Sunday, November 30, 2008

Truth, the end

I just finished reading “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” TS Eliot was a great man. Who says that man-worship is wrong? He writes:

“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But ofcourse only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to escape from these things.”

He knew. He was not afraid.

And yet, when I read him, I hear his unmistakable voice. I know that it is him even before I see who it is. I hear his precision that is both impersonal and fluid. It speaks.

Also, Auden writes the following:

“For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its own making…”

That’s the comfort, isn’t it? And the release, the end. Just the simple and unerring fact that there cannot be another. Because it makes nothing happen, it is. Because it makes nothing happen, what can replace it? Ofcourse, Keats did say that beauty is irrevocable. Enduring. The frontier.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Measure for measure

I have been off rock music for a couple of weeks now.

The result of which is that I have been listening to Simon and Garfunkel's version of Scarborough fair repeatedly. Obviously, the haunting seconds play a major role in this. I especially love the "generals order the soldiers to kill" part. It is a bit dramatic for seconds, but, I like it anyway. The song brings back acappella memories of school. I miss school. It was home. I miss school friends. They were a second family.

Also, Chopin's Preludes Opus 28 sound darkly urgent in C minor, but, not so much is E minor. I don't know. I am not a very good listener.

Nine exams. Spanning over twenty days. I have lost my sense of humour. I almost miss the Monday tests. The brevity of them. Ofcourse, in person, I will deny that I wrote this.

Where be your Grecian Urn?

A friend has all the answers. He is looking for the questions.

I, on the other hand, don't mind looking for the answers, but, I have never been able to understand the questions.

I like to think of truth as a treasure hunt, the treasure being beauty. I like to think that I know the avenues, the hurdles.

I don't know what nameless, elusive address houses the Grecian Urn.

I don't know where to lead my one man parade.

Everything else becomes simplicity.

PS: Apologies to Keats.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I love Billy Collins. So, will you after this, if you don't already. See you after two weeks.

Isn't he incorrigibly funny? I read a poem he wrote on Emily Dickinson, a very long time ago. It was about the complexity of women's clothing in 19th century America. Then there was one about the travails of turning ten, that also had a Shelley reference. One of the most buoyant poets, ever.

Must get back to relativity now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The taming of the shrew

So, I will take Abhineet’s advice and forsake simple pleasures for a fortnight. Not that I have a choice. Cousin is getting married between the theory and practical exams. 10 things I hate about exams:

1. Studying.
2. Late nights, sleep deprivation, mornings.
3. Coffee. Because too much is bad.
4. Microwaved maggi noodles. Because too much is bad.
5. Diet Coke. Because too much is bad and normal coke is too sweet.
6. Phone. Because it becomes indispensable.
7. Can’t read as much as I would like to. Because sources are limited and wants are unlimited. The sources being time here. Yes, I remember economics from March. Typically, read Harry Potter during exams. It is comfort reading.
8. I get crazy writing ideas and can’t do justice to them.
9. Can’t wait for them to get over.
10. Miss them when they do. Unbelievably.

PS: "The taming of the shrew" is inextricably linked to lists in my mind because the movie “10 things I hate about you” is loosely based on it.

PPS: Good luck to everyone for the exams.

PPPS: Will resume blogging later now. Renouncing the internet for some time. Renouncing poetry which is the same thing for practical purposes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Husk time
Abstract eternities from oblivion
Measure life in dust winnowed light.

Oblivion is infinite
When I take your picture
I tell myself that I have captured light, time.

I am permitted
Expensive concessions as I read
A little more beauty, a little more time.

Just had one of those days when you get up in the morning and you know with all certainty that you have to read something specific, but, a chemistry practical thwarts your plans. You come home and hunt for the book only to be disappointed.

Have decided to not listen to Floyd and Morrison for a week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Five years
Went unrecorded
Eclipsed by nothing.

So comforting
To see you
Post life.

To watch you
Open your mouth
Only to close it.

In the end
Even roses
Are bloodstained.

