Friday, May 24, 2013

Form for All — Oh poet, oh songwriter, oh prophet

OH POET, OH SONGWRITER, OH PROPHET

The day was when I did not keep myself in readiness for thee;
and entering my heart unbidden even as one of the common crowd,
unknown to me, my king, thou didst press the signet of eternity upon 
many a fleeting moment of my life.
Rabindranath Tagore

How was it that I found you in these pages creased and worn,
in this paperback book with broken spine wanting to
release the weakening hold on these yellowing sheets sublime—
When did your open heart begin to beckon my soul?
My nightmares wallowed in dirt until you freed them into
soft dreams of many I have loved and who loved me.
You showed me the faces of dirty angels aching
to be made incarnate for just one night to read you
and, because we found you, to come and lie with me.
The day was when I did not keep myself in readiness for thee;

Then it was that you found me instead in the bookmark
of a year, a long year flagged for stillness and thought,
one that clung to your poems as the days slowly turned,
then fell from the others to be creased and worn, and
made to steal hearts in the night as only dirty angels can.
You did not turn in contempt when time and again I bowed
to the fallen angels I found on the roads you described,
those beloved ones who knew your lord far better than I,
but, like I, with dancing light and sweet song were endowed —
and entering my heart unbidden even as one of the common crowd,

your ageless words for the surprising ages and the phases
of mankind questioning the darkness within rang true —
yet not all at once, not in a first reading, but later
did I yearn to know you well, to see your face, to hear
the voice of one whose Voice I treasure, oh poet,
oh songwriter, oh prophet of a hoped-for dawn
of knowledge and reason, thought and action,
of ever-widening concepts of truth and of faith.
And in the stillness and thought of that year long gone
unknown to me, my king, thou didst press the signet of eternity upon

this gratitude of mine so humbly told, so deeply felt —
The paupers and children you knew know how I feel,
the seashores and the footsteps you wrote of are imprinted
with the memory of your depth; so, too, are the hearts
of every lover who ever waited in the dark.
Whether they were whore or monk, husband or wife,
each hoped for tenderness to visit for a while and
each prayed for transcendence in his/her own way.
Your supreme poems, oh Nobel one, have made rife
many a fleeting moment of my life.

***
Written for dVerse Poets Pub FormForAll, where Samuel Peralta's prompt is
Paying Tribute, Page and the Glosa. Please visit the link to read Sam's soaring glosa, titled "The Dream," which is his tribute to poet P.K. Page. Sam's writing prompt instruction on this poetic form is as follows:
The glosa is a form of poetry from the late 14th century and was popular in the Spanish court. The introduction, the cabeza, is a quatrain quoting a well-known poem or poet. The second part is the glosa proper, expanding on the theme of the cabeza, consisting of four ten-line stanzas, with the lines of the cabeza used to conclude each stanza. Lines six and nine must rhyme with the borrowed tenth. There are no rules governing meter and line length, except that traditionally, they emulate the style of the lines in the cabeza. Because of its structure, the glosa is ideally used as a poem of tribute – as Page did for Neruda in “Planet Earth”, and as I do for Page in “The Dream”. In writing that tribute, you weave your lines with the lines of the opening cabeza, collaborating, as it were, with the spirit of the poet you honour.
***
A native of Calcutta, India, who wrote in Bengali and often translated his own work into English, Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 — the first Asian to receive the honor. He wrote poetry, fiction, drama, essays, and songs; promoted reforms in education, aesthetics and religion; and in his late sixties he even turned to the visual arts, producing 2,500 paintings and drawings before his death.
_____________________________________
Full text, Gitanjali - Poem 43 - by Rabindranath Tagore (entire work online text here)

The day was when I did not keep myself in readiness for thee;
and entering my heart unbidden even as one of the common crowd,
unknown to me, my king, thou didst press the signet of eternity upon
many a fleeting moment of my life.
And today when by chance I light upon them and see thy signature,
I find they have lain scattered in the dust mixed with the memory of
joys and sorrows of my trivial days forgotten.
Thou didst not turn in contempt from my childish play among dust,
and the steps that I heard in my playroom
are the same that are echoing from star to star.

