The Last Bird From The Golden Age Of Ghazelles. P.S.Remesh Chandran.

The Last Bird From The Golden Age Of Ghazelles.

P.S.Remesh Chandran. Editor, Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum.

PSRemeshChandraStarred Page By PSRemeshChandra, 17th Aug 2013  Short URL http://nut.bz/3dwnobim/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

Music crosses borders of nations and oceans and reaches hearts of human beings in strange lands. God stands just behind those who sing, so close, that we will wonder who actually sings. Ghazals are Nature’s wonderful creations in which the purest of passions, emotions and feelings are stored up so that grief-stricken human soul in loneliness can seek solace in it at any time as if in the presence of God. It is His ardence, affection and benediction once in a lifetime that flows through ghazals

Ghazals originated in pre-Islamic Arabia, existed in this world for 1500 years and is dying in Europe.

Ghazals originated in pre-Islamic Arabia, developed in Medieval Africa, Spain, Persia, Turkistan, Afghanistan, Hindustan and Russia and ended in Europe. They existed in this world for more than 1500 years. Since the diluting of their form, meter and rhyme by modern day poets, they are no longer going to remain, making already created ones endearing. Great singers like present day Salman Alvi and Habib Wali Muhammad but continue to sing old ghazals and keep the interest in them alive.

Translating Persian poems into English was the earliest hobby of the British East India Company officers to escape from boredom.

We know about the poetic form quatrain as used in The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in which a quartet of four independent lines when joined together one after another like flowers in a garland obtain a unique form and develop into exotic themes. It has an Arabic origin wherefrom it moved to Persian. In the courts of Persian Emperors, it gained importance and momentum and, as Persian rule expanded through the continent, it reached Afghanistan, Pakistan and India- then a common land under Persian rule. Every British officer posted to the English East India Company to serve in this region was required to learn Persian to converse well with the courtiers and the Emperors of this Empire. Not all of these officers were boorish illiterates. Many of them were real scholars who learned Persian well. To escape from the isolation, loneliness and boredom they felt in India, they took it as their hobby to translate famous Persian poems into English. First it was a hobby, then exhilaration and finally a career. Many British scholars who never reached India but remained inside native universities also continued undertaking this translation, once initiated into this flair by earlier translations. Thus these exotic quatrains, from Arabic through Persian, reached English literature. When translated into English, they reached the main stream of world literature and became singularly famous. ‘They began to fill the pages of English poetry books with the sweet sound of bulbuls and the scent of roses.’ Translations by some of these early British officers like such luminaries as Edward Fitzgerald and A. J. Arberry remain classics.

Whichever emotions could not be shared with a woman who is forbidden to be longed for was expressed in ghazals in more intimate terms.

Ghazals evolved the same way the quatrains were. Their origin was in Arabia and the word literally means ‘addressing a woman or speaking to a woman’. We know, seldom will a poet write poems addressing his wife, for their intimacy would have waned considerably through years. It was always ‘addressing a woman who is normally unreachable and forbidden to long for’ that necessitated and inspired the creation of ghazals. Whichever emotions could not be shared directly with that woman, were expressed in these quartets or couplets, in more intimate terms. From Arabia, this form was taken up from Turkey by the 10th century Persian literati and widely used in Persian courts where it became popular. In 12th century Hindustan, ghazals spread to Urdu language, following the installation of Islamic Sultanates and the advent of Sufi saints in India. In later years they were taken up for translation by English East India Company officers who learned both Urdu and Persian well. Sufi philosophy and mysticism also influenced and diverted the themes of ghazals. So, following the same path taken by quatrains, ghazals also reached world literature. Even before the origin of Islam, similar poetic forms had existed in Arabia, which the Persians had assimilated and developed as the Persian poetic form qasida, the real mother of all present day geets and ghazals.

Ghazals were named after that sweet loving-bird gazelle of Africa known for its love songs, crying for its beloved.

Urdu poetry or shayari has two forms which are geets and ghazals. In geet, the entire poem is independent, developing a central theme. Geet is also called as nazm, or rhymed verse. In ghazals, only the quartets or couplets are independent, complete in itself but unrelated to each other, which when combined together, develops a central theme. This poetry form is more spelt as ‘ghazal’ than as ghazelle’ which would have been more apt. We know the sweet loving-bird gazelle in Africa known for its love songs, crying for its beloved. The word ghazal is derived to symbolize this love-stricken ghazelle. Ghazals also have the characteristic of the poet’s name hidden, alluded to or referred to at the end.

Ghazals evolved from the emotional opening part of Qasîdah, the pre-Islamic poetic form of Ode.

In the pre-Islamic world in Arabia, there was a golden time for odes called qasîdahs. They included mainly four poetic genres such as madîh, hikam, hijâ and fakhr. Madîh represened praising poetry, Hikam represented moralizing poetry, Hijâ represented satirizing poetry and Fakhr accommodated boasting poetry. The love-genre which later came to be called Ghazals was not a recognized form in those golden times of Arabian poetry before the emergence of Islam. Whichever genre it belonged to, a qasîdah had three parts- the opening part called nasîb, the middle and main part called rahîl and a last part called madîh. We will normally think this first introductory part nasîb would be of comparatively lesser importance in such an elaborate structure of Arabian poetry, but strangely it was from this introductory part that ghazals evolved later. Since emotional attachment to women was an important part of human constitution and winning listeners’ hearts even from the opening lines an objective of all poets, there was no wonder the beginning part nasîb of the qasîdahs of Arabia became the foundation for ghazals to base themselves on later.

The risky, dangerous and brittle Arabian Bedouin life created ghazals for solace and escape.

Ancient Arabians were mostly Bedouins and their life was dangerous, risky and brittle. Love and emotional attachment was the only momentary respite, relief and diversion in their lives. As life became harsher, laborious and more painful, affinity for indulging not in moralizing and boasting poems but in love songs made embracing ghazals more natural and their development inevitable. Old world scholars like Ibn Qutaybah have analyzed the origin of qasîdahs, nasîbs and ghazals up to the rising of Arabian written literature. The unrecorded periods were guessed and synthesized by modern day scholars like Theodor Gaster Hayât Jâsim, Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych and Jaroslav Stetkevych who have tried to trace Bedouin life and their literature back to ancient Middle Eastern times.

Arabian urbanization made people demand for music, dance and entertainment and made ghazals shorter and lighter.

During the Ummayyad Era from 661 to 750, Arabian urbanization grew and townsfolk wanted more music, dance, songs and entertainment. Ghazals were an apt poetic form to be adapted, converted and used for these entertainment purposes. Deserts preferred classic traditional form but cities liked ghazals modified and separated into nasîb, rahîl and madîh in the qasîdah. The qasîdah form of ghazals consisted of couplets. Each line ended in the same rhyme. Each line in a couplet was called bayt in Arabic language and sher in Persian. Using the same rhyme scheme by a poet was termed qâfiyah.

Popularity and development of ghazals also led to different schools of ghazals coming into being. Courtly love, free of eroticism and physical desire, developed as udharî, the proponents of this school being puritans like `Abd al-Rahmân, `Urwah b.Hizâm, Jamîl b. Ma`mar, and Tawbah b. al-Humayr. Erotic hissî was nothing but graphic and vivid descriptions, mostly written by `Umar b.Abî Rabî`ah. Poets like Abû al-Nuwâs practiced mudhakkar which was homo erotic. The only school of ghazals which based not on theme but on form was tamhîdî which was a transitional form with only two parts in it, the introductory part nasîb entering straight into the last part madîh without the middle part rahîl.

Arabian urbanization made ghazals becoming generally shorter and lighter also. Stiff meters like kâmil, basît, and rajaz which were used in the classical ghazals changed to lighter ones like khafîf, ramal, and muqtarab, to suit mass entertainment. Themes diverted more from memories of clan, home and heroism to romanticism and erotic, to suit people’s tastes.

Like great rivers, ghazals received everything from the lands they flowed through.

The chronological and geographical development of ghazals can be traced by following the names of the most important persons associated with ghazals. Persian mystic poets like Jalal al-Din Muhammad and Rumi in the 13th century, Hafiz in the 14th century, Turkish poet Fuzuli in the 16th century, Indian poets Mirza Ghalib in the 18th century and Muhammad Iqbal in the 19th century and finally the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the 19th century, will give a rough outline of the countries through which ghazals travelled and the time segments in which it progressed. Or, will we have to doubt, was it a progress really? It certainly became more popular and accepted and certainly recordings of them could be made as science and technology advanced, but its traditional form deteriorated through centuries. When it reached England, Thomas Hardy was the first to pick it up but even his was a poor attempt. Even though using this form by German poets Friedrich Rückert and August von Platen in the 19th century was considered somewhat of a success, its use by the American Indian poet Agha Shahid Ali and poetess Adrianne Rich in the 20th century was thorough flop, for failure in keeping metrical perfection. It is because ghazals from Arabia spread to Persia and Turkey that we have now a vast production of literature before us. But we have not yet considered the result of its spreading to two other vast regions, namely Africa and Spain.

