Connor Marvin



How do you keep Hope alive

when the whole world has become

a corpse? Parzival says to the Fisher King.

The Fisher King, wounded in his cock,

says, unhealed, become likewise a corpse.

You’re asking the wrong Question.

The emerald that fell from the third-eye of Lucifer

when he was cast out of heaven enters the room

carried by a goddess.

Or: the goddess enters the room holding


We must make a mask for Her

so we are not annihilated by Her presence.

Then the lance enters the room, carried

by a page. Or: this page is bleeding. The

lance bleeds from its tip. Why is the lance still bleeding?

The Lance of Longinus

that pierced the side of Christ on the Cross.

When it was pulled out from His side,

blood and water spilled from the cosmic wound.

Or: a goddess escaped from His heart. SOPHIA.

Or: the Grail caught the blood and water.

MARIA the Grail, the Holy Spirit enters her

and gives birth to god. Grail the Heart,

the Spirit enters Parzival’s Heart and gives virgin birth.

What is an infinite corpse but a landscape?

A delicate dance of putrefaction and growth.

Expansive, sprawling.

The lance also ruined Amfortas, the King.

The King rules only by the love of the Goddess of Sovereignty.

Her love is gone, so he rots alive.

He is the unregenerate Christ, unable to resurrect,

forever mortified, excruciated.

Christ forgave Longinus, but he never forgave himself.

Christ forgave us, but we never forgave ourselves.

The lance is hidden here, deep in the shadow

what humanity wishes to forget.

God came to earth once and we

tortured Him to death.

Why is the lance still bleeding?

You’re getting closer.

Is god beautiful?


If beauty is not inherent, and god is beautiful,

do we then make god when we perceive beauty?

When we find something beautiful?

Did god make us specifically to create more of

Himself? By finding?

God is love. Love is lonely because

it can only exist between things.

Whom does the Grail serve?

Everyone. You’re asking the wrong Questions.

What’s wrong?

A key turns in a lock, a nebula opens.

Galaxies make brutal love,

give ecstatic birth.

The viewer is here to facilitate the discharge

of Beauty.


Power and terror.

We have felt power a bad word.

After all, I am you and what I see is me.

After all, in most Grail myths

the Knight disappears from the world

after drinking Beauty, or spends his days

a mystic hermit devoted to god.

And what kind of power is that?

What a boring movie.

We’d rather scream at the bleeding lance,

you, it’s your fault, you killed god,

we could all line up facing eachother

and call the other our own shadow, like a giant

conveyor belt. Nobody wants to be a giant.

Once you’re visible, they’ll throw stones.

They’ll nail you to a cross.

Or: everybody wants to be a giant, but nobody

wants to be god. No one wants to find Beauty

in everything anymore. It’s either weakness

or privilege, depending on who you ask.

Whom does the Grail serve?


Beauty and Terror, what

a proposition. The blade inside

the tourniquet. The sutures inside

the bullet.


The author walks in carrying

T.S. Elliott’s liver in his teeth.

Checkmate. King me.

Wrap my guilt in god, my gold in

azurine. I can’t stop thinking about

the curve, the mathematics of sacrifice.

A ruby jawbone lies on the floor.

A silicone jellyfish in the Temple of Solomon.

Post-digital decay mechanism. I can’t stop

my heart from swinging. Giggling like

a sacred curve of childhood suspended

from an oak tree. A leap into the gap.

Look, I snuck out the back door.

The sun is shining and my blood with it.

Like a drunken golden fiddle,

mouthing a swarm of backwards kisses.

Right down the chimney.


It is winter and

three drops of blood on the snow.

Black crow pecking at the corpse

of a falcon. Everything in this reminds me of

her, my love, the Goddess, Her, what difference.

The delicate mixture of red holly,

black ivy, and white mistletoe. The fleshy

fruit with a stone or pit. I know what

is meant by this, stone pit, I too

have abandoned the mineshaft.

Everything reminds me of love in this moment,

the warm red melting the cold white

the shining black presiding. The heart

when the whole world has become a corpse

putrefies, blackens, ripens, becomes liquor, separates.

This is then calcined, or burned to a fine white ash.

Everything impure leaves with the smoke.

