Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
1 Complacencies of the peignoir, and late Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair, And the green freedom of a cockatoo Upon a rug mingle to dissipate The holy hush of ancient sacrifice. She dreams a little, and she feels the dark Encroachment of that old catastrophe, As a calm darkens among water-lights. The pungent oranges and bright, green wings Seem things in some procession of the dead, Winding across wide water, without sound. The day is like wide water, without sound. Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet Over the seas, to silent Palestine, Dominion of the blood and sepulchre. 2 Why should she give her bounty to the dead? What is divinity if it can come Only in silent shadows and in dreams? Shall she not find in comforts of the sun, In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else In any balm or beauty of the earth, Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven? Divinity must live within herself: Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow; Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued Elations when the forest blooms; gusty Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights; All pleasures and all pains, remembering The bough of summer and the winter branch. These are the measure destined for her soul. 3 Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth. No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind. He moved among us, as a muttering king, Magnificent, would move among his hinds, Until our blood, commingling, virginal, With heaven, brought such requital to desire The very hinds discerned it, in a star. Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be The blood of paradise? And shall the earth Seem all of paradise that we shall know? The sky will be much friendlier then than now, A part of labor and a part of pain, And next in glory to enduring love, Not this dividing and indifferent blue. 4 She says, "I am content when wakened birds, Before they fly, test the reality Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings; But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields Return no more, where, then, is paradise?" There is not any haunt of prophecy, Nor any old chimera of the grave, Neither the golden underground, nor isle Melodious, where spirits gat them home, Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm Remote on heaven's hill, that has endured As April's green endures; or will endure Like her remembrance of awakened birds, Or her desire for June and evening, tipped By the consummation of the swallow's wings. 5 She says, "But in contentment I still feel The need of some imperishable bliss." Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her, Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams And our desires. Although she strews the leaves Of sure obliteration on our paths, The path sick sorrow took, the many paths Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love Whispered a little out of tenderness, She makes the willow shiver in the sun For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet. She causes boys to pile new plums and pears On disregarded plate. The maidens taste And stray impassioned in the littering leaves. 6 Is there no change of death in paradise? Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs Hang always heavy in that perfect sky, Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth, With rivers like our own that seek for seas They never find, the same receding shores That never touch with inarticulate pang? Why set pear upon those river-banks Or spice the shores with odors of the plum? Alas, that they should wear our colors there, The silken weavings of our afternoons, And pick the strings of our insipid lutes! Death is the mother of beauty, mystical, Within whose burning bosom we devise Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly. 7 Supple and turbulent, a ring of men Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn Their boisterous devotion to the sun, Not as a god, but as a god might be, Naked among them, like a savage source. Their chant shall be a chant of paradise, Out of their blood, returning to the sky; And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice, The windy lake wherein their lord delights, The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills, That choir among themselves long afterward. They shall know well the heavenly fellowship Of men that perish and of summer morn. And whence they came and whither they shall go The dew upon their feel shall manifest. 8 She hears, upon that water without sound, A voice that cries, "The tomb in Palestine Is not the porch of spirits lingering. It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay." We live in an old chaos of the sun, Or old dependency of day and night, Or island solitude, unsponsored, free, Of that wide water, inescapable. Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail Whistle about us their spontaneous cries; Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness; And, in the isolation of the sky, At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make Ambiguous undulations as they sink, Downward to darkness, on extended wings.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Magic and my heart
When I think of my life, my aspirations and the hopes and dreams I have for my future one thing comes to mind…magic. What is it about this mythological idea of the supernatural that captivates my heart and mind? While reading about metamorphosis: gods and goddesses changing into humans, humans changing into beasts; this idea that the immortal life is somehow intertwined with magic; I thought of what else comes to mind when thinking of this all encompassing word magic? For me there is no other first thought than the fanciful tale of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. But it is not only Harry Potter that comes to mind after a few extra seconds of pondering but also the new teenage craze of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. What is it about this idea of immortality and magic that possesses the stories of the past and of the present? I believe it is a human desire within all of us to discover what is hidden and find a way to reconnect with the stories of the past gods and goddesses of Olympus which are riddled with magic and can only be believed and seen with childhood innocence.
Throughout this class I have wondered what it is that makes each o us fall in love with a tale from the past. Whether it is the moving scenes with Hecuba and the Trojan Women or watching Echo chase after Narcissus or just maybe it is the idea that Persephone is happy in the underworld with her ghostly husband Hades. Whatever story a person identifies with there is always a connection to what has past and what is to come, because in all of the tales there are elements of magic; magic coming from all different sources but coming alive through the worlds on the page none the less. Magic turns king Midas’s ears into asses ears, magic eases Niobe’s pain by turning her into stone and magic definitely helps Hades open the earth when stealing Persephone into the under world. But the question I have is why this magic is important and why do people today still want to be a part of it? Not whether or not these events took place because I know in my heart 100% that they did and continue to occur today, in the age of technology and iron.
