Find contexts, commentaries and further work at my companion blog: http://sineinverse.wordpress.com/
© 2013 Prabhu Iyer. All rights reserved.
I. The event wall:
east deepening yellow,
going limpid azure south,
west, white, unalloyed,
at the center, a dark void
lightening, radiating outward -
never breaking the event-horizon.
by tradition, is done clockwise.
II. Reading the tiles
Is peace in expansion
Incarceration. Staring at the tiles.
Acceptance or rebellion?
Time doesn't tell.
You are free now:
making a mascot of you,
we have set you free.
While singing paeans
to your greatness yet,
we bemoan how
coolies and niggers are
be-spoiling our home.
Rest in peace!
We'll wait for Christ.
Tribute to the man of our times, who we yet, as usual, betray...
The song of the ney blends
with the dunes:
as ancient paths
follow footsteps out,
into the wilderness of the desert,
seeking a truth greater
than constricted life settled allows;
The percussion of the drum,
stopping at wells
dotting the scape, where,
the earth pours her agony forth
from her sorrowing depths,
the prophet's sons wept for God.
The grieving oases mourn
wound, of long
a heart searching the
sands, for one who gave his life
for the love of his Lord
here and his humble fellow man.
Context and commentary here: http://sineinverse.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/the-thirst-for-redemption/
The ney is a middle eastern reed flute, long associated with spiritual traditions of the region.
Night, the oldest of mysteries
settles, spreading like hunger.
A pall of mist
shrouding over the world.
Siren sounds and firefighters,
drunken brawls, and
Eyes of wonder asleep,
emerging out of
the network of shadows
Stray nuggets of light
also reach the eyes shut
Furtive shadows of passion,
elsewhere. Muffled joys;
Shades of bottle-grey.
faint. Raspy owl-calls,
In the deep, secret
rites of initiation.
Somewhere in the far
the stars and
the broken moon peep in.
Old song on a highway truck.
Little lamps adorning the hills,
courtyards in the distance.
Still developing this piece, more abstractions needed...
Sliced orange shades,
your visage in evening light;
Bright forehead, dotted red,
ruby, on either ear; silken
streaks in hair flowing over
cheeks by the wind;
Ripples in the pond at night:
dimpled smile, broken
as in a dented mirror.
Lost from the front, lost
from behind; doubt rising,
like incense, ladder-like
the rib cage in x-ray vision;
Broken pots, moss-filled,
collecting the last rain,
bits of moon in the puddle
Totem pole, towering
light house, Zeus-thunder
zipping past the sky, my
Babel ego. Zorro moments.
At the center, a fulmination:
spreading front of a quake
ripping space and time apart.
Ma Jolie is one of Picasso's celebrated cubist works: you can see it here http://www.pablopicasso.org/ma-jolie.jsp
And when the days grow on the soul
like a shadow at noon,
the night sets in deep, after
the stars retire,
the winds go silent in the valley,
there yet comes a time,
when that throb
of nameless pasts comes alive.
You have everyone,
yet, I know, you have no one:
is this how I love you?
I see you disappear:
the last bird into the swallowing
cloak of the fast-setting night.
After the rains, you disappeared
into the pond, hopping on lotus leaves.
An anger at my lapse,
smoulders on in winter's moist depths;
An anger at yours, hovers over
like the last cloud of the late monsoon.
Yes, when the sky weeps her
all the hidden embers glimmer.
Now I open the window and sit longing
for the mellow autumn rains.
Day and night vie for each other
now, but the darker is winning;
The moon mourns in her ruddy veil:
tonight, the garden's wet by tears.
Incredible, the attraction,
of carbon for carbon.
Even more, the attraction
of carbon for gold.
In the wild, they rarely bond.
But in man, inseparable.
Carbon and mammon: be not yoked,
says the jewel diamond of our race.
Who cares? The cross,
an adornment nice.
Mammon in mud? Silicon
too, says the IT guy.
Fullerenes in the sky: on this
Guy Fawkes night, sparks truly fly.
Carbon will kill for gold.
This the oldest maxim of old.
Incredible connections emerged once I started mining this subject: Diamond is a form of carbon...so too is fullerene: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fullerene (pun on 'like a diamond in the sky')
Mary's son is here and my, what a flutter!
Folk come from far and near, just to hear:
say some a Rabbi is he, others, the Christ;
quelling the ghosts, he turns water wine,
the dead walk back to life at his command.
Mary's son is here and my, what a flutter!
