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for René Etiemble (Jan. 26, 1909 – Jan. 2002)*
Barely a few speechless moments before your first words
burned the « Coplas por la muerte de su padre » :
‘Nuestras vidas son los ríos
que van a dar en la mar,
que es el morir ;
y llegados, son iguales
los que viven por sus manos
y los ricos.’
Is the open back door which emboldens courage
No untarnished name to be remembered by
No selfless mate to lay by your honour
No issue laying about themselves for your prize
Decidedly it was a door of stealth
As if choosing it you let it be known
you were only merely passing by
and stopped to hang your hat here for a while
Yet you let your kin and callers believe
your whims were worth putting up with
your mischievous tantrums and gripes
merely the mental athlete’s unwinding antics
The poïetic birth pangs of imminent glory
just the mounting stones in the monumental lighthouse
that ages from hence would pick forth
your works your unfathomable literary resource
You upheld dozens who did leave behind a name
a lasting name not quite torn from solitary pain
Yet who could deny you could have bettered their fame
What undisclosed pain you harboured in your brain
Oh so strangely were you endowed with the intelligence
of the Chun Tzu - that uncanny eagle’s scan
To rout out of the mazes of your students’ past lives
just that one passqge through their Tierra del Fuego
But then you who completely espoused the rigours
of that step by step mounting of respectful steps
Were unsparing in your demands of adherence
to old Master Kung’s hierarchical obedience
An open hand ready to sign any cheque
to succour the caller’s needs
was alas ! also the whip hand
To keep the renegades in constant check
You were possessed of a rare brand of anger
which shook the land about you
At those who bent justice to their unsavoury will
such thunder boiled from the guts of the earth
Now you’re gone and empty lecture halls echo your
uncontainable ire where forged resounding silence
You said at the start of a seminal master-seminar :
« Nul n’est prophète dans son pays ! »
With the distaff side hanging on your every word
wondering if your plans were for something yet undone
No stray notes lie about to record your travail
No visible correspondence to make it all credible
Only books and books files magazines and books
and an overcrowdedly conquered mental pad
jumbled words scratched into shaded inchoate sketches
ganglia synapses shot-up neurons
no clues to a ragingly flailing mind
none to record the lives you succoured
nor even the beneficiaries’ hurriedly scribbled thanks
nor besides to the beclouding relations with one and all
not even a hint at why you may have refused
to forge a name beyond the beaten path of fame
Would going by the front door
in a fanfare of tv talkshows conference papers prize-giving ceremonies paper- interviews in ample studied poses and thoughts for future auto-memoirs volume one to seven the rest put-together posthumously in an omnibus
expurgated version with prefaces notes introductions critiques eulogies
would it have been less like you
to exit by the side-door
the baywindow leading to reflected glory
in a cool cloister of loosened leaves
stray poems in the tradition of your schooled masters
or did you burn them all
in a fit of (cou)rage
tore them to bits incinerated by your fiery mind
or squashed within yesterday’s leftovers
not caring who thought what
the mocking condescension
* The late Professor René Etiemble held the Chair of Comparative Literature at the old, pre-1968 Sorbonne University but retired in 1978 while a professor at the Sorbonne-Nouvelle University. In later life, he even refused nomination to the French Academy of Letters, though he did accept the Academy’s Prize. He was a prolific critic, essayist, and memorialist, having published some poetry and three novels. A renowned linguist and grammarian (a graduate of the prestigious and elite Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris), he remained until his very last days an inveterate Sinophile. He edited the Gallimard-instituted UNESCO oriental literary classics series, a fitting tribute to his encyclopaedic learning.
© T.Wignesan, 6 novembre 1997, Fresnes-94, France (from the collection : Poems Omega Minus, Paris, 2002)
When we die: A war cry
To all people who gave their life for Kashmir in pursuit of justice for suppressed.
We are murdered. Bodies are shattered. Our Jhelum to Euphrates, Our Kashmir to Karbala.
My eyes hear. My fingers speak. And my heat pains.
Lovers of Husain rip your limitations with chains.
Stand resolute in Karbala-reborn. In its heat. Vanish not! Your flames.
