Walking on the swamp monsters back

It is a difficult way to travel, tromping through the swamp. Probing the ground ahead with a long pole. Like looking for the truth amongst patches of unnecessary filling. Probing the ideas that might be found in the marshy depths. It is a precarious enterprise. But it is there to be found. Found by anybody who is prepared relinquish any and every thing to find it.

Hidden amid the marshiness and boggyness are patches of quicksand where you can sink and disappear before you know what is happening. Equally dangerous are the legends of scary things. Reported to be there, even though you can’t see them. Even if no-one has ever seen them. Legends of monsters that will take your leg and pull you in, and colonies of poisonous bugs and slime that will eat you from the outside in. The legends create a pall of fear which causes misfortune from which few will escape. A sick idea that catches and infects its host. There are as many legends as there are places that the imagination may travel to. Shrugging off the legends as soon as we hear them. Shrugging them off and moving on. The search for truth is a serious undertaking and requires a constant vigilance. Unnecessary distractions are to be quickly and efficiently discarded. It is indeed a demanding task – and we must devote the best of our time and effort to its completion if we are to be successful at it.

Poking our probe into the slushy mush. What will we find here ? A sac of foul gas that erupts through the hole ? Perhaps it will be something semi-solid and unknown that we pierce ? On the path to truth we will have many opportunities to be surprised with what we find. Poking with our pokey stick, finding a path that traverses the densest matter and the thinnest and most vacant nebulae. Not knowing what we have found, knowing only that it is not what we thought that we were looking for. Eventually we will understand that we might never find what we thought that we were looking for. We will always find something different.

Prodding away at the ground before us. What thoughts and ideas dwell here. What ideas are this place made of. What ideas create this scene. What ideas make the trees and plants grow, and what ideas give off that foul gas that makes us wheeze. What ideas create the water of life and bring it to good use.

Prodding away at the earth, seeing what ideas it might yield. But there are those that extend beyond the earths realm. There are those that dwell in the sky. They travel lightly and lean on people as they pass. They are so light that their presence is often missed. There are others – finer still. They dwell beyond our regular sky, out in the depths of the distant night. In the depths of the galaxy. In the depths of beingness, where time has never intruded.

Poking and prodding amongst the ideas as they lay in terra and the firmament. Probing as we make our way through them. So many of them just don’t hold the right consistency. Too hard – too hard, they become like rock and will not flex to fit with life. Will not flex to fit the reality as it presents itself. Too soft – too soft, like jelly they are flabby and falter when tested. Will not take the shape of anything unless they are poured into a container of some sort. Instead of holding firm they collapse when most needed.

If that weren’t enough, there are other oddities by which we may be inconvenienced. So many of them are things that we would prefer not to encounter. Things that are oddly shaped and fit only for some perverse use. Flaccid, crisp or brittle, or otherwise of no use. Repellant and/or cloying. Lumpy as though filled with nails. Perhaps leading to harm and away from the truth. With so many faulty ideas, it becomes apparent how few of them are actually of any use. Even the good ones can bring harm if not well tempered.

Indeed how few of these ideas can match the simplicity and sure vision of the heart. The direct penetration of the source. How it is that the heart guides with certainty and the utmost skill, even in the most complex of situations. With the heart there is no random probing. No poking about here and there, looking to see what one finds. When probing with the heart just one look is enough. Right into the centre of it all. All of reality is pierced. Right into the crux of it all.

One can be sure that blood and tears will well up. As if rupturing an artery of it. As if pumping seeming endless amounts of fluid from deep within the earths bowels. Blood and tears squirting up and out, covering everything, there for all to see. Blood and tears and the truth behind everything that we have ever done. All that we have experienced. The truth behind everything that ever happened. The gritty grist of the mill of life. The truth behind all of the convenient explanations that the mind has ever produced. The truth behind the endless misinterpretations that have caused life to become a struggle. That have created pain and drama from otherwise innocuous events. The truth behind the moments moment, and the feeling that holds it all together and causes it all to eventually dissolve.

Belching forth like toxic gases, like flames leaping up and enveloping the self. Belching forth the ideas that we hold so dearly. Staying the course, holding firm the heart. Being steady and still, despite the urge to run. For there is nowhere to run to. Running would only lead to more time spent navigating the swampy marshes, and we have had enough of that. Oh how the heart desires to have solid earth beneath the feet, and yet to be surrounded by space. Never more than when knee deep in the gloop and goo of some boggy swamp. Never more than when surrounded by the ill conceived and unconsidered words of the world. Of all things informed by fear and unrequited pain and all of their various offspring.

Indeed to feel the solid earth beneath ones feet and be surrounded by space. To forget the earth and feel the space above and below, within and without, with no differentiation. On that day the swamp and all of its contents becomes but a memory. Consigned to the realm of the undifferentiated. Something that we once were concerned with, but now seems to strike no resonance.

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Laluna Maya

A group of men and women sitting out in the fresh evening air. Even as earthquakes and floods and disasters happen all around them, they find some time to contemplate the moon. Rising over the eastern horizon it glows a dusty yellow. Through the evening maturing to its silver sheen. There is a hint of magic to be seen in its light.

