Lamb Followed Mary Swayer No More!

I have such fascination for Nursery Rhymes and Today quiet by chance I happened on the content on ‘The Surprising Controversy Behind “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”‘ I love the fact that rhymes are a fascinating expression of fun wordplay.

Even today, I’m an ardent fan of Lear’s works and Lemmerick is such fun. Today I was not up to rhyming and just ambled about on a supposition and the universal truth of pets who are risen in the farm for the kill and how the child in the family land with a new lamb every season and protected from the survival-based killing. But when the Child realizes it then, the Child-like innocence is no more much like the Halal lamb. Sad reality but the hard way but then, life is hard.

Here is my take on it rather off-key but my style.

Lamb of Mary Swayers

Thursday, 04 July 2019

Merriness of surfing with no care
Maybe for the one spark of clarity
Found a controversy in an old Rhyme
Fascination abound as to who wrote it,
At first, were they a Man or a Woman?

Left out in suspense but the backstory
Appealed to my soul, as I gobbled on
Mary had tended to young ailing lamb
And when it could walk about or so
The Lil’ one followed Mary everywhere
She went, in good faith did the lamb go.

Quite frankly the Halal being
Walks confidently that her
Mistress would protect, Bur sadly,
Our Mary strategically separated
Lamb was discretely mined
And the little one was mutton.

Was Mary at Fault remains
An ethical question follow as to
The adult-child interact
When a barbaric eating desire
Nullifies a child’s deep want
For a Lamb that unquestioningly follows.

Mary and Her Lamb lives no more
All that remain is the controversy sown
And poor Lamp who for the mutton show!
I wonder where did the courtesy of
Praying before you slay the being go
As Mary’s Lamb followed her no more.

– Srividya Suryanarayanan

Productive morning. Off to working on my Rhymes though they sound like lead ball in a wet grinder.

Image Source: Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

A Personal Favorite Poet Who Inspires My Work

Poetry is my passion and I love to work with words. It has been my companion since my coming of Age days. I have found innumerable moments of pleasures reading and writing poems. I have a few favorites who have shaped my thoughts and emotions over the growing years. Among them is John Milton, his “Paradise Lost” was a compulsory reader for me during my college years. It was part of the books listed for the Poetry paper and I was so moved by Lucifer’s fall that I wondered at the space of information about the fall that Milton explored. Here is a poem which truly inspires me and is still my personal favorite.

On His Blindness

By John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Exploring the Poem My Style

The last two weeks, I have been experiencing some problem with my eyesight and somehow I panicked to have it tested. I wear progressive spectacles and never learned how to look down in the lower rim to read, so I land up having the habit of lifting my spectacles to read.

The first time, I went to Rajan Eye Clinic, I was seen by Dr. Rajan, himself. He was the first doctor after my family doctor who made me comfortable talking to him. That was the first time that my eyes were dilated and the eyesight took some hours to get better. These days due to overuse of laptop has rendered my eyes incapable of being dilated and so the extra drops to force it to dilate. This then, means that it takes longer to settle down. I am slowly learning to give up my fear of hospitals and being in those spaces.

Somehow hospital experience leaves me in a state of unrest and agitated feelings. There are very few doctors who really take time for the patients to settle down and understand that the person is worried, scared and tensed about the outcome. Even if the sight were to be lost completely a humane doctor can make it seem less stressful.

Somehow, I feel that is something that comes from the old school of hospice, which is slowly been taken away by the money making trends of doctorhood. But this time, the doctor who attended my case was truly humane and I was so happy talking to her. She made me less nervous and this time also I had made sure that I had not come in a rush to have my eyes tested, but relaxed to spend the rest of the day in the hospital.

But surprisingly, my reading power had gone by a few points, of course, I still need to learn to look down using the progressive glass and that happens only when my laptop is on my lap and I am comfortably seated on the sofa. I tried to understand, why is that I feel super inspired at home and my quirks of working are really getting me to be such a clown.

So, I looked into my past and I remembered John Milton who is my inspiration for most of the Miltonian sonnets that I wrote in my young days. I love to play with words since it gives me spiritual pleasure. Everywhere I worked, I would have a word file, where I would have written poems.

