Wednesday, November 30, 2005

quick note from Delhi

One of the prerogatives of the vacationer-tourist is to swing over to the vacation end of that teeter-totter, at expense of the tourist end. Actually my tourism has been near nil, but then my vacationing properly can basically be circumscribed to the (current) Delhi caboose of my excursion (if one can so trope a period-of-time-&-experience w/ such a similitude) . . . today (Thursday) being day 3-our-of-4 in Delhi (having arrived late Tuesday)--

anyway, I count among vacation activities (oddly enough) the nearly-3-hours-now spent in a slightly-downstairs (but within doorlight-sight of daylight) 10-rupeees-per-hour (that's $0.20) cybercafe. Haggled by the riksha driver (in Delhi, the attitude about fares is much more casual/aggressive than down south, seems), I'll have expended slightly more for getting here (a 5-min. 3-wheeler trek) than for the (threatenging-to-be-a-full) 3 hours expended. Time & money, in various currencies.

But, or so: I'll not surpss the 3 hour limit, instead turning you (my virtual reader, whomsoever) over to self-quotation from a couple of emails (for what worth). I'm tempted to include one sent to an art-magazine editor, but will let prudence be the bnetter part of um, -- how to turn the phrase? -- I'll let the shaded hand of professionalism for a moment hold sway over the waving hand of blogdom in regard to that. Let me report more later if there's more to report. Hmm, well I see this was also topic of my email chit. Okay, let's go for literary elision, eh? Okay, just from 1 email . . .

yours, d.i.

Hi P.! -- am at a cybercafe 8:25am -- by Ellicott Hospital market area -- a 5 Rs or 40 Rs. ride from my nearby Sunrise Residency (depending on whether you believe my hotel folks or the haggled-not-so-much driver) -- and the 10 Rs per hour internet connection, which seemed at first not working, does.

I have a different kind of comfortability in Delhi, versus Maharashtra, seems. Friday (tomorrow), in this city, Bahauddin Dagar (nephew of my music-teacher Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar), who (in his mid-30s) is one of very few known & serious exponents of rudra vina, is among a small list of artists in varied fields receiving a certain Sanskriti Award. Ceremony was going to be at home of the President of India, but was shifted to another location. R. knows the guy who organizes this event. Looks like I'll have time to catch the Chai (5:15pm) but not the ceremony itself (6pm) -- as my flight leaves 8:30pm for Mumbai -- whence quick (one trusts) shuttle from Santa Cruz (domestic) airport to the int'l airport will have me (along with tanpura -- being delivered by dhrupadiya guru-bhai Ashish -- it having been built for me in past some days) at the int'l airport, my thus-laden return sojourn to the states being thus slated.

Last night I picked up an art magazine (published in Mumbai, but perhaps a sort of Mumbai/Delhi/beyond object d'art in itself) I like a lot -- called ________ (biannual, now in its Volume 8). I came to this cybercafe (with the booming but likeable music) partly to dash off a note to the editor, as I'm quixotically thinking I'd like to explore writing for them in future, and a note from Delhi (versus DC) has (at least in my inexplicable mind) a certain eclat, or something.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

quick note from Panvel (India)

At home in Washington, DC, I barely have time for lots of things -- there's a sense of haste in general; yet I spend an infinite amount of time online. By contrast, since arriving in India -- more especially since arriving at the Dhrupad Gurukul (a small music school, located some 50 km toward Pune along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, nearest township being Panvel -- whence [at an internet cafe, which has nothing to do with coffee btw] I'm posting this note), there's a general sense of infinite leisure in daily life (notwithstanding that music practice begins promptly at 4 a.m. daily) -- one is forever sitting quietly doing next to nothing (since one cannot really sing 24 hours a day; so there are long pauses -- and leisurely meals, teas, the occasional discourse by the Ustad [mastro-teacher] in Hindi [incomprehensible to me, though occasionally I get a translated paraphrase or at least some sense of the topic! -- such as the somewhat arcane discussion of the 5 jatis [castes / based on 5 elements] into which, in antiquity, the raags and their families were divided). Whereas, as for internet time, whenever I've managed to show up at one of these cubicles, things have always been very rushed. This is really my first time venturing to such a spot on my own. I jogged the 4-5 kilometers from the Gurukul to Panvel (rather than accompanying fellow-students in a rikshaw [3-wheel motorized taxi] amidst other errands in town. Even so, dinner will be served perhaps around 8:30pm -- it's 7:20pm now -- the sense of haste is present mainly when taking recourse to cyberspace, as said.