.

18 comments:

Brian Miller said...

very nice...i love the allusions to the books throughout...the finding in the bookmark...the bowing to the fallen angels is a great line...a really moving tribute...i esp like that last stanza in relating how it felt and moved you....cool...

glad you made it back...

G-Man said...

Too many Friday Prompts, Grrrrrr...
(I don't share very well)
:P

G-Man said...

But have a Kick Ass Week-End anyway!
G

Björn said...

Beautiful tribute to your favourite poet. and the concluding stanza is like a concerto finale... great work. I'm so glad to read about all the different poets of the world.

Heaven said...

What a lovely poem based on great artist, Tagore ~ I specially like your response on the third verse - the ageless words of the voice, the poet, the prophet ~

Very well done with the form too ~

Wishing you happy weekend ~

vivinfrance said...

Tagore - what a great choice to base your glosa on - and a really successful form for you.

Rowan Taw said...

You've done a marvelous job of showing his influence on you.

M Riyadh Sharif said...

I am speechless! It's amazing to see how a man from far east can effect so many souls of the west... Particularly in this way!

Aunt, try this Youtube link... This is a playlist of few songs... written and music done by Tagore... Sang by Shahana Bajpei:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5viLQ1LW1ro&list=PL511A5CF59176E929

Lydia said...

Brian~ Thanks for your feedback, especially about the last stanza. Much appreciated. :)

G-Man~ We already settled this! Your comment got me busy to get my 55 out there.

Bjorn~ Many thanks for your comment. Tagore is one of my favorite poets, ranking up there on top with a few others. And, yes, the world is full of such great poetry.

Heaven~ Thank you for your feedback, oh published poet! (I really am going to get the book...)

vivinfrance~ I so appreciate your saying this was a really successful form for me. I think many of us were truly inspired and challenged by this prompt.

Rowan~ Thank you. He has had an influence on me, but not on my writing until this prompt, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much!

Riyadh~ I sure thought of you and how we have shared our love for Tagore as I worked on the poem. Thank you for all the additional info you shared with me at facebook. You are the such a marvelous nephew!

Semaphore said...

Rabindranath Tagore, and moreover his 'Gitanjali', remains one of the poetic touchstones of my artistic life - and so I approached your poem with the fervor of someone who might have chosen those same lines for his own cabeza. And such a wonderful treatment in your glosa - the words and thoughts of the poet, prophet, philosopher, all reflected in your own. The cadence of your verses, their melodious long lines, the syllabular tripping on the tongue, all these move the reader to the kind of epiphany that Tagore's own lines do. A wonderful tribute, a wonderful poem.

Lydia said...

Semaphore~ Your feedback means the world to me. Thank you for this brilliant prompt, Sam.
Two books that are always on the shelves of my nightstand are Tagore's Gitaljali and Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God. I re-read many of my favorite poems in each as I made my selection for one to use for my glosa. I really wanted to do Rilke more, thought his would be easier for me to work with, but Tagore just would not let me go. :)

Victoria said...

This echos the exquisite spirituality of Tagore. Your poem is a place to sit and reflect.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

O thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I think you have indeed captured the flavour of Tagore's writing as well as using the specific lines.

Lydia said...

Rosemary~ Many thanks for your kind comment.

Lydia said...

Victoria~ Thank you for your comment that gave me pause to sit and reflect.

Nico said...

I'm playing catch up after a few days away from the computer--and reading this has been a real treat. Lovely work here, and I love the line: "ever-widening concepts of truth and faith." Very nicely done!

anotherwanderingsoul said...

oh, so many great lines in here - your imagery is beautiful, gives your glosa such vividness. wonderful work - a piece i wish i had written.

Lydia said...

Nico~ A few days away from the computer is always a nice change. :)
Thank you for your comment. Your favorite line was one of only two in the poem in which I used Tagore's words. His term ever-widening comes from this poem.

anotherwanderingsoul~ Thank you for your visit and comment!

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