I often think about why I have been born in this world and what are truly my roles. The fact that I only have a single-minded talent to write with emotions which I believe would be the gift of words that I leave behind after me.

I fear not death so much as to lose my eyes not just for myself but for others too. Then again, there is much technology that will help to live a life of high quality even when the eyesight is lost. It is not how long you live, but how well you live, that really counts. I have learned to accept some of my quirks and have gathered sufficient courage in life to be able to handle things my way.

So talking about this poem, I first read this poem in seventh or eighth I am not sure. I must say that my English classes were of a higher grade than the regular schools. So I was exposed to much poetry at a very early age. I also had my uncle’s library where I checked out a collection of Shakespearean sonnets and plays. My uncle had a good collection of the bound classics which were truly inspiring to read.

I have been a little careless with my eyes and I love to read lying down and removing my spectacles. This kind of makes my vision power to increase, but the pleasures of reading is taken over by even the risk of reading improperly.

I found in this poem an interesting connection, that I am drawn to explore. For instance, much like John Milton, my eyes even now hurts a little and throbs, as I am exploring the poems as personal experience. I will never give up writing, at whatever cost. That passion has been the founding stone of my very being.

So much like Milton, I do have a question for the Lord, if I would be of any service to Him. But it is all in the patient waiting for the call of the muse and the sanction of inspired writing. There are days when, my inspiration to write is so high, especially when I am well rested.

As Milton, the poet who is close to my spirit of writing, because I am a tone-deaf poet who loves to rhyme, unlike Milton whose poems were all about sounding right. I have written some collection of Petrachian sonnets and enjoyed thoroughly the experience of playing with words. Sometimes, it is not about doing as bid by the Lord; but it is more being in the moment and just transferring the text flashing in the mind’s eye. I sometimes feel that I cannot take ownership of the poems written by me because it was just recording the muse’s words. Now I stand in wait for that command to write from my Creator. Waiting for my inspiration with suspended animation.

Thiruppavai – Godai’s Gita Volume 2 | My Notes

Book Title: Thiruppavai – Godai’s Gita | Volume 2

Author: Swetha Sundaram

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Kindle Copy: Amazon US | Amazon India 

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Swetha’s narrative style has the old South Indian tradition of storytelling clubbed with loosely knit story format that works wonderfully for this commentary on Andal’s Thiruppavai. There are so many micro short stories woven with such sensitivity that it is an experience of being in a timeless boat floating on the oceans of never-ending stories.

The Story in a Nutshell

Goda, the composer and the versatile story weaver of the Thiruppavai brings out the deep-seated desire of the girls in Ayaripadi to celebrate and to get Lord Krishna’s exclusive companionship. Goda in this volume is visiting every missing girls’ house to personally awake them from their slumber to join in the Pavai Nombu celebration.

The Volume 2 stories are as compelling as those from the volume 1. These are small incidences picked from various Puranas and Vedic time stories. She also picks up stories from the contemporary era too, when she talks about the Alwars who lived before her and their life stories. The never-ending link of stories and facts of the rites provides for an entertaining conversation among the girls.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked all little and big stories. I didn’t feel tired from the constant deviations from the main event of the Pavai Nombu. The stories felt like an ambling aging river carries with slush pile of silt in its bed. The time spent on the three girls in Goda’s list of missing girls is well spent on learning so many interesting news bites about the Lord and His gracious benevolence towards His devotees.

Some of the stories were rehashed, but then, they still were entertaining to listen to again. For someone like me, if you are also interested in listening to stories then this Kindle book will entertain you immensely. There is a lot of information about the various religious figureheads and stories related to them are narrated with equal passion with which the other Puranic stories are narrated.

My Opinion

The Volume 2 keeps the interest going while providing new information about where the Pavai Nombu gathering has arrived at. This volume may be spent on waking up the girls, but at the same time, there is a lot happening with the internal cleansing process. With every discussion and arguments with the Goda and her friends to wake the missing girls, the internal thought is cleared and focused on Lord Krishna and his many avatars.