By way of posting a report-of-sorts, I'll copy here some quick notes I sent yesterday to a firend by email. This is rough & hardly polished; I guess I feel apologetic for not (in my wonted fashion) reading / reswriting / etc. Such things can be done in busy America (where I'm online 20 hours a day, it seems); here, 8 offline days passed before yesterday spending an hour or so online . . .

enough. Simply noting the curious fact. Certainly this is peculiar to my own time here in this little excursion. It would be absurd to generalize to India on the whole. And it should be said, cybercafe time is affordable here.

Here anyway are my un-re-read notes (below). I may manage to get a poem or two up here as well before running out the door and seeing if I can manage (with no Hindi nor Marathi to my credit) to direct a ricsha-wallah toward my rural (but not so hard to locate) destination down the road. It's already growing dark. The moon is waning -- so no moonlight till after mindnight at this point. Which has discouraged my erstwhile-wonted [when moon was closer to full, and so present earlier] evening jogs. But I combined jogging w/ going-to-Panvel today for first time, a happy combination. Indeed I sat and drank two coconuts-worth of coconut-water at a stand on outskirts of Panvel. The differences in physical & mental atmosphere between where I'm normally found, and where I'm lately stationed, are a natural topic of musing. No doubt the value of travel largely involves such occasions for introspection. Strange, a sort of boombox sound comes now from outside -- almost lost amid honking of horns, rather distant, its character not evident enough. Am reluctant to leave off these stray jottings, it seems, but here I'll turn you over, as said, to my own earlier notes.

ciao for now,
The Ustad (Fariduddin Dagar) has little English (and I less-than-little Hinidi), so I largely miss out on his occasional discourses. His teaching style is very unhurried. The intro-to-dhrupad/sangeet is anyway a working proposition. In a way, as much as the musical practice, the really slower / sparer pace & quality of life here is a welcome change. The glimpses of common city/village life (Panvel and also Chembur in Mumbai) cannot fail to astonish.

The Dagars have some ambitions for developing the school considerably over the next several years. It's in a rather germinal state. At this "workshop," I'm the only beginner; there are some 5 other students -- though one of them (Ashish), apparently the Ustad's most promising student (some 23 years of age, studying dhrupad for just the past 3 years, but with 12 years of khyal before that) isn't heard receiving lessons in this period. There's one other American (Greg from Seattle) applying dhrupad to the trombone; one middle-aged woman, Mrs. Wagh, who came in by bus from Aurangabad (am told she spends one week each month here), and the two others -- a couple -- live essentially next door. These are Lakhan (12 years studying with Fariduddin) and his German wife known as Yogeshwari -- whose Indian English--plus-Hindi (she learned her English here, clearly) is a cultural curiousity. She has an ayurvedic massaage practice (woman only) -- her sign on the road being the only discernable mark of where to turn in toward the Dagar compound. Her acquaintance with drhupad was via the fine Italian singer Amelia Cuni (who studied in India for a good decade in the 1980s or so) -- whom I met last spring in San Francisco; Amelia had moved to Berlin....

Those are some of the main dramatis personae in what amounts to a very quiet bit of small-scale theatre, in this all-too-brief (2 weeks) dip into "student-life" as locally conceived. I find that the sound of water filling the toilet-side plastic bucket is eloquent about meend, while the sounds of washing soap from under arms (in the water-reduced showing tap) may evoke one form of gamak. Sounds of trucks (ubiquitous even in this conceivedly removed redoubt) and electric fans seem rich with the harmonics -- in fact, jogging late night under moonlight on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway (this has evolved into the best jogging course), after Greg's exposition/practice of raag Bhupali in evening (the Ustad offering a few pointers, sparingly), the truck-horns seemed quite in tune with the raag's notes.

There's anyway my report of a sort.

all best,

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ken Hiratsuka open studio [NYC, events]

Received email couple days ago from Gloria McLean (dancer-friend in NYC) that her husband, sculptor Ken Hiratsuka, is about to do an open studio showing new work. Was also bit surprised / interested to learn they had lately been in India (witness the photo showing Ken with one of his works done there). Ken works in stone -- like a troll? In a way. He takes peculiar delight in carving certain line-drawn-ish patterns and figures on the surface of all manner of stone, and all dimensions, too. Some Manhattan sidewalks have also been known to bear his images (perhaps the one in front of the New Museum remains extant? Or was that the downtown Gugenheim? -- I forget which.)

Though short notice, here's details of Ken's opening. Anyway, he'll have the show in place for two months.

Gloria was a principle dancer in the Eric Hawkins company for many years -- though for many years since she's been doing her own choreographic work. It's been rather too long since I've seen some of it. (Perhaps the last I'd seen was in the Merce Cunningham studio, more than a decade back.)

They make an interesting creative couple.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Amir Khusro's Paradox

Khusro!   the current of loving
            wow!   it flows in reverse!
who've survived   are the ones who're drowning
    who submerged   are the ones who've crossed

dariya prem kaa
ulti waa ki dhaar
jo ubhara so doob gaya
jo dooba so paar

[thanks to Rajendra Pradhan for the verse, and for giving an initial (literal) translation (in course of discussion about love-poetry on the Caferati forum)]

I'd first written:
Khusro!   the torrent of love --
          its flow is too bizarre!
whoso swims   will certainly sink!
      the drowned have found the shore!
but Rajendra sent some corrective notes; the newer version above is another attempt. My plane leaves for Mumbai in half a day; I may not get this finalized for a while. The post presents a rendering in progress. [I wrote "currently presents" -- which sufficed to give me the word "current," now incorporated above. ;-)]

Rajendra's corrective note is worth noting:
Actually, "ulti" means reverse. "dhaar" means flow. "ubharaa" means floated (rather managed not to drown).
That accounts for the revisions.

now added the word "really" to line 2, as I'm thinking that's the sense of waa -- it's an intensifier, no? like saying "really, man!" hmm?
(as in the Punjabi mantram, which concludes siri waa guru -- which I've heard translated as "wow!" In fact maybe I'll go for the wow, and forget the really [erstwhile: "its flow really goes in reverse"] The internal rhyme between "wow!" and "drow[ning] is rather the clincher, I think. I wrote "it flows   wow!   in reverse" -- but even if this follows the Urdu word-order, it's a bit choppy in English.

in the caboose [couplety doggerel]

[aka: having messed up things I tried]
trying rightly trying wrongly
trying smoothly trying poorly
trying smartly trying strongly
trying weakly trying surely
sometimes earnest effort fails
sometimes lazy whimsy sails
sometimes stupid notion kills
sometimes lucky blessing thrills
too imperfect still I strive
buzzing thru a chaotic hive
now & then devoid of use
here & there with no excuse
happy if the train can move
scenic here in the caboose

no more love poetry

no more love poetry
nothing but love now!
leave aside shadow-play
& burn us with grace

when you flirted in silhouette
what poetry was awakened!
yet poetry gets torn away
at a glimpse of your face

[admittedly, this is mere blatant mimicry of my betters; but even immature poets are perhaps permitted to play with these high paradoxes of imagination]

"not-yet-seeing-you" [rubai]

Each day of not-yet-seeing-you dawns unique

while the end of not-yet-seeing-you I might seek

to move (like fish-in-sea) through not-yet-seeing-you

bares the piquant pique of a not-yet-peeked-at cheek!

two sides [rubai]

For there to be dimension
a coin requires two sides

in every form of learning
the mind desires two sides

no leaving & returning
no losing & retrieving

no rounded comprehension
not acquired from two sides

early November [haiku]

it's said of autumn
this is a mournful season
hmmm! (things begin here)

amidst Scorpio
even breezes keep secrets
such surreptition!
Korean deli
inside my office building
unwonted incense!

I'm thinking of you
a vernal phenomenon
(early November)
are there blossomings
unevident in the world
hidden from the eyes?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

chai or love [rubai]

there's no fixed time   for chai or love
there's bitter rhyme   in chai or love
there's sweetness   & fresh wakefulness
no wonder I'm   in chai or love

With thanks (or apologies) to Annie Zaidi's blogo-meditation, Connoisseurs and lovers. Chai-drinking is a theme on which she waxes eloquent from time to time -- such as here and here.

ps: come to think of it, using "I'm" as the surprise word of the rubai, has an antecedent in my land's popular culture: the line You forget I'm in America (from the song "America," in the 1950s Broadway musical drama West Side Story. That line rhymes with -- and follows -- Terrible time in America). I've just now looked at several websites purporting to present the lyrics of this song, and none of them display this line! But I certainly remember it withal.

Further to note: this is the first I'd noticed traces of Persian prosody (with radif and internal rhyme) influencing the (then)-young lyricist Stephen Sondheim. I'd bet you a cup of chai he extrapolated this from Edward Fitzgerald. (I mean, where else? Many of E.F.'s verse-versions of Khayyam don't exhibit the phrase-repetition; but some do. Any lyricist worth his salt might take a lesson from that -- as [I'm speculating] did the redoubtable Sondheim.)

Paramatman / enigma (evening meditation 2)

O you   who rest behind     whatever is

the soul of all     you are the source of bliss

you seem enigmatic   and yet     you unravel enigmas

if finally dissolved   they reveal     your happiness

autumn haiku

Inside this building
autumn is mainly a word
outside it echoes

Amidst hurrying
the sense of futility
at a loss for words
Winter lies ahead
& at her feet spring gazes
outside the tunnel

Here inside the box
of the darkening season
thinking of ribbons

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Impromptu for Ron Silliman [ballade]

Much of life is happenstance
while destiny & ambitoun joust
some are Proust & some are Faust
comedy might look askance
certidude could bear the cost?
still it was a fine romance

happy gleams the second chance
(much is gained   if little lost)
by the whelm when blithely tossed
oceanic lethal dance?
neither lackey'd nor yet bossed
yes it was a fine romance

many moved away to France
others hovered like a ghost
were the words correctly glossed?
youth & its impertinence!
rocks are lovely when they're mossed
and it was a fine romance

like a skateboard   choosing chance
down the hillside   by the coast
often guest   & sometimes host
vernal   lost in dalliance
diurnally   undone (no boast)
though it be a fine romance

hurried   (more a jog than dance)
worried   (always almost toast)
later   fodder for the roast
(everything is circumstance)
not yet giving up the ghost
this you dub a fine romance?

chill a spell   the wide expanse
opens often   mellows most
some are sober   some are sauced
(distinctions leached of difference)
here's the doorbell   have you flossed?
oh   it was a fine romance!

[Inspired or occasioned by Silliman's bit of reminiscence and musing here; (though content of the ballade perhaps draws more from my own imagination than from detailed consideration of Silliman's (or others') career per se). I dub this a ballade, as it's close in feeling (for me) to Villon's; I've not yet bothered to check to what degree the form is on or off from that hoary & exquisite model.]

choosing chance : I borrow this phrase from the late composer/poet Lou Harrison (an utterance, not something he wrote, far as I'm aware). When I chatted with him in the aisle at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (early 1990s I guess, at premiere of his "final symphony,"), I made some passing mention of John Cage. Harrison quipped (alluding to Cage's well-known focus on chance operations):
I'd rather chance a choice than choose a chance.
Now both of those venerables have exited the stage.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Accidental Elephant

Delhi-based River (blogging cohort and a generous commentor [member of the Commentariat?] in margenalia of the present blog) has, collaborating with me and the Scottish (Glasgow) blogging-poet David McKelvie, just in the past few hours launched a collective project, namely & to wit: the accidental elephant. This blog is conceived for the display of "children's poetry + illustrations" (created by us, not by kids). I'd hazard the idea that the conception of what might constitute such a genre, will prove a likely evolving focus of implicit inquiry.

This new activity arose (as may be noted by an assiduous Comment-reader) in course of exchanges surrounding River's exceedingly likeable cartoon-like drawing (seen here, with the image hyperlinked to catch 'em -- River's post-in-question).

Readers of this space are cordially invited to check out the newfangled blog.

These two images adjacent (I now notice), show a strikingly similar gesture of extension. This, too, could be deemed a case of "the accidental elephant" -- the meaning of which latter phrase is something to consider.

Friday, November 04, 2005

"pocketing Krishna" [light ghazal]

Today I pick up my passport   in the afternoon
hailing local transport   in the afternoon

to a metal window   I submit   a paper receipt
they unbar the gate of the airport   in the afternoon

In days of yore   to approach the earth of Hindustan
were more the work of a seaport   than an afternoon

I cherish this dark-blue booklet   (like pocketing Krishna)
& polish this lightweight report   in the afternoon

Should Panvel Pune & Dilli soon   unveil their nights
Ardeo could thank his passport   in the afternoon

Thursday, November 03, 2005

"difficult road" [ghazal]

Such a face is seen   at the end of a difficult road
there's grace of green   at the end of a difficult road

the space machine   was sent to the Moon or Venus
but erase that scene   let's tend to the difficult road

the colors of sunset   bloody the western sky
I face an uneven blend   & a difficult road

there are sirens in the air   but autumn is warm yet
in case of need   they send   for a difficult road

when the pir was here   the boats remembered sailing
every face could see   the end   of a difficult road

when we strolled by the river   the soul of my soul relaxed
you can taste ice-cream   at the end of a difficult road

the evening bells are tolling now in my city
I'll chase the breeze   I'll mend   my difficult road

a handful of ghosts!   but not even smoke was there
your embrace could mean   the end of a difficult road

yearning to hear your voice   a little more often
does the race grow keen   toward the end of a difficult road?

not yet have I begun my song   & already
my pace it seems portends   a difficult road

even when you're sincere   you fall into falsehood
you face this even then   on the difficult road

the condition for happiness?   here's an arresting paradox!
it's based on being   detained   by a difficult road

an angel was watching the poet   (the years rolled by)
in case he three words penned   "a difficult road"

when destiny wistfully cradled the dice   I wonder
did her dice forsee   the end   of a difficult road?

it's said you play at Taroh   does your Egyptian soul
retrace in me   some friend   from a difficult road?

each house & street   finds a different mix of drama
strange grace can be   the blend of a difficult road

some streets are asphalt   some are earth   some stone
there's lace & gleam   at the end of a difficult road

on easy street   old friends in evening sauntered?
their days had been   well-kenned   on a difficult road

when you & your cat appeared   along the highway
I traced in dream   the bend   of a difficult road

though I sport in slant   a vague independent outlook
my home-base completely depends   on a difficult road

like other humans   we're as rich   & plain as poridge
what place is mean   nigh the end of a difficult road?

supposing he said   he aimed to bequeath you the moon?
would he base this conceit on the Zen   of a difficult road?

the ways of heaven   are hard indeed to discern!
its grace may be   to send   a difficult road

when Khizr revealed   the secret of his intention
he displayed   the key & end   of a difficult road

the sense of every swara   is rendered differently
one phrase can be   an end   or a difficult road

when Robbie Basho played   his "Shakespeare Wallah"
we could taste the ease   of a friend   on a difficult road

The road to Shu is bitter   quoth the poet
he essayed a sweet lament   for a difficult road

Easy is the path!   it was said in China
just forsake your need to forfend   a difficult road

initially   there's a map   & the boast of a tavern
if you stay   you'll see them wend   a difficult road

the way here   led past stars   & seas   & mountains!
one day we'll need to ascend   the same difficult road

how easy is love's serenade!   stage left   her window
but the play   can easily bend   to a difficult road

the name of the game is confusion   is it clear now?
the way to be her friend   is a difficult road

conventionally   complaint of the road   is a brag
sustaining the plea   pretending a difficult road

ah difficulty   has a way of turning authentic
children playing in glee   can descend   a difficult road

it's wrong to worry for difficulty   the beloved
each day might freely blend   a faux-difficult road

is the sport of love a challenge   or an idiom?
does your baby need   to send you   a difficult road?

the blues suggest   how ubiquitous   is awareness
of the ways heart seeks to transcend   its difficult road

if the poetries of the world   were a porcelain saucer
you could place your teacup   friend   on a difficult road

I crave the tea of beauty   stirred with honey
even lazy bees   remember   a difficult road

even the breeze   is afraid of stirring her tresses
yet in shade of her tree   they amend   his difficult road

not yet have you asked her mood?   nor sought her story?
in the glade I've seen her tend   the difficult road

when as babies we're born   we receive a slap!   thus opening
the space   wherein we   apprehend   the difficult road

the poetry seemed as clear as kohl   no clearer
as you wade in the sea   you'll descend   a difficult road

you're already trapped!   admit   you were born in this prison
the way to be free   is to wend   the difficult road

Ardeo kept musing   struck by your easesome nature
his case has seen   (my friend)   quite a difficult road

the sense of every swara   is rendered differently :
swara (Skt.) signifies a musical note -- any of the notes of the gamut. The idea in this line will be familiar to students of Indian classical music: each note, in terms of the "poetry" of the musical line, achieves its character through its relationship with the other notes in the given raaga. The thought in the 2nd line is at least an amusing conceit, even if in practice, typically a given phrase might not be so ambidextrous as the line suggests? (You can chalk this off to poetic license.) Still, there's perhaps a grain of truth in it. At least with some phrases, sometimes the phrase will indeed variously appear at end a line, or followed by other phrases (thus becoming an element of the ongoing road). Whether it's the end (at least of the line -- not really of the raaga) depends on whether something else comes after it. Repeition and variation. And repetition.

The eccentric genius and American steel-string solo-guitar innovator Robbie Basho used to play his own version of a musical theme heard in the soundtrack to Satyajit Ray's film Shakespeare Wallah.

The road to Shu is bitter : the eponymous refrain of one of Li Bai (aka Li Po)'s most celebrated poems (Shu Dao Ku. The word ku means both "bitter" and "difficult". The metaphorical sense of a difficult mountain path was memorably developed by the poet in that poem.) Double-checking via an online dictionary (which latter is now in my sidebar links), here's the definition given for ku : bitter/ intensely/ miserable/ painful/ -- a lot for one syllable. ;-) A standard translation of "Shu dao ku" has been "The road to Shu is hard!" My link offers what looks to be a new translation of the poem, plus the translator's own blues-style "transcreation" from it.

Easy is the Path / all you have to do is renounce preferences -- would be a more literal rendering of the famous Chan (Zen) adage from (I think) Tang dynasty China. If I recall aright, this was among some Chan lore that Australian poet Francis Brabazon includes in his magnum opus, Stay With God (1958). The saying is frequently cited in Zen literature.

(My earlier not yet have I begun my song -- this is a phrase borrowed from Brabazon.)

The Khizr story is ubiquitous in Sufi literature, and is said to have its locus classicus in the Qoran itself.

Perhaps that will suffice for notes. The reader may notice that in this ghazal, a more ambitious and rigorous approach to rhyming is observed: every stressed syllable in the 2nd line follows the rhyme pattern. Partly to emphasize this "music" (familiarizing the ear with its little sound-gesture), I folllow the (sometime) example of Hafez and (no doubt) others by electing to display the rhyme syllables not only in the 1st line of the 1st sher, but also in the 1st line of the 2nd sher [couplet]. By the way, the 2nd sher of this ghazal could be considered a very loose (poetic) paraphrase of an utterance of Meher Baba's found in one of his last books, The Everything and the Nothing (1964). Though unlike the Hafez (etc.), my line [the space machine] repeats the 3 rhymes but doesn't repeat the radif (repeating phrase). Anyway, I'm ignorant of the Farsi etc., alas; my models are seen thru a (translation) glass, darkly.

hmm -- just added the "when as babies we're born" couplet; then I wrote four more couplets, mistakenly using the '-ap" sound for 3rd rhyme (should've used "-end" sound). A boo-boo. I'll park the outtakes here; they're now margenalia.

Ah, a solution. If I add an opening and a closing sher, this becomes a separate ghazal. (Okay: added several.)

Today   if we see the trap   of a difficult road
our page   had agreed to wrap   a difficult road

today   if the hill of happiness   seems remote
we may   now need to grapple   with difficult roads

we can think of ease!   we could speak of breakfast pancakes!
the maple agrees   while I tap   the difficult road

I dream a dream   and in the dream   it's winter
the same dream frees   the sap   for the difficult road

yes winter will come   & pallid snow may flurry
when faced with these   we could nap   by the difficult road

the dream is built   in a land   that few call home
though the mason reads   the map   of a difficult road

many sleepers glimpse this land   & swiftly forget it
displaced by the bleeding gap   of a difficult road

the harpist embraced his harp   as a pillow-of-solace
in the glade of sleep   he escaped   from a difficult road

the twirling globe   with its lands & dreams & rivers
became the scene   for enacting   a difficult road

While Ardeo was keying his poem   the morn was deleted!
you could place on his sheet   the rap   of a difficult road

the hapist verse alludes to a tale in Book I of Rumi's Mathnawi (perhaps will cite it more specifically later)

maya [rubai 5]

