Monthly Archives: May 2013

Trickle Down: a poem from Simson Najovits

I was delighted to receive this  poem from Simson Najovits. He is a writer and former Editor-in-Chief of Radio France Internationale.  His stories, poems, essays and articles have been published in Canada, the United States, France and Britain. He is the author of the two-volume, Egypt, Trunk of the Tree, published by Algora In New York. He has been awarded Canada Arts Council and Quebec Arts Council grants. He has lived in Paris and spent many years in the Work.

His poem expresses rarely held views about Gurdjieff, de Salzmann and the Work, being neither totally for nor against but an interesting and positive reconciliation of those extremes.


Trickle Down

Mister Gurdjieff and Madame de Salzmann were a duo

and incontestably the finest gurus of the 20th century

Mister Gurdjieff he was flamboyant

an athlete of the spirit and the body

by the horns he grabbed the esotericisms of all the ages

reshuffled the deck

and made the supernatural appear credibly natural and even almost scientific

and even, even, refurbished God into an “Absolute Omni-Loving Endlessness”

and he revamped mythology too

his fresh metaphor and allegory juggled strange, meaningful invented words

and retold man’s old desperate tale

Mister Gurdjieff

he reveled in the body

he gormandized and drank, danced, drove fast, did business and played wistful music

he had at least seven children with seven different women, including

Madame de Salzmann

She, Madame de Salzmann, was austere

but she wasn’t a slouch and she played both esoteric hardball and everyday softball

and she too danced, talked, wrote, shocked and electrified

but she was a vegetarian and she was a manager

she organized, arranged and developed

everything she learned from Mister Gurdjieff

and Mister Gurdjieff he said, “She knows everything”

Without Madame de Salzmann

would there be any Fourth Way groups today?

But what is really there?

There is no more real possibility in the Fourth Way

than there has ever been in any esotericism

Mister Gurdjieff and Madame de Salzmann

identified the bane and the mess and the curse plaguing us humans

as well as any esotericism ever did before

we are automatic machines, we are asleep, we don’t do

the doing is done to us, us puny creatures without an I am

But Mister Gurdjieff and Madame de Salzmann

their solution

never delivered the promised goods

just like any other esotericism has never done before

There is no such thing

as a radical transformation, consciousness, being, an I am or knowledge

neither of course is there any eschatology in which even a few

somehow never die

than there ever has been

only the impossible desire of some for an alive life

and the infantile desire of others for an alive death

are here as they always have been

The dust has still not settled

and some still believe

despite the magnificent but obvious rout

of even Mister Gurdjieff and Madame de Salzmann

and all their acolytes too

that Mister Gurdjieff and Madame de Salzmann

wove not only a new garment, but something intrinsically new

well, they didn’t

and they knew they didn’t

but what they did

and knew they did

was give lots of people a fine dose of trickledown

no I am, no consciousness, no being and no knowledge

but lots of trickledowned fragments of all that

When the dust settles one of these years

it will be seen

that this sparkling duo, Mister Gurdjieff and Madame de Salzmann,

were the finest gurus of the 20th century

because they not only indefectibly, determinedly attempted the impossible

they trickled it down.