The Send-Off. Wilfred Owen Poem. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

052. The Send-Off. Wilfred Owen Poem. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 17th Jan 2013.  Short URL http://nut.bz/2m900dvw/

Posted in Wikinut>Essays

Jean Jacques Bebel, the Swiss historian has calculated that in the 5000 years of the recent history of the world, only 282 years were devoid of any kind of wars. Peace is the brief interval between two wars. A shot sent at a visiting Prussian Prince and his wife by a young student at Austria, and the life of millions was shattered and the way of life of the world changed for ever. Horrors of the First World War were sung by thousands but Wilfred Owens’ poems were brought hot from the war front.

The voice of the First World War passed away, knowing not about the fame that was to come to his name.

Owen Send Off 01 War imminent. US Poster. Michael P. Whelan 1914.War imminent. U S Poster by Michael P. Whelan 1914

If World War First had a voice, we can say that it was Wilfred Owen, employed in active service, singing about the horrors of war and killed in action. In his brief life time, only four of his poems were published, but after his death, dozens of them were published and brought out as books. It is believed, many of them have not still come to light. Awarded the Military Cross for bravery posthumously, he passed away in poetic anonymity, knowing not about the fame that was to come to his name in future. Speaking for men in the trenches under his leadership was what he did through his poems, which, it seems, were all written during the last two years of his life, 1917 and 1918.

Soldiers sitting in trains, in funeral decorations, going to war front.

Owen Send Off 02 Pre war breakfast. Ferdinand Max Bredt 1918.Pre war breakfast. Ferdinand Max Bredt.

Wilfred Owen was a British poet who was killed during action in the First World War. Insensibility, Strange Meeting and The Send-Off are his most famous anti-war poems in which he brings out the pity, realism and irony of war, reflecting his and his soldiers’ negative attitude towards war. He sees no romanticism or chivalry in war, but only death, destruction and decay. True, what else is there in war except the glory of victory for a few and the shame of defeat or death for many? But when defense of one’s motherland is concerned, opinions may vary and war may have to be justified. In the poem The Send-Off, soldiers in a mountain military camp are ordered to move out to war front, who sing their way to the railway siding-sheds and line the train with faces grimly gray, meaning faces darker than black. Decorations all white, like wreath and spray, are pinned to their breasts making them already looking like dead men clad in white, sitting in a row, all looking out the train windows. We are forced to think about the tremendous thoughts streaming through those troubled souls, someone’s father, brother, uncle, one among them certainly the poet himself. The strong sentiments these and the coming scenes create in our minds move us and carry us such away that we are forced to weep, cringe and shudder, which is this poet’s victory which he enjoys standing among the stars. How many of these soldiers will ever return?

A few more minutes’ sunshine and mountain air before going to the frontier, never to return. 

Owen Send Off 03 Going to war. Johann Peter Krafft 1813.Going to war. Johann Peter Krafft 1813.

A military camp normally will be a nuisance to the local people there. So exactly there were none there to give them a proper send-off. Those people might only be glad to see them all go and never return. A few dull porters and a lone tramp were the only ones there to see them go and sorry to see them going too, for they were the ones who benefited from the camp, now losing their daily bread and jam. At least the mechanically punctual railway signals, unlike the local human beings, could have shown them a little of mercy by sparing them a few more minutes’ sunshine and mountain air. But they, the unmoved signals too, nodded heartlessly, a railway lamp winked to the guard and the train began to move, all in time. They were gone.

Local girls are what add colour to mountain military camps. Farewell sisters.

Owen Send Off 04 Writing to father in war. Eastman Johnson 1863.Writing to father in war. Eastman Johnson 1863.

True, the soldiers were not soldiers but they were all hushed up heaps of wrongs and evil doings, the poet admits. They did wrong to the villagers and they will be doing wrong on the war front too. Therefore their losses in battle, limb or life, needn’t be regretted. All military movements are secret and under cover of night. So the people never heard to which war front these soldiers were being sent. As everywhere, the local girls were what added colour to the monotonous life in the upland camp. Romances might have budded and nipped. Tears and sighs might have been shed in darkness, and weeping farewells told in whispers. To meet and part, that is the soldier’s life. And they, the village girls, had jokingly asked them boys: cousins, will you ever return? The soldiers had mocked their words then, but after feeling the dead heat of the battle front, the poet wonders, whether they would still be mocking those meaningful words of the village women.

For those who return from field to camp alive, trodden paths would be half-forgotten in their semi-madness.

Owen Send Off 05 Help daddy gone to war. Norman Lindsay 1915.Help daddy gone to war. Norman Lindsay 1915.

Soldiers gone to war front have a lesser chance of survival and returning alive to their camp, the least in those times. Direct combat was characteristic of military operations, till this war ended, when it gave way to covert operations, carpet bombing from sky and if possible, nerve gas and nuclear attacks. But in that dawn of 20th century, war techniques had not progressed much from the primitive. Only a few of them may return perhaps, too few to receive a proper reception of bells and drums and yells. And those who do return will be invalid, silent and thirsty apparitions, not walking but creeping back silent to still village wells, up half-known roads, yearning for a place to lower their weary bodies on. Even the once-familiar roads would be half-forgotten in their semi-madness, after having gone through the unspeakable horrors of war.

Entered the services of the church, found it hopeless for the poor, and condemned it.

Owen Send Off 06 A mountain military camp entrance. US Fed Gov.Mountain military camp entrance. U S Federal Govt.

Wilfred Owen was born in 1893 and brought up in a religious atmosphere by his parents. His full name was Wilfred Edward Salter Owen. Fallen from fortune, this family could scarcely provide for the education of their four children; Owen served as a teacher-student and matriculated. Theologically trained by his mother, the Bible influenced him during this period. In the Reading University, he studied botany and old English. To earn boarding, lodging and tuition fees, he served as an assistant to the vicar at Dunsden parish, this close familiarity leading to contempt of church later. Reluctance of church to get involved in helping and alleviating the pain of the poor was what infuriated him to condemn church. Disillusioned by church, he left England for France and lived there for a while tutoring English and French in private homes when war broke out.

The mother and son stood looking across the sun-glorified sea, looking towards France with broken hearts, saying goodbye to each other.

In France, Owen staying and working near Pyrenees Mountain Ranges remained totally oblivious of war for a time. But copies of The Daily Mail newspaper his mother sent to him from England opened his eyes and he began to regularly go to a nearby hospital, acquaint with a doctor and inspecting war casualties brought there each day. At last he could no longer endure his impatience and in 1915, returned to England and volunteered to fight. He was sent again to France to fight in 1916 where from he was brought back wounded and shocked for recuperating. Before going to France for war, he and his beloved mother Susan Owen ‘stood looking across the sun- glorified sea towards France with breaking hearts, saying good bye to each other’ when the son quoted Rabindranath Tagore’s words ‘when I go from hence, let this be my parting word’. Susan Owen is known to have written a letter to Tagore when he was in England. We don’t know for sure whether her letter reached Tagore after her simply writing ‘Tagore, London’ in the address column of the envelope, but we certainly know about the reputation, efficiency and dignity of the British Postal Service, especially during the war period. 

Publication of his poems in time would have prevented Viet Nam nightmare.

Owen Send Off 07 Reconnaisance before attack. Pedro Americo 1871.Reconnaissance before attack. Pedro Americo 1871.

Enlisted in 1915 into Rifles Officers’ Corps in England, shell-shocked in mortar explosion in a trench in France, and removed of all romanticism for war, he was removed to War Hospital and brought back to England for recuperating. His romantic ideas of war faded when his soldiers and he had to go through gas attacks, sleeping for months in the open in deep snow and frost, loosing friends to death and the stench of rotting dead blanketing the earth all around. War in his eyes now became just a political equation, unbalanced. No wonder he had to be admitted in the psychiatric department of the hospital. His were the same psychic experiences thousands of Viet Nam War Veterans went through decades later. Publication of his poems and experiences in time would have prevented altogether the nightmare we called Viet Nam and resulted in the governments’ adopting a more humane attitude towards soldiers. 

Back to regiment from safety, to die with loved friends and comrades.

Even though Owen from his youth very much wished to become a poet and was impressed by the writings of Keats and Shelley, his actual writing of poems which made him world famous were written during the fifteen months he spent in trenches in the war front in 1917 and 1918. The war which once shocked him then seemed to thrill him, the reason for which can be attributed to the poetic sentimentality and recklessness to be with his loved friends and comrades in the war front in the days of their misery. Certainly like all poets or cowards, on regaining health and fitness, he could have left war and lived in security and safety after released from the War Hospital. He indeed had joined or formed an intelligent literary circle there in Edinburgh during the days of his recuperation. But instead, he returned to his regiment, to be killed days later, just before the war ended. In fact, his friends and family were eagerly waiting for his return when the news of truce reached them. The news of his death reached his village on November 11, 1918 along with the bells of armistice and peace. What horrifies us is the vain death of a brilliant poet in duty who filled his poems with the futility of war. It was the sacrifice of a poetical fame for fine citizenry. 