Thiruppavai – Goda’s Gita Volume 1 | My Take

Book Title: Thiruppavai – Goda’s Gita | Volume 1

Author: Swetha Sundaram

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Kindle Copy: Amazon US | Amazon India 

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Swetha Sundaram an Instrumentation and Controls Engineer who lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her narrative style was exactly like the ones of my grand aunts who would entertain my siblings, cousins and me with stories from various Puranas. Her narrative had a similar fault of meandering through the maze of stories.

Of course, there is no doubt that the stories are so interesting that you would not mind being deviated from the main course. In this volume, she sets the stage for the pasurams by providing a wonderful introduction to the primal God Varahar Perumal. She informs the origin of the thought seed of Thiruppavai to the moment when the Earth got saved by Varahar Perumal.

The first volume covers five pasurams and the main space is provided to the beginning and the life story of Godai and how her adoptive father Periyalvar found her under the Holy Basil plant. Her brilliance as a child and her love for Perumal is beautifully articulated in the early chapters.

The Story in a Nutshell

The story is about gathering all young girls to perform the Pavai Nombu with a secret agenda of acquiring Krishna for a husband. Godai the cheerleader of the group of young girls undertake the task to bring about this group worship of Lord Krishna. The first five pasurams deal with the first meeting to undertake the fast.

The entire setting is Gokulam of Godai’s imagination with River Yamuna playing some lead parts in the narrative. This volume deals with the part where the plan is set up to meet at predawn hour and perform the fast on Lord Krishna. The setting is a group meeting near the Yamuna with elder’s consent and a secret agenda of unifying with Krishna.

Godai and girls meet near the River Yamuna and discuss the purpose of the meeting. They then set up a plan to worship Lord Krishna with the secret agenda of getting Him for themselves. The girls are thrilled about the agenda and are excited to start.

Next day, after the late meeting, some ten girls are found missing. So Godai with few other girls who have arrived for the meeting sets out to find them. In the course of finding those girls, Godai wakes up each girl giving her some really nice stories in the wake.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked all the connected stories that are displayed like a bouquet of fragrant flowers. The stories brought back childhood memories of how the story used to be told. There was no fixed rule for the order in which the story needs to be told, a story could evolve from one look or one word uttered and completely sidetrack the narrator and listener. But then when it comes back to the strayed track to the main agenda, that is, to attain Lord Krishna; it has been beautifully done.

One thing that I would not say that I disliked it; but more out of concern for the readers who are not well-versed with Indian Mythological stories may need some context fixing especially when the conversation moves towards Alwars and their magical experiences.

My Opinion

I feel this volume was such a pleasure to read for two main reasons. One reason is that the small and big stories about Lord Vishnu and his many avatars were simply superb to read. The other reason being that I got to know so many unknown stories and the wonder of it is present like nectar consumed in Godai’s Vrindavan along with the Gopikas as another Pillaiy.

Image Source: Amazon India

Radha Kalyanam A Musical Event 2018| My Take

flute and feather

I came to know about Radha Kalyanam from my mother. She would reminiscence about incidents from her life. One of her past incidents was about her youngest sister’s interest in the Radha Kalyanam event more out of necessity than any spiritual import. She attended the event and participated in getting alms from the brahmin community, dancing around in the celebratory wooden press, and free meals at the end of the event. So, Radha Kalyanam was a reference that I got from my mother and I always thought of my aunt who passed away at a very young age.

I never really understood about Radha Kalyanam, since it was not my topic of interest. Naturally, I never could relate to the program format that my mother explained to me. But there were moments when I could imagine my youngest aunt jumping around the Ural or Wooden press pounding stick and finding whatever connection that she found in it.

Radha Kalyanam brought back sad notes for me and surprisingly, I attended the Radha Kalyanam for about most part on 29th and 30th December 2018. I feel that being a semi-passive audience could be a little hard on one. I definitely feel, that it the hardest to sit it out on a hard cold floor covered with a thin carpet and the AC in full blast. Apart from a bad back and butt after the program, I was left with a feeling that I really don’t know anything about Jayadevar’s “Gita Govinda” work.

My neighbor’s family has been holding this function during Marghazi Tamil month for the past three years. It usually coincides with the first day of the new year. Marghazi falls between mid-December to mid-January. Interesting thing is that Chennai climate is pretty cold in this month compared to the other months in the Tamil Calendar.

