The Rose & The Railway


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The Rose & The Railway: of Yeats & Nõ Being & Blooming on Line


 WB Yeats, the Japanese Nõ Theatre, Maud Gonne and Being in Relationship to Language

Audio Tracks include Aural Shadows, 8 Directions & Railway Lines: Trains o Thought

No Book / E Book  © 1999 / 2010 / 2016  including Hyper_Text_Music_L’image_Sound


presented at Vancouver New Music Festival 2001 *e-lounge*


ABILITIES EXPO! Celebrates the Art of the Possible –  The event was also noteworthy for being the launch of musician sylvi macCormac’s ambitious multimedia project, The Rose & The Railway. This combines the written word, with music and environmental recordings to delve back into the life and times of Irish poet WB Yeats. May 2010 ConnecTra Newsletter
Creating Opportunities for People with Disabilities


Aural Shadows

like ships that should never pass

lines that would never cross

cousins that could never kiss

from opposite sides of the tracks

with theremin on the radio

you are beautiful and gone

with breezes off the water

and the train slowing down

i was going to bring you a book of yeats

from the bookstore down the street

no realizing our hearts might never meet

we are our mothers daughters

and our fathers child

down by the water side

forever wild

like ships that should never pass

lines that would never cross

cousins that could never kiss

from opposite sides of the tracks

then why is our baby girl

more than ten years old

forever greater

than any gold

and do you still read that book of yeats

from the tower down the street

the one i gave you long ago

so our hearts might meet

were we just some aural shadows

through the sky

as upwords

shooting stars go by

like ships that should never pass

lines that would never cross

cousins that could never kiss

from opposite sides of the tracks

with dripsody on the radio

we are here and then gone

with breezes off the water

and the train slowing down

Theremin – electronic musical instrument which responds to movements of hands, inventor Leon Termen (1920’s Russia)

Dripsody – composition with sounds of water drops by Hugh LeCaine, electronic synthesis pioneer (1955 Canada)

on Raven Shadows CD

© 2006 sylvi & see through publishing


THE ROSE & THE RAILWAY intro-p12 w bio & notes


i set out to write an academic paper on Yeats and the Japanese Nõ theatre or at least his relationship to the Nõ in inspiring him towards writing his Plays for Dancers focussing on At the Hawk’s Well. Instead i ended up writing a poetic and philosophic paper that reflects upon the essence of Being in relationship to Language, Yeats’ relationship included, and draws upon the writing of Yeats, Zeami, Heidegger, Kukai, Joyce and others. There are many scholars far more studied than i who have written about the Nõ and Yeats and if i had written about Yeats and the Nõ it would not necessarily have shed any new light upon these fields. Rather by exploring the essence of Being in relationship to Language i hope that i have explored the Iki or Kokoro of Yeats and Nõ in a new way, reflecting on the Nõ as Hana or Flower as conceived by Zeami and as Nõ or Nõthingness, the 0 (zero) or silent echo of the void, that we can only dream of understanding. Leaving the meaning of No and the Flower open to multiple interpretations i hope to have created a space/scape/place for the reader/viewer/listener to feel and imagine the ground and sounds moving as language dancing in poetic light. This is a rather ‘odd’ essay (like an antique miniature train that is difficult to repair having an odd gauge) that will not pretend to be anything else. It draws upon my own strange relationship with Yeats and the Flower that transcends logic. i have worked with the metaphor of Railway Lines as the lines upon which we write/ride/read whether via paper or internet lines and as life lines, time lines, as virtual and actual train tracks/lines, the lines upon which we live and work and die … and the metaphor of the Rose as the Nõ flower. i have explored Yeats relationship with the Flower in light of his passion for language/art and for Maud Gonne. i must here note that Maud though poetically silent certainly had a life and will of her own, a revolutionary mind and a body of work, and is not to be confused with the romantic essence of a muse whose inspiration still moving haunts Yeats. In this essay i have lost and found myself in my own relationship to the love of language / art and the essence of the Flower. i have tried to note the sources from whom my thoughts were inspired though with scattered amounts of reading and conversing i can not be sure that i was always correct in doing so. i have touched upon Heidegger’s theory of Being speaking through us via Language with reference to others such as Eliot and Versenyi who echo these sentiments. i have quoted Irigaray, Levin, Merleau-Ponty, Carroll and others. My allusions or asides to Kukai and Sileus are playful and refer the reader to a possible etymology for our word ‘kooky’ (eccentric? could we mean Kukai or another philosopher, Kuki?) and call to extend ourselves compassionately to understand that which is difficult to comprehend whether it be the language of poetic philosophy or the Rose / Nõ Flower. i am inspired by these authors or i would not refer to them so frequently. My apologies to any whom i have not given full credit. i have also left some of the essay single spaced to allow room for wider double spaced trains of thought. Finally, i hope that the reader will enjoy the poetic directions that this Nõ essay begins to explore. It is abstract and will certainly admit probably more creative than academic. It is more than likely an abstract for a larger work/thesis. As there can be Nõ end to this kind of writing i hope that the reader will read this in light of this as the beginning of a much deeper exploration of philology, of Yeats & Nõ Flower … on line … online … on line … online … on line … online … on line ……….


page 1

standing north looking east cherry blossoms floating still

the fine actor who possesses the true Flower has at his disposal the principle of blooming and fading.

These principles are surely not simply to grasp though logic alone. (Zeami, 31)

With an intuitive and intellectual understanding of the Kokoro1 of the Japanese Nõ, William Butler Yeats was in Ireland at the turn of this century developing his own work of vastness expressed simply. Working with masks to reveal rather than conceal the mythopoeic and symbolic, with cloths to convey complex patterns of imaginary space-time, and with poetic text to transmit transcendent thoughts of life and living, Yeats was able to tap into and translate an ancient Kokoric Echo found in Japanese Nõ and develop a new Nõ whose waves still resonate in a contemporary world. i hope to explore Yeats’ relationship with Nõ as an artistic discipline that corresponded to and echoed his own Kokoro. Basing some of my thinking around notions of Heidegger, Zeami and others, trying to develop this further along trans-cognitive lines, i will attempt to articulate that this ancient Sound is Being itself speaking through Yeats and indeed all artists whom act as finely tuned mediums of the Echological.

