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  #16  
Old Mar 8th, 2023, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostcheerio View Post
I ran into this quote from Paul Atreides in Dune that reminded me of our discussion of the feeling of friendly invitation that is present in Whitman and Tagore. Like as in... this would be the opposite of that!

He says this: "Try looking into that place where you dare not look. You'll find me there, staring back at you."

Poets who might have THIS kind of invitation instead of the "I stop somewhere waiting for you" approach.

Eliot? Plath? Poe?
PLATH for sure.

Meanwhile, I read the children/sea as a songs of innocence/experience thing, where the children have no knowledge of mortality, and play with death, and this is just so beautiful, so beautiful, to those of us who know better. We do our work. We know. But they do not, and my reading of the poem is prettier and lighter and less sad---which is on brand for me.
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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 06:06 PM
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I happen to like prettier and lighter and less sad!

That Paul Atreides line always felt like Nietzsche's "stare into the abyss and the abyss stares into you" creeptastic line that you can never forget having read.
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Old Mar 13th, 2023, 03:21 PM
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Just learned that Ezra Pound (say it with me: "That fascist!") was the foreign editor of Poetry Magazine in 1912 and first published Tagore in America. And Pound was a big cheerleader for him.

On the heels of that, here's another poem. This one is from Gitanjali:
I must launch out my boat. The languid hours pass by on the shore---Alas for me!

The spring has done its flowering and taken leave. And now with the burden of faded futile flowers I wait and linger.

The waves have become clamorous, and upon the bank in the shady lane the yellow leaves flutter and fall.

What emptiness do you gaze upon! Do you not feel a thrill passing through the air with the notes of the far-away song floating from the other shore?
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 04:09 PM
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Here is another from Gitanjali. I like it because it is narrative, and because it has this GOES IN THREES fairytale feeling. The whole thing feels fey to me.

I have no sympathy for the speaker. I am for the maiden. The speaker wants her light, she has uses for it, and the speaker dismisses all of these because they are not for the speaker.

I feel like saying to her, GO JOIN THE CARNIVAL OF LAMPS, YOU BEAUTIFUL HERO!

I strongly suspect this is not the point the speaker is making.

64On the slope of the desolate river among tall grasses I asked her, “Maiden, where do you go shading your lamp with your mantle? My house is all dark and lonesome—lend me your light!” she raised her dark eyes for a moment and looked at my face through the dusk. “I have come to the river,” she said, “to float my lamp on the stream when the daylight wanes in the west.” I stood alone among tall grasses and watched the timid flame of her lamp uselessly drifting in the tide.

In the silence of gathering night I asked her, “Maiden, your lights are all lit—then where do you go with your lamp? My house is all dark and lonesome—lend me your light.” She raised her dark eyes on my face and stood for a moment doubtful. “I have come,” she said at last, “to dedicate my lamp to the sky.” I stood and watched her light uselessly burning in the void.

In the moonless gloom of midnight I ask her, “Maiden, what is your quest, holding the lamp near your heart? My house is all dark and lonesome—lend me your light.” She stopped for a minute and thought and gazed at my face in the dark. “I have brought my light,” she said, “to join the carnival of lamps.” I stood and watched her little lamp uselessly lost among lights.
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  #20  
Old Mar 22nd, 2023, 03:28 PM
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That one might be my favorite I've seen, Filly. I'm bouncing pretty hard off Tagore, I gotta say, and I can't completely put my fingers on why.

Part of it might be structure / rhythm, or lack of it? Sound is a big part of poetry for me, love meter of some kind, or if lacking it like it short and sharp, and he definitely has a musical style to him but it's just missing something for me? I do like some longer poetic stuff without -- just read and really enjoyed By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept -- but it's not my natural home. Anyway, the more narrative structure of this one helps get around that for me.

I'm also mildly allergic to the mystical symbolism thing he's got going on; it could be that's more of the issue and I just don't want to admit to it.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2023, 06:55 PM
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You’ve got a smudge of mystical symbolism on your collar ptwid.
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Old Mar 24th, 2023, 07:18 AM
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What? No, no...how could you even think that? You know me, I'd have nothing to with mystical symbolism. Must just be a crumb of stream of consciousness that got a little discolored, somehow. It's always a bit messy, stream of consciousness.
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Old Mar 25th, 2023, 10:49 AM
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I've run across the same problem with translated Russian poetry, ptwiddle, so I'm betting there's a lot lost in translation, at least with regard to rhyme and meter. I don't know if the original is freeform also, but the translation pretty much has to be in order to match Tagore's meaning as closely as possible. I've seen translators take artistic license to try and match meaning and meter, and the results are always subpar.
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Old Mar 25th, 2023, 11:05 AM
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The English is a prose translation of the original Bengali, which was more based on medieval Indian lyric poetry, and even had music set to it. But Tagore translated Gitanjali himself, so I think we can assume it's close to what he intended. I would argue that without the constraints of lyric form, he might have even been closer to his exact meaning with the prose. But poetry is subjective and everyone has their own preferences -- lyric poetry can look more like "real" poetry because it has a more formal shape.
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Old Mar 25th, 2023, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostcheerio View Post
I would argue that without the constraints of lyric form, he might have even been closer to his exact meaning with the prose.
I didn't know he'd translated it, but yes, once you take away the rhyme and meter constraints of the original poetry... which might be better called lyrics if it had music set to it, not just lyric poetry. I don't know. (I admit I haven't paid as much attention to the "About Tagore" information as I have in trying to read poetry at bedtime while falling asleep.)

