Robert Beavers and Gregory Markopolous at the Tenemos site.  Photo: Tenemos archive.
Robert Beavers and Gregory Markopolous at the Temenos site. Photo: Temenos archive.

I sit and breathe and try to recall my whole life. I now sit serenely in the brush by this shouldering road. It winds tightly through the Peloponnesian town of Megalopolis, where I sit, through the pink stucco homes clinging staccato to the high side of the mountain our bus, heaving, climbed. Rapt speech in the restaurant behind is mere chatter. It blends with the song of the present cicadas. Before me, this valley, a hazy cauldron of light, composes itself in the concave bone of my eyes. The tall grass is golden. Thirty doves cheer themselves in the sturdy breeze. This old land welcomes the sun into its every portion, without questions, with such grace and piety as perhaps only Ararat did, when it reemerged under the gentle rainbow that shone after the day of the merciless rain. I remember my father telling me how, once, in the late morning, the mute shepherd of these hills tarried by the middle brook with his sheep, how he turned his beard towards heaven and respired and remained in light until supper. The sun resides low here still, for us. Numinous memories gather and come up. Extending forward my right hand mindless, divining, I try to remember my whole life, to dangle before each lobe each moment like the gem of a mobile. As I do, a long walk through a blizzard to a bridge in my first year of college, late at night in late January, nothing being not of the darkest white, begins to take form. A simple vision of the sun setting on the Hudson, with a friend in dear mid-Summer 14th Street repose, replaces it quickly. A simple vision of the Vermont softer sun on the low hills opposite my grandparents’ porch. Each image slips into the falling snow, a blank. I cannot. They reside on my posterior skull, and I cannot turn to them from this glorious valley, the dry trees and boulders, the mythic mountains in the clouds across the way.

I sit and breathe and try to recall my every breath. I recall instead these somber lines of Wallace Stevens, when ‘The scholar of one candle sees / An Arctic effulgence flaring on the frame / Of everything he is. And he feels afraid.’ Nature’s perennial ecstasy becomes a melancholy image for the dying man. It breathes its magnificent, painful fire through the marrow of his faltering bones. The candle he thought he knew and could in words define reveals its true extent. The sublime force whose minor form has offered him imaginative sustenance already outstrips and reprimands his supreme perceptive efforts, and it will surely outlive him. Memory makes and dominates my every portion and is the very means of ingress for breath and sight, giving sense to vision, composing the wisdom of my contemplation and, indeed, my all, and yet it evades. It inflects my direct perception and will not allow itself to be directly perceived, estranged and estranging. The sadness this understanding brings is the sadness of necessary life, of natural progression, as when Oedipus turns away from his past, blinded, to finally encounter the new world. Thus, too, is this recollection—a plunge into the depths of infinite time whose recesses I will not live enough to regard.

It has been a week since my return from Greece. I stand with two friends at purple sunset Jerusalem. I try to recall neither the breath that I have expelled, nor the time that has passed, nor the self that has passed with it. The Valley of the Son of Hinnom cuts quickly downwards through Jerusalem’s bedrock. It is in the base of this valley that Canaanites in devotion sacrificed their children on stone pyres, filling it like a flask with another light. Some apostate Israelites joined in their rites. For this reason, in later scripture, the sacrificial fire was disfigured and Hinnom became Gehenna, blazing, empty end for the wicked and damned. But there are living trees now. Roads and dirt paths lead from the Old City’s Jaffa Gate and descend the valley through them, branching vascular.

I stand with two friends, and breathe, and my eyesight pushes across the valley toward Mount Zion. Among the cedars sits the Hagia Sion monastery, with its towering belfry, wan and resolute, flowers by the Old City’s walls. A German order built this sanctum at the turn of the last century, in strong belief that here Mary, mother of Jesus, last respired. I turn from its quiet repose. I turn inwards and imagine the men who on their sturdy backs carried the boulders of its form. I imagine superimposed upon their coming and going the identical labor of the ancient Israelites, and in the same place the early prophets’ blithe chanting wander; when thirteen, I climbed their path with my classmates. I turn out. Another ridge rises far across the valley, far to the east. A grey political wall traces its lip to the invisible measure. Over the crest, there is the desert, where the sky dilates the sun’s last light across itself in weak illuminations of air, as exhales a single breath more than the lungs have held. It, too, is grey and darkening.