Being or Nature exerts itself through artists acting as conduits, where ‘art is not a thing, but dis-closure’ of Being, and the artist is part of the process of disclosing the essence of Being (Versenyi, 93). Like wood, Yeats was prime material for Language to assert itself. The son of a painter, studied in the arts and being a poet himself, forever in unrequited love with the Rose / Maud Gonne, Yeats had it in his being to resonate with the artistry of Nõ and it’s Iki2 or essence. The essence of the Flower was bound to bloom in Yeats as he was very much in love with the Rose and Mythopoeics. Since his readings and research included Heidegger and Nietzsche, the Upinshads and Buddhist literature (a large library of western and eastern poetry, philosophy and metaphysics) and ancient Celtic tales, he became adept at understanding the greater artistic, spiritual and mythological significance of the Nõ.

Yeats began blooming because the seed flowered there. He underwent a transformation when he came into contact with the essence of Nõ. It was an iki-logical echo that reverberated through the body of Yeats. He responded to the logics of mythology and theatre of synaesthesia, to it’s total work aesthetic. Combining and recombining arts of myth and movement, music and silence, image and words, like the Nõ and it’s Hana (Flower), Richard Wagner’s Ring and Gesamkunstwerk (total art work) and Beckett’s Audio Play All that Fall, Yeats’ At the Hawk’s Well makes one highly receptive to the essence of meanings and significance, by giving the viewer space and time to contemplate, thereby ‘opening the Kokoro of the audience’ (Pilgrim, 1).

But what was Yeat’s Guardian of the Well guardian of? Was she Guardian of the Well of Words? Was she the guardian awareness that Language needs caretaking in the house of being?3 Is the ‘guardian awareness (etymologically, a Wahr-nehmrung, an understanding already protecting/preserving our ontological attunement)'(Levin, 255)? Are we in service as speakers of Language, literally guardians of Language, of Being, of Truth where Truth is Being in Language, a continual becoming? Are we part of a continual realization/manifestation of Being with Language becoming through Daesin (being-in-the-world)4 in joy and pain, in those things that make us human?


page 2:

On Nõ journey without a map with only a compass of compassion with inspirations & expressions

‘What is the reach and range of our compassion? Through the continuum of communicativeness and responsiveness, all beings, and even the Being of beings itself, can touch and move us… Even at a distance, we can be touched by compassion … Even at a distance, we can touch others with our compassion.’ (Levin, 254-268) In the Nõ (theatre of synaesthesia) and Yeats’ At Hawks Well does the guardian awareness live taking care of the immortal well of words, web of words, of Language, of still moving water? Was Yeats aware of what he was writing or was he like the Rose an interlocutor5 for the echological?

‘The Rose is without why; it blooms because it blooms, It cares not for itself, asks not if it’s seen’.6 On Being and Blooming, Angelus Sileus posits that the Rose blooms because it blooms while it does not question why. Perhaps it is we who are gifted to be in the presence of Roses and questions of Why. And of Beckett’s orphan in All that Fall … ? … everyone wonders why the train is running late. Only in the end they realize an orphan fell upon the tracks … run over by the infinite train … train of life … train(s) of thought … the soul train … kokoro train. We are each and everyone like that orphan thrown by fate upon on the railway tracks … the lines of time … on the time line … … going on and over under and through our skin … reborn continually in Language while Mrs Bloom lives upon the pages where James Joyce blooms his own Rose becoming upon the lines … Yes … Yes … Yes …

Yeats held the book open touching No thing … expressing itself through his writing echoing ancient voices with guardian awareness and old tales of Cuchulainn and the Rose. Was the Guardian Hawk of many disguises – Bricrui7, the Trickster / Raven of many forms? Was the old one, the young one and the hawk three and not three8 – without distinction beyond form? Yeats was reading The Tale of Genji, his contact with the eastern philosophy resounding to his Core. And what of ‘The Double Vision of Michael Robartes’ dancing upon the Page? Is the brush that flew out of Kukai’s hand to paint caligraphy on the page the same brush that Yeats held to write At the Hawk’s Well? Through Yeats there became an introduction to Asian Philosophy, to a still intense bodiliness that echoed Celtic Pantheistic/Mythological celebration/awareness of the Hana – Flower – Rose – Iki of Being.

‘The non-naturalistic style, the symbolism, the masks, the costumes, the sylized action,

the use of chorus and musicians, the stage bare except for the drawing of a huge pine tree on the wooden backwall,

and the minimum of properties all coincided with Yeats’ own ideas of staging.’ (Sekine)

The Guardian of the Well in At the Hawk’s Well was a Guardian of Awareness of?

of a kokoro sensibility? of kokoric (of choir + echo) of sensitivity to ancient voices of kokori? (plural)

Yeats & Nõ: Yes & Nõ . . . . Nõ & Yeats: Nõ & Yes . . . . Nõ Yes Nõ Yes 0 1 0 1 Nõ Yes Nõ Nõ 0 Nõ Nõ 0 Nõ

Yeats’ Poetry and Prose and Theatre Work like Nõ, a total art of accomplishment – synaesthesia

including dance, mask, music, choir, poetry … dance theatre, music drama, dance poetry …

where Nõ mask theatre includes 150 types of masks, 5 characters (Teele) with the Hana – Flower –

unfolding via Jo Ha Kyu … beginning middle end … Jo Ha Kyu … slowly rising to cresendoes & falling away slowly …

with pauses of Ma … | // | // | // | … with pauses of Ma … | // | // | // | … with pauses of Ma … Ma …

Railway Lines in colloquial music theory are 2 diagonal lines that serve as a rest / pause in time | // |

therefore a Musical Ma … | // | // | // | // | // | // | // | // | … serving as a pause in time … Ma | // |


page 3:

in the end i will have to admit i know this much and Nõ thing more …

for i am just aNõther Blooming idiot down by the sea … faeries and flowers in my hair …

Nõ and the Flower (Rose) – Being exists expressing existence humanity transcendence in our own reflection on the beauty of petals and pain of thorns. Reflecting our own lives we see and smell and touch the beloved Rose. We are imbued with the breadth of Being, the Breath of Being, of Nõ Hana (Flower) Prana (essence/Iki) known through Kokoro – heart mind spirit soul. If we have Nõ inspiration we have Nõ love for the Rose. If we have inspiration we have love for the Rose.

