Dim Carcosa

Liner Notes and Lyrics

Indeed, fortunate is the person who is able to travel often and experience the beauty that lies behind the horizon. How often have I not been overwhelmed by breathtaking, exotic landscapes and architecture of an unknown beauty? Places as strange and bewitching as Carcosa itself, according to the myth but that is another story, not to be told…yet. Journeys to other continents are inspiring, educational if you like (any excuse for another adventure into the unknown is accepted in my book!)...When finding oneself abroad for a longer period of time the call of the fatherland seems to be gaining strength. Could it be the curse of the wanderer? Not only the ones who are left behind come to mind more often, one remembers the landscapes, the places one grew up, the local colours, the aroma even, all kinds of details emerge from the subconscious…Thus, the day to answer that instinctive call to return home arrives. One finds the own land awaiting, like an old loyal friend, in its very own characteristic beauty. A splendour, often overlooked because typical human, but negative nevertheless, is the irritating ability to get used to everything, even overwhelming beauty. Naturally I consider myself lucky to live on a medieval location, however despite my initial enthusiasm I take that for granted these days, I definitely should not. Grand is the moment when beholding one’s ancient land and home again after an endless journey…And to rediscover what always was there to cherish, only one was too blind to see and it took a journey to the other side of the world first to fully understand…And here I find myself on the old doorstep. The key still fits…

The Return

No house stood there but straight
Its walls must crack
In full mid-day
The darkness was so grand
And no light was in the land…


Home. Entering this place of my lost youth brings back many memories. Climbing the stairs to my old room creates expectations. Lost treasures, more of sentimental value, no doubt. Much to my delight my old books are still there. Ah, Baudelaire! Always loved his masterpiece “Les Fleurs du Mal” which I am holding in my hands, after all these years…”Les Litanies de Satan” inspired me to write “Exile”. How to explain this sympathy for the Rebel Angel I always cultivated, why have I symbolically always embraced the Eternal Outcast? Why are the ones like us fascinated and attracted by Dante’s “Inferno”? Better not go too deep into that…A pity I never had the chance to meet Baudelaire in person. I know he lived in the province of Brabant for a while, not that he was very much thrilled with the bourgeois attitude of the local scenes the man circulated in. Rumours say Baudelaire could relate to only one person in Brussels. It probably is inexcusably arrogant to even think I might have changed his opinion but since Brabant happens to be my place of birth I would have liked to offer a different view on the province to this master of literature. Who knows, It might have made his judgement more mild? Locations are important but to mingle with soul mates is a factor that should not be underestimated to see a land in a different light. Surely more individuals in this province would have related to Baudelaire’s universe, apart from that one friend he found. Unfortunately, success and happiness often depend on three important factors: time, location and being introduced to the right circles. The interaction between these three elements means a difference of worlds. How many chances in life have not slipped through our fingers this way? Taking it one step further: imagine how many lonely souls might have found their mates if only they would have been born in a different place, another century even? From time to time I consider myself born in a wrong “epoque”. During more down to earth moments, though, I understand even the most romantic person must admit that everyone is a child of her/his own time. In the very end at least. Dear Baudelaire, I do not consider my writings of the same level but here’s to you. An interpretation. “Exile” must be a universe you share with many individuals who are reading these lines…

Exile (les Litanies de Satan)

“O Satan, prends pitié de ma longue misère!”

Oh Thou, the most savage of angels
God only judges mild
Those who chant songs to his praise
Oh Prince of exile…

To whom in every tale done wrong
(but who) after defeat, always redresses more strong

Like a patron saint of
Heavens’ rejected souls
Distinctively closer to
Humanity Thou art
Connected to
Mother earth more profound

Oh Thou fallen angel of gloom, joyfully I join thy side
Even if this means eternal fire, I embrace thy kingdom of night

Exile, exile!!!!!!