Is it a rock floating in space, as we were told at school ? A remarkable mathematical co-incidence – a lump in space that happens to appear as the same size as the sun. An anomaly there before our eyes. Is it really made of green cheese ? Is it true that the man in the moon lives there ? Perhaps it is indeed a hollow shell, dragged there from another place beyond our sky. They talk about what they see, and what they know to be true. They also talk about what they cannot see and what they don’t know to be true. In spite of the numerous conflicting views, each knows that they are right, and that the others must be wrong.

It is decided that they will appoint an adjudicator for their discussions. To avoid undue influence of existing bias, a few of them are appointed. A team of them – half of whom are women and half of whom are men – to appease those that keep a tally on proportionality. So too, representatives of every caste, cause and creed. Persons of every imaginable colour and tribal tendency. Representatives from the scientific community. The religious community are represented too. Some from the legal fraternity, and members from the academy. Then a few farmers, merchants and those who fix leaking pipes. Some artists and artisans, some members of the body politic, and some representatives from the world of lunatics and fools too.

If they so desire they can investigate for themselves, peruse the written evidence, and make a judgement based on that. Perhaps not though. They might choose to ignore it all. Perhaps they might make a determination based on what they don’t know, which is almost everything. Hearsay, myth, tribal traditions, familial belief systems, wishful thinking and the old favourite fear. Perhaps they might base their conclusions on what their mother said to them when they were young, or perhaps something that just seems novel and interesting. Adding a bit of sauce and a bit of spice.

Ultimately the evidence leading to any sort of conclusion is thin and a bit weak. It would appear that there is something there. That is what our limited perceptual facilities tell us. But what they don’t tell us is what it is that they don’t perceive. Perhaps in some way what they don’t tell us does matter. Those who might see that this the case might ask if there is more to it than what can be seen at a glance.

Thus the arbitrators and adjudicators find themselves in the same position as those that they represent. With no consensus, no single unified view, how will they ever come to any sort of unassailable and authoritative determination. Is it possible, and is it desirable. There is, of course, the time honoured tradition of rolling up the sleeves and slugging it out to see who is right. Or paying somebody to support the validity of your own personal view and particular interest. Or finding someone who will speak knowledgably about their position, and if there is no evidence to support it, then to invent that too. Or one who can most effectively arouse fear in others, threaten and intimidate them to lead them to the proffered view. Together acting as a chandelier made of glowworms. Not penetrating very far into the darkness.

But what of the moon hanging there in the clear night sky ? In every story it is mentioned, as though it were an intrinsic part of the plot. Everything seems to happen when the night is lit by the full-moon – or when there is none at all. Conspicuous in its presence, conspicuous in its absence. If there is a house where something dramatic happens, then probably the moon is outside. Somewhere just beyond the reach of our realm of exploration, but just within reach of our eyes. There it is behind the human race, driving them in everything that they do, and everything that they don’t do. Driving the great tide of history and events and cultures. Driving them all towards todays day.

The dramatic moment – perhaps it is like a thunderstorm spitting out lightning bolts. Perhaps it is just a dull and uncomfortable day. The moon will not be far away from this scene, for sure. In every sunny scene, with a storm coming over the horizon, there it will be, influencing the proceedings from behind the scenes. The moon pushing the clouds away and clearing the sky. And the moon pushing them near. A crush of clouds gathering overhead. The wind pressing, the waves crashing on the edge of our world, and sea foam being carried on the tempest. The moon this, the moon that. Finding it involved in every imaginable and unimaginable thing.

The moon, the moon. The moon, La Lune, a silvery spoon. On a good day and on a bad day, there it is, shining on our lives. Shining inside the body of life. This spacious body. In the fullness of the night it shines until all of the features of our selves are reflected and seen clearly in the scene that is life. Reflected, projected, acted out in the fullest detail until the script is mastered from beginning to end. The moon shining, amplifying every bit of movement that stirs in the heart. Each movement leading to the next moment, the next and the next. Always leading us to the heart of life.

The moon, projected into our combined imagination. Always appearing in whatever scene happens to appear before us. Each and all. Arranged as it is, this scene for us to see and to be. Although we know it to be solid and true, we might know it to be not-solid too. A quantum apparition. A figment and fixture of the imagination. A seemingly solid reckoning of a movement in the mind of minds. A shared dream, a dazzling delusion. A cacophony of accord.

The evening becomes night, and one by one those who would contemplate the scene leave. They each return to their habitat. Some somewhat the wiser, and some nonewhat the wiser. There they will return to the tending to their habits, and let the stream of life sweep them along. But there will always be some whose resolve is to find out for themselves. They will stride off into the world and discover it afresh for their own fund of knowledge, not being deterred by whatever is required for them to do so. They will find out all about the moon. They will look at it in every way that they can, observe and carefully notate their findings. They will come and tell all who will listen, and also tell those who don’t want to hear. Their task will then have been completed, and they are freed of any further obligation.

Amongst those who have heard of their findings there will be some for whom this news fills them with only the desire to find out for themselves. Not just about the moon, but about everything else that they were told. They too will take their leave and venture beyond the comfortable and known world. Thus it will become known, the moon, La Lune, the silvery spoon. That and anything else that they might happen to ask.

