Poetlister goes on walkabout, shards, and how the light gets in

“…radiating light emanating from a blinding Godhead…” -something something Kabbalah

Amphitheatrum sapientiæ æternæ

It looks like it’s official, Poetlister has departed Wikipediocracy. What he will do next is anybody’s guess.

We do know that he is involved in WikiLivres, a site similar to WikiSource that takes advantage of international differences in copyright law to host hard-to-find texts.  We have written about WikiLivres before here: https://genderdesk.wordpress.com/2018/10/26/bibliowiki-moves-to-south-korea/  There is still no Wikipedia article, but there is a WikiData item and oddly enough, a template on Simple Wiki, as well as a deprecated page on WikiSource that informs us that “The Wikilivres website has been down since 2019.”  Well, that’s news to me, because wikilivres.org itself informs us that: “This site has 31,458 pages and 3,862 files.” But in the absence of an official blog, it’s hard to tell what exactly is going on.

Genderdesk has always tried to reconnect wandering Wikipedians.  A case in point, we provided a platform to Crowsnest on several occasions. While the format here does not lend itself well to Crow’s personal style, we did our best, until he finally found a home on Sucks, sometimes referred to by pundits as “WikiHoover”.  Poetlister is certainly at least as high-profile as Crow, if not more, and we will do our best to provide our readers with any updates on his activities.  Just a reminder, genderdesk has few rules, but does not allow either impersonation or doxing, although socks are fine. Sometimes you need a sock to really express yourself effectively.

So, what about exile?  What happens, or what can happen?  Lots.  (“The desire to experience the presence of or be unified with God is as old as religion itself, and we often give it the name “mysticism.” In the Jewish context, this took on different forms as Jewish communities migrated east and west following the destruction of the Second Temple.” [ source.])  The most interesting is a meeting of cultures, with each culture redefining their tradition as illuminated by the tradition they come in contact with.  Is it any accident that the troubadours and the concept of courtly love arose when and where it did, under the protection of Eleanor of Aquitaine?  Would Lorca or Leonard Cohen have been able to do what they did without that tradition to build on? (Cohen died on this day in 2016.)

And what about the Kabbalah? All that stuff about shards of light and Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, which in Jewish mysticism has apparently been shattered into these mirror-like shards.  And does the light radiate downwards from the tetragrammaton, the One ( יהוה) who must not be named, or does the pilgrim climb upwards, in a mystical Heikhalot ascent through symbolic palaces? Here is an interesting collection of sources, “Notes for Religious Studies 369: Introduction to Judaism The Mystic Path“.  Yes, there are many opportunities.  And they say that when one door closes, another door opens.   Although it is entirely possible that when one door closes, one door just closes.

Jewish mysticism started in the 4th century, probably, although it is hard to tell because medieval writers liked to attribute their works to earlier writers to enhance their authority. Also they liked to write “in the style of” various ancient authorities, it was a kind of art form that today would be looked down on as impersonation rather than legitimate parody.  There was also a Christian form of kabbalah, although still based on the writings of rabbis. The sun/pentagram above is based on one of those, “Amphitheatrum sapientiæ æternæ, solius veræ” by the German alchemist Heinrich Khunrath (1560-9 — 1605).  For another selection of texts in the Christian kabbalah tradition, see here.

How the light gets in

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in


Leonard Cohen rarely talked about his lyrics, but he is said to have made a statement about this one.

The future is no excuse for an abdication of your own personal responsibilities towards yourself and your job and your love. “Ring the bells that still can ring”: they’re few and far between but you can find them.

This situation does not admit of solution of perfection. This is not the place where you make things perfect, neither in your marriage, nor in your work, nor anything, nor your love of God, nor your love of family or country. The thing is imperfect.

And worse, there is a crack in everything that you can put together: Physical objects, mental objects, constructions of any kind. But that’s where the light gets in, and that’s where the resurrection is and that’s where the return, that’s where the repentance is. It is with the confrontation, with the brokenness of things.

And there is a novel named after the song, one of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series. The author says you can read them in any order.

And whatever happened to Javier Mas? Here he is on bandurria playing “Who by fire” with Glen Hansard a few days after Cohen’s passing.

But no, it just isn’t right without Leonard’s voice….

2 thoughts on “Poetlister goes on walkabout, shards, and how the light gets in

  1. About Wikilivres.

    You say: “…WikiSource that informs us that “The Wikilivres website has been down since 2019.” Well, that’s news to me, because wikilivres.org itself informs us that: “This site has 31,458 pages and 3,862 files.” But in the absence of an official blog, it’s hard to tell what exactly is going on.”

    The site looks live when you visit, but it’s mostly non-functional.

    You can look at Recent Changes, where you see that the last change was indeed apparently in 2019.

    Try to visit an Article from any link in recent changes, or from anywhere else, even “Random Page”, and *poof* – either the site hangs or you are dumped back to the main page.

    The same thing happens if you try to look at a user page or contributions link.

    The “Request an account” link doesn’t work, so I have no idea what would happen if you have an account.

    So: “down”, well no, I guess – but mostly non-functional and broken, at least when I just looked…

  2. Yeah, I noticed the recent changes aren’t all that recent, but it looks like the whole database is missing.
    The donate button doesn’t work, how ironic. But there are copious notes about finances. https://wikilivres.org/wiki/Project:Donate Most recently, Jeremy Lee-Jenkins.and Emblyn Jónsdóttir have been keeping it afloat, along with sysadmin, who I believe is Arthur/Dysklyver. No idea who the others are.
    I wonder how much has been archived.
    Dysk hasn’t been around much since he had some Adventure on the internet somewhere, but he still passes through Reddit once in a blue moon, in fact, he was there last week. https://www.reddit.com/user/Dysklyver/

    EDIT: Just adding a wormhole here to Dysk’s previous comment here on this subject: https://genderdesk.wordpress.com/2018/12/30/countdown-to-public-domain-day/comment-page-1/#comment-82225

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