When in this old city I try to recall my every vision, by that shouldering road or at last reposed in my ferry-bed for night, I cannot at first select the scene or any discrete element in it. My vision’s first aspect remains the light suspended in the membrane of those same thin lids when they have blinked and blinked again. Only light through them is faint salmon or damask for their flesh. Thus, only a dim light-bulb becomes the sun over the whole land nearly set. However, when my vision contains natural or human forms emphatic, as doves or friends speaking, a single color from the scene may, by the strength of its emanation or mystical significance in the world, accelerate into the socket before the first seal, revolve, and impress its shade directly on the inner lid. This color precedes to mind its original form and the vision’s other elements. Thus, it becomes the basic condition of the whole scene, when that belatedly arrives. As instance of this impress, the first return of my 14th Street affected vision is through the orange of the heavy sun sitting in the higher river. The late January late college-walk comes differently, as it was only white; no single form could radiate its own tint to impose. Vermont, Hardwick there, not green but near-hazel appears, for a young deer had waited curiously in its clearing. These colors return and then behind them return a pair of lips, a river, a current, or a deer, and then, outwards, the sun and the New Jersey skyline, the taller blades, my friend beside me, the trees, the sky. Thus does the memory unfold from the color released by its primary element. Then, but, again, it repairs as a blank.

This is also, in a way, the nature of the film I had travelled to Greece to see. At almost every moment, it is returning to blankness or light. It is returning to a holy light. In Greek, temenos denotes a sacred precinct or holy grove protected from ordinary use and dedicated to a God. In later times it would take on a psychological sense of therapeutic mental repose and serene contemplation. I had travelled to Greece to view Orders 6-8 of the filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos’ immense final work, Eniaios. Before he died in 1992, Markopoulos, a crucial figure of the American avant-garde in New York in the 1950s and 1960s who moved permanently to Europe in 1967, retracted his thirty-odd films from circulation, revised them, added new material, and edited it all into Eniaios, the total length of which is supposed to reach eighty hours. Markopoulos never saw or even printed this film. However, he decided that the film would only be shown, if it ever was, in a place he designated his temenos: a remote hill-top outside of the village of Lyssaraea, where his father was raised, in the very bosom of the Peloponnese. If I recall correctly, his vision had been to screen the entire film over the course of three weeks. Financial and practical obstacles have necessitated quadrennial screenings, this being the third such.

I first encountered Markopoulos last Spring, in P. Adams Sitney’s seminar on the image of Greece in twentieth-century cinema. We watched two of his films, The Iliac Passion and Ming Green; on my own, I watched Bliss, an astonishingly gorgeous portrait of a dimly-lit church at Hydra, filmed only by the arbitrary grace of natural light and edited in the camera. The seminar’s thematic focus was the interrelationship of the Greek landscape with classical religion and myth. Markopoulos’ retraction of his films was not only aesthetic but also religious. He sanctified his temenos: the community of film spectators who would gather there would be pilgrims, having journeyed from the rutting brook of ordinary life to worship at the temple of film as film; Eniaios would not anesthetize these spectators, as movies tend to, but instead transform them as a revelation; it would change their lives. Ralph Waldo Emerson proclaims in his “Divinity School Address” that the greatest calamity that could befall a nation is the loss of worship. His vocation was to build, in place of New England’s decaying churches, new “altars to the Blessed Unity which holds nature and souls in perfect solution…to the Beautiful Necessity, which secures that all is made of one piece.” Against complacency and conservatism—religious, political, personal—against all forms of conformity, he strove to reacquaint his student with what was most familiar, revivifying and ever-exfoliating Nature. As far as I can tell, Markopoulos was neither oriented toward nor committed to social change. But he developed the temenos and his Eniaios under a nearly messianic aspect, to redeem the film medium and the film spectator from the modes of being taught by mass media and popular cinema.

Radically opposed to the basic principles of commercial film—basically all film—Markopoulos believed that the camera’s work is not the capturing of continuous external motion to preserve mimetically in film, but rather the harvesting of frames to be observed and then vivified on the editing table on their own basis. This he calls “film as film.” It is not a theory of aesthetics self-contained, but one in which the most profound impact—‘beyond’ the film, say—is achieved not by an intelligent direction toward what is already known of and by the audience, toward the conventional spectator, but by an intense focus inward, by intuition.  Markopoulos wrote of filmic creation as the combination of single frames on the strength of this intuition into their eccentric and indiscernible tendency toward one another, which is marked by the past unity of things. Thus, his work would reveal the poetic basis of design. His films would restore the medium to sanctity in the return of the new world to what it once was. His temenos would invite the newly dignified film spectator to repair from his materialistic situation and participate in these sacred rites of light and darkness.