Would Owen have lived longer if he was recognized as a published poet and also given the Military Cross?

Owen Send Off 08 Burning crops so that enemy won't eat. Emanuel Leutse 1852.Burn crops so that enemy won’t eat. Emanuel Leutse

Rejoining duty on fitness, he was delegated to lead a party to storm the enemy positions in a village in Ors. He seized a German machine gun and used it to kill a number of Germans. He was shot on the bank of a canal and killed while trying to cross the canal, only days before the war ended. He always considered him as a remarkable war poet, who he actually was, but only four of his poems had been printed by any publishers in his life time. That too was only because he happened to be the editor of the magazine The Hydra published by the War Hospital at Craig Lock hart, Edinburgh where he recuperated. And this Hydra Magazine had only a very limited circulation among the patients, doctors, nurses and staff of that hospital, a very discouraging situation for any poet. What would have happened had he not been shell shocked and admitted there but died directly in action? Would fate have changed his destiny if he had been given due recognition as a published war poet by printers…? He always sought in secret the Military Cross for his supremacy as the most talented war poet of his times, but it was awarded only after his death, in 1919. What if Military Cross had been awarded earlier while he lived…?

Personally manipulated a captured enemy machine gun and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy.

Owen Send Off 09 What the other side feels. Horace Vernet 1814.What the other side feels. Horace Vernet 1814.

The citation to the Military Cross awarded to the poet reads: ‘2nd Lt, Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, 5th Battalion. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in the attack on the Fonsomme Line on October 1st/2nd, 1918. On the company commander becoming a casualty, he assumed command and showed fine leadership and resisted a heavy counter-attack. He personally manipulated a captured enemy machine gun from an isolated position and inflicted considerable losses on the enemy. Throughout he behaved most gallantly’. Even after this Military Cross awarded for his gallantry, the world was not willing to acknowledge his poetry. Today, Wilfred Owen is a synonym for war poetry but for having been presented with this much fine war literature to read, we owe our debt to his family. He sent 600 letters to his loved mother who kept them all safe, from which was the war front feelings, emotions and experiences of Owen were discerned later. His sister donated these letters to the University of Oxford where people can still see them. His brother collected his manuscripts and helped bringing out his poems as a book.

Writing boldly about the horrors of war was his catharsis to escape from shell shock trauma.

Owen Send Off 10 American Marines in Belleau Wood 1918 by Georges Scott.American marines in Belleau Wood. Georges Scott.

Was Wilfred Owen overly influenced by friends like Siegfried Sassoon and physicians like Arthur Brock is still a thing of debate, which they did more or less. Sassoon himself was an accomplished poet who advised Owen to abandon the old style he followed since when he was ten years old and turn to more seriously writing about the futility of war. We shall dismiss all critics’ allegations of them sharing an attachment more than manly. Arthur Brock treated him when he was admitted in the War Hospital following shell shock trauma and advised him not to try to forget the horrors of war which haunted his mind, but to go straight continuing to boldly write about them which would serve as his catharsis, a fine clinical advice in those times of Sigmund Freud. Anyway, since joining the army and fighting in the front line, we see a dramatic change in the poetic style of Owen. Every soldier who took part in the world war underwent war horrors and trauma which went untold in the chronicles of historians. With Owen putting them into words after actually experiencing them, recorded them in livid humility for future generations to see and evaluate in times to come.

World War started with liberation, and ended with cessation, annexation and colonization.

Owen Send Off 11 The Dead Soldier. Joseph Wright of Derby 1789.The dead soldier. Joseph Wright of Derby 1789.

Liberation of Belgium was the objective with which the First World War started but war politics soon turned into the objective of grabbing colonies for future which the civilians did not recognize but poets like Wilfred Owens and philosophers like Bertrand Russell did, and they reacted through their writings to rouse civilian conscience. Theirs was not blind rage against wars but mature protest against abandoning the honoured causes of war and turning to use war to grab colonies. Owen’s poem ‘The Strange Meeting’ even went to creating the extreme human situation of a dead American soldier meeting a dead German soldier whom he had killed and listening to his version of the war, the enemy finally becoming a friend.

The front line picture painted by Wilfred Owen in The Send- Off.

Owen Send Off 12 What is left of a war. Juan Manuel Blanes 1879What is left of a war. Juan Manuel Blanes 1879.

Publishers of his times ignored him, perhaps due to their inability to cope with or even go through the great quantity of war poetry poured in each day. He, as an acclaimed poet and as a civil servant dedicated to those soldiers under his care, wanted only for his poems to be read by all and the people to open their eyes to the futility and horrors of war. Who can say this brilliant young man who sacrificed his life for his country would try to limit the circulation of his poems by wishing not to be read here again? We think it only just and fair to include his lines here, without which this appreciation won’t be complete or contained. See the front line picture painted by Wilfred Owen in The Send-Off.

THE SEND- OFF * WILFRED OWEN

Down the close, darkening lanes they sang their way
To the siding-shed,
And lined the train with faces grimly gay.
Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray
As men’s are, dead.

Dull porters watched them, and a casual tramp
Stood staring hard,
Sorry to miss them from the upland camp.
Then, unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp
Winked to the guard.

So secretly, like wrongs hushed-up, they went.
They were not ours:
We never heard to which front these were sent.
Nor there if they yet mock what women meant
Who gave them flowers.

Shall they return to beatings of great bells
In wild trainloads?
A few, a few, too few for drums and yells,
May creep back, silent, to still village wells
Up half-known roads.

______________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
______________________________

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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Appreciation Studies, Armistice In Ww1, Bloom Books Trivandrum, British Poets, English Poems, First World War, Futility Of War, Irony Of War, Killed In Action, Military Cross, Military Poets, Mountain Military Camps, P S Remesh Chandran, Pity Of War, Reintroduced Literature, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum, Soldier Poets, The Send Off, Truce In World War First, War Front Action, War Poems, Wilfred Owen, Years 1917 And 1918

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.

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Comments

Sivaramakrishnan A
18th Jan 2013 (#)

My fervent hope and prayers are for war and strife to end. Am I being idealistic? So be it! We have come thus far and we know wars kill and affect the most innocent. The heroes who are decorated for bravery also end up with mental anguish at being part of the insane violence. I believe few start wars and incite their citizens. With the help of technology the majority should unite and not fall into their vicious hands time and time again. Like a World War veteran reminisced – what use a piece of paper of peace in the end for those who are killed and maimed? Thanks for this wonderful post – siva

PSRemeshChandra
30th Jan 2013 (#)

War is an unnecessary expense in which nations waste resources and innumerable units of precious time and man power. To defeat another country, we spend unimaginably huge sums of money. Most often those countries could be bought with only a fraction of this money. Such futile and waste is war because it never improves mankind. Thank you dear Sivaramakrishnan A for your informative and inspiring note.

Md Rezaul Karim
20th Jan 2013 (#)

Wow! what a nice piece of article to read, wonderfully attached paintings and pictures. Thank you Ramesh ji.

PSRemeshChandra
30th Jan 2013 (#)

When I saw these paintings and pictures for the first time, I thought they were waiting for the right literary creation. Wilfred Owen’s Send Off suited them most. I am immensely thankful to those painters and photographers who were moved like Owen by the horrors of war, to create these masterpieces. I hope the painters, photographers and the poet would supplement each other. Thank you dear Md Rezaul Karim for caring to leave a comment.

Madan G Singh
22nd Jan 2013 (#)

A wonderful post. You have put in a lot of effort. Congratulations

PSRemeshChandra
30th Jan 2013 (#)

When I read your articles in Wikinut, I feel the same as you noted here. What can I say when a compliment comes my way from an accomplished writer like you? Thank you dear Madan G Singh.

Sivaramakrishnan A
31st Jan 2013 (#)

Thank you RameshChandra. It is time war and violence are removed from the face of the earth. What use making all the arms for them to fall into “wrong” hands! What use a piece of peace treaty for those killed, maimed and orphaned? Even the survivors and victors carry severe scars mentally. Politicians start the war making use of the innocent people creating hatred. And the less said about religious fanatics of all hues the better – all Gods can defend themselves, thank you! They don’t need our help! Best regards – siva.

Madan G Singh
1st Feb 2013 (#)

Thank you for the nice words, but I feel I am ordinary. But I really appreciate your writing.

The Patriot. Robert Browning. Appreciation.

19.

The Patriot. Robert Browning. Appreciation by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 13th May 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/1i9q667s/
Posted in Wikinut  Poetry,

 

Browning was a skilled poet, an expert in creating frantic situations in poetry. In the Pied Piper of Hamelin it was mysterious loss of all children from a town due to a word not being kept. In My Last Duchess it was killing of a long line of innocent duchesses by a jealous duke, the story being told without even presenting a second character. In The Patriot, it is adoration by people immediately followed by chaining, dragging through the streets, stoning by crowds and execution in the gallows.