Art bids us touch and taste and hear and see the world (Yeats, E&I, 292)

Yeats was inspired and informed by the Japanese Nõ theatre whose sensibilities lie in Buddhist poetry and philosphy, especially regarding the concept of still intensity or still movement. This still movement extends/expands our sense of space and time so that viewer may pass through a way to be-coming.

This level will be termed one of a pure Feeling that Transcends Cognition. (Zeami, 91)

Nõ inspiration comes from Buddhist & Shinto Philosophy and Poetry. Yeats understood the language of Nõ as Nõ is poetry, as Nõ is the Rose ever flowering. Nature brings out or touches Kokoro, going to the core, bringing out the vast depth and reaching toward endless heights, while human languages evolve through the web of words, through the ethernet, through our Mother Boards becoming and we are Thrown by Fate into Daesin (being-in-the-world) like butterflies upon the wheel of Nõ train while Being is black falling against this snow … falling like petals through this snow white paper tree

The ‘Quality of being human – Daesin – being there in the world of phenomena in contrast to divinity’ where ‘being human is to be thinking’ (Versenyi, 12) i am, therefore i think ‘the guardian of the disclosure of Being in thought and word’ (Ibid, 111) is our communication of Being, the essence of the Flower. If ‘Thought in yielding to being is engaged by being for saying the Truth of Being’ and ‘Thinking is nothing but the truth of Being, accomplished by Being itself rather than man … thought is the light which makes sight and vision (theoria) possible and accomplishes the act – the disclosure of Being – which is the ground of all (practical) action … advent/event of Being (ad-venire: to come to, to arrive) (e-venire: to come out)'(Versenyi, 112)then thought is a revelation of Being.

The Nature of reason is for the reason of Nature, that Nature/Being itself should be disclosed through language. This is to be seen, heard and felt most intensely through synaesthetic expression, where all the senses are activated, all the centres of consiousness are illuminated into the ‘deep of the mind'(Yeats, CNP, 1916). In this awareness of the essence of Being, the essential nature, the being of being, the being of Daesin, the Moira (nature, gate) of Being we become involved. Here the Nõ well of the Hawk is not the water itself but the way to the water. Here the water is not material but is the spiritual waters of words leading further to the Language of Being/Nature where one maybe swept away by the current , by the wind, the words, the wings of the Sidhe to an understanding. Yeats’ connection with Nõ was/is therefore a remembering, a correspondance with Nature such as the ancients knew and lost and discover again and again. This Ringroad of Eternal Return9 to understanding sets us free between the spaces. Here the ground shifts. We are on fluid ground, having gone into the gap, the abyss where the stage is an endless horizon of creativity. Here we partake of the water from the well having taken the ringroad home to philology and the love of Nature. Here we become immersed in the voices of the ages and i have lost my train of thought but not the train of action.

i am still taking that Nõ train further. i am just beginning this journey home to Nõ where.

Where for music to be Language it must carry semiotic dust/dirt,

it must carry the DNA of sound that we might understand10.

Will you travel with me on this Nõ journey Nõ where?


PAST A tale begun in other days, When summer suns were glowing

PRESENT A simple chime, that served to time The rhythm of our rowing

FUTURE (From Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll)

to be continued . . .


page 4

of symbolic structures and Nõ Art of accomplishment

of undefined defined, spirit made flesh, transcendent told

catching it by mind is like trying to catch a catfish with a gourd (josetsu)11

in still movement, in silent music, in blinding visions do we know the essence of Being?

Through Yeats we see and hear a flowering of art, a Celtic introduction to Asian Philosophy to an intensity/bodiliness that remembered and echoed Pantheistic/Mythological awareness. T/here the Flower – Hana – the Rose is forever blooming on in over and under Railway Lines ……………… West Coast Canada masks like Nõ masks – symbology in simplicity – naturally emerging, revealing nature of a kokoro sensibility – kokori simplicity – kokoric? (of choir or echo) kokori? (plural)

In touch with modern dancer Michio Ito (who had seen Nõ as a child in Japan) and poet Ezra Pound (who completed Ernest Fenellosa’s trans-lations of Japanese Nõ plays) and others who had attended or studied aspects of Nõ, and reading several written texts of Nõ as well as working with Ezra, Yeats was as informed as he could be without actually ever being at a performance. He chose his words well to reflect the importance of Nõ plays calling his book Certain Noble Plays of Japan. (italic texts mine) Certain – definite, exact, precise, determined … determined plays … distinct noble plays of Japan. Though some critics will suggest he knew little of Nõ, his books reveal he was quite knowledgeable as he speaks of the structure and the spirit of Nõ much as Zeami writes of Nõ. Eliot also reveals this artistic sensibility when he writes in Tradition and Individual Talent of significant emotion that transcends personality, as ancestors voices speak directly/certainly through us when art is of the Iki (essence).

What happens is a continual surrender of himself as he is at the moment to something which is more valuable.