Ghazals travelled through Africa, Spain, Persia, Turkey and India and reached Germany and England.

Arab culture and education permeated into Africa, Spain and Persia, resulting also in the spread of ghazals. Western African poets who wrote ghazals in their languages wrote in Arabic also. Hausa and Fulfulde are the African languages wherein we see so many ghazals. Spanish poets like Moses ibn Ezra of the 10th century wrote ghazals both in Spanish Hebrew and Arabic. Either in Africa or in Spain, the prominent Arabic characteristics of ghazals did not wane but they controlled the movement. Neither did these Arabic characteristics wane in Persia. In fact, the earliest Persian ghazals were more Arabic than Persian. Even though experiments and changes in their musical adaptability were undertaken by Persians, they preferred to follow the same lighter meters perfected by Arabians. The Persians did not only content themselves with the love ghazals of the Arabs; they assimilated and experimented with other Arabian poetic forms like satires, moralizers and boasting and praising poetry forms also. The first great poet of Iran, Abdullah Jafar Rudaki of the 9th century, surpassed all Arabic and Persian poets till then in excellence in composing ghazals, culminating in the fruition of all good Arabic and Persian characteristics in one single poet.

Multi language proficiency was characteristic of ghazal writers in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.

During the years from when Persians borrowed ghazals from Arabians to the years when they were invaded by Ottoman Turks, the Persian Empire had spread and Persian had become the prominent and official language in Central Asia. Luckily, it was the refined ghazals of the 14th century that seeped into Afghanistan, Hindustan, Turkistan and Russia. Like those who were directly influenced by Arabic wrote both in Arabic as well as in African, Spanish and Persian languages, those who were now influenced by Persian ghazals wrote both in Persian as well as in Hindi, Urdu, Afghan, Azerbaijan, Uzbek and Turkish. Besides in Persian, Amir Khusru in 14th century wrote in Hindi also, Ali-Shir Nava’I in 15th century in Afghan Turkish also and Fuzuli in 16th century in Azerbaijani Turkish also. Ali-Shir Nava’I is called ‘the Chaucer of the Turks’ and the founder of Uzbek literature. Mirza Ghalib in 19th century wrote in Urdu. Since then, every regional language in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia and Turkey has had ghazals, entirely die to bilingual proficiency becoming prevalent.

Mongol attacks of 13th century made Persians shed Arabic conservatism in ghazals and begin their thinning.

Arabians were somewhat reluctant to spell the author’s name in the ghazals directly; they made only hidden allusions and references in the end. Even in Rudaki’s time in the 9th century, this had not changed in Persia. But before or at the time the Mongols attacked Persia in the beginning of the 13th century, this seems to have changed. Perhaps ghazal poets of this time might have decided to shed anonymity and obscurity, or they might have decided to preserve some fame for posterity before barbarian Mongols burned everything including them. Poets became more open and less shy in mentioning their names in ghazals. They devised the method called takhallus to record their name in the final couplet. It was a major change in subtlety of expression in ghazals under the care of Persians. Couplets also began to declare independence and began to look distantly-placed components in the garland more. Muslih-ul-Din Saadi of the 13th century who had to flee from Mongols to save his life was the finest example for stubbornness against this thinning in the integrity of ghazals. Topics also varied liberally with the Persians by the end of the 14th century.

Persians attached refrains to ghazals and Sufis diverted theme from erotic to mystic and divine.

Arabs also did not use refrains after the end rhyming word but Persians insisted on them as a rule. Persian poets from the 10th to 13th centuries commonly used end-refrains in ghazals. Like takhallus which was their new devise for inserting the author’s name shamelessly, use of this refrains called radif also was the Persians’ unnecessary contribution to ghazals. Poets like Abu Shukur, Daqiqi, Shahid-i Balkhi, Ma`rufi, Farid al-Din`Attar and Mahmud-i Varraq, and even the noted Jalal al-Din Rumi, liberally used it. Poetical critics and philosophers of that time like Rashid al-Din Vatvat supported it. The only exemption was again Muslih-ul-Din Saadi who used it only in a few of his poems. Eventually radifs became the characteristic of Persian ghazals to distinguish the Pre-Islamic from the Post-Mongol Invasion productions. These poems with the refrain came to be called muraddaf. When it was the time of Hafiz in the 14th century, Persian poets wrote rarely without refrains. It became a certification of mastery in poetical craft. It was after the 14th century that this practice waned and finally vanished. There was a cause for this also, which was advent of Sufism. Sufis not only tempted poets to do away with this unnecessary ornament but keep manifestation of longing and desire remain, but they also diverted ghazals’ themes to divinity and the mystic from eroticism. At the end of the 14th century, we have thus the Arabian ghazals more or less intact with us, with only a slight independence and autonomy for couplets as declared by Persians, but cleansed of fleshly desires by Sufis, aspiring for divinity.

When direct contact with Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages ceased, the fountain of inspiration for ghazals also dried up.

It was in their Persian and Urdu form in the 18th and 19th centuries that ghazals arrived in Europe, directly introduced in Germany by Goethe and indirectly introduced in Britain by the bored British East India Company officers, as we have already seen. We can say, in conclusion, that the Golden Age of Ghazals ended with the 14th century, and the tree continued to rain till the 18th century, long after the rain had actually ceased. Perhaps Goethe, Edward Fitzgerald, Atkins, and A. J.Arberry were the last ones to see Arabic and Persian ghazals in their originality and magnificence and take them to Europe. When direct contact with Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages ended, contact with original ghazals also ended, and the fountain of inspiration got ghazals also dried up with it. People but still continued to write ghazals for the simple reason that they wanted to be known as ghazal writers, for writing ghazals had been made so easy after abandoning metrical form, rules and themes and declaring full independence and autonomy for couplets. This applies to all ghazals created in Europe and America in the 19th and 20th centuries, without any direct contact with Arabic, Persian or Urdu languages. Today, the trend in writing ghazals is, whatever is strenuous, difficult and demanding is abandoned and whatever is cool, easy and effortless retained, as is in the case of all other forms of poetry. Limitations of length are now strictly adhered to because today no one can write too much. Poets proclaim that emotions flow from their heart as free verse and they are entitled to present it as poems and ghazals without editing or transfiguration which would be unnatural and taboo. Ghazals are going that way in Arabia, Persia, Afghan, India, Russia and Europe, deteriorating every day. Every compromise and relaxation brought about by these lazy, uninspired and untrained ‘poets’ is innovation in their terms and degeneration in our terms. Like when oral epics like Beowulf were translated from semi-German into modern English, Song Of Roland was translated from French and Rubaiyat was translated from Persian, rhyme and meter systems used by the original poets in their original languages are no more researched on, experimented with and modified for adaptation with translation by modern poets. They are now thought of as hindrances, not as intellectual challenges. The Persians, Africans, Spaniards, Turks, Afghans, Indians and the Russians took great care in incorporating alien rhyme schemes and unfamiliar meters into their complicated language systems and retaining the beauty of the original works or they devised new meters or rhymes to accommodate the guest. Modern day poets with lesser intelligence and lesser still patience challenge the poetical excellence and exotic versifications of pious centuries with their licenscious and poor creations. Arabian ghazals are so now dying away, vanishing with those grief-stricken and crying ghazelle birds of Africa.

English ghazal writing has reached the bizarre stage where radif is invariably present and rhyme is totally absent.

In conventional poetry, in general, there has to be a continuity flowing though all lines maintained but in ghazals, today, there needn’t be any such necessity and obligation for keeping continuity, provided lines are arranged in couplets to show likeliness of ghazals, remotely. This self-declared simplicity of form attracts everyone to writing ghazals. English ghazals writing has reached the bizarre stage where radif is invariably present and rhyme is totally absent. The author of this article went through a few of the most famous volumes of ghazals published recently in English, including those by John Thompson in Canada and Adrienne Rich in America, and is of the opinion that they all belong to the vain category of pseudo ghazals. They failed to obey true-to-form principles and became bastard ghazals. They only have the word Ghazal printed on their covers, mere copyrighted creations with no Arabic, Persian or Indian glory, magnificence and generosity, in conviction or in execution.

Once, ghazals meant a well-cut and defined poetic form and a genre. Now, they mean only a genre. Form has been sacrificed for easiness in writing. Free verse penetrated Arabian, Persian, African, Spanish, Afghan, Indian and Russian ghazals in the 20th century. There is no possibility of ghazals ever regaining their traditional form. Today, ghazals are being written about anything and everything, even without keeping ever even a trace of a longing and desire for a beloved human being. So, imperceptibly, ghazals are unbecoming a genre also. With the passing of each day, ghazals are distancing themselves more from a defined form and genre as ‘a love song of longing’.

