PAIRIDAĒZA SUITE

by Simon J. E. Drew
Funded in part by the Sunshine Coast Council

PAIRIDAĒZA SUITE

by Simon J. E. Drew
I. A Pneumatic Awakening

“A ton of earth a man would dig

To find an ounce of gold,”

Wise words from Heraclitus —

That Great Sage from days of old.

 

These words, they make me wonder,

Am I, too, a man deceived?

Have I worn out every shovel 

To have then a spec received? 

 

For high and low mine eyes have searched

While my young soul was straightening,

And ne’er has e’er an image compared

To this pneumatic awakening.

 

“A ton of earth a man would dig

To find an ounce of gold,”

Wise words from Heraclitus —

That Great Sage from days of old.

 

These words, they make me wonder,

Am I, too, a man deceived?

Have I worn out every shovel 

To have then a spec received? 

 

For high and low mine eyes have searched

While my young soul was straightening,

And ne’er has e’er an image compared

To this pneumatic awakening.

 

II. I Tread Softly There

1. Ferns grow in the valley,

They block out sun and sky,

A dark and weathered hew of green,

Some natives passing by.

 

2. They make no fuss about their way, 

And neither do they rush,

They stop to marvel at the stream 

Which trickles ‘neath the brush.

 

3. Their mongrel boldly watches

For intruders in the scrub,

A baby sleeps on Mother’s back,

And dreams of witchetty grubs.

 

4. The air, so thick with pollen

Sinks into their lungs and then

As a grand bouquet bursts forth in mind

They gently breathe again.

 

1. Ferns grow in the valley,

They block out sun and sky,

A dark and weathered hew of green,

Some natives passing by.

 

2. They make no fuss about their way, 

And neither do they rush,

They stop to marvel at the stream 

Which trickles ‘neath the brush.

 

3. Their mongrel boldly watches

For intruders in the scrub,

A baby sleeps on Mother’s back,

And dreams of witchetty grubs.

 

4. The air, so thick with pollen

Sinks into their lungs and then

As a grand bouquet bursts forth in mind

They gently breathe again.

 

5. The trickling water calms their souls,

The luscious scene gives lift,

Through dense and fertile lands they roam,

‘mid ancient trees they drift.

 

6. These souls, they live in Eden,

They walk with God each day,

The breath of life flows through their lungs,

Great Nature guides their way. 

 

7. And if I’d dare to wonder,

If I wish to be aware,

I’ll walk the paths where they have gone,

And I’ll tread softly there.

 

8. And as I tend the garden 

Sweet remembrance will be mine

Of the wisdom which once filled my heart

As I walked ‘neath fig and vine.

5. The trickling water calms their souls,

The luscious scene gives lift,

Through dense and fertile lands they roam,

‘mid ancient trees they drift.

 

6. These souls, they live in Eden,

They walk with God each day,

The breath of life flows through their lungs,

Great Nature guides their way. 

 

7. And if I’d dare to wonder,

If I wish to be aware,

I’ll walk the paths where they have gone,

And I’ll tread softly there.

 

8. And as I tend the garden 

Sweet remembrance will be mine

Of the wisdom which once filled my heart

As I walked ‘neath fig and vine.

III. "Nosce Te Ipsum," Whispers My Soul

How may I look, and see?

How may I listen, and hear?

How may I feel, and know?

How may I comfort my weary soul?

How may I discern truth? 

How may I be guided by wisdom? 

How may I sing praise to THE ONE? 

How may I give my best? 

How may I conquer my worst? 

How may I be a light in the darkness? 

How may I reflect the glory of the Sun?

“Nosce te ipsum,” whispers my soul. 

How may I look, and see?

How may I listen, and hear?

How may I feel, and know?

How may I comfort my weary soul?

How may I discern truth? 

How may I be guided by wisdom? 

How may I sing praise to THE ONE? 

How may I give my best? 

How may I conquer my worst? 

How may I be a light in the darkness? 

How may I reflect the glory of the Sun?

“Nosce te ipsum,” whispers my soul. 

IV. I Dance on the Vine of Eternity

Ever here, yet ill-defined,

Ever near, yet far behind,

High and low I twist and wind

Throughout the gardens of thy mind.

 

Ever the Saint, yet e’er grotesque, 

Ever the truth, yet ever the jest, 

Evil at worst, divine at best,

I’m he who is cursed and I’m he who is blessed.