He's cast his glance wide, this humble
son of a carpenter, is too, a fisherman wise:
he pours forth his love, like none ever can,
to his disciples, he's a friend and kinsman.
Mary's son is here and my, what a flutter!
Where they see sin, he only sees the light,
and nothing can anger him but unholy
commerce in the temple right. Who'd have
thought, God's son, was thus in our sight?
Mary's son is here and my, what a flutter!
In the stark valley,
by wheezing winds,
hope, gone afar:
parting the clouds,
for opal skies.
Incidentally, the words 'gone afar' have a hallowed meaning in Mahayana Buddhisn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bh%C5%ABmi_(Buddhism)#The_seventh_bh.C5.ABmi.2C_the_Gone_Afar
Floating on restless waters, tonight,
broken moons breathe in waving clouds;
Time is a colander, through which
life escapes, never to return; Yet tonight
the beanstalk remains tangled;
I sat watching swans in the moonlight
where the canal and stream met;
Rock the boat! Peace is a botheration.
Could the road that diverged loop
back to the fork? Walking backwards,
tonight, leaves and assorted bits of paper
fly forward; After the off-licenses close,
someone's dashing for the last bus
before dawn, running in reverse; three
hooded figures lost in the cemetery,
walking backwards; The moon
weeps tears of mist, that
ripple spreading inward in the puddles
after the rain; There's a weeping firefly
crawling in the sink; Or the kitchen-lamp?
Bubbles die to the siren-song of crickets.
Is there is an Ithaca fabled?
One-sidedly decided arrows,
equilaterally considered triangles,
worlds, whorls, rectangled
squares, afflicted rhombuses;
A self-destructing nova.
The night opens up,
a book of wonders across the sky,
shining in the stars; broken moon;
Wading across ancient expanse.
Flashes of illumination:
lighted mountain bush,
cross rising on the eastern sky;
One look at the visage,
blooming out of this figure
wrapped creeper-like around faint
sight, flower emerging in silver light
out of the shadows: bubbles,
rolling, nonagular, collapsing;
Oh pointless ratiocination!
This poem is an ekphrastic reaction to Kadinsky's 'Composition VIII': a fascinating art work, you can view it here: http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/kandinsky/kandinsky.comp-8.jpg
Now we are past the age
where fireworks make sense, when,
colours and sparkles mesmerize.
Let us sit down, friend,
and reminisce the wonder nights:
when the moon came visiting
and stood silent by the palm leaves,
the still leaves sang a song
to the passing winds
to the rhythm of dripping dew.
Everything is finished in a moment
here, like the sparkle-pot.
Ages pass before we see,
the whirl that follows
in the wake of the Catherine-wheel
of time is in our eye.
Yet a night comes, lit by rows
of joyous lamps, when of long
lost, our soul returns.
That which we sought in objects vain
is forever our own, enshrined
forever behind the throb of sensation
here, is our undefeated kingdom,
closer than the closest.
This is the day when the ancient hero Rama (symbolic of Divine Grace) returns to his capital 'Ayodhya' ('the undefeated' in Skt), after winning back his wife Sita (the individual self), taken captive by the 10-headed ogre Ravana (symbolic of the ten-sided nature of sensory delusion).
It is celebrated by lighting rows of small oil-lamps in all homes and altars, and the display of fireworks, chief among which, are the sparkle-pot and the Catherine-wheel, both favourites of children!
I walked with the hundreds
climbing mountain trails all day
and settling by the pebbles
at the summit, to hear you:
I, for one, never doubted
there was any scarcity of food;
Yes, you were always
a miracle worker.
On nights of wonder, you
spoke to us in secret on
Actually, I did not care:
Whose grace floods the desert
and in whose law, love precedes,
such a one was with us and that was
all that mattered.
And now, by moonless nights,
when I stay up, alone and orphaned,
in struggle and privation,
I wonder, my friend, why is your
coming again set in the future?
Do you not come for love alone
than to keep the law? Do you
not part waters for our deliverance?
Read in continuation of:
Naive waves keep reaching for the oars:
who will explain to them, the rover is gone;
The empty vessel sways from side to side
in wheezing evening winds.
On moonlit nights of silken silences,
atop misty hills overlooking the waters
at Nepenthe's, a dreamed-up reverie.
After the dawn, the night lingers on;
In the darkened room, hiding in corners ,
and dying in the emptying space
hugged between the arms.
