Posted by: Bruce Proctor | May 26, 2016

The Small Gray Book pages 1-5

page 1

many approaches, a whirlpool of doctrines, a sea of complaints.

awkward compromises of misguided literalness

Kabbalah,“a subset of the dazzling stream,”
the visionary tradition of Judaism.
Such fascinating themes as:

  • the nature of prophecy and personal development,
  • dreams and higher consciousness,
  • meditation,
  • creativity in daily life,
  • intuition and extrasensory knowledge,
  • the immortality of the human soul,
  • the messianic age,
  • unseen dimensions, including the afterlife.

page 2

An admixture of facts and uncertainties

Boehme (1575-1624) had a vision, touched off by the brilliance of sunlight reflected from a pewter dish.
Influenced: Milton, Newton, Blake, Coleridge, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Buber, Tillich, Heidegger, Jung, Bly.

What a hard heart the clock is!

jollying handcarts through the ruts

Seawater was poured over racks
of seaweed, the water dripping down,
then boiled down to extract the salt.

He sent a note round with his man and his motor, then stood him a drink.

page 3

Room clutter:
new mug with a Birch Point photo on it
Ellman’s James Joyce
a pane of broken glass
Saigyo-Burton Watson
a piece of bark to photograph
a pile of books to store upstairs
peels, rinds, stalks, kernels, stale blueberries, stems, seeds in a bowl
gobs of plastic bags of all sorts and condition
numerous empty food boxes
3 boxes of photo negative albums
a clothes hamper of clean clothes
a plastic one-liter urinal
a sore tooth
piles of books everywhere: no end to them
scattered mail


page 5

  • two hundred and more years of isolation
  • the widely-accepted formula: “Eastern morality and Western techniques”
  • excessive respect for the West
  • the unheard of volume and variety of translations
  • supplies the subject of every sentence
  • does not rely on unspoken overtones
  • the production of tanka and haiku is enormous, and some may stand the test of time
  • Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, the Symbolists, Verlaine
  • The spiritual, dehumanizing torpor of lives confused and ruined by Commodore Perry’s black ships
  • Old forms- restrictive diction, grammar, vocabulary
  • Hagiwara, Nishiwaki, Myazawa; Tanikawa
  • affinities for the first, simplest things


bugaboos         bamboo           billabong
bungalows       bamboozle      Billie goat
gigolos               bazooka           petticoat
tremolos          balloon
kangaroo         baboon
dungarees        buffoon



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