Commentary on Poem "Cat in the Tree":|
Meow! Meow! A black cat wakes me up|
in the morning from my dream of night
when I open the window blinds, his eyes
dart forth like arrows from another world.
(Image of cat eyes in eucalyptus tree,
Found lost photograph of "Cat in the Tree"
taken from my apartment window in recovered USB drive (3-18-2011). It dawned upon me that "Meow" is an anagram for "We Om".
The Om chant is sacred in Hinduism and Buddhism and symbolizes
Brahman or the Absolute. Om is the primordial sound, first breath of creation,
the vibration that ensures existence. Om sign signifies God, Creation, & the Oneness of all creation.
Perhaps the cat's meow is invoking the divine or supernatural realms. No wonder ancient Egyptians regarded the cat
as sacred and worship Bast, the cat-headed moon goddess (see James Joyce's remarks about cats below).
The Mundaka Upanishad (II.2.4) links the bow with Om:
"Om is the bow; the Atman is the arrow; Brahman is the mark. It is to be struck by an undisturbed mind.
Then the Atman becomes one with Brahman, as the arrow with the target."
If Cat's Meow is Om (bow), and Cat's Eyes are arrows (Soul),
we have Awakening of the Soul
by Ibn Tufail (1105-1185).
Venetian blind is a window shutter that keeps out
the light. "Blind" is also an adjective meaning "sightless". Opening the window blinds allows one to see
outward, as if sight is restored to the blind person (See Allen Ginsberg's Howl below). Having Cat Eyes staring back can transport one
into another world (See William Henry on Stargates below).
like Bast the cat-headed moon goddess /
or those cats drawing Freyja's chariot.
|With its fixity of gaze, the cat symbolized watchfulness to the Egyptians.
It stood for Bast, the cat-headed moon goddess, who coldly and calmly surveyed the doings
of men and beast. [Bast has been dated to 2890-2686 BC, depicted on temple walls
as a woman with head of a cat, lion, or large desert cat. Bast became associated
with the domestic cat around 1000 BC.
The Norse Goddess Freyja is associated with love, beauty,
fertility, gold, war, and death. She rules over her heavenly afterlife field Fólkvangr. Freyja
shakes apple tree for a good harvest to sustain life.
Freyja is often depicted riding her golden chariot through the skies,
the chariot pulled by two large blue cats who were a gift from the Norse god Thor.
Russian Folk Tale of Cat Bayun
(Images: Bast from Cats Page, Fontana's Secret Language of Symbols, p. 85;
Goddess Freyja Driving Cat Chariot, mediastorehouse.com)
Norse Goddess Freyja with
Cat's Eye stones make wearers invisible /
and black cats perform spells for witches.
Cat's Eye Stone
Witch & cat on broom
|Cat's eye stone
is a chrysoberyl with its narrow, bright band of light on a shimmering golden background,
which seems to glide magically across the surface when the stone is moved.
This mineral consists of chatoyant quartz, a translucent variety with inclusions of
some other fibrous mineral capable of reflecting light in the characteristic straight
ray resembling the slit pupil of a cat. Chrysoberyls (Greek: gold-colored beryls)
are aluminium oxide containing beryllium. According to medieval legend,
the cat's eye
is a talisman possessing the supernatural power to make its wearer invisible.
It wards off evil spirits, protects against financial ruin, cures eye ailments
and chronic diseases.|
Black cats, owls, bats, and broomsticks were the familiar spirits and tools
commonly associated with witches, who retained a dominant position in the Feast of the Dead.
Black animals were suspected of harboring demons, since black was the
color of underworld. That is why the popular image of a witch is attended by
a black cat. (Images: Cat's eye stone, rudraksha-ratna.com;
Witch & cat on broom, bestfreeclipart.com, with arm added in Photoshop)
Old mouse asked "Who's to bell the cat?" /
Cat that in the corner dwells.
