Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:10 am

Part 1 of 3

BOOK TWO: SEPARATION -- The Separations in His Vision and Under His Rule

I felt a Cleaving in my Mind --
As if my Brain had split --
I tried to match it -- Seam by Seam --
But could not make them fit.

The thought behind, I strove to join
Unto the thought before --
But Sequence ravelled out of Sound
Like Balls -- upon the Floor.




I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, awful goddess -- of her and her trim-ankled daughter whom Aidoneus rapt away, given to him by all-seeing Zeus, the loud-thunderer.

-- Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Her womb from her body. Separation. Her clitoris from her vulva. Cleaving. Desire from her body. We were told that bodies rising to heaven lose their vulvas, their ovaries, wombs, that her body in resurrection becomes a male body.

The Divine Image from woman, severing, immortality from the garden, exile, the golden calf split, birth, sorrow, suffering. We were told that the blood of a woman after childbirth conveys uncleanness. That if a woman's uterus is detached and falls to the ground, that she is unclean. Her body from the sacred. Spirit from flesh. We were told that if a woman has an issue and that issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be impure for seven days. The impure from the pure. The defiled from the holy. And whoever touches her, we heard, was also impure. Spirit from matter. And we were told that if our garments are stained we are unclean back to the time we can remember seeing our garments unstained, that we must rub seven substances over these stains, and immerse our soiled garments.

Separation. The clean from the unclean. The decaying, the putrid, the polluted, the fetid, the eroded, waste, defecation, from the unchanging. The changing from the sacred. We heard it spoken that if a grave is plowed up in a field so that the bones of the dead are lost in the soil of the field, this soil conveys uncleanness. That if a member is severed from a corpse, this too conveys uncleanness, even an olive pit's bulk of flesh. That if marrow is left in a bone there is uncleanness. And of the place where we gathered to weep near the graveyard, we heard that planting and sowing were forbidden since our grieving may have tempted unclean flesh to the soil. And we learned that the dead body must be separated from the city.

Death from the city. Wilderness from the city. Wildness from the city. The Cemetery. The Garden. The Zoological Garden. We were told that a wolf circled the walls of the city. That he ate little children. That he ate women. That he lured us away from the city with his tricks. That he was a seducer and he feasted on the flesh of the foolish, and the blood of the errant and sinful stained the snow under his jaws.

The errant from the city. The ghetto. The ghetto of Jews. The ghetto of Moors. The quarter of prostitutes. The ghetto of blacks. The neighborhood of lesbians. The prison. The witch house. The underworld. The underground. The sewer. Space Divided. The inch. The foot. The mile. The boundary. The border. The nation. The promised land. The chosen ones. The prophets, the elect, the vanguard, the sanctified, the canonized, and the canonizers. We were told that when he tried to rape her, she said, "No, it is against God's wishes." That although she was stabbed fourteen times, she did not raise her hands to stop him, but only to prevent her defilement. That she forgave him afterward. That her mother forgave him. We were told that because of these acts she was blessed, that we were to look on her as a saint.

Anger from her body. Intellect from her body. Separation. Interrogation. Purification. The test by fire. Space Divided: Heaven from hell. Time Divided: Mortality from immortality. Cataclysm. The last judgment. Judgment from emotion, from sensation. Sensation from idea. The sensation of color from the ray of light. Optics. Music from the sound wave. Acoustics. The laws of nature from nature. The lasting from the transient. The story came down to us that he feared she might conceive a son and that this son might depose him. The immutable from the mutable. Res extensa. Res cogitans. Splitting. Reduction. Sensual fact peeled away from number. Number. Measurement. The measured from the immeasurable. Quantity from the cave of illusions. The mind from the body. Thus we heard that he coaxed her to him and then he opened his mouth and swallowed her whole, that he was then seized with a raging headache, that his skull seemed to burst, that from his skull was born a daughter in his image, wielding a sword and shouting.

Her will from her body. The knower from the known. The speaker from the mute. Self from self. From the nocturnal. From the nightmare. Discovery from dream. Her will from her body. We were told in a story that he pursued her. That she fled from him. She fled into the water. She became a fish. He became a beaver. She leaped ashore. She became an otter, a pig, a fox, a mare, a lion. He became a lynx, a bear, a wolf, an elk, a tiger. She became a goose. He became a swan. That he forced her to his will and she bore his daughter.

Her name from her daughter. The named from the unnamed. The spoken from the spoken. The daughter from the mother. Somewhere we heard the story that she who made the earth yield, the seed grow, had her daughter taken from her. We heard that one day when her daughter was playing in the fields the earth separated and that from this gaping crevice sprang her abductor. That she dreaded him. That not knowing he had blessed this event, she cried out for help from her father. That not knowing one nearby could hear from her cave, she cried out rape. That wishing for her mother she cried out again and again and her voice rang against mountains and across seas until it reached her mother's ears. Cleaving. The part from the whole. The reduction of the element from the compound. Nitrogen from liquid air by boiling. Oxygen from air by boiling. Hydrogen from water by electric current, by steam passed over hot carbon. We knew from this story that her mother was seized with pain when she heard her daughter's cry. It occurs to us that she must have felt herself rent apart. That she flew like a wild bird, we were told, over land and sea, asking what had happened to her daughter. That no one would tell her the truth. Carbon dioxide separated from limestone by heat. Iodine oxidized from sea water, bromide oxidized from sea water, chlorine from the electrolysis of salt, fluorine from the electrolysis of salt. We remembered that finally she met one who had heard her daughter's cry. That together they searched for her, that together they carried torches, that they learned the story together of her daughter's rape, that the sunlight told them she was lost to her mother. That her mother became bitter, we knew, that she was unforgiving, that she left herself, that she lived in the body of an old woman, in the body of a housekeeper, and played the part of a nurse. (That she cared for the son of a king, while she shaped the body of this boy over her fires into immortality.) That finally she revealed herself in rage. But that though she demanded to be recognized for who she was, no recognition would appease her. That she remembered her daughter, the soft hair down her spine. Her daughter's voice. Her terror. And that she could do nothing to save her. She ate nothing. She drank nothing. She refused existence. She was mute. She withheld herself. She was numb. And the earth would not yield, and the seed would not sprout. The land was devastated and the sea shrank into itself in an agony of loss and the sky was black with dread. Silver from lead. Copper. Gold. Silicon from sand, quartz, rock, crystal, potassium from sylvite, carnalite, langbeinite from ancient sea beds, platinum from iridium, osmium, palladium from alluvial deposits, manganese from oxide, silicates and carbonates from the floor of the oceans, plutonium from uranium, uranium from pitchblende, uraninite, carnotite, phosphate rock.

Loss. Grief. Parting. The gentle from the terrible. Suffering from knowledge. Separation. Tearing away. Breaking. The skin of the sea otter we were told from the sea otter that the world would be tested by fire, the tusk of the elephant that souls would be weighed from the elephant and judged according to a balance sheet the pelt of each life of the fox from the fox that there is a book the feather of the egret in which everything has been inscribed from the egret, the weed that the risen will wear this book around their necks as a passport from the flower, the metal from the mountain, uranium from the metal, plutonium from uranium, the electron from the atom, the atom splitting, energy from matter, the womb, spirit, from her body, from matter, cataclysm, splitting, the chromosome split, spirit burned from flesh, desire devastated from the earth.

The Image

SPANISH DANCER (oil, cardboard) We testify WOMAN AND CHILD (ink, chalk, paper) that we were called woman. WOMAN IN WHITE MANTILLA (oil, canvas) We were called woman STANDING NUDE WITH RAISED ARMS (gouache) and we were called nature HEAD OF A WOMAN (sepia wash) and we were the objects HEAD (oil, canvas) THE DRESSING TABLE (oil, canvas) BOTTLE OF RUM (oil, canvas) of his art. LANDSCAPE (oil, canvas) STILL LIFE (oil, canvas) THE MODEL (oil, canvas) WOMAN IN AN ARMCHAIR (gouache, watercolor) TABLE IN FRONT OF AN OPEN WINDOW (gouache, watercolor) WOMAN WITH FAN (oil, canvas) TWO NUDES (gouache, pencil) STILL LIFE (oil) We were the objects SEATED DANCER WOMAN AT THE BEACH MOTHER AND CHILD HEAD OF A WOMAN MATERNITY SEATED NUDE THREE NUDES of his art Mata Hari (her navel is like a round goblet) Salome (always filled) Delilah (her belly like a heap of wheat) Eve (surrounded by lilies) Lolita (her breasts like two young roes) and these were the names Helen of Troy (her eyes) Guinevere (like fish pools) we were given Clytemnestra (the joints of her thighs) the Sirens (like jewels).

The Sirens We say (She was a Phantom) these were the names (of delight) we were given, Annabel Lee (a lovely apparition sent) We say these were the stories La Belle Dame Sans Merci of our lives. (To be a moment's ornament) We were called Miss Prue and Pamela and Dora, old bag, old bawd, Potiphar's wife and Hera, the nagging wife of Zeus (my wife with the hourglass waist) we were called Lilith and the Daughters of Zion, Jezebel and Madame Flaubert and the nagging wife of Socrates (with the wait of an otter in tiger's jaws) and bitch and crone and cunt and the Lady of the Lake (with eyelashes like strokes of childish writing) and the nagging wife of Abraham Lincoln and we were called Justine, we were called Lady Brett Ashley, we were called The False Duessa, harlot, heifer, mare and the nagging wife (my wife with the matchstick wrists) of Rip Van Winkle (whose neck is pearl barley) we were called quail, slattern and Lady Macbeth (whose throat is a golden dale) we were called shrew, we were called sow, we were called vixen (with the springtime buttocks, and sex of seaweed and stale sweets, with mirror sex, with eyes of wood always under the ax).


We say we were called woman WOMAN SLEEPING we were called good
as gold WOMAN IN AN ARMCHAIR we were called Sonia Semyonova,
Little Dorrit WOMAN'S HEAD AND SELF-PORTRAIT and we were
called Patient Griselda WOMAN IN A GARDEN HEAD OF A BULL AND
JUG (oil, canvas) CAT EATING A BIRD (oil, canvas) WOMAN SEATED IN


Woman of Woman belonging to
Woman given to Woman sent for (But
the women, it was written, and the little ones,
and the cattle and all that is in the city, even all the
spoil thereof shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat
the spoil of thine enemies.) Woman taken, WOMAN (It is written that
the whole mind and body of woman changes by virtue of the male
power of fecundation in coitu.) subjugated. woman drawn hither and
thither (And it is written that the meaning of woman is to be meaningless.)
woman known (And it is pronounced that as a man knows a
flower or a tree, and possesses these objects with his mind, that in the
moment of carnal knowledge both husband and wife are changed forever;
he can never return to ignorance, she never returns to virginity.)
wife, wife of, wife belonging to (And the body of the wife, it is set
down, is part of the body of the husband. And it is recorded that of
that body, she is the flesh, and he is the head.)


Dearly beloved, you have come here to be united into this holy estate We are the empty vessel it behooveth you, then, to declare, in the presence of God and these witnesses we are the body the flesh the sincere intent you both have. We are one with him Who giveth this woman to be married to this man? and he is the one. Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband We bear his name to live with him after God's ordinance in the holy state of matrimony? His knowledge is our knowledge, what he asks of us we give. Matter impressed. We are the background, the body, we receive. Matter impressed with heat. The enlarging of the molecule. The polymerization of material. The desirable flexibility. The formation of plastic. We have heard the story of the foolish virgins who were not always waiting for the bridegrooms. We wait. The making of plasticity. The material molded to desire. The synthesis of polyamide. The coupling of hexamethylene diamine with adipic acid. Nylon. We have heard the story of Zeus's mother, of how she forbade marriage to Zeus, of how she feared the violence of his lust. The material shaped. Of how Zeus raped his mother. Phenol mixed with formaldehyde. We comply. Bakelite. The material shaped at will. Ethylene reacting with chlorine. Polyvinyl chloride. Polystyrene. Plexiglass. Polythene. Polythylene. We know that after Zeus married Hera he angered her with infidelity. And we heard that after she rebelled against him he hung her from the sky, putting golden bracelets around her wrists and anvils about her ankles. The material easily shaped. We obey. Artificial rubber. Artificial wood. Artificial leather. Easily used. Teflon. Silicone. Corfam. Malleable. Cellophane. Polyurethane foam. Mutable. Glass fiber resins. Bent to use. DDT 24-D. Ammonic detergent. We have heard the story of Daphne. That she did not want to marry. That when Apollo pursued her, she fled. That when he seized her, she would not yield and she called out for help to her father, and that her father changed her to a laurel tree. And we heard that after this Apollo told her, "Your leaf shall know no decay. You shall always be as you are now, and I shall wear you for my crown." Benzene. Hexachloride. We yield. Dichlorobenzene solvents. Polypropylene plastics. Design. The formation of the earth in strata. The convenient stratification of the elements. The utility of the complexities of the earth. The convenience of resources. The availability of treasure. We were told that we exist for his needs, that we are a necessity. Mineral salt. Coal. Metallic ores. That it is in our nature to be needed. The production of soil for agriculture. The general dispersal of metals useful to man. The disposition of certain animals for domestication. The provision of food and raiment by plants and animals. The size of animals in relation to man. The convenience of the size of goats for milking. The convenience of the size of ripened corn. The value of labor. The labor theory of value. Her labor married to his value. We were told that Zeus swallowed Metis whole Her labor that from his belly disappearing she gave him advice. Her labor not counted in his production. We are the empty vessel, the background, the body. His name given to her labor. The wife of the laborer called working class. The wife of the shopkeeper called petit bourgeois. The wife of the factory owner called bourgeois. We were told that since it is in our nature to be needed wilt thou love him, comfort him, honor him, obey him that his need is our need and keep him in sickness and in health and that his happiness is our happiness and forsaking all others, keep thee only to him in all things, so long as you both shall live? And if we should suffer at his hands In the presence of God and these witnesses. I take thee we must have wished for this suffering to be my wedded husband that his sins are our sins and plight thee my troth that without him, we are not till death do us part.


The Hunt

Is it by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation when beholding the milky way?


And at last she could bear the burden of herself no more. She was to be had for the taking, To be had for the taking.

-- D. H. LAWRENCE, Lady Chatterley's Lover

She has captured his heart. She has overcome him. He cannot tear his eyes away. He is burning with passion. He cannot live without her. He pursues her. She makes him pursue her. The faster she runs, the stronger his desire. He will overtake her. He will make her his own. He will have her. (The boy chases the doe and her yearling for nearly two hours. She keeps running despite her wounds. He pursues her through pastures, over fences, groves of trees, crossing the road, up hills, volleys of rifle shots sounding, until perhaps twenty bullets are embedded in her body.) She has no mercy. She has dressed to excite his desire. She has no scruples. She has painted herself for him. She makes supple movements to entice him. She is without a soul. Beneath her painted face is flesh, are bones. She reveals only part of herself to him. She is wild. She flees whenever he approaches. She is teasing him. (Finally, she is defeated and falls and he sees that half of her head has been blown off, that one leg is gone, her abdomen split from her tail to her head, and her organs hang outside her body. Then four men encircle the fawn and harvest her too.) He is an easy target, he says. He says he is pierced. Love has shot him through, he says. He is a familiar mark. Riddled. Stripped to the bone. He is conquered, he says. (The boys, fond of hunting hare, search in particular for pregnant females.) He is fighting for his life. He faces annihilation in her, he says. He is losing himself to her, he says. Now, he must conquer her wildness, he says, he must tame her before she drives him wild, he says. (Once catching their prey, they step on her back, breaking it, and they call this "dancing on the hare.") Thus he goes on his knees to her. Thus he wins her over, he tells her he wants her. He makes her his own. He encloses her. He encircles her. He puts her under lock and key. He protects her. (Approaching the great mammals, the hunters make little sounds which they know will make the elephants form a defensive circle.) And once she is his, he prizes his delight. He feasts his eyes on her. He adorns her luxuriantly. He gives her ivory. He gives her perfume. (The older matriarchs stand to the outside of the circle to protect the calves and younger mothers.) He covers her with the skins of mink, beaver, muskrat, seal, raccoon, otter, ermine, fox, the feathers of ostriches, osprey, egret, ibis. (The hunters then encircle that circle and fire first into the bodies of the matriarchs. When these older elephants fall, the younger panic, yet unwilling to leave the bodies of their dead mothers, they make easy targets.) And thus he makes her soft. He makes her calm. He makes her grateful to him. He has tamed her, he says. She is content to be his, he says. (In the winter, if a single wolf has leaped over the walls of the city and terrorized the streets, the hunters go out in a band to rid the forest of the whole pack.) Her voice is now soothing to him. Her eyes no longer blaze, but look on him serenely. When he calls to her, she gives herself to him. Her ferocity lies under him. (The body of the great whale is strapped with explosives.) Now nothing of the old beast remains in her. (Eastern Bison, extinct 1825; Spectacled Cormorant, extinct 1852; Cape Lion, extinct 1865; Bonin Night Heron, extinct 1889; Barbary Lion, extinct 1922; Great Auk, extinct 1944.) And he can trust her wholly with himself. So he is blazing when he enters her, and she is consumed. (Florida Key Deer, vanishing; Wild Indian Buffalo, vanishing; Great Sable Antelope, vanishing.) Because she is his, she offers no resistance. She is a place of rest for him. A place of his making. And when his flesh begins to yield and his skin melts into her, he becomes soft, and he is without fear; he does not lose himself; though something in him gives way, he is not lost in her, because she is his now: he has captured her.

The Zoological Garden

Wild, wild things will turn on you
You have got to set them free.

-- CRIS WILLIAMSON, "Wild Things"

In the cage is the lion. She paces with her memories. Her body is a record of her past. As she moves back and forth, one may see it all: the lean frame, the muscular legs, the paw enclosing long sharp claws, the astonishing speed of her response. She was born in this garden. She has never in her life stretched those legs. Never darted farther than twenty yards at a time. Only once did she use her claws. Only once did she feel them sink into flesh. And it was her keeper's flesh. Her keeper whom she loves, who feeds her, who would never dream of harming her, who protects her. Who in his mercy forgave her mad attack, saying this was in her nature, to be cruel at a whim, to try to kill what she loves. He had come into her cage as he usually did early in the morning to change her water, always at the same time of day, in the same manner, speaking softly to her, careful to make no sudden movement, keeping his distance, when suddenly she sank down, deep down into herself, the way wild animals do before they spring, and then she had risen on all her strong legs, and swiped him in one long, powerful, graceful movement across the arm. How lucky for her he survived the blow. The keeper and his friends shot her with a gun to make her sleep. Through her half-open lids she knew they made movements around her. They fed her with tubes. They observed her. They wrote comments in notebooks. And finally they rendered a judgment. She was normal. She was a normal wild beast, whose power is dangerous, whose anger can kill, they had said. Be more careful of her, they advised. Allow her less excitement. Perhaps let her exercise more. She understood none of this. She understood only the look of fear in her keeper's eyes. And now she paces. Paces as if she were angry, as if she were on the edge of frenzy. The spectators imagine she is going through the movements of the hunt, or that she is readying her body for survival. But she knows no life outside the garden. She has no notion of anger over what she could have been, or might be. No idea of rebellion.

It is only her body that knows of these things, moving her, daily, hourly, back and forth, back and forth, before the bars of her cage.

The Garden

And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.... Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

-- GENESIS 3:12, 23, 24

She was in the garden, sequestered behind bushes, as night came, just as the other children were called in, and so she stayed quiet, she said, as a mouse, so that she could be out there alone. And when the cries of the others had gone indoors, in this new silence she began to hear the movements of birds. So she stayed still and watched them. Then she felt, she said, the earth beneath her feet coming closer to her. And she began to play with the berries and the plants and finally to whisper to the birds.

And the birds, she said afterward, whispered to her. And thus when, hearing her mother's frightened voice, she appeared finally from the dark tangle of trees and shrubs, her face was so radiant that her mother, amazed to see this new joy in her daughter, did not tell her then what she knew she would soon have to say. That those bushes her daughter hid behind can also hide strangers, that for her shadows speak danger, that in such places little girls must be afraid.


Space Divided

Bring out number, weight and measure in a year of dearth.

-- WILLIAM BLAKE, The proverbs of Hell

Miletus initiated the practice of the mathematical "plat," based not on a topographical reality but on numerical configurations.

-- SIBYL MOHOLY-NAGY, Matrix of Man

The mile. The acre. The inch and the foot. The gallon and the ton. The upper and lower, left and right, side, front, back, under, ante, post. The large and the small. Number and name. Perimeter. Classification. Separation. Shape.


Space Divided.


The Mile. As in thirty miles north of Oklahoma City (is a plant for the manufacture of plutonium) or six miles west of St. Louis (is the St. Louis Public Zoo) or one mile and a half north of Soledad (lies the Central Facility for Soledad State Prison) or two hundred miles southwest of Berlin (in the district of Bamberg, there once existed a house for the trying of witches) or six miles west of the city of Corona (is the California Institution for Women) or two miles south of Napa (is Napa State Hospital for the mentally ill).


Space. The Acre. For example, 500,000 acres (of the Ozarks have been sprayed with herbicide) or 936 acres (comprise the central facility at Soledad) or 199 acres (are in the California Institute for Women) or 81 acres (are part of the St. Louis Zoo).


Space. The Inch and the Foot. Divided. As in eight foot long (pencil-thin metal rods are used to store the plutonium) or thirteen feet by seven feet by nine feet (is judged the proper size for a cell used for continual separation and solitary confinement) or fourteen to eighteen inches (should be the thickness of the walls dividing cells) or eighteen inches (of stone should separate the cell from the corridor) or five thousand square feet (is the size of a pool accommodating several seals and one sea elephant) or fourteen thousand square feet (are allotted for the primate house) or thirty feet (are needed to widen the public ramp for the lion show).


Divided. The Gallon. The Ton. As in a million and one half gallons (of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2,4,5-tetrachlorophenoxyacetic acid are stored on Johnston Island) or forty thousand tons (of 2,4,5-tetrachlorophenoxyacetic acid were dropped over the Vietnamese countryside) or tons (of toolproof steel were used in the construction of Sing Sing Prison).


Divided. Upper and Lower. At the Side. Under. Left and Right. Ante. Space. As in upper and lower (chapels were in the two-story building) or at the side (was an outbuilding which was the torture chamber) or under (the building ran a stream used for test by immersion) or to the right (of the entrance hall was the warder's room) or to the left and right (of the corridor leading to the chapel opened eight separate cells) or to the right (are cell blocks and shops for hardened criminals who will not leave their quarters) or on the left (is the hospital for the abnormal) or antechambers (for the judges adjoined the chapel) or on the upper story (are cages for lions) or on the lower (are rest rooms for the public) or to the left (of the hospital was the death house).


Space Divided, as in Large and Small. The largest of three (arenas is the chimpanzee show) or the small (mammal house) or a small (room on the upper story called the confession chamber).


Divided. Name. Number. As in the name Hexenhaus (House of the Witches) or the number eighteen (cells and a room for a warder) or twenty-six (witches could be held in the house at any one time).

Divided by Perimeters and Classifications, such as a twelve-foot-high chain-link fence (secured at the bottom to a concrete curb and topped by three strands of barbed wire, with ten armed guard towers, lined in two parallel rows of five) or such as four classes of inmates (900 average, 150 a disciplinary group, 150 defective or abnormal, 400 an honor group) or such as the three classes of animals (Reptiles, Birds, Mammals) or the three classes of structures needing remodeling (by priority: First Priority, aviary, lion house, seal basin, west parking lot, east refreshment pavilion, et cetera; Second Priority, reptile house, small mammal house, et cetera; Third Priority, primate house, lion show, and so forth).


Space Divided by Separations, as in separate corridors (are provided for the guards and the prisoners) or each floor is separated from the other floor, or there are eight separate cell blocks, or the dining room has two separate entrances (so that the classes of inmates may be kept separate) or there are several separate cottages (a cottage for colored girls, a cottage for the younger girls, a cottage for older women, a cottage for women on the honor role, a cottage for women being disciplined, a cottage for the incorrigible), or as in separation is enforced (in the Auburn system by a rule of silence, and because the inmates must keep their eyes downward and walk in lock step).


And finally, the Divisions of Space are seen as Shapes, such as an elliptical arc (forms the outside wall of the upper and lower chapel in the Hexenhaus) or a square (the shape of the lion house) or a circle (the shape for a prison in which there may be constant surveillance from the center) or such as the rectangular shape of a cell.

Or the shape of a measuring rod.
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:11 am

Part 2 of 3

Time Divided

The very words from which she will get into the way of forming sentences should not be taken at haphazard but be definitely chosen and arranged on purpose. For example, let her have the names of the prophets and the apostles, and the whole list of patriarchs from Adam downward....

-- ST. JEROME, Letter on a Girl's Education, 403 A.D.

Time. The hour. The minute. The second. His clock. His universe ticking, he says, like a clock. (The number of man-hours it takes him to do a job.) His life span. The life span of a normal man.

Time and the generations. As in the generations of Esau. (And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in Mount Seir: These are the names of Esau's sons; Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau. And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam and Kemaz. And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son; and she bare to Eliphaz, Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau's wife. And these are the sons of Reuel; Nahath and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah....)

His Time. The years. As in the years of his reign. As in the reign of Ramses II. As in the Jefferson years. As in the Stalinist period. Time and his discoveries. As when Columbus discovered America. As when Cabot discovered America. As when Americus Vespucius discovered America. (As when Balboa discovered the South Sea, Cortez discovered Vera Cruz, De Soto discovered the Mississippi River, Hudson discovered the Hudson River, as when Watson discovered DNA.)


Time. Time Divided. As in the Period. As in the Epoch. As in the Dark Ages. His Middle Ages. His Renaissance. As in the Ages of Man. As in the Iron Age. As in the Age of Industrialization. As in the Atomic Age. (And when he discovered iron, and when he discovered electricity, and when he split the atom, and when he invented plutonium, 2,4,5-tetrachlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid.) Time divided and measured. As by the active life of plutonium (as in 250,000 years), as by traces of insecticide found in tissues five years later, as by contamination of the water supply for more than five years.

Time divided and measured. Time marked by events. As in history. As in the history of his events. As in the Battle of Thermopylae. As in the First Punic War. As in the Peloponnesian Wars. The Sack of Rome. The Norman Conquest. The Conquests of Charlemagne. As in the Crusades. As in the Hundred Years' War. The War of the Roses. The Thirty Years' War. The Seven Years' War. The American Revolution. The French Revolution. As in the Congress of Vienna. And the fall of the Maginot Line. Time.

Time. Time divided by his thoughts. As in the Age of Reason. As the Age of Ideals. As in the Classical Age and the Mannerist Period. Time divided. Divided by his words. As in the Homeric Age, or the Age of Chaucer, or the Age of Shakespeare. Time. Time divided by what he believes, as in the Age of Belief. As in his Reformation. And the Death of God. As in the Decadent Age and the Age of Anxiety.

Time and his history. And the history of his creations. As in the history of the zoological garden. (The paradeisos, the menagerie, the period of the classical zoo, the modern zoological garden.) As in the history of incarceration. (The house for the interrogation of witches, the jail, the stocks, the prison, the reformed prison, the madhouse, the mental hospital, the detention camp, the concentration camp, the New Life Hamlet.)

Time and his creations. As in the Mechanical Age and the Age of Technology.

Time. Time divided by events. By his history. As in his birth. As in the ceremony of circumcision. The ceremony of becoming a man. The ceremony of graduation. And the ceremony of his ordination. The ceremony of his retirement. Time marked by events. Such as the time of His Birth. Such as the date of His Death, and the day of His Ascension.



I am reminded that a great compliment of my childhood was: "She's such a quiet girl."

--MICHELLE CLIFF, Notes on Speechlessness

In that photograph of the child and her mother there is a wide space between them and wide space all around them, and all that space seems to be filled with silence. The child looks as if she might have cried but is not crying. Her eyes look down intently to the ground. Her hands grip the wire of a barbed-wire fence. Maybe she has just tried to say what she felt. Maybe the language did not come to her, she could not find the words. Maybe what she felt got turned in her mouth into other words. She has that look of desperation on her face, that she had tried to speak and given up.

In the mother's body is a different kind of helplessness. She stands with one hand on her hip, another shading her eyes from the sun, looking toward her daughter. Whatever her daughter tried to say was not something she could understand. And her posture might be righteous, or even angry, if there were not a clear longing in it. As if the child's attempt at speech had touched an old buried place in her and so she lingers, half turned to her daughter, half turned away, knowing she will never grasp that feeling and thus already having given up, yet not able to turn from it.

And they stand there forever that way, locked in silence.


What He Sees (The Art of It)

Watched all night by the dead body of a friend of Mrs. P--- ... Peace to his soul! I made a good sketch of his head, as a present for his poor wife. On such occasions time flies very slow indeed, so much so that it looked as if it stood still, like the hawk that poises over its prey.

--JOHN JAMES AUDUBON, Journal, August 11, 1821

For weeks upon weeks he observed the habits of this bird. He could create in his mind the posture of the animal as it perched on the highest limb of a magnolia tree. He could predict every movement of the bird; he knew his habits. Now as the bird circled his nest, the artist knew he would light there and remain. He had planned this event. He had disturbed the nest of this eagle since he knew then that the bird would stay there, surveying the extent of the damage, and protecting what was his. So the painter did not hurry as he went to find his gun, and he took his time loading it. Then he sequestered himself in weeds about the tree and aimed slowly and carefully. At the sound of the gun the eagle flapped his wings, but could not bear himself into the air and finally fell to the earth. The artist, holding the dying bird in his hands, expressed his wonderment at the expression of the eagle's eye, which at one and the same time blazed as if illuminated with fire, and glazed over with death. As the sun descended the eagle died.

Now he was excited. He had a fire built and spent the next hours preparing the bird, stuffing him, mounting him. He had acquired this skill through years of labor and experiment. He used wires to pierce and hold together the body of the bird in the posture he desired and the result of his efforts created an effect whose grace and naturalness were later said to have rivaled life.

The next morning he ascended to the top of the magnolia tree, and in great danger and with enormous labor he succeeded in sawing off the limb on which the eagle had once rested. This then he attached the eagle to, perching in all his grandeur, an emblem, it was said, of freedom and glory.

Finally he would capture the eagle on paper by placing the body against a background ruled with division lines in squares to correspond to similar divisions on his own paper. And if necessary, in addition, he would measure parts of the bird with a compass. He was meticulous and painted with great accuracy even every barb on every feather, so great was his love for his subject. And in this way, he preserved the birds of America.

The Anatomy Lesson

It is obvious that we cannot instruct women as we do men in the science of medicine; we cannot carry them into the dissecting room....

-- WALTER CHANNING, Remarks on the Employment of Females as Practitioners in Midwifery, by a Physician

The medical student is overcome with feeling. She vomits when she ought to be lifting the corpse's arm, breaking it against the stiffening of death. She associates her own body with the coldness of this one, trembles before it. No measure is taken to relieve her fear. No one asks her to describe it or sing it out. No ceremony exists to reveal it. She is told instead she must learn to move about the human body without feeling. (She must leave feeling behind.) No one wonders if there might have been a use for that feeling -- it is discarded before it is examined. She shall never know about death. The anatomy lesson becomes lifeless.