The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality. (Eliot, 40)

‘… Genji reveals its Japanese origins. It is loosely constructed and inconclusive, and it is strongly lyrical, especially in its treatment of nature and the fusion of man and place and season, of foreground and background. It is a happy combination, then, of what can seem ‘modern’ and immediate to the reader from a far-distant land and century, and what must necessarily seem alien and exotic, though not in an unpleasant sense.’ (The Tale of Genji Intro P XV)

‘In a certain reign … ‘ (Shikibu, 3) … long ago … once upon a time a story is about to be told … Yeats read the tale of Genji in the early 1900’s. What ancient magic touched his Core? What ancient spark ignited his flame to burn ever slower ever quicker ever gentle ever strong? What ancient echoes called him homeword? Yeats loves Gonne & Language, as i too love the mythological and mythopoeic Rose & Railway. He wrote prolifically, the well of words overflowing through him onto the place of the page/stage where ‘place itself is that toward which there is locomotion’. (Irigaray, 39)

i am taking that Nõ Train to the Truth of Being as ‘when separated from place, the thing feels an attraction to place as a condition of existence.’ (ibid)

i am in Nõ Train returning homeword.


page 5 :

Can the silent echo be known through touch vision hearing? Nõ? Nõ questions asked? Nõ thing asked?

? Harmony (1) & Horizon (–) = + ? Melody (1) & Horizon (0) = ¿ ?

The language of the true self emerges from this silence (Kotoh)

With birth and death and continual becoming

life and phenomena are perhaps best understood and communicated

through living and thoughtful emotions through embodied and shared vocal and physical gestures.

open text & aural shadows / hyperlinks & moral shadows

Student: is there a text in this classroom?

Teacher: there is Nõ text in this classroom.12

in gardens where spacetime of endless horizons are conveyed

and distant becoming flows through Yeats’ mind/body of work

on Nõ bridge going east going west … travelling in 8 directions….

only the way to enlightenment can be talked about … the perfect sea of enlightenment cannot be talked about (Kukai)

This is Nõ book, a Kukai book saying the Sileus things one might ever hear, as i articulate dreams upon a page, upon this electronic tree by the sea, where Voices call me homeword and Nõ book for the new millenium is Being born. New Nõ via ancient echoes presently becomes as people like flowers bloom. ‘The idea of a single history or logic of history, is in a sense, implied in the least human exchange, in the least social perception … all civilizations belong to the same universe of thought since the least use of language implies an idea of truth’ (Merlau-Ponty, 10) Are these logical echoes of an echo logical (grk oikos-house, logos-word) being? is this the logos of logic? logic of logos? logos of language? logic of language? logic of mythology? Telling, saying, revealing the logos of mythology, the mythology of logos, where mythology is a discourse of logic in logical logos (rational grounding) where language and being is philological ontology being a discourse of being by a being of discourse and the language of being, being of language, reveals we are logical beings, being of logic and reasoning beings, being of reason with reasons of being, with a nature of reason to understand the reason of nature while we listen to reason for reasons to listen and reasons to care for the intensity of life and living, for poetry and mythopoeic revelations, Yeats was at the foreground of expressing his own poetry and the Kokoro of the times … the theatre of synaesthesia … qesamkunstwerk (total work of art) like an older Nõ coming into being in the 21st Century..

slowly thinking through thoughtful gestures on the stage / horizon / plain / plane / train

where the rain inside the train is infinite rain and ‘expressive gestures … are a first language’ (Ponty, 7)

Ontological attunement becomes moving gestures as thinking … thinking as movement 13

with Nõ boats in the water, Yes Lights on the water, and Canadian geese flying through

window trains … sail wires … flapping of wings … sounding of air whoosh whoosh


page 6:

if Being = Nature and Language = 01010101 is the Nature of .com therefore Communication ?

How to record Butterflies, CPR Phones & Ravens on the Line ?

Nõ Book Unpublished by See Through House

Is the Nature of Language the Language of Nature where Nature/Being is speaking through us?

Is Nature’s transcendent beauty and earthly pain personified by Rose petals and thorns?

Is Human Nature’s being in the world personified by bicycle pedals and wheels that go round?

If we have Nõ inspiration we have Nõ love for the Rose.

If we have inspiration we have love for the Rose.

‘I: The passing of the past is something else than what has been.

J: How are we to think that?

I: As the gathering of what endures …

J: …which as you said recently, endures as what grants endurence …

I: ….and stays the Same as the message…

J: … which needs us as messengers.’ (Heidegger in OWL p54)

The Nature of language? The Language of Nature? We undergo … endure it, suffer it, recieve it as it strikes us and submit to it … touching the innermost nexus of our existence (Stothers). Language is the Nature of Being (Human). We are Beings of Language. Language is the Nature of our Being. Humans wear the masks of Language, revealing ‘the innermost nexus of our existence’, touching the root and core of the Flower while the Flowers centre touches our innermost core. Nature / Being Language is writing us with questions of


… with questions of the Nature of Being.

In Samuel Beckett’s All that Fall, the orphan is thrown upon the Railway Lines.

In Samuel Beckett’s All that Fall, the orphan is thrown upon the lines of audio tracks.

Thrown like a butterfly upon the wheel of field recording it was always and only love

The ‘essential being of language is towards truth’ (Versenyi) like a focus on labours of love.

If Truth is unspoken it still resides, endures, echoes, like the Om, unlike the Ohm,

empowering lines through power lines where Soundscape like the art of Nature Writing is Cinema for the Ear.

‘J: There is a Japanese word that says the essential being of language, rather than being of use as a name for speaking and for language. I: The matter itself requires that, because the essential being of language cannot be anything linguistic. The same holds true for the phrase ‘house of being’. J: From a great distance I sense a kinship between our word that is now before my mind, and your phrase. I: The phrase gives a hint of the nature of language. Then that hint would be the word’s basic characteristic.(OWL, 24) J: … language is in itself metaphysical. (OWL, 35)


page 7:

Nõ canoe Nõ paddle Nõ train Nõ plane Nõ boat Nõ book

Skywatcher, do you see? Earthwatcher, do you hear? 14

a vast stillness

‘the poet would set before us all those things which we feel and imagine in silence’ (Yeats, CNP),

{ lang as 10101010, as conceptual, as process }{ parole as concrete utterance, as word(s)} (Stothers)

Student: is there a text in this classroom? Teacher: there is Nõ text in this classroom