"Belling the Cat" is from Aesop's Fable (circa 550 BC)
"Who is to bell the Cat? It is easy to propose impossible remedies."
Also known as"The Bell and the Cat" and "The Mice in Council". The Fable concerns a group
of mice who debate plans to nullify the threat of a marauding cat. One of them proposes
placing a bell around its neck, so that they are warned of its approach. Others applaud the plan, until
one mouse asks who will place the bell on the cat. All then make excuses. The story is used to teach
the wisdom of evaluating a plan not only on how desirable the outcome would be, but also on how it can be executed.
"Cat that in the corner dwells" is from the third stanza of Emily Dickinson's
Poem 1185: "A little Dog that wags his tail"
"The Cat that in the Corner dwells / Her martial Day forgot / The Mouse but a Tradition now / Of her desireless Lot"
(Image: Gustave Doré's Belling the Cat
in Fontaine's Fables, wikipedia.org)
Where is the Cat with nine lives /
with seven kits going to St. Ives?
Cat with nine lives cited in literary works:|
It has been the providence of Nature
to give this cat nine lives instead of one.
Bidpai or Pilpay (circa 326 BC),
Fable 3: The Greedy and Ambitious Cat
A woman hath nine lives like a cat.
John Heywood (1497-1580),
Proverbes (1546), II.4
One of the most striking differences between a cat
and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
Mark Twain (1835-1910),
Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar, Ch. 7 (1894)
"Seven kits going to St. Ives" is from|
Mother Goose Rhyme "As I was going to St. Ives":
As I was going to St. Ives,|
I met a man with seven wives;
Every wife had seven sacks,
Every sack had seven cats,
Every cat had seven kits;
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
How many were there going to St. Ives?
William S. Baring-Gould & Ceil Baring-Gould,
The Annotated Mother Goose (1962), #678, p. 270
(Image: Going to St. Ives Poster,
Artists cat-lovers: Renoir, Dali, Warhol, / Steinlen, Carrington, and Peter Milton.
(Images: Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Cat Paintings by Renoir, WisdomPortal.com)
(Images: Dali & Cat, wikipedia.org;
Dali Atomicus, wikipedia.org)
(Images: Andy Warhol (1928-1987), tvtropes.org;
Andy Warhol: Cat Paintings, WisdomPortal.com)
(Images: Théophile Steinlen (1859-1923), wikipedia.org;
Awful End of a Goldfish, WisdomPortal.com)
Dali & Cat (1965)
Roger Higgins Photo
|Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was a Spanish Catalan surrealist painter.
Philippe Halsman's photograph Dali Atomicus (1948) shows
an artist's easel, three cats, bucket of water, and Dali himself floating in the air.
Two Dali paintings (Leda Atomica was one),
stepping stool, and chair are also in the photo. On count of three, his assistants
threw three cats and a bucket of water into the air. On count of four, Dali jumped and Halsman snapped the picture.
"Six hours and twenty-eight throws later, the result satisfied my striving for perfection,"
wrote Halsman in his book Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas.
The surreal and hysterical photograph was immediately given a two-page spread in 1948 LIFE magazine.
Halsman's Jump Book
Philippe Halsman (1906-1979)
Dali Atomicus (1948)
|Théophile Steinlen (1859-1923) was
a Swiss-born French Art Noveau painter and printmaker. Steinlen's home in Montmartre and its environs
was a favorite subject throughout his life. Steinlen loved cats and made
many drawings and
sculptures of them. I found Steinlen Cats (Dover, 1980) in the Stanford
Art Library (NC248.S7.A4.1980). After seeing "Cat and Fishbowl"
from Des Chats (1898) that was included in "Awful End of a Goldfish",
it seems likely that "It Burns!" also came from this same book.|
(Images: Leonora Carrington & cat, mexconnect.com;
Tuesday, Egg tempera on panel, onesurrealistaday.com)
(Images: Peter Milton (born 1930), wikipedia.org;
Peter Milton: Cats in his Artworks, WisdomPortal.com)
|Leonora Carrington (1917-2011)
was a British-born Mexican artist, surrealist painter and novelist.