Perplexities'   appearances   so gently   flow

complexity   (with clearances)   so softly   glows

technology   projecting worlds   through watching   eyes

astrology   (my-dearances)   your ringèd   nose

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

maya [rubai 4]

None behold   the world   without the screen

none are told   what's curled   within the scene

when the film   has finally   reeled it forth

none can hold   back smiles   (tears between)

maya [rubai 3]

A million years can pass   without a blink

a million tears alas   without a wink

the armature of life   disarms the living?

a million mirrors at   the bathroom sink

maya [rubai 2]

Far-distant   seems the meaning   of the world?

yet instantly   the scene   has been unfurled!

when twistily   the heart   encounters guile

how wistfully   its keening   is uncurled

maya [rubai 1]

Everywhere you look     there's some confusion

everyone mistook     primal illusion

oceanic roots     remain obscure

every branch though brooking     such profusion

"incorrigibly" [ghazal]

Awake all night   with poetry   incorrigibly
with the morning light   more poetry   incorrigibly

My other efforts in life   go well   or poorly
today   I fight with poetry   incorrigibly

Everyone saw my flaws!   they were all correct
I was wound up tight   with poetry   incorrigibly

In childhood   when I dreamed of pursuing poetry
in mere black & white   I glimpsed poetry   incorrigibly

With the contrast of the mountain   & the cloudy sky
with the bird in flight   there is poetry   incorrigibly

At the edge of every tapestry   rests a border
at the margin of nighttime   poetry lies incorrigibly

"Come be our friend!" they said   "you can marry our daughter!"
she was cute alright   so was poetry   incorrigibly

Whenever I tried   to hold down a steady job
the boss's fright   restrained poetry   incorrigibly

A balanced life!   sounds lovely   as an ideal
but obscures the site   of poetry   incorrigibly

For decades   I blandly dabbled   harvesting sensibly
then came the blight   of poetry   incorrigibly

Why play the old game   of geopolitical judo?
go & fly the kite   of poetry   incorrigibly

Any poison   if it's used carefully   can be medicine
lack of excess   might   kill poetry   incorrigibly

All my friends were kind   all my loves were sweet   all despaired
when I kissed   good-night   to poetry   incorrigibly

O the cheek of you   is a cheek   that cheats   & wins
what a limpid light   bleeds poetry   incorrigibly

Do not slash your wrists!   that's the coward's way   there are others
slip beneath their sight   sipping poetry   incorrigibly

I can mimic prose   I can even write   cogent letters!
day persuades the night   into poetry   incorrigibly

In her fertile brain   dark fecundity   bares its bosom
in her pause   I might   sire poetry   incorrigibly

On the lake of mind   what a wondrous swan   was gliding
milky appetite   drinking poetry   incorrigibly

Where the lotus blooms   where the mud is thick   what a mirror!
rather recondite   blossoms poetry   incorrigibly

A faqir am I!   my beloved is   rich as rain
her monsoon is quite   fond of poetry   incorrigibly

Though I strove to live   half-way sensibly   & responsibly
I could sense the bite   of poetry   incorrigibly

Love is infinite?   but so limited!   life is pitiful!
silence veils the sight   of your poetry   incorrigibly

Every game is based   on the likelihood   of losing
when the score is tight   I seek poetry   incorrigibly

What's the use of things?   everything becomes less than zero
falling Fahrenheit   killing poetry   incorrigibly

Why so negative?   life is generous! time is boundless!
darling malachite!   jaded poetry   gleams incorrigibly

In the ocean's depth   with the pearl-maids' dangerous frolic
dragons may recite   lethal poetry   incorrigibly

I don't share your views   Ardeo!   they're so misanthropic
why should pain spring right   out of poetry   incorrigibly?