The past years, I had just quickly visited for a few moments and listened in from the comforts of my home since their function happened on their terrace. This year they had booked a hall for this function. I had no clue about the format of the program until this year and would always wonder why the singer was not doing a good job. I enjoy solo more than group singing. The only time I am fascinated by the group singing is when they have practiced a lot as a choir. The group singing is all about coordination and mellifluous voices that appear as a single unit.

This Marghazi of 2018 I felt an interesting need to attend this program and understand its import. So even when I did get the invite, I was thinking of just giving a quick visit and leave after taking tambulam. But somehow during my research on Andal’s work Thiruppavai, I came across a connecting reference to the rasaleela of Vrindavan and Andal’s call for Pavai Fasting.

The event format was not clear until I read a little more about the source work and the significance of the Radha Kalyanam. As an aftermath of attending the event, I had a hard time to forget Radha. The principal human Atmas are represented by Radha and gopikas who become unified with Krishna consciousness.

Around the second week of the new year, I decided to get to the bottom of this mystery that was making my mind so confused. Radha and Krishna’s relationship has a mystical quality to it which by the way, does not fall under the common human definition of love. But the audience can relate to the lower level resonance of love and the affection of human qualities and its human plane references.

So during my research of Radha Kalyanam, I found the following sites very informative:

So, I decided to get back to the main text written by Jayadevar in the “Gita Govind”. The Tamil version of the Astapathi of Jayadevar’s poetry is sung with great fervor of devotion. The translation of the Astapathi provided an incline into the poetic structure of the Gita Govind’s 24 verses of 8 couplets in a pastoral lyrical ballad.

There is a huge difference in the format of Thiruppavai and Gita Govind. Both speak of pastoral scenic places and settings. In the expression of love there lies the difference. The poetry is definitely conservative in the case of Andal’s Thiruppavai compared to the Astapathis. The view of the exact transliteration of the poetry may not provide a clear understanding of the central theme if the context is not fixed at the beginning.

Out of context, the Astapathi sounds very erotic since the poetic format is structured in such a way that it brings out pastoral love of Nayika and Nayak. It parallels the universal sought spiritual goal for each individual atma to get unified with the supreme Paramatma. This time Radha Kalyanam was interesting to follow and observe the various elements of the event. I am yet to find the Supreme Krishna consciousness.

In that I believe, Andal’s Nachiar Tirumozhi is closer to the Astapathi, yet Andal is very conservative in her expression. This conservative expression is essentially very south based poetry rules. Given that Andal’s exposure to various literary works at that time would have been provided by her adopted Father Periazhwar. Given that she was educated and learned to write a pastoral poem on her ishat devatha first as a communal prayer event and later as a personal one-on-one conversation leading to individual aspiration of sainthood. In that I liked the poetic quality of both the poets for different reasons. Though the pastoral quality of Gita Govind is sublime experience for me.

 

Image Source: Timelines.com

Unearthing My Mother-Tongue with Sujata Bhatt

Today was an interesting day for me. I am excessively emotional about poetry and I love to dabble around with it. I came across this Poem quite by accident really. I was looking for Daksha Sheth’s dance drama titled “In Search of My Tongue” but I kept getting Sujata Bhatt’s poem.

I got fascinated by the link and went over to the page where the poem awaited me with patience. It showed me what I have never really lost. I have felt like an alien at all places because of my English language.

All these years whether at a Convent School, Women’s College, or US College I always felt that I didn’t belong anywhere. Even now I stand as a stranger not knowing when I would reach home.

But this poem gave me back my identity that has been wallowing around in dark corners to hide from the reality of my existence. This poem put into words those unmentioned words that gets stuck within me.

Even now, as I am writing this piece, I tell myself what language is truly me. My understanding of English is a little stronger than my understanding of my mother-tongue Tamil.

Yet I feel I am not accepted by English speaking people and rejected by my own people who take pride in their Tamil knowledge. I can’t be free when I’m among English speakers and I fear my mother-tongue speakers.

