Friday, May 15, 2009

villanelle: "the next poem"

The next poem that is not to be
expires before it tints the page
it wanders cloud-like over the sea

hovering in sheer mystery
a bird that could evade the cage
the next poem that is not to be

when wordless   where lives poetry?
holds silence some hushed heritage
wandering cloud-like over the sea?

words bind   words seeking to set free!
gears swirl   yet fail to engage
the next poem that is not to be

how grasp it?   peering   can't you see
desire contort in hapless rage
what wanders cloud-like over the sea?

timor mortis conturbat me
(if "may" if "mee"   mere persiflage)
the next poem that is not to be
yet wanders cloud-like over the sea

[Yelahanka New Town, Bangalore]

Occasioned by (or responsive to) -- and borrowing (as this poem's 1st line) -- a Facebook "status line" that had been posted by poet Koyamparambath Satchidanandan, May 15th (the above poem being initially composed by way of "comment" in the Facebook interface).

Note: first stanza originally written as:
    The next poem that is not to be
    evaporates 'ere it meets the page
    it wanders cloud-like o'er the sea
Then I thought better of pulling those archaisms into this century, and began revising...

Besides the (repeating) line borrowed from Satchidanandan, the other borrowed line in this poem -- the Latin timor mortis conturbat me -- is nicely discussed in a Wikipedia entry here. (W.S. Merwin, some years ago, composed a superb elegiac poem modeled on the classic one by Dunbar mentioned in said entry, "Lament for the Makers.") I'll confess to having been confused about the proper Latin pronunciation of the word "me" (hence my next-to-penultimate line above) . . .


Julia Dutta said...

Ah, by the way do you think that Satchidanandan might lose the last hair on his head if he came to know of such borrowings (wink):)))

David Raphael Israel said...

If so, I'm doubtful of the cause-and-effect relationship -- this because (for one thing) he kindly thanked me for having made the borrowing. :-) -- or more exactly, he wrote, << Enjoyed the villenelle, David!Thanks for permitting the thought to evolve into this. >> Since my poem (in a 1st draft) was posted on his Facebook page (as a "comment" on his line -- as I tried to explain in my blogged note), he was likely among the first to see it . . .
All that aside, your bon mot is well taken.