And now this probing of the body gives us no help against our fear of death. Yet isn't that why we wanted to see the body, despite our loathing, despite our fear, because of the fear, our feeling?

Acoustics (What He Hears)

They said that the animals were clocks; that the cries they emitted when struck were only the noise of a little spring which had been touched, but that the whole body was without feeling.

-- LA FONTAINE, cited by Loren Eiseley, The Firmament of Time

Wisdom, Circuit Judge: David Wiley, the appellant, and Eugene Cunningham, a co-defendant, were arrested on March 17, 1971, in connection with an alleged sexual assault ... on twelve year old Maxine Lewis ... they were charged with carnal knowledge .. . and taking indecent liberties with a minor child.... The jury found Wiley guilty.... The principal issue on appeal is whether there was sufficient corroborative evidence to take the case to the jury. We find there was not sufficient corroborative evidence.

-- United States v. Wiley. 492 F. 2d 547 (D.C. Cir. 1973)

It is said that what is heard is a delusion of the senses. That sound consists of waves. That the wave is a momentary shape produced by energy traveling through molecules of air, or wood, or steel. Whether this wave is heard by the human ear as sound, it is said, depends on the frequency of the vibration of the sound. It is said that there are vibrations too rapid for the human ear and vibrations too slow, that vibrations of sound increase in warmer or thicker media, that the structure of the inner ear increases or decreases the frequency of sound waves, that sound waves of one frequency mask the presence of those of another frequency so that the ear hears only one sound when there are two, that many sounds together are heard as undifferentiated noise, that there is no absolute relationship between what produces sound and what is heard, that what is heard is a delusion of the senses and cannot be said to be real.

(It is established in the law that the testimony of an alleged victim of rape must be corroborated. It is said that corroboration is required because the complainants in such cases too frequently have an urge to fantasize or a motive to fabricate. Therefore the credibility of the alleged defiled, it is said, must be approached with skepticism, especially when the complainant is a young girl.)

It is therefore said that sounds do not exist without ears and a mind to hear them, that all sound exists only in the mind. (And the evidence that shortly after the alleged event a witness said that he saw the alleged victim on the street, crying, in a disheveled condition, upset and without a coat though the day was cold, and that she told him she had been attacked and pointed to her alleged attackers a short distance away, is held not to be corroborative, nor is the evidence of another witness that she appeared to him crying and saying that she had been raped held as corroborative since this is evidence that some event took place but not necessarily evidence that sexual intercourse took place.) And since sound is a product of the mind, it is further argued, it is absurd to believe that sound can exist in an unthinking substance, in the violin, or the wood of the violin.

And since all evidence for the existence of matter is sensual evidence of a like deceptive kind, existing only in the mind, it is concluded that matter exists only in the mind. (It is therefore the judgment of this hearing that the defendant was innocent of rape and that no such crime took place.)


His voice. She hears his voice speaking. He tells her she is always defending herself. For no reason, his voice implies. She tells him that while he was away, she was sick and the baby cried. He tells her that she has told him this to make him feel guilty. He raises his voice. His arms flail out as he speaks. His voice sounds violent to her. Her body flinches. She holds back the words she was going to speak. She feels a weight descend inside her. Her mouth is dry. She puts no name to this. She does not tell herself she is afraid. She does not pronounce the word "violence." His arms stop again and again short of her cheeks, of her breasts. She convinces herself that she is imagining danger. That she has no reason to defend herself, she says. That perhaps she is even now, in her fear, conjuring this up in him. That perhaps she is seeking a reason to hate him. She is ashamed for hating him. She tries again to speak with him. She says that she is tired. He falls into silence. I am tired, she says again. He turns his head away. She wonders if she has used the right words. She wonders if the tiredness in her body is real. Did you hear me? she asks. "Did you hear," she finds herself screaming. He walks out of the room. A violence fills her. Her voice lacks air. Words spit from her mouth. BASTARDSONOFABITCHIHATEYOU, she rasps. Her voice becomes ugly to her. Her words come back on her. She disowns this voice. There is no hearing, no response. She is surrounded now by silence. The voice that started in her dies within her.


The soldiers testify. They report she was killed in action. (They say the instruction was given to them in order to avoid problems: pay the women money or kill them after you are finished.) The general testified that these were rumors, stories told in jest. (They said they kept her five days before they killed her.) The journal reported the cases were all uninvestigated. The inquiry excluded mention of.... (Her hands were bound behind her back. Her mother ran after the soldiers with her scarf. One of them tied it around her daughter's mouth.) They testified that they had never learned her name.

Since the existence of matter is unverifiable Each of us can say we have heard footsteps behind us and since sensual data are deceptive each of us tried not to show fear it is questioned if there is any reason since in acting the part of the victim to examine what is called reality we may become the victim or if there is any way each of us has hidden what we are that anything can be known each of us has denied desire since no existence can be verified since it has been said to us that it is our own lust to be known and therefore which is lived out in the body of the rapist how can the act of knowing be known and our terror which inspires attack and therefore neither mind nor body and our own guilt can be said to exist which attacks us through his hands and therefore all existence even to the point of our own death is denied.



They said that in order to discover truth, they must find ways to separate feeling from thought Because we were less That measurements and criteria must be established free from emotional bias Because they said our brains were smaller That these measurements can be computed Because we were built closer to the ground according to universal laws Because according to their tests we think more slowly, because according to their criteria our bodies are more like the bodies of animals, because according to their calculations we can lift less weight, work longer hours, suffer more pain, because they have measured these differences and thus these calculations, they said, constitute objectivity because we are more emotional than they are and based they said only on what because our behavior is observed to be like the behavior of children is observably true because we lack the capacity to be reasonable and emotions they said must be distrusted because we are filled with rage that where emotions color thought because we cry out thought is no longer objective because we are shaking and therefore no longer describes what is real shaking in our rage, because we are shaking in our rage and we are no longer reasonable.

The Argument (One Thing from Another)

Gentlemen, we are opposed to the legislation but we are not opposed to natural beauty.

-- ROBERT E. LEE HALL, President, National Coal Association Testimony, Senate Interior and Insular Committee

In Paris, during the ninety years ending in 1876, not a successful Caesarian section had been performed.

-- ALAN GUTTMACHER, Into This Universe

Enfin, se l'on ne peut sauver que la mere ou l'enfant, en se servant de l'operation cesarienne, sans esperance bien fondee pour l'autre, lequel des deux est-on oblige de preferer?

-- Messieurs les Docteurs en Theologie de la Faculte de Paris, 1733 [1]

In defense of this operation, to cut away the mountaintop (one hundred and five tons in the bucket of the steam shovel) to reveal the seam of the coal (the cliff exposed, like an unfinished road, like a washboard, topsoil carried away, slate and pyrite exposed) they cited a vital contribution to the nation.

In defense of this operation, to cut into her womb (an incision made diagonally under her navel, across her abdomen or vertically under her navel to her pubis, or vertically to the right and below her navel) they cited his eternal soul. In defense of this decision (hemorrhage from the uterus into the abdominal cavity, severe pain, severe shock, infection of the wounds) they mentioned charity over justice.

In defense of this act (pyrite oxidizing, sulfuric acid in the water, fish poisoned, ponds red with acid, plants, trees disappearing) they put forward a greater good.

Yes, they argued, considering only justice, the life of the unborn should be sacrificed to save the life of the mother. Yes, they exclaimed, they are not opposed to natural beauty. But does not charity ask that the mother prefer the life of her unborn infant over her own life? they asked. But "beauty," they argued, is only a relative term, and beauty, they said, has been said to exist only in the eye of the beholder.

Yes, they said, we do have the right to struggle against whatever endangers the life God has given us. And they said, yes, in areas set aside just for the purpose of natural beauty one might object to these mines. But, they argued, this infant is innocent and therefore who can say that this innocent endangers the life of his mother? But, they said, the same operation might be tolerated in other areas because it provides a material essential to the nation. Yet, they argued, it is true that the innocence of the infant does not deprive the mother of her rights. But is not this infant, they warned, in danger of going without baptism, and does not charity demand she choose his eternal soul over her temporal life? Is not her temporal life clearly inferior? they argued.

And considering the economy of this place, they argued, the jobs and the income these mines will bring, they said, might one not look on these mines as "things of beauty and joy forever"?


But should the mother We were urged to weigh they argued risk her life the mother's life when she is not herself in a state of grace? against the life of her unborn. Does she not risk her own eternal soul? We were urged to weigh our lives against the lives of our children. Our survival against the beauty of this place. But no, they said (And they argued that the coal company was not responsible for the floods in those places where rubble had fallen into the streams since the rainfall was an act of God) it is not necessary for the mother's life to be free of all guilt, they argued, she need only experience contrition, she need only have lived a life based on the Christian sacraments, if she wishes to sacrifice her life for her unborn child. (And which is of more beauty, they asked, this place or the welfare of the nation?) And to give one's life for one's brother is considered an act of ardent charity, they said, therefore these metaphysical decisions always being difficult And we did not choose the beauty of this place they finally concluded we did not choose each other that the life of the unborn infant should be preferred over the life of the mother. We never chose ourselves.


Childish Fear

I have small hands and feet like a woman. Could I have been meant to be a woman?


A man desiring a youth was obliged to abide by legal procedure ... When of age, a boy could be courted and often many admirers would vie for his favor in open competition with gifts, flattery and even cash. Once a suitor was approved, the lucky man was permitted to possess the boy by rape.

-- FLORENCE RUSH, "Greek Love: The Sexual Abuse of Male Children"

See how
all men
were women once
when they were small.

-- MARTHA KING, Women and Children First

This darkness. He cannot sleep in this darkness. They tell him there is nothing to fear and he tries to believe Them. He tries his best to believe Them but still he is frightened. This darkness deepens into the darkest corners of his room at night. They say all the terrible creatures he has described to Them are part of his dreams. But this frightens him more. He does not know how to say this to Them but it frightens him more that these creatures live in his dreams, because now they are closer to him. They are inside him. He is utterly helpless against them. They say such creatures do not live in houses or in cities or anywhere he has ever been. But They do not know how alone this makes him, for now he knows he is the only one who has ever seen them. The creatures crowd into his room whenever the darkness allows them to come. So he continues every night to plead to Them for light. And every night They protest that he is dreaming, that no one has ever heard of what he describes, until finally, giving in to his panic, which does continue despite Their efforts and his, giving in to these tears and clingings of his, They leave the light on in the room. Sometimes They even sit with him. They are there; They soothe him to sleep with these words; They protect him. And then as he starts to drift off, overcome by tiredness, the softness of his bed surrounding him, he is overwhelmed with gratitude, and so clutches one of Their hands even in his sleep. He knows he could not exist without Them. The thought of Their death terrifies him. Without Them he would not be fed. Without Them he could never live in this house. He could not even cross the street. Without Them he would never learn the names for things. (They gave him his own name.) They explain the mysterious to him. Their knowledge is endless, and Their voices grand. Yet They cannot satisfy his need to know. They tell him there are things he cannot understand. They keep secrets from him. They tell him what is best even when he cannot understand why. They tell him what must be. Even though he cries They are unyielding. And even though he pleads with Them They say no. Even though he pleads until he feels his smallness before Them becoming infinitely smaller, They show no sign of yielding. He searches Their faces for a sign. He is always watching Them, Their bodies, Their eyes, to see what They will do, if he has displeased or pleased Them. If They praise him, he is pleased with himself. He imitates what They do. He makes his voice grand. He makes himself tall. He dresses in Their clothes. He imitates Their walk, Their gestures. A smile crosses one of Their faces. He believes he is pleasing Them; he believes he has become one of Them; They begin to laugh. He uses his grand voice. They cease listening to him. He swaggers in Their presence. They turn as if They did not see him. They tell him he must go to bed. And then he is making noise. And then he is saying bad words. And then he is pounding his fists and kicking his legs and his face is covered with snot and They are carrying him up the stairs. And he sits alone in the darkness, until They come back to comfort him. The anger run out of his body now, he lets Them hold him, lets Them rock him to sleep, he feeling good now, feeling soft in Their arms, except that he holds on to Them with one hand tight, one hand awake even in sleep because of his fear, this fear of the dark.


The Futurist Morality will defend man from the decay caused by slowness, by memory, by analysis, by repose and habit. Human energy centupled by speed will master time and space ... The intoxication of great speeds in cars is nothing but the joy of feeling oneself fused with the divinity.

-- F. T. MARINETTI, "The New Religion Morality of Speed"

No material body can move faster than the speed of light.

-- ALBERT EINSTEIN and LEOPOLD INFELD, The Evolution of Physics

The race-car driver is fearless. He speeds past death. In his speed is endless virility. As a lover he amazes flesh. Women fall. He is like lightning in his gestures. His will pervades all matter. He sees no boundaries. He tolerates no entanglements. Nothing must slow him down. Slowness is his enemy. If he engenders children, he does not remember them. Memory is his enemy. He does not stay in one place. He never spends time. Time is his executor. In his quest for greater and greater speed, he casts away whatever gives him weight. Weight is his enemy. He seeks weightlessness. He casts away excess. He does not tolerate the superfluous. He wants only the essential. His life is reduced to the essential. At the speed of light, which he longs for, he would shed even his body. But still he would have weight, still gravity would determine his path, still he would curve toward the earth. He glides as quickly as he can over surfaces. He does not want to touch the earth. Friction is his enemy. The smell of friction is the smell of burning is the smell of death. He cannot afford to think of death. Death is the commander of his enemies. He sheds his knowledge of death; he cannot afford to fear. The air is filled with anxiety. Space is filled with longing. He must traverse space instantly. (He must not give in to longing.) He must take the air by surprise. (He must not give in to terror.) As his speed increases, so does his power. He takes everything. Everything yields to him. He never waits. His hands move with infinite speed. What he steals vanishes. He keeps no records. He has no time. No memory. He moves. Motion is all he knows. He does not know what he moves through. The world is a blur to him. We are a blur to him. To the world he says that clear outlines and separate existences are illusion. Only I exist, he says. The sides of your bodies, he states, wash into nothingness. Every irrelevant detail disappears from his sight. The line of his movement alone is clear. He worships the straight line. He abhors change of direction. Change of direction is his enemy. Curves are his enemy. He wants to be more than light, more than an electromagnetic wave, which has weight, which curves. He wants to he pure number, proceeding without the passage of time infinitely forward. This is his dream. Nothing will distract him. He will dream only of the future. He will escape gravity. He will escape his enemies. In his solitary world of speed nothing enters to disturb this dream. He is like a sleeper rapidly vanishing. We cannot imagine his destiny. His destiny terrifies us.


Fuel assemblies were shipped by truck ... and were uncrated on arrival and stored under water for an average of five months to let shorter-lived radioactive wastes decay. Fuel elements were then taken out, chopped into pieces, and the spent fuel was dissolved in nitric acid. The hulls of the fuel elements and all other hardware were rinsed off and sent to the burial ground.

-- GEORGE G. BERG, "Hot Wastes from Nuclear Power"

That had been long settled: "Fling them into the canal, and all traces hidden in the water, then the thing would be at an end." So he had decided in the night of his delirium ....

-- FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY, Crime and Punishment

He separates energy from matter. (This evening. however, on coming out into the street, he became acutely aware of his fears. "I want to attempt a thing like that and am frightened by these trifles," he thought....) What is left over he calls waste. ("One death and a hundred lives in exchange -- it's simple arithmetic. Besides, what value has the life of that sickly, stupid, ill-natured old woman in the balance of existence ... ?") He discovers that this waste is dangerous to him. ("Of course she does not deserve to live," remarked the officer, "but there it is, it's nature.") He determines to rid himself of this waste. ("Oh, well, brother, but we have to correct and direct nature....") He sends this material to where (He laid the ax on the ground near the dead body.) he cannot see it (He remembered afterward that he had been collected and careful, trying all the time not to get smeared with blood....) to where he cannot touch it (He rushed at her with the ax; her mouth twitched piteously, as one sees babies' mouths when they begin to be frightened) or smell it, to where there is no evidence of it. (Fear gained more and more mastery over him, especially after this second, quite unexpected murder.) He sends it into rivers and creeks. ("Fling them into the canal, and all traces hidden in the water...." But to get rid of it turned out to be a very difficult task.) He releases this waste into the ground. (At last the thought struck him it might be better to go to the Neva.) He lets it flow into open-bottomed trenches. ("Here would be the place to throw it," he thought.... "Here I could throw it all in a heap and get away.") He sends it in concrete-lined drums into the sea. (He bent down over the stone, seized the top of it firmly in both hands, and using all his strength, turned it over.) He says he will let it melt into the Antarctic ice cap. (Under the stone was a small hollow in the ground, and he immediately emptied his pockets into it. Then he seized the stone again and with one twist turned it back ...) He says he will drop it between the continental plates, at the bottom of the ocean (... he scraped the earth about it and pressed it at the edges with his foot.) and hope it will work its way to the core of the earth. (Nothing could be noticed.) He says the atmosphere will absorb this material. (He hid his face in his hands again and bowed his head. Suddenly he turned pale) He says the rivers will wash it away. (got up from his chair, looked at Sonia ...) That the oceans will take in this substance (A sort of insatiable compassion ... was reflected in every feature of her face ...) the earth will bury this matter (His sensations that moment were terribly like the moment when he had stood over the old woman with the ax in his hand and felt that "he must not lose another minute,") that the core of the earth will receive this threat ("I know and will tell ... you, only you. I have chosen you out ... I chose you long ago to hear this ...") and take this danger from him ("Lizaveta! Sonia! Poor gentle things, with gentle eyes ... Dear women! Why don't they weep? Why don't they moan? They give up everything.")



Mathematics is thought moving in the sphere of complete abstraction from any particular instance of what it is talking about.

-- TOBIAS DANZIG, Number, The Language of Science

Granted, granted that there is no flaw in all that reasoning, that all I have concluded this last month is as clear as day, true as arithmetic....

-- RASKOLNIKOV in Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

He says that through numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 we find the ultimate reality of things 8 9 10 11 He says 12 13 14 that quantities are the most rigorous test of things 12 13 He says God created numbers and our minds to understand numbers 14 15 16 He says the final proof 16 17 is always a sum 18 19 20 (Counting. She is counting. The number of seconds in a minute, the number of minutes in an hour, the number of hours) He measures the distance from his land to his neighbor's land. He measures his wealth. He numbers his wives. He numbers his children 21 22 23 24 25 26 He weighs what will be traded (1 Faning Mill $17.25, 1 red-faced cow $13.25, 1 yearling calf $4.25) He calculates the worth of what he has (1 plow $1.60, 1 Wench and child $156.00, 8 fancy chairs $9.25) He assesses the value of what is his. (He measures the gallons of milk she produces. He measures the board feet they yield. He measures the hours she works, the value of her labor.)

He tells us how big he is. He measures his height. He demonstrates his strength. He measures what he can lift, what he can conquer. He calculates his feelings. He numbers his armies. He measures our virtue. He counts the reasons why we fell. (570 through poverty, he says, 647 through loss of their parents or their homes, 29 orphaned with elder brothers and sisters to care for.) He counts the reasons why we fell from grace. (23 widowed women with small children, 123 servant girls seduced and discharged by their masters.) He tells us how strong he is. He counts the sperm in his seminal fluid. He numbers his genes.... (She numbers the seconds. She numbers the hours. She numbers the days.) 27 28 29 30 31

Counting. They count. They count one billion suffering from hunger. 32 33 34 35 They count twelve thousand dying of starvation. 36 37 38 39 He counts the number of children being born. 40 41 42 He measures the growth of food. 43 44 45 He calculates the sum. 46 47 48 He says that through quantities we find ultimate reality. (She is counting the number of days in a week. The number of months in a year.)

He tells us how rich he is. He is counting his possessions and all he might possess. He measures his intelligence. He measures the coal in the ground. He calculates his life expectancy. He estimates the oil in the sea. He adds up the value ofhis life. He measures productive acres. He calculates the value of his existence. 49 50 51 52 53

He tells us how long he will live. He measures his neighbor's land. He numbers their children, the bellies of their cows, the spans of their horses, the numbers of their bridges, their cities, their hospitals, their armies. He counts their dead. He counts his dead. He calculates. He calculates the sum. He gives us the final proof.

54 55 56 57 58 59 60 (She has numbered each second of each hour of each day of each year. She has been counting.) 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81

He counts 82 83 necessity. He counts what he imagines to be necessary. He says six combat divisions are necessary; he counts thirteen training divisions as necessary, four brigades, two maneuver area commands. 84 85 86 87 88 89 He says 1,700 ballistic missiles are needed and seven hundred bombers. 90 91 92 93 94 He counts bombs, he counts 70,000 bombs. 95 96 He says when people. He counts the number of people. He says when people have nothing they starve. He counts four hundred million on the edge of starvation. He says when starving people are fed. He counts ten million children risking death from starvation. When starving people are fed, he says, they reproduce. He counts. 97 98 99 100 101 (She has numbered her children. She has counted the days of their lives. On this day, she can say, this one learned to pronounce her name. In this month, she can say, this one learned to walk. She has counted the moments.) 102 103

104 105 106 He has counted. 107 He has counted the effects. 108 109 One roentgen, he says 110 11 shortens a life by 3.5 days. 112 113 114 One hundred roentgens will shorten a life. 115 116 by one year 117 and one thousand roentgens by ten years. 118 119 120 121 122123124125126127 Counting. They have counted the targets. Of 224 targets they count, 71 were cities. They count the bombs. 128 129 130 They count 263 bombs and 1,446 megatons. 131 132 133 They count the dead to be 42 million. They imagine 42 million to be dead. They count the injured to be 17 million. They imagine 17 million injured.

134 135 136 137 He tells us how powerful he is. 138 139 And they count what they imagine will survive. They count 23 percent of electrical machinery. They estimate 28 percent of fabricated metal products. They say 29 percent of rubber products. Thirty percent of apparel. Thirty-four percent of machinery. Forty percent of chemicals. Fifty-one percent of furniture. 138 139 140 141142143144145146

(Counting. She has counted on this life continuing. She has counted on continuing. Each day she has counted, each day she has done what she must, done what she must to go on.)

147148149 57 percent of food, 60 percent of construction, 89 percent of mining, 94.6 percent of agriculture. Counting. He is counting how much. He is counting how much tragedy is acceptable. He imagines ten roentgens of radiation. 150 151 152 He imagines the birth of one million defective children. Counting. He counts 153 154 155 156 157

Counting. We count each second. No moment do we forget. We live through every hour. We are counting the number he has killed, the number he has bound into servitude, the number he has maimed, stolen from, left to starve. We measure his virtue. We count the value of our lives. We are counting the least act of the smallest one, her slightest gesture, and we count the ultimate reality of her breath barely visible now in the just cold air, 1, 2, 3, we say, as it shows itself in small clouds. 4, 5 and 6, and disappears from moment 7, 8, 9 to moment.

Shall never find you
Shall never need you
I saw the heart of man
What did he kill?

-- A Guy, A Tongue, A Coat & Some Trousers, by Tara Carreon
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:11 am

Part 3 of 3


The theory of chance consists in reducing all the events of the same kind to a certain number of cases equally possible ... and in determining the number of cases favorable to the event whose possibility is sought.

-- PIERRE SIMON DE LAPLACE, "Concerning Probability"

... within a mere ten to fifteen years a woman will be able to buy a tiny frozen embryo, take it to the doctor, have it implanted in her uterus, carry it for nine months, and then give birth to it as though it had been conceived in her own body. The embryo would, in effect, be sold with a guarantee that the resultant baby would be free of genetic defect. The purchaser would also be told in advance the color of the baby's eyes and hair, its sex, its probable size at maturity, and its probable I.Q.

-- DR. E. S. E. HAFEZ

Where he begins. How he begins. Where he begins to doubt. Where he begins to doubt how he began. If this should happen. If he does this. Where he begins to think himself a prisoner (Supposing that a thin coin is thrown into the air with opposite faces, heads and tails. To figure the probability of throwing heads at least one time in two throws, it is shown that four equally possible cases may arise, heads at first and at second, heads at first and tails at second, tails at first and heads at second, and tails at both throws.) of fate. How circumstance determines him. If he does this. Each step. If he moves this way. Each possibility. Where he arrives. All the dangers. He has no assurance. Where he begins, he has no assurance, he does not know what will happen.

(And thus the first three cases being favorable to the event, the probability is equal to three quarters and it is a bet of three to one that heads will be thrown at least once in three throws.) And he considers that he may not have begun. That this may not have been his starting place. That he may never have seen this place. That he may have been born differently. That he may have been born blind. That he may have been born someone else and not himself. That he may not have been born.

(And discovering the numerical correspondence between the number of groups of hereditary qualities and the number of pairs of chromosomes and determining that there are twenty-three chromosomes, there are then over a million possible kinds of germ cells, and two such sets will give a possible number of combinations which is vastly greater.)

He sees her swelling. She is growing bigger. What is beginning in her he does not know. What will come out of her he does not know. (The doctor guides a four-inch needle through the abdominal wall, into the peritoneal cavity, through the uterine wall, and lastly, into the amniotic sac.) But what is inside her grows without his willing it. (This must be done without nicking a blood vessel, or any of the blood-filled sinuses laced around the uterus, without penetrating the fetus, or any portion of the umbilical cord, not trusting to luck, not blindly, but knowing exactly how the fetus lies and the location of the placenta.)

He says she is a mystery to him, that he does not know what is inside her, that he cannot penetrate her. (The amniotic fluid obtained in this way reveals if the fetus suffers a genetic defect, and if it is male or female.) He knows there is no mystery in him. What he does is always perfectly clear. And if he can learn what will happen next, he says, then what he will do will also be clear. (To carry out conception in vitro, oocytes, surgically freed from the ovary, are placed in a glass tube, in a carefully balanced fertilization medium into which spermatozoa are introduced. After fertilization, oocytes are then washed and transferred to a culture medium.) The movements of his life, he says, are determined by the predictable lines of logic. Each move he makes is an improvement, he declares. All his efforts lead to betterment. His body was made to struggle for this, he says. His mind was meant to find the way. He was determined at the beginning, he says, to determine what will happen. He fulfills necessity, he says. The history of his life (In order to alter genetic structure) may have been predicted (the plasmid DNA was snipped open with a restriction enzyme) from events in the past which in turn were determined (and into the broken ends of the ring, synthetic rings of DNA were attached) by the events in the past, so that what exists could not be otherwise, he points out, and what will be (with DNA complementary to plasmid DNA acting as glue) is inevitable.


Sooner or later the uniformly moving body will collide with the wall of the elevator destroying the uniform motion. Sooner or later, the whole elevator will collide with the earth destroying the observers and their experiments.

-- ALBERT EINSTEIN and LEOPOLD INFELD, The Evolution of Physics

... it is always possible to be "oriented" in a world that has a sacred history, a world in which every prominent feature is associated with a mythical event.

-- MIRCEA ELIADE, "A Mythical Geography"

The scientists are in a box. There are no windows. Nothing tells them which is right side up. The walls are empty. The ceiling and the floor are the same. They are standing in a perfect cube. Every surface is a square. This they measure and prove with their rulers. The scientists prove by experiment what is the nature of this world. One drops his handkerchief into space. It does not fall to the ground. It rests where the scientist's hand left it. Over time the handkerchief still does not move. This experiment is repeated with another scientist's eyeglasses. The scientist's eyeglasses do not move from where he has placed them in space. This experiment is repeated with different objects. First they push the eyeglasses, lending them motion, then the handkerchief, a pen, a piece of paper, and then their ruler. Each object moves continuously across space until it collides with the opposite wall. The scientists are delighted. They discover they are living in a perfect inertial system. Every body continues in a state of rest or motion. They will continue resting infinitely. They are delighted with this perfection. But gradually one scientist allows a question to enter his mind. It occurs to him that they do not know if they are at rest in an inertial system or if they are moving at a continuous rate of acceleration. Perhaps in a vacuum. Perhaps, and now the scientist feels a sense of disquiet, perhaps they are in a field of gravity, and are therefore accelerating continuously. He realizes that they do not know for certain where they are, nor where they are going, if they are going. He decides to break through the cube. Suddenly air rushes in. (They were suffocating, he realizes.) Through the hole he has made he sees the face of the earth coming closer and closer.

"Do you suppose that what we thought was true is not true?" he says with alarm. "We are falling," he admits, "down." Headfirst, the scientists dive from their cube. "I know where we are now," the doubting scientist shouts. "We are in a field of gravity." "And we are no longer falling at the same rate," another observes, "because of the resistance of the air." "Air!" another scientist sighs. "We are certainly not at rest now," the scientists assent. "We are moving," they agree.

"We know where we are now relative to the earth," they pronounce.

"And we know where we are going," another adds quickly.

"To the earth," they whisper.

"Where we were born," one says.

"And we know what will happen next," all of the scientists choir back. "We will all of us die.



I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds.

-- SRI KRISHNA, the Exalted One, as spoken in the Bhagavad-Gita and remembered by J. Robert Oppenheimer at the moment of the first atomic blast


We were told that Noah was chosen to hear the word of God. We were told that God said to Noah. "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth." That there was a flood. That it was unmerciful, and every living thing perished. (That it rained forty days and forty nights and every bit of the earth was covered with water, even the highest peaks of the highest mountains.)


We were told that Isaiah had seen God and that God was angry. (That the anger of God will darken the earth, Isaiah said. That the people will be like fuel for his fire.

That God said He would be like a man of war, that He would cry, roar and prevail against His enemies.

That the daughters of evil would be uncovered. Their shame seen. Woe to rebellious children, He said. There would be no deliverance from this flame.)


We were told that they knew what was inside the atom, and that they could destroy a city with it. That unfathomable energy was locked inside matter, heat, light, fire. That the sky would light up. That the heat would melt flesh. And the roar would be deafening.


We hear there is a substance and it is called plutonium. We hear that "they" are somewhere (do you remember the name of the state?) manufacturing it. We don't know how it is made. We think the substance uranium is used. We know it is radioactive. We have seen the photographs of babies and children deformed from radiation. The substance plutonium becomes interesting to us when we read that certain parts of the building where it is manufactured have leaks. We don't know really what this means, if it is like the leak in our roofs, or the water pipe in the backyard, or if it is a simple word for a process beyond our comprehension. But we know the word "leak" indicates error and we know that there is no room for error in the handling of this substance. That it has been called the most deadly substance known. That the smallest particle (can one see a particle, smell it?) can cause cancer if breathed in, if ingested. All that we know in the business of living eludes us in this instant. None of our language helps us. Not knowing how to drive, to cook on a gas stove, to soap the diaper pins so that they pass more easily through the diaper, to wash cotton in cold water so that it doesn't shrink, to repair the water pipes, or dress a wound. No skill helps us. Nor does quickness of mind, nor physical strength. We are like an animal smaller and more vulnerable than any nature has ever created. We have no defense. We try not to remember whatever we may know of plutonium.