In 1998, I got a chance to see the dance drama “In Search of My Tongue” staged by Daksha Sheth dance troupe which was hosted by British Commission in the Government Museum theatre in Egmore, Chennai. This dance drama was based on the poem and was truly a treat to watch.

This was my first live theatre to which I had free passes given by my Uncle. Once seated, I settle down to be entertained. But then, that didn’t happen but it became something else altogether.

The play expounded the birth of language from the initial random sounds to the musicality of words strung together. The human characters in the play began initially by making wide bodily movement and then moved on to produce whole sounds at the end of the play.

When I reflected upon the play, I understood that the birth of storytelling started with wide physical puppet-like movement, then solidified into a string of musical words that was sounded.

Eventually, the sounds got recorded and became printed words on a sheet. Mostly the entire play was aimed at showing the language in symbolic bodily expression and how sound eventually took over the expressions of human emotion.

It set me thinking deep within me as to my own identity and what I perceived to be the person that I am. The confusion both the languages put me in left me bereft and alone to figure my own way out.

To this day I haven’t yet found reconciliation for both the languages. There are few things that my English speaking Tamil heart is unable to really express in any language. Yet struggle through I do.

So when I read the poem “Search for My Tongue” by Sujata Bhatt I understood that my mother-tongue lies awaiting to take over my dreamscapes.

I live for those days when the dreams entirely takeover and I am not overwhelmed by my mother-tongue. But I believe sometimes silence is the best language that expresses everything.

If my mother tongue comes alive in my dream space then I would welcome it with open arms to be my permanent mode of expression. I feel like a prodigal daughter whose family awaits her arrival.

Image Source: Pexels.com

Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead | By Alfred L. Tennyson

The mind takes a fancy for some deep-seated sorrow and I begin searching for a poem from my past. The one subject which I really loved in my schooling days were the English classes and especially poetry unit. I was unconscious and struggling with my grades, until I was in the eighth. Then, my schooling life’s equation changed completely. Because, in the summer of 1987, I had started to write my journals and experimenting with writing poem with fixed end-word rhyme patterns.

Everything in this life of mine, was for a reason and I strongly believe it. Some of the strange occurrences in my life was an indication for inner growth of my emotional and mental state. I love poetry and still do. For me writing long explanatory prose is tedious; while a rhyming four lines can achieve much more and effectively too!

Today, the sky is filled with rain bearing clouds and the sound of light shower pitter-patters on my window pane, while becoming an ongoing reminder of the climate. The showers reminded me of a brave recent widow whose husband’s dead body arrives home. I remembered the poem but didn’t know who wrote it and was struggling to find this poem.

Somehow this kept reminding me of a Rajput Widow and somehow I got it mixed with Sarojini Naidu. After much permutation combination of search keywords, at last, I found the poem. But then I was saddened that it was not a Indian Poet.

Here is the poem:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45379/the-princess-home-they-brought-her-warrior-dead

You may also listen to it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVi4ZtmEu7I

I was fascinated with Alfred Lord Tennyson’s version of the poem. Somehow, the Authurian Knight having parted with the spirit, now lay motionless on his mansion’s cold floor; while his lady love’s emotions are frozen like his inanimate body. Did it reach my sensitivity? A resounding yes!

This made me interested In Tennyson’s life story. According to me, some of the most experiential writers are people who have lived the words that they write, if not in real-life at least in their imagination compounding from parallel life experience. I believe the poet and their experiences are not far apart. Beneath that camouflage of emotional outburst in verse form lives the very human poet.

I was elated that I found the poem from my past, if I hadn’t found it, I would have worried my mind endlessly. Many a times, I had within me a line from my past which would grip my understanding and emotions like some kind of a fierce hold on my life. That sense of unrest can be very intense for my peace of mind.

Having restored my peace and I watched with fascination at the long narrative about Tennyson’s life and works, courtesy: poetry foundation dot com.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/alfred-tennyson

I often wondered why poems were taught away from the creator of the piece. The quintessential factor is as much the piece, as the creator of the piece. The poem without the poet is simply not a given for me.