The heritage of ghazals does not continue through modern poets anymore.

Ghazals have traditional restrictions of form. They have strict rhyme and rhythm patterns. Traditional ghazals are composed of five to fifteen couplets, with the poet’s signature skillfully embedded in the last one. Iranian, Indian and Pakistani singers, who take up old ghazals, orchestrate record and distribute them and hold live concerts are who keep the interest in ghazals alive. Turkish, Pashto, Urdu, Hindi, Spanish and German languages have fine ghazals. Americans are not introduced enough to ghazals, for none of the poets except the 18th and 19th century British translators who introduced ghazals to that continent did justice to traditional form, rhyme and meter. Translations from other languages into English are still in the infancy stage, or we can say that it stopped at the infancy stage with the passing away of such talented poets like Prof. A.J.Arberry. Nearly all of them have only been able to copy the theme of ghazals, not its form. Lack of patience, reverence and training, and over-orientation for publishing were what made their ghazals flop. There indeed are several modern names associated with translation of ghazals into English or creating them of their own, such as Aijaz Ahmad, Agha Shahid Ali, Adriane Rich, David Ray, Edward Lowbury, Elise Paschen, Elizabeth Gray, James Clarence Mangan, James Elroy Flecker, John Hollander, John Thompson, Phyllis Webb, Spencer Reece, William Hunt, William Stafford, W. S. Merwin, etc. which needn’t imply that the heritage of ghazals continues through them anymore. Deviating from traditional form has become such unquestioned and common that there are now scores of writers in every language who seek shelter and fame in the folds of ghazals.

What keep alive the interest in ghazals are the presence of exquisite singers and the availability of their recorded creations.

Indian and Pakistani singers touring abroad and conducting concerts made ghazals very popular in the modern day Europe. Famous Urdu ghazal writers include Mirza Ghalib, Muhammad Iqbal, Nasir Kazmi, Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Makhdoom Mohiuddin, Morza Rafi Sauda, Majrooh Sultanpuri. Singers who made ghazals in Asia popular include Kundan Lal Saigal, Ustad Barkat Ali, Begum Akhtar, Mehdi Hassan, Noor Jehan, Iqbal Bano, Amanat Ali Khan, Jagjit Singh, Farida Khanum, Ghulam Ali, Begum Akhtar. Mohammad Rafi popularized them through films. Bengali and Gujarathi have quite a number of ghazals. Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam languages in South India also have many ghazal singers.

When someone wants to build a collection of ghazals which are first class ones worthy of being listened to again and again and which also are recorded and available for purchase, the main problem he faces is, every CD has good and bad ghazals. Not all singers are good. There is the other option of searching for selected songs and downloading them from You Tube as videos or from pay or free sites as audios. Here is a selection, the really first class ones without which no collection will be complete.

01. Amanat Ali….1. Ghar Wapas Kab Aaoge. 2. Honton Pe Kabhi. 3. Insha Ji Utho.
02. Anup Jalota….1. Dil Hi Nahin To Dil Ke. 2. Do Din To Junoon Ke Hain 3. Ruk Jao Subah Tak. 4. Tumne Kitne Sapne Dekhe.
03. Fareeda Khanum….1. Kuch Ishq Tha Kuch Majboori. 2. Woh Ishq Jo Hum Se.
04. Ghulam Ali….1. Ae Dard E Hijre Yaar. 2. Chamakte Chand Ko. 3. Chhup Chhup Ke Piyo. 4. Gugunati Hai Hawa. 5. Hum Tere Shahar Me Aaye Hai.
05. Gul Bahar Bano….1. Dard Kay Saz. 2. Dhal Gaee Raat. 3. Hamain Jahan Mai. 4. Kabhi Kabhi To. 5. Kya Kya Ye Rang. 6. Tu Pass Bhi Ho To.
06. Habib Wali Muhammad….1. Aa Hum Thode Zindagii. 2. Chaahat Ki Har Geeth Niraalii. 3. Deir Lagii Aane Mein Unko. 4. Kab Mera Nache Man. 5. Lagta Nahin He Dil Mera. 6. Pehla Sahaal Pehle Hii. 7. Thume Meri Na Mujh Ko Na. 8. Yeh Na Dhi Hamari Hota.
07. Iqbal Bano….Daag-e-Dil Hum Ko.
08. Jagjit Singh….1. Aap Aaye Janaab Barson Mein. 2. Aap Se Gila Aap Ki Kasam. 3. Jhuki Jhuki Ki Nazar. 4. Nazar Nazar Se Mila Ker Sharab.
09. Mehdi Hassan….1. Aye Kuchh Ab Kuchh. 2. Gali Gali Teri Yaad. 3. Yun Zindagi Ki Raah.
10. Munni Begum….1. Chaman Roye. 2. Koi Humnafas Nahin. 3. Koi Mujh e Gul Se. 4. Kuch Din Kate Hain. 5. Is Jagah Pyar Karna Ma’na Hai. 6. Tumharaa Shaharka Musam Bara.
11. Musrat Nazeer….Raat Dhammi Dhammi.
12. Nayyara Noor….1. Ae Jazba-e-Dil. 2. Mor Macha Way Sor.
13. Noor Jehan….Dil Ke Afsaane.
14. Talat Mehmood….1. Aaja Tujhe Mohabbat. 2. Aansoo Samajh Ke Kyu.
3. Bechain Nazar. 4. Hum Se Aaya Na Gaya. 5. Jalte Hai Jiske Liye.
6. Zindagi Denewale Sun.

And of course, 15. Salman Alvi.

Salman Alvi, the last bird from the golden age of ghazals and the music ambassador of Asia.

The latest and one of the finest ghazal singers is Mr. Salman Alvi in Pakistan whose services in keeping the interest in ghazals are invaluable. The other equally enchanting gentleman singer from Pakistan is Habeeb Wali Muhammad. In the modern age, the biography of almost all singers is available in the internet. Wikipedia is the first and foremost and then comes the famous and popular music downloadable sites. And there is Face Book too. But Salman Alvi is the most elusive bird in the world of ghazal singers. Not a line regarding his life is available anywhere in the whole digital world, except three or four lines in his Face Book page. You Tube Channels including tahayyur, hilalconfectionery, Sain Shaada, kukdila, tauseefqau and RAORASHID1982 have selected and uploaded his songs. They are available as audio compact discs and video compact discs in music stores around the world. His is perhaps the finest ghazal orchestra in the world now, a few pictures of which are included here, as graciously allowed by him, as a concession to an admirer. Also links to his most famous ghazal videos are attached here. Today, if someone wants to know what ghazals are, his is the best introduction. If someone follows these links and becomes an addict of ghazals, do not blame the author.

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Dedication
_________

We dedicate this article to Ghazals Guitarist Qamar Allahditta who thrilled us through his many vibrant performances and who is no more.

Salman Alvi’s immortal ghazals can be viewed here.

1. Yeh Kiya Keh Sab Se Bayan Dil Ki Halatain Karni 7:09 RAORASHID1982
http://youtu.be/_QhUIi2eGa8

2. Sakht Hai Isaq Ki Rah Guzar 7:29 tauseefqau
http://youtu.be/PDITr4XdRfA

3. Us Ki Gali Mein Phir. Salman Alvi 7:37 kukdila
http://youtu.be/WoMZT-l0aS0

4. Nazm, Jan-e-Pidar 6:42 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/tKvMvsAgitA

5. Dil Dhoondta Hai – Live Tribute 6:58 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/sdjD1l_Xe5k

6. Is Jagah Pyaar Karnaa Mana Hai 4:17 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/6IZnAIF2RJ4

7. Meri Kahani Bhoolney Waley 4:10 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/LUgO-lm8blQ

8. Jinhe Bhoolne Mein 3:48 Sain Shaada
http://youtu.be/2LVXWlLa1hY

9. Ae Mere Noor-e-Nazar by Salman Alvi 5:14 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/Z5BujlbLI_o

10. Zindagi Mein Ek Pal Bhi 3:21 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/xwNE2GyhQk8

11. Tumhe Pukarlo Tumhara Intezar 4:48 hilalconfectionery
http://youtu.be/-ZR2NsKEqk8

12. Apni Soi Hui Dunya 6:21 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/uNnGta07xWI

13. Muhabbaton Mein Agar 6:30 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/A1LqOVoGH2k

Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, with his permission, has set up a venue where Salman Alvi’s ghazals can be reached and downloaded from You Tube. It is ‘Bloom Books Channel Kerala’ in Google Plus, constituted via Weebly.

Bloom Books Channel Kerala
bloombookstrivandrum.weebly.com

__________________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Dear Salman Alvi.
Via his Face Book Page. With his permission
__________________________________________

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

To read about the life and people of Kerala, the author’s native land, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

For more articles of this kind, visit SAHYADRI BOOKS here or BLOOM BOOKS, TRIVANDRUM.