"I wish I could hold you," she continued bitterly, "till we were both dead! I shouldn't care what you suffered. I care nothing for your sufferings. Why shouldn't you suffer. I do! Will you forget me ....?"

-- EMILY BRONTE, Wuthering Heights

I did not have to remember these things. they have remembered themselves all these years.

-- Black Elk in John G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks

There is no turning away. There is no escape. Every attempt to destroy this matter brings it back again. For every head cut off a new one grows. Every particle ignited, the least bit of dust blown away, what rises in the air expanding, bursting into flame, incandescent, seeming to vanish, be gone forever, returns, returns, always comes back to him, unmercifully. What he has sent into the rivers comes back, blackens the shore, enters the land, feeds his crops, enters his mouth, festers in him. What he has burned gathers in the air, hangs in space, yellows his vision, stings his eyes; he breathes it. What he has worked out of the ground and transformed darkens the skies, gives out an odor he cannot forget, wherever he turns. What he has denied from his own body accumulates, grows, floats back to him, overwhelms him, gives him no way out. He has gone to the very root, he says, of existence. He has deciphered the secrets. As to the persistence of matter, he insists he can alter the structure of molecules. At his hands, the molecules change, and changed and changing they enter his skin, hide in what he eats, secrete themselves in his tissue, alter the molecular structure of his body. He goes inside the heart of life, be says. He takes apart even the form of matter itself, he strips energy from mass, he splits what is whole, he takes this force for his own, he says. But what he has split does not stop coming apart. Fractures live in the air, invisible fractures come into his body, split his chromosomes, unravel the secrets of life in him.


This secret life in us. The seen and the unseen. The speaking and the unspoken. The one who is what she ought to be and the one who is not. This other. The one from whom we are split away. Who follows us. Whose words lie under our tongues. Who speaks to us in our dreams.


Barely seen, soundlessly surrounding him, with hardly a breath of evidence, all he has burned, all he has mined from the ground, all he cast into the waters, all he has torn apart, comes back to him. He is haunted. Carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, beryllium, arsenic, peroxyacetylnitrate, formaldehyde, do not desert him. Dioxin, DDT, will not let him forget. Lead, mercury, live in his dreams. Strontium sticks in his bones. The equation for oxygen stays in his mind but he cannot breathe what he used to call air. The equation for water stays in his mind, but there is nothing he can drink that will not poison him. What the cells of his own blood should be he has recorded in his books, yet these cells begin to fight among themselves, some cells multiplying, and he is weakened by his own blood. Who speaks to us in our dreams. Sings in our blood and will not be still there. Every attempt he makes to order this world decreases his space. The dimensions of his life are filled with ghosts. Making us grieve for no apparent reason. Making us rage for no visible reason. Filled with shadows, with tiny reminiscences. Nothing he has ever set his hand upon has forgotten that weight. This fury in us that will not die, who has captured our bodies, who claims to have been with us for years. Who is making us see what we have not seen before. He is haunted: all his victims speak in his body. He cannot escape pollution, there is no way for him to be free of these ghosts.


Dream Life

Niels Bohr, upon receiving the Nobel prize, revealed to the world that his dreams had depicted the structure of the atom. And August Kekule, the chemist, was likewise honored for the great advances made possible through his dream of the structure of the benzene ring.

-- E. STANTON MAXEY, "Biopsychophysics -- The Proper Study of Man"

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
Che la diritta via era smarrita. [2]


He had left the true way when he was deep in sleep, and he cannot say how he came there. He looks back to see the dangers he has just passed, and is terrified. When he goes forward, he meets ferocious beasts on his path, three of them, and the last, he is certain, is very hungry. She pursues him. He runs from her into the presence of a man he slowly recognizes as one he had before taken as a mentor. This man has been known for his great power over words, and the sleeper takes this power as his own. When he makes a plea for help, this man tells him that the creature who pursues him has an insatiable appetite, that each bite she takes makes her want more, that he must choose a different road. This man offers to guide the sleeper to an eternal place, but he warns that there they will hear sounds of despair from spirits who live in pain, who endure a second death.

[MARIE CURIE, 1867-1934]

I want to be left in peace.

-- MARIE CURIE, last words

In this mass of substances she searches for the elementary, for what cannot be reduced. Sifting through the residue of pitchblende, she removes pinecones and rocks. Over days and weeks, over years, she grinds this material, she dissolves it, she filters it, precipitates it, collects it again, dissolves it again, precipitates again, crystallizes and recrystallizes. Thousands of gallons become teaspoonfuls.

Finally, she can call this material pure. Yet it does not stay still. It gives off heat. Its emanations fill the air. It glows. Its rays pass through paper, glass, rubber, cloth, skin. A piece of metal placed near the radium but not touching it becomes radioactive. The pure radium burns itself away.

Now this substance has entered her hands. Her skin is burned. There are open sores. The lenses of her eyes become opaque. She cannot see. She has pains in her arms. She is exhausted. She collapses. She burns with fever.

Yet she will not allow these symptoms to be spoken of, and despite the complaints of her body, returns again and again to work this material.

But what the scientist touches she becomes. At her death, she declares, "I can't express myself properly." She says, "My head's turning." She tries to turn a spoon in a glass as though it were a rod in a beaker. She asks, "Has it been made with radium or mesothorium?" Its temperature becomes her temperature. She shakes with its coldness. "Thirty-eight degrees! I don't know if it's right. I'm trembling so." Its properties become her own; her body, the experiment. "I'd like to set myself straight, my head's turning." At the end, she speaks for herself. "What are you going to do to me," she says, "I don't want it," and demands, "I want to be left in peace."

[SIGMUND FREUD, 1856-1939]

What then [is] it? Those it is which [are] upon their altars, the image is of the eye of Ra and the image of the eye of Horus. O Ra Tmu, the lord of the Great House, Prince, life, strength, health, of gods all, deliver thou from god that whose face is [in the form of] a dog, [and] his eyebrows like [those of] men, he liveth upon the enemy, watching bight that of lake of fire, devouring bodies and swallowing hearts, and voiding filth, not being seen himself. Who then is it? "Eater of millions" [is] his name....

"The Papyrus of Ani," The Egyptian Book of the Dead

We displayed an unmistakable tendency to "shelve" death, to eliminate it from life.

-- SIGMUND FREUD, "Thoughts on War and Death"

The doctor's study is filled with figurines. They sit everywhere, stand everywhere, small gods staring out from glass cases, heads of goddesses assembled on tables, an army of deities at the front of his desk, facing the chair where he sat to write. (To his colleague he remarks that he must never abandon the sexual theory, that it must become a dogma, "an unshakable bulwark ... against the black tide of mud of occultism.") On top of one glass cabinet sits a Greek vessel in the shape of a sphinx, and inside, Sakmet, the goddess with the head of a lioness. (He writes that religion to the common man is a palliative remedy, designed to explain the riddle of the world and assure him that a solicitous providence, in the form of a greatly exalted father, looks over him.) On the table to the right of his desk, with two other figurines, is the Egyptian figure of Imhotep, god of learning and medicine, holding a papyrus scroll in his lap. (In a lecture he says that he has taken the liberty to point out that that deep belief in psychic freedom and choice which men have "is quite unscientific and that it must give ground before the claims of a determinism which governs mental life.") Among countless others on his desk, Osiris, Isis, Amen-Ra, Isis nursing Horus, a Chinese tomb figurine, Aphrodite, Horus as a child. (He writes that "the patient must regard his doctor as a father," that "the father-transference is the only battlefield on which we conquer and take the libido prisoner.") A Janus head of Silenus and Minerva. On a table before his bookcase, the head of Bodhisattva, head of Buddha, bust of Seraphis (He records that in the early life of man, the sons lived in fear of death or castration from their father. That the brothers thus driven out of the family banded together and murdered the father, making a feast of his body) part of an Egyptian mummy cover. (And that in the childhood of each man lives a fantasy of murdering his own father.) In the cabinet between the entrance and the window, Egyptian funerary figures, six ushabti figures, named the "answerers" because they always respond to the call of their master. (During a discussion with a colleague about the decision of Amenophis IV to erase his father's name from the steles, Freud falls to a faint.) On a shelf, to the right of a vase filled with flowers, an Egyptian cobra, Uraeus, emblem of the Pharaoh's power, taken from a mummy's crown. (He writes that he will "suffer the just punishment that none of the undiscovered provinces of mental life which I was the first mortal to enter will bear my name or follow the laws I have formulated.") Centered above two bookcases, two Egyptian funerary steles, one with an inscription to the dead Hordiefnakht as he appears before the gods who will judge his fitness for the afterlife. (He fixes his death as occurring in 1918; suggests he will die in his forties of a rupture of the heart; on parting from his friends says, "Good-bye, you may never see me again," develops a fear of trains and writes that journeys on trains are common symbols of the fear of death.) In a bookcase, the Egyptian warrior goddess Neith, originally a female body with a penis. (Freud answers the puzzle of the androgyny of Neith by describing the castration fears of the young boy.) In front of his books, portraits of three women, Marie Bonaparte, Lou Andreas-Salome and Yvette Guilbert. (He writes that femininity is a riddle he cannot solve.) In a cabinet two Near Eastern mother goddesses, on a table Horus, the falcon-headed god (As a child he dreams his mother, with an expression of sleep on her face, is carried into the room by three people with bird beaks and laid upon the bed.) between the Egyptian steles a bas-relief of the death of Patroclus. (He writes of a dream in which he seeks food from women in a kitchen, and then recalls as a child asking his mother if the words "From earth you come and to earth you shall return" were true, and he continues that his mother answered by rubbing the palms of her hands together and thus showing him the earth-colored skin of her hands.)

In his consulting room the engraving La Lecon Clinique du Dr. Charcot, depicting a hysterical female patient as she is shown to the members of the staff of Salpetriere hospital.

[EMPEDOCLES, c. 495-c. 435 B.C.]

Fools! For they do not take the long view....


He says that emanations are given off by all things that are created, and that these emanations enter into the pores of other created things. That sensation occurs when the emanation fits the pore. He says there are elements, homogeneous and unchangeable and indestructible, and those elements mix together to create all things. He says therefore that what we know as birth and death is a delusion. That we think of birth as a coming into being and death as annihilation, but that nothing can be created out of nothing, and that which is cannot perish utterly. There is no birth or death, he says, but rather there is change, and the mingling of things changed, and these are perceived by us as birth or death. All creation, he says, all dissolution, is but change.

[RENE DESCARTES, 1596-1650]

Am I not that being who now doubts nearly everything ... ?

-- RENE DESCARTES, Meditation on the First Philosophy in Which the Existence of God and the Distinction Between Mind and Body Are Demonstrated

10 November, 1619, when I was full of enthusiasm, I discovered the fundamental principles of a wonderful knowledge.


On this night of the tenth of November, he has three dreams. In the first, while walking in the street he is filled with terror and feels a great weakness on his right side, thus must bend over to his left side to get to his destination. He is embarrassed by this posture, yet be cannot straighten himself out. A wind whirls him around on his left foot, like a tornado. He tries to reach the church of the college he has seen ahead of him so that he might say a prayer. But at that moment he realizes he has passed an acquaintance without saying hello, yet the wind blowing in the direction of the church prevents him from turning back. But now he sees another man standing in the courtyard of the college. This man is friendly and calls him by name. He realizes with astonishment that those standing about are having no trouble standing up straight, but Descartes is still bent over and staggering.

He awakens and turns from his left side to his right, then prays for God to protect him from this dream. After two hours he falls asleep, dreams of a violent noise, and awakens again, seeing fiery sparks about the room. Thinking about the philosophical explanations for their existence, he focuses on various objects about the room, and this gives him a sense of peace which enables him to fall asleep again.

Now he dreams of finding a book on the table. Not knowing who put it there, he opens it and finds with delight it is a dictionary. Then under his other hand he finds an anthology of poetry titled Corpus Poetarum. [3] He opens the book and reads: "Quod vitae sectabor iter?" [4] But at this moment he notices a man, who hands him a poem beginning "Est et non" [5] and praises this poem. Saying this poem is by Ansonius, he leafs through the pages of the book to show the man Ansonius's "Idylls." But though he knows the order of the book, he is having trouble locating these poems. The man asks where he got this book, and Descartes answers he does not know, and that he also had another book, which has now disappeared. But at this moment the dictionary reappears, no longer as complete as it was before. Now he finds Ansonius's poems, but not "Est et non." He shows the man what he says is a more beautiful poem, "Quod vitae sectabor iter?" Then he realizes when he finds some copper engravings in the book, which he says are very beautiful, that this is a different edition from the one he knew. The man disappears. Now he is aware he is dreaming, and still asleep, he interprets his dream. The dictionary is the interconnectedness of all science; Corpus Poetarum the closeness of philosophy with wisdom. Divine enthusiasm and imagination, he says, make the seed of wisdom in each spirit grow more profusely. "Quod vitae sectabor iter" is moral theology, or the counsel of a wise person.

When he awakens he decides that the spirit of truth had visited him to reveal to him the treasure of knowledge. And this dream, he said, led him to his "methode," and to seek ultimate truth in mathematical knowledge.

[ISAAC NEWTON, 1642-1727]

... so happy in his conjectures, as to so seem to know more than he could possibly have had any means of proving.

-- DE MORGAN, "Newton," 1846

He said he made his discoveries by always thinking into them, that he would keep the subject constantly before him and wait for the first dawnings to open little by little into full light. His assistant recorded that his efforts were prodigious at the spring and the fall of the leaf, the fires scarcely going out day or night, sitting up all night until his chemical experiments were complete. His assistant suspects, because of Newton's pains and diligence at these times, that he reached for something beyond human art and industry. In Newton's library are found the titles The Mirror of Alchemy, Musaeum Hermeticum, The Philosopher's Stone, De Transmutatione Metalorum, De Occulta Philosaphia and Alchymia. At his death a box of his papers is found which during his life were never published. On examination, these papers are put away, not to be read or printed. Among these notes he had written: "Because the way by which mercury may be so impregnated has been thought fit to be concealed by others that have known it, and therefore may possibly be an inlet to something more noble, not to be communicated without immense danger to the world ..." Appended to his Optics is the query: "Have not small particles of Bodies certain Powers, Virtues or Forces, by which they act at a distance, not only upon the Rays of Light for reflecting, refracting and inflecting them, but also upon one another, for producing a great part of the Phaenomena of nature ..." and he speculates that these small particles might have attractive forces of an electrical nature: and he wonders if it might be that mass may be able to exchange with light. It is said after his death that he most often had the truth before the proof. Of himself he wrote that despite how he may appear to the world, he felt himself to be like a boy playing on the seashore, diverting himself by finding a prettier shell or smoother pebble than ordinary, "while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."

[CHARLES DARWIN, 1809-1882]

If Darwin's ill health was not, as some seem to think, a pretext to isolate himself with his work, neither was it, as Darwin had right to fear, an insuperable obstacle to his work. One reason why it did not prove fatal to his ambitions was the devotion and sympathy of his wife.

-- GERTRUDE HIMMELFARB, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution

Beginning early in the day, after taking breakfast alone, and a walk, he worked in his study from eight until nine-thirty in the morning. Then he went into the drawing room with his family; he looked over the mail, and sometimes listened as a novel was read aloud, he resting on the sofa. ("All that we can do," he wrote, "is to keep steadily in mind that each organic being is striving to increase in a geometrical ratio ...) He returned to his study at ten-thirty and emerged again at noon. (... that each at some period of its life, during some season of the year, during each generation, or at intervals, has to struggle for life or suffer great destruction....") Then he took another walk, past the greenhouse, perhaps looking at an experimental plant, and then onto a gravel walk encircling an acre and a half of land, taking a specified number of turns, perhaps watching his children play, observing a bird, a flower. Or before he took too many spills, taking a canter on an old and gentle horse. ("What a struggle must have gone on during long centuries," he wrote, "between several kinds of trees each annually scattering its seeds by the thousands, what war between insect and insect -- between insects, snails and other animals with bird and beasts of prey --) After this, lunch was served to him. And then he read the newspapers and wrote letters. If they were lengthy he dictated them from rough drafts. At three o'clock, he went to rest in his bedroom, smoked a cigarette, lay on a sofa, and listened again to a novel read aloud to him by his wife. (-- all striving to increase, all feeding on each other, or on the trees, their seed and seedlings, or on the other plants which first clothed the ground and thus checked the growth of trees!") This reading often put him to sleep so that he complained he had missed whole parts of books. His wife feared the cessation of her voice would wake him. (Of the Formica refescens, he wrote, "So utterly helpless are the masters, that when Huber shut up thirty of them without a slave ... they did nothing; they could not even feed themselves and many perished of hunger.")

At four he took another walk, and worked for one more hour. Then after another period of listening to a novel, he ate his dinner, played two games of backgammon with his wife, read some of a scientific book, and when tired finally, lay back again to listen while his wife read to him or played the piano. When he retired at ten or ten-thirty, he often lay awake for hours afterward in pain. On bad days, he could not work at all. (Of the process of selection he wrote: "... the struggle will almost invariably be most severe between individuals of the same species, for they frequent the same districts, require the same food and are exposed to the same dangers.")

In a letter to Lyell he claimed that he was bitterly mortified to conclude that "the race is for the strong," but that he would be able to do little more than admire the strides others would make in science. ("... the swiftest and the slimmest wolves," he wrote, "would have the best chance of surviving and so be preserved or selected.") Because of his own ill health, and that of his grandfather and his brother, and mother-in-law and aunt (And he wrote: "... so profound is our ignorance and so high our presumption, that we marvel when we hear of the extinction of an organic being, and we do not see the cause, we invoke cataclysms ...") and because of the sick headaches which his wife suffered ("natural selection acts only by preservation and accumulation of small inherited modifications, each profitable to the preserved being ..." he wrote) he feared for the health of his children, of whom one died shortly after birth, one died in his childhood, and others suffered chronic illness.

In 1844, of his discovery of evolution, he recorded: "At last gleams of light have come and I am almost convinced (quite contrary to the opinion I started with) that the species (it is like confessing a murder) are not immutable."

[JOHANNES KEPLER, 1571-1630]

Ma Kepler [Katherine] was released, after fourteen months of imprisonment. She could not return to Leonberg, though, because the populace threatened to lynch her. Six months later she died.

It was against this background that Kepler wrote the Harmony of the World..

-- ARTHUR KOESTLER, The Watershed

She was carried out of her house in an oak linen chest, and taken to the prison in Leonberg. She was then seventy-three years of age. (He writes that God himself "was too kind to remain idle and began to play the game of signatures, signing his likeness into the world.") There were forty-nine accusations against her, and numerous supplementary charges. She was said to have failed to weep when the Holy Scriptures were read to her. (He resolves the harmonies into regular polygons.) Katherine Kepler replied that she had shed so many tears in her life, she had none left. (The irregular polygons, and all figures that cannot be constructed by compass and ruler, he says, are unclean because they defy the intellect. Inscibilis. Ineffabilis. Non-entia. Unspeakable. Nonexistences. And this is the reason, he writes, "why God did not employ the septagon and the other figures of this species to embellish the world.") Her son Johannes Kepler answered the Act of Accusation by an Act of Contestation, which was refuted by an Act of Acceptation to which was submitted an Act of Exception and Defense which was answered by an Act of Deduction and Confutation. Finally, in her defense her son submitted an Act of Conclusion, one hundred and twenty-eight pages long. (He then discovers regular polygons inscribed in the movements of heavenly bodies. And of these he writes: ''The heavenly motions are nothing but a continuous song for several voices ... a music which ... sets landmarks in the immeasurable flow of time.")

After that, her case, by order of the duke, was sent to her son's university, where the faculty found that Katherine should be questioned under torture, but suggested that proceedings stop at the territio -- questioning under threat of torture. (As part of the harmony of the world, Kepler reveals that the ratio which exists between the periodic times of any two planets is precisely one and one half of the power of their mean distances.) She was led to the place of torture; the executioner was presented to her; all his instruments shown her and their effect on the body described. Great pain and dolor awaited her if she did not confess, she was told. The terror of the place had wrought confessions from many before her, but she said that even if they tore her veins from her body one by one, she had nothing to confess. (On discovering that the heavenly bodies move in ellipses rather than perfect circles, Kepler apologizes for having to bring a small cartload of dung into the universe in order to rid it of a far vaster quantity of dung.) She fell on her knees then and asked God to give a sign if she was a witch or a monster, and then said she was willing to die, that God would reveal the truth after her death. (He writes: "Yes, I give myself up to holy ravings. I mockingly defy all mortals with this open confession; I have robbed the golden vessel of the Egyptians to make out of them a tabernacle for my God....") In this way, and due to the efforts of her son, and the respect he commanded in the world, Katherine Kepler was released.

[LINNAEUS, 1707-1778]

The first step of science is to know one thing from another. This knowledge consists in their specific distinctions; but in order that it may be fixed and permanent distinct names must be given to different things and those names must be recorded and remembered.


By naming and by knowing the names of things he proposed to see into the secret cabinet of God. Travelers from Madeira, Virginia, from all over the world, risked dangers in vast forests, on high cliffs, in the deepest chasms to send him packets of seeds. He catalogued American falcons, parrots, pheasants, guinea fowl, American capercaillie, Indian hens, swans, duck, geese, gulls, snipe, American crossbills, sparrows and turtledoves. He classified creation according to sexual organs; he gave each creature two names, a general and a specific name.

He wrote that riches vanish and stately mansions fall into decay, that even the most prolific families die out sooner or later and that the mightiest of states are overthrown, but that all of nature must be obliterated before the genera of plants and "he be forgotten who held the torch aloft in botany." But as he grew older, he suffered a stroke, and after this he began to lose more and more of his memory. Gradually he no longer knew Systema Naturae, and after all this, in his last years, he forgot even his own name.


We dreamed we were the daughters of evil. But you are mistaken, we cried, there has been some mistake. And we cried to be accepted for our true identity. We produced documents. The testimony of our parents. But the documents were changed. And our parents said things were different from what we had thought. Did you lie to us? we questioned. But they would not speak to us. No one would speak to us. We were in rooms by ourselves. We were under the sheets. No one had accused us. We dreamed we were the daughters of evil, because we knew we were. We had been hiding this secret all our lives.


We dreamed we were speaking in tongues. That all we had ever felt, our whole lives, became clear to us. That language was beautiful. Lyrical. That we were singing. That we wept to recognize ourselves in these voices. But when we awakened, we dreamed, we could only remember babble, and all language was foreign.


We dreamed we traveled at the speed of light. And our flesh vanished to nothing. We were in the void. But before we reached this void we saw a glimpse. There was the world we always knew possible. In our fleshless bodies we felt our hearts drop infinitely. To see what we had given up. In our terror. In our desire to speed as fast as possible. To be away from the terrifying roar, the blinding light, the cataclysm, we had sped into the world of impossibility.

But there, behind us, green and still living, was this possibility -- a day's walk back into a future we could have touched: Such tenderness, such joy.


Terror is the realization of the law of movement; its chief aim is to make possible the force of nature or history to race freely through mankind, unhindered by any spontaneous human action.... The rulers themselves do not claim to be just or wise, but only to execute historical or natural laws....

-- HANNAH ARENDT, The Origins of Totalitarianism

You if you were sensible
When I tell you the stars flash signals, each one
You would not turn and answer me
"The night is wonderful."

-- D. H. LAWRENCE, "Under the Oak"

He speaks of the natural order of things and the regular movements of heavenly bodies. As for her efforts to make anything different, he directs her gaze to the skies. There is no caring in natural law, he says, things are as they are. As to any meaning in these movements, he says, he cannot say, but listen, he says, to the measurements. He is rarely very much over six feet tall, he says, and there are 5,280 feet in one mile, and the average distance from the earth to the sun, he says, is 93 million miles. Think about immensity, he tells her. The planet Saturn is 886 million miles from the sun. No star is less than 26 trillion miles away from the earth. Think of the smallness of this life, he says, and the vanity of supposing significance.

He reminds her she could not exist in that void. He says the average temperature of the human body lies at 119.5 Centigrade. Do you know how hot the sun is? he asks. The temperature of the sun, he raises his voice now, is 5,500 degrees Centigrade at its exterior, and, he leans forward and shouts, 40,000,000 degrees in its interior.

He tells her how perishable she is and how little there is to perish. A speck weighing usually only from forty to one hundred kilos. But the earth weighs 6,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 metric tons, he says, and the mass of the sun, he tells her triumphantly, is 332,000 times that of the earth, and the stars and the gases, the stars and the gases in this galaxy alone, he crows, are as heavy as 100 billion suns.

But at the speed of light, he lets her know, mass no longer exists; she is incapable of that kind of speed, he says, she would perish at that speed. And time in the sky, he tells her, is measured in light-years. From the earth to the moon, he says, is five and one half light-seconds. From the earth to the sun, eight light-minutes. The diameter of the whole solar system, he says, is not quite one half of a light-day. This is closeness, he says, this is intimacy. Distance, he says, is farther away, unimaginably, unspeakably vast. The nearest star, he tells her, is over four light-years away. Sirius, he says, is eight light-years away. To cross this galaxy would take 100,000 light-years. Even if she could "travel at the speed of light, he says, she could never survive that journey. Her life would end thousands of years before she could reach her destination. She would die surrounded by the void. And this galaxy, he states now, is just part of an open cluster of galaxies three million light-years in diameter.

(Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a gesture. The image rubs against the inside of his head. Wakens him at night. Keeps his mind off what he is doing, his eyes out of focus. Of whom does this gesture remind him? Of what? So quick. And coming as it did from a woman. What did she have in mind from doing it? But this he thought he knew. Uncannily he thought he knew. And this he hated her for, the outrage of seeming to be like him, of imitating him, of mocking his dignity, of forcing in him some recognition, so that he might see himself in her. She did not know what she was doing, to imitate his carriage, to lift her head in that manner, calmly. There is something that repels him in that gesture. He has made other men laugh, many times, over that movement, telling how she drew herself up like a man, how silly she looked, dressed as she was, smaller than he, how out of place in that defiance. What was there to defy anyway? Just the natural order of things. But it was here, alone, out of the sound of their laughter, that the hatred came upon him. She was trying to steal something that belonged to him and of which she knew nothing. Her ignorance showed all over her as she tried to claim that her words were spoken with as much weight as his. And in this moment she made a mockery of his judgment. By imitating his certainty, she made him uncertain.

We recognize two sets of gestures. We know the stories of those gestures. How the one set of gestures was our own which we took care to conceal except among ourselves and they were like the gestures of any beings, carrying a simple air of earnestness that accompanies the performance of necessary tasks, and how the other gestures were performed for those others who looked to us for that slowness of wit which means dullness of feeling and an absence of pride. For if there were wit, or feeling, or a dignity, would not they have to know what we knew because in the privacy we had among ourselves we laughed, that speaking to each other, we could strip the dignity off them like bark, like the skin of an apple, that the truth of their movements, in our private moments, was laid bare, and then, yes, the skies and the stars were unmerciful witnesses.

And then ideas entered his head on certain nights in the shapes of dreams. On these wild nights, he saw himself in her body and then he moaned at the injustice of finding his humanity concealed and trapped in this way until he would wake up screaming in terror. And into these first moments of waking crept this doubt that seemed to edge into him and stick, creating an unnatural space between his soul and his flesh, this doubt of the justice of things after all. Suppose that gesture of hers meant her soul was like his. And then another thought came upon him, so terrible he could scarcely hold on to it. Suppose there is no difference between them except the power he wields over her. And suppose that in an instant of feeling himself like her, he let this power go, then would he not become her, in his own body even. And some part of him seemed to know what it would be to be her in his body, and how he came to know this he does not choose to remember. And he went no further that way in his thoughts because space closed in on him and slowly he had to push it back to give himself room to breathe. He had to push space as far as it could go, to the outer limits of the universe. And in that universe, vaster than he or she could imagine, that gesture of hers meant nothing. She may say the stars look like jewels on a velvet cloth. But he knew to distrust appearances. She had too much eagerness to attach meaning to things. He reminded himself that all this life is determined, that what meaning there is in the movements of matter is indecipherable, that he himself is made up only of particles in space. And beyond this, he tells himself, only the stars burn, burn in a dreadful void.)

What man sees taking place across the skies, he tells her, happened 3,000,000 years ago. What is happening at this instant, across space, he says, she will never know in her lifetime. He recites the figures to her. The Andromeda galaxy, he says, is over 2,000,000 light-years away. The Magellanic Clouds, 30,000 light-years in diameter, are 160,000 light-years away. There may be, he suggests, nearly 1,000,000,000 galaxies in this universe. And he tells her how all this began indifferently to her. He suggests there was an explosion. He says to her these explosions are still going on and have gone on, before she was born, after her death. He mentions in fact the Crab Nebula, 3,500 light-years away, which has been exploding for 900 years and increases in diameter by 120 million miles every day. Galaxies are moving away from this earth and one another, our galaxy is moving out, he says, everybody is moving, he says, some at the rate of 76,000 miles each second. And faint galaxies, he says, his voice filled with terror, at the edge of the universe, whose existences have been traced by radiotelescope, seem to be moving away 93,141 miles each second. And it is still unknown, he speaks these words slowly, if there are farther stars, moving faster away, still unknown if there are explosions or black holes toward which we move and what the fate of this earth will be, he says, is still unknown.



1. Finally, if one can save only the mother or the infant, in doing the Caesarian operation, without hope of saving the other, which of the two should be chosen? -- Doctors of Theology of the Faculty of Paris, 1733.

2. In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood whose straight way was lost.

3. "The Body of All Poets" -- the collected works of all poets.

4. "What path of life shall I follow?"

5. "He is and he is not."
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:25 am

BOOK THREE: PASSAGE -- Her Journey Through the Labyrinth to the Cave Where She Has Her Vision


The Room of the Dressing

In woman dressed and adorned, nature is present but under restraint, by human will remolded nearer to mans desire.


The spiraling descent. The legend of endless circling. The labyrinth from which none return. She falls into this labyrinth. Into the room of the dressing where the walls are covered with mirrors. Where mirrors are like eyes of men, and the women reflect the judgments of mirrors. Where the women stand next to each other, continue dressing next to each other, speak next to each other as if men were still with them. As if men could overhear their words. The room of the dressing where women sometimes speak in code. The room where each makes her own translation. The room where the women keep to themselves and she teaches her daughter to put on makeup. The room of the half-real. Where the women partly see each other. Where the women partly laugh. Partly laugh at the shapes they see in the mirror and the girls once reflected there.

The room of the giggling girls. The room in which the girls whisper secrets about each other. Where one is said to have larger breasts. Where it is whispered she does not wear a bra. The room in which the girls run giggling to catch their friend with her breasts uncovered. The room of the disowned woman. The room where the women deny she is anything like them. Where they will not acknowledge the one who frightens them, the one who screams too loudly at her children, the one whose face is frozen to madness, who wears too many clothes. The room in which the women fear time. In which she is afraid of becoming her mother. This labyrinth. The place that turns back on itself. The room in which the women grow up. In which they are no longer awkward in their clothing. In which they grow out of clumsiness. And where she blames herself for not gracing her clothes. The room in which women praise their clothing and sigh that they are no longer children. The room in which time is a mirror. The labyrinth in which the women fear aging.