A year earlier, when I first started watching films of this sort, they had been neither revelatory nor shocking. I was hindered, firstly, by the common prejudice against difficult film, which far exceeds that against difficult literature, and, secondly, by collegiate humanities’ prioritization of analyzing culture, history, and politics over appreciating and receiving aesthetic achievements—and my own laziness. What eventually dissolved these blockages and forced me to pay attention was Hollis Frampton’s Zorn’s Lemma, from 1970. It illuminated the inside of my eyes. Constructing itself inside itself on its own strength and control but closing in an ecstatic opening or release, Lemma is threefold. Its first section presents a recitation of The Bay State Primer, a Puritan grammar, over a dark screen. The second cycles through the twenty-four letters of the alphabet, each letter represented by a shot of a New York street or store sign beginning with it; for these, as they cycle, Frampton gradually substitutes moving images  (a fire; a field of wheat; dried beans filling the frame). In the final section, two individuals walk away from the camera across a field in a heavy blizzard toward a forest in the distance, as an 11th century neo-Platonic treatise is read by two women metrically: “The first bodily form I judge to be Light. For Light, of itself, diffuses itself in every direction, so that a sphere of Light as great as you please is born instantly from a point of Light.” The couple’s serene journey across the blank earth corresponds with the opening of the camera’s shutter, and the entire frame gradually becomes white.

Pure light is the fundamental status of cinema. It is the only constant as reels change. Image and color are beautiful mediations. Language is at yet another remove, but, for Frampton, it must be passed through to arrive at the light. Thus, he abolishes his elaborate alphabetical structure with images and then undermines those very images by removing them and revealing the final shot’s dependency on the condition of the camera. Having energetically exploited the temporal condition of film—the process of frames—he returns it, expended and serene, to rest. He gently lays it down to sleep. When the light was introduced, I nearly cried. The twin miracles of the skillfully composing eye and the skillful maker became apparent. In the projection of pure light, film finds a power of expressing the range of human emotions in time, the blank we see in ecstasy, in love, in terror, in despair, the blank we cannot speak.

Immediately, I converted to the voluptuous claims of these filmmakers regarding the status of their films. Spiritual transformation became the necessary quality of the artwork. I felt, and do believe, that I had in fact been wasting my time, watching what I had been watching, reading whatever. Art would succeed insofar as it firstly separated itself from ordinary life by reaching into the artist’s personal divine and subsequently returning to metonymically impress that revealed ideal on the soul of his audience. Part of the ambition of Markopoulos with Eniaios is to extend this transformation in space and time. The unique, radiant shape assumed in my soul by my experience of his temenos is thus quite appropriate.  It confirms his achievement.

People often talk, misguidedly, about narrative and non-narrative film. There is no story, in this sense, in Eniaios—no action, no drama, no characters, psychology, setting. But the progression of time is a necessary condition of film. So, Eniaios has a deeply filmic narrative: it is the story of time and light. It also has a setting and a psychology, but these are the viewer’s, as he or she experiences the film’s duration, encouraged by the absence of stimuli from the screen to attend to his or her own mind and visionary practices, as well as surrounding nature. When the screen was lit, we could see moths hovering in the projector’s beam. On the second night, a flaming meteor crossed the sky along the top edge of the screen. On all three nights, a herd of goats passed us to our left, unseen, bells, on necks, clinking.

Markopoulos is able to concentrate Eniaios in this way by composing it almost entirely of alternating lengths of black and white leader. The latter is pure light. Only very sporadically are color images projected. They are typically stills. This deprivation gives the colorful after-image a crucial status, for it persists in the eye that now receives only dark and light. Thus is revealed the extraordinary possibility of internal superimposition: of dark and light and light and dark and color compiled on the retina, or even further inside. On that hill-top, in the Peloponnese, at night, I saw in the secondary light of the film my own mind, my very will, as though a flower or stream. I saw it as intimately as blood. (The light seen inside the closed human eye may be the earliest light of the world, the light that was let out.)

I also have in my notebook illegible jots of the in-sights of the filmmaker Stan Brakhage, his preoccupation with optical composition, the saccadic basis of seeing, and the capacity of the eyes to intake light from sound and motion even when closed and to see dreams asleep. Like his contemporary Markopoulos’s, his work assumed a redemptive aspect, for it would liberate vision—which he considered primary—from its long subjugation by language and thus restore a radical vitality to experience. Often, Brakhage would paint resplendent colors directly onto the film-strip before him.

