008. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. Robert Frost. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran

008. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. Robert Frost. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books,

Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 19th Mar 2011  Short URL http://nut.bz/eslzz8m7/
Posted in Wikinut> Poetry, Drama & Criticism

 

Nature creates many beauties for man to observe, but man being burdened with the multitude of tasks to run a family cannot spare his time for sharing the pleasantness nature imbues. In his rush of life he is forced to abandon the easy solaces nature offers which if accepted, would have served as a balm for his mind in flames. Robert Frost’s poem Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening shows a glimpse of what treasures man has lost. True, what man forgets first is the beauty of his mother.

A British poet trained on practical American lines.

Matthew Arnold: The Critic and Poet. By G W E Russell.

Robert Frost was a farmer and poet who had a deep concern for nature. He lived during 1874-1963. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening is his world famous poem which appeals to man’s desire to be always be with nature. In the poem we see the poet riding a little horse into a snow falling forest in the evening. His sense of beauty tends him to stay but his dominating sense of duty sends him away. The genius of Frost shuttles between dream and reality and finally lands on immediate reality. Perhaps his long American life might have trimmed him on practical lines.

Nature’s Cynosures are for all the world to see.

Whose Woods These Are I Think I Know. By Ruhrfisch.

The poet stops by the wood on a snowy evening in winter. He doesn’t know who the owner of the forest is. Judging from the fact that there were no signs of any modern constructions to be seen there, he assumes that the owner of the forest might not be a town’s man, but a villager. So far so good. He hopes that the owner will not appear there at that time of heavy snow fall, as he does not wish to be seen tress-passing into private land. Sweet English reserve and shyness! Even though somewhat reluctant to enter a private property, his soul’s desire to be with nature tempted him and he entered the forest riding his horse.

All a winter’s work for the squirrels and sparrows to see.

All A Winters Work. By Böhringer Friedrich.

Nature’s benedictions are man’s common asset, limited to no one’s ownership. She creates her cynosures for all the world to see, through generations and ages. She creates them not exclusively for humans, but anticipating the admiring eyes of the squirrels, sparrows, peacocks and the marsupials also.

Animal instincts are sharper-tuned to sensing danger than man’s.

To Watch The Woods Fill Up With Snow. By Adrian Michael.

Snow heavily falling on the trees and rocks and shrubs will form curious images of strange shapes and sizes. The poet plunges deep into observing their beauty and quite forgets the passing of Time. The horse was more danger-conscious and responsive to surroundings than the poet. Have anyone ever heard about an animal that took its own life? It became suspicious. What is this fellow on my back doing?

Between the woods and frozen lake.

Between The Woods And Frozen Lake. By Harke, Stuttgart.

Dangers of an ink-black night are ahead. No farm houses are to be seen anywhere nearby. They are standing between an unfriendly wood and a frozen lake where no one will get shelter and can survive. Man and animal can be lost and frozen in these circumstances. Besides, it is the darkest night of the year that is approaching. Is this man on my back having ideas of suicide? Animal instincts are sharper-tuned to sense danger than man’s. So thinking such and such, the horse gave his harness bells a shake to ask his master whether there was any mistake. Actually he was asking his master why they were stopping and staying in that unfavorable atmosphere for long.

The Tiny Little Boy with Hay-ho, the Wind and the Rain.

Forage is scarce in winter, so a long neck. By Unknown.

The sounds of the horse-bells were heard distinctly against the only other background sound there, the swish-swishing sound of the easily-flowing wind sweeping against the incessantly down-falling snow. The exquisiteness of the description here reminds the readers of another master craftsman. In The Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, there is a little song sung by the clown: ‘When that I was a tiny little boy, With hay- ho, the wind and the rain.’ Everyone knows the wind and the rain, but who is this Mr. Hay-Ho? Critics have long debated who this Hay Ho is. It is very simple. Every little child knows Hay Ho; it is the combined effect of sound caused by wind on the rain personified. When wind blows against a green paddy field and the long lines of grass bow their heads in row after row, Hay Ho is present there. When we walk along a tar road while the rain comes down in torrents and the wind sweeps heavily against the rain, then again we can see Hay Ho on the road, coming towards us and going away from us. Hay Ho is indeed something to a tiny little boy and also for the poets. One is always the other. An exactly similar beauty with words is created here by Frost, in describing in vivid and suggestive words the swish-swishing of the wind and the rain in the snow-filled forest.

One single line written across the face of Time: How far to go before rest?

Miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go…..By Jim Champion.

The timely sound of his horse-bells roused the master to reality and reminded him of his immediate duties. Thus rightly inspired, the poet continues on his journey, singing those famous lines which made this song immortal.

‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.’

An admirer of Robert Frost from across the oceans.

The woods are lovely, But I have promises to keep. By John Davies.

