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41 The Tower

hexagram-41-tower‘THE TOWER OF the Graduate College was named the Ivory Tower, after the benefactor,
whose company made Ivory Soap.’

Descartes teaches in this place of freedom, tranquillity and leisure. A
storm might topple a young king and queen from even their most modest
aspirations. Their crowns would fall off, and a fool might catch one and
feel ennobled. He writes to a priest that even in barbarous societies no
one is allowed to teach known untruths. A few stars fall in sympathy, softly.

1st – The Tower of Presumption
Foundations already resemble a ruin, an encampment of the salvage gang,
or one of the deniable favelas. Artists and locals grumble about the giant
finger, an insult to our age. This new egolith outsoars the underclass – the
practice set, the race of clay – slighted in that distant tower of their own.

2nd – The Bell Tower
A captive view was never so panoramic. How thrilling to gaze on blue
hills and, down below, a rescuer darting stealthily from bush to bush. The
gaoler is sleeping off his meal. Though trip wires abound and the bell is
deafening, she is hopeful, threading gold into a tapestry, her future.

3rd – The Tower of Yearning
Its launch pad is the shimmering cloud of its rising, the philosopher’s
baited breath. One storey at a time takes pleasure further, dismissing
preposterous objections. Through discharge to bliss, the psyche seeks the
lowest level of tension: the plain you can see more of by climbing.

4th – The Fish Tower
Pilchards are a pretext for a party. First they are sighted and hallooed
from the low cliff, not quite safe without a tower. Deep waters broil: you
might imagine a whale here. Down on the beach the watchman walks
among dozens decanting his multitude. Invisible shepherd of souls.

5th – The Border Tower
There is no more heartening hearth than a fire well in a giant’s vernacular
barbican. The river is sleepy. Books in the library look undersized. Some
tell tonight of the fi-fo-fum of dawn cattle raids against valley farmsteads.
Straw is our bed and hooch our bedtime drink. Lust is our bedtime story.

6th – The Ornamental Tower
The hermit and the wallaby are happy enough merely to be glimpsed; the
raven expects more attention. This fragment of portcullis, smothered in
ivy, was smuggled from Chinon. You walk there and back before lunch.
On your return to the big house, the alliances have shifted markedly.

All six – The Twin Towers
This meltdown irradiates the world. Fear and rage displace the elements.
Who are we now? The escapees: the executive insisting on his refund; the
tourist who witnessed a raid on a jeweller’s; the secretary whose mother
had an urgent need of her company, scattering ashes in Strawberry Fields.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos



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