piglet & bidding him hide from the ‘dogs of Rhydderch,’– who were out to get them both – that classic delusion persecution, where conspiracies are found at every turn.

Listen, O little pig! happy little pig,
Do not go rooting on top of the mountain.
But stay here, secluded in the wood.
Hidden from the dogs of Rhydderch the Faithful.
I will prophecy–it will be truth!

There has always been a certain sense of the insane about the poet. John Clare spent years in an asylum churning out new cantos of Don Juan. TS Elliot composed his seminal Wasteland while undergoing psychological treatment at a clinic in Switzerland, while William Blake was blatantly as mad as a hatter. Of Baudelair, Jeremy Reed, in his Madness- the Price of Poetry (1989) wrote; ‘Baudelair was a prey to neurosis, his life is the record of an individual seeking to interpret incipient madness through the refinement of an aesthetic sensibility.’ So I guess Merlin & his madness are in pretty esteemed company, & I suppose you do have to be a bit mad to be a poet in the first place!


POEMS BY MERLIN 

(& links)

The first three are found in the thirteenth-century Black Book of Carmarthen, with the others appearing in manuscripts from later centuries.

Yr afallennau – The Apple Trees
Yr Oianau – The Greetings
Ymddiddan Myrddin a Thaliesin – The Dialogue between Merlin & Taleisin
 Cyfoesi myrddin a gwenddydd ei chwaer – The Dialogue between Merlin & his Sister
 Gwasgargerdd fyrddin yn y bedd – The diffused song of Myrddin in his grave
 Peirian Faban – Commanding Youth

The New Divan

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I have just begun the transcreation of a book called A New Divan, recently released by Gingko. It had been inspired by the 200th anniversary of a collection of poems by Goethe, itself inspired by works of the medieval Pesian poet, Hafiz. I had no idea either existed, & thoroughly enjoyed my education into the texts at the recent Edinburgh International Book Festival, of which you can read more of here.

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The main premise of A New Divan is to mirror Goethe’s subjects & themes using an international array of poets, whose creations would then be translated into English by another set of pets. Like a poetical UN. Intrigued, I requested a review copy from Gingko, which duly arrived yesterday. Running through the poems gave me the distinct impression that the collection was unfinished – that to match a production by Goethe, & the musical poetics of Hafiz, a single synthesizing mind had to work the ‘notes’ to order. With yesterday also being my last day reviewing at the Edinburgh Fringe, & with a full month’s worth of poesis stored in my creative antechambers, the catalyst had been sparked. I felt almost like Hammer did when hearing Hafiz in the original Persian for the first time, now compelled to translate it into German.  I felt almost like Goethe did on hearing Hammer’s translation for the first time, now compelled to create a western reply to Hafiz.

Hafiz, Herr Goethe, wait for me!
Forming triplet fraternity,
By chance, or not by chance, I heard,
Entrancing dances of the word,
Rose Voice of East, rose Voice of West,
Where voices lay choice words to rest,
I’ll pluck them up, I’ll dust them down,
Then cap them with my laurel crown.

The vast majority of Goethe’s Divan is cast in octosyllabic metre, with simple but effective rhyme schemes. This of course I had to emulate, into which mould I would try & replicate the literary trickery of high-brow Persian poetics. Ultimately its the spirit of Goethe we are trying to please here, and I’m sure he’d be quite averse to Free Verse. Its still early days of course,  but a project worth pursuing, the resulting piece, then, drawn from A New Divan, I shall name THE New Divan. Some of the fruits of my efforts thus fare are printed below.

Damian Beeson Bullen


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CLARA JANES: The Song of the One Who Pours the Wine

As Shiraz roses sheer upclimb
These pages thro’, so hear the chime
Sung by the Holy Fool that stands
Beside the well at dusk – these hands
Reveal the decorated cup,
As if, from it, Jamshid did sup,
Containing worlds within wine-pools
Where ripple stars, submerging jewels,
Revealing patterns unimpair’d
By fauna & by flora shar’d,
A human heart or pulseless stone?
Upon a palm leaf focus hone
In some garden botanica,
Such as the one in Padua,
When famously illustrated
The metamorph you’ll see outspread!

As formula, in chimes, upswells
From caravans & tiny bells;
All things must change, all time must pass,
But even so, as higher class
Of thinker contemplates these things,
All fixed must be in place on strings –
Prayer beads of love & science.

