Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hello everyone - how the course is graded

Here is my criteria for grading the course.
Eight poems plus one intro - out of 45 marks (5x9)
Attendance - 10 marks
Book - 45 marks - lyrcism, poetry, design, art and timeliness plus effort
will be the denominators here. (5x9)
All submissions have to be in by sharp Saturday nine o'clock.
submission before that too are extremely welcome.
This is one thing I insist on.
Another is - no poems from before the course.
To repeat ad nauseam - the book must have at least four illustrations including the one on the cover, a decent layout including a cover page, a title page (inner), page numbers. a contents page, an intro and at least eight poems.
Thanks for all the active participation and inputs so far.
All the best.
Agenda for last class:
Feedback on course as to what worked, what didn't, what could have been done better and checking to see if learning outcomes match learning goals.
Lunch together. We all go Dutch.
See you all on Saturday.
Intro's yet to come in for checking - Prerna's, Ashwin's, Vaibhav's and Roanna's.
Ashwin's video and three poems are still pending.

Aashim - Intro (Invitation)

My poems will give you

reason to believe,

that you re-live

this intricate weave.

These threads

they put on your plate,

are embedded

notions which conflate;

Forever changing

forcefully raging.

A part of me

Now it becomes

A part of you.

Leave your fears

and confront them.

A head-on collision
with my mind's Vision.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

roshan's latest poem - intertextual stuff....

Do you know and not know,

From where or where to?

Or did you sit and turn to watch the lampshade?

Did it throw its shadows rashly?

I treasure my shadow.

It gives me more me and watches my back.

Do you see and not hear the shadows,

That laughed at your childhood and your children.

My shadow remains with me through the ice.

And it cracks, to reveal sluiced sense.

What dies and seems to die in the shadows of time?

The city cracks and weeps.

Its omnipotent towers throw themselves to the ground.

Beating the earth with conquering terror,

Come the soldiers- breathing burning flowers.

Pick it up and rinse it.

Crush it beneath your fleet of fleas and flesh.

Alter time with space, lord of the Fleas.

Remind me of grass greener than pig's meat.

Lost in a garden of wild fruit,

Dripping in wild secretions,

Syrupy, sweet, and poisonous.

The maiden of the East makes her delicate way.

Her fresh white feet, leave no marks,

Upon the viscous mass.

It turns to see all, twisting into itself.

Looking beyond the world, into itself.

Lest we forget ourselves.

Brick and stone, turning the land,

Twisting the land

See the land being softened, like hay,

Or liquid rubber

Or hay in liquid rubber, in a furnace,

In a hot corner of a dirty factory.

With dirty, black-faced workers,

Smiling to themselves, remembering,

Lest they forget their own lives.

aashim's latest/last

Emotions wasted

patience tested.

I fall from my


Privacy explodes.

leaving its debris

strewn across my

mind's plea.

I crouch and evade

the quips

and attempt to salvage

these ruins of a charade.

I dream

I still dream.

But even dreams

Cry with nightmares.

These fiendish nightmares

a poisoning stain .

I ponder with fate,

remembrance detained.

My hand quivers

with enlightenment.

Dawn surprises me

the moon a sliver.

Stars light unlit eyes

to see

before them

clouds in guise.

The eyes circle in fast

spiralling fast


on conclusions last?

I breathe

I breathe in the sweetness

of moonshine


and yet I feel

obliged to decline.

a moment more in this charade

and I shall lose

the intent

of my serenade.

Monday, September 24, 2007

For those who want to know more about Paradjanov.

Why Paradjanov & His Films Matter

Sergei Paradjanov. Imprisoned. Respected - highly - by Andrei Tarkovsky. Was he really a homosexual? I don't know. He was a threat to the Communist system. That can't be disputed. Something Socratic about being arrested for purportedly corrupting the youth and on homosexual charges - trumped up or otherwise.

His films. His art. If you see Ashik Kerib , the protagonist is definitely a glorification of the homoerotic. One would seldom find a male as beautiful as the Ashik of the film.

I remember seeing Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors first. I'll never forget the way he directed the camera, the way it captures the felling of a tree in the beginning. I'll never forget the movie, although it was typically Russian, or rather, Georgian. I saw Ashik Kerib next. Then I heard that he died. My friend who was crazier that I about him did a painting of him and wrote an article on him. I did too. Both our articles got published. It was my second piece that saw the light of day, as they say.

Many years later I met a genuine lover of film on a railway platform and offered to write an article on Paradjanov for his magazine. He took me seriously and sent me copies of The Colour of Pomegranates and Paradjanov's last film co-directed with Dodo Abashidze. The Colour of Pomegranates had the same kind of magic as Shadows, but somehow the last one, the Legend of Suram Fortress, didn’t appeal as much to me.

I tried, but I couldn't write about him. His images defied me. They couldn't be spoken of. So I broke my word and did not send the article in. I still have the films. But my abdication has never stopped bothering my conscience. This is an attempt to set things right because I feel that I now have the requisite distance to write about him. I showed some of Paradjanov’s paintings to an artist-friend of mine and he told me that they were reminiscent of Da Vinci's. I showed sections of the film twice and got diametrically opposite views – once, highly appreciative, from a younger audience, once, primarily negative - from an older audience.

But let me speak of his images and their flow and see where it leads and what you think of them both, when they are described to you in mere words.

I do not agree with his religious position – Orthodox – although Mikhail Bakhtin would have. I agree only partly with his political or nationalist and ethnocentric views and his heavy foregrounding of culture. But when it comes to viewing and reading his films as powerful signifiers I am forced to acknowledge him, forced to use but two words to sum it up – radical mastery. Of a unique kind. Of, I dare say, regardless of objections that may rise from any quarter, the “essential” kind, primarily made up of excitingly audio-visual lyricism and poetry.

Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan - these are three of the places he celebrates through his three key films. The film Colour of Pomegranates deals with the life of Sayat Nova, an 18th century Armenian poet, whose poetry is characterized in the film by Paradjanov quoting Valery Briusov, as one of "the greatest triumphs of the human spirit." Paradjanov tells us in the beginning itself that what he attempts is not a straightforward narration of the poet's life and works but the creation of a cinematic or filmic equivalent for the uniqueness and beauty of his poetry. One remembers T.S. Eliot's famous critical terms "objective correlative" and "unified sensibility" while watching the film. Paradjanov works in a medium that can only appeal to two of our senses, the eye and the ear, but he gives us an impression that all our five senses have been fed along with our hearts, spirits, wills, souls and minds. This list which includes the body by not naming it is not fortuitous. His is an attempt at holistic art, non pareil.

For someone like me who has watched four of Paradjanov's major films, what remains challenging is the range and sweep of Paradjanov's unforgettable images. "I am he whose soul is tortured," we hear repeatedly in TCOP in the beginning, a line taken from Sayat Nova's poetry. It is even possible that I am quoting this line wrong. Possible, but not probable. Not that it matters. It captures the essence of Paradjanov’s films. The line fits perfectly not only Sayat Nova's ethereally anguished life but also Paradjanov's harrowing experiences in prison and elsewhere.

What shape(s) and/or form(s) would be the equivalent/s of a tortured soul?

Ivan's face in The Shadows of (our) Forgotten Ancestors is a typical example of masterful casting. After the death of his loved one, he looks haggard and woebegone. ‘The very picture of misery.’ We see more about what Marichka meant to him in the crow's feet around his eyes than in the scenes before, sorrow piling up on itself and making us feel its intense pangs. And the shots of Ivan in a tree plucking an apple, Ivan eating an apple and then soon after marrying another woman for whatever reason, be it sex or her will, haunt us too with their reference to the story of Adam and Eve, but with the whole thing given an unexpected twist in that the second woman is shown to be Eve here. Did Paradjanov know about the legend of Lilith?