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Mud club

A team of youngsters playing football after a week or three of rain. In the beginning they jog out, all full of enthusiasm. With crisp and clean uniforms, short trousers and long socks pulled up to the knees. When they get on the field, they find a puddle that covers half of the field. It can barely be seen, a thin layer of water on the ground. It is only noticed when one was standing in it. Their plan is simple – they will run around, score a few goals, and then go home.

The game progresses, the puddle grows and becomes mud. Mud appears to ooze from the ground. Many small puddles growing to become one big mud puddle that escapes from its alotted space to cover the players and everything visible.

The ball absorbs all of the water that it can before becoming nothing but a heavy brown lump. They kick it with all of their might and it barely responds. It moves a metre or two before stopping and becoming stuck again. Players would run at it with all of the speed that they can muster, kick it with their best efforts, then fly over the top and land face-first in the mud, as the ball steadfastly refuses to move.

This game of football is the game that is their life. Everything was fresh and new when they started. They all trotted out, clean and tidy, full of idealism and enthusiasm. But they get to the middle of the game and they find themselves stuck there. Unable to move forwards, unable to move backwards, unable to move anywhere. Unable to escape, stuck in the middle of life. It was nice for a while, a very short while, running freely on the grass, joyfully kicking the ball from here to there. Then the mud came. The mud – it sticks to everything and the game, joy of life loses its shine a bit. It is gritty and scratchy, the mud. Its influence seems to increase until they have a layer of mud covering them from the bottom to the top. It leaps out and sticks to the scenery too. It sticks to the grass and all of the people watching from the side. It also sticks to the cars and fences and trees. It even seems to stick to the sky.

The players are like mud bugs running around, slower and slower as they get colder and wetter and more thoroughly covered with mud. With the coldness and wetness comes fatigue – it wears them away and their thoughts drift to warmer and drier circumstances.

As the players begin to wonder how much worse things can become, and whether or not they can bear it any longer, there is a long blast of the whistle. It is not the end though, it is the middle of the game – half time. They traipse off to their teams encampment.

It is dark and cold. The grass is a faint green in a greyish scene. Someones mum brings a bag of oranges all cut into quarters. How fresh they are on a dull day. They contain the suns rays caught from Valencias hot summers days. They have their short break, the score is noted, and they return to the field to continue their struggle. As luck would have the wind is behind their backs for the second half of the game of life – a touch of relative ease. To play into the stiff wind is not a desirable thing.

The game grinds on. The half way point has been passed, time seems to run more slowly, the players seem to struggle so much, and yet little progress is made. They all seem to be so very tired, and being covered from top to the bottom with mud makes the game much more difficult. It weighs heavily on them, this matter, and they must gather all of their energy to continue following the ball.

In even the worst of situations, there will come a time when the final whistle is blown. End of the game. Most have had enough of the mud and will gladly finish. There are a few who would just play on and on – they can never get enough. Sometimes it is the desire to win, sometimes they play and play until their friends are long gone, and some just play and play until they simply drop dead. Perhaps they are too stupid to know when to stop. There are a few who are perfectly attuned – the whistle is blown and they turn and walk off the field.

For them, the whistle is blown and the game is finished. The score will be duly reported and it wont make any difference to anything. No-one will care enough to remember it. All they will remember is playing in the mud, how it was a struggle, and how it enlivened them so.




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Semar Sang Pamomong


SEMAR The Goodness Adviser

A wayang kulit puppet theatre performed at the New Zealand School of Music (Victoria University campus) on 21st June 2014 to celebrate 40 years of Gamelan in New Zealand, and the 70th year of Jack Body, who has been such a driving force and inspiration behind it.

SEMAR The Goodness Adviser (Semar Sang Pamomong)

Budi S Putra

Poem (modified) Tachibana Akemi


Musical introduction


Sang Hyang Tunggal, king of the heavens, surveys the three worlds. He contemplates the earthly realm, and observes a constant stream of troubles and difficulty.


The lesser gods – dewa and dewi, go about their tasks in their inimitable way, and sometimes Sang Hyang Tunggal sighs to himself about the difficulties and disasters that they find themselves in, and how their foolishness brings trouble to all places and beings.


He can, without any doubt, see that they need nurturing guidance that will help them find the peace in themselves and do the best for this realm. So thus, he meditates and receives a miraculous egg containing three descendants for his pantheon of gods: his sons Sang Hyang Antaga, Sang Hyang Ismaya and Sang Hyang Manikmaya.


Although they have not yet appeared in the world their destiny has been foretold. They will be wise and powerful leaders, and advisor to gods, kings and men alike. They will skilfully guide the inhabitants of the three worlds, and bring peace and prosperity to all. It is an unalterable destiny which they must share and equally bear.


    Two of the gods, Antaga and Ismaya, argue about who will rule the kingdom of heaven, Njonggring Salaka. The debate gets increasingly hot, and eventually they finally decide to compete with magic to determine who is most worthy and entitled to become the king of the gods.