Majestic portrayal of fall from authority and subsequent condemnation.

Young Browning. A Painting.

Robert Browning in his poem ‘The Patriot’ describes the different treatments the same man receives from the same people within a course of one year. First he was received by the people royally like a patriot. After one year he was dragged through the streets by the same people and given a scornful send-off to his death as a condemned man. The poet does not tell exactly what crime was committed by such a famous and worshipped man to be sent to the gallows within one year. Perhaps he might have turned a traitor to his country or people, or might have done much favouritism and corruption for his friends while he was in power, or else people might have made a serious mistake in judging him.

People’s applause and esteem is but a momentary bubble soon to explode.

Royal reception of a popular hero.

We have examples of a Caesar returning victoriously after an Egyptian Tour, received jubilantly by people inRomeand declared by Senate as the Dictator for the entire Roman lands and after that, within days, assassinated by a senator in front of all senators fearing for the likely chance of him declaring himself as an Emperor of Rome. We also have before us the example of the Oracle of Delphi proclaiming none was wiser than Socrates and then Socrates being assassinated by the City Council of Athens for a puny charge of corrupting their youth. Execution of Sir. Thomas Moore, the modern day Socrates also is vivid in our memories. History is so full of such admonition messages from the past that now we all know that people’s applause is but momentary and that their admiration shall not be taken into account in assessing a man’s real worth.

We have fetched the Sun for you: Need anything more?

Only moments would be needed to change this mood.

When the patriot was received for the first time by people, they went mad and spread on his path roses mixed with evergreen laurels. House roofs were filled with people just to have a glimpse of their worshipful hero. Lights burned all night and flags fluttered freely in churches. Sweet sounds of bells filled the atmosphere. People seemed to be such loyal to and eager to please their hero then that had he asked for the Sun, it would immediately have been fetched and they would have asked him, if he needed anything more.

In the rain, hands fettered, stoned all the way, dragged to the death-post.

Price of ethereal love paid in earthly blood.

We learn from the poem that the patriot did many impossible things for the people which made them pleased. ‘Nought man could do, have I left undone’, the poet writes. The patriot did everything for his people that a man could do. All of a sudden people turned against him and decided to hang him publicly as a punishment for his crimes committed during one year. Everything he did during one year had become crimes when viewed from another angle. Now we see him hands fettered, suffering in rain, stoned all the way, being dragged to the death post. And now there is nobody on the roof-tops to watch the spectacle. All have gone to the death-post at Shambles’ Gate to witness the best sight of hanging him. What an unpredictable twist of human attitude!

A condemned and executed man is received to the merciful hands of God.

Crucified for delivering the message of love.

We have seen this exact scene in history a few centuries before, in the mountains of Gagultha. A human representative of the creator and moulder of mankind, an innocent carpenter, was executed on the cross for the crime of loving mankind. On his way to death, the patriot has a few such consoling thoughts. A man honoured in this world may most likely have to suffer in heaven. But a man who is unjustly tortured and punished in this world is sure to get God’s love in the other world. Thus, though on the brink of his death, the patriot is solaced enough at the thought of being really safe in the hands of God within minutes.

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

________________________________

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at: https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

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Tags

Appreciations, British Poets, English Literature, English Poems, English Poets, English Songs, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Reviews, Robert Browning, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Songs, The Patriot

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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Sara
27th May 2011 (#)

Thanks for this really useful article.

Rathnashikamani
17th Jun 2011 (#)

Excellent analysis by an excellent editor.

PSRemeshChandra
17th Jun 2011 (#)

Browning painted such an excellent and majestic scene with words that it was very easy for me to remember it and redraw. Moreover I did an experiment with this poem. When I functioned also as a journeyman lecturer, I taught this poem while reading it for the first time. My first thrill of reading, actually singing it for the first time could therefore be transferred somewhat to the students. They said it was a pleasant new experience for them, but they never knew I was reading the poem for the first time. Therefore I still remember vividly my analysis of the poem then. Another time I did the same thing with a famous short story, Anton Chekhov’  ‘The Bet’. Me and the whole band of learners were carried away and could not speak or look at others for several minutes. It is not the skill of the reteller but the excellent editorial powers hidden in the writer that make readers spellbound.

 

 

Waterloo. Lord Byron. Appreciation.

18.

Waterloo. Lord Byron. Appreciation by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 26th Apr 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/3.ub8mva/
Posted in Wikinut  Poetry

 

The maps of Europe were drawn and redrawn many times during the Eighteenth and the Nineteenth centuries. Countries became nations and empires which in no time were reverted back to nations and countries. It was not uncommon for people of those times to lay down spoons and forks in the dead of night and take muskets and pistols to brave war. Lord Byron in his famous poem portrays such a scene from the European arena.

Political thought should be followed by political action.

Byron in Albanian Dress.

George Gordon Noel Lord Byron was born in England in the Eighteenth century and lived through the Nineteenth century. He was a lame person and so he could not take part in the active moments of his nation. Because of this handicap, he possessed exceptional vigour, strength, courage and force at least in his writings. He believed that political thought should immediately be followed by political action. He had firm political opinions which could not be uttered in his century which naturally made him to turn himself into an irresistible revolutionary poet. His name stands brilliant and great among the star line of English poets. The Vision of Judgment, The Prisoner of Chillon and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage are his most famous poems.

Spoon and fork lain down to take musket and pistol.

Vast Belgian halls where rich and famous assembled

Childe Harold means the child of Harrow University which was the poet himself. Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage is a long poem in which Byron describes his European travels. There are perhaps only two other famous poems of the like in English literature. They are Matthew Arnold’s ‘The Scholar Gipsy’ and William Wordsworth’s ‘Tintern Abbey Revisited’. These three constitute the University Trio in English poetry. Waterloo is a famous section from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

The war of English and the French enters Belgium in the dead of night.

A ball in Brussels in 1815.

In Belgium he attended a midnight ball of the rich and famous in Brussels, the capital city. It was at that time that the French and English opened war which soon reached Belgium. The midnight revelry was broke down by cannon fire but instead of the expected chaos, Byron could not help but admire what he saw of the quickness with which the Scottish soldiers there responded to the sudden attack. Due to graphic descriptions of contradicting scenes before and after the outbreak of sudden war, this part of the poem became memorably fine and specially noted in the poem.

Heavy cannon fire shatters the sound of midnight revelry.

Battle in Brussels. Formed in ranks of war.

All the brave and beautiful in Brussels were assembled in that ball room in a large mansion to celebrate night. There were not less than a thousand people gathered in that vast hall. Lamps shone bright everywhere and soft music filled the atmosphere. It was not just opulence and extravaganza of the rich and powerful. Belgians thought and did everything great and magnificent. Electricity in the atmosphere could be touched with hands. Loving eyes exchanged glances. All went merry as a marriage bell until the deep sound of a cannon struck.

Youth and Pleasure chase the night with flying feet.

Austro-Bavarian-French Battery Charge.

In the midst of the revelry, most of them did not recognize it to be sound of French guns. Some said it was wind and some said it was chariot passing through the stony street. The midnight revelry continued. People had decided to sleep not till morn. Youth and Pleasure had decided to chase the night with flying feet. Personification of Pleasure here is delightful and apt, resembling Milton’s personification of Laughter in his University poem L’Allegro. The aristocrats, government officers, soldiers, students, lovers and lazy personages all reverted back to merriment and carnal festivity. Then the heavy sound was heard once again, this time nearer and louder. Now there was no doubt it was the opening roar of cannons.

Midnight carnival turns into a carnelian carnage.

The Scotts riding to battle.

The noble Duke of Brunswick was sitting in a niche in the festivity hall, passively nursing his drinks. He was fighting on the part of the English and had anger towards the French for taking away his power and authority. He was a soldier head to heel, was always alert and was the first to recognize the sound as a cannon’s roar. When he said it and said it was near, the others laughed. But he knew the sound too well which had stretched his father, a great Chieftain, on a bed of blood years ago. His desire for long awaited vengeance was immediately roused; he rushed into the field outside and fell fighting foremost as a hero. The Duke of Brunswick’s reaction to the sound of cannon heard in the distance was a forewarning to the massacre and carnelian carnage that was to follow. War was at their door step. Byron’s description of the reverberating din of merriment in the hall and the heart-rending rush to his death by the Duke of Brunswick are equally classical.

Love or lust or wine, the Scottish soldiers are duty-bound.

Byron Abroad. His Reception at Missolonghi.

It is interesting to note how this sudden crisis affected the Scottish soldiers present. Death of the Duke of Brunswick confirmed that it was not a joke but actual war. No one had thought such awful a morn could rise upon such sweet a night. Dancing stopped and partners parted. Some wept, some trembled, some sighed and all were pale. Many doubted whether they would ever meet again. The civilians all were dumb struck and silent, but the Scottish soldiers in the assembling were the first to recover. Love or lust or wine, they proved once more that they were duty-bound.

Squadrons and chariots swiftly forming in ranks of war.

