Two oldmen

 

 
Two oldmen

Two oldmen met each other
One entered from a door
The other leaving

Both smiled at each other
Talked insane to the other
One has learned this world
The other yet to
One thing common
Both innocent at the moment
Rest too complex to explain
Like life itself!

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“Two oldmen” (c) Samir K. Dash: 2011,

All Rights Reserved. No part of the above poem(s) can be published any where in any form (electronic or non-electronic ), with out the written permission of author. However you can direct yours links to this page in your websites.

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Distant Beach

In the bank of my memories

I used to gather my oysters

In the sands of time

There are still my mounts

But a feeling of lonliness

Absent with me ..the other one

Carrying the words

Walking ahead of me

— the world of wonders

To haunt me in the evening
While sitting at the side-window

Like a life in the sideways,

Feeling gush of the damp wind

Blowing blowing…

Reminding me of a girl

At the distant beach.

 

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“Distant Beach” (c) Samir K. Dash:  2011,

All Rights Reserved. No part of the above poem(s) can be published any where in any form (electronic or non-electronic ), with out the written permission of author. However you can direct yours links to this page in your websites.

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Affair

affair - samir k dash 2011

 

Affair

It is not thatI reach for your body

To touch your uncovered chest

To feel my hunger

With the twins

But something deep for I crave

That makes what you are

— an innocent face

with two suspecting eyes

trying to search for the feelings

lost in last pages of past.

Sensations are, but made in heaven

where you wish to wander

To gather the moments that I spent with you

To feel the lips that once searched for you

— you know it well

Tomorrow won’t be the same again

where you’ll long for my touch

And I’ll be in someone else’s embrace!

 

 

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“Affair” (c) Samir K. Dash:  3rd March 2011,

All Rights Reserved. No part of the above poem(s) can be published any where in any form (electronic or non-electronic ), with out the written permission of author. However you can direct yours links to this page in your websites.

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Thought Castle

 

 

Thought Castle

 

I don’t know

Why I long to own you

Miss you in the evening times

Sitting beside my books

With the neighbor of some blank pages

Waiting for some dark impressionsI would make on them

Sealing their fate, like you have made mine.

The dark impressions, on the sheetsLike ghosts of some unknown fear

— a fear I have reserved from you

The way I feel threatened

By the thought of losing you.

I know love is not my feeling

It is something deeper in me!

 

 
Feb 22, 2011

Fallacies for Advanced Readers

It was in the neo-classical age, when Pope aimed his bitter agonies upon Colliey Cibber – because he [Cibber] had severely criticized Pope’s earlier work – Cibber commented that once a writer writes something, it becomes no longer his own, and therefore he should not be sentimental due to the criticism that is to be made on his work , as a man who goes to the rain, should not be worried about being wet.

This is perhaps the best expression of mankind on the rising tendencies related to the field of judgement of literature. I say this because, the work of a critic and the criticism on it are two dimension of whole literary study, and every scholar knows that there is an age old conflict between these two to gain supremacy over the other. This fact that a conflict is going on is even not simply in black or white, rather it turned out to be in a range of shades of grey – i.e. the critical discussion of literature has atendency to diverge the aim with which one starts to enter into the process of critical evaluation of any work of art. We see from Plato’s time that the discussion of literature hangs over mainly two aspects:

  1. What is the literature (or poetry )?
  2. What is its aim?

 

But while analyzing literature, the supposed aim seems more blur and undergoes a process of shifting. The more one tries to reach at the aim, the more it slips back like a mirage. We may use post-structuralist views that each time the “signified” is replaced by a signifier due to the fact that multiplicity of meaning exists and a text can’t have ‘a meaning’. So, what I am trying point out here is that due to such “shifts” in our presupposed aim to find out truth related to any piece of work of art, there arises the errors , which the New Critics had, in their attempt to categories the end of their ideology, grouped under the common term ‘fallacy’.

All the well established fallacies, that have secured their seats in various glossaries of literary terms, such as ‘Affective Fallacy’, ‘Tragic Fallacy’, ‘Internal Fallacy’, are in fact some kind of the ‘conflict’ that I have mentioned at the very beginning of this paper.

This conflict between writer and critic can be seen as the junction where diverging paths of exploration to the studies of different fallacies are originated. And this was recognized first by C.S. Lewis, who termed this ‘root of conflict’ as ‘Personal Heresy’. In 1934, C.S.lewis published an article ‘The Personal Heresy in criticism’ in Essays and Studies, where he reacted heavily to E.M.W.Tilliyard’s view that poetry is a state of mind of the poet – a reflection of the personality of the poet. Then the replies and counter replies of the two were later came up in a single volume in 1939 under the title The Personal Heresy.

 

The seed of such conflict was there back in the 20s, in the criticism of T.S.Eliot and I.A.Richards. Eliot’s view on ‘tradition’ squeezed the personality of the author out of his work as he described the expression by the poet as the product of past authors’ dead metaphors, language, ideas, expressions, by which he concluded that there is no individual pure-contribution of the author present in his work. Richard’s dissection of human mind and its working in the context of literary creation and judgment presented the similar view. And these views were concluded as ‘Internal fallacy’ in 1946 by W.K.Winsmatt in his book The Intentional Fallacy (reprinted in his The Verbal Icon,1954),where he summed up the “age old conflict” and declared it an error to assign the possession of any of the either of the writer or the critic on any work of art – that a poem ‘is not the critic’s own and not the author’s.’ and it is concluded that the work of art ‘goes about the world beyond his [ author or critic] to intend about it or control it.’