The battle causes concern for their grandfathers, both Sang Hyang Wenang, who presides over nature, and Sang Hyang Rekatama, who presides over the ocean. The battle of their two grandchildren has had many devastating consequences including damaging the mountains, forests and oceans, as well as other creatures both in their heavenly kingdoms and on the earth.


Their father is displeased by their abysmal efforts, and sets them the task of swallowing the Himalaya Mountains to show that they are worthy of ruling over the three worlds.


Both want this, and show off their magic, each transforming themselves into a huge giant and scrambling to take hold of a Himalayan mountain, hoping to be able to swallow it.


Again, neither of them is the winner, as neither of them are able to swallow the mountains. Eventually Antaga and Ismaya are transformed into the distorted and disfigured Semar and Togog , and their impatience is been replaced by the wisdom that comes from life experience.

Togog and Semar regret their bad behaviour which has resulted in their unfortunate transformation, and lose their right to live in their heavenly kingdom. However, they both realise that they were very stupid, but that there is wisdom to be found in what has happened, and that the mandate given by Sang Hyang Tunggal to be an adviser for goodness in the world is a noble task. Both finally agree to give thanks and to relax and entertain themselves with singing, dancing and humour.


(1) – Dream music


Miracle egg with two or three Gunungan

Sang Hyang Tunggal (SHT) and two wives walking slowly across screen from right to left

SHT stops on right and wives on the left with the miracle egg in the middle


Sang Hyang Tunggal: (almost at the end of Dream music)  Hong Wilaheng awi genam mastu, Oh my lord, my humble obesciences…

The three worlds are under duress and at risk from the constant trouble strife. The inhabitants of these worlds are lacking in the wisdom that will help them to live their lives. All things suffer because of this. Without  self-knowledge, everybody in these worlds will succumb to misfortune and the whole of the three worlds will face chaos and endless trouble.


(2) Hatching music


It is my most earnest desire that they have a Pamomong – a good and kindly adviser who will embody and show the necessary wisdom required to exist  peacefully in the world. I humbly desire to bring forth from this egg a powerful son who will become a great king and ruler of the three worlds.


The three puppets move forward and touch the egg, then disappear (move      backwards towards the light)


Rise in volume and intensity with loud bit for egg breaking open.


The egg hatches and three gallant and handsome dewa emerge. They look around and then shoot-off in every direction, exploring the world around them before coming together as a group.

Three dewa walking left and right

Gunungan movements – indicate that something is happening

Three dewa together on the left of the screen, and SHT on the right


(3) Mysterious interlude


SHT: My sons, born of the womb of the universe. You are of divine origin. Great things are foreseen in you. You will bear a great responsibility and face a great many challenges. Your influence will continue without being limited by space or time.


One of you majestic dewas is destined to become the king of the three worlds, but which of you it is cannot be known. So it is that you must prepare yourselves, for it may be any one of you…


(4) Energetic interlude


Antaga moves to follow Sang Hyang Tunggal, but Ismaya forcefully stops him. Agitated conversation.


Ismaya:Hey Antaga – hold your horses there ! Don’t assume that it will be you who is chosen to be the new king. There are others who might be better suited to the role. You need to have intelligence to know all that can be known and the wisdom of of the ages. Look – you’ve still got bits of egg-shell stuck to you, and yet you want to rule the universe. I, however, have all of the requisite qualities.

Antaga:No way bro ! I’m way more eligible than you – I was made from the firm shell of the egg, and you were only made from the slimy white part – just in case you hadn’t noticed.

Ismaya:You’re just made of crappy old egg shells – I’m made from the life-giving and nutritious white – the source of biological life !

Manikmaya:Neither of you should be king – you’re both fools. I wouldn’t even want you to be in charge of sorting out the recycling before it is put out in the morning. I’m not interested in this competitive nonsense – no good will come of it. I will leave to your own ends…Manikmaya turns and leaves



Antaga:It should be me !


Ismaya:Me !


Members of the gamelan all shouting me ! canon – come shambling rabble


(5) Battle music


First battle – (Antaga and Ismaya)


Forests are destroyed, animals running etcetera


SHT appears before them and intervenes, separating them, telling them that:


(Narration – in Soft ‘Outro’ part of battle music)

SHT: Battle and warfare hasn’t achieved anything at all – it has only brought harm to the earth and all who dwell in her realm. Look at you both – haggard and worn out from your efforts. Perhaps I should have provided you with some guidance to bring about a clear result. I will set a task for you – whichever of you is able to swallow the Himalayas in one gulp, will be crowned King of the gods of the Suralaya heaven.


SHT turns and leaves


(6) Second battle music


Antaga and Ismaya become Semar and Togog. They move backwards towards each other, bump into each other (bum to bum), and then turn to face each other. (This is the cue for Jasons piece).


(7) Clown music


(8) Guitar and violin for Semar and Togog dialogue


Semar: Hey Togog – We wore ourselves out fighting – for what ! Look at what we have become ! – that was pretty dumb wasn’t it. Nothing was gained – and we lost our good looks – well I lost mine – you seem to have been improved by our transformation. Now we are equals ! Oh well – one shouldn’t dwell in regrets over what has happened in the past.