 

Comments

author avatar Madan G Singh
25th Aug 2013 (#)

Must congratulate you for a wonderful and interesting post

Learning To Write Poems. Essay by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

28.

Learning To Write Poems. Essay by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 10th Jul 2011.   Short URL http://nut.bz/8px9np69/
Posted in Wikinut Essays

 

Poems are made of human thoughts. They are the spontaneous, natural outflow of emotions evolving from close and objective observations of the things and circumstances around us. Since human mind carries a bit of cosmic world inborn in it, it cannot prevent itself from rising to elations at the revelation of truth at moments of discovery. How to create and write poems has been an eternal question, the answers to which occupies a considerable portion and major status in philosophic literature.

Where did all the poems voiced into the jungle, mountain, sea shore, wind and running stream go?

Poetry. The joy of learning and counsel of wise.

As soon as dialect and alphabet were invented, the first poem was written. Writing poems was one of the earliest engagements of the human mind, second only to painting. Since the earliest poems were written on leaves and tree barks, they unfortunately did not survive. At least worms went through them and avian beauties sat on them. Those which were fortunate enough to be written on papyrus rolls, cave walls and rock faces survived, constantly reminding us of the naturality and delicateness from which our literature has fallen. And those which were simply voiced into the jungle, mountain, sea shore, wind and running stream never came back, but were taken to the higher realms of Ether.

Children three to five are born singers and song-makers, gifted by Nature and the Universe.

Goddess of Learning, Weightless and Deliquescent.

One who sings songs can easily learn to write poems. It helps mastering the technique of arranging sounds as words in a poem. Singing as many songs as one can will create an appetite, voraciousness and lust for creating more songs our own way. It is true that if we observe children at their ages from three years to five, they can be found to be making up their own songs and singing them to themselves melodiously. All of us have done it at that age. That is a gift from Nature and the Universe to those who are come new to this world. We will wonder whether singing would be the main pastime in the Creator’s land. As we become conscious of ourselves and more and more haughty and capricious in the course of our lives, this godly faculty fades away, leaving us alone in the middle of a desert of selfishness.

How does the Goddess of all Learning, Knowledge, Poetry and Music sit on a Lotus Flower that does not submerge?

Light enough to bear the weight of learning.

Poetry is a benediction of the Muses. To make it possible, the writer should be simple in mind and consider him as a nonentity. In the Hindu philosophy, the goddess of learning and music, Saraswathi Devi, is seen sitting on a lotus flower in the water, holding the musical instrument Veena. A frequently asked question is, in spite of the weight of her learning, why does not the lotus submerge. Philosophy explains that She is simple, and so her learning has not at all any weight. Therefore the first step to learn to write poems is to shed all pride, haughtiness and capriciousness from our person, and to sing as many songs as possible. Whoever sings will feel the breath of God on his back. It is said that He is standing just behind the persons who are singing. That is why they are singing.

Reattain the lost innocence, allow children to sleep in your rooms and see their sleeping night face. It is once in a life time.

Age at which all are poets.

The next prerequisite to learn to write poems is to reattain the once-lost innocence. Remember that tiny little infant making songs for herself and singing all by herself. Without offending anyone, it may here be said that such tender and ardent scenes from human life can be observed and modelled upon only in communities where children are slept with parents in their room instead of in a separate baby room, and the infants are looked after by their own mothers and not by ayahs, nurses or caretakers. Anyway, imitating those infants in instant song- making is a giant step towards learning to create poetry.

A tiny stone can close the origin of a mighty stream, and the removal of one can cause the bursting out of an eternal stream.

Brought a piece of poetry with them to this world.

Thus when the ground is set, one can begin to read as many poems as one can from the world literature. Reading the epics and classics in literature has created more poets than all the Universities and classrooms in this world combined have done. Readingof epics and classics gets us acquainted with whatever a writer of poems needs to know. Once these ground preparations are completed, one cannot help writing poems. It will come spontaneously, bursting out from the depth of the childhood innocence that is in every man. Just as a tiny stone can come rolling down and close the mouth of a stream, the removal also of a tiny stone can cause the outburst and flow of an eternal stream. Thus it is a pleasure learning to write poems. And once it is learnt, it is a source of delight to the entire world.

 

_____________________________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.
Child And The Wise: Oil Painting by Guido Reni.
Goddess Saraswathi: Oil Painting by Raja Ravi Varma.
Child Pictures: Oil Paintings by William Adolph Bouguereau 1825-1905.
_____________________________________________________

 

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, Essays, How Poetry Is Written, How To Write Poems, How To Write Poetry, Learning To Write Poetry, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Theory Of Literature, Theory Of Poetry

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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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rama devi nina
11th Jul 2011 (#)

Wonderful! Bravo on your star page. This is well conceived and presented. Love the artwork choices, too. Jai Saraswati!
*Namaste*

PSRemeshChandra
12th Jul 2011 (#)

Namasthe Dear Rama Devi Nina, Thank you for going through the article. As a well-versed poet yourself, you would be more knowing about the presence of Saraswathi Devi on your back while writing poems. Sometimes she reveals her own poems through us and seems to write for us. She passes through us as a head to hand spark. Otherwise we would not have written many of our poems, at least in my case.

 

 

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

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, 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

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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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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.

 

 

No More Hiroshimas. James Kirkup. Appreciation.

11.

No More Hiroshimas. James Kirkup Poem. Appreciation by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books,Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 23rd Mar 2011   Short URL http://nut.bz/c-q37yc7/
Posted in Wikinut  Poetry, Drama & Criticism

 

Mankind hates to destruct, in spite of the destructive traits inherent in man. In his heart, man is a good being who likes to preserve mankind’s achievements intact for the posterity. But politics is often not led by men, but by mobs and crowds. Wars when fought by single persons have always turned to be good to this world: Socrates, Tolstoy, Louis Pasteur. When fought by people, they turned hell loose in this world.


292 years free of war in a history of 5500 years.

US bombers moving to Japan over Mount Fuji.

In the history of mankind, one will find no desire which is older and stronger than the desire for a world without wars. For centuries, peace in this world meant only the interval between two wars. Swiss historian Jean- Jacquess Bebel calculated that out of the 5500 years’ history of the world, only 292 years remained free of any kind of wars. Two World Wars emanated from the soil ofGermany. But in Europe the guns are silent now. People hope that the clock of history won’t be turned back again.

Sumee-Ko, War And Peace and The Flowers Of Hiroshima.

Had it not been Imperialism!

Arms-Limitation, Anti-War Literature and Detente brought about this favourable situation. Countless novels such as War And Peace, Sumee-ko and The Flowers Of Hiroshima, and dozens of plays including Henrik Ibson’s Ghost moulded human minds to remain synchronized with upheavals and outbreaks of political profiteerism and in the midst of chaos, practise the negative virtue of tolerance. Wilfred Owen and James Kirkup were just two of the hundreds of committed poets who added the influence of poetry too to the goodwill of this world-wide movement.

Three-headed fishes and children with no head at all : The balance-sheet of a mega ton blast.

The pre-war serenity in Japan.

The atom-bomb which blasted inHiroshimain the Second World War wiped out millions of people from the face of the earth for ever. Millions more survived only for being subjected to life-long agony. Three-headed fishes and children with no head at all were no wonder in the affected areas for so many years. Radio-activated patients overcrowded hospitals in the cities and villages, the sustaining and affording of whom became a national problem, stealing into the already scant national resources. Catastrophe continued through generations. Destructions of war were great, the relics of which were, and are, exhibited in Museums and War Memorials to remind the world that wayward politicians no more care for humanity.

The poet and traveller who finally arrives in Japan to settle.

Hiroshima City before the bombing.

James Falconer Kirkup was a poet, translator and travel-writer who was born inEngland. His poems, plays, novels and autobiographies made him a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. After a few years of an eventful life in the island, he travelled through and resided in Europe,America, Far East and finally reached Japan where he settled for 30 years and taught English Literature in several Universities. He was very skilled in writing Haiku Poems and was much respected by the Japanese. Even the Emperor of Japan and the Empress invited him to recite poetry in their presence and he was presented with many prestigious awards there. ‘No More Hiroshimas’ is his famous poem in which he reveals to the world the commercialized post-war faces of Japan.

A river once polluted, refuses to be rehabilitated and remains sad.

Hiroshima after the atomic blast.