Wandering in Thy wastelands
Far away from the heavenly autocrat
Close to Thee I chose to repose
Liberated from God’s wrath

A temple raised for the ones like us
With plentiful room for science,
A shelter for creative minds
To dream away in silence…

Oh Thou fallen angel of gloom, joyfully I join thy side
Even if this means eternal fire, I embrace thy kingdom of night

The house I live in is not of this time. Infact the entire area is not as it was a beguinage, a kind of convent, in earlier centuries. The medieval walls surrounding the old church, houses and cobbled streets are like a symbolic keep to protect the environment from modern age. The illusion that time stood still is created here. One would not be surprised if medieval painters like Rubens or Brouwer himself would make a halt in the local tavern where the open fire welcomes weary travellers and traditional plates are still being served. The place has not altered, fine that is. I frequently repose there since the medieval decoration puts my mind at ease, or may be the dark, strong beer does? Not for long my spirit is tranquil though! For not only visions of noble painters, troubadours or other talented artists from the past come to mind while staring into the flames of the open fire. Here dwell the spirits of stout warriors, calling upon the ones who are able and willing to hear. In places like these heroes are remembered, ancient stories told, old tales revealed, history itself relived. Oh, how much I adore the Middle Ages. I am fully aware of the less beautiful aspects of that era. Science was less advanced, poverty reigned, the plague and other cruel diseases wiped out entire villages, endless wars, superstition. In fact not that much has changed from that point of view, humanity still is haunted by all these plagues, only in modern form. Anyway, to each coin there is a positive and negative side. Corruption is timeless and could be found at any court. Still…Certain codes seemed to be more intact in the Age of Kings. Throughout the ancient lands of Europe and abroad one can find examples of bravery, examples to us all. The image of “Knights in shining armour” probably is far away from reality but nevertheless each nation has its known and unknown martyrs and heroes. Individuals who unconditionally sacrificed their most precious possession: their life, for what they believed was right. Fairytales are entertaining but history provides innumerable heroes made of flesh and blood. They could be found on every side. My sympathy and respect goes out to those who had to face fearfull odds. The outnumbered remaining few to whom surrendering did not seem an option. In these selfish, modern times certain people tend to ridicule the ones holding these principles for they cannot comprehend, what do they know? Fallen ones, I raise my goblet to every each one of you…

Victory or Valhalla (last man standing)

Last man standing
Last man standing

Victory! Last man standing!
Valhalla!!! Last man standing!

Shattered and mortally wounded
On the battlefield they lay
Farewell my fellow companions
Thy souls have gone away

(we shall not behold the green fields nor hear the birds sing in may
To defend we have fought and won though with our life we paid)

Victory or Valhalla must again be the rallying cry
Ancient pride restored, let the ancient banners fly high

Broken hilt in my hands, I saw my last break of day
Here and now we found our graves, our bodies vultures prey
If our folk ever doubts or their souls have gone astray
Then lead the way to this place where our bones still lay

Stand strong with clenched fists, withstand with all thy might
Stand strong with clenched fists, until they are silenced right
Let the glory shine on thee, lift thy ancient legacy…into light!
Lift thy legacy into light, so their spirits will shine on bright…shine bright!
Stand strong with clenched fists, withstand with all thy might
Stand strong with clenched fists, until they are silenced…right!!!

Victory or Valhalla must again be the rallying cry
Ancient pride restored let the ancient banners fly high

When the cause is noble and justice at thy side
To hold what is thine and the fight is right

Victory!!! Last man standing!!! Valhalla!!! Last man standing!!!
Victory!!! Last man standing!!! Valhalla!!! Last man standing!!!

