Her tongue is in her cheeks

Four Sonnets(1922)
By Edna St.Vincent Millay

“I shall forget you presently, my dear
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever…

“I shall forget you presently, my dear”– Imagine the girl telling the lover this. Cheeky ,yet romantic .She has her cheeks full. He cannot afford to while it away. To her it does not really matter because she will forget him presently. There is a strong possibility of her forgetting .Of her dying .Of her moving away . It is in his interest that he make most of this moment – his little day , his little month or his little half a year.

If he does not use this very moment, it is all over and may be , they are done for ever.Carpe diem.

Cheeky girl indeed. Does it not matter in her cheeks to hold this moment for ever?

Anatomy of distortion

Whether she’s writing about the endless curiosity of the body, the challenges that accompany being a feminist who isn’t afraid to defend her autonomy….

Kimmy Walters in an interview by Mandy Shunnarah following her poetry book publication Killer

Reading this ,I wonder how I have come to read the word “autonomy” that is actually there, as “anatomy “. I noticed the perversion only when I took down this quote for keep.

Now, was it perversion? That was not what I intended but that was how it would emerge from my keyboard.

Coming back to “Autonomy”, I confess the word “anatomy” suggested itself to me when I started taking down notes. Was it because she was writing about the endless curiosity about the body?  The next thing you see is a feminist talking about the anatomy of the body, rather than autonomy of the feminist mind ,which means probably perceptual independence from male point of view that tends to color a person’s world view in a dominantly male world.

As a liberal I feel conscience-stricken about how we tend to distort what we read ,in line with our own narrow thinking.

Bana in East Aleppo

“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)

Life is a sonnet

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.

Death

We may look at death as cessation of consciousness , the subject experiencer becoming  the object that is experienced. Looked at this way death does not mean obliteration but only an extension of the subject’s existence.

I look at death in yet another perspective.A person who is born becomes an Idea in Time and continues to exist as an Idea even after death.Thus all those who had lived and died before us are not obliterated but remain rooted in existence although they have ceased to exist in space.

A squatter’s perspective

When we were children we were eating our meals while squatted on the floor as the women of the house would serve food into our plates. As we grew up we adopted the western system of eating on a table.

I now find that squatting on the floor gives us a novel perspective, a unique line of vision in a world of standing people .Our sense of space suddenly becomes enriched with vast new spaces released into our visual perspective. Our vision becomes linear with furniture legs and table cloth frills .

When we raise our eyes we look at the ceiling fan with a curved perspective , a breath taking angle from which we see the fan as a kind of crooked oval object with its shadow playing on the intersection of the floor with the wall. Then all those people seem to be strutting about in the room like midnight shadows shuffling their large  feet grotesquely disproportionate to their comically lean torsos and tiny faces stuck up on them.

Expecting the visitor that never comes

(There too, as everywhere, I sometimes expected the Visitor who never comes. The Vishnu Purana says, ‘The house-holder is to remain at eventide in his courtyard as long as it takes to milk a cow, or longer if he pleases, to await the arrival of a guest.’ I often performed this duty of hospitality, waited long enough to milk a whole herd of cows, but did not see the man approaching from the town.

-Thoreau’s Walden)

We have burst upon Thoreau’s solitude when no visitor arrives in the eventide from all those towns in the distant haze as they sit in their prime , beyond fields.

All the while, milking of cow takes place. The cows are a solitude to themselves before their milk flows to morning coffee .Their feet shuffle in slush, their eyes vacant. Only a tiny moon hangs above their tin roof .

Solitude is not away from body’s music, more in the windy creak of dead wood as strange words spring in a white space from the vast wild wastes of our nights. We sit alone, away from milking cows linking their remote existence to solitude.