But it is in TCOP that the images flow freely, like salt, stunning us with their grandeur.
Three fish, two dead, lying on a pale, plain background, but with one fish in the middle flopping around in agony , drawing its last breath with pain in this harsh world to tell the story of....
Shakespeare, inevitably.
A foot crushing a bunch of grapes, the red juice flowing from it like blood. Someone told me Madonna borrowed it in one of her videos.
A knife on a white cloth, stained with spreading red...
A page of ancient manuscript on which is written poetry that is not decipherable if one is not Armenian...
Shot after shot transfixing us...tansforming us into thinking of the meaning of words like beauty, imagery, painting, “sculpting in time” and space, framing, composition, shapes, colours, form and... life.
Into thinking of direction, the camera's eye, movement conveyed by its lack of movement, by things endlessly moving or spinning in the background, language conveyed by the lack of dialogue, audio-visual ambiences, the language of film and the grammar of cinema; music, rhythm , structuration and editing.

If Shadows is about first love and how true it can be, beautiful in its innocence and ghostly in its everlasting nature; TCOP is about how hopeless love can be at times and also how impossible it can be. Ivan's sexual initiation and awakening is beautiful, although heavily sensuous, when as a boy he plays with Marichka in the waters of a stream and they throw water at each other, both naked, he but a fresh adolescent and she little more than a girl. The play of light and shade in this section makes of their relationship exactly that; the play of love awakening into knowledge of its own glory and loveliness. It is different with/in Sayat Nova - the precocious boy who has already understood the power of words and images and the imagination and turned away from the stifling nature of religion - who sees the world in a lopsided artistic fashion and sees things others don't - when he turns voyeur and watches his father being massaged and bathed, watches men bathe and finally watches a woman bathing -
In one of the most memorable shots in the history of film we are shown things from the boy's perspective - we become the child-voyeur
What we see is a woman's breasts - soap and water running over them like a pretty little waterfall and a shell covering one of her nipples but we are both awe-struck by the carved perfection of those breasts and made uneasy by the thought that formulates in our minds as we look alternately at them and the boy's expression - that catching sight of these breasts is going to mark him as separate from all others because they belong to none other than his mother - and this marking is what is going to make him special.
The child grows up into a man but he embraces the word for beauty's sake and not for the truth's sake. He seems self -possessed or driven to do so out of his understanding of the subtexts of music and the colours of cloth-dye the women in those parts excelled in making. Paradjanov uses images of half - opened, broken pomegranates to signify the complexity of Sayat Nova's (and his) personality.
Each object becomes for him a signifier he can sing poems about - of transcendental significance - his real object being perhaps to somehow forget the one unforgettable, ‘terribly beautiful’ sight of his childhood. Jocasta's breasts.

The boy grows up into a man. He carries around with him a musical instrument that only an Armenian will recognize, their equivalent of the harp, the lyre and the sitar. The Axe of their space, the Armenian equivalent of the lute. It helps him sing and its round back looks like a woman's breast codified by now into an eternal pattern. He has become a poet. He has to sing to a princess. She falls in love with him. He falls in love with her. It is the old/earlier story repeated, of hopeless and forbidden love. He cannot have her, she is too beautiful and too far above him in station. He is born to be the tragic poet par excellence, the object of his desire is like a deconstructed text, like every text, perennially deferring meaning, eluding his greedy grasping to arrive at its significance. The images continue to fall into the vortices of our eyes like rain on our favourite roses' petals, blinding us with too much beauty. They are no longer alone but coupled, tripled with theatrical tableaus and the kind of music that can only be called unearthly because we haven't heard its sort before. The music of the Carpathian mountains thrills us in Shadows but Armenian music sounds eerily beautiful - a mix of Persian and Russian that is indescribable. Paradjanov goes for many single shots and his editing is of a rough kind but the effect is strange, it carries us into the past effortlessly - it never fails to transport us into his mind where shells and peacock's feathers and precious stones and dyed cloth and rare shades of colours and shapely vessels mix together to remind us of a word in the name of another of his films - arabesques. Arabesques of pain that make us feel happy, somehow?!

If I had seen The Legend of Suram Fortress first and only that I might have disliked Paradjanov. His collaboration with Abashidze somehow fails to evoke in me the same feeling of awe I felt when I saw Shadows and Ashik and TCOP. The sources he draws from notwithstanding, his work, like that of all greats, including Shakespeare, is not even. In Shadows he is on familiar terrain but easily transcends the best. In Ashik he enters such a strange realm of excellence that even I don't have the courage to follow him there by trying to describe in words the curious "spectacle" he serves up, so vastly different from anything I have ever come across that it defies verbal narration. A scene from it has haunted my poetic imagination - returning as an image I often write about - images of driftwood and a desert where tumbleweed flies aimlessly about in the shifting and rollicking sand and wind. I have not yet been able to conjure up a better metaphor for mere meaninglessness.

Till I saw the films of great directors like Bergman - Seventh Seal & Through the Glass Darkly, Tarkovsky's Sacrifice & Andrei Rubliev, Antonioni, Pasolini whom Paradjanov thought a film god and rightly so, The Marriage of Maria Braun - Fassbinder, Satyajit Ray - Pather Panjali etc. I did not give much credence to the rumour that the audio-visual medium could be as powerful as the word. However, after viewing these along with films like the ones crafted by Paradjanov I began to have second thoughts about my basic premise. It seemed to me that a book could be written on comparing Tarkovsky and Paradjanov that would have as much right to exist as George Steiner's book on whether Tolstoy or Dostoievsky was the greater artist. I remember fighting with my girlfriend one day and to forget the pain going to the public library in my small hometown and spending time in the company of books written by all the authors who had won the Nobel Prize. To forget my so-called sorrow I wrote several things sitting there, and one was a piece that was in praise of the Russian national character for producing maximalist works , how they belonged to a tradition I could only envy , an incomplete Russian cathedral made of giant bricks like the works of - and it was here I began to subversively include not only figures like Osip Mandelstam, Anna Akhmatova and Issac Babel , whose works broke out of the maximalist mode, but also great film makers like Kosintsev who will be remembered for his magnificently Russian Lear. and , of course, Tarkovsky and Paradjanov. It was to justify my own "love" of the minimalist/miniature that I brought their names in. But to return - .

The flow of his images.

The love affair –craven- and running riot in symbols and emblems and motifs, with masks and frozen bas-reliefs of living figurines galore. Who can describe the richness of these scenes? I would have to be a Keats to speak of Paradjanov's films. To describe with exactitude what he saw etched on the Grecian Urn, Keats had to be a visionary. I, on the other hand, am only paying back a debt after it has ceased to be relevant, perhaps, and in a manner that is actually a mockery of my good intentions. The journalistic trick of filling in my narrative by suitable slides from the film which I could cut and paste here to embellish my narrative wouldn't work in this instance. But I may be forced to do it, to reduce the uni-dimensional to just two dimensions on a flat surface. No, I refuse to. Let that task be left to the editors, if necessary

Having been separated from his lover, Sayat Nova goes to live in a monastery. It has nothing to do with being religious. It makes for the right kind of experience for one who has not been able to enjoy requited love. The chief bishop dies and is buried. The sect is the Armenian Orthodox church and the symbolism in the rituals is surrealistic and makes for rich tapestries. The boy who was defiant and wiped the blood of the sacrificial cock off his forehead when it was drawn on there in the shape of a cross by his father is now quite at ease in the old dispensation of the religious order. Maybe he always was, for both poets and the many religious sects and divisions and denominations of Christianity are word -centred. He see dreams of his father, dying, and his mother too and finally of "her." Having become old, he has his most powerful dream yet, of invaders breaking the church down, of her again and finally of his death. The last comes true, telling us the invasion will too. But there is a clear indication that, like his poetry, his land with its curious mix of Islamic calligraphy and Armenian culture and Christianity will not yield to the new invaders' creeds and ideology but will survive and stay for ever young in the hallowed memory of people like Paradjanov who like the poems of Sayat Nova. From whence came this incredible movie and will come again, as indeed it has in history, Armenia’s resurrection. The invaders have been driven out. Olaf Palmuk has won the Nobel Prize for literature. Strange are the games that destiny plays with the men and mice of this world.