Even before I knew how to read I learned about Roland. A Frankish knight in service of Emperor Charlemagne a.k.a. Charles the Great. Now, that was a fine example of chivalry. How Roland and other Frankish nobles and soldiers defended the pass of Roncevalles in Spain against the invading Moors. My father had a card portraying Roland in his last moments, mortally wounded, blowing the horn one last time. Needless to say how impressed I was by so much bravery. Hours I stared at the card. Since Charlemagne’s Empire was huge, Roland appears in history books of many a country. Famous is the anonymous old French epic “The Song of Roland” dating perhaps as early as the middle 11th century. Charles Scott Moncrief translated it to English early last century. Unfortunately, the historical facts are not that “black and white”. Charlemagne’s troops marched through Spain in the year of 778. The ultimate goal was Zaragoza, a city of strategic importance, ruled by a Muslim governor. Charlemagne entered the land of the Basques, a people who had always managed to maintain free from Moslem domination. The Basques, not very thrilled about the Frankish army entering their lands, refused passage which resulted in conflicts, despite the common Saracen enemy. When Charlemagne returned from Zaragoza the Basques had not forgotten about the earlier clashes and attacked the Frankish rearguard to which Roland belonged. The Franks believed they were under Saracen attack but actually it was a battle between folk that should have been allies. Chaotic Middle Ages! This indeed puts a different light on the actual events. Fact remains though that Roland and his companions showed courage and loyalty. Perhaps we focus too much on the “smash and stab” aspect of the epic. Of course the described battlefield is exciting, therefore it fascinated generations, ever since the middle ages. However one should not forget “The Song of Roland” have an actual trial as their central episode. It appears that our medieval ancestors knew how to appreciate a good mystery story as well. May be it would not have harmed them either if they had been less eager for battle but then again, may be less heroes would have emerged if our ancestors had learned to control their temper…Do I hear the sound of a distant horn?

…and the Horns called for War

And the horn called for war!!!

The Franks strike on, their hearts are good and stout
Moors are slain, a thousandfold, in crowds,
Left of five score are not two thousand now
No man on earth has more nor better found
In chronicles of Franks is written down,
What vassalage he had, our Emperor (Charlemagne)

And the horns…called for war!

Marvellous in the battle now and grand
The Franks here strike, their good brown spears in hand
Then had you seen such sorrowing of clans
So many a slain, shattered and bleeding man!

Biting the earth, or piled here on their backs!
The Saracens cannot withstand the attack!

And the horns…called for war
And the horns…called for war!!!!!!!!

No house stood there but straight its walls must crack
In full mid-day the darkness was so grand
And no light was in the land

And many said “We in the judgement stand,
The end of time is presently at hand”
They spoke no truth, they did not understand
‘twas the great day of mourning for Rollant…

And the horns…called for war
And the horns…called for war!!!!!!!

Marvellous in the battle now and grand
The Franks here strike, their good brown spears in hand
Then had you seen such sorrowing of clans
So many a slain, shattered and bleeding man!
Biting the earth, or piled here on their backs
The Saracens cannot withstand the attack

And the horns…called for war!!!

The sun has since long gone down. King Winter reigns. Outside a cold wind howls but inside classical music is warming our hearts. Hit parade tunes would be out of place, indeed. All three of us are withdrawn in our own world. That is the landlady, her cat and myself. Pardon me but animals do have a soul, I count three individuals sharing this cosy winter evening. Mister Whiskers can consider himself lucky for his black colour would have caused superstition in times of inquisition. I do not mind being the only customer. My house is only a street away, a last one for the road seems a good idea. Whenever visiting these medieval pubs or taverns I settle for dark beer, brewed according to the old recipe. After all, blond beer is a later invention and I feel that details matter: everyone is entitled to a little bit of madness. I feel comfortable in my corner, the candle placed on my oak table seeks its own reflection in the dead eyes of the stuffed wild boar’s head which seems to be guarding the wooden back door. Torches create a magical light on the medieval glazing. Portraits of medieval men and women decorate the walls, their eyes watching my direction. Not that alone after all? Fascinating but not really friendly they appear to me. What are their stories? Attached to gloom I am. Another guest enters the tavern. The old man looks like a sailor, the way they are portrayed in books and old movies. The North Sea is not far so it makes sense. The landlady smiles and inquires about his last journey. My suspicion was right, a seaman it is! I am pleased to see that certain clichés are true. The sailor nods. He takes place on a bench near the halberds and shields, at the other side of the tavern. Picturesque still life it makes. Inspiring too. I vaguely recall a tragic story situated in the 16th century about a heroic cabin boy, an event that happened on the North Sea. Some medieval writings are pompous, others are as touching as they are simple. I take a pen (a quill would be more appropriate!) and some paper and write down a few lines. Trying to catch the atmosphere of that story. An attempt to write it down as simple and effective as minstrels would have in their time when they travelled from city to city, castle to castle in order to entertain and capture their audience. It is inviting to speculate that this unexpected fourth guest would discover blood ties with the unfortunate cabin boy, if only he would check out the family tree. From father to son many sailors have passed on their profession and passion for the sea. Remains a fact generations of seamen have found a watery grave, they still do. I know, dear reader, this thought of possible blood ties between both is way too much but I am getting carried away here in this timeless void.