In the poem we see the poet arriving at a railway station in the reconstructed city ofHiroshima. He quite forgets which city it is, since all looks similar in the post-warJapan. It resembles any other town inJapan, since all towns are noisy, muddy ramshackles alike after the war. In the dim dew-falling evening, he walks towards the city proper. Neon exhibits of traders attract his attention. They are advertising Atomic Lotion for hair fallout. It looks ridiculous to the much travelled poet, but who knows the pain and frustration of those whose hair fallout rapidly daily? Just as Oliver Goldsmith said in hisDesertedVillage, ‘trade’s unfeeling train had usurped the land and disposed of the swaine.’ Whatever had remained unsellable for centuries in the pure and proud tradition of the Japanese were being made sellable to attract tourists, the sustaining revenue of a wrecked nation. He passes the rows of fruit stalls and meat stalls, observing the scenes around him on his way and finally reaches the river. The face ofHiroshimawas changing. Losses were recompensed and destructions repaired. Everything was being restored or rehabilitated to its former position. But the river alone ‘remains unchanged and sad, refusing any kind of rehabilitation.’ The river symbolizes the stream of life in the city. Once polluted, it can never be rehabilitated into its former position. ‘It was the pride of a bold peasantry that was broken and hurt.’

A traveller and a poet fights in a dilapidated hotel room.

A melted down clock from the Ground Zero.

In the city proper, the poet finds life splendid, busy and ornamental. People seem to have forgotten what have happened. In some shops, cheaply decorated mini models of the famous, bombed Industry Promotion Hall are on display for sale. The indecent modernity of the tourist hotel in which he stays displeases him. The very twisted stair cases which have witnessed the heavy blast appear that they may collapse and fall anytime. He feels ‘the contemporary stairs treacherous, the corridors deserted and peopleless, his room in the hotel an overheated mortuary and the bar, a bar in darkness.’ It should be specially noted here that the traveller poet is uncertain as to whether he should grieve or relish the unrepaired state of the heavily damaged and dilapidated hotel of his stay. The traveller in him craves for comfort and the poet in him longs for nostalgic status-quo.

The power to forget is the greatest faculty of the oriental mind.

Japanese surrender before the U.S.

When a nation and a people feel that they are wronged, it is common consensus that they have a right to be angry. But in the city ofHiroshimathe poet sees that it was evident that the people forgot everything too soon. Their sorrow seems short-lived. He has his own European logic in such matters and is angry that their anger too is dead. He is plain to speak that anger should not die and should be kept alive till war-destructions are avenged. ‘To forgive is to cut branches of the tree; but to forget is to lay axe to the very roots’: though not his lines, it reflects his philosophy. It has to be noted here that the poet was born and brought up inBritain, had travelled through and lived for years in Europe,Americaand the Far East and had only arrived inJapanrecently. He knows nothing about the workings of the Oriental Mind. Oriental Mind means magnanimity, deliquescence and tolerance. Had it been otherwise, great philosophies such as Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism would not have originated from there. Also if it had not been so, those places would have become the vast burial grounds of the colonial British. Had man remembered everything from his birth, his brain would have become overcrowded to the point of bursting itself. That is why Nature provided man with the power to forget as a pressure-valve, the very essential to the oriental mind.

‘How times are altered, trade’s unfeeling train usurps the land’.

Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima.

But in Japan, instead, atomic peace was seen geared to meet the demands of the tourists’ trade. War relics were renovated for promoting tourism industry, adding new charm, loveliness and nobility to those relics. But the poet feels that this renovation is a shame and indignity to those relics. As indignated already, they are beyond all hope of further indignation by anyone.

Who will not weep if they see it?

Tranquillity restored.

It is when he reaches the ParkOf Peacethat the emotional poet finds something perfectly appealing to his orthodox tastes. It is the only place in HiroshimaCitythat rouses respect in his mind. It is a monument for the children who were blasted away by mankind’s crime. The various exhibits in the War Memorial Museum moved him and he wept. Melted bricks and slates, photos of various scenes after the blast and other relics of the explosion were arranged there for all the world to see. The other relics which made the poet weep were stop-watches all stuck at that destined time, burnt clothing, charred boots, twisted buttons, ripped kimonos, atomic rain-perforated blouses and the cotton pants in which blasted boys crawled to their homes to bleed and breathe their last. According to the poet, they are the only memorials of the war, worth viewing. When we come to this part of the poem, we are not inclined but forced to agree with the poet in that war remains shall not be sold and grief commercialized, however poor we are. The poet has perfectly convinced us of this. War relics are the properties of our dead, those people who lived and played and laughed with us. When death occurs in a house, it is when we see the clothes worn by the gone person hanging there that a lump is caused in our throats and we weep. It is a feeling which shall not be written, told, expressed; a feeling so sacred and private to the very soul of humans that even its utterance is a crime.

________________________________
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, Atomic Disasters, Atomic Fallout, British Poets, English Poets, English Songs, James Kirkup, Japan In War, Literature And Language, No More Hiroshimas, Nuclear Blasts, Nuclear Hollocausts, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Second World War

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
31st Mar 2011 (#)

Great tribute to James Kirkup, the compassionate poet.

Also let us hope for no more Fukushimas.

 

 

010. Leave This Chanting. Rabindranath Tagore Poem. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran

010. Leave This Chanting. Rabindranath Tagore Poem. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 22nd Mar 2011  Short URL http://nut.bz/1zdohpx2/
Posted in Wikinut  Poetry, Drama & Criticism

 

God was the most beautiful creation of mankind, created in man’s exact likeness, one playful, lovely and comely. So why not love him ardently and affectionately and respect him beyond everything as the creator who decided to stay? Tagore’s poem Leave This Chanting has universal appeal, the appreciation of which is presented here by P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

A house in Bengal where Veena, Thabala and Mridangam resounded day and night.

A Tagore Portrait. By Anonymous Photographer.

Rabindranath Tagore was an educationalist, poet and social reformer of India. He wrote hundreds of poems, plays, novels and short stories in English which enjoy universal appeal and esteem. He was a noted painter also. In a house where Thabala, Veena and Mridangam resounded day and night, it is no wonder music and rhythm found their way into his heart. Only the immovable in Tagore House did not sing, dance or write. Santhinikethan was a model educational institution founded by him where all Fine Arts faculties enjoyed privileges. Educated in England and in India, he himself was an educational visionary of exceptional dreams. His multitude of poems and songs written in the Bengali language brought renaissance to Bengal. He himself tuned his songs and never translated these songs to English, a very unfortunate affair.

A poem that exposed the pseudo-zeal of worshippers everywhere.

Einstein and Tagore in Berlin 1930. By Unknown Photographer.

Politics also seemed to fit him well. Along with Mahathma Gandhi, he served as a leading light and source of inspiration for the Independence Movement of India. His famous poetical collection Geethanjali was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. His poem Where The Mind Is Without Fear is world famous in which he mixed fact and fancy, reality and dream and politics and poetry. Without telling it directly and plainly, he skillfully portrayed in this poem the position into which British Rule pushed India with a heritage far longer than the British. This poem Leave This Chanting is equally important in World Literature due to his exposing the pseudo-zeal of worshippers everywhere. Just as ‘Where The Mind Is Without Fear’ contains his vision of a Free India, ‘Leave This Chanting’ contains his vision of Uncontaminated Worship.

God has gone out to Tillers, Stone-Breakers and Path Makers to stay with them.

Gandhi and Tagore 1940. By Unknown Photographer 

Leave This Chanting is an advice to worshippers everywhere to seek God outside temples, among the labourers. The worshippers sing Manthras and count their Rudraksha Beads inside the shut, dark, lone corners of their temples, but when they open their eyes their God is nowhere to be seen in the temples. They are blind to think that God would be pleased to stay inside shut temples. How can God rest in such suffocating places? Tagore was not new to sights of Jungle Shrines in Bengal where anyone could light a lamp and pray to the deity. When at night a desperate human being seeks solace in the door steps of a temple or church, they are closed and locked preventing entry to him. So God has gone out to stay with the tillers, stone-breakers and path makers who do the heaviest and the dirtiest of works, opting to stay with them in the heavy heat of the Sun and the chilling cold of the down pouring Rain, without minding his clothes being covered with dust. Those who seek God should put off their holy mantles, wear workers’ uniform and come down to the dusty soil to be steeped in their own sweat and tears.

Release is after as many births and deaths as there are leaves in the huge Banyan Tree.

Close family of Tagore. By Unknown Photographer.

Where and when will blind deity worshippers ever listen to good advice? They answer that they are after Deliverance, i.e. Mukthi or Moksha, which means release from the clutches of life. There is a story of a saint travelling to see God. On his way he came across a group of meditating saints who asked him to enquire with God when they would each be given their final release. He came back with the good news that the first saint would be given release after his second birth. This saint started wailing about the misfortune of the tediousness and boredom of passing through yet another life. His wailing was to last till the end of his second life, so is told. Reply to the second saint was that he had to pass through as many births and deaths before his Release as there were leaves on the huge Banyan Tree standing above him. The instant he heard this good news he began to shout and laugh out of beaming happiness that it had been made sure he would be given Deliverance some day, though in a far distant future, perhaps Aeons after. The amused and kindly God could not help himself from appearing there and offering this contended saint Deliverance then and there.