This article has taken interesting twists, turns, diversions, digressions and detours as is the usual wont of any article I attempt to write. But I must not forget that my main theme is Paradjanov's wizardry. Part of it lies in his ability to find sources that are translatable, flexible and malleable like gold. Like Jorge Luis Borges he creates anew from the shadows and works of his forgotten ancestors the material that he needs and can mold into great art in his cinematic medium, illuminating the politics and history of his time by reinterpreting them to get them to say what he wants to. Mikhay/ilo Kotsyubinsky's unforgettable love story set in the Carpathians, Sayat Nova's poetry, Mikhail Lermontov's poem that tells the story of a wandering lovelorn minstrel, an old Gerogian foktale, Pirosmani's arabesques - in his hands they get metamorphosed into celluloid that people always end up comparing to poetry and fine art and sculpture and painting. Although the world's acceptance may mean nothing, of him the adage is true that a "prophet is not honoured in his own country, among his own people or by those in his family.” His films faced severe criticism in the USSR but kept winning award after award at every international film festival they were screened. Awards they richly deserve, as time testifies.

It is as I dreaded, knew in my bones. I am unable, like before, to write about his movies to my satisfaction. I remember the golden bowl, the light aimed like a spear at the cathedral's roof and it caving in, the paintings on the walls, the man who when he was young looked like a Muslim and a girl but as he grew up had a face lined with sorrow, slightly long hair and a beard and a moustache reminiscent of Christ's and the typical imagined, stereotyped ig-noble Russian Tolstoyan peasant. Colours never used before, shades of green and red and blue, stylization, the eyes of the actors who are clearly only pretending to be the characters locking constantly with the camera, the unearthly wailing of the music, the symbolism that means too much and is oblique, obverse, indirect, surreal... But how can these things be explained, it has to be seen to be believed - along with the rough grainy look and feel of this period film, the camera's odd jerky movements, the rough editing – yes, no, I am repeating myself. I would not be able to write about Ashik Kerib either,or. Except to say that it is a mix of Muslim and Christian imagery with the stress given to Islamic notions of beauty - in that, very Lermontovian. These films resist even the verbal magic of an advanced adept like myself.
I could write about Legend but it doesn't interest me except for the Georgian element. I could write about Shadows. Let me write about truth and beauty and love and tie it up with Shadows to end.

Truth to tell, The Colour of Pomegranates and Ashik Kerib are not films I relate to with my heart, they have a cold detached desolate kind of beauty that appeals only to my intellectual side. The same isn't the case, however, with Shadows.

Ivan and Marichka love each other deeply, with total innocent abandon, as if theirs is the only love on earth, but tragedy strikes and she dies. The grief stricken Ivan wanders around alone and has only one friend left , an idiot. Marichka comes back to haunt him. A woman who falls in love with Ivan's handsome body gets him to marry her. He remains unhappy. Finally Ivan dies, is killed, in fact, fittingly, by his wife’s jealous lover, and we see him being reunited with the cause of his death, Marichka's spirit. If ever a love story that praises eternal love has been shot with aching poignancy and nostalgic power it is this one. Starting from the muted red and brown tones of the beginning that makes us think the film is in black and white to its gradual unfolding into muted colour it fascinates us with Paradjanov's visions of how the camera should move. We are introduced into the mind and heart of Ivan, the parallel of which one generally sees only in a Dostoievsky story. This is a very difficult thing to try out in film. The movie has a typical Russian and Georgian feel to it, the background of the Carpathian mountains, the music, the poor folk of the land, the lovely women with their attractive garb, the dances and the epic feel all testify to Paradjanov's ability to belong to the great Russian tradition. Why did the Communists find him so threatening? Because he reveled in and extolled the past. Revolutionaries know that it is dangerous to begin to understand the past. But artists know that the past is the only material we have at hand to work with. No one has worked with the past, whether of these now war-torn places and their rich cultures that he seems to know inside out that he brings into his films or the past of film itself, as well as Paradjanov. That is hyperbole, it is true, but deep inside I still hold to what I wrote about Paradjanov long ago - that he tried to raise film into the same levels as religion, beauty, love, sex and truth and his failure is one of art’s happiest successes. Finis.

Pratap's interesting intro - and last poem (not in proper foramt)

Bonsai is a plastic-man who lives on the planet Plastique, existing separately from you and I, yet in the same time and space our planet now occupies. He worked in the Exhaustive Science Research Organization as a Research Executive before he went insane.

He was then recruited to the ESRO Labs so that his “anti-progressive behaviour” could be studied and cured- the perfect system taking perfect care of him and his unstable state of mind.

The poems in this book are written by him.

He is a creation, not mine, but of myth: as we all are.

While in/ writing my myth, I stumbled upon these poems, in what used to be his office and has now been reduced to a ‘dark, dingy’ store room loaded with E.S.R.O. junk.

From the little I have understood of him and his poems, I would say that Bonsai believes his poetry can never be truly understood- it can only be (felt?). He also believes that his idea of poetry can only be understood through his poems and not anything outside of it. The poems are the closest we can get to understanding who he is or what poetry means to him.


My poems:

hope-tiny glimmering silvery specks

elusively slipping through my fingers

in this b(l)ack-water of The Light.

My/ your life(s)

your/ my mutual/ exclusive existence(s)

(in) our exclusive/ mutual mindscape(s).





myth(s)- primordial fodder,

poet(s)- arch-e-typ(ic)al spoon-feeder(s)

spoon-feeding (us) delicately;

(not) knowing

we are all (in)

the same feeding ground(s)-

the spoon-fed


by our real hero-

Mythos- the White sun

White Sunlight Eyes

subtlest potent fractal

casting its brilliant blinding Light


on/ on/

on/ on/ on/

on/ on/ on/ on/ on/

on/ on/ on/ on/ on/ on/

on/ on/ on/ on/ on/ on/ on/

our corroded armour(s)

as we dance together,

clanking lifelessly

around the cold embers

of our dying camp-fire(s);

mirroring the B(l)ack shadow(s)-

the (real?) light of the brilliant White sun,

(both) chanting in our horrible

rasping, tin-can voice(s),

our hollow tin-can inc(l)an(k)tation(s):

here we go round the control tower

eating ourselves

eating each other

here we go round the control tower

till none’s left to


Last class - some reflections

Watched Sergei Paradjanov's Colour of pomegrantes
Read Archibald Mcleish's Ars Poetica
and Marianne Moore's "Poetry I too dislike it"
Read excerpts from one of Rimbaud's letters - all with aim of getting inspiration for intro for the book.
Then Koshy read out one of his works in progress.
Shyamli's intro was also read out from the blog.
There was group discussion and individual review in the afternoon of titles of collections, contents page, copyright page, cover page, inner title page, order in which poems can be put , illustrations etc...
Aditi and Prerna are going for manuscript books.
The rest for print. Shyamli's is partly hand done and mainly print.
except for Ashwin who wants to do eight poems plus an intro as an MSWord doc and a video of one of his poems that's audio-visual.
The minimum number of poems has been fixed at eight but maximum number left to each individual - the only condition being that it should all be work produced in the course.
Pratap, Shyamli, Aditi, Roshan, samia have all written their intros and sent them in and they're up on the blog for all to review.
Submission is at nine thirty sharp on last Saturday, that is next week.
The group hopes to have an exhibition and a compilation of best poems from the material produced during the course later.
For enquiries, help and monitoring of progress this coming week please keep contacting Koshy by email.

prerna's eighth one - black cat white cat

Running a marathon

With my mind and my brain

We reach a space

With beads for eyes

All white, all white

I stared at the wide

Blue black range

We Followed,

that strange smell.




We frayed

Denying a departure.

It stayed with us.

From the day of my birth

till it numbered my corpse.



we rose

with a new hope

to find her

Not making a mistake this while

we started the search from ourselves this time.

Roshan's poem - last in the poetry collection

See the Beginning

Towards the earth, towards time,

over the hills and under the line,

and over the times where we were sad

and brought together another's times

Reach out father and give out your arms,

give out your brother to the other's demise.

See not what we thought or did,

but distinguish from the other what we did or bid.

Before the farm, over the sand,

The birds from the forest begin to smile.

They did but see the sea of smiles,

And rode together the wind and the tide.

Rather than reach out, they bore among them

The other world's freedom and our demise.

Sadder than salt in your tears, and bolder than the soldier's gun,

The other sat before his ephemeral fire,

And brought together the sand and the stars.

Breathe together and keep our souls,

Smile together and breathe our souls into your heart.

Over the hills, talk rode clear,

And from beneath rose another's trumpeter,

Fallen from a musical pillar,

Racking into the other's tune,

And hanging on to but a few notes,

Their little arms and little fleas broke free.