North Sea

Once there sailed the North Sea
The North Sea, wide and cold
A ship heavily loaded
with the world’s most precious gold

The enemy ship was floating
To steal our precious gold
Floating on the North Sea
Our North Sea wide and cold
Our youngest comrade, the bravest of us all
Volunteered to sink the boat loaded with gold

He jumped into the North Sea,
Our North Sea, wide and cold

Our valliant friend, approached the ship’s hold
With his fairest knife he gouged out a hole
Down! Down! And down! Down went the boat!!!
Our valliant friend, approached the ship’s hold
With his fairest knife he gouched out a hole
Down! Down went the boat!!!…

North Sea! Swallowed by the waves
North Sea! They found their seaman’s grave!
North Sea! Swallowed by the waves
North Sea! They found their seaman’s grave!

But not before a hostile archer
Had aimed at our youngest friend
Who got hit in the chest and also down he went
We pulled him onto deck
And on our deck he died
A seaman’s grave became his part
The message (delivered) to his bride

Our youngest comrade,
In his young pride
Now he embraced the North Sea,
The North Sea as his bride!

North Sea! Our comrade young and brave
North Sea! Down in a seaman’s grave…
North Sea! Our comrade young and brave
North Sea! Down in his seaman’s grave…

The old man unfolds a newspaper. I catch a glimpse of the headlines, they bring me back to the 20th century. Or do they, as I read nothing new? Religious wars world wide. Things have not altered that much since the stone age. Many negative aspects from the old world have remained, the more positive ones, on the other hand, are down the drain. Fundamentalists slicing each other’s throat in the name of God, Allah, Jahweh, Jehova…who ever. “Ignorance is bliss” they say, if only it would not be that dangerous, after all in the event also non fundamentalist, innocent people get hurt...Here in the North of Europe mostly older people still hold on to religion. At least they celebrate their ardent faith in God in a less despotic way. I have visited places in Africa and Asia where religion still very much dominates society. Even certain places in Europe are still in a stranglehold. Religious fundamentalism is not only increasing on the other side of the world, it is happening in our back garden. Why do people take it that far? Each group honestly believes to be guided by God’s hand. Being a devoted traveller I have encountered the negative aspects of fundamentalism. Lands that could offer so much beauty to the wanderer are being reduced to places to avoid due to that process of increasing religious insanity. I would be first to respect tradition but it should not be taken too far. Some countries, prosperous in science, art and literature during ancient times, are at stone age level today. Peculiar that is. Because of religion I would not dare to say but their blind fanaticism does not help their culture much to evolve either. Tradition I applaud, regression is another thing. My heart bleeds when I see religious fanatics destroy ancient monuments that are considered as universal heritage. I have seen too many beheaded ancient statues, damaged icons and destroyed temples on my travels. Difficult issue here, from one point I defend traditional ways, from another I praise evolution. Well, I don’t have the answers, never pretended I did. It all is a matter of balance, I suppose…We walk a thin line. What seems right to someone might occur wrong to somebody else. All depends on one’s personal background and views…People decide and hold the power to create or destroy. Therefore we are God.

Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)

Wir sind götter (we are gods)
Gott ist der mensch (god is man)
Sein ist die hand die schafft (his is the hand that makes)
Sein ist die hand die verletzt (his is the hand that wounds)


We are gods, God is man
His is the hand that makes, his is the hand that wounds!

As I behold your crucified lord,
It is pity I feel not a sign of purification
And yet it are millions taught by his word

Die götterdämmerung ist hier! (the twilight has come)
Die götterdämmerung ist hier!