Show no fear in your eyes but give a cry
Death will bring us home. So we die
Times of glory went into ruins, but don’t sigh
The days of hope will be reborn. So we die
Blood bathed infants are we: this no one can deny
Water of freedom waits for us. So we die
Handicapped soldiers they have turned us, still our zeal is high
With weapons of light we will march. So we die
OH! You bureaucrats from the plains, your innocence is a lie,
We will set your tongues ablaze. So we die
One day you will cry that you can’t deny
We will bring the time soon. So we die
Keep your eyes dry my mothers, for you must know why
Your tears will cause floods. So we die
Don’t loose hope! My people, you still have threads to tie
Every drop of our blood will be resurrected. So we die
A coffin runs out in Lal chowk, scratch the earth for space
The white, will wake up angles of wrath. So we die
Land of Hamadan has been painted with blood
The lava of agony will burst. So we die
Keep the bangles in your arms, you widowed brides
Their music will shake the earth. So we die
Suppressed mortals are we, but Listen OH! Self made immortals
Immortal passion of Muhammad runs into us. So we die.
This fire of celestial blaze! Fuel it up with your rage. Defy the impossibilities with might
You will go down through history as the brightest stars shinning in darkest nights.
SOME WORD MEANINGS:
Karbala: place in Iraq where grandson of prophet Muhammed(SAW) were killed.
Husain: Grandson of Prohet Muhammed killed in Karabala
I picture Kashmir through lightened KL. I see Kashmir through deserted eyes.
I am writing an elegy. While my Kashmir burns.
My blood has contents of a coward.
What results my thoughts will forward.
Tears have dried. Heart has cried.
My pen drops dead. Its enough, there is nothing to hide.
It’s his anniversary again. I forgot this day again.
I pray for his soul. While my Kashmir howls.
I can write no more. My pen drops dead.
But mouj Kashir wails:
Bullets won’t stop
Young souls will depart.
MEANING OF SOME WORDS FROM PART 1,2,3,and 4
Kashmir: Usually called "Switzeland of east".A disputed state. Presentely annexed by
India. There are almost 1 million army personals in kashmir. People are fighting against
their opression and anarchy. UN still declares kashmir as indepent country.
KL : Kuala lumpur. Capital of Malaysia.
Karbala: place in Iraq where grandson of Prophet Muhammed(PBUH. prophet of Islam) and his
followers where murdered.
Imaam: Person who is incharge of a mosque(muslim worshipping place)
Patan and Sopor: two districts in Kashmir
Kupwara: A district in kashmir were Indian army violates human rights at its best.
Mahjoor: Romantic Kashmiri poet
Khayam’s: A place in kashmir known for its barbeques.
Jhelum: a river that flows through Kashmir
Shah-Hamdan: A scared place to kashmiri's.
ninder yee nai. Gahas Kormakh Khudayas Hawale: kashmiri translation of "Let you
sleep.Goobye May God protect you"
Madrasa: Place where children are taught Quran(holy book of muslims)
Gulistans: gardens of exquisite flowers
kaasmir: Kashmir in Indian accent. Usually people from other states of India pronounce
Dastegeer’s: scared place to kashmiri's
Maisuma : a place in kashmir where confrontations with Indian army are common.
Azadi: freedom in Urdu language.
Jinazah: a prayer offered when a muslim dies
khansaib-bun: a village in kashmir. known for its hills.
mouj Kashir : kashmiri translation of " mother Kashmir"
Another son is dead, until five he lived.
For his long life at Shah-Hamdan he had threads tied
“Shehij ninder yee nai. Gahas Kormakh Khudayas Hawale”, his mother cries.
No news can penetrate across the mountains. Satellites work here no more
My Kashmir burns. And no one knows.
An old woman with torn scarf sits besides fire. While feeding her neighbor’s child
She sighs. Is my son dead or alive? She silently cries.
In Madrasa I hear children reciting Quran. A girl’s come out dragging her feet.
I remember her from somewhere. I remember her seeing naked.
Oh! God she is the one who was raped.
Nights have turned pitch black. My eyes are losing the habit of sight
Midnight soldier’s set another house ablaze. At least there is some sort of light.
Many letters have been written to God. Postcards posted of those raped girl’s
But its curfew again. No post office deliver’s the message again.