Forever free, not broken- but free.

Do not but see, my dear's love,

Begin to begin and you might hurt another.

Begin to end, and you satisfy many.

Begin to see, and you might see the beginning.

And then you will end.

Samia's introduction - word perfect


We all drift along -

float side by side.

So many moments;


does one



if not to



deep -


the water.

Sometimes warm.

Sometimes ice-cold.

Sometimes barely there.




Feeling every

single detail;



of being alive

and living.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Aditi's intro - again solid


it's a Saturday
i wet my lips
with a few sips
of sweet wine

a vineyard i visit

but only with
the fragrance;
now i taste
different drops
from different goblets
the best of its kind

a hand guides me
to the succulent fruit
the best
the perfect
the chosen ones

the feet taught me
how to blend it
the perfect fruit
the perfect way
to make
the perfect wine

yet to be a connoisseur;
but i now learn to appreciate

flows wine
from my hands too now even
sometimes sour...

on a quest to learn i trod on a path of self-discovery; poetry was the dam that made the emotions flow.. subtly, sublimely, channelized it...


like a soft, summer shower
it came as a surprise
i soaked it in till drenched
till i myself
became a drop
i soaked, i drenched...

they say the shower
has now come to an end
but has it really?
i don't notice

my skin is still damp.

Aditi's latest poem - "The Hollow Men" revisited in a powerful way

Degraded mind

Degraded soul

Devoid of emotions

Hollow to the core

The regret

Of having a heart

Mourned for

Long ago

Pretty you

Pretty me



Convexes here

Concaves there

Black is pretty

Only for hair

Love isn’t beautiful

Love isn’t true

No one loves another

As He loves you

Love is wilted

Love is dead

It’s what you get

In the back of a car

Knock me

I might make a sound

Now that I‘m hollow

All around

Hollow mind

Hollow soul

Hollow heart

To the core.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Roshan's Introduction

The world has seen many billions go by, but we remember only a few.

We do not remember those who sat by their fire-places content with its warmth, when the promise of a cold, new blizzard raged outside their frosted windows.

We do not lament the passing of cowards and the weak, who did as their masters bid them to, until they had only their masters to bid them...

No, we do not remember those that did not speak and think and feel and create.

I have tried, I can say, to conquer cowardice and weakness.

Into these lines I have poured my tears, my laughter and my thoughts, freely, openly, and sometimes even a little rashly.

The world has taught me the verses, moved my fingers and my heart, until I put them down in words.

I have seen the fake and the smiling, the cruel and the taught.

Nature has shown me its little beauties, and touched me with its tiny designs.

But most of all, love has shown me true beauty - true beauty in everything.

What better way to express true beauty than poetry?

There is none.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Roanna's latest - not running out of steam but gaining strength

It was back
banging against the lampshade
again and again

While these forms shifted and melted into one another
in this twilight hour
you seek the dark,
the cover.

You call your cry
moving, mingling
losing yourself
feeling safe there.

The night throbs
smelling so strong it drowns you

Moving mouths

But I can’t hear
I am seeing
this mad play of bodies
of chemicals

Makes me swoon

This elaborate play enacted

This huge never ending stage

So useful

All the necessary doings
to conceal the animal
feeling the heat
inside restless moods
leading you to unchartered territory
where the red tape seals it off


Excuse me?
May I help you?

The person:
a pretty young dark-haired creature,
opens her mouth and smiles sideways

Sign of attraction…
I’ll move my mouth too.

Shyamli's intro


A sickening

(w)retch I am.

A poet,



Yet blissful.

I will not pretend to know all about this art, or even talk of having come close to mastering it. But I know it's the way I say what I say that will make you swoon.

And I won't say much, but just enough to throw you into the throes of madness and heartache.

Ah, such is the power of poetry.

My poems talk about the mundane, over-felt, abused and bastardized emotions… and words. A certain element of exhaustion floats heavily over almost each of my poems… as the eye of the maddening maelstrom of emotions is a rare tryst… and is definitely tiring.

I have tried hard not to drown my poetry with clichés and the hope remains that I have been successful.

I may appear to be slightly… touched, if you do happen to read further into my poems, but I have drawn inspiration… from I, my fellow poets and their thoughts and lives.

So this is a portrayal of our collective insanity.

Within our ordinary lives.

Within us.




Sunday, September 16, 2007

vaibhav - solid poem

Sweeping across the room, my curtains flutter

Bursting in with the night, chasing my fears away.

Treading softly, slowly


She drifts into my room, carrying with her,

Voices passed over, thoughts passed on.

Fear soak my pillows, my hand lies limp,

By my side, bottled fears,

Some empty threats, some full of menace.

Turning she catches me,


Sliding across the room,


The tiled floor.

Comes silent laughter,

eternal thoughtlessness,


Fleeing through the buildings, caressed by the trees.

Silently teasing, bursting past the crowd.


Their voices she carries to the next,

Not knowing, the harm to be caused,

Wondering what harm could be caused.

The stones, the brickbats, those angry voices,

Pierce through her, cutting through her sides,

Startled, she rears, sudden energy, bursts forth

An angry roar, a giant flash


Oblivious, my hand still limp

By the side of my bed, fingers,

Grazing the tiled floor, bottle slipping away,

From their grasp, sorry things,

Fears are; gentle snores,

Pervading through.

Gentle rain, splatters on the windows,

The soft breeze enters through them,

Sweeping across my room, the curtains flutter.

An itinerant whore.

Roshan's latest - called Nothing

Alas! The faults of fallacy.

Long have we waited on the road,

Between the silent lightning and the quiet thunder,

Looking beyond, into the shadows and the lights.

Looking beyond what was concrete.

The road was not a road until you saw the lights,

Shimmering in the foggy distance,

Quivering and threatening to begin.

and alas! the steam rose steadily, and the orange lights looked on.

Don’t blame the rain for it was not right for it to begin.

Look at them, lousy folks, dripping in nothing.

Look at them sitting around the fire, waiting for a story to begin.

Look at their lousy mouths contorted in contorted smiles,

Their eyes following slowly what would make them,

And them only happy, the next lousy morning.

Oh what would I give for them to be struck,

With hot lightning vibrating in the night sky.

What would I give for them to be twisted into themselves,

And see what there is or isn’t in their multiple souls.

And what would I begin to say to have them cry.

There was light without night,

Light without the presence of night,

And we did not feel the light.

There are few words to describe them,

The lousy men who would give nothing and everything,

To kill all the love and kindness in the world.

And yet they feel love like me, and indulge in it,

Until their very souls are two, parted like complete fools.

They stare at nothing and we stare at them,

Two, different but staring at the same things.


No, don’t blame the rain.

praptap's latest - this is becoming one helluva intra-textual trip (not final version)



in the smallest corner

in the dingy corridor

of my mind- "I weep


I see your hand

"so beautiful

so pure

so distant"

reaching out

in a different golden light,

but I don't/can't.

in this dingy corridor

I have severed my hand,

chopped it to a mere stump

with the glistening scalpel of

my II hand perspective.

I pine to reach out my ugly stump

quivering with dying traces of life

to feel you-

I'm still alive!

but I don't/cannot.

you will never understand

I do not/can't

(want to) explain:

the only way to really talk

is not speak.

the only way to really feel-

not reach



in the dingy corridors


your "beautiful pure" hand

will break through

my II hand walls

touch the decaying,

putrid heart that beats feebly

in the hollow cavity

of my moldy chest;

filling it with thect

beauti : ful(lest) flowers

swaying in the light of


"pure beautiful distant"

perhaps sunshine.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Marching orders

Here are the requirements for the final project.
The book can be MSWord, pdf or handwritten or a printed copy.
It must have a cover page, a title, a contents page, a page giving the copyright to srishti school of art,design and technology and yourself, an intro to what poetry is and about your poems, and must include eight poems plus images/illustrations/ pictures that are apt, ideally, if possible, your own work and not borrowed.
This week's assignment is sending in the intro. This must be done as soon as possible.
Roshan, Samia, Shyamli, Vaibhav (presumably?), Pratap and Aditi all have eight poems and/or more. Maybe Aashim has too.
I need confirmation from the others that they have it - in case they don't please send me the rest, that's mainly Aashim (?), Prerna , (3 poems), Roanna (?), Ashwin (3 poems).
Please go to the library and look at a collection of poems by someone so you can jot down all the details about cover page, title, inner cover page, contents page, copyright details page, page numbers , binding etc.
The book has to be ready by next Saturday.
Sending in your intros fast will help -as will the poems in the case of those who don't have eight poems.
All the poems should have been created in the duration of this course - this is an important condition.
All the best.
Please reply to this post clarifying matters with me regarding your progress etc....:)
Make the introduction brief , although I am not setting a word count.
If we need to hold an exhibition we need hard copies. If we need to compile the best poems into a book we need soft copies. So I think submission should be of just one but each person should have two copies.

