nebula
A Gnostic, Occult, and Imaginative Approach to Astrology
 
 

The Emerald Sutra

A Poem Cycle
by
Francis Donald Grabau
( JulyĖAugust;
1971. )
 
 
 

Note:
The Emerald Sutra began aboard Budd Gerdsí boat,
the Fritz K, a steel-hull boat out of Brownsville, Texas.
It began with The Song Of The Sea Horse
inspired by the emblem of a sea horse
on the side of the Fritz K, by Rilkeís poem on
the Unicorn, and by a series of dream images
concerning my younger sister, Doris Anne.

All these images, emblems, and words combined
with the experience of working with Captain Budd
and his Rigman, Paul, to complete the cycle
that produced this book. It was finished
in Room #5 of the Star Motel
in Port Isabelle, Texas
in August of 1971.

It is dedicated to Doris Anne,
Allan King, Ben and Flora Watson,
Budd Gerds, Bruce and Paul, and all
the men and women working on the shrimpboats
out of Brownsville and Port Isabelle, Texas.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

THE EMERALD SUTRA
 

1. The Temple

2. The Split

3. The Door

4. The Window

5. The Wizardís Eye

6. The Lovers

7. The Ritual

8. The Sea Horse

9. The Details

10. The Riddle Wheel

11. The Emerald Apocalypse
 
 
 
 

1.
( The Temple )

My name is Ibbur; I have invented this
room. Itís not a temple. It floats.
It has eight sides and costs
eighty dollars a month.

The Sun and Moon are green. They arenít
real. They are words; they make me
sleep. Like hexagrams. I didnít invent
them.

Everything is green.

Even green is green. I am green
too. You canít imagine it. I sleep in this
room; and write poems. The black apples split open
dropping confusion of legs and eyes in the mouth.
They are green, too.

Thereís no room in this room; just space enough
to sleep. And dream; green
dreams. But they arenít real dreams.

You could be green, too. And not
even know it. Thatís what
a Sutra is, -an invisible
person. Ibbur
isnít my real name.

2.
( The Split )

I thought the Emerald was
a treasure. I found it in a coffin
under a temple in a dream. It was
a fake. Like
the skyhook, and the tortoise shell, and the
landlady. Another emblem. Like
the poem.

The men in black robes
rushed in. Apples
tumbled out of the altar. Their eyes
were hooks. I knew them
from before.

The Wizard glittered
in his diamond suit. He stuck his burning
wand into my belly, and put me
in a trance. The great green stream
poured forth.

The Moon came up; heavy with
pomegranates. Everything split
in half. I could see
I was on a boat. A boat
is not really a boat; it is called
Ďa boatí. I
can hear the engine.

3.
( The Door )

There isnít any door on this boat. Boat
is just a name. This is
a room that keeps moving; it has
one window and no doors. Thatís because
itís in the Emerald Sea. Thereís no way out
of this language. Thatís because itís not
language; itís a room
with no door. Language
is just a name: like room
or poem. Or
Ibbur.

Thereís no way out of this poem. Itís
green. Like the Emerald. Like
the great stream. Itís not worth

eighty dollars a month.

4.
( The Window )

Thru the window I can see
the crew. They are
shadows. There are
layers
of dead skin on their hands, thousands
of dead fish on the deck. You canít
imagine it.

The Wizard has them
enthralled. He speaks in symbols: fish,
he says. The engine
hums and hums. They
put over the nets. The nets
drag the ocean floor. The pistons
smash at their heads; they fall
asleep. Fish
get caught in the nets; I
get caught in the language.

The window clouds over.
There are layers of dead skin
on my hands. Itís green. There are
thousands of dead fish
on the window.
 

5.
( The Wizardís Eye )

Itís night now. Nothing
can stop the engineís
teeth; they
emerge from tentacles, suck
at the rhythm. Cast iron drums
roll back the tongue, they coil
rusted cables to the throat. The crew
grin and bear it; they are
invisible anyway. They say:
ĎO, the Sea
is a cruel thing !í

They smoke another cigarette, and laugh
at the joke. The trance
deepens. The great green stream
goes by. Words

are alive. You can hear them
listen to themselves. Like
a rainbow. Like
an engine. Even
dead words
are alive; they
repeat and repeat in a pattern. Itís
an Emerald prism. Itís no
joke; itís
the Wizardís eye !
 

 6.
( The Lovers )

The room revolves. Itís like a wheel-
house. With no
compass, and
a missing door. Itís
split
down the middle. The Moon
looks in thru the screens. The dulcimer
you left with me is
turning green. I think of you
and write these poems. Green
poems. I am the green
lover
split open by your sword. You
love me, and the very greeness of it
opens into doors.

The dulcimer smiles at such talk ! It
glows in my lap. Itís
magic. Music
fills up the room; the Moon
is laughing; she can
touch you where you are on the boat; she can
touch me where I am in the room. Nothing
can filter out fire
when it comes up the spine. Not even

language.
 

7.
( The Ritual )

But language
reasserts itself. And the landlady
who is not a landlady
brings a fan that is called
Ďa faní for the
window that is just a name. I

plug it in. Itís
midnight, almost
time for the ritual:
the sea looks calm, the nets
drag, the walls
come up, and
the boat rides thru the room. It
sees me. The
engine hums, the drums
start up, the cables
coil in; the rhythm is
perfect. The Wizard

begins his movements; he lifts up
his arms, and the pistons
pound faster; he pulls out his wand, and
the crew run to touch it. It spurts out
electric fire, it burns
itsí way thru their bellies. Their bodies
twitch. They scream with
the pain. It
galvanizes the sea; it
magnetizes me. The magic
ring appears. The Moon
glows under it. The Wizard
nods, and
a dark cloud covers it.

