Animadversion

“There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed.”
― Bertrand Russell, Human Society in Ethics and Politics

I will depart now,
To trudge along the lanes of
Lonely hearts and destitute dreams.

I will burn myself now
Through the pathos
And the venomous conflagration
Of ruthless revolt.

Chivalry benumbs me
Life presents some agony and scar
In this famished dusk of famine
What purpose do all these bouquets serve?

Why do we utter the words of solace
Strangling disdain in our bosom?

Some yearning for coldness and asperity
Still resides within me.
I don’t need this much glory, praise, recognition
Some anguish, scathe and rejections are also required.

 

Sombre

You will stop for a while by my stone,
Amid the darkly horizon
Under the torrential downpour
In the cemetery, blue and forlorn
Your eyes will fell upon my epitaph
And you will read,

“Here lies the one whose epitaph
Was supposed to be written
With gun-powder and scorn,
Instead we chose snowy compassion
That will melt away.
Here lies the one who,
Like one of us,
Chose the solace of
Servitude and tyranny
Instead of the malaise of a rebel.”

And your lips shaken by grief
Your tears welling into waves
For you know you are but me
Lying in the dark despair
Leaving nothing but a words
And a susurrus of soul, unabsolved.

An ode to my urban landscape

The nameless street

Unreal city,

The prophet running down the street, too fast

I watch the asphalt moving behind, too fast

Is it while the road stand apart

That I stall, the living dead?

Is it not the fury and wrath of a civilization buried?

Is it not the susurrus of a motion unrelenting?

I remain standing, motionless by the incessant waves of humanity passing me by

I stand, hesitant to step inside the heart of the myriad bustling with vivacity

I, the sceptic, the lover, the eternal arbiter of a land unknown,

I will stand by you,

Not being your part but with my frailty and integrity,

I’ll vex you, perforate your omnivorous design,

I am your paramour and dissident

The rebel and the rabble

And the demise your eternity so carefully wiped away.

(the first line was taken from T. S. Eliot‘s The Waste land)

Miasma

Passed by life
Living under the miasma
Of losses and misgivings
Was there any loss at all?
Was it, in the finality,
The illusion of loss?

The miasma broke
Like morning fog
Withering away
Under the golden sun
I braced myself
To watch the world
With elucidated vision.

My vision grew
Obscurer than clarified
Under the sun
Radiating delusory brightness
Unreal and mythic.

The feminist individuality: remembering Sylvia Plath

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am.”

I happen to come across today one of our fellow blogger’s nice article on Sylvia Plath‘s book The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. I haven’t read this particular work of Plath, but in her autobiographical novel Bell Jar, the central character (Esther) was similarly wistful, laden with the sense of not belonging, fighting inwards to evade the existential crisis she was having not being able to find her role as a woman as society bestows upon her neither being able to console herself with the fact how the world would move on, even without her, wiping out her existence into oblivion. The coming in terms with one’s mortality, which is always looked down upon as petty midlife crisis on the part of some bored housewives, were, in an abrupt motion, depicted as something pensive and melancholy.

Apart from Esther there was another crucial female character in the tale, Doreen who was somewhat of an antithesis of Esther, neither impaired by loneliness nor wistfully brooding over death, decay and eventuality. She was rather the rebellious one, taking life by its throat, living or trying to live on her own terms. The relation between these two character, the stark contrast and the deep underlying feeling of sisterhood, in spite of the apparent scorn, is something I feel the best feature of this novel.

In Plath’s writing the affirmation of individuality and individualism of woman, I found was strongest, even stronger than in the work in Woolf. The vast impression Plath left, not only in the realm of literature, but also during second wave feminism and the way she provoked the world of psychiatry, though may not be attributed more on a chance factor than her own intentions, are all too commendable. I would not endeavour to wrap Plath up in these place of a few paragraphs and look preposterous, neither I would see her through the same eyes of literary admirer pained by her being ‘highjacked’ by the feminists and psychiatrist. What Plath, a literary genius, achieved should be beyond literature itself, and it is high time we embraced it.