Reenactment of Battle of Waterloo 1815.

They soon began to prepare for the war. There were hurried movements everywhere. Horses were quickly mounted; squadrons and chariots rode out with impetuous speed and all swiftly formed in ranks of war. Horns and trumpets were sounded which roused all soldiers into action. Famous Scottish war songs trumpeted through Scottish bagpipes resounded through the columns and ranks of the armies and thrilled even the enemies. The famous song, ‘Cameron’s Gathering’ rose high and wild and echoing through the Albion’s Hills, and reached the Anglo-Saxons as well as the French. In no time the soldiers were marching away to the battle field.

The Ardennes Great Woods shed tear drops over the unreturning brave.

Ardennes shed tears over the unreturning brave.

Byron stood apart and watched the soldiers marching away to Waterloo. This last part of this portion of the poem is his reflections on the soldiers marching away to their death and glory. It is not possible that many of them may return alive to their land. As the English army marched away through the Ardennes Great Woods, trees waved their branches and shed tear drops over the unreturning brave. It was nature’s send-off and lamentation for her dearest of sons.

Morning noon and night, and morning day again.

Artificial hill raised on the spot of Waterloo.

This lamentation of the woods is a fine and memorable scene in the poem, an achievement of Byron’s poetical diction and imagination. The brave soldiers who are now treading the grass might be dead and lying cold and low beneath the same grass before evening. The descriptions go through the calendar of activities of the day: Morning, evening, midnight, morning and day again; how quick and unexpected was the transformation from the peak of happiness to the depth of distress! But death would show no distinctions to man or beast. When the thunder clouds of the war clear away, the Earth would be uniformly covered with dead soldiers from both sides. Nature shows her kindness and justice by allowing the rider and horse and friend and foe to share and enjoy the same red burial ground which is grand and majestic after a war. 

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

________________________________

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

Tags

Appreciations, British Poets, Childe Harolds Pilgrimage, English Language And Literature, English Literature, English Poems, English Songs, Gordon Lord Byron, Literary Criticism, P S Remesh Chandran, Poems, Poetry Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Songs, Waterloo

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Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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The Lotos-Eaters. Tennyson. Appreciation.

17.

The Lotos-Eaters. Alfred Lord Tennyson. Appreciation by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 24th Apr 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/1f8a7337/
Posted in Wikinut  Poetry, Drama & Criticism

 

The great veil of Victorian hypocrisy was lifted by Alfred Lord Tennyson and was shown to the world the lovely English mind behind it that was his. The Lotos-Eaters is the world’s greatest poetical experiment synchronizing sublime music with the changing moods and fancies of the exotic, psychedelic intoxication of a band of marine soldiers marooned on an island that nowhere existed.

Failure of musical geniuses in exactly imitating changing moods of the exotically intoxicated.

Alfred Lord Tennyson was a Nineteenth century English poet. He is considered the greatest poet and true representative of the Victorian Era. In Memoriam was his masterpiece. The Lotos-Eaters is a memorable poem in which he describes the arrival of Ulysses’ Greek soldiers on theislandofLotos Eaters. They are a lazy philosophic lot who do not like hard labour of any kind. Once the sailors in the ship are given the lotos fruit, leaf and stem and they have eaten them, they too are such transformed that they no more wish to sea-travel and see their homes. Sublime music and selected words create an atmosphere of languor, laziness and sleepiness in the poem which is Tennyson’s unique achievement and craftsmanship. This is the poem in which Tennyson experimented with music changing with the moods of each action, each bit of music perfectly reflecting the corresponding change in mood. Attempts to perfectly orchestrate this song have more or less failed through years due to failure of musical geniuses in exactly imitating the changing mind and moods of the exotically and psychedelically intoxicated.

A land of mountains, rivers, valleys, wind and waves, and Lotos plants.

A Portrait of Baron Tennyson.

Greek hero Ulysses and his band of soldiers had spent ten years in the Trojan War. Returning home they were lost in the sea and had to spend a few more years in roaming the sea. At last they sighted land. It was the land of Lotos Eaters. From the height of their anchored ship they could see far into the interior of the island. It was an island of mountains, rivers, valleys, wind and waves. Streams and falls were everywhere. Green woods and meadows ornamented plains and hills. It was a land where all things always seemed the same. No signs of cultivation or other human activities were to be seen anywhere there.

Lotos: Personification of exotic, psychedelic intoxication of human mind.

Then the mild and melancholy eyed island dwellers appeared and they silently approached the ship. They bore branches, leaves and stems of that enchanted plant of Lotos as presentations to visitors to their island from which they gave to each. Before Ulysses could prevent, his soldiers one and all had eaten them. Once they tasted this magical herb their attitudes and outlook dramatically changed. The once-courageous and strong mariners and soldiers all seemed tired suddenly. Those famous soldiers who fought bravely beside Ulysses in the fierce Trojan War now no more wish to bear the burden of sailing their ship through turbulent seas. Whoever tasted that magical herb given by those islanders became exactly like them. They seemed to be deep asleep yet all awake. The voices of nearby persons seemed to them thin voices from the depth of grave. Even their own heart beats resounded loudly and musically in their own ears. So now we see the Ulysses’ famous soldiers all sitting on the yellow sand, begin singing a chorus, the likeness of which has never ever been seen anywhere in English literature. All the efforts of their captain, the mighty Ulysses, could not move them an inch or release them from their hallucination and the spell of that magical plant.

Why sweetness of soul’s music and soothing pleasure of sleep are denied to man?

Path to Tennyson’s Monument in the Isle of Wight.

The mariners who tasted Lotos all became philosophers overnight who begin to worship idleness. Man is the roof and crown of things. He is the first and foremost of things but he alone is destined to toil. He makes perpetual moan in his life and is thrown from one sorrow to another perpetually. Enjoying leisurely the sweetness of his soul’s music and the soothing pleasures of sleep are forbidden to him. Weariness, heaviness and distress weigh him down. Hearing the excellent arguments of the mariners expressed in their chorus will make us wonder at the mathematical perfection of their logic and philosophy. We will be moved to stay with them and approbate their logic verbatim. That is the descriptive skill of Tennyson which made him the prominent poet of his era and after. There has never been a poem describing the attitude towards life and the philosophizing of a unique, exotically and psychedelically intoxicated band of humans more vividly.

The leaf and fruit and flower all have their sweet lives; man alone toils.

Tennyson’s House in Farringford.

The mariners begin to compare the tediousness of their lives with the easiness and quietness of the lives of leaves, fruits and flowers. They complete the cycles of their simple lives without any toil. Leaves open, grow and fall gently. The ripe fruits drop silently in autumn nights. Whereas man is a traveller and roamer, flowers are fast-rooted in their fertile soil. Flowers enjoy their allotted length of days, bloom and fade and fall, without toil. But man is the only being that is seen to be toiling in one way or another, in the fields, forests or oceans. Time driveth onward fast and in little time man’s life period is expired. Whatever man achieves is taken from him to become portions and parcels of a dreadful past which we commonly call history. All things under the Sun have rest except man. Therefore the mariners are not going to mount the rolling waves and travel any more. They want to stay forever on the island. After listening to their arguments we will be tempted to do nothing but agree.

Why return after years like apparitions to their native island of chaos?

Fresh Water Bay seen from Afton Down.

But Ulysses is a very persuasive person. He used every trick and argument in his quiver to tempt his mariners to return toIthaca. But they warn their captain that it would not be wise for them to return to their island home ofIthaca. Everything might have changed there. Their sons would have inherited them after all these years. The returning ancestors would only be viewed as ghosts and apparitions come to trouble their joy. Or else the over-bold island princes ofIthaca, fearing no return of the heroes might have married their wives and spent their fortunes. Their great deeds in wars would have been half-forgotten, sung only in songs. Even if they are lucky and oriented enough to return to their land, it would be harder still to please their gods after all these years and settle order once again in their island. So why not spend the rest of their lives in this quietislandofLotosand enjoy sleep and laziness to their fill? How can even a very persuasive person counter, in the face of this unbroken torrent of reasons?

Mariners declining to resume travel: the dread of all sea-going captains.

Coastal Path to Tennyson’s Monument.

These instances were not uncommon in the days of the rowing sea ship travels. They were the dread of every captain. Crew may refuse to move on after months of tiresome travels and incline to stay for ever in a new found land. A sailor’s life is a life of action. The mariners here have had enough of action and of motion in their lives. They had been constantly rolling to the starboard and larboard sides of the ship as it swayed left and right on the surging waves. The deep sea where the wallowing monster that is the whale spouted his foam-fountain had been their home and playground for too long. Now that is past and enough. They are tired of the sea and now they are inclined only to live and lie reclined in the hollow Lotos Land forever.

Gods lying together happily on their hills, careless and fearless of mankind!

