On my way from "Herring's", at the Top-of-Town in the rain, down High West Street, circuitously to "Waitrose", i called-in at "The Blue Raddle" for a drink. There was a hand-written sign on the door to greet and, in a way, reassure one, of the more traditional ambience of this pub :-
Ostensibly, i had come to Dorchester to buy some hand-made papers for a forthcoming project i've been slowly assembling. That, having been accomplished at my first port-of-call, i thought i'd drop-in at the said Public House.
Lou was, once again, behind the lunchtime bar. She had not been there on our last springtime visits. In fact, i'd not seen her for a good little while. i am not a regular of the "Raddle" but i do frequent it as regularly as i do any pub in hometown-Weymouth...but that's not saying so very much!
A half of Oliver's Perry (6%), from Herefordshire.
i sat and relaxed with my drink and felt agreeably lulled by the alcohol and the gentle buzz and murmurings of some dozen or so of the mid-day crowd. It was two-fifteen and the rain had abated, the sun was shining warmly, and it was very bright, both inside and out. The drayman arrived in a truck, delivering kegs with a thump onto the pavement and then rolling them quickly past the bar entrance to the cellar. "It would've been horses at one time", said a man at the bar, to the driver, (Poor Old Tired Horse, i thought!) who had come-in for his delivery-note to be signed, and was happy to talk shop over a drink of Coke. October, and he was still in shorts.
About a half-hour over a half-a-pint of Perry and my head and cheeks felt hot and probably as red as a rosy English apple, (but it's pears that constitute Perry.)
Lou asked me if i liked the drink. "Very much", i said, while donning my flat-cap again and zipping-up my jacket, said "Cheers" to her, and exited.
The fresh air outside was a welcome blessing and it was raining. But it was sunny in Weymouth, when the number ten bus i was on, pulled-in at The Esplanade stop, not before having taken some extra passengers aboard at Upwey, the previous bus back to Weymouth having broken-down. A not so unusual occurrence!
"Where is the literature which gives expression to Nature? He would be a poet who could impress the winds and streams into his service, to speak for him; who nailed words to their primitive senses, as farmers drive down stakes in the spring, which the frost has heaved; who derived his words as often as he used them - transplanted them to his page with earth adhering to their roots; whose words were so true and fresh and natural that they would appear to expand like the buds at the approach of spring, though they be half smothered between two musty leaves in a library - aye, to bloom and bear fruit there, after their kind, annually, for the faithful reader, in sympathy with surrounding Nature."
* * * * *
[The above text, is, of course, by Henry David Thoreau. It was written circa 1850/60. It struck a chord with me, as i'm sure it did my father, a little bit of an antiquarian when it came to literature and the arts, from whose little Penguin Edition book, sent to him from Australia, by Retta, in 1999, i copied-out this paragraph. My father said he did not care for "modern poetry". The most modern he got was to read the poetry of Thomas Hardy and William Barnes, due to the fact that we moved to Dorset, from Hampshire, in 1986. He was not interested to browse through my own library, under his own roof. i note this, not to disparage, simply to give you, the blog reader, a little background snapshot. i am so pleased that these books of his find a friendly place amongst my own. And i feel there are worthy contemporary poets whom Thoreau would applaud, just as i applaud Thoreau himself, writing some 160 years ago.]
[The present-day Goldy Hermitage was my father's house from 1986 to 2006.]
The tanned guy alongside me with a woman looking like an original member of Kerouac's rucksack-revolutionaries now moreso a man-of-the-world but weary in late afternoon heat said he was Swiss in answer to my question and the accent he said was swiss-german. i played a long shot and asked if he knew of swiss poets & poetry. A little he answered. Have you heard of Franco Beltrametti i asked. Yes he said. He said YES!!! What are the odds of THAT i thought. i'm here at the Bus Station in Bridport in Dorset waiting for almost an hour for a bus to little ol' Weymouth and the guy alongside sharing a dilapidated wooden bench knows of Franco Beltrametti! In fact he's been to Riva San Vitale. We know the same references. We know the same names. Snyder. Kyger. Koller. Welch. He's met William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg....etc...etc.. i ask him his name. BERNHARD he says. BERNHARD! His name is Bernard with an "H". My name is Bernard H. Ha ha haaaaaa! Such a happenstance. What are the odds? A chance in a million. But chance is the nature of all connections throughout all of time. Life is a chance. To be born in human form is more than chance it is truly miraculous. Synchronicities abound if we have but the eyes to see. One vast Indra's Net of connectivity that touches and links everything. There was an accident on the bus route on the road at Chideock. Thus all the buses were delayed and i ended-up sitting beside a "retired" poet who would not tell me his surname who knew of an obscure poet called Beltrametti as did i. We had also both published him. This did not "happen for a reason" as some people like to think. i am not of that persuasion. Life happens said Robert Frost. It just happens. Bernhard said he would email me. We shook hands as he and "his" woman got-on the first bus out of there to Lyme Regis as they'd done enuf waiting and looked so wor(l)d weary. And i was scared shitless sitting upstairs on a bus travelling at the speed-of-sound in the opposite direction to Dorchester a few minutes later.
