Saturday, June 24, 2017

like magma

got a shuffle on.
got a shuffle on.
like argonauts
being labelled.

microidia fabulous
of genomes and
present day cityscalps

embolism microbe
moist unweathered
fast fracula.

the true cubit macro
calculated to cut into
a metronome node
tuned into classic radio

instant argillaceous gravels
nematodes and flatworms
the horns of a ram
entombed into stone: a trident

the last latex Renault
hung like Foucault
got to go..
.. into a tar-pit

the dark chords and tendons
that prop up my corpid form
leave hollow
the body of an instrument
the shell to sound the wind
a pulse flickering
the pilot light
of a distant beacon

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Verses from 'The recognition of Śākuntala'

I translated these verses of the great Indian poet Kālidāsa as part of my third year Sanskrit Language study. They are a selection from the first few pages of the play Abhijñānaśākuntalam "The recognition of Śākuntala". I have made my original literal translation a little freer here - while still clinging quite closely to the original. I also used the translation by M R Kale as a guide.


atha abhijñānaśākuntalam

yā sṛṣṭiḥ sraṣṭur ādyā vahati vidhihutaḥ yā havir yā ca hotrī
ye dve kālaṁ vidhattaḥ srutiviṣayaguṇā yā sthitā vyāpya visvam
yām āhuḥ sarvabhūtaprakṛtiriti yayā prāṇinaḥ prāṇavantiḥ  [sarvabījpr  [vantaḥ
prtyakṣābhiḥ prapannas tanubhir avatu vas tābhir aṣṭābhir riśiḥ

That water which was the first creation from the creator,
that fire which carries the sacrifice
 and whoever makes the sacrifice.
The Sun and Moon, which apportion time
 and that by which sound has pervaded the universe.

The Earth which they call the foundation of seeds
and that spirit by which living creatures possess the breath of life

May the Lord of these eight sacred forms protect you all.

subhagasalilāvagāhāḥ pāṭalasaṁsargasurabhivanavātāḥ
pracchayasulabhanidrā divasāḥ pariṇāmaramaṇīyāḥ ||3||

Those days—
when it is nice to plunge in the water
whose forest winds are fragrant
 with the scent of trumpet flowers
 —those days will be sweet at their end.

īṣadīṣaccumbitāni bhramaraiḥ sukumārakeśaraśikāni
avataṁsayanti dayamānāḥ pramadāḥ śirīṣakusumāni

The compassionate women
make garlands out of Śirisha blossoms,
whose stamen tips are tender,
and are gently, gently kissed by bees.

grīvābhaṇgābhirāmaṁ muhur anupatati syandane dattadṛṣṭiḥ
paścārddhena praviṣṭaā śarapatanabhayād bhūuasā pūrvakāyam |
darbhair arddhāvalīḍhai śramavivṛtamukhabhraṁśibhīḥ kīrṇavartmā
paśyodagraplutatvād viyati bahutaraṁ stokam urvyā prayāti||

The lovely deer
bending of his neck
eyes fleeting repeatedly
on the following chariot,

the fore part of his body
seemed to merge
with the rear
twisted from fear
of the falling arrow

the darbha-grass
 half licked
from his panting mouth

but see!

with a lofty bound
 he proceeds
more the air
and less on the ground.

yad āloke sūkṣmaṁ vrajati sahasā tad viṣulatāṁ
yad arddhe vicchinnaṁ bhavati kṛtasandhānamiva tat
prakṛtyā yad vakraṁ tadapi samarekhaṁ nayanayor
na me dūre kijcit kṣaṇamapi na pārśve rathajavāt

(while riding very fast in the chariot..)

"that which is minuscule
suddenly grows large!
that which is cut in the middle
appears joined!
that which by nature is crooked
appears straight to the eyes!

"nothing is at a distance from me
for even a momentnor beside me!"

kva vata hariṇakānāṁ jīvitaṁ cātilolaṁ
kva ca niśitanipātāḥ vajnasārāḥ śarās te
tat sādhu kṛtasandhānaṁ pratisaṁhara sāyakaṁ
ārttatrāṇāra vaḥ śastraṁ na prahartum anāgasi

What is the fragile life of fawns
to your sharp falling adamantine shafts?
Withdraw your well-aimed arrow—
your weapon is for your protection,
it is not to injure the innocent.

ramyās tapodhanānāṁ pratihatavidyāḥ kriyāḥ samavalokya
jñāsyaśi kiyad bhujo me raksati maurvīkiṇāṇka iti

Having seen the ascetics' religious austerities, 
with all their hindrances removed, 
 you will think 
“how much my arm, scarred by the bow-string, protects!”

nīvārāḥ śukagarbhakoṭaramukhabhraṣṭās taruṇām adhaḥ
prasnigdhāḥ kvacid inggudīphalabhidaḥ  sucyanta evopalāḥ
viścāsopagamād abhinnagatayaḥ śabdaṁ sahante mṛgās
toyādhārapathāśca valkalalśikhāniṣyandarekhāngkitāḥ

Grains of wild rice 
lying fallen from the mouth 
of the trees
whose interiors 
are filled with parrot

and hereabout lie stones
oily from splitting 
the fruit of the Ingudi tree

the tame deer
do not vary their gait
 at our approach

and the river paths are marked with lines 
of water dripping 
from the fringe of bark garments.

kulyāmbhobhiḥ pavanacapalaiḥ śākhino dhautamūlā
bhinno rāgaḥ kisalayarucām ājyadhūmodgamena
ete cārvāg upavanabhuvi cchnnidarbhāngkurāyāṁ
naṣtaśangkā hariṇaśiśavo mandamandaṁ caranti

Those trees—
whose roots are washed 
by the waters of the canals 
rippling in the wind
                    the colour 
of their brilliant sprouts 
is obscured 
by the rising smoke 
of sacrificial butter.

and here in front of us 
the young fawns, 
whose fear has been lost, 
are leisurely grazing

 in the grounds of the grove, 
the stalks of the darbha grass
 have been lopped off.

idaṁ ki kilāvyajamanoharaṁ vapus
 tapaḥkṣamaṁ sādhayituṁ ya icchati
dhuvaṁ sa nīlotpalapatradhārayā
 śamīlatāṁ chettūm ṛṣir vyavasyati  

That sage—
who wishes to put
 this truly authentic captivating 
beautiful body 
capable of penance
to work 
          —he surely resolves to cut the Śamī tree 
with a blue lotus leaf’s edge.

idam upahitasūkṣmagranthinā skandhadeśe
 stanayugapariṇāhācchadinā valkalena
vapur abhinavam asyāḥ puṣyati svāṁ na śobhaṁ
 kusumam iva pinaddhaṁ pāṇṇgupatrodareṇa   

This young body of hers
 the bark garment with slender fastenings upon her shoulder, 
covering around her two breasts,

It modestly hides in dullness, 
 like a flower wrapped within a shell of brown leaves

sarasijam anuviddhaṁ śaivalonāpi ramyaṁ
 malinam api himāṁśor lakṣma lakṣmīm tanoti
iyam adhikamanojñā valkalenāpi tanvī
 kimiva hi madhuraṇām maṇnganaṁ nākṛtīnām

a lotus 
even though permeated all over with slime, 
is to be enjoyed; 

also the tarnished mark 
on parts of the moon 
actually extends its beauty

so this slender bodied lady 
is surpassingly beautiful even 
with her bark cloth 

what would not embellish such a shape?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

peace be thine

The languid eyelashes of the fourth poet
flicker piling shovels of herbal muse into the concrete
truck mixing and revolting – sluicing it back out
into allegoric lines

staged onto the page

intuitions like stones

resting fathoms apart

in immortal gravity

people come and whisper –“is it
a plan? Will it be washed on the inside?”
scooping inside for a little white marble attempting not
to pop the slick rubber bands of fool’s desire

a gaze falls on the leather page
protesters move about in twos and threes
gashed hands across the back delicious and nutty
like a frozen lysosome

some will be martyrs, and we will remember them
some will slip into the undergrowth and sleep
amid the twigs and heather, the only comfort being
the gentle hands of long evolved forms

if to die is the pure path, then die we must
but here on earth there is a destiny too -
the ensured calming of the beasts
into the deep pool we call clarity of mind

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How lovely (song)

How lovely
you seem
to me
Sweet Fairy
in the tumbleweed

How lovely
you seem to be
Sweet Fairy
i met in my dreams

if we meet
i will be
you would want
 me to be

and you will be
i imagine
you to be

here we be
here we be
here we be

you would be
what i want you to be

i would be
you imagine me to be

no, no time for us
to meet
in reality

you would be
too painfully real
for me

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

This Poem is Why Trump Won!!

Expressing concern about the rise of racism is Why Trump Won!!

Supporting people with disabilities is Why Trump Won!!

Believing in a future where all cultures live together in peace is Why Trump Won!!

Being kind and generous is Why Trump Won!!

Showing compassion to Syrian refugees is Why Trump Won!!!

Taking the time to understand the science is Why Trump Won!

Your humility and dignity is Why Trump Won!!!

You living your life and eating avocado is Why Trump Won!

This society's enduring tolerance of the unknown is Why Trump Won!!!

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Haunting of Woo

like some old paediatric nurse
 hanging a newborn baby up high
to spank his bum -

like the Earth moving under the feet
 of the commuters
realigning the mountain chains -

Woo came to me
shook me off the path
 and got me.

the deep dark haunting
 of imitable bliss
sits in soft robes over tan skin

chewing the unavoidable
 iron-firm nutrition
of the Great Realisation

maybe now that you are here
pausing at the edge
 it means -
Woo will come to get you, too.

Friday, December 30, 2016

A nice warm cup of tea

just a nice warm cup of tea
could you make it for me?
i'm asking nicely

a nice warm cup of tea
and a biscuit
it's not like i ask for it very regularly
just a cup of tea
would go down nicely

i'm not feeling very sexy
but if it came from you
a cup of tea
would do it for me
it's not like i'm asking for it constantly

a nice warm cup of tea
won't you hear my plea?
would you brew it for me
just occasionally

a nice warm cup of tea
and not too sugary
if i asked politely..
a cup of tea..?