Togog:Well I’d always wanted to look like a frog so that you didn’t feel alone. I did it for you Semar. Enough of the serious stuff – it’s about time for a song don’t you think ? Do you know any good Justin Bieber songs

Semar:I only know the Beatles, but I know everything that they ever sang.

Togog:How about Swara Suling ?

Semar:I don’t remember the Beatles singing that…

Togog:Of course they did. Let’s play Swara Suling…


(9) Swara Suling


Semar:Hey Togog – that was nice – much better than Justin Bieber

Togog:Now it is your turn to choose another great Beatles song. Do you know any ?

Semar: How about Praon ?

Togog: Wasn’t that from the famous album “LuMayAn” (sings first part of “LuMayAn” to the tune of “Let It Be”)

Semar:(Whacks Semars ear) – That’s not Praon

Togog: Celine Dion ?


(10) Start playing “My heart will go on” with suling part played deliberately badly,Togog sings along with it


Semar: Praon – Pih-rah-on

Togog: Don’t you like Celine Dion ?

Semar: Are you deaf ?(Grabs Togogs ear)

Togog: Huh ? Dave ? Dave’s not here.

Semar: Dave ? Who’s Dave ?

Togog: He’s not here !

Semar: (rubs his temples) Oooooo I feel a headache coming on. Pra – on !

Togog: Why don’t you like Celine Dion ?

Semar: Gamelan please play Praon and stop him from spoiling this performance.


(11) Proan



(12) Sendhon Tlutor


Semar:It’s time for us to separate and go to our respective worlds. Togog will bring goodness and wisdom to the world of giants, whilst I, Semar will be responsible for the goodness and wisdom of the noble classes. We will be the PAMOMONG (advisors) who have the task of advising, warning and being an embodiment of wisdom and kindness.


(1.    Ending – Farewell


Semar:It’s time for us to separate and go to our different worlds. Togog will bring goodness and wisdom to the world of giants, whilst I, Semar will be responsible for the goodness and wisdom of the noble classes. We will be the PAMOMONG (advisors) who have the task of advising, warning and instilling kindness, for a peaceful life that embodies peace and wisdom.


(Togog and Semar both go their separate way and leave – dancing (Togog to the left and Semar goes to the right) – dancing to Jason and Rupert playing imbalan on Balinese Drums)


Semar seems to drift off into the sky.


Then there is a tree on one side of the screen. The Jack puppet walks from the other side as if looking for something. He is humming to himself. (A favourite piece ?)  Like looking at the flowers. Semar appears very briefly in the sky, and then disappears.


Jack looks up and ums…ahhh…hmmm…ahhh…yes….


Sits under the tree and slowly arranges himself. Then he begins to recite…

(Wistful, dreamy, slightly romantic)

What a delight it is

When on the bamboo matting

In my grass-thatched hut

All on my own, I make myself at ease.


Ummmms to himself then Ahhhhs too. A wistful sigh.


Semar rises from inside of Jack – rotates a few times above him, and then parks in front of him.


Jack: What a delight it is

When borrowing

Rare writings from a friend

I open out

The first sheet


Or a score

That has never – been read before


Semar: A tune that has never been played

Jack: A sound never heard

Semar: A world not yet explored

Jack: Never before –Hooray ! Encore !

Jack: (Looks towards Semar – squints a bit) You look somewhat familiar…

Semar (Disappears)


Jack: What a delight is

When, composing a final score,

Finding the sound that I want,

Under a stone.

Or at the butchers shop, or a country fair.


Semar: Like tuning all of the instruments to one single note.

Jack: And letting the breath of the sky make them all sing.


Jack: Like looking at a photo of you on the wall.

Semar: And seeing yourself looking back.



Jack: What a delight it is

When, after a hundred days

Of racking my brains,

That verse that wouldn’t come

Suddenly turns out well.


Semar: That awkward passage

Jack: That cannot be conceived

Semar: Nor traversed.

Jack: Nor played.

Semar: Unfathomable !

Jack: What a relief it is

Semar: When it comes out well.

Jack: Ahhhh…!




Jack: What a delight it is

When, skimming through the pages

Of a Book, I discover

A man written of there

Who is just like me


Semar: And me

Jack: There is no one like you

Semar:Only you

Jack: And you




Jack: What a delight it is

When, of a morning,

I get up and go out

To find in full bloom a flower

That yesterday was not there


Semar: Such a surprise indeed

Jack: The surprise is when you realise

Semar: That it had been there all along

Jack: Sometimes our eyes let us down (Exaggerated wistfulness and regret)


Jack: What a delight it is

When you think that you are alive !

And then you find that you aren’t,

And then are, and then aren’t again


Jack: It’s like popping-in – for a bit of spicy – hee hee

Semar: Like having a cup of tea at Taihape !

Jack: A cup of tea at Taihape ! Oh goodness gracious me…




Jack: What a delight it is

When I blow away the ash

To watch the crimson

Of the glowing fire

And hear the water boil


Semar: In my reckoning, boiling water means a cup of tea

Jack: A cup of tea !

Semar: At Taihape…

Semar: So it is that we might drink our tea, and then depart, so fare ye well, and maybe we’ll meet again…

Semar rises, turns a few times and then descends, merging into Jack


Jack rises and moves slowly off, as the Kayon are arranged to indicate the end of the performance.


Theme from “close to home”



What Jack Body has done for us is similar to what SEMAR does as pamomong. Jack fostered the dissemination of gamelan in New Zealand. His dedication and hard work in guarding the success of gamelan in New Zealand is a manifestation of his love for art in his soul.


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Fragments from the impressionists chiliocosm – fragment 5

(Note: see the comments for the previous post – fragment 2 – eg: the post that scrolls after this one)

Some time off

A pause to catch the breath and to recuperate after some strenuous efforts. Away and off with Morpheus. Taken away to lands of recovery and discovery. Aemon is sighted – he wears a frown and seems forlorn. He sighs a swirling sigh. There is the rustling of dried leaves. It happens again and again. He looks dazed and dizzy. Perhaps he has a tropical illness – or worse ! There are other beings too. Octavia the emu – who was chased away by emu hunters. Aemon bursts into this dream, and must be evicted. The reason for this is put quite simply – he talks too much.


Then two shoes dreaming

An returning incarnated being that is recognised by the footwear. There is the smell of fishiness. A human being damaged by emotional vandalism. The friend dog barking and then yawning. Coughing and moaning. Flat triplets and something from a squashed D-minor. Dreams of fire.


The distilled response

A mass called maximus agitato. Energy equals heat of the life of the universe plus or minus two degrees, decibels and declinations. The mass is performed in the snow. Performed in the sea ! Performed in the mist ! A horse running through the scene. A wave poised, about to pounce on the rocks. Somewhere nearby a dancer performs ankle exercises. When they are soft and pliable she will jump and fly.


Held up before we start

Here is Sami running to the work-place. Passes a worm going to the beach. Seagulls wheeling overhead. It is morning and some of the creatures still make their night-time noises. It seems that one of my boots is missing. Has it been taken ? Has it been eaten ? Disappeared by some creature of the night. Everything here is covered in dust. There is a rabbit looking on. Yes the stars move, but it is us that moves the most, but with the shortest, most insignificant course.


Walking down a path

Is this a dream ? There are sheep on one side and there are cows on the other. By raising our fingers we can make the cows fall asleep. The delusion of power. Occasionally we find a dead and dried lamb. This is the night, and it is the time of the dance of eternity. A man arrives who sits to the right. First he looks to the left – looking this way. As though looking right through us, or at something deep within us. Then to the right, looking just behind his back. A flare falling, a wave crashing. Yes a nice quiet place is this. The dogs live behind fences and gates and bark at visitors. There are wood nymphs too, but they wait just beyond our visible range.


Who knows what comes next

Then sitting on the riverbank scratching. What would it be like to be in love. Is it like falling out of a cloud ? Or perhaps falling out of a tree. Could it ever happen. There are crickets calling from the left and the right. Pretend yes maybe. Aim all of ones intentions towards the preferred divinities. Perhaps not eating for some days. There is only fat to lose. He tries to make himself laugh by pinching himself. He manages a slightly strangled giggle, but he is not convinced that it is funny. The locals have a schedule, and stick to it. Stick to it like glue. It is time for a break – click click click – so they will expend their pause by drinking rum.


Dogdog star days

Here is a carved stick. On its head is a dogdog. This wood is from the Amazon – it cannot be broken. The dogdog smiles a fearsome smile that brings terror. He is efficient and gets things done. There is a group of people at the end of the road. Why is this group of men milling about ? Have they nothing better to do ? There is a shkk shkk shkk sound and a growing mound. They are digging a hole. We require a meddler to ask them why. Leon wanders off and into the scenery. He carries an instrument – a guitar. The children look on and sing. He carries a guitar – ohh laa laa. He goes off to ask the question, and forgets as soon as he walks around the first corner.


No hope – forever

Two people sitting by a tableaux desk. He holds a wad of papers. She wears spectacles. The spectacles make her look like an owl, and she talks mechanically. The result of exhaustive factual analysis. He, an academortician looks at the papers and turns quite white. This could even be a subjective assessment. Tears well up in his eyes, and he drops the whole bundle. Are the seals having fun today – he wonders.

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Fragments from “The impressionists chiliocosm” (#2)

Intro from website:

For a while I have been fiddling around with some old writing of mine. It is old – very old…

My good buddy, writing cohort and literary assessor, Mr Livingstone described it as being “impressionistic”, so I gave the whole body of work the working title ­ ‘From the impressionists chiliocosm’.

In considering posting it I have considered other titles which might prepare the reader for the very loosely defined nature of it.
That being so, I considered some sub-titles that might act somewhat as a guide for how to approach the work, but also as an apology for something so impulsive, discontinuous and unformed.
Some auxillary sub-titles:

In through the prism and out through the kaleidoscope

Outputs from the random event generator

A life of stream of consciousness



A diffraction, a contraction

A distraction, a contradiction

We have specialist musicians, and we have specialist cooks too. Thank goodness for that, we say. Taking delight in the colours of some culinary creations – see how they glitter and glow. Taking delight in not only the colours but the flavours too, the flavours and fragrant odours, the textures and rambunctious contours. All we need now is dancers and the day will be complete. Dancers are usually quite easily found. When they are not dancing they are usually eating. Scofftroughing on all the fuel that they can find. Here is someone that is for the first time encountering the fruit of the avocado tree. There is a tray of samples of different foods, and he is creating new mixtures and combinations. He insists that all present taste his creations. There are caviars and sardines and figs and nutbutters and plums and yeasts and much much more. A bit of this and a bit of that and a bit of the other. All mixed with a bit of avocado. By this means he might create heaven on earth, and he might create volatile combinations that nobody would want to eat a second time.