Death comes from everywhere. Close your windows mother
For bullet respects no womb. It turned Gulistans into tombs.
From the plains the visitors come to visit their God’s
They are our only witnesses but hypocrites at heart.
They say paradise is kaasmir. While my Kashmir is ablaze
They testify against us. Is anybody witnessing this? No one at all
Be witness to at least this. Open up your eyes my Lord!
When paradise is painted with colors of hell, certainly divinity loses its grace
In the news the reporter is beaten. Bamboo sticks are hungry for human blood.
Let Kashmir go to hell. A new promise in their portfolio.
Threads have given up at Dastegeer’s place. Even they are horrified at our fate.
In Maisuma boys are dragged by police. They close their dreams, end their screams
In a police gypsy.
Men shape into monsters when they are given right to anarchy.
The gypsy drives them into the dark cantonments. They will remember this day
Interrogation officer comes. After celebrating his son’s birthday.
The winds from the cantonments bring their news
Burned tires around their necks. Burning stoves near their heads.
The knife tearing up their flesh.
And the boys cry, “We haven’t batted yet. Cricket. We know nothing”.
Death wants children to be headlines
Hunger has affected the heavens as well.
Graves are full. No more space left.
We need land of the plains. For our graves.
In the ac car the bureaucrat goes. The mother’s with search full eyes
Ask about their sons they lost. They drink their tears
And he sips champagne.
(LAMENTATIONS BEFORE DEATH BY A DEPRESSED SON)
YOUR DREAM FOR ME WAS SO DEEP
THAT IS WHY I WAS BORN FOR KEEP.
YOU WANTED ME TO BE A TRUE SON
AND WANTED ME TO SHINE LIKE YOUR SUN-
YOU WANTED ME TO FOLLOW YOUR VALUES;
YOU WANTED ME TO BE IN THE RULES,
AND BE A MASQUERADE OF YOUR OWN
SO THAT YOU BE PLEASED; A SON LONE.
YOU WANTED ME TO BE A CHRISTIAN
AND WANTED ME TO ENTER YOUR TRAIN
OF HOPE AND GOOD LIFE.YES GOOD LIFE.
OH FATHER!HOW I HAVE STRIVED!
I BELIEVE YOU GAVE BIRTH TO THE WORST
OF CHILDREN IN THE MENTAL FROST;
CHILD 'MONG THE WORST, AN ACCURSED.
I AM THAT CHILD WHO IS CURSED-
FORGIVE ME FATHER.I AM SORRY.SORRY .
CAN'T FULFILL YOUR DREAMS;I'M NOT HOLY-
I'M INSTEAD A CHEAT;THIEF,DISGRACE.
I AM A BAD AND BAD FACE-
I AM THAT USELESS SON YOU HAD.
I AM THE BAD CREATURE WITH CRUEL HEART.
FORGIVE FATHER.FORGIVE ME, FORGIVE-
I CANNOT STILL BE YOUR SON;HOW I GRIEVE.
YOU HAVE NO HOPE,DON't DREAM-
YOUR CHILD IS BAD AS ALL SEEMS.
FORGIVE ME FATHER,SWEET FATHER.
GOOD BYE (WEEPS), SORRY FATHER....
for Mahathero Gunasena
In a makeshift vihara in the heart of London
Bikku then disclosed his parents long gone
Might one dare utter after all these years
Was it yesterday he would shed dry tears
Somewhere in the saffron folds of his faith
A lonely boy still lurked wanting his mother
Or brother sister and hope-dislocating father
Of how they could abandon even his wraith
Just a single line in the inner board of a book
Over dried blue ink his fingers caressed words
A life he might’ve had in who knows what worlds
He just wanted to say: ‘See, who so forsook!’
In an unwatched vihara in the heart of London
A forsaken boy dared break out of monkdom
Might one dare utter after all these years
Was it yesterday he would shed dry tears
Too late he had come to own up this truth:
‘If there’s a Supreme Being leave Him well be
He knows best what He’s doing forsooth
Mind your own business leave Him well be!’
Should one gauge the measure of a man’s humanity
From his ability to outgrow imposed attachments:
Such as confines of his community race or country
But most of all withstand the viral encroachments
Of his conditioned beliefs upon his own personality.
