Sunday, July 02, 2006

"Vayu's wafting"         | 10   [Ardeo pangram]

A bee can dance each fine glide.
Has it joined khyal’s land? My notes on pearls:
quills reach some truth. Us? We’re XYZ

After ballet, cartalk doesn’t ever feature gurus.
Hackneyed idea, Jewish kinder leaving many nations. Only present
questions. River sending torrents under Vayu’s wafting. XYZ

Absolut Berkeley: chemistry debutantes, eloquent fellowships, grandiose
history. Imagine: juvenile Kandinsky lassitude, marginal nocturnal orchestras, probably
quotable (ritual suicide, technical undertow). Valentine willingness, XYZ

Arboreal balustrades couldn't dim. Fragmentary glockenspiels
hasten it. Jurisprudent kangaroos lending mist? Nostradamus oranges peeling
quick? Rotorooter scientists teaching us   ventilated Waterloo, XYZ

Ardeo! being cool   delimits excess feuds.   Glendora
hearkens if   jalali khwajas laugh.   Mandala neighbors of   Padua
quarters rouse   seasonal troubles. Ur   vagabonds welcome X (YZ)


Khyal (or khayal) (Persian/Urdu): the word denotes a major style of Hindustani classical vocal music -- one which emerged in the later Moghul period (as discussed here). But the word itself literally means (and thus connotes) something like "imagination" or "embellishment" or "ornamentation".

Vayu (Skt.): wind, or the personification (god) of wind. The Wikipedia has a nice item on Vayu. Hanuman, as the "son of Vayu," presumably personifies the murcurial intellect. The relationship between thought and wind seems curious indeed -- an evocative association.

jalali khwajas (Arabic): literarly, magnificent masters. The expressive characteristics of spiritual temperaments are evidently classified into two primary categories of the Jalali (magnificent) and Jamali (gentle), with a third, the Kemali, being a blending of the primary two. In his contributions to William Donkin's unique book The Wayfarers: Meher Baba With the God-Intoxicated, Meher Baba invokes this Sufi classification when describing masts (advanced spriritual pilgrims) whom he contacted over many years of wandering in India: some of jalali, some of jamali temperament.

As for the Glendora of this peculiar poem, -- the City of Glendora is one of the myriad little municipalities in Los Angeles County. I've never been there, but for some reason I would often hear it mentioned on the radio, in my Southern California childhood. I suppose that proper nouns heard on the nocturnal radio in childhood may acquire some imaginal power, at times. Glendora seems of that sort in the instance. The Padua reference is mainly mindful of the legendary setting of Shakespeare's romance (Romeo & Juliet). Padua, anyway, I've actually been to -- albeit briefly, a pleasant day-trip. There are fine Giotto paintings to be seen in a church there.

Ur vagabonds: I suppose it may have been Ezra Pound who popularized this penchant for the use of Ur [literally, the ancient civilization antecedent to current Iraq] as an adjective, suggesting "old, root, original." My notion of the Ur vagabond, although not limited to one line of reference, primarily points to Siva in that phase of his life when he was called Bhairava (or Bhairo).

In these poems, the reader may note, "XYZ" is used as a sort of all-purpose cipher. Its meaning may vary with context. But to a fair degree, if one must give it any denotation, it may suggest the mystical per se: a quality which is inherently hard to tack down. The poem (and, possibly, the cycle of poems -- unless more emerge) concludes by noting that X(YZ) is welcomed by Ur vagabonds. The poem thus rests, in end, on this invocation of Bhairo and his rapport with something mysterious.

Attentive readers of this particular poem may note how each stanza relies on a different basic rhythmic principle, in organizing a rythmic pattern of syllables -- while traipsing down the alphabet-wise stepping stones of the "melodic line." To spell it out here: stanza 1 uses only monosyllables, stanza 2 only disyllabic words, stanza 3 only trisyllabic words. Stanzas 4 and 5 each offer a sort of sampler pack: that is, strings of cadenced utterance following fixed patterns of diminishing syllabic scope. To be specific: in stanza 4, the pattern is 4-3-2-1. In the final stanza, the pattern is simply 3-2-1.


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