It makes me mad

This one makes me mad – it makes me so mad. So so so so so mad. The rantings of mister righteous tooth enamel become too much to bear. Will you be like me? Will you be like me? Will you be like me? Will you like me – please. That, and how old are you? He asks this of each and every person that he meets along the way. What are these white dots left behind on the floor ? We will be with you shortly – we will see you in the next compartment – yes/no ? Is a compartment something like a cell ? I would expect so… Or is it merely a frame in time.

You must promise to never go to room number 709… It is – ahh – we have been there and seen strange things. It is a very strange place. I looked through the hallway once -in the door there was a slimy insect dragon-type thing. Something very odd to say the least. In the next room there is some sort of marching happening. It makes the throat itch. One becomes so thirsty that ones only desire is to drink drink drink. It is such a strange place this. There appears a huge tall man. He reaches up so very high. But he is too tall to carry even his own weight, and is slowly collapsing.


One last wish

Then some people dragging a huge tree trunk across some mud flats. When they get to the other side it bursts open and thousands of tiny monkeys fly out. The monkeys are hungry and look out for things to eat. See over there – a horse leaning over a fence eating some brocolli. They swarm over the fence and capture the brocolli. They will pulverise it until it submits and becomes soup. The are eager to eat it, and yet still follow the course of proper conduct and offer the brocolli one last wish. It asks for the company of a potato. Why yes – they can grant that wish. They have found a whole nest of potatoes, like little eggs living amongst the compost. They whistle when under pressure, and wail when they see the monkeys swarming around them.


Damaged genes

This place here is called Crush Grove. The children here are very cruel. An unfortunate condition that they inherited from their elders. Look – a tree starts itching itself as soon as they pass by. The food bursts into flames when they look this way. This is not entirely unexpected. The atmosphere here is most unusual. They are examples of the efficient mind and body machine – its engine needs fuel and water too. A child dancing away. Its elders will teach it self-consciousness at the first opportunity that arrives. A musician plays in the background. He has become blind, and in his blindness he has found a way to experience it as his great joy. He speaks and his eyes roll back into uncomfortable looking positions. He plays and is able to experience the music with very little interference. Around and about there are other things happening. A man with a suitcase and a box filled with lots of oddities and things. He takes things out and performs tricks with them. Some children watch and point and laugh. He falters, as if though the story that he tells is of riding ones bicycle through a deep pool of mud. It stops and he falls off. After that the bell would not ring anymore. So he must carry his bicycle to safety. He carries it away and is lucky to leave this place.


All whilst waiting in the wings

Later in his adobe abode he can hear a throbbing pulsing sound. It is not loud but it is ever present. Perhaps it the sound of a boat or ship. Nearby there are some people singing in a different language to our own. Not being able to decipher the language, instead interpreting the song based on the perception of the feeling. The taste of the tones. Triplets of triols and the escaped daughters of families of priests. Was it her that we saw cooking up the grey potion. Other aspects of this inaccurate interpretation that is our impression of life. The artificarium and various edifices – all a series of white cubes carefully laid about. There is a geomancer who laughs at the seemingly haphazard pattern. There is a sanity and security in such an irregular arrangement. Three songs three trees three dogs. A chinese character that resembles a smiling face. Seeing it and smiling some more. We had gone to sleep here. Remembered an old man calling out his crude interjections – ‘show us some maori magic then…’ Aghast, we realise that he is either drunk or mad. Do you know what it is that you are asking for ? The heavens open up with a solid deluge. Look – your request has arrived. You should have asked for a public holiday instead. He looks most terribly confused – his cigarette has become extinguished.


Later, in Africa – amongst semi-jungle

Perhaps the soil here may be eaten. But today we have trodden upon it, so might not eat this particular part of it. But today we need no more food anyway. Not now at least, for we have had enough. There are tiny small steps with mud inbetween, and we slip and slide on downward. At the bottom we land, tangled in sixes and nines and threes. We must leave immediately, and it might be a good idea to run very fast. Up a steep bank and into a small building. There is a hole there. Jumping through it becomes another world. Then it melts away to become this world again. Another jungle. There wafts about the sound of an aztec pan flute. Look ! A swarm of monkeys appears. But no ! It is only a swarm of hornets. We must sing to pacify them – it is our only chance for survival.


Alive still and very pleased for it

I had a woolley hat that was washed and shrunken to be too small. Perhaps it might suit one of the little monkeys. There are two drunken Samoans going home. They wear identical lavalavas and one wears a yellow hat. They come to the place where they must part. They bow to each other most ceremoniously and exaggeroubuously. Why Whetu ! So you are growing a tail ? Woof woof ! Then running off the other way, laughing maniacally. He he he he hehe he he hehe he he he hehehe… In the morning he is woken by the sound of a whirring kite. It is from his friend. It dives and drops two fish-heads at his feet.