The ash begins to roil and seethe red as it is elevated

in volume and frequency. The spirits, liquor of the putrefied heart

are then recombined in the crucible, resurrecting the stone.

If an acorn is an oak tree, what then is a fruit?

I am your heart, says the Fisher King to Parzival,

who is wound up in staring at the Grail.

Three drops red of blood fall from the lance into the chalice.

Remember, the lance wounded the Fisher King.

The Grail is also the heart. The Castle is the heart.

Mary is the Heart giving birth to the Heart. The Wasteland

is the heart. Step back from the page, the earth is the heart.

The sun, the Father, Mother, is the heart. Look at the universe

spinning silently in this teardrop. Everything inside is the heart.

Step backwards infinitely and nothing can ever be found

that is not your heart.

Tell me, O King,

what is it that ails thee?


* Connor Marvin is a poet and devotee of the Arthurian tradition, known for his powerfully evocative slam poetry. He performs regularly at the Mercury Café in Denver, Colorado.

Saracen Chivalry by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

By Netanel Miles-Yépez


When I was in my late teens and first learned the tale of Parzival, as told by the venerable Wolfram von Eshenbach, and witnessed in my mind’s eye the initial encounter between this  famous Arthurian knight and his brother, the Saracen knight, Feirefiz, I was fascinated with the idea of such a meeting. I wondered: What code of chivalry must this Saracen know? How is a Muslim knight instructed in the ways of honor? Then, not long ago, I learned that Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, the son of Pir Vilayat Inayat-Khan and head of the Sufi Order, had just published a new book called Saracen Chivalry, and my mind immediately flashed back to that early image of Feirefiz, who accompanies Parzival to the Grail Castle, and I wondered: Was he perhaps a Sufi? To my astonishment, I soon learned that this was precisely the question Pir Zia had answered, giving us the book of counsels on chivalry originally given to the Saracen knight Feirefiz by his mother before he embarked on his journey!

But perhaps a little background is necessary. In the Parzival story, a Christian knight, Gahmuret, goes in search of adventure in the Holy Land and eventually enters the service of the caliph of Baghdad. Later, he wins the love of the “Black Queen of Zazamanc,” Belacane, and marries her. But the desire for adventure is still upon him and he eventually leaves her and returns home, where he marries another woman, Herzeloyde, and has a son named Parzival. Meanwhile, back in Zazamanc, he has also left Queen Belacane with a son, Feirefiz, who will one day go in search of his father.

This is what we know from the Parzival tale of Wolfram von Eshenbach. But Pir Zia tells us that, without his father to raise him, and knowing that Feirefiz would one day want to go in search of his father, Queen Belacane is left to instruct her son in the ways of chivalry, in the knowledge he would need to meet the adventure of life and not be found wanting. Thus, Saracen Chivalry: Counsels on Valor, Generosity and the Mystical Quest, is her testament to her son, the knight Feirefiz, to guide him on his journey through life.

It is a timely book. For today, as much as any other spiritual teaching, we need to talk about chivalry, about a sacred code of honor which can help to orient us through life. Having lost so many certainties, having witnessed the breakdown of so many culturally-determined values, we need to find new values of global import, universal principles that can help us create a new order of Saheba-e-Safa, ‘knights of purity,’ as spoken of by Pir Zia’s grandfather, Hazrat Inayat Khan, who first brought Sufism to the West. Thus I have asked Pir Zia to share a few excerpts of his book, Saracen Chivalry, with us here:

“On Pilgrimage”

To reach Mecca from Zazamanc a pilgrim must cross the Red Sea. She will reach her destination if her ship stays above water. The inner pilgrimage is different. To attain the House of the Merciful you must suffer the calamity of shipwreck. Your boat, your worldly self, must be capsized, broken to splinters, and sucked into the whirlpool. You must drink the ocean down to its briny dregs. You must plunge into the abyss and wash up gasping on the other side.

The other side is the Holy House that every pilgrim seeks, be she Sabian, Jew, Christian, or Moslem. Here all are gathered, and all stand equal before the Lord. Outer distinctions are abolished; the throng is draped in white. Everywhere is heard the cry, “At your service!”

