Friday, 24 February 2012

The Cats Will Know

What do the cats know? Have you ever spied them silently watching you and wondered?
I came upon Cesare Pavese on a day when it seemed 'the world is a stage but the play is badly cast.*' Reading these few lines I felt oddly uplifted– the kind of levitation that results when a weight is released; when sorrow isn't denied, but shared. And in an instant the isolation that seemed absolute, even singular, is overcome.

Rain will fall again
on your smooth pavement,
a light rain like
a breath or a step.
The breeze and the dawn
will flourish again
when you return,
as if beneath your step.
Between flowers and sills
the cats will know.

There will be other days,
there will be other voices.
You will smile alone.
The cats will know.
You will hear words
old and spent and useless
like costumes left over
from yesterday’s parties.

You too will make gestures.
You’ll answer with words—
face of springtime,
you too will make gestures.

The cats will know,
face of springtime;
and the light rain
and the hyacinth dawn
that wrench the heart of him
who hopes no more for you—
they are the sad smile
you smile by yourself.

There will be other days,
other voices and renewals.
Face of springtime,
we will suffer at daybreak.

  "The Cats Will Know" a poem by Cesare Pavese from Dissaffections: Complete Poems 1930-1950 by Cesare Pavese, translated by Geoff Brock. 
* Who else, but Oscar Wilde.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Have pencil, will draw

 Water colour pencil on paper

Everyone draws. Even if it means just doodling in the margins of boring textbooks or scrawling all over the page during insufferable meetings or scribbling in the pad during (or after) a contentious argument. At some point in time one takes the drawings away from the margins and puts them in the center of the page. But the purpose for drawing remains the same. An attempt to put one's thoughts in order. A silent argument between the hand that wields the pencil and the mind that wields the hand. A stream of conscious effort whereby one lets the subconscious wade through stormy tides. Whatever the story behind the humble sketch one thing, as anyone who has ever doodled knows, is certain– doodling helps one think clearly. Often when one puts the pencil down one feels, for want of a better word, refreshed.

I never have doubted the fact that people who doodle during lectures or meetings are able to process the information being given, if not 'better', then at least 'differently' from the others who merely listen. Here's a TED talk that makes the case for unlocking your brain via pad and pen: Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Summer Garden

The clouds abate. The window is a mesh of raindrops. It is the middle of February. Summer is months away. Not that I am complaining. Then a photograph catches my eye and like Louise Glück I too am transported to a different time (in a different country).
How quiet the garden is;
no breeze ruffles the Cornelian cherry.
Summer has come.

How quiet it is
now that life has triumphed. The rough

pillars of the sycamores
support the immobile
shelves of the foliage,

the lawn beneath
lush, iridescent—

And in the middle of the sky,
the immodest god.

Things are, he says. They are, they do not change;
response does not change.

How hushed it is, the stage
as well as the audience; it seems
breathing is an intrusion.

He must be very close,
the grass is shadowless.

How quiet it is, how silent,
like an afternoon in Pompeii.

An excerpt from Summer Garden, a poem by Louise Glück. From Poetry (January, 2012)

Sunday, 5 February 2012