When man does not obey, the clever will threaten him with the consequences of antagonizing their gods. As a last resort Ulysses seems to have done this, because now begins their discourse which, if he had had an opportunity to listen to, might have converted even the most firm believer into an atheist. When sensations and feelings were divided between man and gods, miseries were reserved for man while pleasures went to gods. Man suffers much in this world. Blight, famine, fire and earthquake, ocean flood and desert heat are all his lot. Man sows the seed, reaps the harvest and toils endlessly till his death. He stores wheat and wine and oil for his future but he has no future as he is most often withdrawn silently without notice from this world. Even after death he is doomed to suffer in hell. Man’s sorrowful songs of lamentation steam up to gods’ abode in heaven, like tales of little meaning though the words are strong. But listening to them, gods find music in his woes and laugh. It is the gods who are responsible for man’s sorrow. But they act indifferent to man. They lie together happily on their hills, careless and fearless of mankind. They keep their divine food nectar always close to them; what else do they do except relishing and draining it? They hurl their thunder bolts at man far below craving in the valleys, that is a joke to them. They sit in their golden houses surrounded by clouds and smile at the misery of man far below. All arguments of their captain were blunted by the magnificent and sincere defense of the mariners. Tennyson in the poem does not tell us whether their captain was finally able and eloquent enough to persuade his soldiers to return to their home land, but history does.

_________________________________

Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

_________________________________

 

Dear Reader,

If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books,Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

Tags

Alfred Lord Tennyson, Appreciations, British Poets, English Language And Literature, English Literature, English Poems, English Songs, Literary Criticism, P S Remesh Chandran, Poems, Poetry Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Songs, The Lotos-Eaters, Victorian Poets

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PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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008. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. Robert Frost Poem. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandrn

008

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

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

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

Link: http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.in/2012/02/08-stopping-by-woods-robert-frost.html

Nature creates many beauties for man to observe but man, being burdened with the multitude of tasks of running 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.

 

01. Robert Frost Portrait 1913.

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.

 

02. Whose Woods These Are I Think I Know.

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.

 

03. All A Winters Work.

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.

 

04. To Watch The Woods Fill Up With Snow.

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.

 

05. Between The Woods And Frozen Lake.

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.

 

06. Forage is scarce in winter, so a long neck.

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?

 

07. Miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go…..

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.

 

08. The woods are lovely, but I have promises to keep.

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.

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this song.

 

09. Stopping By Woods Video Title. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy6nlrKRH10

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. A primitive prototype rendering of this song was made in a crude tape recorder decades earlier, in 1984. In 2014, a home made video of this song was released. In 2015, a third version with comparatively better audio was released. The next version, it’s hoped, would be fully orchestrated. It’s free for reuse, and anyone interested in can develop and build on it, till it becomes a fine musical video production, to help our little learners and their teachers.

Link to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy6nlrKRH10

Also read the article The Life And Works Of Robert Frost Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran.

 

10. Life And Works Of Robert Frost Article.

http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.in/2017/04/073-life-and-works-of-robert-frost.html

Readers are advised to also read the article The Life And Works Of Robert Frost Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran in Sahyadri Books Trivandrum at http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.in/2017/04/073-life-and-works-of-robert-frost.html

 

First Published: 19 March 2011

Last Edited……: 24 March 2017

 

__________________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
__________________________________________

 

Picture Credits:

01. Robert Frost Portrait 1913 By The New York Times.

02. Whose woods these are I think I know By Ruhrfisch.

03. All a winter’s work By Böhringer Friedrich.

04. To watch the woods fill up with snow By Adrian Michael.

05. Between the woods and frozen lake By Harke.

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

07. Miles to go before I sleep By Jim Champion.

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

09. Stopping By Woods Video Title By Bloom Books Channel.

10. Life And Works Of Robert Frost Title By Sahyadri Archives.

11. Author Profile Of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

Meet the author: About the author and accessing his other literary works.

 

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Edits and owns Bloom Books Channel. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Father British Council-trained English Teacher and mother university-educated. Matriculation with High First Class, Pre Degree studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship, discontinued Diploma Studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single.

11. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

Dear Reader,

If you cannot access all pages of P S Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Visit author’s Sahyadri Books Trivandrum in Blogger at
http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.com/ and his Bloom Books Channel in You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/user/bloombooks/videos  

Author’s Google Plus Page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PSRemeshChandran/posts

Face Book Page: https://www.facebook.com/psremeshchandra.trivandrum

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002. Sophist. A Poem By P S Remesh Chandran

002.

Sophist. A Poem By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 2 Sep 2010. Short URL http://nut.bz/oth.p1gi/ First Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Poetry

Link: http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.in/2010/09/sophist-poem-by-psremesh-chandran.html

 

The ancient Sophist saints in Greece were exceptionally clever with the use of their tongues. Don’t play with them- they can bind us cunningly with their tongues. And don’t corner them- we will never forget what hit us. Here in this poem, one sophist saint is tried in Court for crime when Judges get stung. Classical sophists were well-versed in paradoxes, understanding the meaning of which won’t be easy. So, here, the court had to let him go free.

A poem with a Greek theme, praising the sophists’ skill in paradoxes.

 

Words are what convey human thoughts to others, and unless they are sharpened and used as weapons, mankind won’t survive, for man has no other armour than words to defend himself against other human beings. A sharper precise word, sometimes spoken loud, may act like weapon and save one’s life. In times of crises, faculties with words come naturally to man: it is so, because anti-survival instincts also are inborn in man; it’s a natural safeguard against self-destruction. No other creatures in the world have so much self-destructing traits in them as man. Saints, scholars and sophists are needed by mankind for safe-guarding against its own anti-survival instincts.

SOPHIST

A Poem By P S Remesh Chandran

 

A sophist saint in ancient Grecian land
Said whatever he said was a falsity,

Was asked to state anything before he died,
When once he’d committed an act of crime.

He would be hanged, if tell the truth he did;
And would be beheaded, if he told untruth.

Being always prepared for th’unexpected,
That to be beheaded was he, stated he.

If he was executed cutting throat,
Then that would prove that what he’d told was truth,

For which the sentence had to be hanging him,
Thereby to prove that he had told untruth,

For which again to be cut the head apart,
Or if to be hanged; is this a paradox?

So thinking such and such the Judges swoon’d,
And asked the saint to step out from the Court.

Thus neither to be beheaded or be hanged,
He roamed the country side and forest land.

A magpie on the gallows, always swift to fly away.

 

01. A magpie on the gallows.

Sophists were learnèd saints who lived among ancient Greeks and Romans. They were well-versed in paradoxes. A paradox is a statement which appears to be false, but which is true. One sophist once said: ‘Whatever I say is false.’ What is the true meaning of this phrase- is he a regular teller of lies or truth? If that statement is true, then he must be a regular teller of untruth. But what if that statement also is false? Then the meaning would be in the negative, meaning he would tell truth too occasionally. That is the skill of a sophist in dealing cleverly with words and escaping unscathed on occasions when faced with danger.

Sophists are sophistications in verbal combats, personified in human form.

 

Sophists can say tricky things, understanding the meaning of which wouldn’t be easy. Trying to understand the true meaning of their words would make our heads spin. That is why, in history, we see people keeping themselves at a distance from sophists, for fear of being outsmarted and also out of respect. Mathematics and Logic were developed remarkably well in ancient Greece. Analysis, logic and deduction were, and are, essentials to understanding the words of a Sophist. Sophists and their tricky sentences have always been a fascination for the world. They were sophistications of verbal combats personified in human form. In many lands they were known as Soofi Saints. We know Mulla Nazaruddeen was one among them. Such people who can soothe, please, entertain and terrorize the world through their words are what language, literature and society wants to have in plenty, but unfortunately is too short of.

He roamed the countryside and forest land.

 

02. He roamed the countryside and forest land.

Sophists are not a lost race. In all centuries and in all countries, they are there. Entertaining their people through wit and wisdom, encouraging them to laugh and learn through life, they live safe and secure among the intolerant and the jealous of their times, inspiring societies, villages, towns and nations with their words and lives. A person recently, in the same place where the Portuguese Captain Vasco da Gama landed in India and thereby opened the oceans of the Orient to European trade, thought that enough respect and reverence were not being given to the hundreds and hundreds of Washing Stones situated at that famous Kozhikkode beach. After centuries of continuous service, he saw, they were being neglected by people, without respecting their good service. So, he organized a large public meeting and a parade, to honour the centuries-long services of these washing stones. Thousands of people took part in that meeting and the parade, and paid tributes to the meritorious services of those washing stones. His name was late Mr. Raama Daasan Vaidyan- the same person who delighted and enlightened people through half-crazy but thoughtful acts, including the starting of a Coconut Climbing Training College. In every society, if we look, we can see sophists still in vigorous action, in the east, as well as in the west.

First Published: 02 September 2010
Last Edited……: 26 September 2015

___________________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
___________________________________________

Picture Credits:

 

01. A Magpie on the Gallows 1568 By Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
02. He roamed the countryside and forest land By Andrew Smith.

03. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem.

 

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem which will soon be released and link posted here in the next edit.