She circles this maze of her fears, of her fear of seeing, of her fear of being revealed, of her fear of touching. The room of the dressing where the women are afraid to touch. Where the women are not close. Where the women keep themselves at a distance. Where the temptation to speak becomes large and the fear of speaking larger. Where all her words are dressed. And the mother teaches her daughter how to wear her hair. The room of the dressing in which the women shoulder all blame. In which the women agree that women are dangerous. The room in which women lament the darkness of women. And stories are told about women. The room in which the women cover themselves. And put each other at a distance. The room of the dressing where the women tell each other they are happy and in which the women look for secret unhappiness. This room where the women gossip. Where she carefully dresses all her words. And the mother teaches the daughter to pull up her slip. This room where they never touch. Where the women complain about each other. And say they cannot stand the company of women. The room of women who laugh at women. The room of women who know about each other. Whose looks are painful to each other. The room of women who have never really spoken. Who cannot be close. Where the sins of the father are visited upon the mother. And she looks at herself with his eyes. Where her daughter turns from her, though she carries her mother's knowledge in her bones, and will pass this on. The room where the daughter denies she is anything like her mother. The room of the dressing in which the women do not trust each other. The room where she finds herself in danger from herself.

And she says she is suffocating. And she says the horizon is a lie. And the air is filled with stories about her. And she says space denies her. The room in which the women are lost. The labyrinth from which they do not escape. Which keeps them going around in circles. The room in which the women lose their way and are no longer anywhere. The room where women die. The labyrinth where she is afraid of perishing.

The Room of the Undressing

I go where I love and where I am loved.

-- H.D., "The Flowering of the Rod"

Startracks. Spiral nebulae. Craters of the moon. She lets herself fall. She falls into the room of her wants. The room where the demands of women are endless. Where her voice has endlessly demanded her to go. This room which reveals her. Where she is clumsy again. Where she is awkward in her grown-up clothing. Where she aches. This room of the revelation of all she thought horrible, and of her endlessly demanding body. Of all she shrank from in herself. This room filled with herself. She fell into this room. This room of outcasts. Where we uncover our bodies. Where we meet our outcast selves. The room in which she does not mock herself. This room filled with darkness. Where we go into darkness. Where we embrace darkness. Where we lie close to darkness, breathe when darkness breathes and find darkness inside ourselves. The room of the darkness of women. Where we are not afraid. Where joy is just under the surface. Where we laugh. Where laughter fills us utterly when we see what we thought was horrible. Where our demands are endlessly received. Where revelation fills us with glee. The room which she said she needed. The room without which she was sure she would perish. The first room in which she experienced space. This place where she could finally breathe. The place where she breathed out the stories she had not believed. The room where we confess we never believed those stories were about us. The room where she cast those stories from her forever. Where we began to feel the atmosphere wants us. Where she began to believe the horizon. This room of her wants. Of her desiring. This room of her desiring to live. This place which allows her to exist. Where the women stare into each other's eyes. Where the daughter feels the life of the mother. Where our words are undressed. And we touch. This room of our touching where the mother teaches her daughter to face her secret feelings. The labyrinth of her knowledge. Where she has her own reasons. The coral skeleton. The crystals of frost. Of her knowing. This place of her wandering. The circles of the tree's growth. The beehive. The room of her first wandering and of her finding. This place where she finds her way.


Above all, there was the sensation of moving physically over the contours of fulnesses and concavities, through hollows and over peaks -- feeling, touching, seeing, through mind and hand and eye. This sensation has never left me. I, the sculptor, am the landscape. I am the form and the hollow, the thrust and the contour.

-- BARBARA HEPWORTH, A pictorial Autobiography

The shape of a cave, we say, or the shape of a labyrinth. The way we came here was dark. Space seemed to close in on us. We thought we could not move forward. We had to shed our clothes. We had to leave all we brought with us. And when finally we moved through this narrow opening, our feet reached for ledges, under was an abyss, a cavern stretching farther than we could see. Our voices echoed off the walls. We were afraid to speak. This darkness led to more darkness, until darkness leading to darkness was all we knew.

The shape of this cave, our bodies, this darkness. This darkness which sits so close to us we cannot see, so close that we move away in fear. We turn into ourselves. But here we find the same darkness, we find we are shaped around emptiness, that we are a void we do not know.

The shape of a cave, this emptiness we seek out like water. The void that we are. That we wash into as sleep washes over us, and we are blanketed in darkness. We see nothing. We are in the center of our ignorance. Nothingness spreads around us. But in this nothing we find what we did not know existed. With our hands, we begin to trace faint images etched into the walls. And now, beneath these images we can see the gleam of older images. And these peel back to reveal the older still. The past, the dead, once breathing, the forgotten, the secret, the buried, the once blood and bone, the vanished, shimmering now like an answer from these walls, bright and red. Drawn by the one who came before. And before her. And before. Back to the beginning. To the one who first swam from the mouth of this cave. And now we know all she knew, see the newness of her vision. What we did not know existed but saw as children, our whole lives drawn here, image over image, past time, beyond space.


The shape of a cave, the bud, the chrysalis, the shell, what new form we seek in this darkness, our hands feeling these walls, here wet, here damp, here crumbling away; our hands searching for signs in this rock, certain now in this darkness, what we seek is here, warm and covered with water, we sweat in this effort, piercing the darkness, laying our skin on the cool stone, tracing the new image over the old, etching these lines which become dear to us now, as what we have drawn here gleams back at us from the walls of the cave, telling us what is, now, and who we have become.

This round cavern, motion turned back on itself, the follower becomes the followed, moon in the sky, the edge becoming the center, what is buried emerges, light dying over the water, what is unearthed is stunning, the one we were seeking, turning with the ways of this earth, is ourselves.

This cave, the shape to which each returns, where image after image will be revealed, and painted over, painted over and revealed, until we are bone. Where we touch the ones who came before and see their visions, where we leave our mark, where, terrified, we give up ourselves and weep, and taken over by this darkness, are overwhelmed by what we feel: where we are pushed to the edge of existence, to the source which sounds like a wave inside us, to the path of the water which feeds us all.

The way of the water we follow, which has made this space, and hollowed the earth here, because the shape of this cave is a history.


The shape of this cave is a history telling us with each echo of the sound of each wave rushing against its sides: "I was not here before; my shape changes daily. I was sand. I was mountain. I was stone. I was water. I was shellfish and sea anemone and sea snail, I was fish, eel, urchin. I was plankton. I was seaweed and sea grass. Here I am black and polished and round, here I am yellow, here I am covered with moss, here I gleam with a purple reflection when the light lies across me, here I curve outward, here I sink back.

"When the water approaches me, the shape of the wave is changed. And when the tide ebbs, you will see, I, too, have changed."


The shape of the labyrinth. The shape of the cave. Space divided and not divided. Space mutable, we say, separation becoming union. Space changing. The new shape. Melting and transformation, the crystal and the seed, the endless possibility of form, as in the metal measuring rod, which changes its shape at the speed of light, we say.

The Hexenhaus destroyed (the witches reborn) the zoological garden opened (the reappearance of species) the prison razed (crime renamed) acoustics transformed (madness released) the buried (plants to flesh to earth) uncovered.

The rectangular shape of his book of knowledge, bending. The shape of our silence, the shape of the roofs of our mouths. Darkness.
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:39 am

Part 1 of 3

BOOK FOUR: HER VISION -- Now She Sees Through Her Own Eyes


Out of my flesh that hungers
and my mouth that knows
comes the shape I am seeking
for reason.

-- AUDRE LORDE, "On a Night of the Full Moon"


... healing must be sought in the blood of the wound itself. It is another of the old alchemical truths that "no solution should be made except in its own blood."

-- NOR HALL, Mothers and Daughters

Why is she lying so still there? And what is she dreaming? We ask, here, in the center of this darkness. We not so different from darkness, not seen but known as darkness itself, and dark to ourselves. She sleeps. Her sleep is like death. And what is she, in this night, becoming? Buried from the light like the soil under the ice frozen solid. In this dark and cold season, this wintering time, when the moon becomes smaller (just a shadow of herself) and her heart beats slower, we touch the coldness of her skin. This sleeping body, we whisper. Out of the light we can feel this body, hear the air enter her, and our hands ask what is she dreaming in this darkness? What is she, in this night, becoming? And we are darkness. Like the carbon from the air which becomes the body of the plant and the body of the plant buried in the earth becoming coal or the body of the plant in her mouth becoming her own dark blood and her blood washing from her like tides (and the sea drawing into itself, leaving the bodies of fish, coral spines, the reef). This place. This place in which she breathes and which she takes into herself and which is now in her, sleeping inside her. What sleeps inside her? Like a seed in the earth, in the soil which becomes rich with every death, animal bodies coming apart cell by cell, the plant body dispersing, element by element, in the bodies of bacteria, planaria, and back to the seed, this that grows inside her and that we cannot see. What does this body hold for us? (What we feel in this darkness that seems like stillness to us.) And what made us feel that every day was like another? Why did we no longer bother to draw back the curtains? No longer bother to make the beds? Why did we leave scraps of meat out on the tables? Leave our hair wild and uncombed? Refuse any longer to speak? Draw into ourselves and ask? And ask. What this body holds, now. What will come out of this earth. The earth turning and we not feeling any movement. But moving. Spinning through the stars. The moonlight. Turning in our sleep. What was it she remembers? Why did she sit up in her sleep as if waking. What thought seized her? To cry out like a child. What child still in her? Like the sunlight trapped in the leaf which becomes part of the ground, of the sea, the body of the fish, body of animal, soil, seed. What is growing inside and will pierce the surface, if she awakens with this memory: what she was before. And light touches her eyelids, warmth touches her skin, like the plankton thrown into the light by the turbulence of the sea and the spore carried by the wind, her body changes. And what does she feel in this morning? What does she see now? If she opened the window, what new air does she breathe? (Opens the window, combs her hair, washes her face, stares out at the world and speaks.)

The moon swells and tides wash over the rock; granite and shell become sand; the roots of trees are polished and the cell divides every day. Every day we move closer to the sun. Each day she is closer to herself. And to this child within her, growing inside her. She remembers, what she might have been (as oxygen from the plant goes into the flame, into ash). And she puts these pieces together. What is left after the years and what will come together still, like the edges of tissue grafting one to the other: blood cleanses the wound, and this place is slowly restored. (And the forest reclaims what was devastated, and her body heals itself of the years.) So we say, finally, we know what happens in this darkness, what happens to us while we sleep, if we allow the night, if we allow what she is in the darkness to be, this knowledge, this that we have not yet named: what we are. Oh, this knowledge of what we are is becoming clear.


We Enter a New Space

The new space ... has a kind of invisibility to those who have not entered it.

-- MARY DALY, Beyond God the Father

Space filled with the presence of mothers, and the place where everyone is a daughter. Space which does not exist without matter. The place where she predominates. Space which is never separate from matter. The space shaped by the movements of white-haired women and ringing with the laughter of old lady friends. The world seen on the faces of middle-aged women. The place filled with the love of women for women. Space shaped by the play of the littlest girls.

The stone dropped in water. Space that knows her. Starlight in darkness. Space lit up with her thoughts. The circle in space. Space dancing under her broom. Space transformed in her kitchen. In which her pots and pans are foremost and the diapers of her children dominate the landscape. Space charged with the cleaning out of tubs, the threading of needles, the storage of leaves in jars. Space she has cooked and scrubbed clean. Space shaped by her anger. The place made by the one who tends to needs. Her feeling of having room. The space she fills. A motion circling the void. The electron a movement in space. Space freed from her not being. The place where she is recognized. And where she can see herself.

Space the shape of experience: the form of motion. Space full of curiosity about her, and the place which records her image. Space which she embroiders. Space which she covers in quilts. Space which she makes into lace. Space which she weaves. Where she builds the house of her culture. Where her breast is a self-reflection. This space which she paints.

Space filled with her paintings. Where she paints THE FITTING, where she draws THE COIFFURE, where she sets on her canvas the YOUNG WOMAN DRESSED IN BLACK, and paints her DREAM of HAPPINESS, and the BROKEN MIRROR, and sets down the MOTHER ABOUT TO WASH HER SLEEPY CHILD, and paints the KNITTER, WOMAN SPINNING AND WEAVING, THE SELLER of TISANE, where she records the OLD WOMAN FROM THE POORHOUSE, and the WORKING WOMAN, and records the LETTER of REJECTION and sets down PORTIA WOUNDING HER THIGH, where she gives a shape to THE SUICIDE of GENEVIEVE BRIBERT.

Space in which there is no center. Space filled with her disintegration, where all certainties change. Space in which she feels she is coming apart. Space where nothing is ever still and motion always changes shape. The place where she holds on to nothing. The stone dropped in the water. Space electrified by her feelings, comes back to us in waves. Space shaped about her. Our movements rush the air by the force of what she feels, and penetrate the stone. Where she makes out the invisible, where she touches the real.


Her space The cosmos flooded with The earth her vision. The space where her feelings pulled her apart and what was inside her was revealed. And this lit her way.

Space where, in her circling motion, she found an opening.

We Enter a New Time

The center of the new time is on the boundary of patriarchal time. What it is ... is women's own time. It is our lifetime ...

-- MARY DALY, Beyond God the Father

One of the tasks of women's history is to call into question accepted schemes of periodization.

-- JOAN KELLY-GADOL. "Did Women Have a Renaissance?"

We say we are brilliant with light from the stars that began millennia ago and now burn in our minds.


Andromeda (The Chained Princess) The time when she was chained. The age in which the most significant event was her loss of her own name. The millennium that began on the day that the first rape of a woman took place. The day that settled in when the rape of a woman went unavenged. The age of laws which declared her unfit to govern. The age that was shaped by the fact that she was not taught to read. The centuries that did not declare her rights. The period that declared her unfit to practice medicine. The years in which she could not own property. The time during which her word could not stand alone in court. The age that was colored by the fact that she was home all day taking care of children. The period filled by the isolation of women. The time for which the most significant evidence is her invisibility.


Hydra (The Dragon) The century during which Ales Manfield was called a witch. The age when Katherine Kepler was tortured. The year when Ales Newman, Alice Nutter and Alizon Device were accused of belonging to a coven. The week when Anne Redferne, Anne Whittle, Elizabeth Demidyke, Jeanet Hargreaves, Katherine Hewit and Jeanet Preston were burned at the stake. The time that was governed by fire.


Canis Major (The Greater Dog) The period known for the daring of Judith who cut off the head of Holofernes and thus saved the city. The age typified by the courage of Alice Knyvet who kept the king from taking her castle by force. The decade known for the ferocity of Joan of Flanders. The time called the Years of Jacoba after the healing genius of Jacoba Felicie. The age famous for having prohibited Jacoba Felicie from practicing medicine.


We say there is no end to any act. The rock thrown in the water is followed by waves of water, and these waves of water make waves in the air, and these waves travel outward infinitely, setting particles in motion, leading to other motion and motion upon motion endlessly. We say the water has noticed this stone falling and has not forgotten. And in every particle every act lives, and the stars do not frighten us, we say, starlight is familiar to us.


Monocerous (The Unicorn) The age that began when Caroline Herschel looked at the stars. The period during which Emilie du Chatelet stayed up late in the night writing of space, time and force. The period that ended when Emilie du Chatelet died in childbirth.


The Pleiades (The Seven Sisters) The age in which those women who were virgins supported themselves by their nursing, weaving and making lace. The age in which they pooled their earnings and lived together.


Taurus (The Bull) The decade ruled by Reine Louise Audre, Queen of the Markets. The time in which she led a march of eight hundred women to Versailles. The year during which women demanded that the grain speculators be punished, demanded that conditions at the marketplace be made better, that priests be able to marry, that women receive better education, that male midwifery be put to an end; the year in which these women asked for an end to all privilege, demanded that husbands stop dissipating the dowries of their wives, that women have control over their own property and their children, that women be given employment. The day of the month celebrated because that was when women brought down the Bastille.


Leo (The Lion) The period of time in American history known as the years of the slave rebellions (which were led by women).


Lyra (The Harp) That year when she spoke of a "vision of a woman, wild! With more than womanly despair." The period beginning with the words of Marie de Ventadour that "a lady must honor her lover as a friend not as a master." That decade famous for her play about the rapist who mistook pots and pans for virgins, and fondled them all night. The year her play was performed by the other sisters of the convent. The year glorified by the laughter of the nuns. That age distinguished by her book called The City of Women in which she extolled the virtues of women. The great age that began when a young woman published the words "of what materials can that heart be composed which can melt when insulted and instead of revolting at injustice, kiss the rod?"


The Magellanic Clouds. The Orion Nebula. Star Clouds in the Milky Way. We say our lives are part of nature. We say in every particle every act lives. The body of the tree reveals the past. That the waves from the stone falling into the water were frozen in the winter ice. That stars pull at the bodies of crabs, and oysters know the phases of the moon.


Delphinus (The Dolphin) The time of the visions of Hildegarde von Bingen, the mysteries of Margery Kemp, and the year of the establishment of a colony where Anne Hutchinson preached.


Perseus (The Hero) The Harriet Tubman Years. The Age of Sappho. The period shaped by the socialist movement begun by Flora Tristan called Tristanism. The century called the Swallow Period after Ellen Swallow (because she invented the word "ecology"). The day devoted to the memory of Elizabeth Blackwell (because she was the first woman to graduate from medical school). The Ma Rainey Era.


Lepus (The Hare) The years that might have been had she not been busy raising the children, keeping them alive, gathering food, stitching the holes, sweeping the floor, steaming the fish, keeping the coal in the stove. The years which could not have been had she not done these things. The ages which survived through her sympathy; the centuries subtly informed by her compassion.


Virgo (The One Who Is Inviolable) The eons of clear rivers. The millennia of brilliant skies. The time immemorial of dark forests. The past history of flowering. Aquarius (The Water Carrier) The age of dryness. The period of dark skies. The centuries during which forests turned to deserts. The age of grieving for the earth.


Argo Navis (The Ship) Her birth. The day she said her first word. The time of her growing awareness. The days of her bleeding. The years when she learned about death. The age she was when she accepted change. The time of her broadening. When she felt her body become strong. That time of her life when she learned reciprocity and the inviolability of the other. The year when her anger gave her clarity and all her weeping was filled with intelligence. The morning of her full powers. The celebration of her first gray hairs. The solemn recognition of her coming of age.


The elliptical orbit. The pull of gravity. The satellite motion. Time in space, we say, the half note pushing the air; the quarter note traversing the earth. The bud, the egg, the risen bread, the right time for things. The right time she says is now. She says our lives have been changed by what has gone before. Up until now we have been kept from our past by silence, but, she says, the time of our silence is over, and we will have The Chrysalis those years again opening.

Cassiopeia (The Queen's Chair) We say the ages when she knew her own power. The age when she kept her own name. The age when she revealed the secret of the wheel. The age when she learned to speak with the animals. The age when she discovered the seed. The age during which she wove truth about herself. The age when she joined forces with the earth. When she listened and was heard. The age when she knew she was not alone. The Age of her Resonance.


Whatever I have said about my deeds and words in this trial, I let it stand and wish to reaffirm it. Even if I should see the fire lit, the faggots blazing, and the hangman ready to begin the burning, and even if I were in the pyre, I could not say anything different.

-- JOAN OF ARC, 1431

"What is in those diaries then?"
"They aren't diaries."
"Whatever they are."
"Chaos, that's the point."

DORIS LESSING, The Golden Notebook

This above all, we have never denied our dreams. They would have had us perish. But we do not deny our voices. We are disorderly. We have often disturbed the peace. Indeed, we study chaos -- it points to the future. The oldest and wisest among us can read disorder. From dreams, or the utterances of madness, the chance cracks on a tortoise shell, the fortunate shapes of leaves of tea, the fateful arrangements of cards, we can tell things. And some of us can heal. We can read bodies with our hands, read the earth, find water, trace gravity's path. We know what grows and how to balance one thing against another.

Many of us who practiced these arts were put on trial. We stood at the gates of change, but those who judged us were afraid. They claimed the right to order the future. They would have had all of us perish, and most of us did. But some kept on. Because this is the power of such things as we know -- we kept flying through the night, we kept up our deviling, our dancing, we were still familiar with animals though we were threatened with fire and though we were almost to a woman burned. And even if over our bodies they have transformed this earth, we say, the truth is, to this day, women still dream.


... ye was taken out of bed to that meeting in a flight.

-- BESSIE HENDERSON, Crook of Devon, 1661

In those years, whatever we wanted it seemed we could not have. Nothing in our lives was ever fortunate. We had the meagerest portions of things, and when things were rare, we went without. That is our lot in life, we told ourselves. And we stopped wanting. Only we longed, and we grew so accustomed to the pain of longing that we called this our nature. We put this into our songs. We said disappointment was part of life. Even in our imaginations, all our attempts began to fail. But one day all this changed. On this day we met a woman who was used to getting what she wanted. She ate large portions and her body was big. She let us know there were other such women. We were bewitched. We began to dream we were like this woman. Her very smile invited us to be like her. And that is how we were finally initiated.

We began to think we might get what we want. Our longing turned into desire. Do you know how desire can run through the limbs? How wanting lets your eyes pierce space? How desire propels even the sleeping? How a resolve to act can traverse this atmosphere as quick as light? We were alive with desire. And we knew we could never go back to those years of longing. This is why, despite the threat of fire and our fear of the flame, we burst out through the roofs of our houses. Desire is a force inside us. Our mouths drop open in the rushing air. Our bodies float among stars. And we laugh in ecstasy to know the air has wishes; the stars want. "Yes," we call out, full of ourselves and delight. "Yes," we sing. "We fly through the night."


If anyone at the kalends of January goes about as a stag or a bull; that is making himself into a wild animal, and putting on the heads of beasts; those who in such wise transform themselves into the appearance of a wild animal, penance for three years because it is devilish.


The Devil has the best Music.


Yes we are devilish; that is true we cackle. Yes we are dark like the soil and wild like the animals. And we turn to each other and stare into this darkness. We find it beautiful. We find this darkness irresistible. We cease all hiding. Nothing is secret: we display what they call evil in us. Yes, we have horns on our heads, and our feet are cloven, and we are covered with fur and with feathers. And how we love this state of affairs. We practice butting with our horns; our feet carry us quickly through the forest. In our fur and feathers, we attempt to repeat all the lessons they tried to teach us. But this fur and these feathers mock their words. We begin to laugh. We cannot stop laughing. One of us imitates the sound of the voice that has lectured us. With her hoof, she gestures pompously at us. In her growls and guttural moanings she follows the rhythms of this speech, produces its tones. We are delighted. She has captured the lecturer in her animal body. We are hysterical with laughter and now we join her mocking. We insult this foreign presence in her. We cast a spell on her. We drag her from her pulpit. We kill that lecturer in her. Now we are triumphant. We light torches. We wear flames on our very heads, so that our bodies cast light all around us. Now when we kiss the very darkest parts of ourselves with this light, we are transformed: And sweet voices pour from our mouths.


There was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man should take me alive; I should fight for my liberty as long as my strength lasted....


From the beginning I conceived the dance as a chorus ... I so ardently hoped to create an orchestra of dancers that, in my imagination; they already existed....


Yes, we are
dancing, oh yes, we are
dancing, oh yes, we
dance, whenever we
can. Now we
move together.
Tambourine. The joy.
Tambourine and pipe.
The joy in me. Tambourine,
pipe and violin.
The joy in me that
I see in you. Tambourine,
tambourine, tambourine
and pipe. And if we should
falter, tambourine,
violin, tambourine,
violin, if danger over
takes us, tambourine
and pipe, we must
stay together, violin
and harp, we must
not forget. Violin, pipe,
tambourine and harp.
Now we move together.
Feeling dances through us.
We move our feet together.
We do this dance.
Tambourine, tambourine,
harp and violin.
We dance
to be free, harp,
harp and pipe, free
to live our lives,
tambourine and harp,
the way we dream.
Tambourine and
harp. If
one of us falters,
violin. violin, violin.
danger over takes
her, violin, violin,
we must not forget,
tambourine, tambourine,
what happens to one, pipe
and harp, happens
to us all. Now
we move together; this
music rushes through
us, we dance with
the wind, to the
singing of the trees.
Tambourine, violin,
violin and harp,
And now we sing
together, violin
and pipe,
we sing what we
all know, tambourine,
tambourine, tambourine
and pipe, what we
do will bring
us danger,
we are taking
great risks, violin
and pipe, violin
and pipe.
But now we
dance together We
dance with the trees,
we dance with the wind,
singing this is
our choice,
tambourine and violin and tambourine
and harp, singing this
Is what we choose,
tambourine and pipe.
we move together
Violin. We move to the
violin and harp,
of the joy in me,
tambourine and pipe,
that I see in you.
tambourine. Oh yes,
we dance,
violin, violin, violin
and harp,
we can.

Animals Familiar

The cobra was known as Eye, uzait, a symbol of mystic insight and wisdom.

-- MERLIN STONE, When God Was a Woman

And yes we are close to animals. One of us, we admit, speaks with snakes. When she was a child this animal licked her ears clean. And that explains her to us. Because that deft tongue washed out what stops up most of our hearing, she can hear most clearly. She can even, yes, even hear what the birds say. (And the birds bring messages from the dead, and the dead bring messages from the universe.) This cleanness of her ears accounts for her wisdom. To speak with her is to be amazed, not only at the nature of this world, but at the sound of one's own voice. She hears what is said, and she also hears what is not said. Oh, she is a marvelous listener! Those of us who tell our stories to her seem to hear them ourselves for the first time. So clean are her ears. And we hold nothing back from her. We blurt out all we can remember. What we forget, or don't know, she tells us. Then, with the whole story given to us, we can usually figure things out. As for what will happen to us, that she does not hear, that she needs to see. For this, she tells us, for she too does not hold back, for this she eats the body of that animal, its flesh that has rubbed against the ground becoming part of her blood, and in that way she sees what could not otherwise be seen. She sees lives that ended before their time, and what those lives could have done. She sees possibility. She sees lives half lived becoming whole. She reads stories that have never been written. Sees whole cities grow up, and the new growth of forests that were razed long ago. She sees all kinds of marvels far beyond what we ask her to see, things, she says, we could not even dream. We would think her raving, but she speaks to us so sweetly of what she says can be, that we too begin to see these things. We know her clarity for our own, and as for the way things are now, we grow most impatient.
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:40 am

Part 2 of 3



The biosphere does not end where the light gives out.

-- G. EVELYN HUTCHINSON, "The Biosphere"

You have sometimes wondered, my dear friend, at the extreme affection of my nature -- But such is the temperature of my soul -- It is not the vivacity of youth, the hey-day of existence. For years I have endeavoured to calm an impetuous tide -- labouring to make my feelings take an orderly course -- It was striving against the stream.


We heard of this woman who was out of control. We heard that she was led by her feelings. That her emotions were violent. That she was impetuous. That she violated tradition and overrode convention. That certainly her life should not be an example to us. (The life of the plankton, she read in this book on the life of the earth, depends on the turbulence of the sea) We were told that she moved too hastily. Placed her life in the stream of ideas just born. For instance, had a child out of wedlock, we were told. For instance, refused to be married. For instance, walked the streets alone, where ladies never did, and we should have little regard for her, even despite the brilliance of her words. (She read that the plankton are slightly denser than water) For she had no respect for boundaries, we were told. And when her father threatened her mother, she placed her body between them. (That because of this greater heaviness, the plankton sink into deeper waters) And she went where she should not have gone, even into her sister's marriage. And because she imagined her sister to be suffering what her mother had suffered, she removed her sister from that marriage. (And that these deeper waters provide new sources of nourishment) That she moved from passion. From unconscious feeling, allowing deep and troubled emotions to control her soul. (But if the plankton sinks deeper, as it would in calm waters, she read) But we say that to her passion, she brought lucidity (it sinks out of the light, and it is only the turbulence of the sea, she read) and to her vision, she gave the substance of her life (which throws the plankton back to the light). For the way her words illuminated her life we say we have great regard. We say we have listened to her voice asking, "of what materials can that heart be composed which can melt when insulted and instead of revolting at injustice, kiss the rod?" (And she understood that without light, the plankton cannot live and from the pages of this book she also read that the animal life of the oceans, and hence our life, depends on the plankton and thus the turbulence of the sea for survival.) By her words we are brought to our own lives, and are overwhelmed by our feelings which we had held beneath the surface for so long. And from what is dark and deep within us, we say, tyranny revolts us; we will not kiss the rod.


we have given until we have no more to give;
alas, it was pity, rather than love, we gave;
now having given all, let us leave all;
above all, let us leave pity

and mount higher
to love -- resurrection.

-- H. D., "The Flowering Rod"

You call me a thousand names, uttering yourselves.

Earthquake, I answer you. flood and volcano flow -- the Warning. This to remind you that I am the Old One who holds the Key, the Crone to whom all things return.

-- ROBIN MORGAN, "The Network of the Imaginary Mother"

This story is told to us about the mountain. That one day suddenly and with no cause fire began to pour from her. That those living trustingly at her sides were frozen in their steps by the hot ash which she gave off, that without any warning a terrible death issued from her and stopped a whole city. That at that moment when she chose to strike, food was being set forth on tables and daily life continued innocently. Thus when we are shown the form of the dog whose agony was preserved forever in this ash, we see why she cannot be trusted.

They asked her to feel sorry for their plight. They told her how it was hard for them to cry. How dominance had been expected of them. They said that they knew no other life than the one that they were taught. That hence they were not responsible for what they did or said. They said that such changes as she was requiring of them were impossible. That their bodies could not be otherwise. That one could not change overnight. That these matters she spoke of so bluntly were subtle and complex. That she must be more patient. That she made them feel guilty. That guilt kept them from moving. She was bringing them to tears, they said: "Pity us." Couldn't she see that they had tried? Couldn't she see she was asking too much of them? Be fair: "You are unreasonable," they told her. But she answered them, ''You have called me unreasonable before."

Yet beneath this layer of ash, which the rain made into mud, and the sun dried for centuries, we find another story. We discover that the ash did not come suddenly and all at one moment. But first a black cloud appeared in the sky above the mountain. And that afterward ash fell over the city for two days, until the sky became darker and darker, and the ash piled thicker and thicker. That those who perished would not leave, but chose to stay in their houses, to guard their possessions; that the dog who died in that agony was chained to the door; that those who died, died struggling for breath poisoned from her fumes, that only at the last moment must they have wanted to flee, only then believed in the power of this mountain to change their lives.

And she said she was tired of this old dialogue. Whenever she heard that cry, she said, of guilt, whenever she heard them moan for patience, her jaw closed. She could feel her face redden, and the back of her spine was rigid. She was certain she would explode. Yes, she said, she had grown unreasonable. "And don't want to hear," she barked, "any more of your reasons." She had been patient, she growled, too long. "Do you know what the cost of this patience has been?" she yelled. This dialogue is over, she shouted, and she vowed the old drama would not be played out again. "I will give you no pity," she said. She did not feel pity now, she bellowed.

