Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rain and wind, rain and wind, day and night.
The day gray, sterile, dark. Lightless,
shadowless. Only the rainy haze, the cloudy half-light and
the whine of trams, the grumble of traffic.

Suppressed weeping in the sky, sighing in the winds.
A long, long day, how far away the night?
Weary hours, languid moments; the shackles of time jangle
endless, tireless.

Night; bleakness in the room, darkness without,
the rain and the wind, the rain and the wind.
Empty, empty is my heart, barren, barren is the night,
but for the angry moaning of a sleepless city.

Bleakness in my heart, howling in the city, darkness in the sky.
Shadows, winds, voices, murmurs, angry whispers, deep sighs
in the city, in the empty room, in the rain-laden darkness,
in the jangling of time's shackles,
all night, all day.

The day is bleak, silent like a bog. The night too is dumb;
nothing remains. Nothing, nothing.
The rain's murky veil, the wind and the city's wailing
mask creation. Nothing remains. I am alone. Alone.

- Buddhadeva Bose
(Translated by Nandini Gupta)


It's been raining again. This last week we've had just one perfect sunny day and I'm just about ready to climb the walls! Anyway I was scouring the Net for good, strong, really into it rain poetry, the kind that knows rain can wreak havoc on a person's sense of wellbeing and not the sugary Oh-how-I love-the-rain kind of insipidity. And voila, I came across this amazing poem. I must admit I've left out some parts at the end so if anyone wants to read it in its entirety, it's at in the translations section.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I love 20th century lit. It's fascinating stuff even if it's pretty nigh impossible to teach, all those allusions and symbolisms and what have you. I'm currently doing Sons and Lovers with the freshers, and trying to lead kids just fresh out of school into the intricacies of modern lit is like trying to teach a day old baby all about arthritis and old age pains and pangs.
Anyway to get into Sons and Lovers, it's imperative to know all about poor old Oedipus who in all probability wouldn't have lent his name, had he been asked, to the Freudian theory. I usually ask the kids to dig into the Oedipus myth first and then the theory and then we get into the book.
Which all leads me to this pert little poem with an unexpected feminist twist that I found online


Long afterward, Oedipus, old and blinded, walked the
roads. He smelled a familiar smell. It was
the Sphinx. Oedipus said, "I want to ask one question.
Why didn't I recognize my mother?" "You gave the
wrong answer," said the Sphinx. "But that was what
made everything possible," said Oedipus. "No," she said.
When I asked, What walks on four legs in the morning,
two at noon, and three in the evening, you answered,
Man. You didn't say anything about woman."
"When you say Man," said Oedipus, "you include women
too. Everyone knows that." She said, "That's what
you think."

- Muriel Rukeyserink


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rainy Day Blahs

I hate the rain
I hate the fog
I hate closed windows
I hate closed doors
I hate the smell of mildew
I hate dog poo around the house
I hate the feel of dank clothes
I hate slushy footprints on the floors
I hate being missed only
at 2 or 3 or 4 in the a.m
I hate having to hate something
I hate the creepy crawlies
that will creep and crawl every which where
now that the rains are here
and they've only just started.

I hate being claustrophobed
by a season.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

You tell me that silence
is nearer to peace than poems
but if for my gift
I brought you silence
(for I know silence)
you would say
"This is not silence
this is another poem"
and you would hand it back to me.

- Leonard Cohen


All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right
And emptiness above -

Know that you aren't alone
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one,
And some for all their years.

- Vikram Seth


Maybe he believes me, maybe not.
Maybe I can marry him, maybe not.

Maybe the wind on the prairie,
The wind on the sea, maybe,
Somebody, somewhere, maybe can tell.

I will lay my head on his shoulder
And when he asks me I will say yes,

- Carl Sandburg