The sleep referred to here is the final sleep. These are lines written across Time, to inspire the world through ages. It is not certain whoever were inspired, excited and intoxicated with these lines. But it is known, the famous author of books such as Glimpses Of World History and The Discovery Of India and the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, wrote them down on his walls to be seen always.

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Tags

Appreciation, English Songs, Literature And Language, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Poets, Reviews, Robert Frost, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Dear Reader,

If you cannot find all the articles of P S Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, access them via this link provided here: https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles
Also Visit Sahyadri Books Online Trivandrum in Blogger and author’s Bloom Books Channel in You Tube.
Author’s Google Plus Page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PSRemeshChandran/posts

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem.

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

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Author profileEditor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in Trivandrum District in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Unmarried and single. Edits Bloom Books Channel, world’s foremost producers of musical English Recitation Videos.

 

 

  

003. Forsaken Merman. Matthew Arnold. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

003. The Forsaken Merman by Matthew Arnold: A Creation of Beauty. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 13th Mar 2011 .  Short URL http://nut.bz/1ljtosiw/
Posted in Wikinut  Poetry, Drama & Criticism

 

Matthew Arnold has been a severe critic of Literature. Essays In Criticism was his monumental work in which he let no great poet go unscathed. Usually such critics would be asked a common question: why don’t you write a great poem? This poem The Forsaken Merman was Arnold’s answer in which he proved not only could he create poems of hilarious themes but could incorporate a number of exquisite tunes also in a single poem. After creating a few more poems he returned to Criticism and Academics.

The Forsaken Merman. Poem by Matthew Arnold. An appreciation.

Ocean is nothing but Land submerged. By Asea.

Matthew Arnold relates a very strange story in his poem The Forsaken Merman. The beautiful poem is picture-like, the descriptions of the sea-scapes and land-scapes vivid and presentation of the theme is logical. But the story is impossible to happen, though his inspiration for the theme can perhaps be traced to a spectacular sea-side village named Zennor in the County of Cornwall in England. It is not clear whether he happened to visit this village, but there indeed is a Mermaid Chair in the Church and also an associated legend, the hero in which having the poet’s exact name Matthew. A mermaid who lived in the Pendour Cove was entranced by Matthew’s exotic singing in the church and regularly visited the church in disguise. One day Matthew found out, fell deeply in love and followed her beneath the waves to her deep sea cavern. They were never again seen on land. The Cornish legend holds that in silent nights Matthew can still be heard singing from the deep sea, faintly brought to land by the breeze.

A lady from the land making her home in the deep sea cavern.

Lady from the land makes home in sea cavern. By Chris Gunns.

Margaret, a lady from the land happened to marry a King of the Sea, a merman. She now has her home and her children in the deep sea where they live in a cavern. The winds are all asleep there. The cavern is sand-strewn, cool and deep. The cavern is cold and dark also. Sea plants, sea animals and sea snakes are all around. Sometimes great whales can be seen passing by, resembling great ships on the sea surface. She has a loving husband and is leading a happy life in the depth of the sea.

Life arriving alighted on meteorites from cosmic realms.

Where the Winds are all asleep. By Nick Caloyianis, National Geographic.

Days of festivities in the land are endeared and nostalgic to all terrestrial human beings who are far away from land. One day, on silent Christmas nights, the sounds of pealing church bells reach the ocean bottom from the land. Man is mortal, temperamental and selfish. But water is something rare, precious and ethereal. Ocean is where life originated, smithereens of which arrived alighted on meteriorites from the cosmic realms and deposited there Aeons ago. Considering the length and brevity of history of life in the sea and in the land, there is difference in the subtlety in loyalties. The sea demands much in loyalty but the loyalty of a land-locked being is brittle.

Church bells from the land reaches where the winds are all asleep.

The Church on the Hill Side. By Jonathan Billinger.

Hearing the tongs of bells from the far away land, Margaret became home-sick and wishes to rise to the land to participate in the Christmas celebrations there. She forgets she is a mother and wife. It is terrible and strange that she is tired of sea-life overnight. She says:

“It will be Easter time in the world- ah me!
And I loose my poor soul Merman, here with thee.”

So with her loving husband’s permission, she rises from the sea and reaches her home land. The land has it’s thrills, beauties and enjoyments just as the sea has it’s own. Margaret forgot her family left behind in the deep sea.

From the deep sea in search of a beloved wife.

From the deep sea in search of beloved wife. By Jan Reurink.

Mermen and the angels are thought to be alike in many respects. Ardence, affection, kindness and mercy are considered to be their characteristics. Mighty monarchs of the deep, perfectly reflecting the magnanimity and loftiness of the oceans, keep their vows of chastity and integrity. The King of the Sea waited long for his wife’s return from the land. So one day, with their children, he too rose up from the sea, came to land and visited the church where Margaret usually prayed.