But the crew
grow restless; they canít see
the room, and they canít see
the green. The sound of it
blinds them. The Wizard
excites them; they haul in the rigs. He moves
thru the Loadstone. He calls for
the whip-line; itsí hooks
hold the air. Nothing
is there, but the crew
listen to it.

They pull in the lines; they
pull in the doors. They canít see
the wand, but the Wizard
directs them: they
haul the nets up
over their heads; they
pull at the choke straps; their
muscles explode. Thousands
of fish collapse on the deck. Like
emblems. They leap up
at the Wizard; he drops his wand and
runs. They chase him into the wheelhouse; itís
on fire. They tear out
his eyes. The crew
canít help him; theyíre still
in a trance. Gadgets
twinkle over secret numbers, and the ring
traps the wand. His eyes fit
like keys into the doors. The fish
open them and pour
back into the sea ! Iím left
alone in the room with an Emerald
caught in my mouth; and a fan
that will cost
five extra dollars a month.
 

8.
( The Sea Horse )

The mouth swallows the Emerald; it
burns in the belly. The eye
sees the sea horse. The mouth
sings a song:

The Song Of The Sea Horse,
O,
the sea horse has wings
and a horn on
his head; he rides
the boat that is
no boat at all. the one that is
an engine; divided
by walls. everywhere
the water, that is
water
moves. i canít
invent a meaning
for it, or you, or anything at all. all
i can do is
repeat: the sea
horse has eyes, and a sound
in his head. he is
dead; killed
by the boat in the wall. the fall
of a piston pumped
glue thru his tail. the water

stiffened.
 

9.
( The Details )

When the song stops, the mouth
isnít empty. The belly
still burns. The room
remains. Nothing
changes, everything
is still
green. The sea horse carries the Wizard to
the tortoise; the tortoise gives him
my eyes, and the
diagram from the shell: itís in a coffin
under a temple
in a dream. Itís
green. It
looks like an Emerald. Ah, I have it
now: -my name is
Ibbur, the Wizard. I am
green. I always have
the same dream. Itís about
a room that costs eighty dollars a month
to rent. I didnít invent
it, and I wonít
bother you with the details. Theyíre
stiff, like
hexagrams; they spin in
circles and cost
five extra dollars a month. Iím split
down the middle. Like the
room. You
canít imagine it. Thatís because
youíre green; fire is
green. Fire is
love. I love
you. Love
is green; it
floats. Floats
is green, even the word
green
is green. Even
the Emerald Sutra is
green. The great green stream
is green too. They say
the very greeness of it

opens into yours.
 

10.
( The Riddle Wheel )

Hot tongues of fire descended
on the room. The Wizard
drew himself up
and spoke thus
to Ibbur:

- Ď Ibbur,
if anyone reads this
discourse, and is neither filled with
alarm, nor awe, nor
dread, he must be
a Sutra !

Wherefore ? Because
Ibbur,
The Emerald Sutra teaches that
The Emerald Sutra is not, in fact,
The Emerald Sutra. Such
is merely a name. í

There was
a pause; but
the Riddle Wheel
rolled over both of them
at once.
 
 

11.
( The Emerald Apocalypse )

And at once, I saw
the walls of the room
dissolve. Everwhere
there were doors ! The air
moved purple, and golden, and blue
and thru it rode
the Spectre of the Sea Horse,
whose name is the Spirit of Names: and he came

toward me, and out of my mouth
he took the rod the Wizard had stuck in
my belly. And again I saw
the coffin under the temple in the dream, and a great
stream of letters moved all around me. It was
like a whirlpool. And I fell
into a dream, and in that dream
I saw thousands of millions of names
coming together, and breaking apart, and I was
afraid; and I went running
thru a dark cave, and a black
name was seeking me
out; and I was afraid the name was
my own, and it
was: Ibbur
rose up out of the shadows and came
toward me. He had no
legs or arms, just
sticks that clacked
when he walked. And his body was all
one FACE, and it had
one EYE, and all the rest
was a MOUTH like a Hole
that moved into me. But I
woke up, and the great stream closed
over him. And the Sea Horse lifted up
the Emerald, and it was
a key; and he
locked the lock of the coffin. Then
he touched his one horn
lightly to my eye, and I
saw a Vision: at first
it was just beautiful green light, breathing
and singing; but slowly
an Angel appeared. He was
Tipareth,
The Angel of the Rainbow, he had
one foot on the land, and one foot
in the sea; and in his hands
he held

The Emerald Sutra,
and he
spoke to me and said:

· Ď Take your little book, and
eat it. Or
it will become as ashes
on your tongue, and stones
in your belly. í
- So, I took the book
and I ate it; and a Rainbow
poured out of my eyes, and I
saw thousands of millions of Angels, in
thousands of millions of rooms, with
thousands of millions of
eyes; and each one
picked me a flower that grew
from the color of his eyes; and each one
laughed when I ate it, and
each one cried when I died. Nevertheless,
I, Ibbur,
solemnly warn everyone
who may read the incredible words of this book: if
anyone adds anything to them, he will
find himself with a wall; and if
anyone takes anything from them, he will
find himself in a room. So
be it ! And even so
may the Spirit of the Sea Horse
come soon !


 
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