Searching beneath the volcano, beneath the ocean floor, tracing the movements and the history of the movements of the earth, we find cause for the fires. We say beneath the earth is a flowing rock. We say this flowing rock rises to the surface, and we say the rock on the surface sinks toward the core of the earth, becoming molten and then hard and then molten again in turn. And we say also that there are breaks in the surface of the earth, places where the depths are uncovered, and it is at these broken places that the rock is transformed, and the surface of the earth is made. Where change takes place, we say, and where the earth is replenished we find volcanoes.

And so her anger grew. It swept through her like a fire. She was more than shaken. She thought she was consumed. But she was illuminated with her rage; she was bright with fury. And though she still trembled, one day she saw she had survived this blaze. And after a time she came to see this anger-that-was-so-long-denied as a blessing.

And we learn also that the coral reefs were made by coral fixing themselves on the bases of old volcanoes, worn down by the sea. And the lava which flows from volcanoes, we say, becomes a rich soil where luxuriant forests grow.

Consequences (What Always Returns)

And I pray one prayer -- I repeat it till my tongue stiffens -- Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you -- haunt me, then! ... Be with me always -- take any form -- drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul.

-- EMILY BRONTE, Wuthering Heights

To have risked so much in our efforts to mold nature to our satisfaction and yet to have failed in achieving our goal would indeed be the final irony. Yet this, it seems, is our situation.

RACHEL CARSON, Silent Spring

We say you cannot divert the river from the riverbed. We say that everything is moving, and we are a part of this motion. That the soil is moving. That the water is moving. We say that the earth draws water to her from the clouds. We say the rainfall parts on each side of the mountain, like the parting of our hair, and that the shape of the mountain tells where the water has passed. We say this water washes the soil from the hillsides, that the rivers carry sediment, that rain when it splashes carries small particles, that the soil itself flows with water in streams underground. We say that water is taken up into roots of plants, into stems, that it washes down hills into rivers, that these rivers flow to the sea, that from the sea, in the sunlight, this water rises to the sky, that this water is carried in clouds, and comes back as rain, comes back as fog, back as dew, as wetness in the air.

We say everything comes back. And you cannot divert the river from the riverbed. We say every act has its consequences. That this place has been shaped by the river, and that the shape of this place tells the river where to go.

We say he should have known his action would have consequences. We say our judgment was that when she raised that rifle, looking through the sight at him, and fired, she was acting out of what had gone on before. We say every act comes back on itself. There are consequences. You cannot cut the trees from the mountainside without a flood. We say there is no way to see his dying as separate from her living, or what he had done to her; or what part of her he had used. We say if you change the course of this river you change the shape of the whole place. And we say that what she did then could not be separated from what she held sacred in herself, what she had felt when he did that to her; what we hold sacred to ourselves, what we feel we could not go on without, and we say if this river leaves this place, nothing will grow and the mountain will crumble away, and we say what he did to her could not be separated from the way that he looked at her; and what he felt was right to do to her; and what they do to us, we say, shapes how they see us. That once the trees are cut down, the water will wash the mountain away and the river be heavy with mud, and there will be a flood. And we say that what he did to her he did to all of us. And that one act cannot be separated from another. And had he seen more clearly, we say, he might have predicted his own death. How if the trees grew on that hillside there would be no flood. And you cannot divert this river. We say look how the water flows from this place and returns as rainfall, everything returns, we say, and one thing follows another, there are limits, we say, on what can be done and everything moves. We are all a part of this motion, we say, and the way of the river is sacred, and this grove of trees is sacred, and we ourselves, we tell you, are sacred.


She swaggers in. They are terrifying in their white hairlessness. She waits. She watches. She does not move. She is measuring their moves. And they are measuring her. Cautiously one takes a bit of her fur. He cuts it free from her. He examines it. Another numbers her feet, her teeth, the length and width of her body. She yawns. They announce she is alive. They wonder what she will do if they enclose her in the room with them. One of them shuts the door. She backs her way toward the closed doorway and then roars. "Be still." the men say. She continues to roar. "Why does she roar?" they ask. The roaring must be inside her, they conclude. They decide they must see the roaring inside her. They approach her in a group, six at her two front legs and six at her two back legs. They are trying to put her to sleep. She swings at one of the men. His own blood runs over him. "Why did she do that?" the men question. She has no soul, they conclude, she does not know right from wrong. "Be still," they shout at her. "Be humble, trust us; they demand. "We have souls," they proclaim, "we know what is right," they approach her with their medicine, "for you." She does not understand this language. She devours them.



... escape from necessity? like children? but one would lose the value of life --

-- SIMONE WEIL, First and Last Notebooks

And because Barnard College did not teach me necessity, nor prime my awareness as to urgencies of need around the world, nor galvanize my heart around the critical nature of conflicts between the powerful and the powerless, and, because, beyond everything else, it was not going to be school, evidently, but life-after-school, that would teach me the necessities for radical change, revolution: I left; ...

And so I continue: a Black woman who would be an agent for change....

-- JUNE JORDAN, Notes of a Barnard Dropout

We dealt with hunger. We dealt with cold. We were the ones who held things together. Knit one, purl two. We were the ones who, after working all day, made the meals. And the beginning. We made sure everybody ate. And the end. We were the ones who, if the cupboard was bare, faced the open mouths of our children. And the way we thought grew from what we did. And the end and the beginning. We were the ones who nursed the dying through death. The wheel. The ones who birthed, who had blood on our hands, the ones who suckled. We fed the calves and milked the cows. We worked in the fields. We wrung the neck of the chicken, and tended the fire that cooked the stew. The double ax. These labors shaped our thinking. We were the ones who watched the wearing down and the daily mending and did what had to be done with the lost. We were the ones who knew what it all meant. Each breath. The cost. The years. We knew the limits. Gravity. And what had to be done. We knew the length of caring. The weight. We felt children come to life in our bodies; even if we had no children we knew what the necessities were. The pull. Our hands made decisions we knew had to be made. The motion, when there was no more caring, when there was no more food. The end and the beginning. Our bodies knew loss. The circle. Our bodies knew limitation. We were weary. The gravitational pull. Our limbs made the decision to move. Day after day we kept things going. Knit one, purl two. We were the ones who held things together: Purl two, knit one. And we were the ones who unraveled the patterns. Who refused to move. The centrifugal force. We were the ones who resisted. We were the ones who decided this can go on no longer; and placed our bodies in the way. The curve of light. What we thought came out of what we did. The lens. And we learned by doing. The focus. Necessity forced us to act together: The reflection. And we were the ones who learned from closeness. We smoothed the way from one to another: We saw the pulling away and the cleaving. We balanced the weight of needs in our hands. Knit one. And we waited for the right time. The bread rising. So if one of us was brave purl two all of us were filled with courage. The circle of motion. We did what they called impossible. The verb. We existed in ways they called unreal. The word. But our ideas came from what we did. And that is how we imagined. The pull what we could do. And doing made us imagine more. And so our thoughts were grave the double ax and yet we laughed together: Knit one, purl two. We were the ones. The beginning who held the dying and the grieving and the end and the birthing and the born. The weight. And this is why we hold each other: The weight of this earth. And this is how our thinking has formed.


We play with numbers. Charming and sweet, we play little games with them, these figures. They are pale reflections, without the gravity of being of the potato, the glacier, the growth of lichen, the feather of an egret, the flecks in the iris of an eye, cracks in the dried clay of soil or the shed shell of a turtle, all of which they quantify, from which all they derive, the material forms whose awesome processes these numbers merely imitate, making simpler dramas with which we rest our minds, and in this bloodless theater of mathematics our hearts are eased. We are able to see the inevitability of process, count the days until our deaths, number the generations before and after, calculate the future colors of the eyes of our progeny, for numbers allow us, for moments, to objectify our own existence, which we know we cannot do to the potato or the glacier or the egret, the turtle nor the eye that meets us like our own with all its beautiful and its terrible knowledge of survival, the eye attached by ganglia and arteries through the brain's cortex down the spine even to the flesh of a foot that edges bare over the earth, feeling the hard outline of a crack on the clay surface.


Behind naming, beneath words, is something else. An existence named unnamed and unnameable. We give the grass a name, and earth a name. We say grass and earth are separate. We know this because we can pull the grass free of the earth and see its separate roots -- but when the grass is free, it dies. We say the inarticulate have no souls. We say the cow's eye has no existence outside ourselves, that the red wing of the blackbird has no thought, the roe of the salmon no feeling, because we cannot name these. Yet for our own lives we grieve all that cannot be spoken, that there is no name for, repeating for ourselves the names of things which surround what cannot be named. We say Heron and Loon, Coot and Killdeer, Snipe and Sandpiper, Gull and Hawk, Eagle and Osprey, Pigeon and Dove, Oriole, Meadowlark, Sparrow. We say Red Admiral and Painted Lady, Morning Cloak and Question Mark, Baltimore and Checkerspot, Buckeye, Monarch, Viceroy, Mayfly, Stonefly, Cicada, Leafhopper and Earwig, we say Sea Urchin and Sand Dollar, Starfish and Sandworm. We say mucous membrane, uterus, cervix, ligament, vagina and hymen, labia, orifice, artery, vessel, spine and heart. We say skin, blood, breast, nipple, taste, nostril, green, eye, hair, we say vulva, hood, clitoris, belly, foot, knee, elbow, pit, nail, thumb, we say tongue, teeth, toe, ear, we say ear and voice and touch and taste and we say again love, breast and beautiful and vulva, saying clitoris, saying belly, saying toes and soft, saying ear, saying ear, saying ear, ear and hood and hood and green and all that we say we are saying around that which cannot be said, cannot be spoken. But in a moment that which is behind naming makes itself known. Hand and breast know each one to the other: Wood in the table knows day in the bowl. Air knows grass knows water knows mud knows beetle knows frost knows sunlight knows the shape of the earth knows death knows not dying. And all this knowledge is in the souls of everything, behind naming, before speaking, beneath words.

The Possible

To a certain degree this is why pottery is so exciting to make; you are never absolutely sure how a pot is going to come out. Though you may think you know every angle of possibility, there are always new ones!

-- MARGUERITE WILDENHAIN, Pottery: Form and Expression

... For no actual process happens twice; only we meet the same sort of occasion again.

-- SUZANNE K. LANGER, Philosophy in a New Key

This teacher tells us we must ride the unknown. She has made many pots. She says we cannot rely on a formula. She has made pot after pot over many years and she says she still rides the unknown. We must follow our hands, she says, the clay will speak to our hands; the clay has qualities of its own, and we must yield to the clay's knowledge. She says every rule we have memorized, the roughing and the wetting of edges, for instance, to where the clay will be joined, every law must yield to experience. She says we must learn from each act, and no act is ever the same.

And the clay will respond to events, she says. She presses the clay into a piece of charred wood. We see a history of flames. She rolls the clay over sandstone. We see the path of the wind. She says each act takes a particular form and the textures are limitless. She invites us to use shells, twigs, rope, bark, birch, straw, burlap. She invites us to use our own hands, the particular print of each palm.

As our hands become cold from the clay, she asks us do we feel the elements yield to each other? Do we feel our skin vanish? Does the clay enter us? But with our hands on this wheel, for a moment, we face nothingness. For an instant we must admit we do not know the future, and we are afraid. Yet our hands are wet and coated with clay and they continue to work, despite our fear, they continue and this particular clay speaks to them. And now as our hands give us knowledge, fear becomes wonder: we are amazed at this shape we have never seen before which we hold now in our hands.

We must give this thing a surface, our teacher tells us, and we must carry our work through the fire. She says here, too, recipes are useless. These will achieve only the conventional, she says. But beauty demands a more arduous process. We must know these glazes intimately. We glaze small vessels with every color we possess. We try dilution and thickness. We try the pots at different stages of the fire; red-hot, we thrust them in leaves, in sawdust, in water; we let bubbles rise in them; we see them turn smooth like glass. Suddenly, we find we have a new language.

The possibilities, she has told us, are endless: Red drips over the lid of a jar glazed with gray and over its swelling sides. As the color flows, the pot is fired, and two running drops are caught in motion. The red, now thick, now a wash, is resolved in particles over pink, and then one large swatch of redness appears like the half-moon on our thigh when we bleed.

Violet blue is glazed over turquoise, and countless other blues appear. Circles of black, sienna and ocher move in waves like light over water. A gray stream forks into two; red fills the joints of a lattice of cracks; whiteness sits in a fissure like a lens; ocher reflects the light as gold, and in one swatch of jade, a sudden parting reveals a jagged space between two halves. These shapes suggest our hearts, suggest flowers, faces, breath, suggest waves, the possibilities of clear rivers, the possibilities of our lives running true, the possibility that we may know these mysteries, the lattice of veins in the leaf, the air caught by the light over the horizon, in our hands. The possibilities, we see, never end. And when we take the vessel out of the fire, our teacher tells us, we will always be surprised.


We Visit Our Fears

Without words, it comes. And suddenly, sharply, one is aware of being separated from every person on one's earth and every object, and from the beginning of things and from the future and even a little, from one's self. A moment before one was happily playing; the world was round and friendly. Now at one's feet there are chasms that had been invisible until this moment. And one knows, and never remembers how it was learned, that there will always be chasms, and across the chasms will always be those one loves.

-- LILLIAN SMITH, The Journey

The old woman who was wicked in her honesty asked questions of her mirror. When she was small she asked, "Why am I afraid of the dark? Why do I feel I will be devoured?" And her mirror answered, "Because you have reason to fear. You are small and you might be devoured. Because you are nothing but a shadow, a wisp, a seed, and you might be lost in the dark." And so she became large. Too large for devouring. From that tiny seed of a self a mighty form grew and now it was she who cast shadows. But after a while she came to the mirror again and asked. 'Why am I afraid of my bigness?" And the mirror answered, "Because you are big. There is no disputing who you are. And it is not easy for you to hide." And so she began to stop hiding. She announced her presence. She even took joy in it. But still, when she looked in her mirror she saw herself and was frightened, and she asked the mirror why. "Because, the mirror said, "no one else sees what you see, no one else can tell you if what you see is true." So after that she decided to believe her own eyes. Once when she felt herself growing older, she said to the mirror, "Why am I afraid of birthdays?" "Because," the mirror said, "there is something you have always wanted to do which you have been afraid of doing and you know time is running out." And she ran from the mirror as quickly as she could because she knew in that moment she was not afraid and she wanted to seize the time. Over time, she and her mirror became friends, and the mirror would weep for her in compassion when her fears were real. Finally, her reflection asked her, ''What do you still fear?" And the old woman answered, "I still fear death. I still fear change." And her mirror agreed. ''Yes, they are frightening. Death is a closed door," the mirror flourished, "and change is a door hanging open."

"Yes, but fear is a key," laughed the wicked old woman, "and we still have our fears." She smiled.


Ablation. Abrasion. Mountain of accumulation. Aeolian deposits. Afforestation. Testimonies. Over and over we examined what was said of us. Over and over we testify. The lies. The conspiracy of appearances. There are Fissures. There are cracks in the surface. We realize suddenly we are weeping. I heard a wail, she said, my voice. Alluvial Cone. Alluvial Fan. (Sediment, Sand, Silt.) Arroyo. Ash Cone. Attrition. Avalanche. We are shouting now. We believe nothing can stop us now. What is named will not he forgotten. We are carried along by these testimonies. (There is a roaring inside us.) We are frightened. We do not know where this will stop.

Backwash. Basalt. Basin. Bedrock. Blizzard. Butte. In the bath she sees suddenly that her legs are woman's legs. Her shoulders drop softly and infinitely. Her belly rounds into dark hair. She is moved to call herself beautiful, to see the abundance of her skin. I touch her breast. We see only each other. This beauty blinds us. We were longing for this. We are filled with longing.

Calving. (The iceberg detaches from the glacier.) Canyon. (Formed by the river cutting through arid walls.) Cave. Coral. Current. Cycle. With every attempt to merge we find ourselves free again. Every mystery turns and speaks to us. Searching for you, I fell into myself. We rediscover origin. We are moved.

Dam. Debacle. What we thought we wanted turns against us. The sound of weeping still ringing in our ears. Drift. Dune. Dust.

Earth. Epoch. Erosion. We can tell you our children were born helpless. We can tell you how we fed them and dressed them and how we watched. We can tell you of their infinite patience and of their screaming impatience, of their struggle to learn. How they discovered their feet. How they crawled on their knees. How every muscle stretched toward movement. How they listened. How they struggled toward speech.

Fold. Fossil. Glacier. Hoarfrost. Ice. Islet. Isthmus. We can say how we try to love and how the old scars prevent us. How we try to deny what has happened to us. How we rage that the old still claims us. Jet streams, Key, Lagoon, Lake, Lava, Magma, Metamorphosis, Meteor (shooting star). We can tell you how words spoken in rage accumulate around us. How we make our home in this language.

Monsoon Forest. Moraine. Nadir. Oasis. Plain. Planet. Suddenly we find we are no longer straining against all the old conclusions. We are no longer pleading for the right to speak: we have spoken; space has changed; we are living in a matrix of our own sounds; our words resonate, by our echoes we chart a new geography; we recognize this new landscape as our birthplace, where we invented names for ourselves; here language does not contradict what we know; by what we hear; we are moved again and again to speech.

Quartz, Quagmire, Radiation. Rain. River. Rock. We learn to say each other's names. We see the way we are together. We admit we will not go on forever. We admit death.

Sandstone. Schist. Shale. Love bursts in us. We do not try to hold on to this. We shudder. We shake. We separate.

Tide. Timber line. We know there is no retreating. Umbra (The shadow). Undertow (The returning wave). We acknowledge every consequence. Volcano (The magma forces its way to the surface). Weathering (Decay and disintegration). Wind. Wood. Year. Zenith. We say that we are part of what is shaped and we are part of what is shaping. We sleep and we remember our dreams. We awaken. We tell you we feel every moment; we tell you each detail affects us. We allow ourselves to be overwhelmed. We allow ourselves ecstasy, screaming, hysteria, laughter; weeping, rage, wonder; awe, softness, pain, we are crying out. (There is a roaring inside us, we whisper.) WE ROAR.



It is a period I remember vividly, not only because I was beginning to accomplish something at last, but also because of the delight I felt in being completely by myself. For those who love to be alone with nature I need add nothing ... no words of mine could convey even in part, the almost mystical awareness of beauty and eternity that accompany certain treasured moments.

JANE GOODALL, In the shadow of Man

She hunkers. She sits in a hunkering attitude. We learn the attitude of not hunting. The attitude of learning. The attitude of practice. After weeks walking on treacherous slopes she became sure-footed. The attitude of alert waiting. The attitude of having to go through, of not avoiding. We finally agree to make this passage. We force open our eyes. The attitude of disappointment. For a year she circled them. At every approach they vanished; they went fleeing. Despondency. We find what we were not looking for. We do not take this seriously. Later we reinterpret the gravity of these accidents. In what was impenetrable, we find a way. She learns the name of the fruit tree they feed from, to recognize it. Illness. Exhaustion. Backward movement. The attitude of recovery. We learn to beware of panic; to anxiety we sing softly, calming words, over and over. We have learned this from our infants, whose inarticulate cries demanded this knowledge of us. The attitude of singular discovery. The attitude of risk. When she was alone, she discovered the animals came closer. The attitude of eschewing protection. The attitude of disarming. Although we had learned to defend ourselves, when we chose we could make ourselves vulnerable. These moments are sacred, we acknowledge. She watched them make their nests. She saw him build an upright fork; bend small branches over the foundation; put leafy twigs at the rim. She saw her accumulate a mound of greenery before she curled up. Solitude. No words. The exquisite. (She wrote that the waters of the lake sighed.) The attitude of moving closer by slow inches by mutual consent. She came within sixty yards of them. She saw they were less afraid. She watched them gather food. She watched them passing the meat of a piglet back and forth. She watched one squat over a termite nest and push a long grass stem into the mound. The attitude of respect. The attitude of not yet knowing. The attitude of slow recognition. One with a deformed, bulbous nose. One with hairless shoulders. One with scars from his upper lip to his nose. The attitude of watching. The attitude of watching for eight days. The attitude of seeing the unexpected. She saw them bite the ends off a piece of vine, collect several stems, choose among them, make tools. In the heavy rain, she watched them leap from trees, tear off huge branches, charge without stopping, lightning shaking the sky. She saw this dance three times in ten years. The attitude of marvel. Awe. We stare in almost disbelief. We do not rush to speech. We allow ourselves to be moved. We do not attempt objectivity.

One from Another (The Knowledge)

We were considered very poor midwives if our women had any tears.

-- ANNA MAY, retired midwife, Frontier Nursing Service

We said we had experienced this ourselves. I felt so much for her then, she said, with her head cradled in my lap, she said, I knew what to do. We said we were moved to see her go through what we had gone through: We said this gave us some knowledge. She said in the hospital these things happen all the time. She said the woman was fully dilated. She said they had numbed her feelings. She said therefore the woman had no experience of the movements of her uterus and had no desire to push. That the doctor on duty was sleeping and refused to come to her aid. That she lay there for three hours until the shift changed. That though labor was induced then the baby was born bluish and died on the tenth day. She said that the doctor always wanted to maintain control. That he wanted this birth to go according to schedule. She said that he went up inside the cervix before she was fully dilated and that he clamped the cord and the fetal heartbeat stopped and that was why they had to perform a Caesarian. She said they had taken her baby away from her for twelve hours, for twenty hours, for four hours.

We said we had learned from being there. We said we learned from watching what had happened each time. We said we used few tools. That our hands had knowledge of this act. That our hands would allow this birth to happen in its own time. We said when we asked the doctors to explain these births, they themselves knew very little. We said we had witnessed the complexities of these processes, how perfectly attuned to each other were these events. We respected the laboring of her body, we said, and we learned what not to do, and where not to intrude, and these births amazed us with their ease.

She said that the hospital was filled with noise. That women were moved from bed to bed. From room to room. That the lights were too bright. The chrome too shiny. That the place reeked with antiseptic. She said in this atmosphere, what she had seen before, what she had felt before attending a birth, this ghostlike presence, was not there. But she said despite all this activity, the woman lay alone. She lay alone in labor. And no one looked into her eyes. No one responded to the questioning of her murmurs. We said our hands themselves responded. We said it was so clear to us where and how to touch her. We said that to hold back this caring would have been a violence to ourselves.

She said after their training in the hospitals they came to us with doctors' faces. She said it took weeks for them to drop this impersonality. We said that to be there for her, we said that to hear what her needs were, that to listen to her, we had to separate ourselves from the doctors. We had to deny their authority and place the authority in ourselves. We said it was not possible to hear both their voices and her voice. When she attended the birth, she said, she did all she could to make her calm. Waiting out her labor with her, she answered each of her questions, "Am I all right? Is the baby all right?"

We said each of us in our own way had to learn to trust each other. We said what we had learned in the hospitals was not to trust these women. When the transition from labor to birth came, she said, she applied hot compresses to her belly, if the stress was there, or to her lower back, when she felt it there. She said she rubbed coconut oil into her skin.

We said in the hospitals they made us wear leggings, they had wrapped our bodies, they had claimed our bodies might infect our newborn children. And the room was cold, we said. And the chrome frightened us. So we delivered ourselves, we said, into their hands. She said the room was kept heated for the comfort of the child when it was to be born. She said the laboring woman, warm with her efforts, removed her clothing. We said in the hospitals we would have liked to remove our clothing. We said when we chose to trust this woman to attend us, we ceased to believe our bodies would infect our infants. We said, as we trusted her more, we began to do what we had always wanted to do.

She said though the infant's head had been turned upward, at the last minute it rotated perfectly by itself and slipped out toward her hands. She said she held it gently, making the passage slow, so a sudden burst would not tear the birthing woman's body. We said we felt ourselves needing her presence, relying on the calmness of her voice. We said what we felt in our bodies no longer frightened us.

She said that first the head slipped out and then the body, that this was a girl, remarkably clean, the cord wrapped loosely around her neck, her arm over her chest. She said she felt the fundus then to see if the placenta was clear of the abdomen. She said then that she helped the mother put the baby to her breast. And that the uterus began to work again and delivered the placenta with one strong contraction, she said. And then, she said, she made two stitches along the scar of the old episiotomy. We said if there was tearing it was along the lines of the old wounds. We said we discovered we had trusted her wisely, that to yield to her was to yield to ourselves.
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:40 am

Part 3 of 3


One way to feel the holiness of something is to hear its inner resonance, the more-than-personal elements sounding -- vibrating through.

-- M. C. RICHARDs, The Crossing Point

This cathexis between mother and daughter -- essential, distorted, misused -- is the great unwritten story. Probably there is nothing in human nature more resonant with charges than the flow of energy between two biologically alike bodies, one of which has lain in amniotic bliss inside the other, one of which has labored to give birth to the other.

-- ADRIENNE RICH, of Woman Born

The string vibrates. The steel string vibrates. The skin. The calfskin. The steel drum. The tongue. The reed. The glottis. The vibrating ventricle. Heartbeat. Wood. The wood resonates. The curtain flaps in the wind. Water washes against sand. Leaves scrape the ground. We stand in the way of the wave. The wave surrounds us. Presses at our arms, our breasts. Enters our mouths, our ears. The eardrum vibrates. Malleus, incus, stapes vibrate. The wave catches us. We are part of the wave. The membrane of the oval window vibrates. The spiral membrane in the cochlea vibrates. We are set in motion by what moves outside our bodies. Each wave of a different speed causes a different place in the cochlea to play. We have become instruments. The hairs lining the cochlea move. We hear. To the speed of each wave the ear adds its own frequency. What is outside us becomes us. Each cell under each hair sends its own impulse. What we hear we call music. We believe in the existence of the violin. The steel string. The skin. Tongue. Reed. Wood. The curtain flapping in the wind. We take these sounds as testimony: violin, skin, tongue, reed exist. Our bodies know these testimonies as beauty.

Ma Ma. Da Da. La le la le. Mo Mon Po pon mah bowl
ma ba ba me mommy me seepy ba now bye bye now baby now
mommy now baby bankie bottle ca ca gah gr gr gr ma ma me my ma
ma sleepy baby me sleep night night me baby mommy go bye bye say
bye bye me


When she hears this cry she remembers smallness. Smallness rises up in her. Translucence of skin rises up in her. Her mother rises up in her. The taste of salt rises up in her. The taste of sweetness rises up in her. She thinks of the fragility of the inner ear. She thinks of death. She pokes her finger delicately, carefully, into the corpse of her own aged body, into the future. She thinks of the odor of feces. of decaying leaves, the cast-off shell of the crab, of the red membrane, of the red bottom. The pulse in the skull. The moisture running off the back. The child's whole body. Smallness. Fitting against her forearm. Hand the size of her finger joint. She thinks of the redness inside, the wetness inside. She lifts the child's wet body to her. Under the child's weight and heat, her own body is moist. On the top of her skull, she thinks, was a membrane. With her two hands she makes an opening in the body of her mind to reveal what is vulnerable in her. The sound of her blood resonates. The sound of air enlarges her. Presses against her womb, presses against her vulva. She is small. She is infinitesimal. She is a small speck in darkness. In wet darkness. The darkness undulates. The darkness is hot against her. The darkness is growing, pressing into her. She is the darkness. She is heat. She grows. She presses the child's face to her face. Smallness -- she closes her eyes in the softness -- rises up in her. The child's fingers enter her mouth. The child's eyes stare into her eyes. This child vibrates through her. She knows this child.

The group velocity of waves. The period between one wave and another. Waves of waves. We turned back to our mothers. We listened for the stories of their lives. We heard old stories retold. The pitch. The volume. The timbre. We heard again the story of the clean house, we heard again the story of the kitchen, the story of mending, the story of the soiled clothes. The bell ringing. The confluence of pitches in the ringing of the bell. The overtones of the cries of birthing, the story of waking at night, the story of the shut door; the story of her voice raging, we heard again the stories of bitches. Resonance, the fork of the same pitch humming in sympathy, the sympathetic wave.

We tried to recover them as girls. We sought them as daughters. We asked to be led into recesses, we wanted to revive what was buried, we sought our own girlhoods we had feared lost. The regular impulses, the steady pitch of the note. The octave. Harmony. We heard the story for the first time that her mother's mother had brought her mother to a doctor; and we heard what the doctor had said to her mother; that this pain would teach her a lesson, we heard that before this her mother's mother had gone off by herself, had given a stillbirth, we heard the words out of wedlock we understood Sound only a milder form of the shock waves made by explosions, by blasts. why these stories had been kept from us Sound one of the ways we know how many stories in which concentrated energy are in this silence diffuses itself about the world.

We say we have lost some of our mothers forever to this silence. We say we have found hatred in the mother for the daughter and in the daughter for the mother. We say of our mothers that parts of them are lost to us, that our mothers come back to us dismembered, that in the effort Waves to recover them from the friction on the bow of the string vibrating we stand in danger in the maple bridge, vibrating down the sound post of losing ourselves in the chamber of the body or parts of ourselves through the cells of the surrounding plane wood in this whirlpool shaped by the shape of the body in the inherent lie of silence outward into the air that such stillness is not stillness to reverberate to the shapes of walls that this stillness is treachery to resonate in the surrounding trees that even as we find our daughters return to us The waves we recite again their names the waves in the atom saying that we cannot be complacent the atom vibrates nor stand still, that we must name every movement that the smallest particle of matter is a vibration that we must let our voices live within us that matter is a wave, that we survive by hearing.

Our Labor

The news seems vague and far off, not as if it were really happening. It sits on us like an ache. We are trying to ignore it lest the pain become unbearable. September 5, 1937

-- Hundreds and Thousands, the journals of Emily Carr

All around us, each way we look, we see only whiteness. And the sky itself is heavy with snow which keeps dropping silently, whiteness upon whiteness. The only sounds are the sounds of our voices, muffled and small. Yet we speak rarely. Our minds have become as plain as the landscape around us. And the rhythms of our bodies, moving steadily through these drifts, have become slow. Hour after hour things appear to be the same. Yet the drifts grow deeper. This landscape seems to be frozen still, and we cease to believe that under this ice there were ever leaves, ever a soil, that water ever ran, or that trees grow here still. No evidence of these beings can reach us. And our memories of this place are sealed from us by this winter; none of the sharp edges of existence reach us, the odors of this place, its taste, blunted. And even the snow itself becomes unreal. Our skin which at first was stung by the cold has now become so cold itself that it does not recognize coldness. Our feet and our hands which burned with pain are numb. Our vision seems half blinded by the relentless light from the snow. And we have come to believe there is nothing to taste; nothing to smell. We are certain that all that is around us and in us is absolute stillness. This has always been, we tell ourselves. Yet something in us is changing: our hearts beat slower and slower. And we who were so eager to go on think we want to rest here in this place. That it is best not to continue. Our bodies grow very heavy. Our eyes are almost closed. We would let ourselves sink into this snow. We would sleep. To end this struggle is mercy, we think. We marvel at how pain has left our bodies. We feel nothing. We dream that this is not really happening. And kindness we say is quietness. We would sleep. But some voice in us labors to wake, cries out so that we are startled, and we work to open our eyes. Our hands reach out into the snow and we wash this ice over our faces. As we awaken, our skin stings again. And as we push our bodies toward movement, we ache, and we feel pain again in our hands and our feet. We shiver. We are on the verge of crying that these chills are unbearable. But we do not sleep. We see clearly where we are now, and we know that it is winter. And suddenly, through this shocking cold, we remember the beauty of the forest lying under this whiteness. And that we will survive this snow if we are aware, if we continue. And now we are shouting with all our strength to the other sleepers, now we are laboring in earnest, to waken them.