A universal message of love,
Lessons for the world to be clear
But I sense megalomania in his word
Dogmatic, based on fear

Die götterdämmerung ist hier!
Die götterdämmerung ist hier!

Like the word taught in that other book
By some other prophet born in the East
Screaming “jihad!!!” Lifes they took
On the non believers corpses they feast

Not that Jahweh offered the other cheek
As he so firmly told his followers to do
Too many sacrifices in His name
Far too many lies not to look through

And here I stand alone in the light,
No god or master above me
Do I suffer from this lack of divinity?

Faith, my dear friend, can be splendid indeed
A force to hold on to when the feeble soul bleeds
Religion served to the masses might be a dangerous seed
Forced down your throat the last thing a free man needs

I walk a lonely path
Am I too blind to see?
But at least I can say my soul is free
And my only God is me…

We are gods, god is man
His is the hand that makes, his is the hand that wounds!
We are gods, god is man
His is the hand that makes, his is the hand that wounds!

I pay the check, say good night, put on my coat and in the stormy night I am on my way home. No bats circling the sky. Not the right season yet for my Gothic neighbours. In order to see those small nocturnal creatures appear again I have to wait until summer. Another cliché proved to be true: they always appear at night, there still are certainties in life. I do not feel sleepy yet. Nothing better than an interesting book to end the day. I climb the stairs to my room. On the bookshelf I find a few interesting jewels! Works of Shelley and Byron, Homer’s “Iliad”, a classic! Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”, “The Name of the Rose” by Ecco. Ah! Literature dealing with ancient history! Immediately I feel completely awake again! “Caesar’s campaigns in Gaul”, “Warfare in the Ancient World” or “The Celts” to mention but a few, I could be in much worse company, indeed! Knowing myself I will not be catching much sleep tonight. How fascinating the history of our ancient lands really are. If only we could travel back in time to catch a glimpse of the glorious European past! All we have are the remains and ruins to travel to. Sure, splendid they are and true moments of happiness I achieve on these locations but still these ancient sites are empty. Tourists are plenty but the population that gave these civilizations their soul have vanished, forever. To travel back in time and actually communicate with these since long disappeared inhabitants, would be a larger than life experience. At the same time I cultivate this loss and find it appropriate, for what is lost and unknown will never disappoint. I am a seeker of truth, only, sometimes it is better for myths to remain intact, a closer look might spoil things. In the end what matters most are our ancestors’ achievements. They made us what we are today. To Mother Europe I belong. Here’s to the ancestors! Not only to ours but also to the ones of people all over the globe who descend from these ancient lands.

(Ode to ancient) Europa

(from Gallia to Germania)
I still hear the ancient warcry
(Roma to Britannia)
I still hear the ancient battlecry

The great old European heroes, the proud old European names
Like snow now melted for sunlight, today their lustre gleams,

Gone are the great old empires, the proud old names are low
that shed a glory over the ancient world, a thousand years ago
But wandering the medieval cities, beholding our ancient lands
Albion, Saxonia, land of Franks constructed by our ancestors’ hands

(from Erin to Caledonia)
I still hear the ancient warcry
(Ellada to Helvetia)
I still hear the ancient battlecry

(from Lusitania to Hispania)
I still hear the ancient warcry
(Mycenae to Macedonia)
I still hear the ancient battlecry

In the country of our fathers, on the land and sea
Can you hear a million voices? Thy forefathers summoning thee! Summoning thee!

Many centuries ago, beyond the hazy space
In Brittany, Eire and Caledonia there dwelt a mighty race
Celts they were called, like their holy oaks they had a giant grace

(fierce was the Byzantine empire,
Spread over the Balkans, Asia Minor and Greece
Combining eastern and Western tradition
A gateway to the East)

Slavonian kingdoms, empires and tribes
Defending their ancient lands and rights
From invading hordes from the East
Thousands slaughtered (fair) men and beast

(from Byzantium to Phoenicia)
I still hear the ancient warcry
(Etruria to Cymru)
I still hear the ancient battlecry!!!