 

I’m that which will rise and I’m that which has set,

I’m He who’s thy stranger and He who ye’ve met,

I’m ever in mind, though ye often forget, 

I’m Nature and Culture, a thrilling duet.

Ever here, yet ill-defined,

Ever near, yet far behind,

High and low I twist and wind

Throughout the gardens of thy mind.

 

Ever the Saint, yet e’er grotesque, 

Ever the truth, yet ever the jest, 

Evil at worst, divine at best,

I’m he who is cursed and I’m he who is blessed.

 

I’m that which will rise and I’m that which has set,

I’m He who’s thy stranger and He who ye’ve met,

I’m ever in mind, though ye often forget, 

I’m Nature and Culture, a thrilling duet.

I’m that which encloses, I’m that which breaks free,

I’m flower and pollen, I’m honey and bee,

I’m sky and forest and sand and sea, 

I’m cow and crane, I’m dog and flea.

 

I’m that which is shined upon, that which reflects,

I’m that which is perfect, I’m that which defects,

I’m simple and clear, yet wild and complex,

I’m that which is parting and that which connects.

 

I’m He who has died and I’m He who’ll be born, 

I’m He who they love and I’m He who they scorn, 

I’m the scapegoat they spit on, the Saviour they mourn, 

And I’m wrapped around thee, and to thee I’m sworn. 

I’m that which encloses, I’m that which breaks free,

I’m flower and pollen, I’m honey and bee,

I’m sky and forest and sand and sea, 

I’m cow and crane, I’m dog and flea.

 

I’m that which is shined upon, that which reflects,

I’m that which is perfect, I’m that which defects,

I’m simple and clear, yet wild and complex,

I’m that which is parting and that which connects.

 

I’m He who has died and I’m He who’ll be born, 

I’m He who they love and I’m He who they scorn, 

I’m the scapegoat they spit on, the Saviour they mourn, 

And I’m wrapped around thee, and to thee I’m sworn. 

V. O'er Fertile Plains I Roam

If the plains of thy mind be fertile, 

And if water flows from the distant hills,

And if seeds thou doth sew, 

Wilt not the Father give thee bread? 

Will ye not be nourished?

If the plains of thy mind be fertile, 

And if water flows from the distant hills,

And if seeds thou doth sew, 

Wilt not the Father give thee bread? 

Will ye not be nourished?

VI. I Eat the Fruit

1. I eat the fruit that groweth

In the middle of the garden —

The fruit that is forbidden  —,

Hoping God, my soul, will pardon,

 

2. For I have heard sweet whispers

That such fruit can bend the mind,

Giving wisdom to young poets

Who would seek, in hope to find.

 

3. I sit beneath that tree that giveth

Light, by way of fruit,

My body swells with breath of life —

The Universal Root. 

 

4. A light begins to softly shine

Amidst the canopy,

My dream begins to crumble

In a stirring fantasy. 

 

1. I eat the fruit that groweth

In the middle of the garden —

The fruit that is forbidden  —,

Hoping God, my soul, will

pardon,

 

2. For I have heard sweet

whispers

That such fruit can bend the

mind,

Giving wisdom to young

poets

Who would seek, in hope to

find.

 

3. I sit beneath that tree that

giveth

Light, by way of fruit,

My body swells with breath

of life —

The Universal Root. 

 

4. A light begins to softly shine

Amidst the canopy,

My dream begins to crumble

In a stirring fantasy. 

 

5. Heaven’s voices glory sing,

As wisdom now becomes me.

At home I am within the warm 

Embrace of She who loves me.

 

6. I twist and wind down every root

Within my aching soul,

As tears are streaming from my eyes

I yield all control. 

 

7. Another breath, a warm embrace, 

My Mother lets me fall.

Great darkness now surrounds me

As I drift beyond the wall.

 

8. As desert sands I wander I know

Aching grief and sadness,

I feel the pains of all the world 

In a wild and transient madness.

 

5. Heaven’s voices glory sing,

As wisdom now becomes me.

At home I am within the warm 

Embrace of She who loves me.

 

6. I twist and wind down

every root

Within my aching soul,

As tears are streaming from

my eyes

I yield all control. 

 

7. Another breath, a warm

embrace, 

My Mother lets me fall.

Great darkness now surrounds

me

As I drift beyond the wall.

 

8. As desert sands I wander I

know

Aching grief and sadness,

I feel the pains of all the world 

In a wild and transient

madness.

 

9. But as my soul is crushed beneath
This weight not one can bear,
I find great solace in the words
That come to me in prayer;

10. “My Son, find comfort in me,
For ye’ve yet to shine thy light,
And lest thou now reflect Me
Thou wilt never know My might.