At age 20, she met the 46-years old Max Ernst at a London party in 1937.
They bonded and returned together to Paris where Ernst promptly separated from his wife.
After Ernst's arrest by the Nazis, Carrington fled to Spain. She moved to Mexico and
married poet Emericko Weisz.
Her Irish grandmother initiated Leonora into the world of white magic cult of the Druids,
where she found her spiritual home. In her surrealistic painting Tuesday, a white stag
leaps out from an aquatic garden. At right, the angelic figure in floral clamshell carries three cats in the moonlight.
Cat-loving writers: Colette, Cocteau, / Dr. Seuss and Edgar Allan Poe.
(Images: Colette & cats,
Colette & cats, WisdomPortal.com)
Colette and her cat in the Palais-Royal arcade.
Judith Thurman, Secrets of the Flesh:
A Life of Colette (1999)
|Colette (1873-1954) was a prolific French fiction writer with around 50 novels published.
Her writing is marked by clever observation and dialogue with an intimate, explicit style.
Her most famous novel Gigi (1944) was made into a Vincente Minnelli
film musical (1958) that won ten Academy Awards.
Colette picked Audrey Hepburn
for the 1951 Broadway play on Gigi. A cat
becomes Audrey Hepburn's companion in Breakfast at Tiffany (1961).
Colette quote: "Time spent with cats is never wasted."
Colette bought a pearl gray Chartreuse at a cat show
in 1926 (Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette, 1999, pp. 396-397), and wrote
a novel La Chatte (The Cat) in 1933
(Book review "Colette and a Cat" in NY Times, August 9, 1936).
Her friend Jean Cocteau, artist, poet, filmmaker, and later neighbor in Jardins du Palais-Royal, was also a cat lover.
Colette & her cats (1939)
Francis & Gontier,
Creating Colette (1999)
(Images: Jean Cocteau & cat, guardian.co.uk;
Cocteau's cat logo, art-documents.tumblr.com)
Jean Cocteau and his cat
|Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) was a French poet, novelist,
dramatist, designer, boxing manager, playwright, artist and filmmaker. His circle of associates, friends and lovers
included Kenneth Anger, Pablo Picasso, Jean Hugo, Jean Marais, Henri Bernstein, Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel,
Erik Satie, María Félix, Édith Piaf, and Raymond Radiguet.
Cocteau is best known for his 1929 novel Les enfants terribles, and 1946 film
Beauty and the Beast. Famous quotes: "I love cats because I enjoy my home;
and little by little, they become its visible soul" and "A meow massages the heart". He dedicated
Drôle de Ménage to his cat Karoun, whom he described as "the king of cats."
Cocteau's Cat Logo
(Images: Dr. Seuss, mentalfloss.com;
The Cat in the Hat, uptomark.com)
|Dr. Seuss, pen name
of Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), was an American writer, poet, and cartoonist most widely known
for his 46 children's books. They were often characterized by
imaginative characters, rhyme, and frequent use of trisyllabic meter.
The Cat in the Hat is
perhaps his most famous, featuring a tall, anthropomorphic, mischievous cat, wearing a tall, red and white-striped
hat and a red bow tie. He also carries a pale blue umbrella. The Cat performs all sorts of wacky tricks
the Cat at one point balances a teacup, some milk, a cake, three books, the Fish, a rake, a toy boat, a toy man,
a red fan, and his umbrella while he's on a ball to the chagrin of the fish to amuse the children.
The book sold over 11 million copies.
Cat in the Hat (1957)
(Images: Edgar Allan Poe postage stamp, douggeivett.wordpress.com;
Aubrey Beardsley's Poe's "Black Cat", art-documents.tumblr.com)
Edgar Allan Poe
|Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic.
Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story
and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre.
Poe used cats as symbols of the sinister in several of his stories, although he himself owned and loved cats.
His tortoiseshell cat Catarina was the inspiration for his story
"The Black Cat".
At the beginning of the tale, Poe says he would be "mad indeed" if he should expect a reader to believe the story,
implying that he has already been accused of madness. In this story, the Black Cat helps solves the murder mystery. Poe's use of the black cat evokes various superstitions,
including the idea voiced by the narrator's wife that they are all witches in disguise. The titular cat is named Pluto after the Roman god of the Underworld.
In winter 1846, Catarina, a house cat, would curl up on the bed with Poe's wife, who was dying of tuberculosis, and provide warmth.
"Black Cat" (1843)
After seeing Egyptian cat statues /
in the British Museum, James Joyce said
the ancients had more religious awe than /
Christians who had no cats in their Bible.
James Joyce told his friend David Powers "Whenever I walked through the British Museum,
I was always impressed by the Assyrian and Egyptian monuments... and those Egyptian
figures of birds and cats. It always occurred to me that both the Assyrians and the
Egyptians understood better than we do the mystery of animal life, a mystery which
Christianity has almost ignored, preoccupied as it is with man, and only regarding
animals as the servants of man, I cannot remember at the moment a sympathetic mention
of a dog or a cat in the New Testament... Indeed since the advent of Christianity we
seem to have lost our sense of proportion, for too great stress is laid on man, 'man
made in the image of God', and I think that the Babylonian star-worshipper had a
greater sense of religious awe than we have."
[Arthur Power, Conversations with James Joyce (1974), p. 48]. We find in Joyce's
Ulysses (1922) page 55: "good cup of tea, the cat mewed in answer".
A concordance search in the Bible showed no results for
cat in the Old and New Testaments.
Cat is cited 37 times in James Joyce's Ulysses and
27 times in Finnegans Wake (3 Cat, 12 cat, 8 cat's 3 cats, 1 catseye).
(Images: Egyptian Cat Bast, sekhemonline.net)
I'm seeing cats everywhere in films,
Cat People, filmsite.org;
Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1bp.blogspot.com;
Cats in Footlight Parade, flickr.com)
I saw the horror classic Cat People (1942) directed by Jacques Tourneur
and produced by Val Lewton at the Stanford Theatre (February 9, 2007).
It inspired me to write a poem on this film relating
it to Rainer Maria Rilke's "Panther" poem for Robert Pinsky's Stanford Workshop (2-14-2007). On July 1, 2008, I watched
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) where Holly
Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) has a cat for her companion. The film's climax shows Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard searching
for the cat in the rain. They renewed their love after finding the cat. On July 3, 2011, I watched
Footlight Parade (1933) where
one of the Busby Berkeley dance numbers is "Cats".
Chester Kent (James Cagney) tries to be innovative in producing musical dance numbers for movie theaters before
the main feature is shown. He tells his dance director to imitate a cat's motions and has all dancers
dressed up as cats in their makeups. This sequence inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats (1981-2000).
paintings, poems, sidewalk drawings,
|On May 3, 2011 at Stanford Annenberg Auditorium, I watched a
special screening of Howl
starring James Franco as Allen Ginsberg. Directors Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman had
a Q&A session after the film that was insightful. Afterwards I walked up to the main lobby
of Cummings Art Building and saw a giant painting of "Cats" by Stanford student Nell Van Noppen.
Next to the painting was Cesare Pavese's poem "The Cats Will Know"
"The cats will know, / face of springtime; / and the light rain / and the hyacinth dawn..."
On Memorial Day (May 30, 2011) I was walking on Ortega Avenue
in Mountain View to catch Bus #22 on El Camino on my way to Stanford. Seeing children chalk drawings of cats
on the sidewalk, I stopped to take photos of them.
