Mountain: Symbol of the Soul
New Zealand 198:
3 shillings (issued 5-1-1935)
In Rodgers & Hammerstein's
"Climb Every Mountain"
from The Sound of Music (1965), Mother Abbess
sings to Maria
"Climb every mountain /
Ford every stream /
Follow every rainbow /
Till you find your dream". During this Project-Based Learning class,
I've used this song to inspire me in finding my dream
completing first chapter on Mountains
of my book Platonic Lambda: Soul of the Universe.
Below are descriptions and links to 14 poems written (2010-2018) on the "Platonic Lambda".
Irish sage Wei Wu Wei says "an awakened sage lives & thinks
no wonder the Platonic Lambda Λ
"Soul of the Universe" is shaped like a mountain.
On February 3, 2010, at London Sotheby's auction, Giacometti's Walking Man I
sold for $104.3 million, new record for an artwork. It inspired two poems
Giacometti's Walking Man and
"Every Step You Make".
Platonic Lambda Λ described in Timaeus 35b as "soul of the universe" seemed quite abstract.
When I noticed the man's legs walking by Giacometti's Walking Man at Sotheby's Auction, it suddenly
struck me that the soul's shape (upside "V" or Greek letter Λ ) is right before our eyes manifesting
itself whenever we are walking or alive! A similar epiphany occurred on August 20 when
a flock of Canadian Geese flew in V-formation to Stanford's Lake Lagunita (above photo).
Suddenly I realized that the geese were flying not in the V but the Λ-formation,
inspiring the poem "The Spring Geese Are Flying North" (9-27-2010).
Dobyns' first Stanford poetry class was to write a sonnet. I wrote
"Platonic Lambda Sonnet"
with Notes and
Cornford's diagram of
Plato's "Soul of the Universe". While writing this sonnet, I realized that Plato's
"World Soul" is not something abstract and invisible, but quite tangible when we're
and breathing, since its shape is our nose in the center of our face!
The Platonic Lambda is shaped like a upside-down letter "V" or "Λ" suggesting
that the Soul is found on a mountaintop. Most cartoons show spiritual aspirants ascending a
mountain looking for a guru
to teach them the mysteries of life.
Geoff Martin's "Burgundian Vineyard" (2009) inspired my Notes to poem
"Vanishing Point" showing roads narrowing to an apex at the horizon.
"Mountain of Bliss" was
inspired by the image of Giacometti's Walking Man
in the Swiss 100 francs banknote that Steve Gould sent me.
It led to a 1914 China $1 banknote showing a landscape transporting me to Omei Shan and meeting Chinese poets
Wang Wei & Su Tung-po. The poem
"The Mountains Are Calling" (5-19-2014) was inspired by Patrick McDonnell's comics Mutts (4-25-2014) quoting John Muir
"The mountains are calling and I must go." Poets & sages are attracted
to mountains because its shape resembles Λ, that Plato calls
"Soul of the Universe". "What Do You Ride?" was inspired by a
in Lew Welch's Ring of Bone (1973) on what do you ride in the mountain.
After moving from Pamela Drive to Sierra Vista Ave in Mountain View (3-30-2014), it would take me
two months to notice four beautiful trees on Montebello Ave (Photos)
that inspired the poem "Four Friends on Montebello Ave" (7-13).
A week later on the block
"A Pepper Tree Stops Me Cold" (7-20),
since its sharply bent branch formed Λ that Plato called "Soul of the Universe".
"The Soul Must Remain Hidden"
was written (11-11-2014) after spotting a Platonic Lambda Λ
("World Soul") in the sheared-off branch of a Pepper Tree, that
later became covered by growing leaflets. The Platonic Lambda Λ in the
CREΛTIVE Labs logo
struck me like lightning out of the blue during my Coyote Creek hike on Christmas Day
(December 25, 2013). However 323 days would pass before the poem
"Why Creation Begins at the Centre?" flowed out spontaneously
in one day (11-12-2014) without consulting any books or the Internet.
A photo in Palo Alto Daily News, December 25, 2015, page 41
Tree at Versailles by
made me go to Gallery 9
to meet the photographer. I gave David my poem "Trees at Versailles"
(1-2-2016), and he thanked me for introducing him to the Platonic Lambda Λ image. He has this photo
on his business card. I asked whether he waited a long time to capture this image
without visitors walking around. He said there was a chain preventing people roaming
around the trees.
I met Coleman Barks at his Stanford talk "Three Poems of Rumi"
(5-13-2009), and was fascinated by his story of Cappadocia. When I saw the Platonic Lambda Λ shape in the
Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia
and that Coleman Barks was born in Chattanooga (etymology:
"rock rising to a point"), this poem "Coleman Barks & Cappadocia" was born (2-16-2016).
"Seeing the Soul Everywhere" (8-21-2017) is one of many poems
on the Platonic Lambda (Timaeus 35b) "Soul of the Universe". The artworks of Giacometti and Leonardo
showed the Λ-shape whenever we're walking or breathing. Now, I see this "Soul-Shape" in the flowers
by my courtyard, and in the trees down the street, gathering 9 photos showing its occurrence.
"Platonic Lambda Business Cards" (10-30-2017) was written
after realizing the business cards
of Sean Headrick (CEO Aerotestra), David Massolo (photographer), and
Stephen Wolfram (CEO
Mathematica), that I carried
in my wallet all showed the image of Platonic Lambda Λ "Soul
of the Universe". Six auto logos with
the Λ image were included illustrating
this poem along with American Airlines & AAA.
When I realized that the Chinese ideogram
shan for mountain is made of
kun and k'an (container),
I recalled Carlos Suarès 1973 lecture (whose notes I just found) that the Hebrew letters
Alef and Beth mean "infinite energy" and "container of energy". That's how this poem
Shan for Mountain" was born (1-22-2018).
Writing these Notes refreshed memories of meetings with sages with mountain-top visions
and spiritual quest for cosmic consciousness.
Peter Y. Chou
Mountain View, June 26, 2018