11. So listen, look and wonder,
Ask and think and feel,
For the Sun will soon be rising
And will, all the world, reveal.”

12. My soul now glows translucent,
I reflect the morning Sun
It fills my heart with gladness for
My day has just begun.

9. But as my soul is crushed beneath
This weight not one can bear,
I find great solace in the words
That come to me in prayer;

10. “My Son, find comfort in me,
For ye’ve yet to shine thy light,
And lest thou now reflect Me
Thou wilt never know My might.

11. So listen, look and wonder,
Ask and think and feel,
For the Sun will soon be rising
And will, all the world, reveal.”

12. My soul now glows translucent,
I reflect the morning Sun
It fills my heart with gladness for
My day has just begun.

VII. Neath a Fig Tree I Pray
VII. Neath a Fig Tree I Pray

 

A Sage, I meet upon this hill,

We sit above the clouds.

We pray beneath an ancient fig

And sing with heavenly crowds.

 

And we are warmed by the Sun above,

We’re held by earth below,

We hope to ne’er descend the depths,

We seek to, wisdom, know.

 

I turn to ask a question of this

Sage within my heart,

To only then see that the sage within me

Had at last made attempt to depart.

 

A Sage, I meet upon this hill,

We sit above the clouds.

We pray beneath an ancient fig

And sing with heavenly crowds.

 

And we are warmed by the Sun above,

We’re held by earth below,

We hope to ne’er descend the depths,

We seek to, wisdom, know.

 

I turn to ask a question of this

Sage within my heart,

To only then see that the sage within me

Had at last made attempt to depart.

VIII. A Gnostic Dream

1. A gnostic dream I dream tonight,

Which guides my quill toward the light

And lifts my soul in fancy flight,

This gnostic dream I dream tonight.

 

2. And I have heard on down the vine

That dreams as these can bend the mind,

Can whisper truths so seldom heard

And tell sweet tales of those who shine.

 

3. But how am I to grapple with this 

Burden that I bare?

Why have I been giv’n 

This great calling I now share? 

1. A gnostic dream I dream tonight,

Which guides my quill toward the light

And lifts my soul in fancy flight,

This gnostic dream I dream tonight.

 

2. And I have heard on down the vine

That dreams as these can bend the mind,

Can whisper truths so seldom heard

And tell sweet tales of those who shine.

 

3. But how am I to grapple with this 

Burden that I bare?

Why have I been giv’n 

This great calling I now share? 

4. Am I not an utter fool?

Am I not a swine? 

Why am I entrusted with these

Precious truths, divine?

 

5. I ask these questions of the Sage

Who guides me in my dream.

He answers in familiar tone and

Guides my soul supreme.

 

 6. A gnostic dream I dream tonight,

Upon myself I take this plight,

To e’er reflect that holy light, 

Which shined upon my gnostic dream tonight.

4. Am I not an utter fool?

Am I not a swine? 

Why am I entrusted with these

Precious truths, divine?

 

5. I ask these questions of the Sage

Who guides me in my dream.

He answers in familiar tone and

Guides my soul supreme.

 

 6. A gnostic dream I dream tonight,

Upon myself I take this plight,

To e’er reflect that holy light, 

Which shined upon my gnostic dream tonight.

IX. To the Distant Hills
IX. To the Distant Hills

The conscious being explores the garden which he sees, and when he has reached the limits of his exploration he journeys to the distant hills of his own soul, even that he may explore the garden which he does not see. 

The conscious being explores the garden which he sees, and when he has reached the limits of his exploration he journeys to the distant hills of his own soul, even that he may explore the garden which he does not see. 

X. Tending to the Garden

1. Great is the bee who

Tends well to his garden,

He works all his life and yet

Ne’er does he harden.

 

2. “What’s good for the bee

Must be good for the hive,”

That’s the motto he lives by

That keeps him alive.

 

3. He knows what he does

And he does that “does” well,

He cares for his Queen while he’s

Under King’s spell.

1. Great is the bee who

Tends well to his garden,

He works all his life and yet

Ne’er does he harden.

 

2. “What’s good for the bee

Must be good for the hive,”

That’s the motto he lives by

That keeps him alive.

 

3. He knows what he does

And he does that “does” well,

He cares for his Queen while he’s

Under King’s spell.

4. And ne’er does he rest and yet

Ne’er does he strive,

He needs not a manual 

To flourish and thrive.