He will not leave any day: He has come to stay with the world.

Tagore born brought up and passed away here. By Mark Kobayashi-Hillary.

Deliverance is for those who love this world and the life here. Mukthi or Release is not the leaving of this world; it is not detachment but divine attachment. God created this world and decided to stay with this world forever. How beautiful, ardent, tender and comely such a God would be! Mankind would feel he is one among them. He has joyfully taken upon him the responsibility of preserving and caring for his creations. Even God does not seek Moksha. He has come to stay with us till the end of the days, and he likes being bonded to this world. Many of his worshippers are living in a virtual world of incense, meditation and flowers which displeases him much. He wishes them to come out of this world of illusion, to stand by him in Sun and Shower. There is no harm in their robes becoming tattered and stained like God’s because they are nearing their God anyway. Those who seek God should be prepared to meet him and stand by him in toil and in the sweat of their brow.

Note 

Jungle shrines are common in almost all states of India where anyone can light a lamp at any time of the day or night. In Kerala in the Trivandrum-Scencottah route, turning right at Vencollah we will reach the Saasthaam Nada Marsh where there is one such shrine. It is situated in the middle of dense forests but close to inner-going forest road and is devoted to Saastha or Ayyappan, the son and manifestation of Lord Vishnu, himself a forest and mountain dweller headquartered in Sabarimala. Lorries will stop there on their way to take in bamboo and reed loads, to pray for their safety during the precarious hill tract climbs and descends. They will dumb many oil bottles, cloth, incense sticks and match boxes nearby under rocks to protect them from rain and flash floods, so that the materials are available to anyone handy and free any time. I myself was a frequenter of this jungle spot inhabited by aborigines and have liberally made use of these materials. After bathing in the fresh and cold stream and reposing for a while lying on the shaded rocks or foliages I would light a lamp. Once we light the lamp in this cool sequestered wilderness, we will feel the sublimity and pleasure of God embracing us from our back. This spot had the stone statue of a baby elephant. One day a lone real elephant, one among a herd who usually passed that way, gave the baby elephant a blow with its trumpet and broke the statute’s trumpet. It did not like the way the baby stone elephant’s trumpet looked.

__________________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
__________________________________________

Tags

English Songs, Indian Poets, Leave This Chanting, Literature And Language, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Poets, Rabindranath Tagore, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum

Comments

Rathnashikamani
17th Apr 2011 (#)

I love reading into the musings of Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali.

There is always an unknown and revealing space in the inner sanctum of a poet with such a meditative composition of a divine song.

rama devi nina
29th Apr 2011 (#)

Ah yes, Gitanjali is one of my favorites by Tagore. You may have heard of Parameshwaraji, a famous person in Kerala. I used to visit his and share long discussions when he was admitted as a patient in Amma’s hospital in Cochin(where I do seva). He read my poems and then gifted me with Gitanjali. My favorite quote from tagore (may not be exact–from memory)

“I slept and dreamt that life is joy.
I awoke and saw that it was service;
I acted, and behold! service was joy.”

PSRemeshChandra
19th May 2011 (#)

Tagore did not translate many of his beautiful Bengali Songs into English. His Udbodhan was translated into English by Mr. Rabindranath Chowdhury which has now been recast in the true poetic form, making it an exquisite piece of poetry that can be sung tunefully. The link to this recast poem is http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.com/2010/09/awakening-poem-from-bengal-recast-by.html

Dear Reader,

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHnjSnH1qa8

Meet the author

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

009. Two Famous Death Poems. Shirley And Shakespeare. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran

009. Two Famous Death Poems. Shirley And Shakespeare. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran 

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 21st Mar 2011  Short URL http://nut.bz/evi23ktc/
Posted in Wikinut> Poetry, Drama & Criticism

 

Death is the end of all earthly cares and the beginning of eternal things. It is believed that the moment we die, we are born in another universe. With it begins a new way of being. More number of songs and poems are written on death than on birth. It is considered an important event in man’s life. In many communities all over the world, death is an occasion for festivity and celebration. Shakespeare’s Fear No More and James Shirley’s Death The Leveller are appreciated here.

Shakespeare at last has begun to be read and appreciated, than being acted on stage.

 

1.FEAR NO MORE. A SONG BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

William Shakespeare was one of the world’s greatest poets and dramatists. He considered himself a poet, but to make a living, could not exclude himself from the tedious work of being on stage. He very much wished his plays to be read and appreciated more as literary creations, than to be acted as plays on stage. His wishes have been granted by Time. Now his plays are rarely acted, but being read and appreciated as literary masterpieces as he wished. Fear No More is a song from his play Cymbeline. Two brothers weep over the supposed death of their sister who is only unconscious. The song is actually an Ode To Death. Death comes as a release from the evils of the world and is inevitable to all. This song is the poet’s prayer for the peace of the departed soul.

Work in this World, for which wages are paid in Heaven.

When we have done our worldly works, we return to our home that is in heaven where we will be paid wages for our work done in the world. We will be blessed or punished, according to the measure of the virtue or vice resulted from our work. Death is universal and man cannot escape from it. There is no armour to hold against death and man has to succumb to the inevitable. He has no protection from this gateway to the next being. The rich and leisurely golden lads and girls, as well as the chimney-sweepers doing the dirtiest of works, have all to die. Authority, scholarship and physical strength follows suit and finally reaches the dust. Even young lovers die.

Is it to bliss that we go after death?

The parting soul gets peace, since it is released from the evils of the world. It needn’t anymore fear the heat of the Sun or the angry outbreak of winter. The frown and anger and displeasure and stroke of well-placed figures and authorities and tyrants, the very things that make human lives hell in this world, needn’t be feared anymore. Our burdens are very much lightened, for clothing and eating are no more needed. The deadly lightning and thunder-bolts, the dread of out-on-the-field workers, will not affect us any more. Abusing words and unkind criticism, which constantly humiliated us, lowered our status and self-esteem, and tormented our souls will no more reach our ears. Weeping and happiness are past. We reach bliss, supreme happiness. And distinctions are also past- the reed and the oak are the same to the dead man.

A land where sceptre and crown and scythe and spade are made equal.

 

2. DEATH THE LEVELLER. A POEM BY JAMES SHIRLEY.

James Shirley was an English poet and teacher who later became famous for his plays. He died during the great London Fire. Death The Leveller is part of one of his plays. He conceives death as a great leveller who keeps no distinctions between rich and poor, high and low and hard and soft. The glories of our blood and state are nothing but shadows. Family traditions and social status do not come to our aid when we are dying. Man has no immunity against fate. Death lays his icy hands on kings and subjects alike. Kings wearing the sceptre and crown, the symbols of their sovereignty and peasants wearing the scythe and spade, the tools of their trade are all brought to dust and made equal by death without any distinctions.

Eloquence of a poet in defense of death.

Glory is but a momentary glimpse of eternity. Great emperors like Ashoka and Alexander have conquered vast plains and armies, won battlefields and raised victory memorials, but they too have gone to the other world. Great swordsmen reap heads of their opponents in the battlefield, but even their strong nerves must yield at last and they too have to stoop to fate, early or late. Actually they are not winning over the other, but taming one another. Great war heroes one day become wounded captives creeping to their death. They are now pale with shame being in the hands of death, because unlike in the War-field, they cannot now fight against their captor. Victory memorials may wither away and great battles in history fade from memory. The once-victor will one day become a bleeding victim on the purple altar of death, purple because of blood and gore. However high our heads are held, they will have to come down to the cold tomb. Great heroic acts do not survive us. Only the just and right actions of a man will blossom and emit sweet smell, after he has long withered in dust.

Are we really living here or dreaming about living here?

 

3. WHY THIS SIMILARITY BETWEEN THE TWO SONGS?

Death is the universal closing of a way of life in one universe and the starting of another one in another universe. It is believed that and also it is indeed a thrill to think that, once the gravitational constriction of the black hole that is the life-proofed passage between two universes is passed, the dead and reborn being would feel nothing about anything that might have or might not have happened. It would be felt like everything reversed exactly mathematically. Some seers have even doubted as to whether we are really living in this world, or lying relaxed in some universe and dreaming about living a life in the World. When poets and seers are concerned and involved, anything strange can be conceived and formulated. Bizarre notions are not un-travelled land for poets. It is therefore only their modesty and reserve that prevented William Shakespeare and James Shirley from elaborating on the above ideas, certainly not their unfamiliarity with any such notions, especially Shakespeare with his long line of uncanny characters.

Death is universal, so rouses similar feelings in man everywhere.