How fast time travels, I have been away for such a long time…My return also offers the opportunity to reflect on the past, to actually sit down and remember. Persons I truly appreciated come to mind. Deceased or disappeared out of my life. There must be people out there reading this manuscript who share thoughts similar to mine from time to time, for life offers and takes…Should we have done certain things differently? Beautiful life, cruel life. It finally is time for…


Earlier in the tavern I accidentally overheard our sailor had been to Samarkand. A fairytale like city located along the famous silk road, the route of caravans carrying silk and other precious goods from China to the Middle East. Names like Alexander the Great, Ghengis Khan and Marco Polo come to mind. Also Hugo Pratt’s spirit is close now (his spiritual child Corto Maltese wandered around there, too). Samarkand I should visit one day. Attractive to me are the historical location, the splendid architecture surrounding the city square and the strange folklore (in which East meets West). Even the beautiful long haired camels add an extra exotic value. Ever since my trip in the Sahara desert and my stay in Asia Minor I am fond of those tough animals, these ships of the desert have been more than once reliable allies and convinced me of their value…I read religion has a strong impact on the local society in Samarkand. All depends on how big that impact is and its actual side effects if I will travel there or not. On one of my travels I entered a holy place where was kept an important Islamic relic (a part of the prophet’s beard, no kidding!), I did not mind the pilgrims looking at me as if I was an alien. In their universe I was, in a way. Nor was I upset when inhabitants of remote villages touched my hair and skin in wonder. However I would mind having my throat cut while enjoying a beer in a land where the use of alcohol is “rewarded” by death penalty. Believe me, dear reader, these places do exist! I agree, alcoholism is not a solution and to be avoided but death penalty for a sip of alcohol?! Try to enjoy an icy cold beer in cities controlled by the Taliban! I suggest to leave your erotic literature at home as well. Women are not allowed to leave the house. Men performing public tasks must wear a beard! These gentlemen do take fashion very seriously, amongst other things! A drag their punishments are rather final. Once I entered a city where alcohol was prohibited. People did not really come across extremely good-humoured there! On a more serious note: later I heard that alcohol consumption was one of the highest of the country in that particular village. Human like you and me after all but everything had to happen secretly. Honestly, I don’t think it ever was the intention of spiritual and religious movements to stimulate hypocrisy. I should ask the old sea dog opposite my table what my chances are in Samarkand. I must confess to envy sailors a bit. In their dying hour they look back on a rich, colourful life of constant travel. Many civilizations have been created by seafaring folk. Bear in mind such splendid empires like Carthage or Phoenicia to name only two. Seagoing people discovered America, by accident I know, still...Mind you, not all sailors were peaceful colonizers or explorers. Monk Simeon’s testimony of how Vikings performed a raid on Lindisfarne in the year of 793 leaves no doubt. Not a bright day for the Durham monks when they saw the Snake and dragon heads of the Viking warships appear at the horizon! To this very day Lindisfarne is an important spiritual place frequently visited by pilgrims because of the revived interest in early Celtic Christianity. Fair enough, but I am more curious about the meaning of the name Lindisfarne. We know it were the first Anglo-Saxons to live on this fine island in the extreme North-East Corner of good ol’ England who gave the name. What Lindisfarne actually means remains an unsolved mystery. I like that. What would the world be without any mystery left?

Lindisfarne (Anno 793)

All heaven and earth were still
As if God’s paradise never lost
None could foresee the silent (approaching) chill
(in the shape of raging heathens)
Though Durham monks experienced at high cost
Martyrs made Christians fallen in this Pagan attack
No shrine left untouched, sacred loot on their back

Lindisfarne, Odin Rides!
Lindisfarne, down in flames!
Lindisfarne, Odin Rides!
Lidisfarne, down in flames!

Martyrs made Christians fallen in this Pagan attack
No relic left untouched
Hear the sound of the Norseman’s laughter
Behold their rise, sacred loot on their back
Saint Cuthbert lowering the head
The head for Odin’s sons

Lindisfarne, Odin rides!
Lindisfarne, down in flames!

Odin…rides over Nordland again!
Odin…rides over Nordland again!

Desecration of the Holy island!