I wondered at the meeting of emotional points in Tennyson’s poem and those of Indian sentiments. I believe any warrior’s wife from which ever country, would have been the silently grieving lady who gives expression to her sorrow when her child is placed on her arms. The past and present got culminated in the vision of the future. Why do we have war in the first place? Because we kind of try to justify the need to defend the specific ideologies. Or, simply put, if peace can be achieved only by fighting for it, then so be it attitude! But at the end of the day, we have just lost the best people, given that men and women join the armies, these days.

Where am I hypothesizing in my thoughts about war and warriors? I find it fascinating that brave and courageous warriors are in great demand to create a new world; but I disagree that it be created on the bloodshed of many innocents. I don’t propose war and especially unwarranted, but then what if it is unavoidable circumstance. What would be the most humane stand to take?

The whole gamut of the scenario is reduced to the child on the arms of the mother. Is there going to be a repeat of the incident at a future date with the son now covered with the country’s flag. I don’t agree to that scenario, but then tell me haven’t we witnessed this scene repeat itself in a loop over many centuries.  I am perplexed and confused, since this is a question that will remain unanswerable because braveness calls forth for sacrifice that mere weakling mortals cannot achieve in their lifetime.

Image Source: Pexels.com

Magical World in Opium Induced State | Kubla Khan

The background loop song for this piece is Aayat song from Bajirao Mastani movie by Sanjay Leela Bansali. I am trying to explore the world of Kubla Khan of Sameul Taylor Coleridge within the space of this musical piece.

In a way, I have memorized Kubla Khan much like a prayer and the magic of having first encountered this particular poetry remains with me to this day. I was in my 9th grade when I read this poem. At that age, I had just begun to write my own couplets and I was fascinated by the wildness of the poem.

My personal experience with the poem “Kubla Khan” is unique for the fact that my over imaginative mind was captured and encouraged to dream on. Much after the poem finished my mind would reel out images of on-going verses that Coleridge has missed out.

Alph river from its origin to its meandering down to the sea is such an exclusive experience for a dreamer like me. I usually see poems as visual effects. Even now when I think of my project for the Animation course, which was Kubla Khan poem’s visual representation; but sadly it didn’t come anywhere near what I was seeing in my mind.

That way I must say that nature part of the poem was extremely mesmerizing for my mind. I would be lost in the rhythm of the river in its course and the vibrancy of the river is such a wonderful moment to capture within my mind. The flash of images have been played into each counter points giving it the special touch.

I did try to intoxicate myself to write a poem so ethereal but failed miserably. My intoxication was a leftover wine bottle just put me to sleep and I failed capture any ethereal verses in the process. I am pretty clean person and don’t do substance abuse and I gave up after that total failure of intoxicating myself to write a poem.

But I am quite aware of the semi-aware state of consciousness. Given there is much past medicinal dose which had left me sleepy and half-aware, I was no stranger to being drugged.

Yet, when I learned that Coleridge got himself opium sedated for writing this poem, I was surprised that one needed to do drugs to be able to explore poetry. This poem in many ways explored my understanding at various levels.

I enjoyed the mystic nature playing subtle influences in the interpretation of the poem. The woman who is in love with a demon lover becomes an attraction factor which clearly defined the pitched mood for the poem.

The Woman with the Dulcimer is a magical touch that it mingles with the loop song that I am listening to in the present. The poem is combination of past memories and impressions.

Each time, I read this poem there is magic happening within me. I am looking at the cruel ruler who also has a woman who longs for him. The eeriness of the situation seems to give the poem an added flavor of uniqueness that beyond marvelous.

There was much in the poem that seems to have not been disclosed. I still think of the animation flick that I create was half-baked attempt to capture a poem which is completely a visual magic.

The Diverting History of John Gilpin | My Take

Whenever I am not well, I go in search of a poem that would move my mind. If that particular poem turns out to be a humorous one, then I believe I’m set for recovery. I happened to like the early 19th Century poets for their raw sense of humor.

I always thought working with humor is rather difficult, especially in poems. Poetry for me is like breathing. I don’t know when my desire to read moved toward creating my own poems. I think it was an almost natural transition for me. But I was the most surprised person!

Among the various humor-filled poems, The Diverting History of John Gilpin by William Cowper was at Ek level up with the others. I think I fell a little in love with John Gilpin, even though he is one-woman-man, who never made it to his wedding anniversary dinner.

