Upon The Shoulders Of Giants

UPON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS

Sweet juicy jazzy jackanapes
Crusading king of Fairy Hill
Immortal motley troubadour
Breezed into town with time to kill
To put the free back in free fall
Peal forth the vow in disavow
Ah, but I was so much Adler then
I’m Junger than that now

TV sophists spewed skewered truth
Cut Ethos, Pathos, Logos dead
No musketeering buccaneers
But lame tame talking heads instead
With propaganda for proper geese
He cackled at their sacred cow
Ah, but I was so much Adler then
I’m Junger than that now

Provincial ham let figments strut
While stuttering beneath his breath
“Wh-wherefore art thou Juliet?”
His sad performance died the death
Outrageous fortune took the blame
While it was she who took the bow
Ah, but I was so much Adler then
I’m Junger than that now

Soon leery learned the golden rule
In prison’s schoolyard hide and seek
Found respite from the siren call
Played truantly eight days a week
With John and Paul, and Pete, and Bob
Unlatched the lightning bolt of Tao
Ah, but I was so much Adler then
I’m Junger than that now

Embraced the peaceful warrior’s way
Through battlefields of poison dust
Explaining to the deaf and blind
“In heinous blasphemy you trust
Cool off your mumbo jumbo jets
‘Thou shalt not kill’ and that means thou”
Ah, but I was so much Adler then
I’m Junger than that now

With righteous anger, sanctioned style
Refusal to be compromised
By inchworms who would take a mile
Their dress sense, world view, he despised
“Stomp out the unacceptable!”
His motto and so solemn vow
Ah, but I was so much Adler then
I’m Junger than that now

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About Ben Naga

Pilgrim on the lam. Please feel free to explore the links to learn more. I trust you will find some things there will have been worth the effort. See you there.

Posted on March 28, 2014, in Poetry, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. What a great way to start off the morning. I really enjoyed this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Printed this out too.
    “Ah, but I was so much Adler then/I’m Junger than that now” – love it!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the style in which you wrote this. When I visit your page I am either inspired, confused or lost. This piece filled me with all three. Yet I truely enjoyed reading. And the music is fabulous. I can see and hear my uncle, who was a jazz enthusiasts and sax player, explain every change in tempo with climatic joy. While his head bob up and down and his foot tapping.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ben, after reading your poem many times over, it still amazes me. It’s so rich with cleverly worded references from the past – (admittedly some I’m not familiar with) – how do you do it? I had a visceral reaction to the whole thing – where to begin?

    Parts of it went over my head (not your fault, just my “density” again). And to tell the truth, most of Dylan’s lyrics went over my head too, though the gist was always clear, as it is in your poem. And his lines “Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now….” I can clearly identify with. Your “I was so much Adler then, I’m Junger than that now….” is brilliant, as is the entire poem! (And I’m much “Junger” now too – though not that familiar with Adler, as we studied Freud back in school.)

    Sorry to be so brief – there is much more to say. Will try to be back with further comments – maybe in email. Must give the computer (my back) a rest for a couple of days.

    Bottom line – this poem deserves a LOT more attention from more readers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am very grateful, Betty, for your time and attention, not to mention the positive feedback.

      Given your efforts and interest I think you deserve a few more pointers.

      1. There is a theme to each stanza, as follows:

      Incarnation
      Media and politics
      Love and relationship
      Education
      War
      Overview

      2. Adler’s Psychology

      The Wikipedia article on Adler (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Adler) is useful

      3. Fairy Hill

      See “The Fairy Hills of Cumbria”. (http://www.timetravel-britain.com/articles/stones/fairy.shtml)

      4. Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

      See “Modes of persuasion”. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modes_of_persuasion)

      (And of course there is a also deliberate nod to Alexandre Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers”.

      5. Sophists

      See “Sophism”. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophism) including ” A sophist is a person who reasons with clever but fallacious and deceptive arguments.”.

      6. John and Paul, and Pete, and Bob

      i.e. John (Lennon) and Paul (McCartney), Pete (Townshend), and Bob (Dylan)

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      • Thanks for the pointers, Ben – this gives me even more to contemplate. A few things I had figured out, but also a few things new to me. This certainly helps to clarify. You’ve written a comprehensive, deep essay here in just a few stanzas – much admiration for your ability to do that!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps it could have emerged as an autobiography covering my late teens, but I am far too lazy to do all that work. 😉 And besides, in the current format it can (also) be read at a much broader, general level. And also a deep bow to Bob of course. Thank you for your kind words, Betty.