Since death is universal, it rouses similar feelings in man everywhere, though intensity and velocity of emotions may vary from person to person. That is the foundation for the similarity between the two poems, Fear No More and Death The Leveller. They are similar in many other aspects also. Both poems celebrate the glory of death. They hold the same views and project the same ideas. Both poems are part of their plays. Both poets used the same word Sceptre to denote Kingly Authority. Shakespeare hints that we will be paid our wages in heaven for our deeds done in this world. Shirley warns us that only our just and rightful actions would survive us. Both poets project the inevitability and inescapability of death. Shakespeare’s life period in England was 1564-1616 and Shirley’s was 1596-1666. Shirley was 14 years old when Shakespeare was 44. Therefore Shirley certainly might have been inspired by Shakespeare. And both poets were Londoners too.

Tags

Appreciations, Cymbeline, Death The Leveller, English Songs, Fear No More, James Shirley, Literature And Language, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, William Shakespeare

Comments

Rathnashikamani
Shirley might have been inspired by Shakespeare.

But, certainly I’m inspired by your literary work here on Wikinut.

This article of appreciation by you has brought the great poets together.

Dear Reader,

If you cannot find all the articles of P S Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, access them via this link provided here: https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles
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Author profileEditor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in Trivandrum District in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Unmarried and single. Edits Bloom Books Channel, world’s foremost producers of musical English Recitation Videos.

 

 

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

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

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books,

Trivandrum

 

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

 

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

A British poet trained on practical American lines.

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

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

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

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

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

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

All A Winters Work. By Böhringer Friedrich.

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

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

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

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

Between the woods and frozen lake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An admirer of Robert Frost from across the oceans.

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

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

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Tags

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

Dear Reader,

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

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

Meet the author

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

 

 

  

007. Song To The Men Of England. P B Shelley Song. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran

007. Song To The Men Of England. P B Shelley Song. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 18th Mar 2011  Short URL http://nut.bz/21kpi-9l/  

Posted in Wikinut>Poetry, Drama & Criticism

 

A revolutionary is a person who causes constant changes around him wherever he is. In this sense, Shelley was a revolutionary poet. Song To The Men Of England opened up world’s eyes to the torture, brutality and exploitation workers were subjected to in England during the time of her colonial prosperity and raised the question: Why can’t we revolt?

Kill not a bird or beast or man, they are all our brethren.

A portrait of Percy Bysshe Shelley. By Alfred Clint 1819.

Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote each poem to celebrate and enjoy each particular tune as we can see in his Song To The Men Of England, Ode To The West Wind, To A Skylark, The Cloud and Adonais. He is considered one of the greatest poets in the English Language. And his influence on world literature is paramount. When we refer to him as a revolutionary, it does not mean he advocated merciless killing. In fact, he considered even animals as our fellow creatures, not to be slain for human food. It was after reading his works that the famous English author and dramatist George Bernard Shaw became a strict vegetarian. 

Workers and exploiters are like bees and drones in the bee community.

A 1939 weaving loom with flying shuttles. By Imus Eus.

Here in this poem, Shelley is asking the Nineteenth century peasants and workers of England why they are not revolting against the landlords and production owners who are exploiting them to the last drop of their blood. In the Bee community, female bees do all the work and the male drones live by exploiting them. Shelley calls the workers Bees and the exploiters Drones which is apt

Purpose of weapons fails when they are used against man.

A 200 single yarn beaming machine of 1907. By Imus Eus.

Shelley’s questions in the poem to the workers of England skillfully bring out their pitiful living conditions in the England of his times. He is asking them for what reason they plough the fields for the lords who are responsible for their poverty. For what reason with toil and care they weave the rich robes their tyrants are wearing, while their own children shiver in the dark without coal or cotton. From their birth till their death the workers feed, clothe and save those ungrateful drones, who in their turn would either drain their sweat or drink their blood.

Weapons become spoiled when they are stained with their makers’ blood.

The celestial forge of Venus and Vulcan. Oil By Le Nain Brothers 1641.

The Bees of England forge many weapons, chains and scourges which go straight to the hands of the tyrants to be used against them in it’s time. Weapons were invented to assist man in his works but when used against man, their purpose fails and they become spoiled. Critics have differed in their interpretations of this word ‘spoiled.’ A weapon to become spoiled means, to become stained with it’s maker’s blood. Knives were invented for cutting away tree branches from the ancient man’s path, chains were invented for lifting huge weights from the ground, and whips for taming wild animals. But when they happen to be used for throat-cutting, binding men together and for beating him, their purpose fails and they become spoiled.

Sacrificing a life, making riches and robes and arms for tyrants.

Forge arms, in your defense to bear. By Penny Mayes.

The workers pay so high a price by living in constant pain, fear and poverty but even then, in spite of all their sufferings, at least their physical and spiritual needs are not got fulfilled. If not for fulfilling their basic animalistic needs, why should they labour from morning till night and from night till morning? Leisure, comfort and calmness are the spiritual needs of man. Food, shelter and the medicinal treatment of love are the physical needs of man. It is strange to note that Shelley, unlike many of the other poets of his times, has included love as a physical need of man, like food. The workers sow seed, but the harvest is taken away by the lords. They bring wealth out of earth through their work, but the riches are amassed and kept by the others. They weave robes for the others, but their own children have nothing to wear. The arms they forge also add to the armories of the oppressors. Thus Shelley convinces the workers of England and elsewhere that they are exploited to the extreme and that rising through revolutions is their right.

A poet’s burning eloquence forcing the doors of England open.

Sow seed and reap, but let not the idle heap. By Bernard Gagnon.

We will normally expect that the poet, spreading such radical ideas will finally find his way to the London Tower, the English equivalent of the French Bastille. But it was the era of the Industrial Revolution, closely following the English version of the Italian Renaissance. No workers’ revolution occurred in England then or later as Shelley hoped and Marx predicted. Communism, the supreme theory of revolution was indeed born in England’s soil, but Carl Marx fuming and storming his head in the British Museum for Thirty two years came to no use. Prosperity extinguishes revolutionary traits whereas poverty inflames them. But England in later years became the haven and world headquarters of revolutionaries in exile, due to the open door policy there. Shelley’s burning eloquence in this song cannot be denied it’s due share of influence in bringing about this change.

The silent song of weaving their winding-sheets to their graves.

Weaving their winding sheet to their graves. By Thomas Khaipi.

Shelley showed to the exploited workers that they have a right to rise in revolts. He encourages them to sow seed but let no tyrant reap; find wealth but let no impostor heap them. But his clarion-calls fell into deaf ears. Seeing the inertness of the English workers, towards the end of the poem, Shelley condemns them. By not revolting, they will have to finally shrink to their cells, cellars and holes that are supposed to be their residences, as the vast halls they constructed are all possessed by the privileged. Imagine a great massive elephant melting itself down and disappearing into the tiny pit of a sand-elephant; that is how the proletariat shrinks. The great beast does not know its capabilities. It is a pity to see them still wearing and shaking the chains they themselves wrought. ‘The steel ye tempered glance on ye’, he says. Glance here has a dual meaning. He used the word in it’s both senses: slip off from the hand causing a mortal wound, and have a quick look. The steel the workers themselves tempered ridiculingly laughs at them! If their destiny goes on unhampered in this manner, with plough and spade and hoe and loom, the tools of their trade, they will continue to build their tomb and weave their winding-sheet till their beautiful England becomes their vast sepulchre.

Note

Shelley was very bold and daring to have published these lines during the peak of England’s colonial powers. And he certainly might have been very sympathetic and delinquent in his attitude to the workers in his native land. He indeed was a very brilliant poet who set fire to the conscience of his century. This poem is a masterpiece of poetical eloquence. Commitment and involvement in flames.

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Tags

Appreciations, English Songs, Literature And Language, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Poetry, P S Remesh Chandran, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Song To The Men Of England

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy6nlrKRH10

Meet the author

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

 



006. Leisure. W H Davies Poem. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran

006. Leisure. W H Davies Poem. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra. 16th Mar 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/qp4j6ml6/
Posted in Wikinut>Poetry, Drama & Criticism

 

Man is always eager to observe and enjoy the beauties of nature. Only that he does not get enough spare time to elate and thrill his mind by soaking up the magnificent spectacles Mother Nature has created around him. It was in the midst of and from these beauties that man was created. Therefore his wish to be with them is only natural. When he leaves them behind, he pines in his soul as if leaving his homeland.

Primitive man who sat in his mountain cave watching the sunset was the first writer of poetry.

Reading in leisure. The greatest of all pastimes By Cristofano Allori.

Archaeology and excavation of ancient sites of human living has taught us that there has been no time in human history that was deprived of leisure and time for rest. Whenever man got freed of inevitable and immediate works, he always found a bit of time to indulge in leisurely activities. Primitive man who after a delicious meal sat in leisure in the mouth of his mountain cave and observed the distant sunset was the first writer of poetry. From the snow-buried Neanderthal Valley in Germany and the ice-cold caves of Cro-Magnon in France, we have obtained evidence of the outcome of a hunting societies’ leisure, magnificent rock wall paintings.

