Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Riparian Ghazaliyat



I playfully address to you    a ghazal
pursuant to that request from you    a ghazal

time's coils are darkling   you of the swirling clockwork
O Kal!    might I suggest to you    a ghazal?

each day (like noon & midnight)    could one proffer
the highest & the best to you    in ghazal?

when minutes & hours unite in plangent namaste
radifs can gong (no jest to you)    in ghazal

whoever should dive    into the shaira's sheets
could dream in the cozy nest of you    O ghazal

Ardeo!    Plato's cave remains your jailhouse?
nice show!    but where's the rest of you    O ghazal?

if the play of rhyme suggests the clang of chains
I'm bound to try the test of you    O ghazal!

once you had magicked into this miniature mirror
what priya's nazaar were caressing you    O ghazal?

Ardeo!    why do you pile up teasing babblement?
what Tower of Babel were best for you?    a ghazal?

when torrents rush toward oceans    listen Ardeo
embrace this safety-vest for you    a ghazal

when you danced for Herod    losing so many veils
who lost his head for the breast of you    O ghazal?

when Ardeo was twirling his hula-hoop in dim twilight
did it turn to a garland blessed for you    O ghazal?

so she asked for a tumbler?    why do you haul a keg?
no keg    a sagaar works best for you    my ghazal

if dil-ki-dard describes the heart that wakens
what pain will be expressed in you    O ghazal?

the pattern of the world    which baffled sages
resolved its mottledness in you    O ghazal

in autumn    every vernal draem when challenged
recalled its eager zest in you    O ghazal

the poet died    the music lingered longer
he left his lone bequest to you    a ghazal

when the river conveyed my wave to the distant ocean
I heard its laughing crest in you    as a ghazal

if the dole of poetry charmed your youth Ardeo
come extoll this old-man's festival    the ghazal


[poem revised 10/13/05]

I'm illiterate vis-a-vis Urdu; yet I flatter myself with the notion I grasp two or three words of that noble language. Not satisfied with this dubious conceit of "erudition" (& to add insult to injury), I dapple my so-called ghazal with these trappings & scraps from the plate of antiquity. Those who know better can chuckle; those who are kind, can point out my errors. That said, I'll provide a paltry glossory, so that my fellow Urdu-illiterates may marvel at the copper coin I display, and those with actual bank accounts can shake their heads at the audacity of show-offs.

Another way of casting that fishnet would be: I felt disposed toward peppering the poem with a few Urdu words for the pleasure of polylingual play (and as a kind of shorthand pointing to a mesh of ideas), but I should not wish (for so doing) to leave in the dark those unfamiliar with such terms. If my verses befuddle, perplex, or baffle, they should do so for far better (or much worse) reasons than that!

[Besides the Urdu, I've tossed in a few additional gloss-able terms to boot.]



ghazal : a poem like this ;-); here's one outline of the form
ghazaliyat : a collection of ghazals
Kal : Time (also means: black, I think)
namaste : a gesture of worship / greeting / blessing / prayer, with fingers & palms of the two hands joined together vertically at the level of chest or head
radif : the given, repeating phrase always found in ghazal poetry
shaira : poet (cognate to sher [a poem / a couplet]
Ardeo : the present poet's nom-de-plum / takhallus / pen-name (pronounced ar-DAY-oh (in Greek, Ardeo signifies a god [deo] of fire [ard]; in Latin/Italian, it means "I love")
Plato's cave : (I'd suggest Google)
priya : beloved
nazaar : gaze / glance / look / blessing
Tower of Babel : (Google)
dance - Herod - veils - head : (Google)
sagaar : sea or ocean
dil-ki-dard : the dard [pain / anguish] of the dil [heart / one's inward nature]

(When I wanted to double-check dard, I discovered this handy Urdu-poerty-words website.)

6 Comments:

Blogger Me said...

if u r not aware of it already i wld like to recommend a very handy urdu-dictionary website.
http://www.ebazm.com/dictionary.htm
you can type words in hindi/english/urdu and get results in the other two languages.
Also if you understand urdu there is a great website called www.mushaira.ord on which you can hear gazals by poets in their own voices. The sad part is that mushaira.org has been blocked by our university's network administrator because it was taking up too much of bandwidth. We live in a sad sad world.

Wed Oct 12, 08:06:00 AM PDT  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

Ravi,
thanks -- that looks like a good such dictionary. (I've tried in past a couple others, but this may be superior.) Sorry I'd not gotten back to you about Huxley, Leary, etc. -- been quite a busy past day; (I literally didn't sleep at all last night). Was at my weekly painting group in evening -- will blog abt. that in future. Did an oil-sketch landscape w/ figure.