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  5. I did not clearly see Yeats in here, Ben Naga, although the reference to fairy hills and the Crusading King, “Immortal motley troubadour,” brushes on the Yeatsian legacy and the updates it to musical giants of the present day. What is good about this poem is that it does not seem like it just fell out of your sleeve to paper, but gave you a little trouble as you tried to pull it off. In some ways it is a ballad, although a very modern kind of ballad. It starts with the King, Naga et al, along with Dylan, Lennon, McCartney, et al, breezing
    into town with time to kill
    To put the free back in free fall
    Peal forth the vow in disavow…
    I suspect a lot of the 60s crowd put the free back in free fall.
    Then he Provincial Ham, who is also the Crusading King, at least in my reading,
    let figments strut
    While stuttering beneath his breath
    “Wh-wherefore art thou Juliet?”
    Sounds most young men first out on their own to me, scared out of their minds while strutting the stage and looking for Juliet. Then the discovery of more than Juliet,
    Soon leary learned the golden rule
    In prison’s schoolyard hide and seek
    Found respite from the siren call
    Played truantly eight days a week
    With John and Paul, and Pete, and Bob
    Unlatched the lightning bolt of Tao…
    Ah that Leary did mess things up, didn’t he? And then the world exploded with John and Paul and Pete and blowin’ in the wind Bob, who in turn led to the unlatching of the lightning bolt of Tao, the path to the primordial, fundamental universe, truth and meaning at last, because, but irrespective, of the leary. This phase led directly to
    the peaceful warrior’s way
    Through battlefields of poison dust
    Explaining to the deaf and blind
    “In heinous blasphemy you trust
    Cool off your mumbo jumbo jets
    ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and that means thou”
    Blowing your mind while girding yourself for battle against battle, rumbling around with John and Paul, Pete, and Bob, but going beyond them too.
    This particular transformation led to
    “Stomp out the unacceptable!”,
    a fire opposed to the drowning water of middle class England and America and parents all too willing to believe in the sanctity of the state and war planes spewing poison on Viet Nam and other places.
    Ah, but I was so much Adler then
    filled with the feelings of inferiority that were going into the making up of your personality, but
    I’m Junger than that now
    I am assuming you are referring to Ernst Junger, the German nationalist (which is unlike what you are saying), philosopher, and foreshadower of magical realism. I suspect you are specifically referring to his conception in “The Glass Bees” where he describes a world where automation and machines threaten the meaning of what it is to be an individual. There is also a breath of his experiments with LSD in the poem with the inventor of LSD, although I’ve forgotten his name for the moment.
    This is, obviously, a serious poem that deserves serious attention. A ballad with a philosophical exploration that wraps the journey from the 60s to today around the story told and the maturation of both an individual, Ben Naga, et al, and a generation that is certainly aging toward what was once unimaginable in the wildness of forever youth.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve decided that Junger might also refer to Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist and his notion of the collective unconscious. His discussion of archetypes can certainly be found in your poetry as well as his work bridging Eastern and Western philosophies and archetypes. Maybe you meant both Junger and Jung. Much of Junger would not sit well with the Ben Naga in the poetry, but certain of his ideas would fit very well. A lot of Jung would do well in a Ben Naga universe. You’ll have to enlighten me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AS REQUESTED (AND INDEED PROMISED)

      Well, it was definitely C. G. Jung I had in mind, and a putative maturation in world view from Adlerian (the will to power) to Jungian (perhaps too vast to pin down, so I won’t try a précis).

      I was unaware of Ernst Jünger. Thanks for the introduction. From what I have discovered, I don’t think he and I would have found too much in common politically.

      No conscious references to Yeats. there is a “Fairy Hill” just 4 miles from where I live and there is a lot of folklore around fairy hills.. (see the link in my response to Betty above.)

      Yes, I suppose this *is* a ballad. I had not considered that. But then “My Back Pages” is itself a ballad. It is worth comparing the two.

      (http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/my-back-pages)

      “Provincial ham”. I did in fact do a little acting in my youth, and also worked as a stage hand in our local theatre. I love the way “he” confuses his lines and wonders where Juliet is, rather than Romeo. 🙂

      I was using “leary” as an adjective (“knowing or sly; suspicious or wary; rowdy or boisterous”) although the happy coincidence with Leary was welcomed with open arms. (And minds?)

      BTW, it was Albert Hofmann who discovered LSD, while working for Sandoz. One day I shall write something relating to the adventures of Don Peyote and his faithful companion Pancho Sandoz. 🙂

      Like

  7. Hoffmann and Ernst Junger knew each other, which is what led me to believe you were referring to Ernst Junger at first. His novel “The Glass Bees” also struck me as having some resonance to your thought, but then, thinking about it, I decided that your conceptions of the universe are so different from his that you had to be referring to Carl Jung. I am glad my second consideration was right, although Junger was strong enough to reject Naziism, running severe risks in the process. I would not agree with his philosophies much, but he was an interesting writer in several respects. Thanks for giving me clarity of that point. I believe I read leary as both reference and verb and understood how both meanings could have led to hooky in school, although I admit in school I was so overwhelmed by existence that I failed to be a good student while still never playing hooky. Thanks for reading the too long rumination on your poem, but I think the poem deserves a long rumination.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One may play hooky mentally without leaving the building. On rereading my last comment I noticed that I wrote “verb” instead of “adjective”. I shall amend it.

      Thank you for putting so much time and effort to dissecting this poem. When folk such as Betty and yourself are willing to take one’s work seriously it is very encouraging, and then you begin to think about undertaking other projects.

      Like

  8. A masterpiece! Congratulations sir. Cogent, well thought and profound. The tag line is brilliant. And I think though we may read Jung in our twenties or thirties we really don’t know what he’s trying to say till our own time of madness. 🙂 well done sir. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At this point you must imagine me blushing. Thank you. I’m glad you found it worth reading. I thought you might enjoy it. As for Jung; I am still learning.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is your due. That was great. I so admire folks whose minds work like yours. Studied all that stuff at and earlier time in an academic setting and thought that I had mastered it because because some gave me particular grades. All I had mastered was the academic game. What I learned from Jung was that destruction of the ego is necessary and ongoing. Well I really didn’t learn it from him. I learned the concept. I learned, am learning about something similar that he went through to come up with his theories. He spent years writing his Red Book. It is glorious madness. I read it over a year or so in 2012ish. I claim no mastery of it or him. But he would not want disciples anyway. The main thing I got from him is that when the hidden madness surfaces it seems to be utter chaos and death but in the end will lead to life. And after all that I remembered that it was the same lesson I had learned in sunday school as a boy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • First there is a mountain
        Then there is no mountain
        Then there is

        Liked by 1 person

      • 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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