Brakhage asserted the superiority of film to digital as the medium of cinema. While the theoretical form of this position seems excessively radical, its actual or experiential ends are very often in beauty and that realm of color and energy we call the soul. In other words, it can transform a person’s life, effecting what William James called a “total reaction”, a revision of one’s long-held first principles. One of digital video’s most pressing deficiencies is its incapacity to convey the range of living color. It most frequently ignores or misses a certain shade of yellow, as of a bright yellow rain jacket, a chrysanthemum’s petal. The color is replaced by another and is a lie, is dulled and is dead.

By coincidence, the impressed color of my first vision in Greece is a similar yellow, though softened, peeling, pocked from years under the indigenous sun. I flew from Tel-Aviv to Athens early in the morning. After landing, I woke up and drank a Greek coffee and spat it out. The young cup was half water and half sand. For bitter gunk I shall always spit for it remains gunk within.

‘Victoria’ was the station nearest to Pedion Areos, the park from which our bus would depart Athens to Loutra Iraias, past Corinth, in the Peloponnese, where the film would be screened. To get there, I had to switch trolleys at Monastiraki. After climbing many stairs out of the station’s dank recesses, and following, lurching, colorful signs in a language whose antique predecessor I know only in its lower form, I emerged, groggy, onto a wooden platform abutting train-tracks in an industrial aqueduct plunged into the middle city, fifteen feet below the street’s level. Into the open air I emerged. Spray-paint in Plato’s signs was the walls’ lethargic décor I saw.

These signs were, of course, not Plato’s, and they did not even signify the same sounds as Plato’s signs, the language having undergone the process of ioaticism, whereby most of Attic Greek’s vowels came to be pronounced as iotas. Nonetheless, the signs are ancient. And, every one of them, everywhere, in even graffiti, bears that into the present. Travelers to Greece often try to look past its presence into antiquity, but Greece is a land visibly marked by tradition through the fact of its language. The past’s immediacy, its not being submerged, was continually put to me on my trip. Everything seemed to contain what was once; it seemed to be, in fact, what was—history and memory. Temporality istelf was put into question.

Language asked first and early. At some point, pinching the tips of the tangled fingers of his one hand and slapping my back with the other, a Greek man spoke to me rapidly in his language. It is strange to hear signs long studied finally spoken. It is strange to hear a language for the very first time, the only voice of Greece resounding as his. He sang quickly like a morning bird whose bladder swells. I could not select a word. He was behind me. I could not see his face or his lips. They remained abstracted from his utterance. He was the first Greek. His simple breath was the nation’s breath, the ebb of each sentence into the next its prolonged dance with the Aegean. His words were the forming thoughts of every Hellene. Casual litter blew past and away. He still spoke.

Half-listening, I perceived at once that color, the color. On the opposite side of the concrete aqueduct, on top of the retaining wall, a length of Venizelos-era yellow row houses wilted inwards. They were painted yellow. They were painted yellow. Yellow. Their paint was yellow, the color yellow. (What is yellow? Was a color? Is was?) It was the color of yellow dye, a skein unraveling from the anus of the yellow snail.

Their yellow paint would have cracked from eighty-odd years of unremitting sun. I supposed that when, in mid-day, a stocky workman, depressing every rung of his ladder, had ecstatically laid three coats of his yellow paint on the new side-wall, it had been wet and ran. With his one arm braced against the fresh paint, the workman twice wiped his brow. Droplets of sweat mixed with the foundation. Then, with his work complete, he looked once more upon his effect in delight and descended the ladder. Two boys had been observing his work from below. He passed them and sauntered off at ease into the side-street maze.

According to locals, the paint remained projective for many years, cheering its surroundings by the reflection of sunlight. By the time of my arrival, it had been emptied of its expressive verve. Its color was exhausted, long, dulled into cream by the persistent sun, possessing now in my eyes and soul the same energy as a frozen sun, a sun whose very core has ceased its volcanism, emitting not a single life-giving ray to the needy life below. Once it was a yellow nectar, once a wet thing, paint, and, now, the simple, unadorned yellow of stone.