All heaven and earth were still
As if God’s paradise never lost
Though Durham monks experienced at high cost

Lindisfarne, down, down in flames!!!!

Saint Cuthbert lowering the head
The head for Odin’s sons
As for now the heathen still prevails
Pagan warriors mocking God
Witness their fury, hear the victorious hails
Hear the victorious hails!

Lindisfarne, Odin rides!
Lindisfarne, down in flames
Lindisfarne, Odin rides!
Lindisfarne, down in flames

Lindisfarne, down, down in flames!!!!

Here I find a verse written by Flemish poet Guido Gezelle entitled “Groeninge”. “Groenighe-Kouter” was the place where on the 11th of July, 1302 an event important in the history of Flanders, called “The Battle of the Golden Spurs” took place. I recall discussions about 13th of october, 1307. According to certain sources the actual date when Jacques de Molay and other Templar Knights were burned at the stake, other authorities refer to it as the day when the prosecution of the Order started. Historical events can be shrouded in mist. In earlier times Celtic bards had the liberty to alter historical details a bit in favour of splendour, it did not turn them into liars but accurate details are more difficult to retrieve this way. Concerning the 11th of july, 1302 all sources agree. The lines “Het Vlaamse Heir staat immer pal, daar ‘t winnen of daar ‘t sterven zal, alhier, aldaar aan lange lansen, de Leeuwen dansen, de Leeuwen dansen” are by Gezelle’s hand, lines which I can imagine sung by a troubadour, his voice is reaching me beyond the hazy space of time. These four lines make clear that there was no option but “victory or Valhalla”, now, where did I hear that before? Further more It describes how on long lances Lions are dancing, of course metaphorically speaking and referring to the black lion on a golden Field: the banner of Flanders since the early Middle-Ages. Not a very impressive army they were, though. With no meaning to conquer anyone or anything, to defend was the issue, to withstand the armies of the foreign king who was interested in the wealth of 14th century Flanders. After all Bruges was one of the main harbours in Northern Europe at that time. The majority of the Flemish militia were commoners and artisans with only a minority of noble man and knights in their ranks. Surely no match for the invading opponents consisting of glorious knights and well organised troops. Life is unpredictable, the invaders lost. The Golden spurs of the fallen enemy Knights were gathered as trophies. Hendrik Conscience wrote a romanticised epic entitled “The Lion of Flanders” which contributed to a national feeling. In reality it was not so much a fight between nations, it was the age of cities and as in all wars anytime, anywhere there were collaborators, mainly nobles, who fought at the side of the opponents. I do not point fingers at anyone here, nobles from Brabant for instance could be found on both sides. Everyone had their own reasons to join a particular camp, probably those fighting on the other side believed they were loyal to a greater kingdom, some even blood related as many members of nobility were. It was a complex situation with political and economical interests but fact remains that the lustre of this particular victory reflected on the whole of Flanders. It was not a clash between two monarchs, the most prominent leader of Flanders was already imprisoned in the land of the aggressor. This uprise was spontaneous and inspired by the common people. An interesting detail: it was quite unique that an army consisting mostly of foot-soldiers defeated an entire cavalry. And historical figures such as Willem van Gulik, Willem van Saeftinge or Robrecht van Betune were as equally heroic in battle as the romantic characters from Conscience’s epic. Oh, I know many consider it politically incorrect to celebrate one’s own history. Often those who do are crucified by paranoid masses. Where is written that praising one’s own culture automatically implicates hating another? It is my humble opinion that a folk who renounces its own history has no soul. Period. Burn me for all I care.

On Golden Fields (de Leeuwen dansen)

We ask not the pleasures that riches supply
Our weapons shall regain what betrayers must buy
Throwing back the invaders reigning our Land and waves
And finally teach these nobles what it means to be slaves

Far more large in numbers, better armed, they came
But are it not our cities that these rascals claimed?
A victory rather certain they held within their hands
But courage, craft and justice gave us a stronger stand

Bloodstained flags,
Hear our men roar
But under foreign rule
Bloodstained flags,
Hear our men roar
We shall suffer no more

We shall suffer no more

“Het Vlaamse heir staat immer pal.
Daar ‘t winnen of daar ‘t sterven zal
Alhier, aldaar aan lange lansen,
De Leeuwen dansen, de Leeuwen dansen!”