Pour me another cup forth-hence,
Permitting detailed inspection
Of all that swims in reflection,
I’ll read the Cosmos as a sacred text,
Accepting what I’ll see I must acknowledge next.

Keeping electrons in a trance,
By atom procharge made to dance,
Like the limitless extension
Of the waves in curv’d connexion;
Deep secrets of this circuitrie
Reveals the links twyx atomie,
When object & subject between
Sees space collapsing mezzanine.

All this is held by such perfume
Exhaled by Shiraz rose in bloom,
Love is the scent-sway, & does etch
The first & best alphabet, which
Declaring in Persopolis,
This Human grace forever is!

Yet, falls the dusk, the Holy Fool
Sings by the well’s radiant pool,
The poet plucks from blazing flames
A flicker of all things, all names,
That brand my hands, together we
Repeat his arcane sorcery;

Nature, my one joy is to connect!


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JAN WAGNER: Ephesus Ghazal

With tyrants who cavort like gods,
Our days cut-short at shortest odds,
Of these severe was one in faith,
His painters perpetrate a wraith,
With shaggy face & eyes like sleet,
Lads seven underneath his feet,
Prepar’d for freedom, so they hid
Themselves before Dawn lifts its lid.
Cavebound, the dog curl’d at their feet,
That loved them all with love complete,
While they first slept the Emperor
Gave rocks in cartloads the order,
‘Block up the entrance!’ Still they slept,
Dispersing trances, by them crept
Long centuries on centuries,
So deep that sleep it seems death is
Enmesh’d with slumbers – angel’s hand
As gentle as a grazing land,
Did turn them… dreadful, delicate;
Depending on which way the foot
Did point – to Heaven, down to Hell –
Limbs rolling as lads dreamlands dwell.

Eroded rocks, awoke hungry,
Thinking new morn was what they see
Just one night old; so sent to town
Their youngest, keenest, skills a crown,
Who found a bakers where once stood
The court, the baker’s face of blood
Drain’d white, straining for friends, in fear –
The proffer’d coin engrav’d, a clear
Depicted face, some king long dead,
“He was the emperor,” someone said,
A whole town came to gawp & glare
At this young marvel standing there,
Whose uncles & great-grandchildren
Were lang syne dust, distant aeon
In which he tried to grow a beard,
The townsfolk thought this very weird,
Tho’ simmering their pots were set,
They shrank Ephesus’ parapet,
To distant dots, even before
The millet cook’d; they wanted more
To see the cave, & when they did,
The other six no longer hid,
A clan of seven spread from death,
Who’d somehow shar’d eternal breath!


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FADHIL AL-AZZAWI: Paradise on Earth

I see it as I leave the inn
The dark of night, an evil djinn
Pursues me close, each step I take,
These steps shall shudder as I shake
Dogs furious, a-bark behind
Like hunt-track wolves, outflung from mind,
I must drive this road’s solitude,
I must sing madly, loud & crude!
Dervish disguis’d as angel slips
Out from the mosque, threats on his lips,
Waving his stick thro’ air at me,
Hey, you are losing your life!” he
Screams, “You have lost your life,” Adam,
Did you not know its forbidden
In this world to drink Eden’s wine?
But in Paradise, hey, that’s fine!
Go drink that wine, its bountiful
& free, search for the beautiful
Eyes, bountiful houris, gratis.

Oh master of my days, where is
This place, lord tell me where we are.

He points his stick up to a star,
“There,” utters he, “Eternity,”
Twinkling… blazing… “Up there!” says he,
Fluttering as the falcons rise
Evanishing in splendid skies!

I do not move, stricken with doubt,
I dare not move, Hafiz steps out
Arriving as he always does
As of-a-sudden surprises,
“My friend!” he laughs, “Why worry so?
Their walls are high & you have no
Wings there to fly – no – let us make
This mortal rock an angels’ lake ,
Look at these mountains rising up,
For when the flood oerflows the cup,
These seas, these oceans, all aswirl
With fish & gorgeous whales which whirl
About this Godufactured Earth,
Where even serpents maintain worth,
We must remember to release
Snakes from their cages, whom, in peace,
Shall twine around those fine branches
Of our tree – happy, glorious –

What more will we need than that?


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REZA MOHAMMADI: Smoke

Unto the man I would return
Who once inside my shirt did burn.