Friday, September 14, 2007

prerna's new poem - highly alliterative - called Conflict in conversations inside the cavity.

In a constructed cavity

With different cavities for each

The hollows occupied one each.

Catapulting the air with the frozen pungent remains

Fractals of holes

A Fraternity of frauds

A fray of Frozen Fights

And The smell of being over iced

The failed food

With time and mind


Fought a fatiguing fight.

Conflict in conversations inside the cavity

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Aditi's new tight poem

not worth a second glance,

she sits there



waiting to be noticed

not worth a second thought

she sits



revisiting her wrongs

not worth another word

she sits there

quietly debating

conversing with the silence

not worth aquaintanceship with

she sits


gathering up

the pieces of a relationship.

Roanna - 4 to make up for all the long waiting :)

The need

To be not like the others

You are a picture in amber scented reality

Cloaked in green I see the letters poring

Tons of them,

Those I never even saw

Those that do not even exist

I feel this humanness grabbing me

Time watches

Calling out every now and then

I am going

As I live this dream

And I thrive on it

The lie

Forgive my human instinct

Or rather this want, to be human

To give up a certain touch,

A feel

Closing in

I am, alone amidst this crowd,

Close your eyes

Savour the last bit of the cake

Not soap

Smell , taste , feel it,

It, makes you live.


I rant, rave, look at myself,


At these words


I see in the distance

Standing amidst it

In the heat, sweltering, throbbing; heat


You reach with a crescendo


Slide down the silver spoon: life.


Like the moth on the ceiling

Looking down at me

No thought

The want to be it


Telling you this reality

Your dreams

opening your eyes

to the truth you don’t dare see

the hypocrisy

you ignore

it’s a laugh

this predicament

“forgive and forget” they say

But one doesn’t dare

To shatter the mirror

Of this dream

You can’t take away this wild love from the dreams you



I laugh at this predicament

At the irony

The hope

It’s there one moment

Gone the next

They want it one moment

They don’t the next

Scared the very next.

Ashwin - 5th one

I reach my hand out

Into an embryo, opening

Like a crack in the sky.

I feel the rain on the other side.

Watch as I stand still,

On the corner of a black ice slab.

Like a current sweeping,

Washing wide this wild world,

Like weeping dreams,

(A once picture-perfect frame.)

My ears fade away,

The echoing image, trapped,

In the backdoor behind my eyes;

The same image yet

We carry in the lines of our smiles.

An ending worth,

A feeling I drown myself in,

Within the loop of an uncertain end.

pratap - wild-glaze-eye 2

feed ME:eAT me

esoteric uncertainty-

a fading





my II hand radar

seems not to

want to


for I have eaten

enough (.)

of the same

different curry.




he is a spoon-fed

feeding on

II hand perspectives

of possible

abstract realities.

feeding on




so that

he slowly eats








the greedy bastard,

no better

than the ones

he criticizes,





more mindscape

to perpetuate

his feeding grounds

to keep


system going

heart beating:

to stay alive

so that

he can continue




my mindscape/




feed on him-










to perpetuate

(its) existence.


II hand radar- ever searching



s h i f ts

to newer


feeding grounds


I find

my people-




- red lipped,



salivating pigs




each other/;

crawling, wide-eyed

towards me,


join us

in this holy act

decreed by


human nature : give and take.

come, join us"-





hypnotic voices

tug at my hand

beckoning me,

urging me…

he smiles,

takes in





staring him

in his wide-wild-eye.

he smiles,

not at them

but at me:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

pratap - still all about perception's noumenons

What is this object?




standing tall,

on all


sid es,






Each unit



All units

firmly rooted,

reaching deep

into the barren mindscape

of the dead spoon-fed.

True form


by a




façade of exuding Light-




bursting through

all filters,

exploding into/

annihilating all in/


the barren mindscape

of the dead spoon-fed;

so that

only it remains



d: controlling

the spoon feeding

of/for the spoon-fed.


II hand realization

in a spoon-fed

seems to dawn:

what it (seems)²


what it seems:

the object


a (subject)²

to the subjectivity


the spoon-fed’s

fertile mindscape;


by the/

for the/


put the pen down.

what are these

passionate words,

recording an





“passionate”(?) “words”(?),

“recording”(?) “an”(?)



“intellectualism”(?) ?

-all subjects.

“all subjects”

is the subject.

“is” “the” “subject”


the system

standing tall,

on all

sid es,




of/in the





that cannot




without it

the mindscape is


t-h-e- s-p-o-o-n-f-e-d


Monday, September 10, 2007

Roshan chugs on like an unstoppable train

We go through our lives,

Saturated with light,

Saturated with the images of man.

Our heads filled with images,

Torn out of the world by greedy men.

our heads stuffed with torn images,

until there remain nothing but torn images.

And words that mean nothing,

Words that speak nothing,

No language or art or ancient script.

Everyday a palimpsest of yesterday.

Sit by the dark, and close them.

Forget the common thoughts of man,

Forget the general thoughts of man.

Forget thoughts that are already thought.

Open your eyes to the dark, and take nothing in.

Feel the absence of straw, and feel the naked haystack.

Watch the shadows in your eyes, and speak to them.

They will tell you more than men.

The fearless are free to be free.

Sunday mornings, started the same way.

People on their knees, kissing their

Invisible benefactor, sharpening their knives and

Cutting through life, melting the edges,

And spreading it out onto graves.

Sunday afternoons were impeccable.

Their stench spread far, attracting vultures,

Of the most polite kind,

Who skirted around the prey, until it was a little beyond death.

And then they politely grabbed at the rotten flesh,

Smiling and humming to one another,

Blaming the next (calmly) for the putrid smell in their garden.

Some sit and wait for the rain,

Some go and find it.

Another person, conceived with uncertainty,

Blinked and opened his eyes,

And the first time he blinked the thunder coughed

And said nothing, but the sound of the stars

Was deafening.

And silently he slid down from the cradle,

Slid down the cradle’s side,

Straight into the other kingdom.

And got up and dusted his hands,

And continued down the narrow road.

Before long his ears and hands rotted,

And were never used again.

A space without time, savagely constructed.

A place without pity, gradually constructed.

Another century with nothing.

Another universe with nothing.

Inescapable flatness,

Thoughtless, bottomless, lies our world.

Lowest in the food chain,

A pebble in a universe of boulders,

A speck in a universe of galaxies.

A little more time, a few less faces.

The Hollow Men

The Hollow Men
Eliot, Thomas Stearns (1888-1965)

A penny for the Old Guy


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us--if at all--not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer--

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
and avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
and the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

What was done in last class

Watched Apocalypse Now.
Read Hollow Men.
Reinforced many things learned so far through the analysis of apocalypse now.
Read Pratap's poem and discussed Shyamli's poems too.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

shyamli - latest poem

So yes, it has happened.

And I agree, my love,

that it is sad.

And Grevious.

But sounding this tolling bell

wouldn’t undo the already undone,

the threads that bind you to your fate.

Lovely thoughts swim and dive,

so sympathy comes hesitant yet.

So yes, it has happened…

And your frivolous, shingled dreams

lie Dead.

A cut lemon lies unheeded too

on your clean, sterile kitchen floor,

and I stare unblinkingly

as I listen to you weep,

hiding behind the bathroom door,

(The shower barely hides the racking sobs.)

Flinching at the unpleasant, echoing sounds

I pace and refrain from leaving,

running down the stairs,


So yes, it has happened.

But no moans would do

your solitude any good.