But now, the curls of its desiccation curled into my sockets, and the invisible impression of glorious workman’s tired forearm imprinted itself in me as an eccentric connection intensely felt. The color relation of sun and paint and the humbling that implied was significant: man had been deposed by the object of his representation, as Stevens was once below Boreal night: thou shall not attain my shade. The yellow I saw, though subordinate and dull, was the result of a profound elemental intercourse between man and his materials and overriding nature. The color had collapsed under the weight of time, but it had attained a negative recognition from time, from that which is eternal. In this recognition, the paint had admirably stolen for itself an eternal aspect, a divine quality, perhaps one of the original filaments of the newborn sun inlaid early by the rambling demiurge. The paint’s decrepitude is also a recorder of history in our own life, allowing us to perceive, in the wear of its shade, its having been seen by persons before me. I recognized many facts. The civil war in the late forties mixed into it plumes of gunpowder. An old man I met recalled a faint earthquake. As does the damp interior of a traveler’s shirt, these walls received the impact of the passing world—faintly, barely perceptibly. And, faintly, again, I glimpsed the forearm’s impress, the workman’s dripped sweat.

I summoned myself to abandon these thoughts, abstracting, distracting. Proper, direct description of this yellow was eluding my try to name. I could not say, or even think, what I meant. Vapidities offered a helpful, heuristic crutch, but I would limp. Emerson’s kind invitation to simple sight rested on my weaker shoulder: “[Man] is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day.”

I could call the leaning walls of the row houses only yellow, acceptance being the finest of compliments, the most accurate. I remembered that I had discussed with the Hudson night dear friend a hypothetical conversational principle of ‘visual immediacy’, which would restrict the scope of speech to the immediately visible world, which bases itself on a sense that what cannot be seen cannot be spoken of responsibly, productively, and in a way that would not also evade or forsake the wonders of the world that always lie before us, or the sense that the blessings of an hour of abstract speech to the speaker and his interlocutor cannot exceed those of an hour reflecting on, say, the grass on which we sat. (I should also say that this inclination developed  alongside my interest in film. Seeing is far closer to acceptance than speaking is, and what film does is see. Its task may well be to resist literature, to remain in acknowledgment of the world, to not speak.)

Contradicting this impulse was the fact that the yellow had fed my imagination royally. “A quickened, multiplied consciousness”, perceiving falsely, associating, poetically connecting, passionately and sensitively delighting in the world’s movement with my own mind, set in. I questioned my interest in subordinating myself to the world, my will to describe it accurately. What good does that do? What is my value, as human, then, if just as recorder of facts? The world’s purpose may be to permit us to live, providing the material for our true work. What is it but the stone pyre on which my noetic fire may blaze? What is Emerson’s or Whitman’s leaf for him but that fire’s spark? I felt a great world-energy from the row houses’ impropriety. A great current surged from their jamming together, their cracking, their sinking into their foundations, and how angularly they inclined over the concrete aqueduct. Yellow was the fact of this deterioration. It flew into my eyes and turned and struck.

Dazzled, I boarded the graffiti-train just arrived and, five minutes later, arrived at the park. Workers reposed below broad flimsy hats at the nearest entrance, legs crossed, listening to the cicadas’ song, which chafed in full scrape out of the nearer trees. Inside the park, more workers slept, folded, on the benches on either side of the rocky path, enormous bees buzzing around and crowning their heads in halos. The trees were meek, dry. There was no water. I moved more quickly and came to a street corner where sat a few dozen travelers, most of whom packed under the awning of a close kiosk for respite. I had in heart no social verve preserved to confirm these persons as my co-travelers—not even to find a nook in the shade. I set my bag down by the curb and sat against it. Traffic whizzed by and birds overhead and the Athens I could see was a blank, white. Soot from the exhaust of the passing cars curled darkly in the sweat on my exposed legs.

My eyelids had begun to primrose close under their own weight, when some hard thing interrupted my leg and I startled. A gangly man in green pants and black combat boots, headed by a thin black hat, smiling with a crick, bent over and, begged for forgiveness. He claimed to have kicked me, but I was too groggy to know. He sat down beside me and sat his hand on my shoulder. I cannot remember what we spoke about, but we did. And I cannot remember boarding the bus, but we did and started off.

I woke and fell asleep the moment the wheels resumed. I woke in truth two hours later, as we entered Arcadia, and began our wind through its mountains to the village of Loutra Iraias. The entire route curved on mountain shoulders, through clinging villages and trees, the bus nearly tipping off into the invisible valley below. Cresting a certain ridge, we would come to a plateau or basin, circumcised from the landscape by the ridge or a narrow pass, where dense thickets of tall firs and cedars stood themselves skywards, dangling their dark leaves downwards. Their dark leaves covered the grass. Dry grass covered the land and was blown through by a breeze. Rivers of no apparent headspring crossed it, and were themselves crossed by gentle squalls and by sunlight brilliantly.