Yet, when snow covered everything, and
the clock ticked timeless, a throb enshrined
in the heart of the stalled heart of time,
of those many years ago, carries on.
Of course, the word 'nepenthe' in English also refers to a drink that brings forgetfulness of sorrow or pain, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nepenthe
You need the low angle for the camera
to zoom in on my frame: I can scale
the skies, jump down cars, beat
the baddies and romance girls
by age by half: I'm the hero. I defy
everything. Age included.
Look up close, there are no wrinkles;
Muscles, better than gymbuffs';
Hair, not a strand grey, and
skin, as elastic as young. Yet
I've been around for a good quarter
of the lives of you the commonfolk .
There is no start or middle here:
I know no crises, I know no end.
Touch the screen, feel
the sparkle! I'm the polestar
of the ordinary life, I defy
everything. Life included.
In the secret chamber of my private
existence, I sometimes peep
out of the looking glass, but
the glimpse you saw of my eye
blown up, is all you can catch
of the tears that line their tips.
News on air.
Biting into ginger.
flying in a whirl.
Coiled up cord;
Snakes from the past.
rather, in the context of this poem, 'Hissterisis', may be?!
Then, when a pin-fall echoes ringing
in the enveloping darkness,
and muddied silence eclipses all light,
spreading all around
guards the path forward,
we must know, it will all end.
For a greater power than all we know,
than even the greatest of Gods,
a secret is enshrined within
the very fabric of existence:
a mystic voice echoes,
from the mists, a boon-giving hand
reassures us lost here:
Whenever in trouble, wherever you be
call and the help shall swell forth
from within the wells
dug empty in the crusts of our being;
Like the last light of the evening
the image of clay disappears
into the waters, that in mystic union
connect earth and the heavens,
appearing again year after year
in yet more lovely forms:
A river of love that swells forth
at our suffering, the cradle
of our weal and woe, the Mother
of everything that ever is.
Nine there might be, the darkest
of nights, but the tenth is
the day of victory for sure!
In ancient times, all the Gods assembled their collective power in a great Goddess, who won a victory over the seemingly indefatigable buffalo-headed demon, Mahisha. After the war, the Goddess departs, bestowing a boon to all her devotees, that She will always appear and protect her children, whenever they call upon Her earnestly in their suffering.
The famous Durga Puja celebrations in Eastern India form part of this festival. The Great Goddess is worshipped in a specially crafted clay image for the last 4 days of the '9 nights', after which the image is immersed in sacred waters. If you wish to explore further: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navratri
Here in receding darkness, the sky meets the earth;
In waning hours, here the music of the waves
consoles the mourning sands; here I go pursuing
the citadel of mists, rising lotus-like from clouds
hanging on rugged mountains in the distance.
Maelstroms in the desert carry vortices of sand
and moist fragments of mirages of oases;
The fury of the sea brooks no contenders:
crabs make home the sands levelled flat of my
feats; Again the uproar of mist-filled thirst.
Invisible companion, tonight, in moonlit silence,
will you come walking waters, like those ages
many, of Galilee ago? A storm is brewing.
A labyrinth of seasons in the Catherine-wheel
of life, growing and swirling out of the haze;
When the pall of sullen smoke recedes,
and the rubble long rummaged, after
the nightjars all return home to roost,
and tear-wells in the heart dry up,
when the wails of sobbing mothers muffle,
the silken dreams that we conjured up.
Under the vaults of the darkened skies,
who uncovers the faces masked,
read the blackened hearts of hatred?
Not the siren of death we heard then,
stirring the empty wells of our being:
but the song of the hopelessness of life
in the company of our shadow selves.
When our tears are dry on the shore
And the fishermen carry their nets home
And the sea gulls return to bird island
And the laughter of the children recedes
There shall still linger here the communion we
The feast of oneness which we partook of
There shall still be the eternal gate-men
Who will close the cemetery door
And send the late mourners away
It cannot be music we heard that night
That still lingers in the chambers of memory
It is the new chorus of our forgotten comrades
And the hallelujahs of our second selves
The poem is remarkable for its lyrical quality and haunting, surreal appeal to our connection with the lost and the dead. This connection with the other-world is something that occurs through Awoonor's work, influenced by the traditions of his native Ewe people.
What gives you, who gives you,
who've exchanged your humanity
for a senseless existence
and desire for death -
to come and kill and maim
the unarmed and helpless,
armed to your teeth,
against the defenseless weak?
is this strength?
is this a religion?
is this how you attain heaven?