I want nothing left of me for you, ho death
except some fertilizer
for the next batch of us
who do not hold hands with you
who do not embrace you
who try not to work for you
or sacrifice themselves or trust
or believe you, ho ignorant
death, how do you know
we happened to you?

-- JUDY GRAHN, A Woman Is Talking to Death


Her Body Awakens

... this we were, this is how we tried to love
and these are the forces they had ranged against us,
and these are the forces we had ranged within us,
within us and against us, against us and within us.

-- ADRIENNE RICH, Twenty-one Love Poems

Let go that which aches within you. She tells her. That which is stone within you. Which was once green in you. That has become hard within you, let go the years within you, she tells her. Her body. Her body holds. Her body has seized what had to be seized, what had to be learned, her body is a fortress, her body is an old warrior, how she has fought becomes clear, how she has known when to hold back becomes clear, how she has learned to grin becomes clear, how she has stayed on her feet becomes clear, how she has learned to keep secrets, learned to keep going, to preserve what was possible, learned every code, lived underground, lived on the barest means possible, her body, how she has hidden suffering, how she has worn, how she has kept going, how she was proud of her strength, of her indestructibleness, how she would keep going into battle, how she has worn muteness, how she kept on despite all odds, how she refused to admit defeat, how she wore muteness like a shield, how she denied sorrow, her body living its secret life, her body sheltering wounds, her body sequestering scars, her body a body of rage, her body a furnace, an incandescence, her body the exquisite fire, her body refusing, her body endlessly perceiving, her body growing huge, her body large and swollen, her body enormous and sagging, her body soft and flaccid, her body endlessly perceiving the absence, her body refusing to submit, her body continuing, her body consuming, her body sweating, her body rising and falling, her body beating, beating, flowing, throbbing, her body endlessly perceiving, endlessly perceiving the absence, her body refusing, her body refusing to submit, refusing, her body, her body, her body endlessly perceiving, endlessly perceiving, her body endlessly perceiving the absence, the absence of tenderness, her body refusing, her body refusing to submit, her body refusing to submit, to submit to lies, let go that which aches within you, she tells her, let go the years within you, she says.

The Anatomy Lesson (Her Skin)

It is only real feelings that possess this power of transferring themselves into inert matter.

-- SIMONE WEIL, First and Last Notebooks

From the body of the old woman we can tell you something of the life she lived. We know that she spent much of her life on her knees. (Fluid in the bursa in front of her kneecap.) We say she must have often been fatigued, that her hands were often in water. (Traces of calcium, traces of unspoken anger, swelling in the middle joints of her fingers.) We see white ridges, scars from old injuries; we see redness in her skin. (That her hands were often in water; that there must have been pain.) We can tell you she bore several children. We see the white marks on her belly, the looseness of the skin, the wideness of her hips, that her womb has dropped. (Stretching in the tissue behind the womb.) We can see that she fed her children, that her breasts are long and flat, that there are white marks at the edges, a darker color of the nipple. We know that she carried weights too heavy for her back. (Curvature of the spine. Aching.) From the look of certain muscles in her back, her legs, we can tell you something of her childhood, of what she did not do. (of the running, of the climbing, of the kicking, of the movements she did not make.) And from her lungs we can tell you what she held back, that she was forbidden to shout, that she learned to breathe shallowly. We can say that we think she must have held her breath. From the size of the holes in her ears, we know they were put there in her childhood. That she wore earrings most of her life. From the pallor of her skin, we can say that her face was often covered. From her feet, that her shoes were small (toes bent back on themselves), that she was often on her feet (swelling, ligaments of the arch broken down). We can guess that she rarely sat through a meal. (Tissue of the colon inflamed.) We can catalogue her being: tissue, fiber, bloodstream, cell, the shape of her experience to the least moment, skin, hair, try to see what she saw, to imagine what she felt, clitoris, vulva, womb, and we can tell you that despite each injury she survived. That she lived to an old age. (On all the parts of her body we see the years.) By the body of this old woman we are hushed. We are awed. We know that it was in her body that we began. And now we say that it is from her body that we learn. That we see our past. We say from the body of the old woman, we can tell you something of the lives we lived.

History (Her Hair)

We begin to see that so far from being inscrutable problems, requiring another life to explain, these sorrows and perplexities of our lives are but the natural results of natural causes, and that, as soon as we ascertain the causes, we can do much to remove them.

-- CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN, Women and Economics

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

-- Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, Seneca Falls, 1848

Fine light hairs down our backbones. Soft hair over our forearms. Our upper lips. Each hair a precise fact. (He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to franchise. He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no choice.) Hair tickling our legs. The fact of hair against skin. The hand stroking the hair, the skin. Each hair. Each cell. (He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.) Our hair lying against our cheeks. The assemblage of facts in a tangle of hair. (He has taken from her all right to property, even to the wages she earns. He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education, all colleges being closed against her.) Hair rounding our vulvas. How continual are the signs of growth. How from every complexity single strands can be named. (He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women.) Hair curling from under our arms. How tangles are combed out and the mysterious laid bare. (He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself ...) Hair which surprises us. Each hair traces its existence in feeling. (... claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and to her God.) Which betrays our secrets. The mysterious becomes the commonplace. Each hair in the profusion has its own root. (He has endeavored in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers ...) Hairs grow all over our bodies. Profusion is cherished. Profusion is unraveled. Each moment acquires identity. Each fact traces its existence in feeling. (... to lessen her self-respect ...) We are covered with hair. The past is cherished. (... and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.) We stroke our bodies; we remark to each other how we have always loved the softness of hair.

Memory (The Breasts)

Because of my mother, who gave me definitions, I knew what I was committed to in life.... Mother, small, delicate boned, witty and articulate, turned out to be exactly my age. Owing to continuous bad health, she had barely any education. and so her spirit remained fervent and pure. She alone, with her modest but untroubled intuitions about books and painting, music and people, had been my education.

-- KAY BOYLE, Being Geniuses Together

Mrs. Willard did not return until I had been at the seminary some time. I remember her arrival and the joy with which she was greeted by teachers and pupils.... She was a splendid-looking woman, then in her prime, and fully realized my idea of a queen.... She gave free scholarships to a large number of girls ... with a proviso that ... they should in turn educate others.

-- ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, Eighty Years and More

They remember that she gave. What she made. What she did. What we were to each other. What she taught me. What I learned at her breast. That she made things. That she made words. That she fed me. Suckled me. Clothed me. Cradled me. Washed me. We remember her labor. She told us how she almost died. How she was weary. How her skin ached. What soreness she felt. What her mother's name was. How her mother made things. What her mother told her. How she was pushed away. How she was hated. How her milk was sour. What she wore at her wedding. Where she had dreamed of going. What our first words were. How she had quarreled with her sister. How they fought over a doll. How the other was prettier. How she pushed me away. How she hated me. How her milk was sour. How we hated her. Her body. We remember our fear of becoming her. What we were to each other. What we learned. What was said behind backs. Who had done what. What was revealed in dressing rooms. How we saw each other naked. How there were some we trusted. How we showed our bodies to each other, how we held up our breasts to be seen, how we laid our heads, what we learned, what we knew, we remember; everything she said to us, when we must be careful, where we might go, what we might do, what we must not say, how we saw what she did, how we carried in our hearts, how we remembered there was one, how we repeated to each other the name of the one who made her own way, who was alone, how we were in awe, how we marveled, how we paraded before the glass in her dressing gown, what we were to each other, how she told us what we suspected might be true, how she said she refused to be subjected, how she said all our efforts were marvelous. How I realized I could not have gone on without her. How I was amazed by her knowledge. That she knew what was in me. How her sorrow shot through me. How I found myself weeping for her. How she told me her story, held her hands one on top of the other, her palms facing up, her fingers open, how her story, how I remembered that she held me, my face on her shoulder, how she told me what she remembered of how she was hated. How I was moved to. What we were for each other. How we remembered. How her memory brought me my memory. How I knew what she knew, how her breasts felt then, her body, how we were flooded with memory. How we loved in these moments: how telling these stories brought us here.

Archives (Her Vulva)

... We know that relying solely on argument we wandered for forty years politically in the wilderness. We know that arguments are not enough ... and that political force is necessary.

-- CHRISTABEL PANKHURST, speech delivered at Albert Hall, March 18, 1908

Who were those for whom we fought? I seemed to hear them in my cell, the defenseless ones who had no one to speak for their hungry need. The sweated workers, the mothers widowed with little children, the women on the streets, and I saw that their backs were bent, their eyes grown sorrowful, their hearts dead without hope. And they were not a few, but thousands upon thousands.

-- LADY CONSTANCE LYTTON, on her conviction for "disorderly behavior with intent to disturb the peace," 1909

We were never told of the existence of this movement. The existence of this movement was denied to us. We believed we were the first to want to act. We thought we were the first to refuse to submit. I remained there until the Wednesday evening, still being fed by force. I was then taken back to the same hospital cell, and remained there until Saturday, October 2, noon, feeding being continued in the same way. On Saturday, October 2, about dinnertime, I determined on stronger measures by barricading my cell. I piled my bed, table and chair by jamming them together against the door. They had to bring some men warders to get in with iron staves. I kept them at bay about three hours. The denial of this movement was not called a lie. The denial of this movement was never spoken. No one ever spoke of this movement as existing or not existing. I walked quietly onto the stage, took the placard out of the chair and sat down. A great cry went up from the women as they sprang from their seats and stretched their hands toward me. It was some time before I could see them for my tears, or speak to them for the emotion that shook me like a storm. We are told that we are unique in history. That our history has been a history of passivity. We are to be blamed for our passivity, they say, we are our own oppressors. For our sufferings, they blame our passivity. The women were treated with the greatest brutality. They were pushed about in all directions and thrown down by the police. Their arms were twisted until they were almost broken. Their thumbs were forcibly bent back and they were tortured in other nameless ways that make one feel sick at the sight. We say we have discovered action in ourselves. We say we are determined, even if we are the first. We have been prepared to sacrifice our safety of life and limb. We have been prepared to do these things because we believe in our cause. We say this not to boast of it, but to claim that we have the same spirit that the reformers of all ages have had to show before they could win success. But we say we do not believe we were the first. We say this is not possible. We discover the old papers. We read the old accounts. These have been hidden from us, we see, for a reason. I wrote on the wall:

To defend the oppressed
To fight for the defenseless
Not counting the cost.

Letters (Her Clitoris)

How do you do this year? I remember you as fires begin, and evenings open at Austin's, without the maid in black. Katie, without the Maid in black. Those were unnatural evenings -- Bliss is unnatural -- How many years, I wonder, will sow the moss upon them, before we bind again, a little altered it may be, elder a little it will be, and yet the same as suns, which shine, between our lives and loss, and violets, not last years, but having the Mother's eyes --

-- EMILY DICKINSON, letter to Catherine Scott Turner, 1859

Sarah Butler Wister first met Jeannie Field Musgrove while vacationing with her family at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in the summer of 1849. Jeannie was then sixteen, Sarah, fourteen. During two subsequent years spent together in boarding school, they formed a deep and intimate friendship ... their affection remained unabated throughout their lives, underscored by their loneliness and their desire to be together.

-- CARROLL SMITH-ROSENBERG, "The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations Between Women in Nineteenth Century America"

It was said of us that we had nothing of value to say. (Nothing has happened but loneliness perhaps too daily to relate, she wrote.) That our lives were filled with gossip and trivia. (Are you in danger, she wrote, I did not know that you were hurt. Will you tell me more?) That it was difficult to imagine what we might say to each other. (Every day life feels mightier, she wrote, and what we have the power to be, more stupendous.) That left to our own devices we lack passion. (She came to see us in May. I remember her frock, and how prettily she fixed her hair, and she and Vinnie took long walks and got home to tea at sundown.) That we needed moreover to be protected from the harshness of life. (And now remembering is all there is, and no more Myra. I wish 'twas plainer, Lon, the anguish in this world. I wish one could be sure the suffering had a loving side.) It was said of us that we were narrow and could not see past our own small lives. (O Matchless Earth -- we underrate the chance to dwell in thee, she wrote.) And that thus our capacity for love was dwarfed, as our minds were smaller. (She wrote, Each of us gives or takes in corporeal person for each of us has the skill of life. I am pleased by your sweet acquaintance.) They remarked on our prudery and our fear of sex. (If the day should come when you failed me either through your fault or my own, she wrote her, I would foreswear all human friendship, thenceforth.) They recorded that our vulvas would not permit entry. (Gratitude is a word I should never use toward you, she wrote to her. It is perhaps a misfortune of such intimacy and love that it makes one regard all kindness as a matter of course, as one has always found it, as natural in the embrace of meeting.) They say that reticence toward love of the body was natural in us. That modesty was natural in us. (Dear darling Sarah! she wrote, How I love and happy I have been! You are the joy of my life.... I cannot tell you how much happiness you gave me.... My darling how I long for the time when I shall see you....) We asked them how they could be certain (I want you to tell me in your next letter ... that I am your dearest) that they knew (I will go to bed ... I could write all night -- a thousand kisses -- I love you with my whole soul) what was possible in us. (my separation from you, grievous to be borne ... Oh, Jeannie. I have thought and thought and yearned over you these two days. Are you married I wonder? My dearest love to wherever and whoever you are.) What we could be.

Records (Her Womb)

From the evidence adduced on trial, it appeared that Miss Ashe went to the establishment of Howard ... about the middle of January 1858, for the purpose of having abortion procured, supposing herself pregnant, by a young farmer, by whom she had been employed during the previous summer; that a bargain was struck between the reputed father of the child and Howard, by which he was to perform the desired service for the sum of $100.

-- Report of a trial for criminal abortion, C. P. Frost, M.D., of St. Johnsbury, Vermont

The "immorality" of women, favorite theme of misogynists, is not to be wondered at; how could they fail to feel an inner mistrust of the presumptuous principles that men publicly proclaim and secretly disregard? They learn to believe no longer in what men say when they exalt woman or exalt man: the one thing they are sure of is this rifled and bleeding womb, these shreds of crimson life, this child that is not there. It is at her first abortion that woman begins to know."


Her sister swore that she witnessed every operation. She testified that the doctor operated three times with instruments. (She could not describe the instruments minutely. She did not know how many there were.) She said water discharged from her sister's body (for two or three hours, she said). She said on the next day, he operated again. (She said he used two or three instruments.) She said her sister did not cry out, but gave other evidence, she said, of considerable pain. There was now a discharge of blood, she said. On the night of the same day, Saturday, she reported, he operated again. After this, her sister did not sit up, she said. He used instruments again, she said, and also his hand. This time a child was delivered about two-thirds grown, she said. She said her sister continued to bleed for a few days. That she lived from that Saturday to the next Friday evening, that the last two or three days of her life she was delirious and picked at her clothes. It is said from the body of the dead woman no proof of innocence or guilt can be issued. We go back. We ask what happened then. We find no mention. No reference. No books. Books out of print. Lost, destroyed. Pages torn away. Days missing. We find documents. She finds letters. Diaries. Stories are repeated. We discover she was operated on four times before she died, we discover a hairpin was removed from her bladder, we read they took salts of lead, copper, zinc and mercury, we read they let themselves fall down staircases, we read she injected vinegar into the bladder, we read her womb was perforated by a knitting needle, by a probe, we read hemorrhage, we read inflammation, we read that she drank a solution of soap and then ran for a quarter of an hour, we read she remained for four days in her room bathed in her own blood with no food and no water we read that the doctors would do nothing for her pain we read that she gave birth alone that the infant was found dead beside her nearly dead body that she was sentenced to death, we read pain, we read illness. We can tell you something of what they went through, we say. Standing in the pharmacy, she was afraid they would know she was hemorrhaging. From the records, we say, we can guess what she felt. So that her screaming would not give her away, she began to sing. From the records She spent the night on the floor rocking in agony, biting her teeth into the flesh of her palm so she would not awaken them we can tell you what we know. The past is a hard stone within us. On this subject we have become unmovable, implacable. There is no way of convincing us otherwise, we say, and what is stone becomes wood that ages and resonates: we know what we know.


Now we will let the blood of our mother sink into this earth. This is what we will do with our grieving. We will cover her wounds with mud. We will tear leaves and branches from the trees and together pile them over her body. The sky will no longer see her fallen thus. We will pull grass up by the roots. We will cover her. Thus, as we do this, we know her body will melt away. And only her bones will remain. But these we will take. Still feeling her absence, we will cradle her tusks in our trunks, and carry them to another ground. And thus will this soil be absolved of her death, and the place of her dying be innocent again, and thus her bones will no longer be chaffed by the violence done there. But though all traces of her vanish, we will not forget. In our lifetimes we will not be able to forget. Her wounds will fester in us. We will not be the same. The scent of her killer is known to us now. We cannot turn our backs at the wrong moment. We must know when to trumpet and charge, when to recede into denser forest, when to turn and track the hunter. We feel the necessity of these acts in us. We will pass this feeling to our young, to those who follow in our footsteps, who walk under our bodies, who feel safe in our presence, who did we not warn them, did we not teach them this scent, might approach this enemy with curiosity. Who imitate our movements and rely on our knowledge; we will not allow them to approach their enemies easily. They will learn fear. And when we attack in their defense, they will watch and learn this too. From us, they will become fierce. And so a death like this death of our mother will not come easily to them. This is what we will do with our grieving. They will know whom to beware and whom to fear. And this hatred that began to grow in us when we saw her body fall will become their hatred and no man will approach them safely. No man will come near them and live. We will not forget and this memory will protect them. What they have learned from us, all that we have taught them so that they can survive, how to suck up water into their trunks, how to pull down leaves from trees, how to lift with their tusks, and dig holes by the river with their feet, all this they will pass on, and generation after generation will remember the scent of this enemy. This is how long our grieving will last. And only if the young of our young or the young of their young never know this odor in their lifetime, only if no hunter approaches them as long as they live, and no one with this scent attempts to capture them, or use them to his purpose, only then will the memory of this death pass from our hide. Only then will those with the scent of her killer be absolved, as the soil is absolved, of her blood. Only then, when no trace is left of this memory in us, will we see what we can be without this fear, without this enemy, what we are.


One should identify oneself with the universe itself. Everything that is less than the universe is subjected to suffering ...

-- SIMONE WElL, Notebooks

As I go into her, she pierces my heart. As I penetrate further, she unveils me. When I have reached her center, I am weeping openly. I have known her all my life, yet she reveals stories to me, and these stories are revelations and I am transformed. Each time I go to her I am born like this. Her renewal washes over me endlessly, her wounds caress me; I become aware of all that has come between us, of the noise between us, the blindness, of something sleeping between us. Now my body reaches out to her. They speak effortlessly, and I learn at no instant does she fail me in her presence. She is as delicate as I am; I know her sentience; I feel her pain and my own pain comes into me, and my own pain grows large and I grasp this pain with my hands, and I open my mouth to this pain, I taste, I know, and I know why she goes on, under great weight, with this great thirst, in drought, in starvation, with intelligence in every act does she survive disaster. This earth is my sister; I love her daily grace, her silent daring, and how loved I am how we admire this strength in each other, all that we have lost, all that we have suffered, all that we know: we are stunned by this beauty, and I do not forget: what she is to me, what I am to her.


The poor little working-girl who had found strength to gather up the fragments of her life and build herself a shelter with them seemed to Lily to have reached the central truth of existence.

-- EDITH WHARTON, The House of Mirth

The bank was dense with magnolia and loblolly bay, sweet gum and gray-barked ash.... He went down to the spring in the cool darkness of the shadows. A sharp pleasure came over him. This was a secret, lovely place.


The way we stand, you can see we have grown up this way together, out of the same soil, with the same rains, leaning in the same way toward the sun. See how we lean together in the same direction. How the dead limbs of one of us rest in the branches of another. How those branches have grown around the limbs. How the two are inseparable. And if you look you can see the different ways we have taken this place into us. Magnolia, loblolly bay, sweet gum, Southern bayberry, Pacific bayberry; wherever we grow there are many of us; Monterey pine, sugar pine, white-bark pine, four-leaf pine, single-leaf pine, bristlecone pine, foxtail pine, Torrey pine, Western red pine, Jeffry pine, bishop pine. And we are various, and amazing in our variety, and our differences multiply, so that edge after edge of the endlessness of possibility is exposed. You know we have grown this way for years. And to no purpose you can understand. Yet what you fail to know we know, and the knowing is in us, how we have grown this way, why these years were not one of them heedless, why we are shaped the way we are, not all straight to your purpose, but to ours. And how we are each purpose, how each cell, how light and soil are in us, how we are in the soil, how we are in the air, how we are both infinitesimal and great and how we are infinitely without any purpose you can see, in the way we stand, each alone, yet none of us separable, none of us beautiful when separate but all exquisite as we stand, each moment heeded in this cycle, no detail unlovely.


Ask who keeps the wind
Ask what is sacred

-- MARGARET ATWOOD, "Circe Poems"

Yes, they say our fate is with the wind. The wind? Yes, they say when the wind blows this way one thing will happen, and when it blows the other way, something else will be. Something else will be? Yes, these are the questions. Does the wind blow for us? This is what we must ask. Are we ready for this wind? Do we know what this wind will bring us? Will we take what the wind gives, or even know what is given when we see it? Will we see? Will we let the wind blow all the way through us? Will the wind know us? These are the questions to ask. Will we let the wind sing to us? Do our whole bodies listen? When the wind calls, will we go? Will this wind come inside us? Take from us? Can we give to the wind what is asked of us? Will we let go? Are we afraid of this wind? Will we go where we are afraid to go? Will the wind ask us? This is the question. Are we close to the wind? Will the wind ask much of us, and will we be able to hear the wind singing and will we answer? Can we sing back, this we ask, can we sing back, and not only sing, but in clear voices? Will this be, we ask, and will we keep on answering, keep on with our whole bodies? And do we know why we sing? Yes. Will we know why? Yes.


Because we know ourselves to be made from this earth. See this grass. The patches of silver and brown. Worn by the wind. The grass reflecting all that lives in the soil. The light. The grass needing the soil. With roots deep in the earth. And patches of silver. Like the patches of silver in our hair. Worn by time. This bird flying low over the grass. Over the tules. The cattails, sedges, rushes, reeds, over the marsh. Because we know ourselves to be made from this earth. Temporary as this grass. Wet as this mud. Our cells filled with water. Like the mud of this swamp. Heather growing here because of the damp. Sphagnum mass floating on the surface, on the water standing in these pools. Places where the river washes out. Where the earth was shaped by the flow of lava. Or by the slow movements of glaciers. Because we know ourselves to be made from this earth, and shaped like the earth, by what has gone before. The lives of our mothers. What she told me was her life. And what I saw in her hands. The calcium in the joints, the aching as she hemmed my dress. These clothes she made for me. The pools overgrown by grass, reed, sedge, the marsh over time, becoming dry, over centuries, plankton disappearing, crustaceans gone, clams, worms. sponges, what we see now floating in these pools, fish, birds flying close to the waters. This bird with the scarlet shoulders. This bird with the yellow throat. And the beautiful song. The song like flutes. Like violoncellos in an orchestra. The orchestra in our mind. The symphony which we imagine. The music which was our idea. What we wanted to be. The lives of our grandmothers. What we imagined them to be. She told me what she had wanted to be. What she had wanted to do. That she wanted to act on the stage. To write. She showed me the stories she wrote before she was married. Before I was born. Why we were born when we were, as we were, we imagined. We imagined what she imagined then, what lay under the surface, this still water, the water not running over rocks, lacking air, the bacteria, fungi, dwelling at the bottom, without light, no green bodies, freeing no air, the scent of marsh gas, this bog we might lose ourselves in, sink in, the treachery here, our voices calling for help and no one listening, the silence, we made from this earth, returning to earth, the mud covering us, we giving ourselves up to this place, the fungi, bacteria, fish, everything struggling for air in this place, beetles capturing air bubbles on the surface of the pond, mosquitoes reaching with tubes to the surface of the water, fish with gills on the outsides of their bodies, fish gulping air at the surface, air captured in small hairs on the bodies of insects, stored in spaces in the stems of plants, in pockets in the tissue of leaves, everything in this place struggling for light, stems and leaves with thin skins, leaves divided into greater surfaces, numerous pores, tall plants in shallow water, open to the light; a jungle of growth in the shallow water at the edge, interwoven stems, matted leaves, places for wrens to hide, for rails, bitterns, for red-winged blackbirds to protect their nests. Fish hiding in plants underwater, insects' and snails' eggs, pupa cases, larvae and nymphs and crayfish. Sunlight pouring into plants, ingested into the bodies of fish, into the red-winged blackbird, into the bacteria, into the fungi, into the earth itself, because we know ourselves to be made of this earth, because we know sunlight moves through us, water moves through us, everything moves, everything changes, and the daughters are returned to their mothers. She always comes back. Back from the darkness. And the earth grows green again. So we were moved to feel these things. The body of the animal buried in the ground rotting feeds the seed. The sheaf of grain held up to us silently. Her dreams, I know, she said, live on in my body as I write these words. This proof. This testimony. This shape of possibility. What we dreamed to be. What we labored for. What we had burned desiring. What always returns. What she is to me. What she is to me, we said, and do not turn your head away, we told them, those who had tried to name us, those who had tried to keep us apart, do not turn your head away when we tell you this, we said, how she was smaller than I then, we try to tell you, what tenderness I then felt for her, we said, as if she were my daughter, as if some part of myself I had thought lost forever were returned to me, we said, and then held her fiercely, and we then made you listen, you turning your head away, you who tried to make us be still, you dividing yourself from this night we were turning through, but we made you listen, we said, do not pretend you do not hear what we say to each other, we say, when she was returned to me and I to her that I became small to her, that my face became soft against her flesh, that through that night she held me, as if part of herself had returned, like mother to daughter because we know we are made of this earth, and we know these meanings reach you, we said, the least comment of the stare, we said, the barely perceptible moment of despair, I told her, the eloquence of arms, those threaded daily causes, the fundaments of sound, cradling the infant's head, these cries, the crying I heard in her body, the years we had known together, I know these meanings reach you, we said, and the stars and their light we hold in our hands, this light telling the birds where they are, the same light which guides these birds to this place, and the light through which we imagine ourselves in the bodies of these birds, flying with them, low over the grass, weaving our nests like hammocks from blade to blade, from reed to reed. We standing at the edge of the marsh. Not daring to move closer. Keeping our distance. Watching these birds through the glass. Careful not to frighten them off. As they arrive. First the males, jet black, with a flash of red at their shoulders, a startling red which darts out of their blackness as they spread their wings. First the males and then the females flying together in the winter, now joining the males. The females with yellow throats, their wings brown and black, and light around their eyes. Now all of them calling. Calling or singing. Liquid and pleasant. Like the violoncello. We imagine like the violoncello, the cello we have made in our minds, the violin we have imagined, as we have imagined the prison, as we have made up boundaries, or decided what the fate of these birds should be, as we have invented poison, as we have invented the cage, now we stand at the edge of this marsh and do not go closer, allow them their distance, penetrate them only with our minds, only with our hearts, because though we can advance upon the blackbird, though we may cage her, though we may torture her with our will, with the boundaries we imagine, this bird will never be ours, he may die, this minute heart stop beating, the body go cold and hard, we may tear the wings apart and cut open the body and remove what we want to se, but still this blackbird will not be ours and we will have nothing. And even if we keep her alive. Train her to stay indoors. Clip her wings. Train her to sit on our fingers. Though we feed her, and give her water, still this is not the blackbird we have captured, for the blackbird, which flies now over our heads, whose song reminds us of a flute, who migrates with the stars, who lives among reeds and rushes, threading a nest like a hammock, who lives in flocks, chattering in the grasses, this creature is free of our hands, we cannot control her, and for the creature we have tamed, the creature we keep in our house, we must make a new word. For we did not invent the blackbird, we say, we only invented her name. And we never invented ourselves, we admit. And my grandmother's body is now part of the soil, she said. Only now, we name ourselves. Only now, as we think of ourselves as passing, do we utter the syllables. Do we list all that we are? That we know in ourselves? We know ourselves to be made from this earth. We know this earth is made from our bodies. For we see ourselves. And we are nature. We are nature seeing nature. We are nature with a concept of nature. Nature weeping. Nature speaking of nature to nature. The red-winged blackbird flies in us, in our inner sight. We see the arc of her flight. We measure the ellipse. We predict its climax. We are amazed. We are moved. We fly. We watch her wings negotiate the wind, the substance of the air, its elements and the elements of those elements, and count those elements found in other beings, the sea urchin's sting, ink, this paper, our bones, the flesh of our tongues with which we make the sound "blackbird," the ears with which we hear, the eye which travels the arc of her flight. And yet the blackbird does not fly in us but is somewhere else free of our minds, and now even free of our sight, flying in the path of her own will, she wrote, the ink from her pen flowing on this paper, her words, she thought, having nothing to do with this bird, except, she thought, as she breathes in the air this bird flies through, except, she thought, as the grass needs the body of the bird to pass its seeds, as the earth needs the grass, as we are made from this earth, she said, and the sunlight in the grass enters the body of the bird, enters us, she wrote on this paper, and the sunlight is pouring into my eyes from your eyes. Your eyes. Your eyes. The sun is in your eyes. I have made you smile. Your lips part. The sunlight in your mouth. Have I made the sun come into your mouth? I put my mouth on yours. To cover that light. To breathe it in. My tongue inside your mouth, your lips on my tongue, my body filled with light, filled with light, with light, shuddering, you make me shudder, you make the movement of the earth come into me, you fill me, you fill me with sound, is that my voice crying out? The sunlight in you is making my breath sing, sing your name, your name to you, beautiful one, I could kiss your bones, put my teeth in you, white gleam, whiteness, I chew, beautiful one, I am in you, I am filled with light inside you, I have no boundary, the light has extinguished my skin, I am perished in light, light filling you, shining through you, carrying you out, through the roofs of our mouths, the sky, the clouds, bursting, raining, raining free, falling piece by piece, dispersed over this earth, into the soil, deep, deeper into you, into the least hair on the deepest root in this earth, into the green heart flowing, into the green leaves and they grow, they grow into a profusion, moss, fern, and they bloom, cosmos, and they bloom, cyclamen, in your ears, in your ears, calling their names, this sound from my throat echoing, my breath in your ears, your eyes, your eyes continuing to see, continuing, your eyes telling, telling the light, the light. And she wrote, when I let this bird fly to her own purpose, when this bird flies in the path of his own will, the light from this bird enters my body, and when I see the beautiful arc of her flight, I love this bird, when I see, the arc of her flight, I fly with her, enter her with my mind, leave myself, die for an instant, live in the body of this bird whom I cannot live without, as part of the body of the bird will enter my daughter's body, because I know I am made from this earth, as my mother's hands were made from this earth, as her dreams came from this earth and all that I know, I know in this earth, the body of the bird, this pen, this paper, these hands, this tongue speaking, all that I know speaks to me through this earth and I long to tell you, you who are earth too, and listen as we speak to each other of what we know: the light is in us.
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Part 1 of 2


In these notes, the following symbols are used for the following texts.