Cross-legged on the stones mountainbike on its side absorbed by bluegreen sea & small white rolling surf that crests the waves and there's a whooshing sound not as sonorous as at Chesil it's a gentling whoosh that's comforting with its regularity over the stones. There's a group of 6 people to my right not so far away that i don't know what's going-on with a casual glance or two but i cannot hear voices not even from the 3 babies 2 can negotiate the pebbles to the water unaided while the youngest other crawls mighty fast only to be retrieved before getting to the sea i mused that maybe they were Mormons the man had a big beard it was hard to say which of the babies was with which of the 2 young women or if they indeed were all his the man went swimming plunged-in quickly without changing or stripping-off his shorts & "T" shirt then changed into fresh things when he returned after a few minutes and laid-down on his back in the sun. 3 seagulls in view and white sails far away and some sorts of vessels glinting indicating their presence nothing else to inform the eye that there is anything even there. Clouds accumulating ringing the bay from the hills but the sun should see-out the afternoon and early evening without any interference. Elderly man instructs child on the art of skimming stones that bounce on the waters while an elegantly dressed blonde snaps fotos lovingly but the exercise is soon terminated as the child does not appear to have the co-ordination required and they joggle up the beach to their café only to return a few minutes later and repeat the performance & 2 passing pale shirtless teens trying to light-up roll-ups in the breeze pitch a few stones hurriedly with equally no real aptitude. i look-up from my hurried scribbling to see a paddle steamer out at sea i do believe it's of the Red Funnel Line with 2 red white and black striped funnels it's halfway across the bay and so far-out i could easily have missed it i see a yacht cross its bows at extremely close quarters but it's hard to gauge from the shore at such a distance and by how far it missed i do not know. i've been here about 1 hour i've eaten my 2 mandarins i've read a little more of the little book by Thoreau (Walking) i brought with me and earmarked a passage to post on my blog and it's relatively peaceful and uninhabited on this part of the long beach and i think Riley would've equally enjoyed a life such as this!
JUST SIT WHILE SITTING SO PLEASANT IS THE BIRD'S SONG ONE HOPES FOR MORE * WHILE WAITING PASSING CAR PUNCTUATES THE MORNING'S SUPPOSED REVERIE. * bernard hemensley @ GOLDY HERMITAGE SUNDAY / 30 / AUGUST / 2015 * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
MS."X" did not go all the way into town on the only bus of the morning that takes this route thru GOLDCROFT ROAD. We used to have a regular service with a big company but not any longer for a year or more now. The numbers of passengers did not warrant a bus service they said and cancelled. MS."X" got off the bus just a few yards down the road but not before she had regaled the bus driver and most of us passengers with a monologue of her comings and goings for today and the next few days. Right now she had a doctor's appointment. Never mind if she was running late or if she was holding-up the progress of the bus and the schedules and timings of others. A good soul none-the-less said a fellow passenger afterwards. WHEN WE ARRIVED in town at the esplanade there was a vividness of dark-blue and light- blue sails of racing-dinghys to greet the eye. Everything in sharp relief under the bright light and grey airy sky. How wonderful that the gloomy forecast that WEYMOUTH TOWN CENTRE would be underwater by the turn of the millennium by the environmentalists did not materialise. We still have all this every day. And geese flying south.... ON MY WALK HOME i saw a "V" formation of geese flying in the direction of "RADIPOLE LAKE". i had had an early autumn kind of feeling a few days ago especially in the absence of any good run of hot day after hot day. Nor were there any lovely balmy evenings when the breeze wafts warm before nightfall and our thoughts turn towards chilled beer and cocktails. AH WELL, HERE'S ANOTHER OLD WEATHER PATTERN PREDICTION FOR YA : COOLER SUMMERS AND MILDER WINTERS. i would say that seems to hold true for Weymouth as far as i'm concerned.
i AM STANDING looking at the skies from the corner of Goldcroft and Heathwood. i am leaning on a brick gate-post (not a lamp-post!)......or rather i am writing this down in my notebook using the pillar as a desk. A neighbour i greeted in town earlier buying his newspaper in W.H.SMITHS scootles past on his motorised transport on the pavement across the road from me. He flies past before i realise. A dribble of cars exceed the 20 mph speed limit as usual. There is a slight increase in the incidence of rain drops while the sun struggles with its luminosity from its place amongst the clouds. The hot and sunny day has not yet come to pass and it's already mid-day and ANOTHER "V" FORMATION is flying in a southerly sort of direction towards the lake........
What is trapped in the streetlight is a solitary figure yet he sits with all beings in the ten directions there are no sudden moves or gesticulations other than the occasional twirling of a flower. In the hermitage we sit by day and by night we are aware of our breaths but we do not count them. Today i went to the beach in case there were fishermen i did not have a lady beside me but i had my bicycle to lean on. Tonight i sit quietly there is a full moon and a sky full of stars i long for my bed to sleep and to give my dreams free reign. i light my lantern as they do in Antibes and climb the stairs... * bernard hemensley @ Goldy Hermitage 2 a.m. 31st. july 2015 *********************
"To practice zazen is Buddhism... Buddhism is to practice zazen." "If we see practice as a means of attaining enlightenment, enlightenment will become a kind of ideal and our practice will become a kind of idealistic practice. Buddhism is not idealism. Buddhism rejects the notion that enlightenment or happiness can be realised through intellectual effort or understanding. Buddhism states that the Truth is here, and the Truth is now. Happiness exists in sincere effort at the moment of the present. Enlightenment and practice are, therefore, one and the same. If we want to study true Buddhism, we must retain this understanding. If we want to find true happiness, we must find it in work, in action, in practice - here and now. We must find it in zazen. Zazen is enlightenment itself. Zazen is Buddhism itself. Buddhism is zazen." (To Meet the Real Dragon. GUDO WAFU NISHIJIMA. Windbell Publications, 2nd edition, 1992.)
[a personal note on the above]
i encountered this book many years ago, and was so "taken" with it, that i wrote to Nishijima Roshi. My three or four letters were each politely answered by him. However my practice these days, accords with everything except that i feel that the zazen posture is not as vital, as some zen practitioners would have it. It is enuf to just sit quietly... In this, i have been influenced a lot by the books of Toni Packer and Joan Tollifson... by Buddhists and non-Buddhists.
i still "enjoy" returning to this book to read the chapter on Zazen. It remains a sort of inspiration... a lamp unto me, still.
"Sitting motionlessly quiet, for minutes or hours, regardless of length of time, is being in touch with the movements of the body-mind, gross and subtle, dull and clear, shallow and deep, without any opposition, resistance, grasping, or escape. It is being in intimate touch with the whole network of thoughts, sensations, feelings and emotions without judging them good or bad, right or wrong --- without wanting anything to continue or stop. It is an inward seeing without knowing, an open sensitivity to what is going on inside and out --- flowing without grasping or accumulating. Stillness in the midst of motion and com-motion, is free of will, direction, and time. It is a complete letting be of what is from moment to moment. * Awareness, insight, enlightenment, wholeness --- whatever words one may pick to label what cannot be caught in words --- is not the effect of a cause. Activity does not destroy it. It isn't a product of anything --- no technique, method, environment, tradition, posture, or nonactivity can create it. It is there, uncreated, freely functioning in wisdom and love, when self-centered conditioning is clearly revealed in all its grossness and subtleness and diffused in the light of understanding." TONI PACKER. [Please note : in the above extract, from "THE WORK OF THIS MOMENT", i have taken the liberty of using the word "DIFFUSED" rather than "DEFUSED" - (page 61). i trust this will elucidate Toni Packer's intended meaning. If this is incorrect, on my part, please forgive my ignorance.]
"Maybe one will sit forever and never come upon the truth! Is truth dependent on sitting? Upon correct posture? Upon anything? It is dependent on nothing. That's the beauty of it --- it depends on nothing. It has no cause, no method, no attainment, no preservation. What is it? Sitting and sitting postures do not liberate --- the brain and body can become just as conditioned and programmed by this activity as by any other. Seeing the truth liberates --- not any practice or method. Can one see the truth of what actually is taking place this instant, inside and out?" TONI PACKER - (The Work of this Moment)