I traveled
Strange Distances

To be
Touched by you

I watch you
On the scrabble board
Caught in a deadlock.

You suffocate
In the ocean
Of words.

Only to make
Your own

I make tea. The year is beginning to forget itself. There is no space between winter and me. The changing light reminds me of...... Nothing. I chide myself. I am too young to be reminded of things. It gets dark so soon. A friend has been asking me to listen to Mozart's Requiem for some time. I put it on. I sit back. It is best to stay in the dark a little longer. A little longer. I close my eyes in order to hear properly like a blind person groping through lobbies of refrain. Like a child struggling with a new expression.

The City Of Violinmakers

Henrik Nordbrandt, 1945, Danish Poet. This translation by John Irons.

"Every time that you return
I could kill you for it –
out of envy at the view
I never gained a glimpse of, the river
that wound its way through the city and out
into lush countryside
unless it was a stream of blue horses
the snow of the mountains and the local
language, the inside jokes
they made about their kings.
‘The city of violin makers’ I have often
christened the place where I search
for your soul’s preferred haunt
your melancholy’s woodland floor, and the special
tint in the light across your cheek
the one that drives me mad in late-winter
or in other words: I know nothing of death
but I ascribe such powerlessness to the dead
such an undirected yearning
that no picture can be made
despite the frame that is always present:
Throughout the night downriver
we nevertheless lay awake on deck
listening to the string music
borne out to us from invisible banks."

He reminds me of Neruda.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Gunner's Dream

“I hate that aesthetic game of the eye and the mind, played by those connoisseurs, these mandarins who ‘appreciate’ beauty. What is beauty, anyway? There’s no such thing. I never ‘appreciate’, anymore than I ‘like.’ I love or I hate.”

Everything that is not perfect is imperfect. Period.

Sometimes, I like to imagine a life less exigent. To miss one beginning, is to look for another. The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of. Who was that again? Pascal maybe…

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Lizard King

I would never go as far as wearing exhibitionist T-shirts and yet, there is something about him. I keep coming back to him. Again and again. I don’t understand what he did with his life. And why? Why would a man in his quest for the spiritual truth derange his senses? Who was he? A prisoner guised as a free man. A free man pretending to be a prisoner. A trembling difference between the two. And then, I listen to his poetry in motion and everything is forgotten. Everything is granted. Everything falls into place. He is exonerated. There is nothing left to analyze anymore. There is no past. The future is another country, exotic, solemn, a “Spanish Caravan.” The present is a surreal progression to the country of the future in “The Crystal Ship.” He created magic. He was magic. He hypnotized time, transfixed it. Indeed, “the present is now, everything else will be remembered.” Now is beautiful because it will not come back. Now, I listen to him. Soon, his words will be gone and yet, contained in the shape of things to come, in the ocean of his departure that will swim within the four walls of my mind. Now, I listen to him when he says:

“Free fall flow, river flow
On and on it goes
Breathe under water till the end.”

Thursday, November 6, 2008


This is what happens when I try my hand at Haiku. Ofcourse, Japanese syllables are Japanese. Not English.

Fend the kingdom of Poseidon
Betide on a chariot of sea-foam
Armour in conch shells.

I am obsessed with the ocean. Because I have never seen it.
Here is another one.

Now, the mirror reflects me
Twenty years ago, my mother was I
It’s a trick of light.

I saw “Dear Frankie” last night. It is an amazing movie. I have flu. Again. There is not much to do except to wait for it to go away.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Soul kitchen

Sitting across each other.
The two of us, timeworn-

With glazed eyes.
At a loss of words, bartering

Awkward silences.
It is a fair exchange, hush

For hush.
Trough on trough, a function

That is periodic, constant.
A conundrum, the equation

With no solution.
A spider, scuttling

In circles.
Chasing itself, solemnizing

The genesis of logic.
Seeking deliverance.

PS: Thanks for asking. Yes, yes, the title of the poem is a song by “The Doors.”