(To hear the Blacksmith Tree Frog please press play)
— The day prior to a New Moon compels total abandonment and complete surrender,
a release from all fears; by becoming an empty vessel, we can be reborn in purity —
The Shaman, dressed in his intricate fine-thread garb, has lit the
sacred flames ensconced within the ornamental shrine, festooned
in floral garlands and feathery plumes, around which they all gather,
chanting mantras and prayers, echoing his verse; later he reads
to them from the ancient texts, his sacramental words.
It is a ceremony of separation — one of death and birth,
of creation and destruction, of mothers and sons, of water and stone.
— And out of the primeval murk he was born, the strands
that once connected them shorn, as man arises from earth —
In attendance is the Seeker, who sways hypnotic to the reverberate
thumps and rings, enchanted at the ritualistic flourishes of his Master’s
lashes of sacred waters, at the intoxicating scents of mystic incense.
He knows that this ceremony is as much for himself as it is for them all,
for tonight, he has shed his doubt, arriving prepared to emerge.
Abruptly, he feels a split, the is a severance, and one by one, like strings
being snipped, the Shaman’s words begin to lose all meaning and sense.
— Bearing down in a grassy field near a passing creek, a mother
delivers her newborn son, cutting the umbilical cord with her teeth —
Opening his eyes he finds that they have all gone. He is alone in a forest clearing,
a passage, surrounded by bog, the sounds he is hearing now like so many drums
are the tympanic mating calls of male blacksmith tree frogs resonating across
the water. Where once was a fire-lit altar, he sees a patch of grassy stalks
jutting from the murk, the scents are of night-blooms, of algae, of damp.
It is done, the cycle is complete. Cleansed and unbound from his corporal and
temporal ties, he must forge a new path of unification. But for now, he must rest.
He’s been here before,
he’s almost sure; it’s nearly the same
although some details have changed;
what once was up is now down,
left has become right,
and something in the core
has shifted slight, but the rest appears familiar, too familiar in fact,
and that is what has tipped him off.
“Aha! a test,” silently he speaks in his head,
“now just to remember… ”
Yes, he is convinced he knows.
Well, best not be too cocky, go slow,
more than once egotism has led to strife.
“See it for what it is,” he reminds himself.
As the scene plays out before him,
he seems to watch it all externally —
from over his own left shoulder,
he sees his hands, hears his voice,
they are his, and yet somehow
And almost as soon as it begins,
it ends, each voluted turn drawn
tauter, denser, quicker as
collapse in on themselves.
Yes, he has been here before,
this time he is certain; it’s nearly the same,
of course some details are changed;
He sees it for what it is, an experience —
sees every step he must take
on an elliptical path of existence,
every birth, every death, and
every life to be had within.
In a valley pass, I am
like an eagle I glide
above the land,
like a fish I breathe
beneath the sea,
beyond the ego-bound
barriers of body and mind,
I am the Earth,
her chartreuse covered
I am her ruddy dust in
and from within,
I am light.
Leaflets– acrylic on canvas by Jason Weaver (2014)
They closed the doors for the final time that day to the ol’ café, you know
I worked there once, years ago and it hadn’t much changed since the time I left, nor much at all since well before I’d ever arrived —
a presence of permanence inside those walls, I can yet recall a swell of laughter from behind the bar — a grand echo of gufFAW-haw-haw-haw
and a steady clonk of heavy-heeled shoes that fall upon the well-worn wood floorboards– the boss …tok tok tok tok tok tok tok toktok tok tok tok …
a rush– through the open entry an endless crush of patrons, and waiters, and busboys who hurry by passing in and out, in and out, in and out, in
and out of a place that is no more, since they closed the doors for the final time that day to make way
by Jason Weaver, 2014
Original Artwork by Jason Weaver, Leaflets (2014), acrylic on canvas, 70x120cm
Poem dedicated to all of my friends and colleagues at the Van Dyke Café, whose closing played on my mind while painting this week.Ultimately, I wanted to convey a sense that change is neither good nor bad but a necessarycomponentfor our understanding of the world– repetition broken by change allows us to see events in new ways, to grow from them, to break free of them or to embrace them further. It is a sentiment that is both nostalgic for the past and hopeful for the future–and no amount of change of place can take away the friendships that we created during that time. Thank you all for the memories ~peace, Jason