Monday, December 26, 2011

Ode to an English garden

Belladonna pressed between pages: mahogany clamps engraved ‘J L’ – dull-glinted silver-plated wing-nuts.
Entertainers in the far-bower, tuning pitchforks in the mellowing drone of reserved ’cello-dolce pianoforte.
Converging in conservatories—pale green bloom mist—faces within curtains peer at beckoning bindweed.
Cusp of regal elation—delving depths of oblique reason—in curious shades of reason’s final endeavour,
Georgian edifices folded within the floor timbers: eaten by ritual inadvertence grown slow in rural towers.
Stepping dainty hurdles of crested plumage—the feather-quill edges of languid language reaches to speak:
The captions designated by their teeth have sired the compass of cerebral swallows, where seams are endless.
They find themselves wrapped in stories: summits bounded by terrain—seas and oceans—tumbling distant
Below them, the pier—lapping tide and herbaceous borders— collations of lapidary sentence-construction.

There’ll be a time for this, sometime – wavering amid laburnum, nasturtium, hydrangea, wisteria, lavender.
Wending—interlaced through filigreed trelliswork—array of roses like silk Summer dresses that look so fine:
Dame Prudence; Glamis; Gloire Dijon; Duchesse de Montebello; Comte de Chambord and the Wife of Bath.
They’ve all come for afternoon tea and languishment in the loggia – where logarithms of loam lie dormant
Lodged like locus desperatus in the languid locutorium of the locus ceruleus, defiying leery lodemanage.
Dame Prudence pouts on cue at the mention of jowls – and the untimely antics of rudimentarily peafowl.
The Duchess de Montebello has nice slim ankles, from time to time, when aphids do not blight her bloom.
Le Comte de Chambord winces slightly from onset of memory “The was a time—by Jove—there was a time.”
The Wife of Bath secures the penultimate Chocolate Oliver – leaving all to lust in secret for the last lasque.

Paving stones betray the passage of endless feet: stockings and socks; plimsolls, Oxfords, slippers and mules.
Baby’s breath bubbles in fertile green froth amid polished serpentine cobbles – each with its ancient history.
“Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun – if the sun don’t come you’ll get a tan from standing in the English rain.”
The dakinis sing – as egg men make their rounds, eyeing espalier-pears, spread-eagling the perimeter wall
Pears for the heirs – but it is not here apparent, who’s heir apparent in this lazily phrased haze of afternoon
Dakinis return singing: “The taxman’s taken all my dough—left me in my stately home—lazing on this sunny afternoon.”
Cucumber and mint bob merrily, cheek-to-cheek, with Pimm’s Nº 1 Cup russet-pink herbal quinine flattery
As Lady Philately (in her pale pink silk) and Hooray Henry (in his red and white blazer) encroach on croquet
With coquettish allusions to chronographic collusion with clandestine columbine – drifting ever dusk-ward.

July 2010

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About Doc Togden (Ngakpa Chögyam)

As the caption on the author-designed cover of Doc Togden's (Ngakpa Chögyam) upcoming collection of poetry ravings of a mild mannered maniac reads:

Tantra is Art - and a tantrika explores the sense-fields through the Arts. This work paints with the cadences of language - because the poet is both a painter and musician. He marvels at existence whilst lampooning the prevalent sociopathy of spirituality. As semantic Jazz - linguistic density jives with space, taking readers into realms where linear logic is only one possible vector amongst many. Comedy and tragedy dance, provoking a cascade of surreal impressions that change with each reading. Rock & Roll lyrics sung by dakinis erupt in counterpoint to the paradoxical hymns of a 'vicar or vajrayana' - a trans-Atlantic Englishman who raves, tongue-in-cheek, on the nature of reality. This is the first volume to be published in the contemporary genre of 'Critical Mass Poetics' as defined by the author and his students.

On the phenomenon of having two names, he writes:

"I appeared on FaceBook as Doc Togden because I wanted a fresh start in terms of the Arts. I have often found a dual prejudice to exist. If one presents as a musician / artist one is not taken seriously by Buddhists. If one presents as a Buddhist one is not taken seriously by musicians / artists. This is obviously a generalisation – and as such, probably meaningless for anyone apart from myself. It is true however, that Captain Beefheart had to give up his Rock musician persona to be taken seriously as a painter. A few Tibetan Lamas—such a Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche—have managed to evade the censorious radar of common opinion – but the same largesse of view would not seem available to the inconsequential eccentric yogi and yogini. Doc Togden is as much my name as Ngakpa Chögyam because the name on my passport—and other legal documents—is Dr Chögyam Togden. The Tibetan designation ‘ngakpa’ is hard to pronounce for most people and so, as I have a doctorate in Vajrayana Psychology I use that in everyday association outside my rôle as Lama. The title doctor releases me from having to designate myself by gender and appeals to my sense of humour vis-à-vis my fondness for Doc Holliday and a variety of musicians who have ‘Doc’ as their first name. I have five FaceBook friends called Doc and they are all musicians.

The time has now arrived to merge Doc Togden and Ngakpa Chögyam – and to allow them to be as they have always been. Hopefully those who may have looked askance at either will feel reconciled to the fact that they can talk with me as an artist and Buddhist teacher without feeling wary on the one hand or fearful of potential religious polemic on the other. I have no desire to convert anyone to Buddhism – but I do have a desire to offer aspects of Buddhism to the world of Art and Art to those who practise Buddhism. I believe there to be a common language – an essential language that speaks of the timeless efflorescence of the elements. The Arts arise from vision—from the empty space of primal creativity—and that space is the space everyone can access. Buddhists say that everyone is essentially a Buddha. I take from that that everyone is essentially an Artist. Now . . . did Ngakpa Chögyam say that, or did Doc Togden say that? Who ever said it, he’d also like to say that there is essentially no difference."

On Facebook, Doc Togden (Ngakpa Chögyam) describes himself as a "Teacher / Artist: painter; poet; author; life-style choreographer, and musician (vocalist, harp, rhythm bass, and 12 string / resophonic guitars)."

In reference to the roles of "Teacher" and "life-style choreographer", the informed reader will notice the uncanny resemblance of Doc Togden (Ngakpa Chögyam) to Ngak'chang Rinpoche, whom together with Khandro Déchen are the lineage holders of the Aro gTér. The Aro gTér is a stream of Vajrayana Buddhism in which ordination is congruous with romance, marriage, and family life that focuses on the teaching and practice of the Inner Tantras from the point of view of Dzogchen, an essential non-dual teaching.

As a writer, Doc Togden's (Ngakpa Chögyam) most recent books include an odd boy and wisdom eccentrics.