(Images: Cats, Cesare Pavese, Sidewalk Cat Drawings, WisdomPortal.com)|
clouds, on top a backyard fence, and /
on the Stanford computer I log on!
(Images: White Cat Cloud, White Cat on Backyard Fence, Cat Image Log In on Stanford Computer Classic Room of Green Library, WisdomPortal.com)
On walks around Stanford and Foothill College, I've taken many photos of clouds and noticed cat images in several of them.
There are no pets allowed in my apartment complex in Mountain View. On July 2, 2011, I noticed
a white cat leaping on the neighbor's backyard fence. He didn't make it to the top but had his claws
into the wood. On his next leap, he made it to the top and glanced at me. I told him to wait and rushed
back to my apartment for my camera. When I returned, the cat was sitting majestically and I got a good
photo of him. Later I realized that above this fence is the eucalyptus tree with the Cat Eyes image
which inspired this poem. I have access to the Mac computer in the Classics Reading Room of Stanford
Green Library since 2001. Several years later, I noticed that there is a cat next to "classics user"
I click on each time while logging on the computer.
Is Schroedinger's cat dead or alive?
Schrödinger's Cat is a thought experiment,
often described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw
as the problem of the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The thought
experiment presents a cat that might be alive or dead, depending on an earlier random event. While
developing this experiment, he coined the term entanglement.
A cat is placed in a box, together with a radioactive atom. If the atom decays, and the geiger-counter detects
an alpha particle, the hammer hits a flask of hydrogen cyanide (HCN), killing the cat. The paradox lies in the clever
coupling of quantum and classical domains. Before the observer opens the box, the cat's fate is tied to the wave function
of the atom, which is itself in a superposition of decayed and undecayed states. Thus, said Schroedinger, the cat must
itself be in a superposition of dead and alive states before the observer opens the box, "observes" the cat, and "collapses" its wave function.
(Image: Schrödinger's Cat,
If Joshu was there, he would have lived.
Joshu or Chao Chou (778-897) was a Chinese Zen Master who lived to 120 years of age.
He is considered the greatest Zen Master with twelve koans in the Blue Cliff Record
and five in the Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate).
Joshu is probably best known for the first koan in the Mumonkan: "A monk asked Chao-chou, "Has the dog Buddha-nature or not?"
Chao-chou said, "Wu." (Mu or Not). He's also famous
for his response to Nansen killing the cat.
Mumonkan, Koan 14:
Nansen Cuts the Cat in Two: Nansen Osho saw monks of the Eastern and Western halls
quarreling over a cat. He held up the cat and said, "If you can give an answer, you will save the cat.
If not, I will kill it." No one could answer, and Nansen cut the cat in two.
That evening Joshu returned, and Nansen told him of the incident. Joshu took off his sandal,
placed it on his head, and walked out. "If you had been there, you would have saved the cat," Nansen remarked.
(Image: Zen Master Joshu,
Zen Thrown Down)
Ask the Cheshire Cat
The Cheshire Cat is from Lewis Carroll's
Alice in Wonderland
drawn by John Tenniel (1820-1914) in the 1866 edition.
The phrase appeared in A classical dictionary of the vulgar tongue by Francis Grose (2nd Edition, London 1788):
"CHESHIRE CAT. He grins like a Cheshire cat; said of any one who shows his teeth and gums in laughing."
Lewis Carroll is said to be inspired by the 16th century sandstone carving
of a grinning Cheshire Cat on the west wall of St. Willfrid's church tower, Grappenhall, Warrington, Cheshire.
Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat in Chapter 6 "Pig and Pepper" at first in the kitchen of the Duchess's house.
Later it appears outside on the branches of a tree, where it engages Alice in amusing but sometimes vexing
philosophical conversation. The Cheshire Cat then directs Alice to the March Hare's house. He disappears
but his grin remains behind to float on its own in the air prompting Alice
to remark that she has often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat.