© T. Wignesan – Paris – September 8, 1983 (Rev. 2012)
From: T. Wignesan
Copyright ©: T. Wignesan - Paris, 1983 - (from the sequence/collection: "Words for a Lost Sub-Continent", 1999.)
Don’t let guilt be the drive that takes you away
Eventually everything you feel emotionally will be
Honestly I never thought I’d care so much that
But, I miss you and I know now that I’m wrong…
Why did god have to take you away?
Couldn’t he see you’re still needed here?
Mom needs you and so do your kids.
Dad pretends not to care but inside the feelings
Why did you leave, you should’ve fought harder to
We miss you as the days go by.
I see your face every time I close my eyes.
But it’s not the same without you here today.
With you gone the days just fade away..
It's ok Mom and Dad
please be happy and don't be sad
Look up in the sky and what do you see
into the clouds, you'll see an image of me
I might have left you but I'm still here
being forgotten, I do not fear
I know you love me and I love you
being taken away from you hurts me too
Whatever happened it's over now
I will find a way to be with you someday and somehow.
I'm in heaven and he's taking care of me
Say a little prayer for me.
THE BOOK OF HELL
[NB. This poem is the confession made by the biological son of the devil satan,SALAZAR, in
a court session in heaven. This is a confession he made under duress to the ears of
[HEAVEN 5th JUNE 1930...12:12 WHT OR WESTERN HEAVEN TIME.]
At midnight on the twelve of September
1912, when the bells of the elder
Church in town started tolling for the first
Time in twelve years, had death's taste.
As far as I can reveal, was twelve years old
Twelve years old when death, my brother, cold,
Grabbed me in his claws and ended my life.
And so I could not know how man could strive.
This was in compliance to the terms of my birth
Which had been drawn up in hell by my Dad as said,
APPOLYON.i was to come to earth sans fears,
And be nursed by a human being well dressed.
As I am clear of the earth, I can now unleash
The great secret I had hidden in my dish:
If I can really call my terrible mind likewise.
After all I was hooked to it as if by the aid of a vice.
My secrets are not those you listen to every day;
Those secrets of stupidity with no heat of May.
These secrets of mine are those to stagger a giant,
And destroy the hook of creation and the tyrant.
[HERE GOD FROWNED BUT SAID NOTHING.. BUT THERE WERE MURMURS IN THE COURT ROOM OF HEAVEN]
GOD: ENOUGH OF THE NOISE. SALAZAR GO ON.
YOU ARE REALLY A VERY FUNNY SON..
[SALAZAR STARED AT GOD WITH ANGER IN HIS EYES BUT NO WORD FELL FROM HIS MOUTH. HE CONTINUED..]
You should know that I spent only twelve days on earth,
Before my brother, honorable death,
Took me in his claws. But my deeds outdo those
Of the greatest devils who had sin in over-dose.
Here; let me speak and let you tremble like the feather;
I was born in 1912, on first December
And at midnight. After all let me continue well,
So that in my story you shall kindly dwell.
Christ had failed in his....................
[There were grumbles in the courtroom from the heavenly realm, because what SALAZAR had
said was sacrilegious...]
GOD: LET HIM SPEAK HIS MIND.GO ON SALAZAR, SON OF LUCIFER DARILIUS.
Christ had failed in his mission on earth
Because he could not conquer in its entity death.
On the cross he cried," Deus, guare me dereliquisti?"
That is what fell from his lips. What a tyranny!
[There were cries again from the Heavenly realm. God merely sighed and raised a hand for
SALAZAR to continue]
We put you down to sleep in your crib
We awakened to find, you were taken by SIDS
It was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
That took you away from our home
So early in life, you were taken away
We're left behind with so little to say
The question of "Why?" fresh in our minds
The answers, we may never find
The pain will linger on for many years
We just have to fight, to hold back the tears
For we must go on with the rest of our lives
We must look at this tragedy through God's eyes
Our baby is in Heaven, He's our little Angel
We must look to our memories and be very thankful
We miss you, Our Angel, so very much
In our hearts, you'll always be loved
In Memory Of My Son Joshua
Copyright © 1997 Shari E Davis