Today there are no more stories of gods throwing thunder and goddesses turning women into spiders. No, today the stories are a little different, focusing on the power of humans rather than on the power of the gods. Harry Potter is a series of books that tell the tale of one boy, named Harry, and his journey into a magical world with his friends. When I watch the movies and read the stories it is not the riveting plot that has me coming back for more. Nor is it the exciting relationships between boy and girl, no, it is the idea behind all of it that enthralls my mind. The idea that hidden somewhere close by is a land of make believe. Where castles are something to live in, mermaids are in the back yard lake and magic wands help cast magic spells. I want to believe that my imagination’s desires truly can become my reality if I try hard enough and look deep enough. This is why the tale of Harry Potter has captured the hearts of millions of young children and old adults, because we all want to believe in the make believe.
Twilight is another phenomenon that has recently swept the nation. With records of ticket sales flying off of the charts and a dedicated fan base this vampire filled tale has stolen the hearts of young girls and adults alike. Why is it that another book about vampires, with a story line that has already been told is now making another comeback into popular culture? For some it is the handsome love interest Edward, for other it is the action pact killing of the James, the stories protagonist. However, for the majority of Americans quickly falling in love with the series by Stephenie Meyer it is the ideas behind the plot and characters that is creating such hysteria. There is a wonderful idea of magic behind the eyes of Bella, waiting to become immortal. Her story starting as any other girl’s would, ordinary. However, as the books continues so does Bella’s struggle for immortality which is her way into what has been lost; a world of magical creatures both good and evil. Once again there is the idea of magic transcending the world we all know and are familiar with and forcing us to remember the dreams of our childhood fancies that have somehow been forgetting with age. Exciting and desirable because if we believe that it is true, that someone can metamorphosis into a powerful being then we are allowing our childhood imagination to grow once again. The innocence with which children dream and see reality leaves as people grow into adulthood. As the responsibilities of life, children and families creep into our thoughts; turning laugh lines into worry lines the eyes with which we use to see a sparkly castle with pink princess begin to blur until finally only the cold reality of daylight can be seen. It is the longing for our past selves that make people continue to watch movies and read stories that are riddled with magic. This ideal that, if we believe hard enough along with a pinch of fairy dust, anything is possible. That any idea can become reality if we believe in the magic of our youth. This is why people are drawn to fanciful stories however old and familiar because they remind us of a younger time, a time when reality had a hint of sparkle.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I have not been so wholly taken by one piece of work as I have been for the past few days reading and re-reading An Imaginary life by David Malouf. The child, who is the child? Is he real, is he a dream that Ovid has created in his desperation of exile. Each moment for Ovid is new and can teach him a lesson; capturing the child, becoming the child. Has Ovid become the child and regressed to his youth in insanity? Or is he alive and well, living in the wanders of the abyss with a little boy who has not yet reached his man hood, his peak of life. The ending is so simple, along with the beginning. Each is beautiful and full of light and lovely language. The child is all consuming for Ovid, he is friends with the child, tries to teach him about life and finally he is learning from the child. The transformation for Ovid himself was in his journey with his child. It was in his growth and in his own mental and physical transformations that were similar to the Tales From Ovid. This book was a personal journey that is relatable to our own lives today in the relationships of the family and tribal members. The story behind this book is fanciful and plays with the idea of imagination and connecting with nature, which is a theme that is present still today. But it was so much more and holds so many more lessons about life and learning that are like nothing I have read before.
For me, this book has touched different heart strings which have already been plucked through the duration of this class. While reading the Trojan Women by Euripides the queen of Troy has to put her grandson in his grave. Make him at home in his father’s shield; his last resting place now that Troy has fallen to Achilles and the Greek Kings. In An Imaginary Life, the old woman must also watch her grandson and care for him because he is on the verge of dying. However, he does not die and becomes well in the end it is her son that dies. The old woman is forced to bury her son and watch him die before her; being possessed by an animal spirit. Why is it that watching a child die before their time and before their parents is one of the hardest losses of human life? Life, it means to live with one’s self and the generations before and after, or so my grandmother tells me. But when I asked her what would cause her the most pain in this world she told me that loosing her daughter would be the hardest test of her life. To have to bury her body and watch her life end before hers is close to being over. That would be the hardest for any mother to endure. But I wonder if the pain of a mother losing a child is the same for a father? Is the suffering of men the same suffering of women?