Generations of grief in the tumultuous soul of the holy trinity.

Steps to the Church where Aliens walked. Author Not Known.

They stood secretly outside and peeped inside through the church window. Being not humans and therefore aliens in land, they dared not go inside. This grief-stricken trio consisting of father, daughter and son knew nothing about Christian kindness. They were a holy trinity unto themselves. Generations of grief had been what caused that cosmic particle deposited on the ocean to germinate and evolve itself into life forms. Wind and waves and sky can never quieten the tumult in their souls. Won’t humans ever pay their debts to their gods?

A mother of ingratitude, her eyes sealed to the holy book.

Her eyes were sealed to the Holy Book. By Matthias Feige.

Her face was buried deep in the Bible. Through mutually understandable gestures, he tried in many ways to hint that their children very much longed for her. He asked the children to call and appeal to the motherhood in her in their voices in the hope that children’s voices would be dear to a mother’s ear. The children called their mother in their voices familiar to her. It was all in vain. She listened not. ‘She gave them never a look, for her eyes were sealed to the holy book.’ It is the first time the readers of this poem curses and hates the holy book. She was pretending. So it was useless persuading her to go back with them to the sea. She was determined not to return to sea.

We will gaze from the sand hills, at the white sleeping town.

We will gaze from the sand hills. By Steve Cadman, London UK.

Before returning to the sea with his children, the Merman once again visited the church and the town where his wife lived. He could see that she was living a very happy and contended life. She was seen always singing of supreme joy. ‘She sang her fill, singing most joyfully.’ However, the merman could see a tear drop down her sorrow-clouded eye. She was actually sad for her children left at sea. The cold, strange eyes of her little girl child looking at her through the equally cold church window had created pangs in her guilty soul. So the disappointed merman with his children decided to return to the sea. Before he goes, he proposes to his children to visit the land on moonlit nights again. They would come and see the church and the town by nights. He sings:

“We will gaze from the sand-hills
At the white sleeping town,
At the church on the hill side
And then come back down.”

The pain in the eyes of a girl-child left out by her mother.

We will gaze from the sand hills at the lost town. By Daderot.

Matthew Arnold created the closing lines of this poem ever memorable. The grief of a girl-child who is left out and abandoned by her beloved mother can never be and shall be described in words. It is unspeakable. The readers will never forget the pain in the cold strange eyes of the girl child looking at her mother through the church windows. Arnold wished to make the world weep with his poem; he succeeded.

Note:

Matthew Arnold was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famous teacher who introduced the famous Public School System in England. The son did not fail his father even once and not only shone like a star in literature, but excelled as an Academic and Inspector of Schools also. Even though he was a critic in blood, we will forget he is, once we get immersed in his poetry. He is indeed a born poet also. What he really was, a critic or a poet, perhaps he himself might not have known well. However, his over-indulgence in literary criticism was responsible for the scantiness of his poems. His creations in both fields are equally excellent and respected.

It is known that no one has ever orchestrated The Forsaken Merman fully which is a great loss to the world. He used a variety of excellent tunes in the song to appropriately and touchingly express each move and twist in the mood along the song, which it seems he conceived as a musical entertainment. I approached this song not as an academic but as an appreciator struggling to sing it. I was thrilled at my success. I did nothing special or exceptional in my endeavor, but repeatedly sang it as many times till the original music that was on the mind of the poet while writing this song automatically clicked and was revealed. It was like unlocking a closed precious thing through perseverance. It should be said that this cunning poet skillfully locked his music to prevent access to the lazy and the haughty.

The musical experiment Matthew Arnold did with The Forsaken Merman is unique in the field of music as well as in the field of literature. Only one other poet has ever been known to have conducted such a bold, successful and thrilling experiment in music as well as in literature. It was Alfred Lord Tennyson. The poem was The Lotos-Eaters. In this song Tennyson invented and used a number of tunes to move in synchronization with the tantalizingly changing actions of the intoxicated. He incorporated even the swaying to and fro movements of the ship carrying the Lotos-eaten dreamers in corresponding movements in his music. The world is still awaiting the Choreographed Orchestrations of The Forsaken Merman and The Lotos-Eaters. They are yet to come, but they will come indeed. 

 

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Dear Reader,

If you cannot find all the articles of P S Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, access them via this link provided here: https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles
Also Visit Sahyadri Books Online Trivandrum in Blogger and author’s Bloom Books Channel in You Tube.
Author’s Google Plus Page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PSRemeshChandran/posts

Tags 

Appreciation, English Literature, English Poems, Forsaken Merman, Matthew Arnold, P S Remesh Chandran, Reviews, Sahyadri Books Bloom Books, Trivandrum

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKkurqG5zp8

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Author profileEditor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in Trivandrum District in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Unmarried and single. Edits Bloom Books Channel, world’s foremost producers of musical English Recitation Videos.

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