When we passed through villages, the bus’s mirrors chipped the whitebuildings on either side of the road, so narrow were these passes. The villages were no more than a score of homes and a café or two stacked above each other. The homes had extraordinary posterior porches which leaned out off the mountainside over the abyss. Goat carcasses dangled before the cafes, half-hacked. We passed a number of cemeteries terraced on the mountainside. We passed toothless women who waved from their porches. We passed innumerable yellow signs of danger, and mirrors reflecting around a bend the other side. We passed innumerable cars which swung precariously. We did.

I tried to calm my visions of death, but they would not be. They had already circulated my brain around, insidious, hush. Such visions, as those that have otherwise seized my airborne body, I suppose are irrevocable. Only by forget or sleep can we slip away from them. My attending to them only strengthened them.

In ordinary life, the fact of the ease with which life may cease or divert is subterranean, with those bodies. On our journey it was obvious, the first idea of any glancing mind, a fact. Once, the wheels’ saving screech was met with a passenger’s, and then even the cicadas were silent.  At this first moment, confronted, my mind had split in two and turned against itself. Fear would have had me not look. But fear of the thing also required its supervision and a constant vigil, as though my strong gaze would prove reversely magnetic to the earth. Emerson, again, writes of “man…ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose.” This was no different. Death and the rose and the blade are equally parts of that “Blessed Unity”. Being scared is nothing but being sundered from this Unity, or rejecting it. Fear resists necessity. Fear does not accept what has been, is, and must be—death. Fear does not recognize the subject’s inclusion in the oneness of Nature. From this position apart, it tries to intervene, to halt the progression of things, by linguistic reduction or physical flight. I fled not in body but in mind, toward words. Anxiety and quickened saccades ensued. I looked away and then away from away.

What in the end reintegrated me was the magnificence of the valley itself. At each turn, it pinched into the mountainside, dense and lush. It expanded from this stony long angle into the middle valley, which spanned its fertile ground in light to the invisible reach, under trees, under their leaves, far to the foot of the faraway mountains in the sky, where the forest became thin at last. Long shadowlines were imprinted by the sun across the valley-floor geometrically. Their volcanic mother vibrated them delicately. She, herself, trembled between two summits in the distance, and even more so as she began to descend the western day. All of the leaves shook their shadows. Horizons emerged in their divine variations from the single one, coloring the mountain air.

There exists, I suppose, a hieroglyphic relation between the soul of man and the world he sees, “as the slug sweats out its slimy house on the pear-leaf, and the wooly aphids on the apple perspire their own bed.” I resolved to look and receive. What I received in the entering-in of Nature’s soft light was the soft light of my potential self. The land sang, as I sang in silence inside. Its glory, which was the outpouring of my own yet unknown glory through my eyes, spoke of all that is well in this world and in man. It had bloomed at once from the lower regions of my skull, where, like the tide of the sea split by Moses, the bone of my skull runs concave into the stem of things, where, in the central valley of my imagination, the world that once was and that will be lies between wheat stalks and trees of pomegranates in comatose repose, stricken now by a foreign parasite, and surviving only by the diligent care of that old Arcadian shepherd with his beard and his staff, nursed by the patter of the light feet of his children running about, his flock gently grazing.

The world and I await regeneration and the opening up of the things. Sickness and fear and half-ness wither me now but not for long. Now, pure light is coming through, and consuming all things. Pure light inside can only be light always outwarded. It is a sense of God, wherever. I know well that when the columns of Israelites ascended Mount Zion under the weight of their boulders for the Lord, no fewer than twenty lost their balance and fell far into the jagged valley. They died in strong devotion and did not to Gehenna go. And I have often been told of the Canaanite who in the same valley inhaled multiplied fumes and collapsed into the fire of his only son, turning his own flesh into many divine shades. Even the simple sunned workman, who painted Athens his own color, from his ladder nearly fell, once in late July. I rejoice in this and believe. For having transpired from me, the glory I saw replaced in me the death principle of nature and abolished all fear of my own horizon: How better to die than plunged into the fertile earth, staring at the sun, gasping last on a bed of wet leaves? What better last vision to see?

Do you enjoy reading the Nass?

Please consider donating a small amount to help support independent journalism at Princeton and whitelist our site.