 

5. Why should I not marvel 

At a creature as he?

He’s humble and righteous,

Yet he holds the key.

 

 

6. And ever he cares for the

World that he knows,

He leaves only goodness

Wherever he goes.

4. And ne’er does he rest and yet

Ne’er does he strive,

He needs not a manual 

To flourish and thrive.

 

5. Why should I not marvel 

At a creature as he?

He’s humble and righteous,

Yet he holds the key.

 

 

6. And ever he cares for the

World that he knows,

He leaves only goodness

Wherever he goes.

7. So fly on young worker bee,

Go tend to thy flowers —

If the sun shines, make honey,

To prepare for the showers.

 

8. And when thou hath worked

Thy poor body to death,

And when though hath exhaled

Thy final bee breath,

 

9. I’ll eat the sweet honey

I take from thy tree.

For all of the while

Thou wast working for me.

 

Thank you… Bee.

7. So fly on young worker bee,

Go tend to thy flowers —

If the sun shines, make honey,

To prepare for the showers.

 

8. And when thou hath worked

Thy poor body to death,

And when though hath exhaled

Thy final bee breath,

 

9. I’ll eat the sweet honey

I take from thy tree.

For all of the while

Thou wast working for me.

 

Thank you… Bee.

XI. As Giants Sleep (A Lullaby)

1. Into darkness I settle 

As the ocean depths swell,

Surrounded, yet cornered 

By creatures that dwell…

 

 2. A terrible vision

Now fills me with fear

For the fate of my people

Before me appears… 

 

3. What a horrid behemoth

Mankind has become,

For they’ve mocked what is perfect 

And to evil succumbed.

 

4. And gods have sent warnings

To reset their aim,

But none here do listen

For none here feel shame.

1. Into darkness I settle 

As the ocean depths swell,

Surrounded, yet cornered 

By creatures that dwell…

 

 2. A terrible vision

Now fills me with fear

For the fate of my people

Before me appears… 

 

3. What a horrid behemoth

Mankind has become,

For they’ve mocked what is perfect 

And to evil succumbed.

 

4. And gods have sent warnings

To reset their aim,

But none here do listen

For none here feel shame.

5. And while they are focused

On trivial things,

And while they seek evil,

What horror God brings,

 

6. For as it is told in the

Proverbs of old,

The fear of the Lord

Giveth wisdom untold.

 

7. And lest a man fear

That which God will reveal,

He’ll never know truth

And he’ll never be healed,

 

8. But if he is humble,

If wisdom he seeks,

If, by faith, he’s guided

Then God, through him, speaks.

 

5. And while they are focused

On trivial things,

And while they seek evil,

What horror God brings,

 

6. For as it is told in the

Proverbs of old,

The fear of the Lord

Giveth wisdom untold.

 

7. And lest a man fear

That which God will reveal,

He’ll never know truth

And he’ll never be healed,

 

8. But if he is humble,

If wisdom he seeks,

If, by faith, he’s guided

Then God, through him, speaks.

 

XII. A Prophecy Fulfilled

1. The Logos hath risen, 

The Word giveth light, 

It spreads out Its branches

By day and by night.

 

2. A blossoming wildflower 

Thy words hath become,

And now, resurrected,

They reach for the Sun.

 

3. Such great understanding

Is born of a seed,

Not a shovel I’ve lifted

Yet Gold I’ve received.

 

4. And if divine wisdom

Is given to they

Who seek in humility

Both night and day,

1. The Logos hath risen, 

The Word giveth light, 

It spreads out Its branches

By day and by night.

 

2. A blossoming wildflower 

Thy words hath become,

And now, resurrected,

They reach for the Sun.

 

3. Such great understanding

Is born of a seed,

Not a shovel I’ve lifted

Yet Gold I’ve received.

 

4. And if divine wisdom

Is given to they

Who seek in humility

Both night and day,

5. And if they should share

All the wisdom they see,

And if they would shine

Then a beacon they’d be,

 

6. For they shall be heard

By the seekers of light,

And they shall be known for their

Truth and their might.

 

7. So shine now, ye Sages,

Who wander the land,

Yield to the Father and

Lend of thy hand,

 

8. And as we all march

To our tragic reward,

We’ll laugh at the signs

Which we’d often ignored.

5. And if they should share

All the wisdom they see,

And if they would shine

Then a beacon they’d be,

 

6. For they shall be heard

By the seekers of light,

And they shall be known for their

Truth and their might.

