Apples Snakes Skies & Fires

Published July 24, 2010 · Estimated reading time: 3 minutes · Share your thoughts
Filed under

Source: William Blake’s illustrations for John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1808).

“Apples Snakes Skies & Fires”

Apples, snakes, skies and fires
Tomorrow will bring us desires
Yesterday’s empires
Came and went with dust.

Vivid dreams, acid streams
Talking faces, without basis
Purposeless, senselessness
Bloodshed, alive.

Can you feel it beating?
Can you hear them screaming?
Voices, voices
To the sound of your heart.

Apples, snakes, skies and fires
Tomorrow will bring us desires
Yesterday’s empires
Came and went with dust.

In Sappho‘s arms, a poet’s embrace
Lawlessness, an enslaved race
Marching now, to the drums
Consequences lost in bombs.

Apples, snakes, skies and fires
Tomorrow will bring us desires
Yesterday’s empires
Came and went with dust.

Paradise lost, Eden found
But I chose to turn around
You may never forgive me
I’m at last free.

Notes: Above are spur-of-the-moment lyrics I wrote a couple of years ago and recently recovered. I’m by no means a poet or a lyricist, but this was one of those rare occasions where I was able to perfectly encapsulate and convey my internal state into very few words.

The piece initially had an introductory section which made reference to Matthew Arnold‘s Dover Beach, specifically the lines “Sophocles long ago/Heard it on the Agaean, and it brought/Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow/Of human misery” from which the refrain is inspired. In my piece, I observe the fluctuating and transient nature of human experience, but assert that a constant element exists that marks these experiences: desire.

This element encompasses the destructive temptation that is called the root of all evil in Judeo-Christian traditions, and the destructive craving that is considered the origin of suffering in Buddhist and Hindu traditions. However, the same desire is also the single purveyor of our civilization, always pushing us to reach out further, to become more, and to create. In order to highlight the dual and paradoxical nature of desire, I juxtapose images of good and evil, creation and destruction, and antiquity with modernity throughout the piece.

To make note of an obvious reference– a tribute is paid to Sappho, whose poetry has been called “the only feminine voice, the only vision of a woman thrown into the ancient world that we know only through men.” The specific phrase ‘in Sappho’s arms’ was written by Elijah Fenton in his early 1700s book retelling Greek mythology. The line refers to the myth of Phaon and Sappho, a tragedy about persistent desire: “And, from his crime absolv’d, with all his charms /He long shall live, and die in Sappho’s arms.

Lastly (this is way longer than I intended it to be!), I wanted to give this composition an ambiguous feeling and leave it open to interpretation. In the final stanza, for instance, Eden could be seen in the traditional Abrahamic tradition, or in itself viewed itself as an object of humankind’s longing. What is read ultimately varies depending on one’s perspective, and whether one associates a resigned, redemptive or another tone with the composition.

Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi

What you are… and what you might be

Published July 01, 2010 · Estimated reading time: 1 minute · Share your thoughts
Filed under ,


Inside the Citadel of Karim Khan/Arg-e-Karim Khan. The paintings were plastered in the Qajar era when it was converted into a prison, now being restored.

You must have a room, or certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

-Joseph Campbell (mythologist, writer)

Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi