Joseph Ducreux the French painter(1783) had his selfish portrait of himself. He was found to be yawning and stretching , generally making faces.There were no selfie sticks then.
He had to imagine his own selfish thing.Which he did. No doubt he overdid it and was rather boring.Between us two, he might have found himself boring. Hence his yawn.
“There’s Internet in East Aleppo. There’s solar in E. Aleppo. There’s Bana in E. Aleppo who’s suffering & tweeting. Good night. “- Fatemah
“Good evening my friends. What are you doing today? I am happy I lost two more teeth. – Bana #Aleppo ”
There is internet in East Aleppo. Solar in East Aleppo. There is Bana in East Aleppo.
Good evening, friends. What are you doing today ?
We are buying vegetables for the night. We are writing poems. We are staring at the computer screen. We will tell you when we are through.
You have lost two teeth already? Ok. We had lost all ours long ago.
She tweets like a tiny bird on truth
Who is searching for middle tooth.
Tooth fairy fears to come to sooth.
The uncles hurl bombs from south.
She’ll come after they finish drops.
And then there will be no love left,
And no sweet birds in the blue sky
Nor her tweets, her sweet tweets.
(Referring to seven year old Bana’s tweets from Aleppo about the horrors of the war in Syria)
“Language is the hallmark of humanity—it allows us to form deep relationships and complex societies. But we also use it when we’re all alone; it shapes even our silent relationships with ourselves. In his book, The Voices Within, Charles Fernyhough gives a historical overview of “inner speech”—the more scientific term for “talking to yourself in your head.”
The author says besides talking to others we talk to ourselves a kind of inner language that has no words or words fewer than words of our language but that which runs faster .
Just now what is taking place within me as I am thinking and writing about it? I think I was meandering and now I reach a point very different to what the normal language may have taken me to. But at the end if it, I land up in a poem about a leader who is speaking her inner language from below the earth where death had reached her yesterday evening. In the normal language there is no sense to what I say I was doing.
In my poem it makes sense, if I think all this through the inner language in me that runs faster than a language. So I am in a mess. But poetry is about being in mess, in the inner language that takes long leaps across spaces between words .
Beginning my studies the first step pleas’d me so much,
The mere fact of consciousness, these forms, the power of
The least insect or animal, the senses, eyesight, love,
The first step I say awed me and pleas’d me so much,
I have hardly gone and hardly wish’d to go any farther,
But stop and loiter all the time to sing it in ecstatic songs.
[From Leaves of Grass]
To a poet the beginning to explore nature is the beginning of studies- as you begin you have to understand the alphabet of the fascinating world of nature, the nature of things and the layers of consciousness in which your own self lies buried. You have to look at yourself as part of this world of forms, the power of motion, the light in things, the way light falls on things and makes them out against the things of the world. In the process of taking it all in , a song bursts forth, a song of joy, a song of celebration much before you start experiencing the world in its fullness.
The music pre-empts exploration and the poetry robs you of the experience of going further towards the fuller and richer joys that lay ahead in this fascinating world. A wondrous adventure is lost in the setting of the song to its tune, to a mad pursuit of a rhythm. A poetry recollected in tranquillity is lost to a song that flows prematurely as we enter the world of “the least insect, the animal, the senses, eyesight, love” at the very first step.
Life is a sonnet : an illustrated passage from A wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’engle
Madam says life is a sonnet and we are doomed within its strict structure. But we have the freedom to say whatever we can within its stifling form. So please keep your Iambs ready, neatly cut and if the syllables spill use an inverted coma. But fit the syllables within the allotted emphasis.
Remember you have just fourteen lines. Not all of them are of uniform size because some syllables are more equal than others. Cut out your love for uniform size. Let them spill if that cannot be helped and use your punctuation with a little license.
You do not have much to say by the twelfth line and you are already in the epigrammatic mode? Well yes that is how it happens in life as in sonnet. If nothing else you use the epigram for the headstone.
“Poetry, like all art, has a trinitarian function: creative, redemptive, and sanctifying,” Vassar Miller asserted. “It is creative because it takes the raw materials of fact and feeling and makes them into that which is neither fact nor feeling. Redemptive because it transforms pain, ugliness of life into joy, beauty. Sanctifying because it gives the transitory a relative form of meaning.”
Brain Pickings 22/11/2016
How true! Of the three functions cited here, I think the first one is closest to my own idea of what poetry does. Poetry transforms a drab fact or a plain detail into a beautiful keepsake. As we go along in our lives, we keep collecting them as our own private little trophies to inspect and admire at leisure. The second one is also relevant to our experience. Poetry transforms the ugly facts of our life into enduring tokens of beauty. It takes away the pain from a memory, translates it into a bearable experience .The third one is relatively less significant but has some usefulness .Being conscious of the transitory nature of all experiences takes away their meaning . Poetry ,in the way it universalizes them,invests them with meaning and permanence.
When you wake up in the morning you reiterate your existence saying aloud “Alive and kicking!” .In the morning walk you are blinded by the brilliant morning sun in the tall grass waving in the breeze .You say “alive and blinking”. The grass re-asserts your existence as the sun continues to shine warmly on your skin. In the distance the hillocks sit pretty against the blue sky waiting for the golden sunshine to cover their flanks.
Instead of the long time frame one sets for oneself in younger days, the time horizon is now just one day –between today’s dawn and tomorrow’s, now, so uncomfortably close.
You want to be alive and blinking- at the far horizon where the hillocks sit pretty waiting for the sun’s golden rays to cover their flanks.