Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I don't remember when I first got to meet poetry in my life. It must have been when I was a couple of years old at last. We had to learn kids poems by heart in kindergarten and we also did "newyears' letters", a tradition whereby kids write a letter to read to their parents on new years day, generally written in rhyme to help with memorization and reading out loud.

I can not say that I have very vivid memories of this era but I do still know one of these songs/rhymes by heart, even after more than 27 years... The next poem that I really remember must have been from when I was 'much' older, around ten or so and is about looking at clouds .

Later in my life I studied poetry for several years in a poetry expression class but of those six years hardly anything really stuck, a poem here and there but nothing 'major'... Maybe I was not very susceptible at that time or maybe there was so much to see, learn and experience that other things won over poetry.

It was in my fourth year of university (which for me meant that I was still in my first year, as I did four years over passing the first year) that I got back in touch with poetry through various courses. From this period comes my new found love of word-music, largely inspired by M. Bartosik. I got to know British and American poets, studied Donne, Blake and others with Prof. Wellens and got to meet them and so many other ones, in different languages in the classes of Michel.

The most inspirational classes in Poetry I got from a professor who was a poet himself. I have written about him as well... He was as inspirational as the poems he made us read. He could talk about poetry as if it was, and I believe that to him it might have been, an essential part of life like water, food or the air we breathe. He was a good man this professor and I will always regret not having told him how much he really meant to me.

Not all poetry in life is purely written though. Some things are like poetry without being written down. Some songs are more poetry than song for me... Leonard Cohen is one of the singer/songwriters that I consider poet more than singer. His lyrics are deeper than normal lyrics go.

Now, in my life after university I have taken a couple of poetrybooks off the shelves to revisit them. Brodsky is a name that comes to mind ("the hawk's cry in autumn"), so are Blake, Shakespeare and Wallace Stevens.

People who teach you to savior poetry teach you something of immense value...

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

As with so many other things, my mind wanders and comes back to few people that have made a lasting impression on me. I was introduced to Wallace Stevens in several lectures of M. Bartosik, one of the few professors at the VUB that I did not merely like but that I really loved in a way only a pupil can love a professor... an admiration that was deeper than he ever knew or, sadly, could have known.
For weeks before his death I planned to tell him how I felt, how much he had meant to me during my career as a student and how often I thought of his classes or the conversations we had in the hallway, his office or on random occasions and encounters. Conversations that were far too few...
From Wallace Stevens, for Michel...

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night
Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,
Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom the book is true, to whom
The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.
The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.
And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself
Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Wallace Stevens

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

at the passing of thestone.com

As posted in Sisyphus Lodge, april 3 2008.

So this is goodbye,

Our profile information says we have been here since 1999 but it seems like there was hardly a time before that that we were not, in mind, already connected to so many people here at thestone.com. We have been on the internet since 1994, which is about half of our lives. We have built our lives with and around all the enigmas that we have faced. We smile when we here things like Billy Idol's sweet sixteen, because we know at least part of the story behind it now. We look for the odd things in everything, we have anagram solvers, rot-13 decoders and mayan calendars in our bookmarks now. Pink Floyd is even more enigmatic than it was before as no veil has been lifted from the mysteries that are hidden in the songs, the story, the history of the band, but we still like the music.

We started out with figuring out what the formula is to find out when easter will be, we ended with the final six. We have, together with a lot of people, broken our heads and cursed the SK's over Manifest Destiny, we have read pages and pages of strange and weird stories that could have fit right into thestone but somehow never made it. We've read the black book, the white book, the black book again and we have not understood even half of the clues.

We have found our other, and we eventually got the 'other' stone from her as she didn't really play anyway. We have joined our stones, one 'stone', one 'plastic'. We have a gathering stone, we have given away numerous stones as gifts but nobody really made it to the lodge (although quite some people got really hooked for a while, but life caught up with them I guess).

We have given nudges to a lot of people, we have received even more. We never made it to a stone gathering, which we now regret but we have had online conversations with the best of stoners. It would be wrong to try and name all of the people we have met this way. Obviously a lot of you in the lodge these days have been there longer than we have, as we have not participated in the final six, some others may not make it back here anymore or have stopped playing. A few names though, that should not be forgotten. Moebius, Jiggly, Art of Fantasy, Gary, Ray, uhuru, Polodiabolo, grissy, norske, kingohugs, junebug, Frogmistress (wow, that's a name from the past...) and to me, the most important, my tess, my other, the other aa5-33a. The nights we have spent on the stone have brought us together so often, have made us strive to a common goal even if we were going through a difficult time personally. If I have forgotten your name, I'm sorry, it was not on purpose, and I'm sure I've forgotten plenty of names.

We have our own new enigma now, he's 20 months old and maybe when he's older he'll find our folders where we printed all puzzles and all solutions, stored for... who knows.

So this is goodbye, it is not farewell, although I hope you all will have the best of times, it is a goodbye with the sincere hope to find you all, in person, mind and spirit, somewhere along the paths that our further life will lead us by.

Thanks for everything,

Dragonmaster & Tess
AA5-33A (x2)

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