Manumit

I would remain waiting in the dark
Amidst the heart of this empty theater,
Cold, forlorn, desultory,
The final passage was portrayed long ago,
The actors, renowned for their virtuosity,
All left, wiping away the last traces of paint off their faces,
I will persist, still when the audience, enchanted,
Praising profusely the masterly recital of the crew
Have left hours ago;
The reverberation of the bustling crowd past away
An eternity past;
I will remain still, seated, patient, waiting,
For I know, behind the drape, there lingered
Not the stillness of ephemeron
But you, reiterating your discourses
The enthralling soliloquies that captivated millions of hearts
You are still there, motionless, for like I, you have nowhere to go
Both you and I will remain
Incarcerated in our roles of the thespian and the spectator
The parts we acquired eons ago and could not let go,
Here when the darkness bruises this maculate night
The fullest of hearts are being shattered so pitilessly,
We will act our parts time and again,
Even when they outgrew their purpose
For there was no design, but purposelessness
We will rest here, in our convalescence
Through spring, summer, autumn to winter
Until the dawn breaks into shuddered earth
And the river wails up, washing away from coast to coast
Leaving nothing behind: time nor epoch.

An Elegiac Envisage: remembering Rilke

Six years back when I read Duino Elegies for the first time, it was a simply a carnage. I, then a nineteen year old, was simply slaughtered again and again by the virtuosity and prowess of Rilke. It was not my first encounter with the twentieth century modernism and its consequence on literature. I had already read Joyce, Woolf, Eliot’s Wasteland, Camus and I think I read Sartre‘s Nausea by then too. I was yet to read Samuel Beckett or Ezra Pound of Sylvia Plath, but my familiarity with modernism was not very remote and hence I cannot attribute my reaction to Rilke’s Duino elegies simply to the novelty towards the zeitgeist of early twentieth century. The Christian Existentialism, characterizing Rilke’s work was somewhat novel to me as I had neither read Kierkegaard nor watched the works of Ingmar Bergman. But only this naiveté on my part cannot be attributed to my adoration bordering dangerously towards submission to Rilke. Even  if I accept that his existential crisis and his affliction conferred upon him by modernism is what constituted his work, I would still conserve, even assert, that Duino elegies is the best poetical work that the modernism has produced. His exuberant prophetic rants may not outlast the disinterested feeling of loss that Eliot’s works emanate, but they are far more out-sizing in their premises.

“In your embrace you almost find
the promise of eternity. And yet, when you’ve survived
the fear of that first look, the longing at the window,
and that first walk in the garden, once: lovers,
are you still the same?”

While writing about Rilke it is so tempting to put down quote one after another and be drowned; submerged by the deluge of sublime elegance. Perhaps Rilke would have lived inside of me, more often than not as the part of a subconscious entity, had not One of our fellow blogger’s work reminded me of  him. Today when I tried to read him, I attempted to remain objective and not be indulged into the puerile obsession I had while first reading his work. I don’t remember whose translation it was that I read back six years back. Today I was reading the wonderful translation of A. Paulin Jr. I was able to make a few observation today that I was not able to six years back, such as how Rilke used ‘Du’, the familiar form of you in German, rather than the formal Sie, how the second and first persons are often interchangeable, as if the you is but a construct and a projection of I. Herman Hesse hinted a similar mode in his novel Demian and Gao Xinjian used this style on his magnum opus novel Soul Mountain and in his autobiographical work One man’s bible, and today while reading Rilke, who appeared closer to him, was not the likes of Eliot or Pound, but Xinjian or Murakami.

“Do you hear the New, Master,
droning and throbbing?
Its prophesying promoters
are advancing.”

I don’t elude myself thinking that Rilke would survive our age of information flux. With academia’s interesting waning, Rilke would remain as an obscure figure, once prominent, now his passion rendered superfluous in the age of stolidity. I don’t see many people pouring over Rilke and I don’t expect to encounter a single soul who was struck by the magnanimity of this poet as I was, even without being able to read him in his original language. Still Rilke would remain inside of me, not as a mere integral part, but almost like a dream that by some uncanny way turned into memory.