For simplicity, I'll take up in brief the Huxley/Leary thing. My (needless) caveat about Leary really had nothing to do with the book you mention (which I'm not familiar with); a bit knee-jerk of me -- it's just that my generation (or soem of it) knew the gent as the premier prostyletizer for a skewed (as most of us sooner or later -- and for those that survived with some sanity intact, it tended to be sooner) sort of psychedelic agenda; the theory he espoused (really during a brief but significant time in the mid-1960s) involved psychadelic drugs as a supposed shortcut to enlightenment. Many lost their minds (at least temporarily) with that sage advice. I never kept track of Leary's subsequent cyber-consciousnes [or whatever] theorizing, must say. As for Aldus Huxley -- many years back I browsed that Perennial Philosophy book; perhaps sometime will give it another look. But from (in part) Huxley's and Chrisopher Isherwood's serious interest in Vedanta, some of us were led to an appreciation for
Sri Ramakrishna (etc.) -- The Gospel of Ramakrishna having been very well translated into English; -- an important book to quite a number of artist-types in the 20th century. I and others have passed thru phases of reding from it daily; another I'm aware of having done that is the composer/musician Terry Riley. Back in the day, Huxley's Island was as influential/interesting to some as Brave New World. Eutopianisms / distopianisms can be provacative. Of course Orwell's 1984 was perhaps an even bigger seller at times.

The only books kind of of that ilk that later became interesting to me were some of the cyber-punk works in the 1980/90s or so -- especially Jon Gibson's Neuromancer (which seemingly prefigured the internet; he imagined the internet in much detail before it has really manifest as such -- though of course his imagination went farther than what we see now). His Idoru was wonderful too. What a pity such a poor (on the whole) film (Johnny Mnemonic) issued from all that good writing. I digress -- but that's the fun of blogdom on no sleep.

What's your university, btw?

cheers,
d.i.

Wed Oct 12, 08:30:00 AM PDT  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

erratum: that should've been William Gibson (the cyber-punk writer). Jon Gibson is another chap: a NYC musician/composer. He's best known (speaking globally) as a member of Philip Glass's ensemble; but his own work's interesting as well.

Two differing Gibsons, neither of 'em a guitar.

Wed Oct 12, 11:40:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Me said...

dystopian novels are a very good concept but the fact tht a lot of authors hve done it reduces its value. I hve read Huxley, Rand (Anthem), Orwell, Bradbury to name a few. I have heard about Leary's concept of spiritualism and that is the reason why I wanted to read his book to find out how he was able to convinve people with his ideas. As of now the possiblity of finding his books is remote.
I study at IIT Kharagpur, Computer Science Engineering.

Thu Oct 13, 03:30:00 AM PDT  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

Handa,
I have a feeling the dystopia-novel is a form that will be with us for some while perhaps. It expresses a wide range of disquiets. True, several have been done -- but not so many as (say) the romantic novel, the college novel, the family-life-in-[name anywhere] novel, the novelist-trying-to-write-a-novel novel . . .

/ / /

But to pull this thread around (for a moment) to topic of the "ghazal" ghazal. A poet explaining every allusion would be a nuisance. Still, let me show this one card.

Ardeo! Plato's cave remains your jailhouse?
nice show! but where's the rest of you O ghazal?

Won't go into the Plato thing (familiar enough & easy to locate). What I will mention is that the poem's second line paraphrases a line from an old moviie (starring a young Ronald Reagan). His famous (in some aging circles at least) line went:
"Where's the rest of me?" What's said (as I've heard it explained) by a soldier, after his lower extremities have been blown off. Not a cheery image; but a memorable line. I think (vaguely) the actor/politician may've used the line as title for an autobiography in later years(?) -- or maybe I dreamed this up. Anyway: in the Plato sense, the poet here says (in effect): isn't this neat, these shadow-plays of a ghazal (in the cave of English, or the cave of my poem, or the cave of my consciousness . . . ) But Ghazal, where's the rest of you (the real you)? It's an admission of limited success, could say. ;-)

cheers,
d.i.

Fri Oct 14, 10:35:00 AM PDT  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

An estimable poet kindly sent a chit:

<< What I love is the way you have dedicated the ghazal to the form itself - "shAirA" incidentally connotes female shAyar and it's nazar not nazAr :D >>

will amend transliteration-spellings accordingly. I think Shaayar [the doubled vowel-letter's the oldfashioned way I know, but I'm not yet newfAngled] -- that is, Shaayar's sheets will work fine. (Sheets of poems, what were you thinking?) To dive into the Shaairaa's sheets at this stage seems risque, if not to say risky. And nazar not nazaar, okie-dokie.

Is that why I bought no glance at the bazaar? because I'd shopped for a nazar but called it nazaar?

d.i.

Fri Oct 14, 10:49:00 AM PDT  

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