UbuWeb Ethnopoetics

"In 1853 visiting spirits dancing in twisting circles were seen and recorded [by Timothy Randlett] at Enfield, New Hampshire. Images of circular dances were produced in various publications." (John T. Kirk, in Shaker Gift Drawings and Gift Songs, The Drawing Center, New York, 2001)

Identified as a song in the caption at bottom, the vertical writing in the center seems to be glossographia — as wordless text &/or musical notation. As such it would match up with a range of Shaker spirit songs given "in tongues" by spiritual messengers that included not only Mother Ann and other dead Shaker elders, but also Indians, Blacks, Persians, Jews, Chinese, and William Penn, George Washington, Napoleon, Mahomet, Leo X, St. Patrick, and Alexander Pope. These were in fact extraliterary "sound-poems" preceding the experiments of Dadaists, etc. by nearly a century. Thus the following, as transcribed by Edward Deming Andrews in The Gift To Be Simple:

Ah pe-an t-as ke t-an te loo
O ne vas ke than sa-na was-ke
   lon ah ve shan too
Te wan-se ar ke ta-ne voo te
   lan se o-ne voo
Te on-e-wan tase va ne woo te wan-se 0-ne van
Me-le wan se oo ar ke-le van te
   shom-ber on vas sa la too lar var sa
   re voo an don der on v-tar loo-cum an la voo
O be me-sum ton ton ton tol a wac–er tol-a wac-er
   ton ton te s-er pane love ten poo

By "Jack." Holy Ground. Oct. 6th 1847

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