You Tube Link: Visit Bloom Books Channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/bloombooks/videos

About the author and accessing his other literary works.

 

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Edits and owns Bloom Books Channel. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Father British Council-trained English Teacher and mother university-educated. Matriculation with High First Class, Pre Degree studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship, discontinued Diploma Studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single.

03. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

 

Dear Reader,

If you cannot access all pages of P S Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Visit author’s Sahyadri Books Trivandrum in Blogger at
http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.com/ and his Bloom Books Channel in You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/user/bloombooks/videos

Author’s Google Plus Page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PSRemeshChandran/posts

Face Book Page: https://www.facebook.com/psremeshchandra.trivandrum

Tags

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Identifier: SBT-AE-002. Sophist. P S Remesh Chandran Poem.Articles English Downloads Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

Editor: P S Remesh Chandran

 

A Poet’s Death Is His Life.

15. A Poet’s Death Is His Life. Kahlil Gibran. Recast in the true poetic form by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

15th Apr 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/5lvc_3ta/  [4th Jan 2011]

This poem is Kahlil Gibran’s tribute to all human souls dying uncared for in this world. It is perhaps the most majestic portrayal of death in poetry. Gibran designed this poem as a psychic black hole of immense gravity which continues its journey through the abyss of time, consuming human souls on the way.

The golden gates and arch leading to eternity.

Gibran, the Philosopher, Poet, Painter, Sculptor.

Gibran describes the departing of a very lonely and lofty soul from this world when everyone is present except men. Loneliness of human soul and ingratitude of the world have never ever been painted in words more beautifully. ‘A Poet’s Death is His Life’ means when he dies he is living. By his death he has begun to live. It is the gravest song in the book Tears And Laughter. The more we are immersed deep in the song, the brighter are we shown a glimpse of the golden gates and arch leading to eternity. But once we have a glimpse of that threshold, it will be hard for us to return to immediate realities. That is how the magic and charm of this poem led many appreciators astray. So beware of this song. It may permanently change you and most often there might not be a return to our former self.

A poet who wrote beautiful poems in bronze.

The famous Adastra Sculpture by Gibran.

Gibran wrote this poem in blank verse which prevented its full enjoyment and singing. P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum slightly edited and recast this song in the true poetic form so that all the world may sing. This is the Fifth Song from Tears And Laughter that has been recast in the true poetic form. Hints and suggestions for singing the song have been marked, so that anyone who tries to sing it won’t stumble and fall. Readers, learners and researchers are advised to read Gibran’s original blank verse text as well.

The dim oil lamp flickering in a deserted hovel.

A Hovel in the Suburbs of a Town.

From Kahlil Gibran’s
Tears And Laughter.

A Poet’s Death Is His Life.


________________________________________
Slightly edited and recast in the true poetic form
by P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor,
Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.
________________________________________

One.

Dark wings of night enfolded the city
Upon which Nature’ad put a pure and white
Garment of snow; and ‘men deser’ted the streets
For their ‘houses in search of warmth while the north wind probed,
In contemplation of laying the gardens waste.
There in the suburb an old hut heavily stood
La’den with snow and on the ‘verge of falling. In
A dark recess of that ‘hovel was ‘a poor bed
In which was lying a dying youth staring
At the dim ‘laaight of his oil lamp,
‘Made to flicker by th’entering winds.
He ‘was a man in the ‘spring of life who fore – saw
‘Fully that the peaceful hour of freeing
Himself from the clutches of life was fast nearing.
He was awaiting Death’s visit gratefully
And upon his ‘paaile face appeared the dawn
Of hope; and on his lips a sorrowful
Smile ‘aand in his ‘ey’es forgiveness.

A lone hungry visitor on an alien world.

The stoning of a poet.

Two.

He was a poet perishing from hunger
In the city of the living rich. He was placed in
The earthly world to enliven the heart
Of Man with his profound beautiful sayings.
He was a noble soul sent, by the Goddess
Of Understanding, to smoothe and make gentle
The human spirit. But a’las! He gently bade
The cold earth farewell without receiving
A sm’aeel from its stra’eenge occupants.

Will far away stars bow down to soothe this trodden soul?

The mind of a dying poet.

Three.

He was ‘breathing his last and had no one at his bedside
Save the ‘oil lamp, his ‘only companion, and
Some parchments ‘upon which he had inscribed his
Feeling. As he sal’vaged the remnants of
His withering strength, he lifted his hands heavenward;
He moved his ‘ey’es hopelessly, as if
Wan’ting to p’ene’trate the ceiling so
To ‘see the stars from be’hind the veil of clouds.

He who speaks the language of angels is doomed in the world.

The dream of a dying poet.

Four.

He said: Come beautiful Death, my soul ‘is longing
For you. Come close to me and unfasten
Th’irons of life, I am weary of dragging them.
Come sweet Death, deliver me from my neighbours
Who look upon me as a stranger because
I interpret the language of th’angels.
Hurry, oh peaceful Death, and carry me
From these ‘multitudes who left me in the dark
Corner of oblivion because I do not
Bleed weak as they do, come oh gentle Death.
En’fold me un’der your ‘wha’ight wings, for my
Fellowmen are ‘not in ‘want of me, embrace me
Oh Death, ‘full of love and mercy; let your lips
Touch my ‘lips which ‘ne’ver tasted a mother’s kiss,
Nor ‘touched a ‘sister’s cheeks, caressed a sweetheart’s
Finger’tips. Come, and take me, my beloved Death.

A divine beauetee came down and closed his eyes.

Beyond the Golden Gates and Arch.

Five.

Then at the bedside of the dying poet
A’ppeared an ‘angel who ‘possessed supernat’ral
And divine beauetie, holding in her hand
A wreath of li’llees. She enbraced him
And closed his eyes so he could see no more
Except with the eye of his spirit. She im’pressed a deep
And long and gentlee withdrawn kiss that left
An e’ternal smile of ful’fillment upon his lips.
Then the ‘ho’vel ‘be’caime empty and ‘nothing was left
Save parchments and papers which the poet had
‘Strewn about with bitter fu’tility.

Deny the poet food and love. When he is dead erect a monument.

Gibran Memorial in Washington D.C.

Six.

Hundreds of years later ‘when people
Arose from the diseased slumber of Ignorance
And saw the Dawn Of Knowledge had ‘erected
A ‘monument in a most ‘beautiful garden of
The city, and celebrated ‘a feast ‘every year
In honour of the poet, whose writings had
Freed them. How cruu’el is Man’s ignorance!

Note:

The same good old wind and rain and sunshine nurture us through generations. Rumi and Hafiz along with Gibran and many other Persian poets created heavenly music. They are far above my reach. To reach them I have to leave the ground. I simply try to introduce them to the growing siblings and keep alive the interest in them.

_________________________________

Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

_________________________________

Dear Reader,

If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Tags

Arabic Poets, English Language, English Literature, English Poems, English Songs, Kahlil Gibran, Khalil Gibran, Lebanese Poets, P S Remesh Chandran, Poems Recast, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Tears And Laughter, U S Poets

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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rama devi nina
He is one of my favorite authors, along with Rumi and Hafiz—nice to see this post..and to meet a fellow keralite here, too.  I’ve lived most of the past 20 years in Kerala (Malayalam Ariyam)–though at the moment am in USA.

Salaams and Namaste-

Rama Devi Nina

 

Song Of The Wave.

14. Song Of The Wave. Kahlil Gibran. Recast In The True Poetic Form by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

15th Apr 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/12biqfdd/ [5th Oct 2010]

The sea, clouds and waves and the ever patient shore are a wonder to the new born babe, the steam engine like youth and the old man who is like a fading sunset. This energetic, thrilling, restless dame that is the ocean is shy and submissive to only one, her eternal and beloved lover, the shore. Their unending love story which has been going on and will continue to be so through the ages is presented here in the true poetic form.

Man brought back a piece of ocean with him which he still can hear in his blood and soul.

A piece of ocean is inside all beings.

Standing on the shore seeing the perpetual mounting, rolling and thundering of the waves, one will wonder how much water is there on the ocean and if there is an opposite shore, how far and distant that would be. Sea-going boats men and yaughts men won’t admit that their fascination for the sea would never be satiated. From time immemorial ocean waves lapping on the shore has been reminding man of the eternity of time and of the beautiful perceptions of it’s creator. Expanse of the ocean is the first thing that presented man with a glimpse of the immenseness of space and eternity of time. Since life forms migrated to shore from the ocean, man brought back a piece of ocean along with him which in still silent nights he can still listen to reverberating in his blood and soul.

It is easier to count the number of poets who did not write about the ocean.

Ocean blue: The intriguing mystic attraction.