Nõ – echoing knowledge of rich body of language hovering above the tonal centre

being & time : a bodily time / embodied time and thought / embodied voice and space

sound and thought happening in time … around us … through us

‘All sounds, all colours, all forms, either because of their preordained energies or because of long association, evoke indefinable and yet precise emotions, or, as I prefer to think, call down among us certain disembodied powers, whose footsteps over our hearts we call emotions'(Yeats in Sekine, XV)

Yeats & Well, Heidegger & House, Eliot & Emotion, Beckett & Body, Zeami & Flower, Sileus & Rose, Kukai & Brush, Artists & Nõ thing … conduits, mediums, channels, interlocutors, echo locaters, echo / eco logical locaters of kokoric echoes blooming like Roses with questions of why. That’s the Sileus thing i ever heard, that’s the Kukiest thing i ever heard. But Bunraku15 – is thing music – where a puppet is a thing & Nõ thing imbued with essence, presence – Nõ essence, Nõ presence and Nõ Iki is the Flowers essence – essence of the Rose slowly unfolding in time and space in that place where ‘Music flows through time'(Meyer, 7) through us where we are ephemeral & stable / wandering & dwelling16 in Heidegger’s House.

Monocycle riders sat in the middle of a very large wheel. They leaned to the side to turn corners.

They leaned back to stop. The big wheel turned around them. (Stothers)

‘The whole, in fact, does not change place but moves in a circle. The universe turns round and round? Moves around?'(Irigaray, 54). Is this like language? Are we on the wheel of life with all our words circling around us? Are we on the wheel of words with all our lives circling around us? Is this like life? ‘… could it be that anything that moves in a circle moves in relation to another? In two directions? With a place of attraction. A place of place. Where bodies embrace?’ (Irigaray, 55) In meeting in the middle of Nõ essay have we entered ‘into a tactile relationship’? Have i reached out from my centre to Nõ other, or to your centre, across the tracks to the ‘caress of crossroads between’?17

Art carries us / transports us over Nõ bridge on Nõ train in Nõ Boat up Nõ Creek to Nõ where

on railway tracks: with images of forever … people’s stories on line, on-line, on railway lines

railway lines in colloquial music theory are 2 diagonal lines that serve as a rest / pause in time | // |

therefore a Musical Ma … | // | // | // | // | // | // | // | // | … serving as a pause in time


page 8:

becoming language, language becoming, being becoming us through the language between us

meaning – me an i ng – me & i ng of language – standing / meeting on the bridge of Nõ meaning

standing on the bridge of Nõ meaning moving towards an understanding in the middle

‘Emotion or affect is aroused when a tendency to respond is arrested or inhibited …

Music that is in a key creates the tendency to resolve or look for resolve’ (Meyers)

How do you carry thunder home with you? in a zip disk? in a CD?

Here i am playing the contours of the mountains, with words upon this Nõ tree

of Theory & Roses, of Why & Why Nõt, of Being & Roses, of Being & Blooming.

Thrown like a butterfly upon the wheel by Fate into Daesin (being in the world)

into Truth via word, Freedom via song, Blooming with Nõ questions why

i am on Nõ ground, on Nõ bridge where Nõ train and Nõ sails carry us Nõ where

where Language is Being in the evolutionary Dream

Dialectic self transcendence into and beyond Plato’s cave (paedia, education) (Versenyi)

through and beyond Yeats’ Well (into the abyss beyond the ground where silence echoes logically)

with Joyce’s Blooming and Kukai’s Feathered Pen within Heidegger’s House where growth is unfolding like a

Hana / Flower / Rose and training unfolds like a Flower or grows like a Tree

as Art or Flower Garden is studied and cared for still intensely over a long period of time18

There’s nothing but our own red blood / can make a right Rose Tree.19

The simple cloth unfolds the blue well/veil/sea/sky where language speaks through us as conduits, where the Well of the Hawk is Nõ well, where wisdom resides in the water words. Like the simple cloth unfolding the blue well/veil/sea/sky the spacious sky sets no barrier for the light (image) to shine therethrough (Kukai). Is this alethia – Truth, disclosure where the etymology of blooming is physis, growth, education, paideia ?

‘The notions of Nature and Reason … mask a constantly experienced moment,

the moment when an existence becomes aware of itself, grasps itself, and expresses its own meaning.’ (Merlau-Ponty, 11)

The rose is without why (: that’s the Sileus thing i’ve ever heard 🙂 while i am trying to ride/write/build a trans-cognitive Railway Line over Nõ bridge to Nõ where, opening the way for Kukai’s brush to fly across this page … and i am Nõ thing more than Blooming in the Kosmos/mundi/world, forwording emails to the moon, sending railway lines home across the sea while reading Heidegger going back with semiotic dust clinging to all our things … semiotic things clinging to all our dust. While we wear masks of Being in the temple of being, in the temples of language, with language of the temple in towers of language … in railway stations of music … where ‘utensils, technology have an intermediate position between men, things and works of art’, with the ‘loneliness of the way home in the dust that clings to the soil … the essence of these boots … to belong here … to gather into themselves the whole world of this man, to be another invisible yet all the more significant and comprehensive bond between man & earth, to be in some way a whole … where truth like magic needs instruments … where creative man is subject to truth … the media of disclosure’ (Versenyi, 92), here am i losing and finding myself upon Nõ trains of thought.

to be continued . . .


page 9:

In the tower where i would write Nõ book to Nõ

one am i walking in Yeats’ shoes or is he walking in mine

where Nõ ground is shifting as i fall off the edge into that eternal Nõ thing?

Jung20 though we are … Young though we may be … do we know the essence of Nõ ?

