Their wings fluttering gracefully by the lake
Guarded by dryads, naiads, elves, and dwarfs
Shimmering iridescently in midnight moonlight,
The ancient birds dance along the borderlines
between mythology and history, hither and thither
Till daybreak and fly away beyond the Misty Arc.
P.S. Elsewhere in the world, people have believed that cranes dance at night when no mortals are around to transform themselves into human forms; then they choreograph their courtship, wooing and wooed. Mysterious and ancient, a crane is a bird of the misty past, of the uncertain present, and of the unknown future. Its regal poise makes wherever it stays a heavenly palace and entrances me into the whirlwind of Magic and Myth.
Hunter and hunted, quiet and questing,
Tamed and wild, chaste and insatiable,
It’s man and woman at its will shifting
Its nature but the beauty still admirable
As the Unicorn fell from a noble creature
To a profane beast with Death of Adventure.
P.S. The divinity of the unicorn suddenly declined during the Renaissance period (14th~16th centuries) and like Lucifer, the Fallen Angel, it became a symbol of bacchanalian debauchery associated with lust and a harbinger of moral corruption. Even J.K. Rowling’s unicorn is devious and ghoulish, which is antithetical to my perception of unicorn as a divinely beautiful being evoking a wide arc of imaginations in my mind’s eye that has become sore to the dreary sights of the existential vertigo I sometimes stumble into.
Congress of Reason and Sentiment is suspended
Till the key to Forum of Letters that’s
Lost in the midst of midnight madness
Of a phantasmal duo of rebels ignorant and crude
Uprooting the Ministry of Independent Scribe
Is found to continue its usual sessions with verve.
P.S. Until my modus vivendi gets back on the track that is to be renewed with a bella vistas in a new territory, all is suspended, willed or unwilled.
That which they called Providence,
A divine scheme of God’s purposes,
Was the handiwork of Fair Fortune,
The ancient idea of lucky chances
Of adventures and misadventures,
Knocking the door of a poor man’s hut
With a pouch of lucky stars regardless
Of what the world saw for his worth,
Pacifying his ills of grief and grievances.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The doctrine of providence that a man’s life was an intricate handiwork of God’s mysterious purposes was a tenet of protestantism which, as a countercultural way of resisting medieval Catholicism, advocated zealous work ethics in an effort to combine a practical faith with an active self-reliance and independence. That riches and authority came of men’s industry and diligence, of their labor and travails, not of miracles as a result of mechanical recitations of prayers and devotions to saints was the canonical principle of the reformed church. However, the folks who were not well-off, not-too-rich, poor, and very poor never subscribed to the doctrine of providence. They still clang to the concept of luck because it accounted for any misfortune befalling them regardless of merits and efforts when others wayward seemed to prosper. By believing in luck or chance that reformists condemned, he who in travails did not have to japadarize his self-esteem as something of a mental analgesic against the strains of his contemporary life, lest he should fall by the wayside, and thus could reconcile himself to the environment he lived. Hence this belief in luck survived the seismic protestant reformation and still thrives on in our time.
All about her beggared all description,
For she was none other than herself
Femininity incarnate vested in erudition
That no other woman could ever excel.
Her beauty was a perfect federation of
Sensuality and Intelligence dazzlingly
Pleasingly enchanting all in the contact
With the Last Hellenistic Queen of the Nile.
One day, she rode in a gilded barge with sails
Dressed as Venus with her entourage as cupids
And nymphs to meet a Roman general who was
Marc Anthony with untamed virility like Hercules.
For her own person as Venus, the goddess of love
And beauty, she bewitched the general and made
Him her slave of love with all her charms spelled
With the most delightful voice he had ever heard.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Last night, I read an anecdote of how Cleopatra encountered Marc Anthony for the first time as described by Plutarch in The Lives. The most interesting thing I learned about the proverbially seductive queen was that she was not exactly a gorgeous woman with a face that would launch a thousand ships. Rather it was her demonstration of all-around erudition, intelligence of speaking a variety of languages in such an euphonious voice, and her general demeanor, all of which curiously made her enchanting to anyone in contact with her.
This irresistible charm of Cleopatra corresponds to the principles of aestheticism expounded by Thomas Aquinas, which are: (1) Element of being – her existence as a woman; (2) Actuality of Form – her presence as a woman achieved a higher level of perfection in its form by being beautiful to the degree in which she perfectly attended to the form of femininity; and (3) Actuality of Action – the manifestation of her intelligence contributed to the perfection of her beauty as regards the aforesaid principles by grounding beauty in whatever she did, thus making her being a beautiful person.
I think Cleopatra was more beautiful and real femme fatale than Helen of Troy, who was said to have a face that launched a thousand ships. It seems to me that Cleopatra’s attractiveness will be no less appealing to the eyes of the modern men than those of the ancient men.