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Sangha News     Zen Aluminati   Death&Dying

On the Two Year Memorial for Niels Holm
with a poem and photo -
by William Benz

Niels Holm Memorial Page -- cuke interview I with Niels which leads to more

I just got back from a three-day trip to Port Townsend.

About 20 people came to a Potluck/Full Moon Bonfire Gathering to remember Niels.
 A very auspicious gathering with a glorious October Full Moon shining down upon all.

Many of the people you know were there– Silas,  Larry Scoville, Carol Gallup, Steven Johnson and Jim Rogers (?) .
Many you might expect were absent which is quite normal in a small community where feelings run deep and intense.

There were also many other amazing characters there that were unknown to even long term residents.
  People who hang out in the bush doing truly revolutionary things in the spirit of the old Wobblies.
  People who have fallen through the cracks after deliberately making them.
  People who have never listened to NPR or been to a wine bar.

For six hours the wondrous anecdotes were as varied as those telling them. With a large raging bonfire drawing us closer together many left with an expanded view of just how wide Niels' circle of friends was and is.

  Niels would have approved.

Later, in the middle of the night, I came out from the tepee I was sleeping in and sat down in a field of dried ferns and grass. Beside me was a stand of wild rose hips with each berry transfigured into a shining jewel by the brilliant moonlight. Not bad wealth gathering for a poor white boy!
And a Great Aantidote for political hysteria.  YA!

Be safe,
William Benz

PS Please find below an Addendum to the poem I wrote for Niels.
Also a Commemorative Medallion made from a photo taken while people stood around the bonfire.
Moments before, I noticed the empty chair and felt a distinct presence. 
The glowing orb was added afterwards to more visually convey my experience.

       Dream Time Addendum
        a Remembrance two years
             after Niels' passing

   Who now sits in memory?
      What elementals remain?
         Who       are we really?
             And who’s here to hear this refrain?

Niels was good at showing the cracks in the busyness of our lives–
     cracks in the doors of perception,
          cracks in the ceilings of thought,
              cracks in the columns of persistence.
In many ways
    Niels and I did not see I to I,
        though we kept bumping into each other
             while squeezing through similar cracks.
  Admittedly, at times, from seemingly different directions.
                        But what does that matter?
In passing, we’d often acknowledge a Federation
   based on our shared fascination with demolishing
      the Illusions of Authority.
As with all methods of demolition,
    in the opinions of bystanders and
         especially in those whose pedestals got toppled,
              the degree of finesse used was often found wanting.
For it’s hard to see the love that motivates an Iconoclast
     destroying objects of veneration
          to make way for something more real, more natural.
      A dangerous and thankless occupation, for sure.
For an Icon is often the closest some ever get to the Ineffable.
 For many only trust in what can be bought, ready made
    or pre-packaged and sanctioned with Seals of Officialdom.
They’d never think of building a Temple from discarded scraps.
  Or sacred mosaics from debris destined for a landfill.
Such work is arduous, for there are fewer teachers of this craft
  than there are building inspectors, lineage holders and
   others who see cracks as a defect.
Through one Crack we found a shared appreciation of Hundertwasser–
  an Austrian renegade who once said,  
    “Just carrying a ruler in your pocket should be forbidden,
       at least on a moral basis. For the ruler is a symbol of a new illiteracy.”
Niels didn’t need to measure things,
   he made them fit by the stroke of his handiwork,
     by how much cement he picked up on a trowel,
        by how many bottles he had to embed in a wall.
A ruler is great for drawing straight lines, but as Friedensreich
   would say, “Straight lines drive men mad.”
Niels was a master at bending the rules and throwing curves,
  and in doing so, gave many a taste
     of the meandering sanity they craved.
   That should be a good body of work
in anybody’s book.


Written at a Bonfire Gathering,
October Full Moon, 2009,
Port Townsend

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