Monday, July 29, 2013

Quatrain after Max Babi

While my grief is tongueless & unjawed
yet is your aloofness a facade?
must be time   to turn the eyes inward!
life itself pantomimes Marat-Sade

मेरा ग़म बेज़ुबान है
तेरी बेखुदी बद-गुमान है
घूमा तो ले दीदा अन्दर
ज़ीस्त तक लहू-लुहान है.

(c) Max Babi
Transliteration :
Mera gham bezubaan hai
teri bekhudi budd-gumaan hai
ghoomaa to le deeda andar
zeest tak lahu-luhaan hai.
And Max's "transcreation" (rendering):
My grief is tongueless
Your detachment is illusory
Turn your eyeballs inward
Even life itself seems gored.


Here was an earlier version I tried -- before noticing how Max's poem follows the rubai rhyme-scheme (hence I retooled this into the top-most & finalized version seen above, mirroring the rhyme stucture of the original Urdu/Hindi quatrain).

While my despair remains tongueless
is your aloofness a facade?
it's time to turn the eyes inward
when life resembles Marat-Sade

Saturday, July 27, 2013

God is the great existentialist! [rubai]

God is the great     existentialist!
he who is both     a potentialist
& realizes     his own existence
if one is but        an eventualist!

"God, the Great Existentialist!"
line borrowed from Max Reif [Facebook status update], with thanks

Friday, July 26, 2013


"Who are you?"    one might wonder?
such a question proves    quite insoluble!
for how might    someone sunder
an opacity    so inviolable
darkly curtaining    the veiled center
wherein nothing    could ever enter?
is there something    indeed installed there?
or is pure emptiness    what is walled there?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Premises & corollaries [gnomic verses]

1.  Four Propositions

If a swan can be known to swoon
a man can attain the moon

If a toad can sport a tail
a road can display a rail

If a fish is endowed with fins
a wish can be crowned with wins

If a dog can master a fiddle
even a log might play a little

 2.  Four Questions

If a pomegranate may prove very pretty
can one be diplomatic in a merry ditty?

If a metropolis is a manner of maze
should a podiatrist garner one's praise?

If an author is a sort of anthropologist
is a mother a votive methodologist?

If a philosopher may seem a maestro of figments 

might a cartographer dream a bistro of pigments?

3.  Four Considerations

If everything has emerged out of naught
is nothing on the verge of being caught?

If our existence might comprise a mere dream
from our persistence could one surmise a clear scheme?

If questions are most essentially emblematic
are Christians consequentially peripatetic?

If unity radically contradicts every duality
does lunacy inadequately predict any reality?

Monday, July 22, 2013

After Rumi (on the certainty of fire)

If your knowledge of fire derives from words   you should seek to be cooked by fire!
There's no certainty until you feel the flame   come and sit in the nook of fire


[The above comprises my recasting (into couplet form) of the thought found in this literal translation from the Farsi of Jelaluddin Rumi]:
"If your knowledge of fire has been turned to certainty by words (alone), seek to be cooked (by the fire itself)
and do not abide in the certainty (of knowledge derived from others).
There is no intuitive (actual) certainty until you burn;
if you desire this certainty, sit down in the fire."

— Jalal-ud-Din Rumi; translated by Afzal Iqbal

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Pulling the page from the platen" [sonnet]

Nostalgia for long-lost days of manual typewriters
I belong to a gen    that still amid memory knows this!
sans internet or PC    we raised upon typewriters
were such innocents (though we didn't perchance suppose this)

you could clank out & mail a letter   affixing a stamp to it
OMG!  to receive such a missive   out of the distance!
and the feel of the keys   the resistance   bring a lamp to it!
for it wouldn't (screen-like)   self-illuminate its existence

and the ribbon   and the return!   with a knell so lyrical

hear it ring   from out the depth of your cogitation?
if it's true as they say   perfection itself is spherical
might we circle about   in an act of imagination

to that instant when pulling the page from the platen  look!
every line etched with sober demeanor    just like a book