I lapse into a mad dance,

bounding wildly to keep up

with the rising, soaring beat,

and I realize it was hardly apt,

while you lay there sullen,

and in your worries wrapped.

But this uncanny dam of joy bursts forth,

escapes all seams.

Drowning me… wrapped in lilacs and lace.

And I rock back and forth,

Touched... I am.

By my insane love for your tears.

In your hurt and heartbreak,

I need to thrive.

So yes, it has happened,

and I agree,

it is sad.

But your salted streams

remind me only of this.

He loved me more.

He loved me more,

And your deluded, shingled dreams,

lie dead.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

vaibhav -2

They say,

You stumble,

Then you fall,

Like castles in sand

Washed off shore.

They fit in perfection,

To crumble away.

Making jibes,

Watching you crawl,

Picking up those grains scattered,

Truly then you see,

A poet’s world in your eyes.

You search within,

Seek beyond,

Where you see excellence,

I, fake virtue.

Robes of glory,

Chains of insolence.

The top too high,

The bottom too small.


Stand high, look down at the world,

Strange is the sight,

Of large blocks below,

You stoop to,


Those fools who built them.

The sight of heaven and the sounds of hell

Waiting a long while in those shadows

For you to jog past,

And meander around later.

You search within,

Seek beyond,

A break, a fall,

Infinite darkness.

vaibhav is in the building .... this one's called certainly mixed up

Far away from certainty,

Creating a wave,

Ripples scatter me ashore,

I blink to break free,

Gathering myself I stand,

Cleansing thoughts off my mind.

Turning to breathe,

I look to the other side.


Ahead lies reality,

Squinting I see,

Even now,

The world is bleeding,

Feeling just fine

We think

It turns to the other side.

Searching to move,

We’ve crossed all our lines.

Humans we were,

Always free enough to choose,

Never free enough to find,


Wake up,

I wish some strings would break,

We’re running out of time.

Cursed to feel alone,

We stand

Crawling ahead in swarms,

Trying to overcome our time,

People in the streets,

Reeling, steering,

Away from their lives

Beautiful days,

Ruined by their cries,

Cruising through the sky,

I stand,

Shielding my eyes from

These parasitic lies.

Drive me out,

Out to the open space,


Turn the ignition off,

I am overcome.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

roshan - by the sea

The various colours of the sky wilted,

And stained the grey seas beneath,

Until the seas were all the colours,

That the sky could not be.

And the colours shifted, diffusing between them,

Slowly exchanging words, and the waves jumped

Towards their gentle benefactor.

The colours then moved through the crowd,

Infecting all the little men and dogs.

They talked differently to everyone now,

Laughing with evil and crying with the sea.

And between them they seemed to see,

All that didn’t affect anybody.

But from the corners of their insatiable eyes,

They saw only beauty and skin.

They talked differently now, to everyone but the sea.

Gradual uniformity spread through them,

Until it transformed into inconceivable monotony.

Time skidded over them, and the wind slid through them.

And now they did not feel anything but the greyness of the sea.

roshan - returning from long memories

Returning from long memories has taken its toll.

The hills have grown old and the grass tall,

And the house eaten away by a thousand moths.

The hundred dinners served and un-served.

Battling the plates into serving supper.

Crying to the wind to come back, and the rain to come back.

Watching the corn harvest go by, slowly shifting shape,

Until it matched the sky over to the south.

(he points and says, “it's over there.”)

To the north, there were a flock of birds,

Shifting form and sitting on a wire,

Watching the sky change colour, from red

To pink finally and then saying farewell.

Drawing the rain in mounds of sand,

Sifting through the mounds of sand,

Until there remained nothing but the sifting,

And long fingers soothing the stars.

Talking about the corn and talking about the stars,

And a little smile extracting a thousand more,

Seems reason enough for life and reason enough

Not to mend the stitch of time.

What does it matter, who throws away the bodies?

The bodies are thrown by somebody- even if it isn’t anybody.

Backwards and forward and backwards again,

The wagon of life struggles down the mountain path,

Bearing the weight of the dead and the weight of the

Ones who are alive.

And the wagon, moving slowly, moving by the weight

Of the dead and alive, seems to stop itself,

And ask itself a question-

Why carry the dead?

They are rotten and putrid, and they stain the couch.

Why carry the dead?

roshan - dead

The light spoke but a few words, gently receding,

Into the refuge of the night.

Just a few drops of water nibbling at stagnant pools,

Melting the mud around them, guiding more into them.

A handful of brown dogs, wailing for their non-existent masters

Who slept peacefully, in the clutches of red light.

And around them there grew dead people,

Grinning and pointing at them.

Washing themselves in the shelter of murderers.

They slept peacefully, their eyes vibrating,

With subconscious shame.

And when they died, people talked well of them.

And when they died, the dogs got their share of them.

The evil die with their bones and the dogs forget their good.

And their bones forget them.

We escape daily, just before the moon appears,

Shielding our eyes from its blinding light.

Shuffling about in its blinding light.

Engaging with the dead, speaking to the dead.

The living disgusts us.

We have suffered in their sins and wept in their weakness.

The living seep into our homes, mutilating our homes.

Forget and forgive, dogs of the dead.

Consume their bodies, drink their lives.

And forget their lives and what they did.

Go home and boast to your bitch,

Say to her that you have lived.

aashim - poem on death -

If I die,

sound no death knell.

or regret, decry

this fate and dwell

just for me

just for me.

I plead with you

to test emotions

quivering and askew.

I leave

I leave...

Instant and sudden


the silent and sullen.

To an end

To an end

I scream.

A pinch.


from this dream.

a Dream?

a Dream!

a dream I Scream

flailing free

just as I see

you lying

dead to me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Samia - resurgence

The much awaited visit

I walk with my love,

He shows me the World

as he sees.

Our steps make a rhythm

my heart cannot keep.

I stand atop the end



(as if

let out

would destroy

this ancient array

and transport me

back to the ugly


He sits then,


like someone


to the place

where one fits;


(and he does)

They rise

in a magic spiral,

the breeze so full-

an occasional flap

is enough to signal,

the wind gods breathe.


Steep is the

fall below,

creatures graze far



aware of us


then circle


Cicadas become the morning,

the dawn air so green

I marvel at the height

of these moss covered leaves:

they remind me of something

I would like to be.

I meet them


I feel



has begun to heal

That something-

even to me,

I did not reveal.

I’ve known you,

like the people

one hopes to meet.

You think like the ones

whose lives

one would like

to lead.

Whose thoughts

you’d like to



With my palette,

I tread through heaven

as clouds reveal the way.

I’d never go back-

if I had my way.

I’m home again,

and this perfect one

too, is-

high in the misty green.

roshan - a perfect poem except for the lack of a title

The lights in the wide open dark,

Glided past, in the other direction,

Fading a little beyond,

And the wind formed little dancing droplets of water

On the glass, on the window, where they collided,

Combined and flowed away down, below the window sill.

Each stream, reflecting the lights, breaking the light,

Into tiny fragments of memories.

Where was the world when we played in the sand?

Making and un-making a world, and pouring our hearts,

Into its crystalline shape.

Beyond the sunset we played a little,

Sharing our tears in little cups, we spread them across the sun.

And when it got too hot, we sprinkled some on the sun.

And before the evening was blown away, we spoke.

But our words were lost, flowing away into the evening,

Swimming through crowds,

Over the traces of many thoughts.

And in the falling light we met,

Looking through our veils, through the many gaps,

In our veils.

Nature reflecting itself in our lives, weaving itself

Around us.

Two little figures against its orange glory.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Pessoa poems

1.I am the escaped one

I am the escaped one,
After I was born
They locked me up inside me
But I left.
My soul seeks me
Through hills and valley,
I hope my soul
Never finds me.

Fernando Pessoa in English

2.Poems from The Keeper of Sheep

One wildly clear day,
The kind when you wish you had done a pile of work
Not to have to do any that day,
I caught sight, like a road ahead among trees,
Of what may be the Great Secret,
That Great Mystery the false poets speak of.

I saw that there is no Nature,
That Nature does not exist,
That there are mountains, valleys, plains,
That there are trees, flowers, grasses,
That there are steams and stones,
But that there's not a whole to which this belongs,
That any real and true connection
Is a disease of our ideas.
Nature is parts without a whole.
This perhaps is that mystery they speak of.

