- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Introduction | pg. 2 - Eight | pg. 3 - Eight | pg. 4 - Eight | pg. 5 - Eight | pg. 6 - Eight
pg. 7 - The Dharma Wheel | pg. 8 - Still | pg. 9 - Envelopes of Yesterday | pg. 10 - A Tumbling Kite
pg. 11 - An Empty Town | pg. 12 - The Piper | pg. 13 - A House of Hopes and Dreams
pg. 14 - The Night People | pg. 15 - River of Life | pg. 16 - Photos of Ghosts
pg. 17 - Promenade the Puzzle

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Promenade the Puzzle

One of the striking things about Still in comparison to the first four King Crimson albums is that, instead of a mythological persona speaking globally, we get a real person talking about real life in a way that anyone can understand. Peter Sinfield's writing had become accessible and, after The Song of the Sea Goat, he seldom engaged in obscurantism - which is, by definition, a secret language, a highly personal approach. As we have seen, there is a secret language in such songs as The Night People and River of Life - a Peter Sinfield lexicon if you will. But these songs also possess a readily discernible exoteric meaning. To be truly obscurantist a song has to, at first glance, appear to be . . . nonsense. Obscurantism did again briefly enter Peter's work with the final track of Photos of Ghosts, Promenade the Puzzle.

"Lady dancing on a tulip
Pirouetteing in the sunset"

This is the Moonchild , the Ladies of the Dancing Water and Formentera, the anima.

"Let me be your next cigarette"

The ego destroying fire of Lizard .

"Church bells, played by a penguin
Bearded priest who walks like chaplin,"

The "temple master's bells" of Prince Rupert Awakes , religion and dogma. The priest, who "walks like chaplin", is a trickster figure, like Hermes.

"I must fly like a swallow tonight."

"Still I wonder how it is to be a bird,
Flying far away when all the world has stirred"

"Evading the world's outstretched glove"

To gain sustenance, the poet must leave the world of the senses and journey within.

Matsuo Basho
Matsuo Basho
"Chinese rice paper poet
Dips his paintbrush in the silence
Of the lake which mirrors the sky."

The "lake" is the microcosm (of the individual) and the "sky" is the macrocosm (of the universe). The "lake" is also the inner world (microcosm) of the psyche (the four psychological functions) which mirrors the outer world (macrocosm) of the universe (the four elements). Go within and find the universe. After the shamanic journey he returns to the world and sees it with new eyes.

"Forget yourself. Become one with the universe and your music. Let it flow through you. No matter how perfect technically, if your expression is not natural and unselfconscious, your music won't affect others emotionally but will merely be your subjective counterfeit."

- Basho

"Milkmaids waltz around the haystack
when the maestro blows his trumpet."

The scene, a concert or a club where a band is playing, is given a rural or rustic depiction to confer upon the event a timeless or archetypal quality. The "maestro" is Hermes, the ringmaster of Cirkus .

"Bandsmen hammer at the cafe
for the gypsy's drawbridge bottle."

Musicians "hammer" (work) towards a goal. The "gypsy" tells us the quest is mystical. What is the purpose of music? Of art? It is to transcend.

"We live to overcome"

A drawbridge allows entrance into the castle of the king. The "bottle" suggests a worldly connotation: that the musicians are working for drinks. But there is also a spiritual drunkeness.

"It is interesting to note that similar to other major religions, Islam frowns upon dancing and using words such as "gamble," "drunk," and "wine" which you find throughout Rumi's and other great Islamic and Sufi poets writings. Obviously they mean "drunk" on God's grace, but that's not to say they wouldn't be outcast by religious fundamentalists today."

- Rumi Poetry

"Choir boys pull on the zig-zag
Of the monkey's dream piano."

"Choir boys" (another clue that this is a spiritual activity) "pull on" invoke or gain inspiration from the "ziz-zag" (the push-pull, in-out of Yin and Yang), the inbetweeness of Hermes. The pianist is primal, instinctive. A monkey. His piano playing is informed by the unconscious. It is a dream piano.

"Fish eat stolen keys in rivers
Where the wooden legs go sailing."

The "keys" are piano keys and musical ideas but they are also treasures, gifts from the unconscious, the keys to Self-realization. The fish, in the sea of the unconscious, are in possession of these keys.

"Clocks join hands to dance the polka."

"Clocks" represent time or consciousness. The joining of hands represents consensual reality, societally imposed and agreed upon custom, dogma and morality. The "polka" represents boring, regimented, overly-conscious "one string" music. The wooden (stiff) legs belong to the polka dancers who "sail" over (yet never delve into) the sea of the unconscious. The fish steal "keys" only from those who refuse to go beneath the waters ("where the wooden legs go sailing").

"Deep in the sea are riches beyond compare. But if you seek safety, it is on the shore."

- Saadi
The Rose Garden

"Sweep the carpet under the carpet"

The carpet is the surface, the veneer. It is Maya (the sensate world). We must get beneath the surface, obliterate, "dissolve . . . dissolve . . ." the surface consciousness, in order to attain gnosis.

"When the mirror of your heart becomes clear and pure, you'll behold images which are outside this world. You will see the image and the image-Maker, both the carpet of the spiritual expanse and the One who spreads it."

- Rumi

"Promenade the Puzzle."

The "puzzle" that we are invited to "promenade" (walk through) is life . . .
. . . and the work of the poet, Peter Sinfield.

Still II ~ Photos of Ghosts return to
chapter & page index
Earthbound and Beyond

Sign the Dreambook Dreambook Read the Dreambook

Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
Islands Two Footnotes in the Sand Still Still 2
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