This view was later made the ‘punch line’ of the readers response theory, that exploited the newly invented structure and post structural jargon to sell this very old wine in a new bottle. Each critic of the readers response theory used a shade that is not exactly black or white, but a ‘grey’ to tell the same old theory.

But the difference that was there in the readers response theory was that, it instead of talking about the conflict directly, tried to gossip on one of the aspect of the conflict – the ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ aspect of whole literary process from author to critic (or reader).

What we see here is how we slip from the original aim (we slip from focusing on the conflict to an aspect of this conflict). This ‘deferring’ from the soul aim is another kind of fallacy about which W.K.Wnsmatt, talked in 1954 in The Verbal Icon. This he termed as ‘Affective Fallacy’.

This fallacy is the error, which arises from the ‘deference’ from the ontological aspect of literature to a dimension which is relatively near to the centre of the discussion, but is in fact not the exact centre – ‘a confusion between the poem and its results (what it is and what it does).’

This critical error that ‘results in the mind of the reader’ is in fact the very base on which deconstructionist ideas are based upon. Derrida’s, Focault’s theories are always insisting upon  the ‘gap’ that exists between ‘signiufier and ‘signified’, which ultimately leads the ‘signifier’ to be a ‘zaum’ (Russian term indicating that ultimate truth can be never expressed).

And from this whole discussion, we can form a rough hypothesis that the knowledge (if seen as a ‘tantalization’) is in fact lacks any reason or logic to be expressede through any means  of articulation. But that does not mean that we must start to make our literature devoid of the sequence or logic, so that (foolish enough) our literature will resemble the experience. Because, that would be a process of unleashing. And what I am talking here in this very paragraph is all about another fallacy known as ‘Fallacy of Expressive Form’. This term, R.P.Blackmur  had adopted , from the observations of Yover Winters, who talked about ‘Heresy of Expressive Form’— that  stands for the error due to the attempt to express or or describe the ‘disintegration of a belief or a civilization in a chaotic form’. And Winters was on the view that though the world is chaotic, we must not use disintegrating form of mode of expression (such as Ulysses by Joyce).

Though Winters believed that it is impossible to discipline the indiscipline in any expression, I feel that after deconstruction theory, such a thinking can’t be any more a part of our optimistic consciousness, because no meaning is possible due to the absence of the centre in our belief system – no point of convergence exists – and which ultimately prescribes us just (to quote Edward Said)‘to attempt in spite of the impossibility of success’.

© Samir K. Dash, 2003

John Donne, a Philosopher?

john-donneR.W. Emerson describes Donne and Cowley as a poet with philosophical insight —

‘ Cowley and Donne are philosophers. To their insight there is no trifle. But philosophy in insight is so much the habit of their minds that they can hardly see as a poet…’

This statement of Emerson certainly puts some of us in trouble, who formerly appreciated the view that a poet is essentially a philosopher as the explorer of new truths of life as suggested by Sidney in his Apology of poetry.  This problem is enhanced by the fact that in case of Donne, the excessiveness of philosophy surpassed the natural reaction of a poet’s emotion to the outside world and he ‘can hardly see as a poet should the beautiful forms and colours  of things, as a chemist may be less alive to the picturesque’.

The modern view, that a kind of indifference that was created in minds of the grave diggers towards the dead body of Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, due to excessive philosophical nature in them, is developed in Donne. So, Donne has the bad reputation of intellectualizing the things that are the property of heart. Like Hermion (a character in D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love) , Donne intellectualizes everything regarding love, sex, and the similar. This tendency of his is due to also reflected in his choice and use of words which according to Arthur Symons ‘mean things, and it is the things that matter’ (Fortnightly Review, 1899).

The result of this kind of philosophical bent of mind in Donne costed him to loose his point in ‘Poetic scale’ of Literary Magazine in 1758.

 “As a poet he was disparaged either indirectly, as in Pope’s ‘versifying’ of his satires, openly as in the ‘poetical scale’ given in the Literary magazine of  1758. the scale gave a possible eighty points to the poets for ‘Genius’, Judgment, Learning, Versification […] Donne was omitted from the scale because although a man of wit ‘he seems to have been at pains not to pass for a poet’ ” (Introduction to The Metaphysical Poets, Case Book Series).

Donne’s poetry when explored structurally, it exhibits the tendency of a philosopher’s thesis – every time an argument is made which is followed by a kind of analysis and interpretation that attempts to prove the argument for its support. Joan Bennett, for this reason writes: “[…] thought of a mind moving from the contemplation of fact to the deduction from a fact  and thence to a conclusion” (The Five Metaphysical poets, 1964).