Sea shore and the ocean blue has always been an intriguing and mystic attraction to mankind. The poetical mind of the world gradually began to think of them as lovers, meeting kissing embracing and departing eternally, their’s being the most magnificent love story in the world. It is easier to count which poets did not retell this lovely love story than going after the countless number of poets who celebrated this ardence and affection of the ocean for the shore. Kahlil Gibran’s Song Of The Wave surpasses every other one in it’s unique poetic conceptions, beauty of diction and musical thrill. He wrote it in blank verse to mask his tune which Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum recast in the true poetic form for all the world to sing. Song Of The Wave is included in his book Tears And Laughter. It is hoped that world music lovers and Kahlil Gibran fans in all continents will enjoy and benefit from being able to sing this song naturally for the first time. It is expected that beautiful orchestrations and musical albums and films of this immortal song will be made by those interested and talented. Readers, learners and researchers are advised to read Gibran’s original blank verse as well.

Song Of The Wave from Tears and Laughter. The Poem Recast.

Drowning souls lifted tenderly towards shore.

4. SONG OF THE WAVE.

[Slightly edited and recast in the true
poetic form by P.S.Remesh Chandran,
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books,
Trivandrum]

The strong shore is my beloved, and
I am his sweetheart, united we are at last
By love; and the moon draws me then from him,
I go to him in haste and depart
Reluctantly, with many little farewells.

I steal swiftly from behind the blue
Horizon, to cast the silver of my foam
Upon the gold of his sand;
And we blend in melted brilliance.

No love song equals the majesty and perfection of this scene.

When all sleep, I sit up singing in the night.

I quench his thirst and submerge his heart,
He softens my voice and subdues my temper,
And then I recite the rule of love upon
His ears, and he embraces me longingly.

At eventide I sing to him the song
Of Hope, and then print kisses smooth upon
His face; I am swift and fearful but he
Is quiet patient and thoughtful. His
Broad bossom soothes my restlessness,
As the tide comes we caress each other;
When it withdraws I drop to his feet in prayer.

Lifted drowning souls and carried them tenderly to shore.

His broad bossom will soothe my restlessness.

Many times have I danced around mermaids
As they rose from the depths,
And rested upon my crest to watch the stars;
Many times have I heard lovers complain
Of their smallness and I helped them to sigh.

Many times have I teased the great rocks
And fondled them with a smile, but never have I
Received laughter from them; many times
Have I lifted drowning souls and carried them
Tenderly to my beloved shore,
He gives them strength as he takes mine.

In the dead of night when all creatures seek slumber, I sit up singing.

The wave and shore. Their’s an eternal love story.

Many times have I stolen gems from the depths
And presented them to my beloved shore,
He takes in silence but still I give
For he welcomes me ever.

In the heaviness of night when all
Creatures seek the ghost of slumber, I
Sit up singing at one time,
At another I am awake always.

Alas! Sleeplessness has weakened me!
But I am a lover and the truth of Love is strong;
I may weary but I shall never die.

Note:

The number of poets in all languages, lands and ages who wrote about the magnificence, might and beauty of the ocean are as many as there are stars in the universe. The primitive man sitting on the moonlit ocean shore under star studded skies might have been the first creator of a song. His exclamations in wonder at the series of meteorites and shooting stars raining on the blue expanse were the first poetry. No doubt Kahlil Gibran’s mind synchronized with that lone singer’s soul from an unthinkably far distant past. What love, caring and consideration were stored in the ocean’s depths by the creator for man is beautifully conveyed verbatim by Gibran in the Song Of The Wave. The shore is none but man in a philosophical perspective. And the ocean, the creator’s eternal inexhaustible kindness.

________________________________

Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

________________________________

Dear Reader,

If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

 Tags

American Literature, American Poets, Arabic Poets, English Literature, English Poems, English Songs, Kahlil Gibran, Khalil Gibran, Lebanese Poets, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Song Of The Wave, Tears And Laughter

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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Rathnashikamani

PSRC,

This a lovely literary tribute to the true purpose of spiritual poetry.

Marvelous appreciation and an excellent composition of an enchanting poem.

Song Of The Rain.

13. Song Of The Rain. Kahlil Gibran Poem. Recast In The True Poetic Form by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

11th Apr 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/lbv9utb9/  3rd Jan 2011.

It is alleged that Kahlil Gibran hid his exquisite tunes behind a mask of blank verse to prevent the dull wits and the half wits of his times from enjoying his songs. This song is for the first time recast in the true poetic form by Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum so that all the world may sing. It is expected that beautiful orchestrations of this immortal song will follow from other quarters of the world.

Through the skies she comes, down to the earth, to sustain a planet.


Song Of The Rain is included in Kahlil Gibran’s famous collection of poems Tears And Laughter. It is written in the form of the rain herself singing her song as she comes down. In scientific perfection, this song can be compared only to P.B.Shelley’s Ode To The West Wind, which will leave readers which one excels. Rain is beautifully personified in this song. Gibran was a close observer of not only human nature, but nature’s creations and elements also. It is the first time in literary history that someone tells about the inner feelings and thrill of the rain in pouring out, spreading on the ground, seeping into the inner bowels of the earth and sustaining this planet.

Dotted silver threads, delivering love messages.

Rain on Trees

Rain is dotted silver threads dropped from heaven by Gods, which nature takes away then to adorn her fields and valleys. She is beautiful pearls plucked by the Daughter of Dawn from some sovereign’s crown, to embellish her gardens. The clouds and fields are lovers and she is a messenger between them. By pouring out the rain cures the cloud and by coming down to the ground she quenches the thirst of the field. The voice of thunder declares her arrival and the rainbow her departure. When she cries coming down the skies the hills laugh, when she reaches the ground the flowers rejoice, and when she has seeped down deep into the soil all things are elated.

Listen to the rain: it is an incessant song.

 

Shelter in Rain under a Tree.

Rain emerges from the heart of the sea and soars with the breeze. When she sees a field in need, she descends and downpours and embraces the flowers and trees in her own million little ways. In human houses, she touches the windows with soft gentle fingers and all can hear her welcome song which but the sensitive can understand. She is born out of heat in the air which in her turn she kills, exactly as a woman overcomes a man with the strength she takes from him. Rain is the sigh of the sea, the laughter of the field and the tears of the Heaven and Love. One will wonder how scientific and close Kahlil Gibran was. It was as if he entered the very soul of the Rain to sing on her behalf. This song is only one of Gibran’s many exquisite creations. Just listen to the rain: it is the tune that made this song. Gibran did not invent or create a tune for this song, he copied it.

Rivers, meadows and mountains all sing songs after rain.

Wet Grass after Winter Rain.

As the rain reaches earth, life in the planet rejuvenates. Rivers, rivulets, streams, ponds, lakes, lagoons and oceans replenishes. Nature appears as if she has been washed out clean and lain to dry in sunshine. Grass turns lush green, squirrels birds and cows come out and the sky is once more serene. Rivers, meadows and mountains all sing songs after a rain.

Song Of The Rain. The Poem Recast.

Rainbow above Water.

3. SONG OF THE RAIN.

Slightly edited and recast in the true
poetic form by P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor,
Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

I am dotted silver – threads
Dropped from heaven by Gods,
Nature takes me then – to
Adorn her fields and valleys.

I am beautiful pearls – plucked
From the crown of Ishtar,
By the daughter of Dawn – to
Embellish her gardens.

Rain, the most joyful thing in this world.

 

A Song Thrush after a Torrential Downpour.

When I cry the hills laugh – and
When I humble myself
The flowers rejoice, and when I
Bow, all things are elated.

The ‘field and cloud are lovers – me a
Messenger of mercy between them,
I quench the thirst of the field – and
Cure th’ailment of the cloud.

The ‘voice of thunder declares
My ‘arrival and the rainbow
A’nnounces my departure – ‘am like
Earthly life which begins at
The ‘feet of mad elements, ends
Un’der th’upraised wings of death.

I gently touch the windows with my soft fingers.

 

Green Pasteure, blessing of the Rain.

Heart ‘of the sea I emerge from – and
Soar with the breeze. When I see
A ‘field in need I descend and
Em’brace the flowers and trees – in my
‘Million little ways.

I ‘gently touch the windows
With my s’oft fingers – And my
An’nouncement is a welcome – song
‘All can hear but only – the sensi-
Tive can understand.

I am the laughter of the field.

Rain on House front and Pavement.

I ‘am the sigh of the sea,
The laughter of the field,
The ‘tears of the Heaven,
‘And so is with love.

Sighs ‘from deep sea of affection,
Laugh’ter from colourful field
Of ‘spirit; and tears from th’endless
‘Heaven of memories.

Note:

Rain is legendary. It is what caused and preserved life in this planet. Life which arrived in some meteorite particle and remained in the sky was brought down to the earth in a rain. When it rained incessantly for months and months, the world submerged in floods but Noah with a few samples of life forms escaped in his Ark. When water subsided he offered a sacrifice and prayer to God who solaced and assured man that he will never again destroy world through water. As a token of his covenant, he laid his beautiful bow on the rain clouds. After the rain, when the rainbow appears God is reminded of his promise to man that he will not destroy the world again with rain. It is true, after the rainbow there is no rain, though there is excellent scientific reason for the same.