I, too, am not big on poetry. I do like the questioning of many of the poems, though, and I'm not sure I've ever read poetry where the narrator asked a question directly to the reader... though I suppose I've forgotten most of the poetry I was required to read; I'm temperamental like that sometimes. The whimsical nature of some of his poems appeals to me more than the direct ones; I'm not sure why.
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Old Mar 27th, 2023, 08:48 AM
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Throwing down a couple more Tagore poems, as the month winds down. These are from Lover's Gift and Crossing, which came after Gitanjali, in 1918. Remember next month we're reading Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin and we'll be talking video game design. I hope someone will help me understand Elden Ring.

Lover's Gifts LVI

The evening was lonely for me, and I was reading a book till my
heart became dry, and it seemed to me that beauty was a thing
fashioned by the traders in words. Tired I shut the book and
snuffed the candle. In a moment the room was flooded with
moonlight.

Spirit of Beauty, how could you, whose radiance overbrims the
sky, stand hidden behind a candle's tiny flame? How could a few
vain words from a book rise like a mist, and veil her whose voice
has hushed the heart of earth into ineffable calm?

Lover's Gifts XL

A message came from my youth of vanished days, saying, " I wait for
you among the quivering of unborn May, where smiles ripen for tears
and hours ache with songs unsung."

It says, "Come to me across the worn-out track of age, through
the gates of death. For dreams fade, hopes fail, the fathered
fruits of the year decay, but I am the eternal truth, and you shall
meet me again and again in your voyage of life from shore to
shore."

Lover's Gifts XXVIII

I dreamt that she sat by my head, tenderly ruffling my hair with
her fingers, playing the melody of her touch. I looked at her face
and struggled with my tears, till the agony of unspoken words burst
my sleep like a bubble.

I sat up and saw the glow of the Milky Way above my window,
like a world of silence on fire, and I wondered if at this moment
she had a dream that rhymed with mine.
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Old Mar 27th, 2023, 09:55 AM
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Yeah, I am excited about TOMORROW AND TOMORROW AND TOMORROW for April.

In MAY, the category is BODY OF WORK. SO last year we did Vonda N McIntyre. We are looking for a person with a significant and cool body of work, hopefully including short stories for those who are slammed. Be thinking!

Back to Tagore

All of these feel more narrative, so of course they appeal to me. I mainline plot. I am a junky. This right here:

I sat up and saw the glow of the Milky Way above my window,
like a world of silence on fire, and I wondered if at this moment
she had a dream that rhymed with mine.


I love this. This is my favorite thing he has said. The idea of rhyming dreams is a thing I can think about all day. As a DM, I want to make this have mechanics and put it right in a game, and I also think it is romantic as hell without being subsuming.
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Old Mar 27th, 2023, 10:46 AM
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Always the yearning, reaching.

Of course of these the moon poem is my favorite. I do love a moon poem.
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Old Mar 28th, 2023, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post
I sat up and saw the glow of the Milky Way above my window,
like a world of silence on fire, and I wondered if at this moment
she had a dream that rhymed with mine.


I love this. This is my favorite thing he has said. The idea of rhyming dreams is a thing I can think about all day. As a DM, I want to make this have mechanics and put it right in a game, and I also think it is romantic as hell without being subsuming.
I got caught by "world of silence on fire" before I even made it to the romantic end note. First I just enjoyed the description of the Milky Way, but then it sort of tugged me in different directions that were less pleasant.

Something about world of silence on fire feels like a number of political topics which I won't mention here and how they tend to perpetuate because of mutual silence(s). But they're very volatile topics, just silent ones, and yet they explode with very little prompting. It's not something I would ever gentrify with poetry, so I'm not quite sure why my brain went here, but there it is. Also reminds me of Simon & Garfunkel lyrics "people talking without speaking"/"people hearing without listening" (from The Sound of Silence), which might have something to do with the crowd/mob/politics tangent.

"...I wonder if at this moment she had a dream that rhymed with mine."
This line is almost enough to make me go write some kind of soul-mates fiction where the two souls found one another in dreamland. It's a beautiful statement, and really touching. It's the sort of thing that makes me smile at the screen, over here under the rock I live under, and even though I'm alone, it makes me sigh a little over the romance.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2023, 08:43 AM
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Hey, your new BOOK CLUB pick thread is up. Make sure you sub to the new thread, and lket;s get reading
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