In such a structure, every point follows logically ‘one by one’, ‘step by step’, which because the leading characterizing element in defining the whole metaphysical poetic movement:

“The peculiarity of the metaphysical poets is not that they relate, but that the relation they perceive are more often logical than sensuous or emotional” (Ibid)

for instance in ‘Extaise’ , Donne first gives the images of the two persons (one lover with his beloved) in one state at ‘one another’s best’ –

‘Our hander were firmly cimented’;

‘Our eyes upon one double thread’;

‘all our means to make us one’;

— all these are infact the argument on the statement which is analysed and proved like a philosophical treatise in the rest seventy lines; of the poem with the lines like

‘[…] good love here grow all minde’ or ‘A single violet transplant,’.

Through these arguments he proves another point that how body is an ‘allay’ in getting ‘extaise’. Even when one reads ‘The Flea’, he is sure to notice how Donne’s double edged logic is put to use.

Thus Donne’s pattern has a fix line of movement. This pattern is like the mosaic where each bit is chosen with the help of intellect and reason  to produce a colour of thought (which is evidently the product of mind rather than of heart) that has shades in black and white, unlike the emotion portrayed by the poets, that spreads to any shades and hues of the foresaid complementary colours. One of such mosaic is diction and imagery in Donne’s poems.

Every learned person knows that values can not be forced even if conveyed with good intentions, and  no real integration of values can be achieved unless the learner is conveyed through a proper mode of communication. This communication mode , the key factor of all, differs with the use of diction and image and hence different subjects need different kinds of use of such – the meaning of which Coleridge and Wordsworth understood in their own terms. In case of Donne, the diction got a new make up in poetry. In Donne’s case the diction was shaped according to his new need, to prove his hypothesis through poetry – which many of his time could not appreciate . In Hazilt’s view this un-acceptance can be seen perfectly:

“[…] they thought anything was poetry that differed from ordinary prose and the natural impression of things, by being intricate farfetched and improbable” (Rhetoric, 1828)

But later these so called ‘metaphorical jargon’ of Donne, which according to Eliot spread ‘from the geographers globe to the tear, and the tear to the deluge’, got recognition as not far fetched, but the common element seen through a different perspective, which we might take for the philosophical point of view affected by raising of Mathematics and Science :

“It seems illegitimate, for example to conjecture that Donne’s choice of a compass [in order to illuminate how ‘our two souls’ be one] has some equivocal force use of lovers, […] . it is to us rather than to Donne that compasses are part of the common place paraphernalia of high school mathematics”(Tuve, Rosemund  — ‘The Criterion of Decorum’ , 1947 ).

© Samir K. Dash, 2005

Wordsworth’s “Ode on Intimations of Immortality”

In a letter written in 1814, Wordsworth referring to ” Intimation to Immortality’ ode wrote the following to clear his stand on the poem:

The poem rests entirely upon two recollections of childhood, one that of a splendure in the objects of sense which is passed away and the other an indisposition to bend to the law of death […]

[(Quoted in) Durant]

In a later comment, Wordswoth states that for a child, the world seems more vivid and has a strange charm, which an adult is unable to view. Wordsworth through his recollections tried to revisit that wonderland which he was more real for him than the present real world and it is on this recollection the Ode is based upon. Along with it Wordsworth has used many theories and myths regarding human existence. But it is sufficient to say that “From this starting point, the poem examines the whole story of humanlife as an excile from an earlier and more perfect state’ (Durant)

The primary point that the man lives in “less than perfect condition’, has been interpreted in various myths, one of which (and of course the most popular) is the myth regarding adam and eve in Bible. “This story tells us how through the eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, man first knows pain, guilt and anxiety’ (Durant).The Greek myth about Pandora’s box also narrates how the opening of the box by two children brought sorrows into the world.

Ancient philosophy also supported this myth indirectly. Plato’s adaption of Pythagorian theory states that the soul originally resides in the supernal region of the pure idea and when the soul is born, it enters into the “dark prison house’ of this world by losing its memory and thus goes farthest from heaven.

Though Wordsworth used this myth in his poem he doesn’t advance the argument in its favour. In Durant’s words: “The poem makes use of the myth of pre-existence, but this is not what the poem “means’ ‘ (Durant).

He more over adds that “In one sense the meaning of the poem is simple. The poet raises the question of the value of life itself, once the primal joy experienced in childhood gone by […] The first four stanzas are given to a statement of the sense of loss felt by the poet when as an adult he can no longer experience the unity of being and sense of illumination he remembers from his childhood’ (Durant).

In the first stanza he writes “There was a time’, referring to his childhood, when “the meadow, grove and stream, / The earth and every common sight’—- seemed to him in “celestial light’ which he “now can see no more’. This stanza infact describes poet’s lamentation (at least a kind of ) on not being able to see any more the “glory and the freshness of a dream’ that his childhood had.

Echoing What he said in the first stanza, Wordswoth writes in the second one that wherever he goes he knows “That there hath past away a glory from the earth’. The tone becomes more sad in stanza three and here the poet confess it in the line: “To me alone there came a thought of grief’ — and also provides the clue to the cause of writing this poem: “A finely utterance gave that thought relief’.

(c) 2005,  Samir K. Dash