"words" [ghazal]

whatever they mean they'll make you say   words
they're criminally keen to get their way   words

they consort with lonely eyeballs beached or house-trained
the Philistine still must eke his pay out of   words

the wayward word   a randy mutt   who'll wander
in umbrage green at the marge of day   sniffing words

if triumph's a word   defeat remains a word
they'll paint the scene   & who'll mouth the play?   words

they're garralous guys   or giggly girls   or laconic
the taciturn teen   learns the roundelay   of words

they'd like to know you better   really they're eager
to coddle your spleen   oil-spill your bay   words!

the first?   hello   the last?   perforce ciao-bella
what's in between?   my equivocating   words

Ardeo remained a word   but his words turned warblers
darting past the ravine   with the branch a'sway in   words

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"silence" [ghazal]

I'll settle my score   and cross your field   of silence
have I lost the war?   I'll surrender my shield   in silence

did I seek to achieve   far too many leaves   too swiftly?
was I hoping for   a more fruitful yield   than silence?

the gracious observe   the grace of moderate aims
the ignorant floor the pedal   unkeeled   from silence

to love one soul   is to add its life to your life
who truely adore the world   unseal   its silence

help me toward small achievements   tidying chaos
ambitions have torn at the fragile peel   of silence

the turning spheres desire that we return them
no look forlorn   nor broken wheel   pure silence

is it easy to please many people?   sincerity's balm
is needed   & more desire to feel   the shared silence

the lord of the world is a mountain   hidden from view
we heed his lore amid foothills   healed   by silence

Ardeo!   has luck gone dry?   perchance like Achilles
your odious floor   needs riparian zeal   in silence

unconscious mutterings [my #1, luna's #143]

  1. Unbreakable:: so they say
  2. Have mercy:: you who love mercy
  3. Do it better:: a little help here
  4. Settle scores:: or open doors
  5. Comments:: welcome to my world
  6. Craziest thing:: became more sane
    when lazing in my autumn brain
  7. Apple:: Hiya Havva
  8. Halloween:: is gone now
  9. Manageable:: almost copacetic
  10. Trick:: question / treat answer

[this is a little exercise. Origin is La LunaNina; I became aware of it thanks to Lorna Dee Cervantes (whom I became aware of via Ron Silliman).]

how numerous stepping-stones
lead to an atoll
Havva : the Islamic name for Eve.
In the Islamic version, it wasn't an apple.
But in a mishra [mixed / hybrid] version, it might be.

"happiness" [ghazal]

to speak with you   is a happiness   for me
may I seek of you   this happiness   for me?

born in foolsville   (jowling the bell of tradition)
to be cheeky with you   is a happiness   for me

when chitchat connotes a labyrinth of deep learning
all the Greek of you   becomes happiness   for me

each gatha richa & sher   may be high in wisdom
but the peek of you   is the happiness   for me

when the factory output cookie-cut folk   where'd you go?
the unique of you   is a happiness   for me

O sepia friend! your photograph proved bewitching
the antique of you   was a happiness   for me

when Begum Akhtar quavered   the room could reel
the mystique of you   was a happiness   for me

the wisdom-book gets rewritten   in every yug
the God-Speak of you   is a happiness   for me

do pen more poems!   autumnal flowers are so rare!
the critique of you   is a happiness   for me

if I seek you in hill & dale   you're more clever than clover!
hide-&-seek of you   is a happiness   for me

Egyptian scribes   are discreet about royal affairs
not to leak of you   was a happiness   for me

O mother-bird!   I cry for love & laddoo
for the beak of you   is a happiness   for me

the water of life   refreshes the weary landscape
& the creek of you   is a happiness   for me

I love your yugs & years   your himalayan heights
half a week of you   is a happiness   for me

A single word in your voice   is like rich ice-craam!
am I freaking you?   you're a happiness   for me

in life   Ardeo   natural art intrigues
the batik of you   is a happiness   for me

each gatha richa & sher : each of these words signifies a verse or stanza of poetic writing -- respectively from Sanskrit (especially Mahayana Buddhist), Sankrit (specifically Vedic), and Urdu (e.g. ghazal) traditions

Begum Akhtar; (also this book news). The Makar Site (see named-artist links at right) includes a 2-min. sample of her singing.
mmm -- on same site, I'm now hearing (1st time for me) Bahauddin Dagar's Rudra Vina (in 2-min. clip). What tone. What an instrument. Encouraging to hear this.

God Speaks: The Theme of Creation and its Purpose (1956/1973) was Meher Baba's magnum opus in terms of a spritual cosmology.

batik (though I was thinking a bit more of the crackly, chancy sort where natural randomness prevails; anyway this-here sort of batik shows nature-representation; the other discovers (one side of) nature itself, sampled rather than represented; either way, we're amid an art/nature continuum)