‘The creative act creates the work. But the essence of the work (truth) is the original source of the essence of creation … The work is a symbol … serves best when it itself– this painting or piece of stone–recedes and makes something else (the truth of Being) shine (as phainomenon to phanotaton) … it is truth itself that projects itself into the work and summons us into the fray so that we may receive and transmit–but never initate–disclosure. Man … He is the humble servant claimed by the truth of Being, and engaged by Being for the presentation of its trust: truth. Man is mere mask through which another power speaks. Man is ‘the persona, the mask of being’ … ‘ (Versenyi & ‘Heidegger’ 101)

Though raindrops are many, they are of the same water

Though rays of light are not one, they are of the same body

The form and mind of that One are immeasurable;

The ultimate reality is vast and boundless.

(Kukai in Shaner, 86)

Though leaves are many, the root is one

Through all the lying days of my youth

I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;

Now i may wither into the truth.

(Yeats, CP, 94)

At the railway station …

Therein ‘a mask made by an artist portrays the soul of the character as concieved by the poet’, (Craig, 44) as through Yeats’ mask / work we may discover an introduction to Buddhist philosophy … …stillness… a body/mind awareness that echoed Celtic pantheistic / mythological celebrations of Nature, like that of the eternal Nõ – Flower – Hana – Iki – essence – still more ancient echoes appearing looking east looking west with Magnolia and Forsythia by the sea. In this transubstantiation21 the spirit of Being comes through the masks worn over and over through time with kokoric sensibility and simplicity … still ancient echoes becoming through still moving masks as a chinese jar still moves perpetually in its stillness (Eliot,CP,180) Yeats writes of Nõ, in Certain Noble Plays of Japan,’The adventure itself is often the meeting with ghost, god or goddess at some holy place or much-legended tomb; and god, goddess or ghost reminds me at times of our own Irish legends and beliefs, which once it may be differed little from those of the Shinto worshipper’.(CNP, XIV)

… of heart upon a page, of kokoro on record, of building Railway Lines home across the sea

while onomatopoiea slams the door open and i am thrown upon the tracks

to be blooming through Railway Lines that run under and over all of us,

Roses and Blooming Idiots in love with Roses,

Marine Buildings & life by the sea, Railway Lines & trains of thought,

Sun Towers & writing … the Touch of heARTiculation …

‘J: … a thinker would prefer to hold back the word that is to be said, not in order to keep it for himself, but to bear it toward his encounter with what is to be thought.’ (OWL, 26)


page 10

In Beckett’s All that Fallwe waited for the train – the orphan never made it – the pain of the world Daesin knows

suffering pain and transcendent beauty like the new born or the

Rose upon the Rail.

Thorns and Petals falling over under onto through lines like Daesin born into the world where every body bleeds

and we are part of the butoh22 of becoming … part of the butoh body … part of the dance of life …

and the work of our bodies becomes a body of work … as a body of work can only come from the work of our bodies.23

Butoh in the body … butoh on the brain … wheel butoh … butoh telling?

we only believe in those thoughts which have been concieved not in the brain but in the whole body

(Yeats, CNP, XVIII)

Body and mind, thinking and praxis, are the same animal with different names on the way to something … till clair audient hearing sees the DNA of sound and ‘transcendental (wo) man’ becomes ‘a reflection on this Logos which gives us the task of vocalizing a hitherto mute world'(Merlau-Ponty 10).

Thinking out loud – in the case of philosophy are we dreaming? Are we but passengers on this Nõ train? Could i have dreamt the Rose and the Railway into Being? Could i mouth the words and hear them echo back across the silence? Phonemes & mythemes, words rather than noise, breathing into being and learning meaningful sounds & mythologies, a continual mythopoeic becoming of still moving ancient echoes where marigolds are delicate like the Flowers of Forsythia by the sea whose Roots are strong as Rails while Nõ body plays on solo music stand.

When ground does not fall away but rises up to meet us there is Nõ abyss between body & mind, between zen (wo)men & hi fi tea at the Railway station observing crows and ravens while clocks tick and time is of the essence where we are in context with sound happening all around us, as Kukai as that may sound. And this Nõ book in reflection becomes like Roses blooming reflected on the page, flowing like alphabetic (love) letters, flowering like love where time travels with the semiotic ghosts24 of theory and material and sound matters … where the sound of Roses really does matter.

with productive theoria and proactive praxis the Rose blooms through Railway Lines

with productive theoria and proactive praxis any thing and Nõ thing is possible


page 11:

With ‘sound particles bouncing off objects and hitting nerve endings’ (Meyers)

the DNA of sound travels with the semiotic ghost in particles along with the waves.

If the root is not clear the significance is not near. If the significance is not clear the root is not near.

Meeting in the middle via signs, via sound, via heart beat, via love, via pain, via emotion …where Cyborg destiny involves imagining the possibilities of extending touch through tech to heart … here language is evolving out of experience as ‘Experience is our window to the world and pre-suppositionless experience is the most authentic means of acquiring wisdom’ (Shaner, 83) and ‘the greatest art symbolises not those things that we have observed so much as those things that we have experienced’. (Yeats E&I, 196)

How could i ever articulate this relationship with Yeats and Nõ thing except to the ghost that is Gon(n)e?

Perhaps the only way to tell this tale is from the perspective of a poet in love with a figure who is also gone.

Writing to the semiotic ghost that is gone like Gonne was always gone to Yeats i am forever writing to the void,

into the Gap / Abyss, to the silent Rose who does not speak to me of words but of Langue itself speaking.

Here, where of all gifts Love is the greatest, the enigmatic Rose is a mirror of our love for being and being in love,

though the pain of thorns is as present as the beauty of soft petals.

Here the Rose is a reflection of our Being.

Here the Rose speaks to us of petals and thorns, of many things and Nõ thing.

Here the Rose speaks to us of the essence of Being.

How do we take the measure of a love that changes our condition from mortal to immortal …

an overture to a future that is still and always open?

(Irigaray, 19)


page 12:

Writing this from the perspective of i … because there can be Nõ other way for me to write except from the perspective of eye … i … kokoro …where ‘Eye is an organ of sight that converts light impinging on it into nervous impulses … and in vertebrates the impulses travel from the eye via the optic nerve to the brain, where they produce the sensation of seeing’ (Webster 336). Thus while our eyes and hands extend to touch the meaning on the page what does the Water say?