This was what without thought or even a pause
I realised must be the truth
Which all set out to find and do not find
And I alone, because I did not try to find it, found.

I take myself indoors and shut the window.
They bring the lamp and give me goodnight,
And my contented voice gives them goodnight.
O that my life may always be this:
The day full of sun, or soft with rain,
Or stormy as if the word were coming to an end,
The evening soft and the groups of people passing
Watched with interest from the window,
The last friendly look given the calm of the trees,
And then, the window shut, the lamp lit,
Not reading anything, nor thinking of anything, not sleeping,
To feel life flowing over me like a stream over its bed,
And out there a great silence like a god asleep.

Alberto Caeiro

3.I Have a Terrible Cold

I have a terrible cold,
And everyone knows how terrible colds
Alter the whole system of the universe,
Set us against life,
And make even metaphysics sneeze.
I have wasted the whole day blowing my nose.
My head is aching vaguely.
Sad condition for a minor poet!
Today I am really and truly a minor poet.
What I was in old days was a wish; it's gone.

Goodbye for ever, queen of fairies!
Your wings were made of sun, and I am walking here.
I shan't get well unless I go and lie down on my bed.
I never was well except lying down on the Universe.

Excusez un peu ... What a terrible cold! ... it's
I need truth and aspirin.

Alvaro De Campos

4.Crown Me with Roses

Crown me with roses,
Crown me really
With roses -
Roses which burn out
On a forehead burning
So soon out!
Crown me with roses
And with fleeting leafage.
That will do.

Ricardo Reis

5.Love is Essential

Love is essential.
Sex, mere accident.
Can be equal
Or different.
A man's not an animal:
Is a flesh intelligent,
Although sometimes ill.

Fernando Pessoa trans. from the Portugese by J. Griffin.

shyamli twice over


Tread slightly.




As my baby sleeps.



((cuddled/ bundled,

in my delicate




like a Freak-ed Freak.

Madding, Breaking

and slightly drunk it roams,

looking for a roof to hide under.


flightlessly mirthless,

across my shoulders.

Flooding my tipping,

Mache ship.

Shrugging my tempest queen.

Sifting for grains

of certain amber crystals.

The storm has come.

The plague is, upon us.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Grades for last time and work for this week

Roshan - A
Shyamli - A
Pratap - A
Vaibhav - A
Aditi - A-
Samia - A-
Prerna - B+
Aashim - B+
Ashwin - B+
Roanna - U

So Ashwin owes me two poems.
Roanna too.
All the others except Aditi and Roshan owe me one for this week.

Roshan, Samia, Shyamli, Aditi and Vaibhav have to start working on their books.
Since the others don't seem to have enough poems for a book generated from this course - the minimum needed would be ten. The book could be a hand-done artefact with illustrations that are relevant to the poems under consideration or an etext , again with illustrations or a printed one. Illustration ,design etc. must make sense.
The book must have a title, introduction, contents page, and if need be an afterword. Minimum content required , I repeat, is ten poems. So those who don't have ten either have to write them and they have to be of enough length or need to submit their final drafts of poems written by the eighth class along with an audio-visual presentation of one of the poems.
Choices self- made:
Pratap - Second poem
Prerna - Poem on "thorn in crotch"
Roanna - Kaleidoscope
Aashim - The poem that uses the word "stellar"
Ashwin - The first poem
Samia, Aditi, Roshan - if over and above book submission you want to do something take a poem you like and do do it. The same goes for Vaibhav and Shyamli too.
The book has to be finished and submitted by ninth class. It will be judged on criteria of whether learning during course has been well applied or not.

Here is most of the material all of you wanted

As you may all remember in the last class i taught you about inter-textuality and intra-textuality - I also spoke about impersonality and the Joycean method - using mythology to frame "the contemporary panorama of futility and anarchy that is modern history" ( T.S. Eliot) . But most of all I taught you with examples Bloom's revisionary ratios.
Here are the poems we looked at and the theories.
Here is the example I gave of foregrounding and impersonality.

Winter Night

It snowed and snowed, the whole world over,
Snow swept the world from end to end.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

As during summer midges swarm
To beat their wings against a flame
Out in the yard the snowflakes swarmed
To beat against the window pane

The blizzard sculptured on the glass
Designs of arrows and of whorls.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

Distorted shadows fell
Upon the lighted ceiling:
Shadows of crossed arms,of crossed legs-
Of crossed destiny.

Two tiny shoes fell to the floor
And thudded.
A candle on a nightstand shed wax tears
Upon a dress.

All things vanished within
The snowy murk-white, hoary.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

A corner draft fluttered the flame
And the white fever of temptation
Upswept its angel wings that cast
A cruciform shadow

It snowed hard throughout the month
Of February, and almost constantly
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

Boris Pasternak - taken from Dr. Zhivago

Here's the rest of the stuff:
The semiotic notion of intertextuality introduced by Julia Kristeva is associated primarily with poststructuralist theorists. Kristeva referred to texts in terms of two axes: a horizontal axis connecting the author and reader of a text, and a vertical axis, which connects the text to other texts (Kristeva 1980, 69). Uniting these two axes are shared codes: every text and every reading depends on prior codes. Kristeva declared that 'every text is from the outset under the jurisdiction of other discourses which impose a universe on it' (cited in Culler 1981, 105). She argued that rather than confining our attention to the structure of a text we should study its 'structuration' (how the structure came into being). This involved siting it 'within the totality of previous or synchronic texts' of which it was a 'transformation' (Le texte du roman, cited by Coward & Ellis 1977, 52).
[T.S.Eliot ,from "Ulysses, Order and Myth," 1922 book review]
"In using the myth, in manipulating a continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity, Mr. Joyce is pursuing a method which others must pursue after him. . . . They will not be imitators, any more than the scientist who uses the discoveries of an Einstein in pursuing his own, independent, further investigations. It is simply a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and a signficance to the immense panoroma of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history. . . . Instead of narrative method, we may now use the mythical method. It is, I seriously believe, a step toward making the modern world possible in art."

I will tell you.
The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
Burn'd on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar'd all description: she did lie
In her pavilion--cloth-of-gold of tissue--
O'er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature: on each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colour'd fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.


Shock, who thought she slept too long,
Leapt up, and wak'd his Mistress with his Tongue.
'Twas then Belinda, if Report say true,
Thy Eyes first open'd on a Billet-doux.
Wounds, Charms, and Ardors, were no sooner read,
But all the Vision vanish'd from thy Head. 1.120
And now, unveil'd, the Toilet stands display'd,
Each Silver Vase in mystic Order laid.
First, rob'd in White, the Nymph intent adores
With Head uncover'd, the cosmetic Pow'rs.
A heav'nly Image in the Glass appears,
To that she bends, to that her Eyes she rears;
Th' inferior Priestess, at her Altar's side,
Trembling, begins the sacred Rites of Pride.
Unnumber'd Treasures ope at once, and here
The various Off'rings of the World appear; 1.130
From each she nicely culls with curious Toil,
And decks the Goddess with the glitt'ring Spoil.
This Casket India's glowing Gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder Box.
The Tortoise here and Elephant unite,
Transform'd to Combs, the speckled and the white.
Here Files of Pins extend their shining Rows,
Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux.
Now awful Beauty puts on all its Arms;
The Fair each moment rises in her Charms, 1.140
Repairs her Smiles, awakens ev'ry Grace,
And calls forth all the Wonders of her Face;
Sees by Degrees a purer Blush arise,
And keener Lightnings quicken in her Eyes.

The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Glowed on the marble, where the glass
Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines
From which a golden Cupidon peeped out
(Another hid his eyes behind his wing)
Doubled the flames of seven branched candelabra
Reflecting light upon the table as
The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,
From satin cases poured in rich profusion.
In vials of ivory and coloured glass
Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
Unguent, powdered, or liquid-troubled, confused
And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air
That freshened from the window, these ascended
In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,
Flung their smoke into the laquearia,
Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.