The idea of calm and leisure exists in a sitting cat.

Statue of Davies on the seafront of Port Williams. Sculpture Andrew Brown, Photo A M Hurrell.

Man is not alone in enjoying the beauties of nature and leisure. Cats, horses, cows, squirrels, birds all catharsize their souls through leisure. Cats are the first to enjoy music, sunshine, rest and leisure. In beautiful evenings they have seen washing and cleaning themselves meticulously taking hours, walking to regular elevated acoustically apt places and sitting listening to their favourite church and temple songs coming through loudspeakers, basking themselves in bright warm sunlight. Cows and sheep constantly and steadily look at things far away for any length of time, but if we go and stand behind them and look for what is there so interesting for them to stare at, we will see nothing special and particular. They are enjoying their leisure.

Work stretches itself according to the time available to finish it.

Cats are the first to enjoy leisure and sunshine By 4028mdk09.

One curious thing about work is that it stretches itself according to the time available to finish it. So practically man gets no time for leisure. Leisure is something that disappears from this world. It is what brought civilization and culture into this world and what will keep the world from falling apart in future. Without its soothing balm, civilizations, societies and nations are lost. Without its cementing bondage, empires of intricate economics crumble and fall. And without its promising prospect, man’s all achievements on land and sea and space would go to smithereens.

Admiring eyes of a tramp and rural shepherd in America.

There is enough to see but man has not time By J M Garg.

W.H.Davies was a British poet who lived during 1871-1940. In his earlier years he led the life of a tramp and rural shepherd in America, the stamps of which can be seen in his poems. In his famous poem Leisure, he regrets the loss of leisure from man’s life. He was very keen in his observations of Nature, in which he stands in a line with Robert Frost and Alexander Pope.

Squirrels forget their hidden caches, man recovers them for supper.

Basking in Sun in leisure after eating apple By V Menkov.

Man is now left with no time to observe and enjoy the beauties of nature. He has now no time left to stand beneath the flowery branches of trees and stare at the things he likes as long as the cows and sheep does. The cattleman profession of the poet is reflected here. Passing through the woods, he sees the squirrels running everywhere and hiding their nuts in the grass. Sometimes they may forget to recover this cache, the thought of which makes the poet laugh heartily, for he himself had very often sought these forgotten stores in his hunger. But now he has no time to enjoy the briskness and beauty of their movements.

Watching star studded skies at night: The great pastime of primitive man.

Guardian of the gateway in leisurely vigil. A heron By Pauline Eccles.

The clean streams and brooks reflecting the broad daylight appear like the bluish star-studded skies at night, which indeed is a majestic sight to see through the woods. But alas! The rush of life urges the modern man to move forward, leaving the beautiful sight un-enjoyed behind him.

Innocent radiance of a smile would enchant anyone with its charm.

Leisure beneath the mountain canopies By Tang Yin in the 1470s.

It is also good and soothing to see the dance of nature on the hills and valleys and meadows. It is Beauty dancing. A smile begins in her eyes and finishes in her lips which would take a little time for her to complete, and for man to observe. The innocent radiance of a smile would enchant anyone with its charm and embrace anyone in its warmth. But man has no time left to enjoy the smile of nature.

Dance of nature in the hills and forests completes with the cycle of seasons.

Absolute leisure on the lap of eternity By John Webber.

Some critics have shrunk the meaning here to the presence of some mortal human beauty dancing in the wild, and un-diligent readers also may fall into the same fallacy. But the logical reference here is to the presence of the perfect beauty, i.e., Mother Nature dancing in the hills and forests. The smile of nature is complete only with completion of the cycle of seasons, which means, to see the full smile of nature, one has to wait on the same spot through one full year. Man cannot wait that long and he have not that much time to spare. So, if this life is such full of care and anxiety that we are left with no time to stand and stare at the things we like as long as we wish to, then it is a very poor life indeed in this earth.

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Tags

British Poets, English Songs, Language And Literature, Leisure, P S Remesh Chandran, Poems, Poetry, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, W H Davies

Dear Reader,

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

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MuZDwnc_a0

Meet the author

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

 

005. The Lake Isle Of Innisfree. W B Yeats. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

005. The Lake Isle Of  Innisfree. W B Yeats Poem. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra. 16th Mar 2011  Short URL http://nut.bz/19ed-hvz/
Posted in Wikinut>Poetry, Drama & Criticism

Poets are accused to be unrealistic day-dreamers who are given to fancy. Day-dreaming and fancying all do and take off, but only a few can safely land also. W.B.Yeats was a perfect poet who could do both. Not many have expressed fancy in beautiful words as he did, and fewer still have reminded the world of it’s duties and responsibilities as effectively. This poem has always been a sensation among the poetry-reading public.

Who will not wish to go to the Lake Island of Innisfree?

Crowded city streets, the dread of poets By Thaejas Kocherlakota.

W.B.Yeats was an Irish Poet whose poems are acclaimed for their rich musical content. The Lake Isle Of Innisfree also was born out of an exquisite pastoral tune. Anyone walking through crowded city streets subjecting himself to vehicle fumes, dust and noise and the irritation of rubbing elbows with others, will wish to go to some place he knows where things are in the opposite. All will have one such place in his mind. The quiet and placid Lake Isle of Innisfree has become the universal symbol that comes into any poetry reader’s mind. Yeats immortalized the place of his choice through this poem.

The dream of all poets: a secluded hut in a lonely island.

The roadside dream of a poet By Kerala Tourism.org.

The poet is lying buried under and entangled in the clutches of a mad city life. It has finally become such unbearable and suffocating to him that, if it continues to go on so, he will arise and go to Innisfree never to return. Standing on the street, he dreams of the beautiful and quiet Lake Isle of Innisfree and about the secluded and self-sufficient life it would be possible for him to live there. The usual questions that would be arising in our minds would be, where will he live on the island, what will he eat and what will he drink.

A small cabin made of clay and wattles in a lonely islet.

Open fire gives the wattle roof a steaming effect By Colin Smith.

On arriving there, he would build a small cabin, made of clay and wattles available in plenty on any island. The problem of housing is thus addressed. For his food, he will turn to cultivation of beans, a sustaining, nutritious, easy-to-produce food. And he will place a bee-hive somewhere on the island and collect enough honey. Who will say honey is scant in an island of flowers? Thus he will lead a satisfied and self-sufficient life there, listening to the humming of bees, and lying alone in that bee-loud glade. What a contrast to the thick city life in Belfast or London! Seeing how the questions of food and shelter are being addressed by the poet, we can only hope he would be roaming the island in his revelry properly dressed, in whatever is available there.

Ideal peace is a dew-drop falling on the heated head of a cricket.

The mid-lake abode of quietness and loneliness By Eibsee .

In Innisfree, finally the poet will be able to get a little peace. The poet’s conception of peace is quite different from that of others and is strange but lovely. In modern times, peace is an interval between two wars. Then what is peace to this poet? Even his idea of peace is based on the usual early morning sights in a rustic island life. The crickets have been singing and shrieking all through the night, and now they are all sitting with their heated heads, wishing for a bit of coolness to come from somewhere. It was then that the dews of night and the morning mist condensed into peace and a dew drop from the tree leaves above, fell straight into the heated head of a cricket. It unknowingly exclaimed: How cool it is, and what peace! The peace that cricket enjoyed then, there, is what peace is to the poet.

Which is more beautiful- morning, noon or night?

Alone in the middle of a bee-loud glade By Twiddleblatt.

How are the morning, noon, evening and midnight in the Lake Isle of Innisfree? The readers and singers of the song already knows the freshness and nascence of the dew-filled misty dawns in the island. The noon there is as charming as the evenings in other places. The evenings there are extremely exotic due to the presence of thousands of beautiful birds. And don’t think the nights there are devoid of similar beauty. The midnights of Innisfree are indeed illuminated by tiny lights from the millions of fire-flies. What else is needed to enchant and seduce a poet?

All alone in a bee-loud glade: roused by car hones in the middle of a street.

Inspiration for the poem: Lough Gill in Ireland By Paul Mcllroy.

Alas! perhaps a car horn on his very back might have roused him; he is still walking the streets of the city, not lolling in the pleasantness of the lake island. However, he hears in his ears the very sound of lake water lapping gently over the shore. Standing on the roadways and walking the footpaths, he still hears the lake water resounding deep in his heart. Yes, he can have his cool revelry and daydreams; that is his privilege. He is entitled to it. We can leave him standing there on the street, thinking about his Paradise Lost, hoping he won’t in his delirium jump into the thick traffic of the City.

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Tags

Appreciations, Books And Literature, Poetry, P S Remesh Chandran Trivandrum, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, The Lake Isle Of Innisfree, W B Yeats

Dear Reader,

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faFK9_Gneug

Meet the author

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



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