AM: The Architecture of Matter; by Stephen Toulmin and June Goodfield.
CD: Civilization and Its Discontents, by Sigmund Freud.
DC: Darwin's Century, by Loren Eiseley.
DPT: The Development of Physical Theory In the Middle Ages, by James A. Weisheipl.
DS: The Dangerous Sex, by H. R. Hays.
EV: The Evolution of Physics, by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld.
HH: The Horrors of the Half-Known Life, by G. J. Barker-Benfield.
HS: A History of Science, by W. C. Dampier.
MES: Medieval and Early Modern Science, by A. C. Crombie.
MFM: The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science, by E. A. Burtt.
NGI: t in God's Image, edited by Julia O'Faolain and Lauro Martines.
NIL: New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, by Sigmund Freud.
PA: Patriarchal Attitudes, by Eva Figes.
PSV: The Physician and Sexuality in Victorian America, by John S. and Robin M. Haller.
SE: "The Spermatic Economy: A Nineteenth-Century View of Sexuality," by Ben Barker-Benfield.
TH: The Troublesome Helpmate, by Katherine M. Rogers.
TP: The Tao of Physics, by Fritjof Capra.
UE: The Universe and Dr. Einstein, by Lincoln Barnett.

The citations below are provided so that the reader may identify sources for my parody of the patriarchal voice and my telling of the history of patriarchal thought regarding woman and nature. (Here and there, for the sake of humor or style, I take liberty with language, but still the essential arguments of patriarchy are not distorted.) Complete bibliographical information for these citations can be found in the Bibliography.

The notes for the rest of the book are not complete. It would have been tedious and probably impossible to list all the sources used for each section. Those texts which are listed are given to indicate the actual phenomenon or historical occurrences of which the writing is a reflection (for example in "Turbulence," I cite an article on "The Biosphere" which explores the necessity of the turbulence of the sea to all life), and also to give credit to the thinking of others.

Page 7 that matter is transitory and illusory: see The Republic of Plato, "Allegory of the Cave," trans. Francis Macdonald Cornford.

Sic transit: see Thomas a Kempis, Imitatione Christi, trans. Anthony Hoskins.

Matter ... allegory for the next: see MES, vol. 1, p. 15. Crombie describes science before the twelfth century: ''The study of nature was not expected to lead to hypotheses and generalisations of science but to provide vivid symbols of moral realities."

Matter ... passive and Inert:
see Aristotle, The Physics, bk. 7, trans. Wicksteed and Cornford, vol. 2. Everything that is moved, he posits, must be moved by something. See also MES, vol. 1, p. 71. According to Crombie, Aristotle's idea of substance was the basis of "all natural explanation" from the thirteenth through the seventeenth centuries.

soul is the cause: see the Platonists of Chartres, as cited in MES, vol. I, p. 30.

Page 8 the existence of God can be proved: see Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, and HS, p. 86.

reason exists to: see the "later scholastics," as cited in HS, p. 86.

God is unchangeable ... Logos: see Origen, as cited in HS, p. 64.

"And I do not know": see St. Augustine, De Libero Arbitrio, as cited in MES, vol. 1, p. 14.

that Genesis: see Thierry of Chartres, De Septem Diebus et Sex Operum Distinctionibus, cited in MES, vol. 1, p. 27.

"He who does not know mathematics": see Roger Bacon, Opus Majus, trans. Robert Belle Burke, vol. I, p. 116.

all truth: Bacon was influenced by the thought of Pythagoras.

true explanation: see Robert Grosseteste, Summary of Philosophy, as cited in DPT, p. 52.

That there are three degrees: see Robert Kilwardby, De Ortu Scientiarum, as cited in DPT, pp. 52-4.

science might be able ... made without limit: see Roger Bacon, Epistola de Secretis Operibus, as cited in MES, vol. 1, p. 55.

Page 9 that vision takes place: see Plato, Timaeus, as cited in MES, vol. 1, p.31.

that God is primordial light: see Robert Grosseteste, op. cit., as cited in DPT, pp. 51-2.

waters of the firmament: see Bede, as cited in MES, vol. 1, pp. 19-20.

the space above is: see E. M. Tillyard, The Elizabethan World Picture, p. 37.

the earth is a central sphere, see Plato, Timaeus, as elaborated by the Platonists of Chartres, cited in MES, vol. 1, pp. 27-30. Plato and Eudoxus both favored perfect circles.

all bodies, see Aristotle, The Physics, op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 188-9. See also MES, vol. 1, pp. 75-8.

"is so depraved", see Pierre Boistuau, Theatre du Monde, as cited in E. M. Tillyard, op cit., p. 39.

"shineth night and day", see Mirror of the World, as cited in Tillyard, ibid. p. 39.

"the good angels": see St. Augvstine, The City of God, ed. David Knowles (Baltimore: Penguin, 1972), p. 367.

Page 10 "the Devil's Gateway": see Tertullian, De Cultu Feminarum, and NGI, pp. 132-3.

That regarding: see Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, Malleus Maleficarum, pp. 115-17. The phrase "intellectually like children" is quoted by Kramer and Sprenger from Terence.

Frailty, thy name is woman: see William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

the word woman: see Kramer, op cit., pp. 115-16. ''Wherefore in many vituperations that we read against women, the word woman is used to mean lust of the flesh." (The brothers were fond of quoting authorities on the evil of women.)

woman, whose face is a burning wind: ibid., p. 122 (here citing St. Bernard).

female provides the matter: see Aristotle, Generation of Animals, trans. A. L. Peck, p. 185, and MES, vol. 1, p. 152.

in the bestiary: see Bestiary, as cited in HS, p. 66.

Vital Heat: see Albertus Maguus, De Animalibus, as cited in MES, vol. 1, p. 152.

monstrosities: ibid. vol. 1, p. 152.

semen: see Aristotle, Generation, op. cit., pp. 163, 175 "Semen, then, is a compound of pneuma and water (pneuma being hot air) ..." And "The reason is that the female is as it were a deformed male; and the menstrual discharge is semen, though in an impure condition i.e. it lacks one constituent, and one only, the principle of Soul." See also MES, vol. 1, p. 153.

spontaneous generation: Albertus Magius, De Animalibus, as cited in MES, vol. 1, p. 153.

"In the middle": see Copernicus, On the Revolution of the Celestial Orbs, as cited in J. D. Bernal, The Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, p. 408.

Page 11 the Sun is God: see Johannes Kepler, Astronomia Opera Omnia, as cited in MFM, p. 60.

"all things decay": see Edmund Spencer, The Faerie Queene, bk. 3, canto 6.

the face of the earth: see Loren Eiseley, The Firmament of Time, for a discussion of catastrophism.

"the world is the Devil": Martin Luther, as cited in Norman O. Brown, Life Against Death, p. 212.

power of the devil ... in the privy parts: see Kramer, op. cit., as cited in PA, p. 59.

women under the power: see Francesco Maria Guazzo, Compendium Maleficarum, as cited in DS, chap. 15, See also Pennethorne Hughes, Witchcraft.

"Lucifer before his Fall": see Thomas Nash, Pierce Pennilesse, His Supplication to the Divell.

"Virgins urine": see Michael Scot, Physionomia, and NG1, p. 142.

Page 12 no wickedness to compare: see Kramer, op. cit., pp. 114-15. a virtuous wife: see Ephesians 5:22-33.

"tongues in trees": see William Shakespeare, As You Like It.

immutable laws: see Descartes's metaphysics as discussed in MFM, p. 114 and passim.

planetary orbits . .. six planets: see Johannes Kepler, Mysterium Cosmographicum, as cited in MES, vol. 2, p. 180.

music of the spheres: see Kepler, Harmonice Mundi, as cited in MFM, p.63.

cause of the universe: see Kepler, Astronomia Opera Omnia, as cited in MFM, pp. 64-5.

all shapes ... single figure: see MFM, pp. 44-6. (This geometrical compass was devised by Galileo.)

heliocentric systems: see Nicolaus Copernicus, De Revolutionibus, as cited in MFM, p. 38. See also MES, vol. 2, pp. 176-7.

Page 13 "Nature": see Galileo, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, trans. Stillman Drake, p. 117.

"Nature is not": see MFM, p. 39.

"Nature is pleased": see Isaac Newton, The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, cited in MFM, p. 218.

"Vain pomp and glory": see William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

"inordinate affections and passions": see Kramer, op. cit., p. 119.

women's sorrows: see Politeuphia, Wits Commonwealth, ed. Nicholas Ling, as cited in TH, p. 107.

"are made of blood": see John Marston, Works, cited in TH, p. 125: "Women are made/of blood, without souls ..."

"shifts oft like the inconstant": see John Gay, "Dione": "Woman's mind/ oft' shifts her passions, like th' inconstant wind."

"all witchcraft": see Kramer, op. cit., p. 122.

sin originated: see Justin of Rome, Dialogue in Trypho, as cited in George H. Tavard, Women in Christian Tradition, p. 69.

that angels are thin: see Nash, Pierce Pennilesse.

nature can be understood only: see Nicholas of Cusa: "Knowledge is always measurement," and Kepler: "Nothing can be known completely except quantities or by quantities," as cited in MFM, pp. 53, 6

without mathematics: see Galileo, Opere Complete, as cited in MFM, p.75.

that which cannot be measured: see MFM, p. 93, on Galileo. See also MFM, p. 88, citing the famous passage of Galileo that all qualities outside of number depend on sense perception and are therefore not real. St. Augustine in On the Free Choice of the Will argues even that "the truth of numbers belongs not to the senses of the body ..."

Page 14 whether or not motion is real . .. motion is real: see William of Ockham, who considered motion as well as quantity to be unreal (his absolutes were substance and quality), and Brawardine, who considered motion " real geometrical structure," as cited in DPT, pp. 62-88.

all motion: see The Works of Honorable Robert Boyle, vol. I, p. 2: "The Origin of Motion in Matter Is from God." See also Kepler, Astronomia Opera Omnia, as cited in MFM, p. 59, and Newton, as cited in MFM, p. 289. See also Rene Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, pt. 2, prin. 64, and see Aristotle, Physics, bk. 3, chap. I, where he argues that "Nature is the principle of movement and change," and he defines change as the passage from potential to actual, thus laying the basis for a first mover who is immovable.

all motion results: see Descartes, as cited in HS, p. 136. See also Newton: "No man endowed with a competent faculty of thinking will grant that a body can act where it is not." Newton, however, knew that a body could act so. See Giorgio de Santillana, Reflections on Men and Ideas, p. 26.

God alone sees: see Sir Isaac Newton, Opticks, pp. 345, 379.

position of ... particles: see Laplace, as cited in MFM, p. 96.

sensation of color: see Rene Descartes, Principles, as cited in MFM, p. 120, and Newton, Opticks, p. 328.

women exist for pleasure: see Erasmus, Colloquies (Erasmus posed this argument as a devil's advocate), as cited in NGI, p. 182.

"How fair": see Song of Songs 7:6.

human mind: see Kepler, Opera, as cited in MFM, p. 68.

what is there: see Kepler, letter to Herwart von Hohenburg, 1599 as cited in MES, vol. 2, p. 188.

one authentic and the other bastard: see Democritus, as cited in AM, p. 58.

Page 15 women are the fountain: see the Seven Sages of Rome, as cited in TH, p. 97.

defective rib: see Kramer, op. cit., p. 117.

one would follow: see John Lyly, Euphues, as cited in TH, p. 111

sensations are confused: see Descartes, Principles, as cited in MFM, p.116.

"hysterical": see Oxford English Dictionary.

dramatic poetry: see Plato, The Republic, pp. 337, 338, 83.

"inordinate affections": see Kramer, op. cit., p. 119.

"dangerous effect": see Fenelon, Traite de l'education des filles, as cited in NGI, pp. 249-50.

husbands should not: see L. B. Alberti, The Family in Renaissance Florence, as cited in NGI, p. 188.

"Who, moving" see William Shakespeare, sonnet 2.

woman "is not fully": see Martin Luther, in a letter written to three nuns, August 6, 1524, in NGI, p. 196.

where there is death: see St. John Chrysostom, Della Verginata, in NGI, p. 138.

Page 16 God does not ... He will not die: see Newton, Principles, as cited in MFM, p. 259, and Newton, Opticks, p. 379. (This is essentially my parody.)

God is a mathematician: see Hans Jonas, The Phenomenon of Life, on Kepler and Galileo's notion of divine geometry and for his brilliant argument against this.

"these the Divine Wisdom": see Galileo, Two Great Systems, as cited in Hugh Kearney, Science and Change, 150Q.-1700, p. 146.

God has allowed us: see Kepler, letter to Herwart von Hohenburg, 1599, as cited in MES, vol. 2, p. 188.

"not the woman": see St. Augustine, On the Holy Trinity, in NGI, p. 130. See also Aquinas, Summa, in NGI, p. 13l.

"the image of God": see Gratian, Decretum, in NGI, p. 130.

God is the principle: see Aquinas, Summa, in NGI, p. 13l.

the minds of women: see Malebranche, in NGI, p. 246.

All abstract knowledge: see Immanuel Kant, as cited in H. J. Mozans, Woman in Science, p. 136.

controversy: see NGI, pp. 247-8.

to the woman who owns: see Moliere, Les Femmes Savantes, trans. Curtis Page.

"but a brute thing": see The Works of Honorable Robert Boyle, as cited in MFM, p. 183.

no intellect: ibid.

Page 17 nature should: see Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, as cited in MES, vol. 2, pp. 329-30.

She is asked why she wears male: Questions asked of Joan of Arc during her trial as a witch. See Margaret Murray, The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, pp. 271-6, and Rossell Hope Robbins, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, pp. 282-7.

He says that nature ... must be examined ... bound into service ... put on the rack: see Francis Bacon, as cited in Carolyn Iltis, Nature and the Female in the Scientific Revolution, and William Leis, The Domination of Nature, p. 57 and passim.

Page 18 She is asked if she signed the devils book ... How she was able to fly: see Robbins, op. cit., pp. 106, 175-7, 180, 410.

Page 19 the rational soul: see Robert Boyle, op. cit., as cited in MFM, p. 183.

Adam is soul: see Hubmaier, On Free Will, in NGI, p. 202.

animals do not think . .. oysters, sponges": see Rene Descartes, letter to Marquis of Newcastle, in Descartes Selections, ed. Ralph H. Eaton, pp. 355-7.

20 souls of women: see Samuel Butler, Miscellaneous Thoughts: "The souls of women are so small/That some believe they've none at all."

universe acts: see MES, vol. 2, p. 164: "It was the most fundamental, general conclusion of Descartes's mechanistic philosophy that all natural phenomena could eventually when sufficiently analyzed be reduced to a single kind of change, local motion; and that conclusion became the most influential belief of 17th century science."

secret of the universe: see MFM, pp. 98-9, on Galileo's positivism, and p. 226 on Newton: "The ultimate nature of gravity is unknown, it is not necessary for science that it be known, for science seeks to understand how it acts, not what it is."

That the particular: see MFM: "It is possible to have a correct knowledge of the part without knowing the nature of the whole." pp. 227-8.

"celestial machine": see Kepler, letter to Herwart von Hohenburg, 1605, in MES, vol. 2, p. 196.

maker of the universe: see Newton, Opera Quae Ex.stant Omnia, as cited in MFM, p. 290.

"was the eye contrived": see Newton, Opticks, p. 344.

"heart of animals": see William Harvey, On Circulation, trans. Leake, p. 71.

Page 21 That God is skilled: see Newton, (Opera quae exstant Omnia) as cited in MFM, pp. 289-91.

Everything the the universe: see Newton, as cited in HS, pp. 170-1. Newton believed there was a general law but could not solve the problem of gravity, which he did not accept as innate.

God constructed his clock: see Newton, as cited in HS, pp. 74-5, and MFM, pp. 293-5. Newton believed the clock to need adjustments; however, Leibnitz and Huygens thought God acted only at creation. See MFM, pp. 101, 292.

God does not learn ... choose to respond: see Newton, Opticks, p. 379. "God is able to ... vary the laws of Nature and make Worlds of several sorts in several parts of the Universe." The language in the text is my parody of this image of an autistic God created by seventeenth-century intellect.

"a God without dominion": see Newton, Principles, as cited in MFM, p.294.

we adore: Ibid.

"My author": see John Milton, Paradise Lost, 4.

"Women should be": see Gratian, Decretum, in NGI, p. 130.

women not be allowed: see John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, in NGI, pp. 202-3.

"not in the character of": see Immanuel Kant, Critique, as cited in MES, vol. 2, p. 329.

Page 22 women ... ovaries: see I. de Valverde, Historia de las composicion del cuerpo humano, in NGI, p. 122.

human knowledge . .. "womb of nature": see Francis Bacon, The New Organon, bk. 1, aphorisms 1, 109.

"it is annoying": see Boccaccio, Concerning Famous Women, cited in PA, p. 22.

in the inferior world: see Matthew Hale, The Primitive Origination of Mankind, as cited in Leis, op. cit., p. 33.

power in words: see Ficino, as cited in Leis, p. 37.

he who calls: see Francis Bacon, Valerus Terminus, as cited in Leis, p.51.

man fell: see Francis Bacon, as cited in Leis, p. 49.

"knowing the force": see Rene Descartes, as cited in Bernal, The Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, p. 447.

It is predicted: see Francis Bacon, Atlantis, as cited in Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine, p. 117.

Page 23 two spaces: see Newton's theology and the divine sensorium, as described in MFM, pp. 244-55. (Newton makes clear, however, in Opticks, p. 379, that God has no need of the universe as an organ: "God has no need of such organs ..."). See also MFM, pp. 143-50, on Henry More's concept of "Space as the divine presence."

the vulgar: see Newton, Principia, p. 78. See also MFM, p. 245.

"Man has been": see Adam Sedgwick, Discourse on the Studies of the University, as cited in Gertrude Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, p. 235.

changes: see Loren Eiseley, The Firmament of Time, and DC.

And the sun will soon: see Lord Kelvin: "inhabitants of the earth cannot continue to enjoy the light and heat essential to their life ..." as cited in DC, p. 238.

last of a series: see Louis Agassiz, An Essay in Classification, as cited in DC, p. 97. According to the progressionists, the link between species was of "a higher and immaterial nature." See Hugh Miller, The Testimony of the Rocks.

appearance of man: see Sedgwick, "Presidential Address before the Geological Society of London, 1831," as cited in DC, p. 266.

in this universe a stair: see Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, as cited in DC, p. 7.

And woman is "the idlest part": see Earl of Rochester, as cited in TH, p.162.

"fair Aurelia's womb": ibid.

Page 24 that savage races: see Hugh Miller, op. cit., pp. 229-31.

All nature ... designed to benefit: see Rev. William Buckland, The Bridgewater Treatises vol. 1, p. 524. See also William Paley, Natural Theology.

Animals run: see DC, p. 177.

teeth were created: see Richard Westfall, Science and Religion in Seventeenth-Century England, p. 50, and his discussion of the virtuosi.

"exist solely": see Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena, "On Women," as cited in DS, p. 199.

nature has made it natural: see Henry A. Jones, The Case of Rebellious Susan, as cited in TH, p. 217. Sir Richard, in this nineteenth-century play, urges Elaine, a New Woman, to cook her husband a good dinner, etc. He says, "It's Nature that is so ungallant and unkind to your sex," and later: "Nature's darling woman is a stay-at-home woman."

"a monster more horrible": see James McGrigor Allan, "The Real Differences," as cited in p. 220.

nature has closed: see Saturday Review of Literature, September 12, 1857, editorial ridiculing the attempts of Barbara Leigh Smith and Bessie Parkes, who worked for "widened professional and educational opportunities for women," as cited in TH, p. 211.

Page 24 "Nature is the art": see Browne, op. cit., in DC, p. 13.

secret cabinet: see Linnaeus, as cited in DC, p. 23.

we are assured: see Paley, op. cit., as cited in DC, p. 176.

But still: see DC, p. 178.

doubt ... rocks of the earth: see James Hutton: "Thus ... from the top of the mountain to the shore of the seas ... everything is in a state of change," in DC, pp. 69-75.

"nature lives in motion": see Hutton, as cited in Eiseley, The Firmament, p. 25.

"traces of vanished": see DC, p. 196.

''undermine": Charles Darwin, as cited in DC, p. 172.

Page 25 teeth appear: see Charles Darwin, Foundations of the Origin of the Species. ed. Frances Darwin, as cited in DC, p. 196.

"it is derogatory": ibid., DC, p. 193.

nature makes nature: see DC, p. 198.

bones of animals: see Darwin, Journal of Researches, as cited in DC,p.162.

in 1852: see Vinzenz Ziswiler, Extinct and Vanishing Animals.

"immanent purpose": see Lamarck, as cited in DC, pp. 50-1.

oranguntan: ibid.

nature evolves species: see Ernst Haeckel, The Evolution of Man, as cited in DC, p. 334.

forces of nature ... blind will: see Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, trans. E. F. J. Payne.

merciless and insatiable: see Karl Stern, The Flight from Woman, p. 119, for his discussion of Schopenhauer and the Marquis de Sade.

red in tooth and claw: see Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam.

nature lives and breathes: see Marquis de Sade, Justine, as cited in Stern, op. cit., pp. 113-15.

Page 26 woman's nature is more natural: see Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p. 169.

Woman!: see Robert Gould, A Satyr Against Wooing, as cited in TH, p. 164.

opposed to the will: see Schopenhauer, The World.

evolution of the brain: see "Wallace and the Brain," in DC, pp. 290-324.

only through reason: see Schopenhauer, The World.

"the genitals are the real focus": ibid., p. 330.

organs compete: see Wilhelm Raux, Der Kampf der Theile Organismus, as cited in DC, p. 335.

woman's generative, see Dr. Charles Meigs, as cited in SE, p. 347.

woman is what she: see Dr. Horatio Storer, as cited in SE, p. 347.

"degraded to the level", see Augustus Kinsley Gardner, Conjugal Sins, as cited in SE, p. 347.

"ovarian neuralgia": see A. L. Smith, "Are Modern School Methods in Keeping with Physiological Knowledge?" as cited in PSV, p. 59.

the thinking woman: see Barbara Cross, The Educated Woman in America, as cited in Adrienne Rich, "The Theft of Childbirth," New York Review of Books, October 2, 1975.

Page 27 And the young, see Sylvanus Stall, What a Young Man Ought to Know, as cited in PSV, p. 219.

Higher education: see A. L. Smith, "Higher Education of Woman and Race Suicide," as cited in PSV, p. 61.

Woman's greatest: see Joseph A. Conwell, Manhood's Morning, as cited in PSV, p. 83.

"All corporeal": see Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 450.

"The brain": see Louis Agassiz, The Structure of Animal Life, as cited in DC, p. 97.

woman is less evolved: see PSV, pp. 57-13, 61.

Men and women differ: see Hegel, Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts, as cited in NG1, p. 290.

her evolution resulted: see PSV, pp. 57-8.

that the later development of the: see Pfitzner, cited in a refutation by Havelock Ellis in Man and Woman, as cited in PA, p. 117.

Page 28 woman's brain mass: see PSV, pp. 56-7, 66-7. See also Ellis, in PA, p. 116, and James McGrigor Allan, "The Real Differences," as cited in TH, pp. 220-1 n.

lacking in reason; see Schopenhauer, "On Women," as cited in PA, p. 121.

in the womb: see Meckel, as cited in HS, p. 260.

mentally women: see Allan, op. cit., in TH., p. 219.

thoughts of women: see Herbert Spencer, Principles of Psychology, as cited in PSV, p. 63. See also Hegel, Philosophy of Right, as cited in PA, pp. 120-1.

"Science offends the modesty": see Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p. 87.

that abstract thought: see Sir Almroth E. Wright, The Unexpurgated Case Against Women Suffrage, as cited in TH, p. 221 n.

female organism transmits: see William K. Brooks, "The Condition of Women from a Zoological Point of View," as cited in PSV, p. 69.

"the male": see Remy De Gourmont, The Natural Philosophy of Love, p. 52.

Page 28 "Undergo ... a severe": see Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man in Relation to Sex, as cited in PA, p. 113.

Page 29 without the male: see De Gourmont, op. cit., p. 52.

mankind has evolved: see DC, pp. 337-9, on Condorcet and others regarding the scale of being. See also Himmelfarb, op. cit., p. 230, on Tennyson: "evolution ... becomes ... the promise of salvation."

arise and fly: see Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam.

all animals are merely: see Oken, as cited by Alexander Gade von Aesch, Natural Science in German Romanticism, in DC, p. 95.

And striving: see Emerson, as cited in DC, p. 52.

Man is an animal, and he is the most: Eiseley puts the date of the recognition that man is an animal at 1859, the date of the publication of the Origin, as cited in DC, p. 255. See also DC, p. 97, citing Luis Agassiz, An Essay in Classification: "that man is the last of a term of a series, beyond which there is no material progress possible ..." and DC p. 287-324.

according to the laws of survival: see Lamarck and Erasmus Darwin, as discussed in DC, p. 51. (Note: Lamarck meant unconscious volition, but the popular nineteenth-century view was that the conscious will shaped evolution.)

"What was her": see Charles Kingsley, Yeast, as cited in TH, p. 192.

"stronger and ... better equipped": see Lamarck, Zoological philosophy, as cited in DC, p. 52.

women were not meant: see Marquis de Sade, La Nouvelle Justine, as cited in DS, p. 83.

That woman is as: ibid.

that the able: see Charles Darwin, Origin, pp. 95-100.

the wolf ... victor ... allowed to breed: ibid, p. 96 and passim.

Page 30 That the species are shaped: ibid., p. 450: ''Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely the production of the higher animals, directly follows."

"vast wilderness': see John Todd, The Students Manual and The Young Man, Hints Addressed to Young Men of the United States; and George Rogers Taylor, The Transportation Revolution, as cited in SE, pp. 366-7.

sons be raised: see Isaac Ray, Mental Hygiene, and Amariah Brigham, Remarks on the Influence of Mental Cultivation and Mental Excitement on Mental Health, as cited in SE, p. 337.

that the young man must be constantly seeking: see Todd, Students Manual, as cited in SE, p. 339.

education he must sacrifice: see Brooks, "Women from the Standpoint of a Naturalist," as cited in PSV, p, 71,

That in evolution: see Hardaker, "Science and the Woman Question," and Grant Allen, "Women's Place in Nature," in PSV, p. 66.

That as the male brain became: see Spencerians, as cited in PSV, pp. 66-7.

Women are the weaker: see Herbert Spencer, The Study of Sociology, as cited in PSV, pp. 62-3.

And that because ... "For as nature": see Schopenhauer, "On Women," as cited in Karl Stern, op. cit., p. 112.

those women who: see Spencer, The Study, as cited in PSV, p. 62.

nature has provided men: see Schopenhauer, The World, vol. 2, p. 335.

women skilled in intuition: see Spencer, The Study, as cited in PSV, p. 63.

girls should: see Brooks, "Women from the Standpoint of a Naturalist," as cited in PSV, p. 71.

nature endows: see Schopenhauer. "On Women," as cited in PA, p. 123.

Page 31 beauty vanishes: see Schopenhauer, "On Women," as cited in DS, p. 199.

men do not like: see Saturday Review editorial, as cited in TH, p. 211.

society can be thankful: see Woods Hutchinson, "The Economics of Prostitution," as cited in PSV, p. 56.

ovum is passive: I owe this language to Carolyn Iltis, who cited Edmund Cope, "The Two Perils of the Indo European: What Evolution Teaches."

That in sperm ... semen est: see Gardner, Our Children, as cited in SE, p. 341, "Totus homo," etc., is "an expression of Feruel."

runts, feeble: see Gardner, op. cit., as cited in SE, p. 342.

sperm functions: see Brooks, "The Condition of Women," as cited in PSV, p. 69.

ovum transmits: ibid.

sperm ... newer variations: ibid.

Thot the male mind: see Brooks, "The Condition of Women," as cited in PSV, p. 69.

"All organic beings": see Darwin, Foundations, as cited in DC, p. 101.

all creatures are pressed: see Darwin, Origin, p. 29: "In the next chapter the Struggle for existence amongst all organic beings throughout the world, which inevitably follows from the high geometrical rate of their increase, will be considered. This is the doctrine of Malthus applied to the whole animal and vegetable kingdom."

all the plants: see Condolle, as cited in DC, p. 101.

tendency of all beings: see Comte de Buffon, as cited in DC, p. 40. See also Thomas Malthus, "An Essay on the Principle of Population as It Affects the Future Improvement of Society," included in The Autobiography of Science, ed. Moulton and Schifferes: "... I say that the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man."

the human race tends: see Malthus, Essay, as described in HS, p. 275. (Actually, Malthus, in his essay, lists other boundaries, such as "failure of agricultural enterprise.")

natural government: see John Hunter, Essays and Observations, as cited in DC, p. 329.

war serves: see Sir Arthur Keith, Darwin's official biographer, as cited in Himmelfarb, op. cit., p. 417.

Page 32 history of human society: see Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto. (When Marx read the Origin, he saw it as "a basis in natural science for the class struggle in history." See Himmelfarb, op. cit., p. 421, citing Marx.)

development of large: see John D. Rockefeller, as cited in Himmelfarb, op. cit., p. 420.

each organism: see Thomas Huxley, as cited in DC, p. 335.

human body: ibid.

"milk-white": see John Keats, Poetical Works.

"every woman is always": see Allan, "The Real Differences," as cited in TH, p. 220.

during menses: ibid.

pity is the offspring: see Jean Jacques Rousseau, "Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality," First and Second Dialogues, pp. 130-2.

poets ... learned: see Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p. 219.

women appear: see Darwin, Descent, as cited in PA, p. 112.

pity ... closer to the state: see Rousseau, "Discourse." pp. 130-3.

"the sick are": see Nietzsche, A Genealogy of Morals, as cited in PA, p.127.

a man whose house: see T. W. H. Crosland, Lovely Woman, as cited in TH, pp. 222-3.

men must work: see Reverend Charles Kingsley, "Three Fishers Went Sailing," song with accompaniment for pianoforte; music by J. Hullah.

who would sympathize: see Schopenhauer, "On Women," as cited in DS, p. 200.

surface ... Australian: see R. Sweichel, as cited in DC, p. 277.

Page 33 all the stages: see Auguste Comte, ''The Science of Society," included in Varieties of Classic Social Theory, ed. Hendrik Leek, p. 68.

That the struggle ... face of the earth: see Darwin, Life and Letters of Darwin, as cited in DC, p. 283.

gloom of the forest: see Henry Piddington, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, as cited in DC, p. 262.

Hottentots: see DC, p. 260-1, citing accounts of voyagers of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

tribes in South America: see Science Progress, 1914, as cited in DC, p. 290.