(Image: "Cheshire Cat",
who confounded Alice with those Zen-like questions
Zen-like questions are koans invented by T'ang Dynasty Ch'an Masters.
Illogical to the intellect but solvable by those with intuitive insight.
Alice: "Which way I ought to go from here?"
Cheshire Cat: "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
Alice: "I don't much care where so long as I get somewhere."
Cheshire Cat: "Then it doesn't matter which way you go... if you only walk long enough."...
Alice: "But I don't want to go among mad people."
Cheshire Cat: "Oh, you can't help that, we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
Alice: "How do you know I'm mad?"
Cheshire Cat: "You must be, or you wouldn't have come here."
(Image: Alice & Cheshire Cat,
Life Coaching Institute)
and before she could answer them /
he vanished into the tree with
nothing left except for his grin. /
Am I in now with a mad cat?
(Image: "Cheshire Cat's Grin",
Footnote 9 in The Annotated Alice Notes by Martin Gardner (Norton, New York, 2000, pp. 67-68):
Compare the Cheshire Cat's remarks with Carroll's diary entry of February 9, 1856: Query: when we are dreaming and,
as often happens, have a dim consciousness of the fact and try to wake, do we not say and do things which in waking
life would be insane? May we not then sometimes define insanity as an inability to distinguish which is the waking
and which the sleeping life? We often dream without the least suspicion of unreality: "Sleep hath its own world",
and it is often as lifelike as the other.
(Chuang Tzu's "Butterfly Dream")
The Annotated Alice, pp. 67-68: In Plato's Theaetetus 158b-d,|
Socrates and Theatetus discuss this topic of madness as follows:
|Theatetus: I certainly cannot undertake to argue that madmen or dreamers think truly,
when they imagine, some of them that they are gods, and others that they can fly, and
are flying in their sleep.
Socrates: Do you see another question which can be raised about these phenomena, notably
about dreaming and waking?
Theatetus: What question?
Socrates: A question which I think you must often have heard persons ask: how can you
determine whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream;
or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?
Theatetus: Indeed, Socrates, I do not know how to prove the one any more than the other,
for in both cases the facts precisely correspon; and there is no difficulty in supposing
that during all this discussion we have been talking to one another in a dream; and when
in a dream wew seem to be narrating dreams, the resemblance of the two states is quite astonishing.
Socrates: You see, then, that a doubt about the reality of sense is easily raised, since there
may even be a doubt whether we are awake or in a dream. And as our time is equally divided
between sleeping and waking, in either sphere of existence the soul contends that the thoughts
which are present to our minds at the time are true; and during one half of our lives we affirm
the truth of the one, and, during the other half, of the other; and are equally confident of both.
Theatetus: Most true.
Socrates: And may not the same be said of madness and the other disorders? The difference
is only that the times are not equal.
Look at those eyes not just a house cat /
but the stare of a panther
In medieval belief after feasting the panther sleeps in a cave for three days.
After this period, the panther roars and emits a sweet smelling odour.
This odour draws in any creatures who smell it and the cycle begins again. The ancient Greeks
believed the panther was one of the favored mounts of the god Dionysus. To North and South America Indians,
the Black Panther was endowed with great magic and power.
Because it could function so well in so many areas, it became the symbol of mastery over all dimensions.
To the Tucano Indians of the Amazon, the panther's roar was the roar of thunder. Thus the Black Panther
was the god of darkness and could cause eclipses by swallowing the sun. This reflects the tremendous power
inherent within the feminine forces. South American Indians believed that the mirrored eyes of the jaguar were a
conduit to the realm of the spirits. Shamans claimed to see the future
through a jaguar's eyes. [Irene R. Siegel's Eyes of the Jaguar
is one woman's initiatory "journey to the nagual into Incan Shamanism
with the totemic power animals of the Four Winds.]
(Image: Black Panther,
whose darkness swallows me whole into some stargate
Apotheosis of George Washington
with Hexagram Star superimposed
(Capitol Dome ceiling stargate?)
