Monday, February 06, 2006

"The story I'm hearing"         [ghazal]

If every sound

is a part of the story I'm hearing

who gets around

to the heart of the story I'm hearing?

if every thought

is an element in the equation

what horse could haul

such a cart as the story I'm hearing?

you're hoping   to

find the end of the thread of your dreaming?

what ghazal tells

me   the start of the story I'm hearing?

the radio?

it's beamed out from an unseen location

the universe

is less smart than the story I'm hearing?

remembrance of

the inventor who fashions love's fabric

is woven in

every part of the story I'm hearing


is no mere human crooning   Ardeo

when bricks & stones

sing the art of the story I'm hearing


Blogger V Murthy said...

No Sir, I failed to understand

the radio? it's beamed out from an unseen location
the universe is less smart than the story I'm hearing?

Please explain in detail, outside the scope of a ghazal..


Tue Feb 07, 04:51:00 AM PST  
Blogger smriti said...

V murthy is confused, so am i, but i don't care to understand (or don't I?) you say,

you're in one place when I read what you wrote in another
now who'll map out a plain chart of the story I'm hearing?

The map is large, it is beautiful, i cannot map it.

Do you understand Hindi? if you do, i have a song for you, its from the movie Ijjajat.

Choti si kahani se, baarison ke paani se
saari baadi bhar gayi
naa jaane kyon aankh bhar gaya
naa jaane kyon dil bhar gaya

Tue Feb 07, 09:21:00 AM PST  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

Vasudev-- I will concede the attempted rhetoric [let alone quasi-quasi mystico-scientific concept] of that verse verges on the turgid (or tortured)...

Smriti-- thanks for the interesting-looking song; but alas, I cannot read or understand Hindi [beyond very few words -- I recognize paani & dil ;-)]

Now: if one of you fine folks would favor me with a translation of this Hindi song, how about I'll trade for an attempt at explaining my twisted radio verse. Do we have a deal? (stalling for time; to start explaining such a verse seems hurdle-some...)
cheers, d.i.

Tue Feb 07, 09:42:00 AM PST  
Blogger smriti said...

allrighty then (sigh...)
translation (extremely extremly ruff):

With a little story, with the waters of rain
this entire space is filled
wonder why my eyes fill too
wonder why my heart fills too...


A little story, the waters of rain
fill this entire space
i don't know why my eyes fill too
i don't know why my heart fills too

now keep your part of the bargain and explain this extremely complicated scientific phenomena about the radio!

Tue Feb 07, 11:17:00 AM PST  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

Smriri -- nice! Here's a try at recasing those lines now:

a smattering of words from a tale,
    or drops from a gale,
  & all the space is filled right up!
how come my eyes fill up too?
how come my heart fills up too?

/ / /

but okay, enough stalling.
Returning to this couplet:
the radio? it's beamed out from an unseen location
the universe is less smart than the story I'm hearing?

truthfully it'd be disingenuous to suggest this relates to science very much. The poetic conceit involves an overall questioning, in this ghazal, regarding the nature of the world that confronts the poet's observation. (I guess every sher in the poem treats this overall theme in one way or another.) Here, the poet seemingly happens to be hearing a radio, and his mind considers a metaphorical side of this newfangled technology. Just as a listener to a radio recognizes and accepts that what he hears [via the radio] comes to him from a distant source (from an "elsewhere"), the poet seems to propose that the universe itself can be likened to such a "signal" that is "projected" from an unseen "source." What we see "here" we assume to be "here"; what we do not see "here" (what is invisible) we presume does not exist. Yet just as there does exist a radio station, with people sitting in sound booths speaking every word we "hear" via the radio: so too -- in ways that can be thought of quite variously -- the poem seeks to open up a bit the poet's & reader's thinking about "where" the world has its existence, and "how" manifestation takes place in it. Quite simply, every phenomenon perceptible to the senses might be (as a thought exercise, say) understood as a "projected signal" (from origins that are taken, here, not as obvious, but rather as inherently unknown and hard to pin down). The verse is thus seemingly a bit general in its purport, suggesting merely an overall mode of questioning phenomenal experience, rather than (perhaps) going very far into articulating (or further metaphorizing) an exact phenomenology or philosophy of experience & existence. Such things can presumably be obtained from other sources in the literature of mysticism, etc.; the couplet is content simply to ponder this basic "wow" of a kind of recognition: that what we see as "present" is being "projected" (as on a screen -- or as sound thru a radio) in an inherently complex and sophisticated manner. Is not the universe itself at least as sophisticated in its essential "technology" as this little invention of a radio? -- the poem asks rhetorically (in the 2nd line). If such a remarkable thing can be done through a little bit of 20th century inventiveness, cannot the ancient universe itself, too, be engaged in even grander feats of projection / illusion / magical display / etc.?
I composed the verse while sitting in a cafe hearing the radio playing, btw. ;-)

Pardon the poss. repetitiousness of the above (a hazard of writing too swiftly while feeling pressure to return to other tasks). ;-) Pardon too the silliness of spelling out what may be rather obvious ideas. The ideas in that couplet interweave with similar notions in others in the ghazal, one would hope.
cheers, d.i.

Tue Feb 07, 11:58:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely clear. I commend you and hope you will participate in this week's theme - entering someone's dream. Perhaps you can beam a radio out of someone's brain?


Tue Feb 07, 05:16:00 PM PST  

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