At each lip’s precipice I fret
To find the voice I once did set
Down-dangling from a cigarette.

I ask the card-turn to unshroud
The revelations thro’ the crowd
That sweeps aside bird, plant & cloud.

Carry off, great Lord, this flower,
To tables fill’d by my mother,
& to the house of my father,

& to the fish of the rivers
Whom, three times a day, take lovers,
Suicide’s soft deliverers.

I’m six years old, care to buy bread?
What am I doing here, I said.

Carry my soul to the tented
Gypsy mystic, tinted, scented,
Take it to be finger-printed.

I’ll never leave this street, y’know,
That named a missile long ago.

You’ll see I only came to buy
Some rolls of bread – you’ll see that I
Have seen exactly six years by.

Before the next man join’d my thread
Morning stopp’d gorging on his head,
& like this poem’s folding, he
Was thrown, was caught, within old me.

Hey! This much wind my shirt won’t stand,
We should not let this much cloud land.

The blacken’d body’s shrapnel flew
Right back to eat, snack, feast on you.

Why should I be God’s kick’d up dust,
I flow like ink from His fingers.

The broken lighters of his feet
Flicker & flare in mine like heat.

His heart a wet, spent ciggarette,
His mother’s lashes crudely set
Inside his pocket, food for worms,
With sister’s hair that fistfull squirms,
& those barb’d eyelids of his wife.

I wish somebody in his life
Had told him moons dont burst in flame
When clad in clothes by top brands made.

The one runs from me as he ran
From his ma’s table & her pan,
Thus I would like to tell him this,
How poet’s metamorphosis
Grows on lips like little roses
Caus’d by earth – which decomposes!

Even the river dodges me,
Even the doves take flight to flee
& all the Judas trees within
Are made of debris from this bin;
How was your face made up, I said,
What shade the scarf swath’d round your head?
Black-sooted in black suit I stand,
A dandelion in one hand,
Addresses I can’t call to mind,
As on moth-wings descends dusts fine,
Dusts upon petals de-scend-ing –
Now I’m forgetting everything.


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FATEMEH SHAMS: Electrocardigram

My back she aches again today,
Three months ago they mov’d my heart
& ledg’d my vital spine apart,
Then wedg’d it in the vertebrae,
Now each musk-fragrant breath depends
On one thin vein that empties blood,
From darkness to new heart’s blood wends
My idiotic bruise of vein.
My wanton whore of heart, the pain
My back endures nobody should.
My ECG supplies, these days,
My news, headlines from past suck’d out –
A woman used to laugh about
Her love for one man & his ways,
When lavish hearts love’s healths endow,
Form windows facing long exile,
These bunch’d red muscles bled servile,
I wish it were a mirror, now!

The medic team with smiles aflock
Chirps “We had to move it a bit,
& from today we must admit
By beating hearts please set your clock,”
Alarmic systems rotten grown,
My lover new has ask’d last night
“Are all our words & movements known?”
I thought he quizz’d me for to see
How paranoid & how crazy
I was, my shadows hid from sight,
For years my shadow’s eyes did hide
In dresses – cities far & wide,
The final shadow ran its part
& in his fist a bleeding heart –
The doctors are the shadow’s foes
& paranoia diagnose
Expertly well, & for exile
Prescibe a perfect potion’s phial,
Moving the heart to think & feel
In times when no heart’s scar could heal.


Jaan Kaplinski

JAAN KAPLINSKI: The Great Axe

Knew everybody since childhood,
He’d dreamt he was a shaft of wood
By axehead topp’d, his foes to fight
To chop off heads & branches smite!
He grew & chopp’d & splinters flew,
Heads fell & everybody knew
He was the sharpest one of all,
Most pitiless of axeheads’ fall,
Him from the toughest shell was cast
The special spirit naught could rust,
Let no-one ken the truth display’d,
He was just normal, iron-made,
Of brittle rust was he afraid,
Standing alone before mirror
He would check, those new red stains were
Upon his blade? He tried to wash
Away the rust stains with blood fresh
From wounds, but not enough to hide,
Until his peace one day defied,
Smashing the mirror angrily,
He fell inside some phantasie
Beyond the Looking Glass’s ledge,
Near marshes large by forest edge,
& realised his place was there,
In that swamp’s pool, & full aware
He transformed could be back into
A fist of mud-brown bog ore goo!


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