The Daily Muse

Thoughts from an Austin Garden  -- July 2009


Last update -  July 30


Istanbul from the Bosphorus. More images from my recent trip to Turkey here.


July 1 - morning



For the brave people of Iran...


July 9 - evening


On the streets of Tehran today - the world is still watching!


July 13 - evening


A dervish in Urfa - check out the completed Images of Turkey page here.


Well, our brutal summer is continuing... interrupted by celebrity meltdowns and maneuverings, as well as the continuing great story of our day - the very real revolution that is continuing in Iran. Sources in the know are pointing to this Friday as a potential game-changing day there. I advise that we all follow closely...


In the meantime our own nation is obsessed with the machinations of La Palin... the resentment stoking beauty queen who has opted for abdication over actually, like, um, governing stuff. I guess she figures that this is the cat walk to  the kind of American Idol celebustatus she craves (and which is apparently a much more promising gig than being Governor of Alaska.) For a brilliant take on why Sarah Palin will remain an object of dread and adoration read Frank Rich's brilliant column here: Rich absolutely nails the reason why Palin is a real story - because she is the dim yet dangerous voice of the angertainment-industry that the Republican Party has become. What began as a movement has indeed become a racket - a sleazy casino sideshow played for very high stakes. Yet, we dismiss it at and her at our own peril. There is a tremendous amount of real pain out there right now and folks like Limbaugh/Beck&Palin are the Father Coughlins and Huey Longs of our era. All I can say is that I am praying that Obama is our FDR.


July 17 - afternoon



Tehran today - 1,500,000 demonstrators on the street. A cleric asked them to chant "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." Instead, they chanted "Death to Russia" and "Death to the Dictator."


July 18 - afternoon


Flowers in a planter on one of the charming bridges across the canals of Amsterdam.


Just a quick announcement... another new images page! Visit Amsterdam here.



On my was home from Turkey I had a brief layover in Amsterdam and was able to spend a couple of hours touring the canal rings... hope you enjoy the pics.


July 30 - morning


At the Pool of Sacred Fish, Urfa


The following poem was written in response to a visit to the The Pool of Sacred Fish (Balikligol) in Urfa, Turkey. This is the site where legends report that the prophet Abraham was thrown into a great fire by the polytheist king, Nimrod. According to the legend, after Abraham was thrown into the fire, two springs emerged from underneath his knees that extinguished the fire and spared his life. The story also reports that the burning embers of the fire turned into fish, and today two spring-fed pools are filled with colorful carp. When food is thrown into the pools for the fish it is easy to interpret their color and churning frenzy as fire-like. The pools grace the grounds of the Halil-ur-Rahman mosque, built in 1211 and now surrounded by beautiful gardens filled with families and pilgrims from throughout the Muslim world.  It was at this mosque that the individuals who were guiding the small group of Texans I was traveling with invited me to join them in prayer - a very moving experience.


The Source (Urfa)

Father Abraham
Knelt in the flames
Of his devotion -
Eyes ablaze
Heart over flowing.

Two springs rose
From below his steady knees
And washed the idols away -
Their clenched lips
Sealed against the flood -
Their stone studded eyes
Tumbling blind
From bloody altars.

And the fire’s glowing embers
Now churning
Burning like hungry fish -

All washed away,
Washed away.

Father of many -
Knife wielder -
Receiver of the Call -
Kneel with me!
Put your shoulder against mine!
Let us raise our voices together!

Oh, merciful –
Oh, compassionate One!

Let us fall forward -
Foreheads to the ground --
Let us feel the wash of time
Beneath us
And taste the cooling water -
The wash of goodness done
One thousand, million times.

Oh, generous One!
Lay down with us.
No jealous king
Can touch us here -
Amid the trembling reeds
And sweet grasses
Of your ever rising spring.


Continue to August 2009

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