________________________________

Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

________________________________

Dear Reader,

If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Tags

 

 

American Literature, American Poets, Arabic Poets, English Literature, English Poems, English Songs, Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese Poets, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Song Of The Rain, Songs, Tears And Laughter

 

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

 

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Rathnashikamani
Great compilation.

A true literary commentary on the poetry of the spiritual poet Kahlil Gibran.

 

 

 

 

 

The Creation Of Man And Woman.

12. The Creation Of Man And Woman. Kahlil Gibran. Recast in the True Poetic Form by P S Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.


8th Apr 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/i7sjvwju/  [30th Sep 2010]

Kahlil Gibran is mistakenly considered to have written his poems in free verse or blank verse but actually he was hiding his exquisite tunes behind a mask, so that the dull wits and half wits of his times won’t attempt to sing them. Songs from his immortal work Tears And Laughter are fine examples of a poet locking out his lines. Two poems from Tears And Laughter, Creation Of Man and Creation Of Woman are presented here, slightly edited and recast in the true poetic form by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

A poet suspected of hiding exquisite tunes behind a mask of blank verse.

Statue of Eve in Eve Fountain, St.Petersberg.

Kahlil Gibran was a U.S- Arabic- Lebanese poet who thrilled the world with exotic tunes and captivating ideas common to all Arab and Persian poets. This wonder that was Gibran brought excellent imagery unheard of and unthought-of of before to the pages of English poetry. His poems have been a source of unending inspiration to poets and poetry appreciating public alike. He is widely accepted as a writer of what is called free verse, blank verse or prose-poems. Considering the sweetness and mellowness of his lines, it is improbable that his mind had not been impregnated with some heavenly music at the time he wrote these lines. His poems can be compared only to such brilliant and musically inspired Persian poets as Gulchin, Sana’i, Rumi, Nizami, Jami, Hafiz, Amir Khusrau, Firdausi and of course Omar Khayyam. So it was only natural there was a hilarious tune concealed behind each song and poem written by Kahlil Gibran. In almost all his poems can be found traces of slight reference to brilliant geniuses being ignored, neglected or condemned by the half wits and the jealous of their times. Thus we come to guess that Kahlil Gibran hid his exquisite tunes behind a mask of blank verse so that the dull wits and half wits of his times won’t attempt to sing them.

Statutory Warning: Whoever goes after Gibran will have to suffer the same fate depicted in his poems.

Creation of the World. Painting by Brueghel.

It has been a challenge to music and poetry appreciators all over the world to rediscover the tunes hid by Gibran in his songs. A Dialectical Metaphysicist himself, some uncanny mystic fate surrounded and enveloped his poems which made them immune to unripe persons. Whoever went after Gibran to find out the hidden music in his poems had to suffer and undergo the same misery, poverty, isolation, neglect and suppression depicted by the poet in his poems. That is why those tunes and versifications which were discovered earlier never came out to the printer’s press. The strike of fate on those unfortunates who attempted to recast his poems earlier might have been such forceful and complete that they never could have risen again in their lives. Recasting Gibran poems to bring out the rich musical content in them is easy, but surviving and surpassing the fatal strikes extended from the mystic hallo surrounding each poem is not at all easy. This author also did not escape unscathed. Someday I wish to write about my horrible experiences. And I hope someday the results of those other attempts would come to daylight and be published. When Gibran in one of his poems wrote about manuscript pages of the dying poet blown away to future generations by the wind, no one thought it to be a key to the mysticism surrounding the real life of this magical poet.

Dedicated to those who attempted Gibran poems earlier, but did not escape unscathed.

 

Created the Garden of Eden for housing man.

Tears And Laughter is one of the immortal works of Kahlil Gibran, the others being The Broken Wings and The Prophet. All poems in these works are good to be read and sung. Poems from Tears And Laughter have since been slightly edited and recast in the true poetic form by P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. The following songs from this book are now released online so that all the world may sing them and enjoy them. Hope copyright restrictions if any won’t hamper the zeal of the world and dampen the cherished wish of Gibran Fans in all countries. This work is dedicated to those creative minds from all corners of the world that attempted recasting Kahlil Gibran poems earlier, but did not survive the mystic and fatal blows from the poems.

The Creation Of Man
The Creation Of Woman
A Poet’s Death Is His Life
Song Of The Rain
Song Of The Wave
A Lover’s Call

Someone someday somewhere will recast all Gibran poems to bring out the rich musical content in them.

Paradise painted in oil by Brueghel.

It is hoped that Kahlil Gibran’s other works will also be brought out in the true poetic form by others elsewhere. In coming years, recasting of more songs in Tears And Laughter will be undertaken and published. Beautiful orchestrations also will be made which finally will show to the world what a U.S- Arabic- Lebanese combination means. Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum presents the first song in this series, The Creation Of Man before the poetry-appreciating public.

1. Creation Of Man. The Poem Recast.

After creation, Man was shown to other creatures.

Furnace of Anger gave consuming fire,
Desert of Ignorance gave searing wind,
The shore of Selfishness sharp-cutting sand,
And feet of Ages coarse earth from under.

Combining them God fashioned Man and gave
To him a blind power, raging and driving
Him into madness which extinguishes
Only before gratification of Desire,

And placed in him Life which is the spectre of Death.
God laughed and cried, felt overwhelming Love
And Pity, and beneath his guidance sheltered Man.

Burning fire in one eye, rolling ocean in the other.

God created man out of fire, wind, sand and earth provided by anger, ignorance, selfishness and ages respectively, leaving no mighty element untouched and unutilized for his creation. It was expected that the raging blind power blown into him would drive him into his inborn madness which would extinguish only upon attainment of gratification of his desire, consuming him finally. That was the scheme. Desire was invented and designed for him, and placed in him naturally. Then God placed life in him which is in fact a manifestation and the haunting ghost-like presentiment of death. God knew that man would die someday which man alone did not know until he ate the fruit, lost his innocence and divined the ultimate knowledge of life and death. The instant he ate the fruit, the first dead leaf fell in the garden. God did see in advance his creation going after gratification of his desire and after a brief span of life, lying somewhere dead and still. That was why he laughed and cried at the same time, feeling overwhelming joy and pity for this doomed fragile creation, and decided to stay with him and to protect him under his guidance like a child who will never grow.

2. Creation Of Woman. The Poem Recast.

Woman created in elegance in the garden.

God separated Spirit from himself,
Fashioned it into Beauty and showered upon

All blessings of gracefulness and kindness
And gave the cup of Happiness and said:

“Drink not from this cup unless you forget past
And future, happiness but this moment.”

He also gave a cup of Sorrow and said:
“Drink from this cup and you will understand

The meaning of the fleeting instants of
The joy of life, for Sorrow ever abounds.”

Versification and orchestration of Gibran poems will become the most pleasant verbal exercise in future.

Expulsion from home: The price of sin and learning

These slightly edited and recast poems of Kahlil Gibran are the first of its kind that got published ever. Only a mind perfectly thrilled at creating such perfect and exquisite tunes can write those lines. It is theorized that Gibran wrote them in this exact way, and then to mislead readers, he rearranged his lines to make them look like blank verse. Considering the majesty and loftiness of his theme, it is not unlike him to disguise his poetry in this manner and divert readers from the dazzling glory of divinity. Many poets like Rabindranath Tagore and Sarojini Naidu also have successfully locked their lines before appreciators. It is contextual to note that these two poets were admirers of Kahlil Gibran. To perfectly appreciate their poems, the readers will have to unlock or rediscover their original writing. Readers, learners and researchers are advised to read the original blank-verse text of Gibran as well. It is hoped that more Gibran poems will be recast to bring out the rich musical content in them. Versification of Kahlil Gibran poems and orchestrating them in their original tunes will become the most pleasant verbal exercise in future in the English speaking Arab world.

Note:

What Gibran wrote, he experienced. Not that what Gibran experienced, he wrote. Poetry should be fact melted down in philosophy. Philosophy is to be derived by an individual from the experience he gains. Therefore, a person who writes philosophical poems incommensurate with his age, without adequate back support of experience, will be forced to experience the very things he wrote. That is Nature’s balancing. The author and the commenter of this article has undergone this trial and punishment for attempting works unbecoming of age. It happened so in regard to my own literary creations. Regarding the additional punishment I have had to bear for recasting Gibran poems, I have decided to write about it in detail sometime, if allowed. One thing is certain. Kahlil Gibran wrote superb philosophical poems which fitted not his age. And he escaped from experiencing the very things. So the gravity of the residual energy envelops the poems like a black hole, draining the energy of all who deal with those poems. There have been equally disturbing stories about Shakespeare’s certain plays which cause untoward incidents at wherever they are acted. The last time I heard, it was a chandelier that broke down from the roof and fell ‘accidentally’ on the stage.

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

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Arabic Poets, English Language, English Literature, English Poems, English Songs, Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese Poets, P S Remesh Chandran, Poem, Poetry, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Sahyadri Books Bloom Books, Tears And Laughter, The Creation Of Man, U S Poets

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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