In the House of the Merciful, time slows to a standstill. Past and future are nothing; the present is all. Space rolls up like a scroll. Everything that was, is, and ever shall be—every star and tree and cloud and idea—confesses the evanescence of its form. So confessing, with shattering delicacy it unveils the eternity of its essence. From the first to the last of the centillion and one things, that essence is pure being, the boundless shining forth of the One.

“On the Greater Struggle”

When Adam and Hawwa dwelled in the garden, God the Most High was always before their eyes. Yet they were not dazzled; their hearts were not pierced. Strangers to darkness, they could not know the meaning of light. And so the Creator ordained exile, condemning them to the desolation of banishment that they might one day taste the elation of homecoming. What is to come is better for you than what has gone before. From oneness they fell into manyness, from union into separation. They lost the garden of being and found themselves in the jungle of becoming. 

Knowledge of the world is the fruit that led man into the jungle and love of God is the fruit that ushers him back into the garden. It was Iblis’ duty to proffer the fruit of knowledge and it is the Messenger’s task to extend the fruit of love. Love’s fruit is like no other. At first it is sweet, then bitter, and finally bittersweet. It is poisonous, but also good medicine. The one who eats of it will suffer the agonies of death, but in time she will rise again more living than before. She will die to herself and rise again in the Real.

Eat the fruit of God’s love, my son, and return to his garden. Breathe the weather of the season of the rose. The names of the Most High are seeds. When they quicken in your inner ground, watered by worship and sunned by faith, the garden will spring to life in you. Like a bud, your heart will open, petal by petal, giving forth a ruby light and a heady attar. In your right breast you will then feel a flutter, and—lo!—another blossom, a white flower, more diaphanous than the last, a gossamer bloom of spectral beauty. When you inhale its delicate scent you will know it to be the essence of purity. To the commanding and blaming selves it is a somnolent drug. Let the antagonists sleep, and the tranquil self will awaken. A bud will now open in the middle of your chest. Its light is gold and green. As its petals tear apart, your primal nature will show itself. Summer will arrive in the garden. In your forehead and crown, in your belly and tailbone, in the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet, blossoms will unfurl. Your flesh will become fertile soil, your veins limpid streams. Butterflies will glide on the breeze of your breath. 

When all is in bloom, all a riot of color and fragrance, from the tongue of every flower will come these words, and you will know that you have come home:

O you tranquil self,

Return to your Lord, well-pleased and well-pleasing!

Enter then among my votaries,

Enter then my garden!

“On Justice”

Ambition knows no restraint. It seizes every advantage, caring nothing for honor and less for the protestations of the downfallen on whose backs it blithely treads. The law of self-interest, ruthlessly applied, can speed an egoist an untold distance on the path of power and privilege. Meanwhile the chivalrous youth lags distantly behind, murmuring at each bottleneck in the lane, “After you...”  

But the wicked will not always flourish, nor will the good always languish. As ‘Isa, peace be upon him, has foretold, “The first shall be last and the last first.”

If in this world vice gains glory and virtue earns nothing but hardship, in the next world the tables will be turned. The mightiest tyrant will discover himself a lowly suppliant of God’s forgiveness, while the poorest of his subjects—those, leastways, that were true to the truth—will be laurelled with the fragrant benedictions of paradise.

My son, keep the Day of Judgment always before your mind’s eye. On that day, everything will be made clear and nothing will remain hidden. There will be no room for pretense on the day their tongues and hands and feet bear witness to what they had done. 

Therefore, be patient. Strive continuously for justice, but know that the justice that earth cannot supply, heaven will provide. When someone offends against you, do not take offense. If he has acted unjustly it is he who will be called to account in the Sequel, not you. The injustice he has done is to his own self. So long as you guard your innocence you cannot be harmed. Yes, your worldly affairs may be impeded. You may even be injured bodily—even to the point of death. But if you have kept God’s pleasure, you will have lost nothing that cannot be honorably lost.

The wise Diyujanis* was once informed that a man had sworn to kill him. His only comment was, “It will do him more harm than it will me.”

Do not brood over the wrongs that have been done to you, nor seek the cold solace of revenge. Pray, instead, for the souls who wrong themselves by wronging you. They stand in need of your prayers.

*AKA Diogenes