Negroes ... like orang-utans: see Carl Vogt, Lectures on Man, as cited in DC, pp. 262-3.

among the lower races: ibid.

And woman ... like the Negro: see PSV, p. 57.

intellectual faculties: see Carl Vogt, Lectures on Man, as cited in PSV, p. 51.

woman's brain ... "lower races": see Allan, "The Real Differences," as cited in TH, pp. 220-1 n.

"approach to the animal type": see Vogt, op. cit., as cited in DC, p. 263.

From voyages: see Geoffrey Atkinson, The Extraordinary Voyage in French Literature before 1700, as cited in DC, p. 28.

Slavery ... a condition: see Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p. 169. Nietzsche draws the analogy here between woman's condition and slavery.

A woman should be: see John Cordy Jeaffreson, A Woman in Spite of Herself, as cited in TH, p. 194.

"I am a woman": ibid. (These words and the words above are put into the mouth of a woman.)

both the emancipated: see PSV, pp. 57-8.

Page 34 "the generous sentiments": see George Fitzhugh, Sociology for the South, as cited in TH, p. 190 n.

But as to women and men: see DC, chap. 8.

struggle for existence: see A. von Humboldt, Personal Narrative of Travels, as cited in DC, p. 183.

theory of mutation may make it possible: see Thomas Case, Science, 1905, as cited in DC, p. 250.

"animals our fellow": see Charles Darwin, Life and Letters, as cited in DC, p. 352. (These are the words of Darwin as a young man.)

The redder blood: see J. D. Bernal, Science and Industry in the Nineteenth Century, p. 59, referring to Julius Robert Mayer's observations relevant to the equivalence of heat and motion.

Heat and motion: ibid, pp, 63-4.

The engineer: see Freidrich Engels, Dialectics of Nature, as cited in Bernal, Science, p. 42: "... the practical mechanics of the engineer arrives at the concept of work and forces it on the theoretician,"

Heat, energy and work: see Bernal, Science, on the work of Joule, p. 43. See also EV, p. 49.

"Where are the limits ... their breathing and in their movement": see Marc Sequin, Traiti sur l'influence des chemin de fer, as cited in Bernal, Science, pp. 53-5. (Sequin was a "pioneer of railway construction in France" and an "enthusiast for the Industrial Revolution.")

Page 36 The energy of a man: see Gardner, Old Wine, as cited in SE, p. 358.

And the train: see George Stephenson, as cited in Bernal, Science, p. 50. (Stephenson was an engineer who developed workable railroad tracks.)

animal heat: see Lavoisier, as cited in Bernal, Science, p. 43. Both the sexes: see M. A. Hardaker, as cited in PSV, p. 65.

Rules for mobilizing: see Ben Franklin, as discussed in Meyer, Positive Thinkers, cited in HH, p. 72.

"are naturally": see Todd, students Manual, as cited in SE, p. 338.

Cures ... "torpid": see Ray, Mental Hygiene, as cited in HH, p. 73.

Women are not: ibid., p. 74.

men should concentrate: ibid., p. 73.

Under proper control: see Gardner, as cited in HH, pp. 182-3.

men who lose: see W., "Insanity Produced by Masturbation," Boston Medical and Surgical Note, as cited in HH, p. 180.

entropy, the amount: see Dietrich Schroeer, Physics and Its Fifth Dimension: Society, pp. 127-8.

the earth cannot: ibid., p. 130, citing the calculations of Lord Kelvin.

"The energies of our": see Arthur James Balfour, The Foundations of Belief as cited in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

promiscuous intercourse: see Dr. Benjamin Rush, Medical Inquiries and Observations upon Diseases of the Mind, as cited in HH, p.76.

"generative energy": see H. D. Thoreau, Walden, as cited in HH, p. 182.

young man who: see PSV, p. 219.

Page 37 Through those two: see Charles Baudelaire, "Sed Non Saliata."

sturdy manhood: see W., op. cit., as cited in SE, p. 342.

Alas and dissolute: see Baudelaire, op. cit.

victim of masturbation: see W., op. cit., as cited in HH, p. 180.

to break: see Baudelaire, op. cit.

until all powers of the system: see W., op. cit., as cited in HH, p. 180.

I shall go ... dazzling dream: see Bandelaire, "La Chevelure,"

practice of building ... allowing the thoughts ... dissipation: see Todd, Students Manual, as cited in HH, p. 176.

I shall plunge: see Baudelaire, "La Chevelure."

no nation has ever: see Todd, Students Manual, as cited in HH, p. 187.

Page 38 Only lust: see Orson Fowler, Creative and Sexual Sciences, as cited in PSV; p. 201.

"Prostitution"; see Baudelaire. "Le Crepuscle du soir."

the soldier: see A message to the soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force, 1914, to be kept by each soldier in his Active Service Pay-Book, as cited in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

"Only science": see Ivan P. Pavlov, Lectures on Conditioned Reflexes, p. 41.

behavior of dogs: see Pavlov, Conditioned Reflexes.

Of charges o felectricity ... history that can be determined: see EV; "Field, Relativity," and on Faraday's discoveries and Maxwell's equations, pp. 125-64.

All kinds of stimuli: see Pavlov, Conditioned Reflexes, and J. B. Watson and behaviorism as discussed in HS, pp. 345-5.

Page 39 All matter: see AM, p. 229 and passim. See also atomic table in HS, p. 385. See also Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, pp. 134-5: "Chemists could not, therefore, simply accept Dalton's theory on the evidence, for much of that was still negative. Instead even after accepting the theory, they had still to beat nature into line.... When it was done, even the percentage composition of well-known compounds was different. The data themselves had changed."

hard, impenetrable: see Isaac Newton, as cited in TP, p. 56.

ultimate reality: see Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, p. 17: "There persists, however, throughout the whole period the fixed scientific cosmology which presupposes the ultimate fact of an irreducible brute matter." See also AM, p. 270.

Movements of molecules: see EV; pp. 59-62, on Brownian movement.

nothing in this world: see CD, p. 3. Freud is the one, of course, who challenges this certainty, saying, "This is a deceptive appearance."

X-rays: see Robert Reid, Marie Curie, p. 58: "He gave the rays the name X because this was the physicists' usual symbol for an unknown.

Radium is isolated: ibid., pp. 85-7.

Radioactivity: ibid., p. 96. (When Frederick Soddy, on discovering the spontaneous disintegration of the atom, called this "transmutation," Rutherford answered, "For Mike's sake, Soddy, don't call it transmutation. They'll have our heads off as alchemists.")

The unconscious is discovered ... at any given moment: see NIL, "Dissection of the Personality."

From the phosphorescent: see HS, pp. 371-6.

The energy of the self: see NIL, "Dissection," p. 73. Freud, Psychopathology of Everyday Life. Passim. Freud, The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement, p. 62. Freud and Breuer, Studies on Hysteria. Passim.

Page 40 women hove a weaker: see Freud, "Civilized Sexual Morality and Modern Neurosis" ("Woman is endowed with a weaker sexual instinct"), as cited in Kate Millett, Sexual Politics, p. 192. See also NIL, "Femininity," p. 131: "Furthermore it is our impression that more constraint has been applied to the libido when it is pressed into the service of the feminine function."

self is made: see NIL, "Dissection," p. 72.

less superego: see Freud, "Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes," in Sexuality and the Psychology of Love, p. 193: ''Their super-ego is never so inexorable, so impersonal, so independent of its emotional origins as we require it to be in men." See also NIL, "Femininity," p. 129. See also Freud, Totem and Taboo (Freud compares the psychology of "the primitive races" with the psychology of the neurotic). And in NIL, "Dissection," p. 75, Freud describes the id as "primitive."

less ego: This formulation in language is my parody of Freud's view of the feminine. (Always less.) See "Femininity," passim, for his description of the female ego as being formed essentially from a sense of mutilation. See also "Anatomical Distinction," p. 193 ("They are less ready to submit to the great necessities of life"), and CD for Freud's notion that it is men who cope with reality and build civilization. Of his eventual wife, Martha Bernays, Freud wrote: "Am I to think of my delicate sweet girl as a competitor?" see Letters of Sigmund Freud, as cited in Mary Ellmann, Thinking About Women, p. 88.

women are less objective: see Freud, "Anatomical Distinction," op. cit., p. 193.

men are responsible: see CD, p. 50 and passim.

Small boys: see Erik Erikson, "Womanhood and the Inner Space," as cited in Millett, op. cit., p. 214. See also Helene Deutsch, The Psychology of Women, vol. 1, p. 282.

enclosures: ibid.

to be female: see CD, p. 50.

man is confined: see EV, p. 155: "Unfortunately we cannot place ourselves between the sun and the earth, to prove there the exact validity of the law of inertia and to get a view of the rotating earth ... the earth is our co-ordinate system."

that confinement: see EV, p. 155: "All our experiments must be performed on the earth on which we are compelled to live."

A group of scientists: see EV, "Outside and Inside the Elevator," pp. 214-16.

electromagnetic field: see EV, p. 145.

Page 41 velocity of the earth: see EV, pp. 155-6.

a single event: see TP, p. 62.

near the speed of light: see EV, p. 186.

The elevator ... true absolutely: see EV, pp. 214-16.

Time and space: see EV, "Field, Relativity."

heartbeat of a man: see Einstein, as cited in UE, p. 65.

simultaneous: see TP, p. 62. See also Ernst Cassirer, Substance and Function and Einstein's Theory of Relativity, p. 38l.

"two frightening ghosts": see EV, p. 238.

The idea of time: see NIL, "Dissection," pp. 74-6.

A young woman ... free to drink: see Freud and Breuer, Hysteria, pp. 55-83. See also Freud, The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis, p. 7.

In the dream: see Freud: Ibid., p. 40.

Page 42 trip backward ... wishes and memories still: see Freud, Psychoanalytic Movement, pp. 44-5. See also NIL, "Dissection," p. 74.

Space and time: see UE, p. 2l.

Gravity: see HS, pp. 407-10.

universe is shaped: see UE, pp. 103, 9l.

empty space: see UE, p. 50, and TP, p. 64.

universe is curved: see EV, p. 237.

Matter ... an event: see Whitehead, Science and the Modern World. See also EV, pp. 241-2.

Mass changes ... matter is a form: see EV, pp. 241-3, 196-7. See also AM, p. 280.

The distinction: see UE, p. 70.

no real: see EV, p. 242.

the id, the ego: see NIL, "Dissection," p. 79.

before the emergence: see NIL, "Dissection," p. 63 and passim, and "Femininity," passim.

43 she seeks to merge: see NIL, "Dissection," p. 63.

thoughts of women are formless: see Ellmann, op. cit., p. 55 and passim.

"and it was": see James Joyce, Ulysses.

impossible to picture: see Sir James Jeans, as cited in UE, p. 30, and TP, pp. 208-23.

women show a bias: see Bacofen, as cited in Deutsch, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 284.

Discontinuity ... wave and a particle: see EV, p. 249 and passim.

A duality: see UE, p. 30.

"as meaningless as": see UE, p. 30.

"the riddle": see NIL, "Femininity," p. 116.

Haupter ... Menschenhaupter: see NIL, "Femininity," p. 113, citing Heine, Nordsee.

behavior of the ovum: see NIL, "Femininity," p. 114.

female must: ibid., pp. 118-28.

Page 44 passivity now has: ibid., p. 128: "Passivity now has the upper hand:

what a woman wants: see letter from Freud to Marie Bonaparte in Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, p. 377.

what is known: see Irwin Schrodinger, "Our Image of Matter," in Heisenberg, Born, Schrodinger and Auger, On Modern Physics, p. 46. See also UE, p. 24, and Werner Heisenberg, "The Uncertainty Principle," in Moulton and Schifferes, The Autobiography of Science, p. 56. (In EV, p. 31, Einstein compares the universe to a pocket watch which is forever closed.)

nature of the universe: see UE, p. 78.

nature of the psyche: see NIL, "Dissection," p. 69.

Under the gaze: see UE, pp. 30-4.

absolutely: ibid., p. 37.

science will never know: see UE, p. 37: "One by-product of this surrender is a new argument for the existence of free will."

behavior of the single: see EV, p. 285.

quality of nature: see AM, p. 290.

memories of women: see NIL, "Femininity," p. 120.

if the universe ... all the choir: see Einstein quoting Berkeley, as cited in UE, p. 21.

Still, prediction: see EV, p. 27. See also De Santillana, op. cit., "Necessity, Contingency and Natural Law."

electrons will be studied: see AM, p. 289, and EV, p. 249 and passim.

Page 45 in the year 1950: see Talcott Parsons and Robert F. Bales, Family Socialization and Interaction Process, p. 14.

domestic pattern: see Parsons, Essays in Sociological Theory, p. 224.

Waves of probability: see EV, pp. 288-9.

impossible to find: ibid., and Heisenberg et al., op. cit.

"tendencies to exist": see TP, p. 68.

The universe ... finite ... void: see UE, pp. 110-18.

small boys: see CD and Freud, Totem and Taboo, and NIL, pp. 85-6,

re-creation of the father: see CD, p. 13.

from the love: see NIL, pp. 85-6, 129.

to abate ... nature: see CD, p. 18.

Page 46 girls ... born castrated: see Freud, "Female Sexuality," in Sexuality, p. 202.

"momentous": see Freud, "Anatomical Distinction" as cited in Millett, op. cit., p. 181.

wound ... all women, ibid., p. 183.

women invented: see NIL, "Femininity," p. 132.

woman ... debased: see Freud, "Femininity," as cited in Millett, op. cit., p. 185.

clitoris is a prototype: see Freud, "Fetishism," in Sexuality, p. 219: "just as the normal prototype of an organ felt to be inferior is the real little penis of the woman, the clitoris."

small girls develop: see NIL, "Femininity," pp. 124-35.

illnesses of the mind: see Freud, Origin, p. 16.

ego is split: see NIL, "Dissection," p. 59.

A young woman: see Breuer, Hysteria, "Case Histories: Fraulein Anna O."

Antimatter ... supernova: see AM, p. 294.

47 An instinct ... power over nature; see CD, pp. 70-4.

in woman her body: see NIL, "Femininity," p. 116. The suppression of aggression, Freud writes, is imposed both "constitutionally" and by society. "Thus," he writes, "masochism ... is truly feminine."

a new fantastic toilette ... carriage flies along like mad: see Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs, as cited in Gertrud Lenzer, "On Masochism: A Contribution to the History of a Phantasy and Its Theory." (Sacher-Masoch's work was "the principal source of Krafft-Ebing's description and definition of masochism.")

the female cell: see Marie Bonaparte, Female Sexuality, as cited in Millett, p. 204.

the infant girl: ibid., p. 205.

young girls dream: see Deutsch, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 255.

women have a lust: see Freud, ''The Economic Problems of Masochism," as cited in Millett, op. cit., p. 195.

when a woman steps: see Deutsch, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 285.

the meson: see AM, p. 294.

lambda ... kaon: see table in TP, p. 227.

structure invisible: see Geoffrey Chew, as cited in TP, p. 274: "A truly elemental particle -- completely devoid of internal structure -- could not be subject to any forces that would allow us to detect its existence."

Page 48 Every question: see EV, p. 292: "Every important advance brings new questions. Every development reveals ... new and deeper difficulties." See also Einstein, as cited in TP, p. 41: "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain: and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."

spectators and part: see Niels Bohr, as cited in UE, p. 127.

amorphous: see UE, p. 92.

time does not: see TP, p. 62.

absolute space ... Solid elements: ibid., pp. 61-2.


Territory: These are the names of places passed through by Lewis and Clark. Their trip through this territory made the western expansion possible. See Bernard de Voto in his Introduction to The Journals of Lewis and Clark: "... it satisfied desire and it created desire: the desire of the westering nation."

The Struggle: See Francis Parkman, The Oregon Trail.

The Abyss: See John James Audubon, "The Lost One," in The Delineations of American Scenery and Character, as quoted by Annette Kolodny, The Lay of the Land.

Guide: See Grace Raymond Hebard, Sacajawea: A Life of the Indian Guide, and The Journals of Lewis and Clark.

Possession: See Louis B. Wright and Elaine Fowler, The Moving Frontier.

Use: See Barry Commoner, The Closing Circle, on single-crop land usage and the effects of inorganic nitrogen fertilizer. See also Murray Bookchin, Our Synthetic Environment: "In many areas of the United States the land has been turned into an early lifeless, inorganic medium that must be nursed along like an invalid at the threshold of death." See also in Bookchin, reference to the theory of Justus von Liebig that the soil was essentially dead. In fact, as Bookchin writes: "The soil," in a natural state, "is a highly differentiated world of living and inanimate things ... always in the process of formation."

Exploration: This description of taking a soil sample from Mars was taken from a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, August 9, 1976.


See Ellis Lucas, The Big Woods, on the beginnings of the lumber industry on the West Coast. For advice such as: "The forest should be close to the sawmill," see various forest management texts, for example, Managing the Small Forest (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) or A. J. Panshin and E. S. Harrar and W. J. Baker and P. B. Proctor, Forest Products. For comments on the management of office labor and on labor management in general, see tests such as Henry and M. C. H. Niles, The Office Supervisor, or Leffingwell and Robinson, Textbook of Office Management. "Production (Current of the Years)" is my description of a photograph of a giant redwood felled with hand tools, the crew posed around it, taken on the Mendocino coast in the 1930s.


This description of how to control hurricanes is drawn from a scientific speculation by Dr. Roger Revelle, "A Long View from the Beach," in The World in 1984, a book of predictions about future and possible accomplishments of science. The story of the woman who attempts to escape from an asylum was taken from Lara Jefferson's account in These Are My Sisters.


See Nevens, Dairy Cattle Selection and Feeding. ("Animals with well-shaped udders are in demand"), or Petersen, Dairy Science, for information relevant to the raising of dairy cattle. For a more general discussion of factory farming, see Harrison, "On Factory Farming," in Animals, Men and Morals, ed. Godlovitch and see Peter Singer, Animal Liberation. For a history of the worship of the Virgin Mary, see Warner, Alone of Her Sex. My comments on modern childbirth came from my own experience and those of my friends. See also Suzanne Arms, Immaculate Deception, and Kathleen Barry, ''The Cutting Edge." I thought the two following quotations relevant here. From Charles Darwin, The Variation of Plants and Animals under Domestication: "When we compare highly improved stall-fed cattle with the wilder breeds, or compare mountain and lowland breeds, we cannot doubt that an active life, leading to the free use of limbs and lungs, affects the shape and proportions of the whole body." And from Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Women and Economics: "... look at the relative condition of a wild cow and a 'milk cow,' ... the wild cow is a female. She has healthy calves, and milk enough for them; and that is all the femininity she needs.... She is a light, strong, swift, sinewy creature, able to run, jump and fight if necessary. We, for economic uses, have artificially developed the cow's capacity for producing milk. She has become a walking milk-machine, bred and tended to that express end, her value measured in quarts."


For descriptions of the training and education of show horses and short treatises on their natures, see such books as Alois Podhajsky, The Riding Teacher; Captin Elwyn Hartley Edwards, From Paddock to Saddle; Noel Jackson, Effective Horsemanship.


For extensive descriptions of the fear of the female body in this culture, see Neumann, The Great Mother; H. R. Hays, The Dangerous Sex; Lederer, The Fear of Women. In "Skin," "Hair," "Womb" and "Breast," the operations described are procedures in use in this century and were taken from various medical texts such as John Conley, Face Lift Operation; Cohen, Abdominal and Vaginal Hysterectomy: New Techniques Based on Time and Motion Studies; Danforth, Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Also, Franklyn's Beauty Surgeon was consulted. The surgeries described in "Clitoris" and "Vulva" were popular in the nineteenth century. See Barker-Benfield, "The Spermatic Economy," in Feminist Studies, and Angus McClaren, "Medicine and Morality in France 1800-1850," also in Feminist Studies, citing Louis Huart: "The lady's doctor has in our days replaced the confessor; and he has gone further than the confessor, because he is the sovereign director of the body and the soul of his client." See also Carol Smith Rosenberg, "Puberty and Menopause: The Cycle of Femininity in 19th Century America," in Clio's Consciousness Raised. For a description of clitoridectomy by the man who developed the surgical technique and was a zealous practitioner of it, see Isaac Bauer Brown, On Surgical Diseases of Women. For operations of the vulva performed for frigidity and "hyperaesthesia," see T. Galliard Thomas, A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Women. See also Seale Harris, Women's Surgeon: The Life of Marion J. Sims.
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Part 2 of 2



Separation: For proscriptions regarding the clean and the unclean, see Maimonides, The Code: Book X: The Book of Cleanness. See also Leviticus, and see Paul Ricoeur, The Symbolism of Evil. For the story of Maria Gorelli's sainthood after her rape and murder, see Brownmiller, Against Our Will. For different tellings of the Kore-Demeter myth, see Nor Hall, Mothers and Daughters; C. Kerenyi, Eleusis; Jane Ellen Harrison, Mythology. Also consulted for this section were Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, vols. 1 and 2; Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable; The Homeric Hymns (trans. Apostolos W. Athanassakis); Larousse World Mythology. See also Fred Hess, Chemistry Mode Simple; Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 52d ed.

The Image: The paintings named in this section are all by Pablo Picasso. See Homage to Picasso for His Ninetieth Birthday. "She Was a Phantom of Delight" is by William Wordsworth. The lines "my wife with the hourglass waist," etc., were taken and only slightly changed from the poem "Free Union" by Andre Breton, as translated by Kenneth White.

Marriage: See James L. Christensen, The ministers marriage handbook. See also Genesis, Deuteronomy and Leviticus. See Rosemary Reuther, Religion and Sexism. For a discussion of plastics, see Herman Mark, Giant Molecules, and Carl R. Theiles, Men and Molecules. (Plastics are not biodegradable and their molecular structure has been altered. In this way they are outside life, at least they cease to partake of the normal rhythms of the biosphere.)


The Hunt: This story of the deer and her fawn being shot was taken from an account published in the New York Times by Ruth C. Adams, November 1, 1975. For stories such as the breaking of the back of the hare (a practice of English schoolboys), see Maureen Duffy, "Beasts for Pleasure," in Animals, Men and Morals. For a description of methods of hunting elephants, see Iain and Oria Douglas-Hamilton, Among the Elephants. For lists of extinct and vanishing species, see Ziswiler, Extinct and Vanishing Animals.

The Garden: This is a true story.


Space Divided: These measurements were taken from such sources as Alfred Hopkins, Prisons and Prison Building, and Sasaki, Walker and Associates, St. Louis Zoological Garden Development Program, 1962. The description of the Hexenhaus was taken from Grillot DeGivry: Witchcraft, Magic and Alchemy. See also "On Trial for Biocide: 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D."

Science: See Dorothea Lange's photograph "Child and Her Mother, Wapato, Yakima Valley, Washington, 1939."


What He Sees: See the account of this event by a visitor to Audubon's home in John James Audubon and His Journals, ed. Maria Audubon. See also Alice Ford, John James Audubon.

Acoustics: See Babcock, Freedman, Norton and Ross, Sex Discrimination and the Law, citing from "United States vs. Wiley." See also Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will, especially with regard to rape during war. See also George Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, and David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature. See also "Images of Women in the Talmud," in Ruether, Religion and Sexism: "women were not trained in Jewish law; it was inconceivable that they should be able to sit in judgement ... a woman could not give testimony." Mary Daly has pointed out that the root of the word "testimony" is "testes," because men covered their testicles while swearing in court.

The Argument: See J. Paul Pundel, Histoire de l'operation Cesarienne, for the arguments of the doctors of theology of the Faculty of Paris. (For aid in translating these arguments I am grateful to Monique Wittig.) I observed strip-mining operations and their effects in East Kentucky. See also John F. Stacks, Stripping.


Burial: See George G. Berg, "Hot Wastes from Nuclear Power," in Nuclear Power Economics and the Environment, and Wesley Marx, The Frail Ocean. Marx reveals that whole movie sets are dumped into the Pacific Ocean off Hollywood, and that the Los Angeles Police Department dumps confiscated revolvers, brass knuckles and sawed-off shotguns into the sea. (The quotations here from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment do not appear in the same sequence in which they occur in the novel.)


Quantity: The examples of quantification in this section were drawn from various sources, including Herman Kahn, On Thermo-Nuclear Warfare; Ralph E. Lapp, Kill and Overkill; "Mathematics, Population and Food," in Newman, The World of Mathematics.

Probability: See Amitai Etzioni, The Genetic Fix. See also U.C. Clip Sheet, December 2, 1975, April 6 and November 2, 1976. See also Pierre Simon de Laplace, "Concerning Probability," and Gregor Mendel, "Mathematics of Heredity," in Newman, The World of Mathematics.


Dream Life (Marie Curie): See Eve Curie, Madame Curie; Robert Reid, Marie Curie; Marie Curie, Pierre Curie and Autobiographical Notes of Marie Curie.

(Sigmund Freud): See Bergasse 19: Sigmund Freud's Home and Offices, Vienna, 1938, Photographs by Edmund Engelmann. See also Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death; Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams; Freud, "Thoughts on War and Death" in Creativity and the Unconscious. See also Sigmund Freud, ed. Paul Roazen: Freud, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis; C. G. Jung, Critique of Psychoanalysis.

(Rene Descartes): See Karl Stern, The Flight from Woman, chapter on Descartes, for description of Descartes's dream. See also Rene Dubos, So Human an Animal.

(Isaac Newton): See Augustus de Morgan, Essays on the Life and Work of Newton, and J. W N. Sullivan, Isaac Newton. See also Andradne, "Isaac Newton," and John Maynard Keynes, "Newton, the Man," in James R. Newman, The World of Mathematics; Giorgio de Santillana, Reflections on Men and Ideas, "Newton the Enigma."

(Charles Darwin): See Gertrude Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, for a description of Darwin's daily schedule. See also Herbert Wendt, Before the Deluge, and Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species.

(Johannes Kepler): See Arthur Koestler, The Watershed.

(Linnaeus): See Loren Eiseley, Darwin's Century.


See Herbert S. Zim, The Universe, for various measurements of size and distance. See also Hans Jonas, The Phenomenon of Life: "it appears that waiving the intelligibility of life -- the price which modern knowledge was willing to pay for its title to the greater part of reality -- renders the world unintelligible as well." See also Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, especially for her discussion of state terrorism, which she associates with theories of natural and social inevitability.


The Cave: For discussions of caves and labyrinths and their significance in neolithic religion, see Gertrude Rachel Levy, The Gate of Horn. See also John Mitchell, The Earth Spirit, and John Sharkey, Celtic Mysteries. The sea cave described here is located on the northern California coast near Gualala.



See Gay Gaer Luce, Biological Rhythms in Human and Animal Physiology, for observations such as that fiddler crabs "exhibit both solar and lunar rhythms" or that geomagnetic fields influence the movements of earthworms and snails. See also The Biosphere.


We Enter a New Space: The paintings named in this section are all by women. See Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin, Women Artists: 1550-1950; Karen Petersen and J. J. Wilson, Women Artists; Judy Chicago, Through the Flower. For a discussion of how events are repeated throughout space, see Itzhak Bentov, Stalking the Wild Pendulum


See Pennethorne Hughes, Witchcraft; Margaret A. Murray, The Witch-Cult in Western Europe; I. M. Lewis, Ecstatic Religion. Regarding powers of serpents, see Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman: "Cassandra was left overnight at the shrine of Delphi as a very young child. When her mother ... Hecuba arrived ... she is said to have found the child surrounded by the sacred snakes that were kept in the shrine. They were licking Cassandra's ears. This experience is offered as the explanation of how Cassandra gained the gift of prophecy."


Turbulence: On the role of turbulence in the sea in maintaining the biosphere, see G. Evelyn Hutchinson, "The Biosphere," in The Biosphere. See also various biographies of Mary Wollstonecraft.

Cataclysm: See Peter Francis, Volcanoes, and in particular his account taken from Pliny and modern archaeological evidence of the eruption of Vesuvius.

Consequences: See Peter Marshall, "Streaming Wisdom," and Robert B. Curry, ''Watershed Form and Process, The Elegant Balance," in The Co-Evolution Quarterly (Winter 1976-77). This was also written from my observation of the effects of strip mining in the East Kentucky Cumberland Mountains, and from my knowledge of the Inez Garcia case. (Inez Garcia was acquitted of the charge of murder after she shot one of two men who participated in her rape.)


The Possible: See Marguerite Wildenhain, Pottery: Form and Expression; M. C. Richards, Centering and The Crossing Point; Hal Riegger, Raku, Art and Technique; F. Carlton Ball and Janice Lovoos, Making Pottery Without a Wheel.


Vision: See Jane Goodall, In the Shadow of Man. I found this quotation from Simone Weil's First and Last Notebooks relevant here: ''To contemplate what cannot be contemplated (the affliction of another), without running away, and to contemplate the desirable without approaching -- that is what is beautiful [many forms of running away]."

One from Another: See Suzanne Arms, Immaculate Deception, for accounts of modern midwives and nurses. For a history of the suppression of midwifery, see Thomas Rogers Forbes, The Midwife and the Witch; and Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, Witches, Midwives and Nurses: A History of Woman Healers; and see Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born.

Acoustics: See Pete H. Lindsay and Donald A. Nouman. Human Information Processing: An Introduction to Psychology, Academic Press (San Diego) 1972, on acoustics and the shape of the ear. (That the sensual is a reality in itself, created by two beings, a dialogue between tree and eye, ear and wood, occurred to me while listening to a concert at 1750 Arch Street.) See also Guy Murchie, Music of the Spheres, on the acoustical atom.


History (Her Hair): See Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, Seneca Falls, 1948 ("He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to franchise"), as published in Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings, ed. Miriam Schneir.

Archives (Her Vulva): See Midge MacKenzie, Shoulder to Shoulder, a documentary of the movement for suffrage in England, for the words of Constance Lytton, Emmeline Pankhurst and others.

Letters (Her Clitoris): Quotations in this section are from The Letters of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson and Theodora Ward ("She came to see us in May"), and from letters written between close women friends in the nineteenth century ("My darling how I long for the time when I shall see you"), as quoted in Carroll Smith-Rosenberg's ''The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations Between Women in Nineteenth Century America."

Records (Her Womb): The record of this event -- Report of a trial for criminal abortion -- was given to me by Carroll Smith-Rosenberg. I also consulted her paper "H. R. Storer and the Crazy Kangaroo." See also Walter Coles, "Abortion -- Its Cause and Treatment," St. Louis Medical and Surgical Journal, June 1975, and Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. (In the trial for abortion referred to here, the jury found the defendant guilty of performing an abortion but not guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to two years in the state prison. Other accounts of abortions in this writing come from my own experience and the experience of my friends.)


Elephants do cover their dead with leaves, and are known to remove bones. They teach their young to beware of certain enemies. See Iain and Oria Douglas-Hamilton, Among the Elephants.

Matter: For a description of the habitat of red-winged blackbirds in California, see Elna Bakker, An Island Called California. Also see the fields around Point Reyes. In her journal Emily Carr writes: "and the blackbird's song permeates your whole you."
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