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Blue rosebuds

This face painted-on and stuck in place. One blue rose in a field where all the others are of a different hue. Red roses, pink, yellow, orange, apricot, burgundy and white, but not another one to be seen that is blue. They all stand in line, fading to become a random mixture of colours in the fuzzy distance. Amongst them a solitary blue face. It looks to the sun as much as the others do and the sun dwells in it. But no-one else and nothing else sees it. It is as if it isn’t.

Standing in rows, the roses have roots instead of boots, their movement is very slow and inconspicuous. Dancing when the wind blows, they sag when they are sad. When the sun shines they cannot contain their excitement. They wear a big smile on their face and follow its passage through the day.

There is so much effort put into these flowers. They are built in their entirety whilst hidden inside a bud, surrounded by leaves, and then unveiled to the world. They open and the hearts of the world open too. Open for all to see, but once opened there is no return to how things were. No more being closed and protected. By itself it must fulfill the complete course of life, with the only thing guaranteed being that dissolution will eventually come. Separation from the branch that has borne it and provided it with its happy sappy life blood. Separation and decay, as the host lives on and on.

The host must go on – it cannot stop its growing to look at what has passed. Instead maintaining a steady flow of life. From within the earth it draws its nutrients and they rise upwards towards the sun and the sky. Then taking them back down to its roots. Living in this one place, contained in its own little world of awareness. Like the awareness of the stones, the sky, the soil. The sun and the stars and the salty sea. The feeling of caves and trees and boulders and all parts of the whole of the local landscape. A little part of each and all. And all a part of each little bit.

There it stands-out on its own, the one blue rose. The others all refuse to believe that it is real. Just how can one be sure ? Perhaps it is a demented form of red, a lost relative of the yellow, an unusual variety of brown, a fallen representative of the purples and burgunds. We had heard rumour of its existence, but no-one had ever seen it.

But watch ! – as the wind blows and all the others sway. The blue rose sways as much as it feels it wants too. Perhaps a bit of dancing before the swimming season. Why not, we might exclaim – why not ! It may dance its most passionate dance, but none will see it, because it appears to be standing still. None will see it, for it is as if it is not there.

Not just dancing though, for there it is, singing and laughing and expressing all of the stories of life. Expressing them on the outside, expressing them on the inside. Like a physician drawing noxious airs and foul fluids and exposing them to the light of the day. Expressing it all until the body falls dead calm and everything that arises is met with clarity. With unflinching nerves and a steady temperament. Meeting every moment with a ready agreement. For it is as it is, and that is that, and all is okay.

Time spent amongst the roses will stand one in good stead. There are indeed times when it is not recommended to get near and close to them. With a developed skill it is possible to move with ease in their prickly realm. There in the moment that is calm, unchanging even as storms and tempests appear from behind the horizon and march across this scene. If the surrounding scenery is calm, then one can be sure that the next storm is not far off.

But what would the roses care about anything beyond their little patch of garden. The soil at their feet with the worms working away within. The compost lying around, the sun and rain, the bugs and critters following their daily schedule. Do they care for the magnolia ? – its branch broken and decaying. The weta living within its wound ? The forget-me-nots huddled together on the ground after the rain. Or the daphne alongside it, leaves fallen off after a windy day. Do the roses care more for these or any others in particular. They do care. They care for all of these and more. Anything that appears as manifest – they care for it. But sometimes they feel that there is but a little that they can do for them all. Little more than extend the best of their good feelings that way and for any other that needs it.

The blue rose simply awaits its day. On the earth all are looking but they are not able to see it. They are looking in the wrong place and looking for the wrong thing. But most of all they don’t know what they are looking for. The other roses are tortured in the hope that they will reveal themselves as having a blue rose on the inside. It is thought that if they are flogged and punished enough, they will have a blue offspring. Looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place.

Instead there is a realm of possibilities. Perhaps traveling there as if to the library. A great place to look for anything at all. All the things that we we can imagine and the things that we couldn’t imagine too. Or just didn’t bother considering as a possibility. Looking at that place, for it is sure to be there. There in the world of possibilities. Do remember though, that there are some things that never leave that place, that will only be found there.

The other roses all huddled in their bands and brigades of uniformity. They cannot find their way even as it leans on them and pushes. They cannot find it even as they are rooted in the middle of it. Not until they break from their ranks and jump in quite entirely.

Once in there finding blue roses everywhere. Finding that all roses are actually blue from the start. Finding that the blue roses are made of empty space mixed together with a bit of imagination, and that the red ones are too. So too the peach, amber, pink burgundy and champagne coloured roses. A bit of imagination, a few volts of concentration and the desire to see it thus, that wells from the centre of everything.

The moon rises full and shines on the white roses in the garden. On this day you will be silver – and a little bit blue too. They laugh shyly at such a weak trick. Looking to the world of possibilities, but waiting with a quiet heart. Eventually the blue rose will reveal itself, and all of the others will finally agree and see it too.

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