Will the Well show us the way home? Will Being show us the way home?

This is the most difficult peice i’ve ever written because it reaches so close to home, to Yeats and his connection to something timeless, to Being speaking through him, to love speaking through him. Like Yeats i have Nõ control over this passionate poetry and prose as i feel so connected to the soundscape and to the poetry that rings in my ears, to the theatre of synaesthesia, to the kindred arts. And i have to write about Beckett’s All that Fall and why the train was late. i have to articulate Being and Blooming. It must be academically sound and creative. i am afraid i will not be able to articulate as well as i would have hoped. i’m afraid i don’t fully understand what an ‘ontological difference/awareness’ is? i’m almost certain this will be more creative than academic.

Maybe i should listen to the wisdom of Flowers, to cherry blossoms and Forsythia by the sea,

and write this as an open ended Nõ text about

the Rose and the Railway

about Nõ Flowers and Language Being and Blooming on line … online … on line … online … on line …

i like the Railway because of infinity. The Nõ Train goes round and round.

The mythopoeic Railway like water from the Well flows forever. It is as if Yeats spoke to me there.

It is as if the Railway went on forever and ever and this is all about writing and the heart articulating.

i do not understand it all but i know that i am compelled to write this Nõ book.

Is this just poetry or purely academic, just academic or purely poetry?

i am compelled by something, by the articulation of Kokoro, by Being articulating, by Nõ thing articulating.

This is a kind of ecstatic writing, all the while my heart is beating and breaking,

searching for an illusive insight or reverberation, correspondance, some way to be home, safe ‘n sound.

i must find this in myself ultimately. Each and everyone must for we are utimately alone with Nõ thing.

Nõ thing and Nõ way must be known alone through the perspective of i / kokoro.

PAST . . . A tale begun in other days, When summer suns were glowing –

PRESENT . . . A simple chime, that served to time The rhythm of our rowing –

FUTURE . . . (From Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There )

to be cont…


TH ROSE & TH RAILWAY Bibliography & Footnotes/Earnotes


Beckett, Samuel. ‘All that Fall’ Krapp’s Last Tape and Other Dramatic Pieces. US:Grove Press 1960

Bohlmann, Otto. Yeats and Nietzsche. UK: MacMillan. 1982 (Y&N)

Carroll, Lewis. Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. US: Random House. 1946

Conway, Jill Kerr. True North. Canada: Vintage Canada Editions. 1995

Craig, Gordon. source? page 44 of a book about Yeats.

Eliot, T.S. Collected Poems. US: Harcourt, Brace & Company. 1963 (CP)

Eliot, T.S. ‘Tradition and Individual Talent’ in Selected Prose. Kermode, F. (Ed.) US: Harcourt, Brace & Company. 1975

Engelberg, Edward. The Vast Design: Patterns in W.B. YeatsÕs Aesthetic. Canada: University of Toronto Press. 1974

Erikson, Stephen A. Langauge and Being: An Analytic Phenomenology. US: Yake University Press. 1970

Fish, Stanley. Is there a text in this class? : The authority of interpretive communities US: Cambridge Mass: University of Harvard Press. 1980

Gould, Glenn. ‘The Idea of North’ in Solitude Trilogy. CBC, 1986 (audio)

Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Macquarrie, John and Robinson, Edward.(Trans.) US: Harper. 1962

Heidegger, Martin. On the Way to Language (OWL) Hertz, P.D. (Trans.)US: Harper & Row. 1971 (OWL)

Heidegger, Martin. What is Called Thinking? Nanda Anshan, Ruth. (Ed.) US: Harper and Row. 1968 (WCT)

Irigaray, Luce. An Ethics of Sexual Difference Burke, Carolyn, Gill, Gillian C. US: Cornell University Press.

Joyce, James. Ullysses. US: Vintage Books. 1961

Kirosawa, . Dreams. Audio Film

Kotoh, Tetsuaki. ‘Language and Silence: Self-Inquiry in Heidegger and Zen’ Parkes G. (ed.) Heidegger and Asian Thought US: University of Hawaii. 1987

Levin, David. ‘Mudra as Thinking’ Parkes, G. (ed.) Heidegger and Asian Thought US: University of Hawaii Press. 1987

May, Reinhard. Heidegger’s Hidden Sources: East Asian Influences on his work. Parkes, Graham. (Trans.) GB, US, Canada: Routledge. 1996

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. ‘An Unpublished Text’ Edie, J.M. (ed.) The Primacy of Perception US: Northwestern University Press. 1964

Meyer, Leonard B. Emotion and Meaning in Music. US: University of Chicago Press. 1956

Okri, Ben. Astonishing the Gods. Canada: Little, Brown & Company. 1995

Pilgrim, Richard B. ‘Some Aspects of Kokoro in Zeami’

Pound, Ezra. ‘In a Station of the Metro’ in Selected Poems US: Penguin. 1956/57.

Sekine, Masura and Murray, Christopher. Yeats and the Noh: A Comparitive Study UK: Colin Smythe. 1990

Shaner, D.E. ‘A Phenomenologic Perspective of Kukai and Dogen’ The Bodymind Experience in Japanese Buddhism US: State University of New York Press. 1985

Shikibu, Murasaki. The Tale of Genji. Seidensticker, Edward (Trans.) US: Vintage.1990

Sileus, Angelus. Der Cherubinische Wandersmann (1657) book1, no. 289 – see VersŽnyi p149

Stothers, Lee. FPA 311 – The Interperforming Body: East West Perspectives. Lectures, SFU. 1999

Teele, Rebecca. Nõ/Kyõgen Masks and Performance. US: Mime Journal. 1984

Versenyi Lazlo. Heidegger, Being, and Truth. US: Yale Univeristy. 1965

Verslius, Arthur. Sacred Earth: The Spiritual Landscape of Native America. US: Inner Traditions1992

Webster. The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictinary of the English Language. US: Lexicon. 1988

Yeats, W.B. Autobiographies UK: Bracken Books. 1995

Yeats, W.B. The Autobiography of William Butler Yeats. US: Macmillan. 1953

Yeats W.B. Certain Noble Plays of Japan. UK: Cuala Press. 1916

Yeats W.B. The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats Finnerman, R.J (Ed.) US: Collier.1983,1989.