What really makes for a good humor filled poem? I have asked this question many times and every time, my answer would be the element that builds up the humor.

In my imagination, John Gilpin was slightly on the heavier side of England’s rural milieu. Add to his unfailing attempt to please his wife without questioning his own ability in accomplishing feats for her.

So the poet slowly builds up on the moment of making the entire poem a pleasurable experience. The initial main characters fine-tunes to just the horse and John living the experience of a run.

There is much that was pleasing and comical about that hilarious ride. There is something about how world sees things and how they take it. Everyone believed that John is participating in a cross country race while John alone knew about the fear chemistry between him and his friend’s horse.

John is even keeled sense of humor give it a perfect camouflage for his good humor. The poem could have been done with just one side run; but the poet got extra gaffs from sending John back to his house resulting his missing his wedding anniversary dinner with Mrs. Gilpin.

Humor is really unique where sadness brings the prettiness of things in a poem. I found that very few poets actually achieved it. I have been working on my humor for quite some time, only to settle down to fact that it would be dark humored.

Image Source: https://www.art-prints-on-demand.com/a/caldecott-randolph/gilpinsrideillustrationfr.html

A 100 Year After of Robert Frost’s “Road Not Taken”

The poem has been written over a 100 plus years ago; and even today, it has the power to move my inner thoughts. There have been many routes that converged, turned, split across, and continued on to another without returning. In this process of my life’s marathon, I found solace and comfort from walking through them.

There isn’t anything about taking the well worn path or the path less traveled, because both were equally enjoyable with varying degree of past advises to be passed on to me. The point was the joy of the travel and the experience of walking through it.

Smithsonian Magazine carried an article titled “What Gives Robert Frost’s “Road Not Taken” Its Power?” by David C Ward. The writer of the said article has done such a wonderful analysis of the poem that brought back my college memories.

I remember being the only person who wondered about his choice of poetic form that was simultaneously modern and old-fashioned. It puzzled me why the Poet wished to be a rural poet and not picking more cosmopolitan topics. But then, his very choice defines him as my favorite poet.

The interesting part is that, I am also at a threshold to take a serious decision in my life. Two roads opened up in front of me and I will have to make a choice much to my distress. Writing is more than my passion, because it defines me as an individual. Unlike Mr. Frost I don’t have a plan for my publishing route with clarity.

But then somehow I watch the publishing road dramatically keep changing right in front of me like a time warp window. I fear if I don’t step into that gaping hole, then I will be left behind in the ancient times when fire was just being discovered. Not that it would make an interesting novelette worth exploring.

But as a writer, I’m still trying to find my audience. Since, my writings are in my adopted mother-tongue: English, my expression contains the influences of my natural mother-tongue: Tamil. I am essentially a Chennaite with clear view of my almost rural thoughts. I merely had to decide, how I wish to share and feel satisfied in such a sharing.

Much like Robert Frost, I keep trying to find Native speakers of English for their feedback in the hope, that if there is any changes, then that would make me improve my Poet-Writer voice. Hidden within these lines of aspiration is the desire to see my work be seen and talked about.

That way, I think I like the simplicity of Robert Frost’s work which sings to my soul. Life is never simple; it is filled with choices, regrets, nostalgia and sickening tendency to pull the rug out from under me. But it is so much about enjoying the freefall too.

I always thought of the two roads in the wood actually were somewhere in the milky-way. In the vast endless route, I choose one time tunnel and find myself within a unique situation with no point of return.

It is over a hundred years now since the publication of “Road Not Taken” created by my favorite poet who made me feel that sense of surprise every time I read it. Every poem brings with it a sense of surprise that converts a dramatic event into something life-changing.

This poem invokes a lot more feeling within me. I can sense completeness in the words strung together. The most captivating lines where in the third stanza which remains folded within my thoughts even today.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back”

 

~ Robert Frost

There is a spiritual pleasure in walking out on the complicated streets of Chennai, while dreaming in waves of determination. I have very few rural experiences, since I have been essentially a city girl.

I find my pleasures in experiencing rural settings by reading up on rural stories, poems and the works. This poem is one such rural poem that is well crafted.