The second-generation Milky
Way-style Stargate on Earth
William Henry believes that stargates
are portals and gateways to the stars and have been preserved in ancient art and myths.
Advanced beings that came from the light of the vastness of the Milky Way, and beyond,
did so through these gateways. They left the secrets of a Star-Gate-Way or Gate of Eternity
for us to discover. He has explored museums, libraries, and temples all over the world
looking for stargates. Some include Isis and Osiris in Denderah, Egypt, Sumerian cylinder
seal (2300 BC) of Gilgamesh entering a gate, Egyptian god Sokar stands in gate, Hindu
celestial being in gate, and Buddha stupa (Philadelphia Museum of Art). Henry discovered
that 180 feet above the floor of U.S. Capitol Rotunda may be a Stargate. The painting
on the dome is "The Apotheosis of George Washington"
painted by Constantino Brumidi (1852).
Apotheosis is a Greek word that means 'to raise to god like stature' or the
glorification of a person as an ideal. Indeed, this fresco depicts Washington as a god-man.
Henry's book Freedom's Gate
shows how the Hexagram Star superimposed on the Capitol Dome painting looks
like a Stargate. Meditating on it may transport the viewer through this Stargate
into another dimension of cosmic awareness.
The Stargates, also called the Astria Porta in Ancient and the Chappa'ai in Goa'uld,
are a series of devices, built by the Ancients, that create artificial subspace wormholes,
allowing for near-instantaneous transportation between two distant points in space.
Stargate productions center on the premise of a "Stargate", a ring-shaped device that creates
a wormhole enabling personal transportation to complementary devices located cosmic distances away.
Under the control of the United States government, the Stargate discovered on Earth is kept a secret
from the public. This allows for storylines to present no contradiction between depicted events and
reality, an effect compounded by setting Stargate in the present day, and depicting Earth accurately,
with any unrealistic technology originating solely from alien civilizations. These extraterrestrial
civilizations are typically more pre-industrial than scientifically advanced, and are almost always
human. Together, this allows for stories predominated by human interaction in Earth-like environments,
an unusual feature for a science fiction franchise focused on exploration of other worlds.
(Images: "Apotheosis of George Washington",
the window opens O, I see and see!
Stanford had a special screening of the
film Howl (2010)
on May 3, 2011. Allen Ginsberg (starring James Franco) claimed
Part II of "Howl" was inspired
by a peyote-induced vision of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. Going to the Venetian blinds,
he explained how opening the window blinds, we see the outside world from inside our room.
Ginsberg was referring to line 84 of his Howl:
"Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows!
(1966 Paris Review;
followed by "Moloch whose name is the Mind!" (line 85),
"I am a consciousness without a body!...
"Light streaming out of the sky!" (line 87),
"Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us!" (line 89). ***
The line "O, I see and see!" is from James Joyce's 1939 fiction
"From the Cat and Cage. O, I see and see. In the ink of his sweat he will find it yet.".
The Cat Eyes from my window have inspired me to see "Everything is holy! everybody's holy! everywhere is holy!
everyday is in eternity! Everyman's an angel!... Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent
kindness of the soul!" (Allen Ginsberg, Footnote to Howl, lines 3 & 15).
(Image: Open Window,
Note: "Cat in the Tree" photo was taken in March 2010 some 16 months ago.
This poem lingered in the back burner until recently
Seeing Howl film and
Cats painting at Stanford Cummings Art Building (5-3-2011),
Sidewalk cat drawings (5-30-2011),
White Cat on backyard fence (7-2-2011) and "Cats" dance in Footlight Parade (7-3-2011)
helped to complete this poem (7-4-2011). On July 10, 2011, a neighbor's cat sat by the window under an eucalyptus tree.
With Photoshop, I've reconstructed this image.
Peter Y. Chou (Mountain View, 7-13-2011)