Yeat W.B. Essays and Introductions US: Macmillan. 1962

Yeats W.B. ‘Samhain: 1905’ in Explorations UK: Macmillan. 1962

Zeami ‘Style and the Flower’ Rimmer, J. et al. (eds.) On the Art of Nõ Drama US: Princeton Universtiy Press 1984


Footnotes & Earnotes : for complete sources see Bibliography

1 Kokoro – though translations are many Kokoro can be translated to Heart Mind Spirit Soul or I.

2 Iki – in Heidegger’s A Dialogue on Language,(p 43-45) when the Inquirer asks, the Japanese scholar refers to Iki as ‘the gracious … the breath of the stillness of illuminous light …the pure delight of the beckoning stillness. The breath of stillness that makes this beckoning delight come into its own is the reign under which that delight is made to come’ which i refer to as essence, thinking of the essence of Being. Interestingly Versenyi notes that Thought is the ‘grace’ of Being. (p111). i would like to posit that Iki is related to the word Echological.

3 Language is the House of Being – Heidegger’s oft quoted term found in several of his books.

4 Daesin (being-in-the world) – i refer the screener to Versenyi’s book Heidegger, Being and Truth for a fuller understanding of this term.

5 Interlocutor – Yeats term for conduit or medium. Yeats wife acted as an Interlocutor for A Vision. Was she unacknowledged collaborator?

6 Angleus Silieus – This poem is entitled ‘Without Why’. see Sileus Angelus in Bibliography

7 Bricrui – a Celtic figure and shape shifter appearing in various stories including At the Hawk’s Well

8 Three but not Three – a variation on Two but not Two of Kukai as conveyed by Lee Stothers

9 Ring Road … Eternal Return – terms of Richard Wagner and Friedrich Nietzsche respectively

10 DNA of Sound – a metaphysical poetic concept that i’ve been pondering which proving via poetry or phenomenologically may prove Nõ thing. 🙂

11 The slipperiness of truth … written by Josetsu noted in Stothers, Lee FPA 311 Lecture notes 2.1.99

12 Is there a Text in this Classroom? – this question inspired by the book Is There a Text in This Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities by Stanley Fish regarding the authority of reader and writer in the creation of text. The question is meant to refer to the conversation in On the Way to Language. The teachers responce comes from Lee Stothers at SFU spring 1999.

13 Ontological Attunement … gesture as thinking – see Levin listed in Bibliography

14 Eadwacer, do you hear? – From Wulf and Eadwacer a 7th Century Poem in the Exeter Book. Speculative translation reads Eadwacer as either Skywatcher or Earthwatcher.

15 Bunraku – puppet theatre of Japan – translates to thing music (Stothers)

16 ephemeral & stable … wandering dwelling – from Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, p 362-63) where dwelling & wandering are Heidegger’s terms … Western Front Magazine, 1999

17 Tactile relationship – Stothers’ term referring to Merlau-Ponty, Maurice. ‘An Unpublished Text’ Edie, JM. (ed.) The Primacy of Perception US: Northwestern University Press. Caress of crossroads -Stohers’ term referring to Irigaray, Luce. An Ethics of Sexual Difference. Burke, C et al (trans.) US:Cornell University Press.

18 Nõ Training – Training in the Nõ theatre of Japan requires years of intensive concentration. Zeami’s description of this discipline can be found in ‘Style and the Flower’ Rimmer, J et al. (eds,) On the Art of No Drama US: Priceton University Press 1984

19 ‘The Rose Tree’ – Yeats, from Collected Poems p183

20 Jung though we are – playful reference to Carl Jung’s concepts of Collective Consciousness

21 Transubstantiation – when the essence of Being / Flower travels through the mask / object

22 butoh – a modern dance form whose origins lay in Nõ theatre and in reaction to Nõ. Butoh is also known as Dance of the Feet or Dance of Darkness. Photos are from Butoh:Dance of the Dark Soul … Kazuo Ohno and Dancers. i refer the reader to two books for further info – Butoh: Dance of the Dark Soul and Butoh Shades of Darkness.

23 body of work … work of body – inspired by butoh modern dancers Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi of Vancouver based Kokoro Dance.

24 Semiotic Ghost(s) – a term that critics have given to writer William Gibson noted by Lee Stothers which i have extended to refer to anything/anyone which evokes thoughts of the past, present, future.

25 Guardian Awareness, Perceptual Thinking … – much of this paragraph is inspired by the writing of Levin in Mudra as Thinking and by Heidegger and Stother’s philosophical questions and positions.

26 Mona Lisa – a character in William Gibson’s book Mona Lisa Overdrive

27 difference – from the Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. Cuddon, J.A. (ed.) US:Penguin. 1991

28 Dionysius and Apollo – of Body (Dionysius) and of Mind (Apollo) as suggested by Nietzsche in The Birth of Tragedy and the Case of Wagner. Kaufman, w. (trans) US: Vintage Books. 1967

29 In a Station of the Metro – a poem by Ezra Pound in Selected Poems

30 Monitor and Interstanding – the word Interstanding regarding Understanding and the concept of a space beyond the computer monitor was introduced to me by Lee Stothers in her lectures.

31 Sentiency of the Flower – A quotation from Hui-neng (638-713). see Zeami, p 30.

31 Two but not Two – Kukai as conveyed by Lee Stothers

32 snow on cherry blossoms – see/hear Kirosawa’s film Dreams

33 What is it that calls us to Thinking? – questions of Heidegger in What is Called Thinking?

34 thinking is the dowry of our nature – also Heidegger in What is Called Thinking?

35 Origin always comes to meet us from the future – Heidegger, source?