Oh, land of Flanders
From field to shore
Shall view us as victors

Oh, land of Flanders
From field to shore
Shall view us as victors
Or view us no more!

For victory was ours, against all odds
Truly a miracle in a world without gods

Bloodstained flags,
Hear our men roar
But under foreign rule
Bloodstained flags
Hear our men
We shall suffer no more!

We shall suffer no more!

I close my eyes. A voice from a century buried by time and dust reaches my ears. And the troubadour sings:

“Het Vlaamse heir staat immer pal
Daar ‘t winnen of daar ‘t sterven zal
Alhier, aldaar aan lange lansen
De Leeuwen dansen, de Leeuwen dansen”

En de Leeuwen dansen…

One last book, or a few pages at least, before I blow out the candle. Sure, there is 21st century electricity in this house available but on locations and in moments like these I prefer more atmospherical, ancestral ways to illuminate the pages I read. Here an excerpt from Chambers’ “The King in Yellow”! Never released in Europe. Carcosa. What is Carcosa? Where is Carcosa? My quest for the answers has lead me to the most interesting sources. My first encounter with Carcosa was The Satanic Bible, how’s that for an introduction! No further explanation on Carcosa, only a short poem (taken from “Cassilda’s Song”) referring to this mysterious name. Enough to awaken my interest, though. On my search for Carcosa I came across the fascinating world of Crowley and his occult society, The Necronomicon by Abdul-al-Hazred alias the Mad Arab (the alter ego of H.P. Lovecraft?), Masonry, The Knights Templar, The Rosicrucian Order, The Grand Lodge, Thelemic Orders, Tantric Alchemy. Mystical esoteric worlds. Chambers from his part described a mythical place. Then there is Carcaso, the ancient Latin name for Carcassone, a fortress in the South of France. Once, on our way to Italy, we passed Carcaso at night. Carcassone was drenched in an enchanting light according to my travelling companion who enjoyed the sight, I was unfortunate and in a deep sleep at that time. Historical Carcaso remains unseen by my eyes, for now that is. Mythical Carcosa on the other hand will remain out of reach forever, I’m afraid. Or will it? It truly pleases me when historical facts and mythology/mystery meet. The power of the esoteric yet wordly Order of the Knights Templar was widespread, also in medieval Carcaso whose name strongly reminds of mythical Carcosa. Inspired by or linked to? Who can tell? The circle completed though! Sometimes, only every now and then, myth and fact meet. Those rare and precious moments make life worthwile. With all this in mind I blow out the candle. Through the window the moon shines down on me, on purpose left the curtains open to welcome this nocturnal friend. Always loved the moonlight…

Dim Carcosa

Black stars shine on the ancient fortified town
The sun invisible or since long down?
Over the dismal landscape
Above Carcosa
No sound, only the wind sighed
Behind mysterious moons strange towers hide
But even more distant is
Lost Carcosa

Tales that the Hyades will sing
Vague stories of a Yellow King
Must die untold in
Strange Carcosa

Mysteries hidden by lake Hali’s nebulous depths
A presence of bizarre beauty and dread
Remains unrevealed
In Carcosa

Above the desert high
Twin suns circle the sky
Nevertheless dim still
Is Carcosa

My voice turns weak, lost is my mind,
I see but I am blind
And no sign of life in
Dim Carcosa

I shut my eyes. A beautiful day it was. I have only just returned but my mind already travels to a far away place. Aren’t the most inviting and attractive travels the impossible ones? Voyages to other times or worlds?Restless soul I am! While Sleep starts to embrace me with its silk wings I begin to observe a strange environment. A distant ancient fortified town is veiled in mist. Oh, wish I could behold the secrets which are hidden within and guarded by these walls. Has Hypno offered me through this dream a second chance and brought me in front of Carcasso(ne)? Or do I find myself standing opposite gates I better not pass and have I finally reached Carcosa?

Gunther, winter 2001