 

7. So shine now, ye Sages,

Who wander the land,

Yield to the Father and

Lend of thy hand,

 

8. And as we all march

To our tragic reward,

We’ll laugh at the signs

Which we’d often ignored.

Birds Featured in the Album

Thanks to Pete Evans for supplying these stunning photos of native Sunshine Coast birdlife. These birds are all unwitting contributors to Pairidaēza Suite.

PAIRIDAĒZA SUITE

The Concept

he archaic root of the word paradise is pairidaēza, meaning a walled garden (pairi – around, daeza – wall). It is a place of pristine beauty where nature and culture coexist in perfect harmony with each other, and where mankind flourishes. The concept of the walled garden has deep mythological roots, and it has been a crucial idea when it comes to the formation of cultures and even the development of consciousness.

In the Bible the paradisal garden is represented by the Garden of Eden – a well watered garden, planted by God, where mankind could live in harmony with nature, and with God. Another example is found in the ancient school of Stoicism, where philosophers sought to build walled gardens in their minds, with the wall representing logic, the soil and seeds representing physics, and the fruits representing ethics – the harvest of sound philosophical understanding and discernment. Wherever it is found, the concept of the walled garden speaks to the part of us that is always seeking the paradisal state.

Pairidaēza Suite is a prayer of gratitude to the theologians, philosophers, mystics and poets who have always sought to conceptualise the highest good and to bring about the paradisal state in the souls of all those who would listen.

The Music

Pairidaēza Suite is Simon Drew’s first piano album, as well as his first collection of original compositions. Highly creative and exploratory by nature, Simon walks a fine line between structure and play in his compositions. This feeds into the philosophical nature of the project with the natural scenery representing Nature (mythologically represented as chaos), the piano representing Culture (mythologically represented as order), and the voices representing the Logos (the ordering principle which mediates between chaos and order, creating the paradisal state). By allowing all of these elements to dance gracefully with each other, Simon has created his own musical picture of paradise – a conceptual landscape where Nature and Culture are brought into harmony with each other through the power of true thought, word, and deed. 

The nature recordings featured in Pairidaēza Suite come from some of Simon’s most cherished natural locations on the Sunshine Coast, including the Glasshouse Mountains, Kondalilla Falls, Mapleton Forestry Reserve, Mooloolah River Reserve and Mary Cairncross Park. By featuring these locations Simon hopes to pay homage to the pioneers who have nurtured the walled garden of the Sunshine Coast, and who have preserved the incredible landscapes which he grew up exploring. 

As you listen to Pairidaēza Suite, think about the sounds you may not be hearing, like the songbirds buried deep on the distant canopy, the cicadas as they enter the scene, or the faint voices which lurk in the background. This album should challenge you each time you listen to it, and should reveal new angles and sounds whenever your attention is brought back into focus. Alongside this approach, Pairidaēza Suite may also suit the listener as an accompaniment to introspection or philosophical meditation on the ideal paradisal state. 

The Art

Mandalas have been created since ancient times and have been used as gateways to greater understanding of both the individual and the Universal Soul. As an accompaniment to Pairidaēza Suite, Simon created a series of mandalas which he calls The Gates of Paradise.

The mandalas above each poem are all derived the cover image of Pairidaēza Suite – a stunning portrait of red, gold and white wildflowers taken on the Glasshouse Mountain trails – and they all tell their own unique story that relates to the whole.

The Photography

For many years Simon Drew has been capturing images of delicate scenes on his hikes, climbs and trail runs. The photographs used to support and influence Pairidaēza Suite come from Simon’s hikes throughout 2020 and early 2021, and they feature many beautiful Sunshine Coast locations as well as native wildflowers which grow seasonally throughout this area. 

The Poetry

The son of a great poet, Simon Drew has developed his own unique poetic voice, which he now uses to aid his music. His poetry is philosophical in nature, and often even mystical. 

Try listening to the album while meditating on these poems. How do they relate to your own internal and external world? How do they help you to develop your own vision of paradise?  

Sponsors & Acknowledgements

A heartfelt expression of gratitude goes to the team at the Sunshine Coast Council for supporting the bulk of this project with a regional arts grant. Their generosity and willingness to support local artists is another stellar example of the Australian vision of a walled garden for its people. 

Patrons of Simon's Work

Thanks also to all the people below who have supported Simon via his Patreon community. Whether they came for the podcasts, the writing, the music or all of the above, they truly make it possible for Simon to continue to create and think freely. Thank you all!

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