In his first major contribution to theory, Bloom challenges the commonplace notion that literary tradition is a benign and empowering source of influence on modern poets. Instead, Bloom argues, for poets since Milton the achievements of their great precursors are barriers to their own aspirations to originality. "Influence," Bloom insists, "is Influenza - an astral disease," and against its threat, strong poets learn to protect themselves by "misreading" their predecessors. Such "creative misprision" operates through six techniques, or "revisionary ratios," which together form the foundation for Bloom's manifesto for a new "antithetical criticism."

Revisionary ratios
1. Clinamen, which is poetic misreading or misprision proper...This appears as a corrective movement in his own poem, which implies that the precursor poem went accurately up to a certain point, but then should have swerved, precisely in the direction that the new poem moves.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Dejection: An Ode
[Written April 4, 1802]
Late, late yestreen I saw the new Moon,
With the old Moon in her arms ;
And I fear, I fear, My Master dear !
We shall have a deadly storm.
Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence
Well ! If the Bard was weather-wise, who made
The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spence,
This night, so tranquil now, will not go hence
Unroused by winds, that ply a busier trade
Than those which mould yon cloud in lazy flakes,
Or the dull sobbing draft, that moans and rakes
Upon the strings of this Æolian lute,
Which better far were mute.
For lo ! the New-moon winter-bright !
And overspread with phantom light,
(With swimming phantom light o'erspread
But rimmed and circled by a silver thread)
I see the old Moon in her lap, foretelling
The coming-on of rain and squally blast.
And oh ! that even now the gust were swelling,
And the slant night-shower driving loud and fast !
Those sounds which oft have raised me, whilst they awed,
And sent my soul abroad,
Might now perhaps their wonted impulse give,
Might startle this dull pain, and make it move and live !

2. Tessera, which is the completion and antithesis...A poet antithetically "completes" his precursor, by so reading the parent poem as to retain its terms but to mean them in another sense, as though the precursor had failed to go far enough.
Then with the knowledge of death as walking one side of me,
And the thought of death close-walking the other side of me,
And I in the middle, as with companions, and as holding the hands of companions,
I fled forth to the hiding receiving night, that talks not,
Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the dimness,
To the solemn shadowy cedars, and ghostly pines so still.
And the singer so shy to the rest receiv’d me;
The gray-brown bird I know, receiv’d us comrades three;
And he sang what seem’d the carol of death, and a verse for him I love.
From deep secluded recesses,
From the fragrant cedars, and the ghostly pines so still,
Came the carol of the bird.
And the charm of the carol rapt me,
As I held, as if by their hands, my comrades in the night;
And the voice of my spirit tallied the song of the bird.
5 If there were rock
6 And also water
7 A spring
8 A pool among the rock
9 If there were the sound of water only
10 Not the cicada
11 And dry grass singing
12 But sound of water over a rock
13 Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
14 Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
15 But there is no water

16 Who is the third who walks always beside you?
17 When I count, there are only you and I together
18 But when I look ahead up the white road
19 There is always another one walking beside you
20 Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded.
21 I do not know whether a man or a woman —
22 But who is that on the other side of you?
3. Kenosis , which is a breaking device similar to the defense mechanisms our psyches employ against repetition compulsions; kenosis then is a movement towards discontinuity with the precursor. The later poet, apparently emptying himself of his own afflatus, his imaginative godhood, seems to humble himself as though he were ceasing to be a poet, but this ebbing is so performed in relation to a precursor's poem-of-ebbing that the precursor is emptied out also, and so the later poem of deflation is not as absolute as it seems.
Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Auden on Yeats , third section
Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
4. Daemonization, or a movement towards a personalized Counter-Sublime, in reaction to the precursor's Sublime...The later poet opens himself to what he believes to be a power in the parent-poem that does not belong to the parent proper, but to a range of being just beyond that precursor. He does this, in his poem, by so stationing its relation to the parent-poem as to generalize away the uniqueness of the earlier work.
Propertius describing places in Elegies:
You ask, always in friendship, Tullus, what are my household gods, and of what people am I. If our country’s graves, at Perusia, are known to you, Italy’s graveyard in darkest times, when Rome’s citizens dealt in war (as, to my special sorrow, Etruscan dust, you have allowed my kinsman’s limbs to be scattered, you cover his wretched bones with no scrap of soil), know that Umbria rich in fertile ground bore me, where it touches there on the plain below.
There lay the well of Pege, by the peak of Mount Arganthus, the watery haunt dear to Thynia’s Nymphs, over which moistened apples hung from wild fruit-trees free from cultivation, and round about in the water-meadows grew white lilies mixed with scarlet poppies, that he now picked with delicate fingers, childishly preferring the flowers to his chosen task, and now bent innocently down to the lovely waves, prolonging his wandering with flattering reflections.
Pound describing a place:
1. Whatever it was they'd sought for
2. on those dream-encrusted shores
3. faded on arrival.

4. When put down they were as ciphers of themselves —
5. still purposed on their plans,
6. loud with their hopes singing,
7. as with tribulations —
8. but also distanced,
9. shadowed as with journey,
10. cast upon a landscape that was not ingrained by days
11. that they could enter into.

12. In rock or tree or river
13. or in the trailing clouds
14. they sensed primeval Eden:
15. nugatory, other, not of their descent.
16. They chartered wagons, went deep into the interior,
17. found only that the red dust excoriated,
18. long twisters of the wind tore at their face and hair,
19. fire crested in the clouds.

20. Perplexed, they travelled back,
21. built homesteads near the coast,
22. settling there more thickly as the mirages took root.
Pound – Homage to Sextus Propertius / Beginning.

5. Askesis, or a movement of self-purgation...The later poet does not, as in kenosis, undergo a revisionary movement of emptying, but of curtailing; he yields up part of his own human and imaginative endowment, so as to separate himself from others, including the precursor, and he does this in his poem by so stationing it in regard to the parent-poem as to make that poem undergo an askesis too; the precursor's endowment is also truncated.
ARMS, and the man I sing, who, forc'd by fate,
And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate,
Expell'd and exil'd, left the Trojan shore.
Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore,
And in the doubtful war, before he won
The Latian realm, and built the destin'd town;
His banish'd gods restor'd to rites divine,
And settled sure succession in his line,
From whence the race of Alban fathers come,
And the long glories of majestic Rome.
O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate;
What goddess was provok'd, and whence her hate;
For what offense the Queen of Heav'n began
To persecute so brave, so just a man;
Involv'd his anxious life in endless cares,
Expos'd to wants, and hurried into wars!
Can heav'nly minds such high resentment show,
Or exercise their spite in human woe?

OF Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
In the Beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos. Or if Sion Hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's Brook that flow'd
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian Mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.
And chiefly Thou O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all Temples th' upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss
And mad'st it pregnant: What in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That to the highth of this great Argument
I may assert th' Eternal Providence,
And justifie the wayes of God to men.

6. Apophrades, or the return of the dead...The later poet, in his own final phase, already burdened by an imaginative solitude that is almost a solipsism, holds his own poem so open again to the precursor's work that at first we might believe the wheel has come full circle, and that we are back in the later poet's flooded apprenticeship, before his strength began to assert itself in the revisionary ratios. But the poem is now held open to the precursor, where once it was not, and the uncanny effect is that the new poem's achievement makes it seem to us, not as though the precursor were writing it, but as though the later poet himself had written the precursor's characteristic work.
WASTELAND/GAME OF CHESS – same section continued from above
Huge sea-wood fed with copper
Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone,
In which sad light a carvèd dolphin swam.
Above the antique mantel was displayed
As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king
So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale
Filled all the desert with inviolable voice
And still she cried, and still the world pursues,
'Jug Jug' to dirty ears.
And other withered stumps of time
Were told upon the walls; staring forms
Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed.
Footsteps shuffled on the stair.
Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair
Spread out in fiery points
Glowed into words, then would be savagely still.

Summary - Every poem is a misinterpretation of a parent poem. A poem is not an overcoming of anxiety, but is that anxiety. Poets' misinterpretations of poems are more drastic than critics' misinterpretations or criticism, but this is only a difference in degree and not at all in kind. There are no interpretations but only misinterpretations, and so all criticism is prose poetry. Critics are more or less valuable than other critics only (precisely) as poets are more or less valuable than other poets. For just as a poet must be found by the opening in a precursor poet, so must the critic. The difference is that a critic has more parents. His precursors are poets and critics. But - in truth - so are a poet's precursors, often and more often as history lengthens.