Friday, October 29, 2010

IV by e.e. cummings


our touching hearts slenderly comprehend
(clinging as fingers,loving one another
gradually into hands)and bend
into the huge disaster of the year:

like this most early single star which tugs

weakly at twilight,caught in thickening fear
our slightly fingering spirits starve and smother;
until autum abruptly wholly hugs

our dying silent minds,which hand in hand
at some window try to understand
    (through pale miles of perishing air,haunted
with huddling infinite wishless melancholy,
suddenly looming)accurate undaunted

moon's bright third tumbling slowly

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I've always felt awkward about explaining poems. It's not so much a hesitation on how to start the critique, if ever it be called such, but a reticience in dissecting it and finding empty skins, discarded pistachio halves.

We can never really get at the heart of things; once a doctor slices a man up, all he finds are more surfaces. His incisions, deeper and deeper, never tear at the curtain. To him said: I'm sorry, Sir, please go back to your seat; the backstage is off-limits to viewers. But when the opera does show, and when the man's eyes do speak, there will be nothing on his operating desk, and nothing to show for. The inexperienced surgeon's fears can never be allayed.

The diver enters the water. And the sea heals itself faster than any broken heart could. Its hands clasp in joyous leaps and forgets that any breach had been made. Within water, the diver makes masterful strokes that meet persuasive currents: he learns a secret or two. Within him, his blood converses like old friends with the water beyond. The diver lifts himself from generous water, walking away with nothing but the droplets in his skin.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Bear Came Over the Mountain by Alice Munro

(A copy may be found here.)

This is last short story in Jeffrey Eugenides compilation My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead, which I borrowed from a dear friend. I haven't gone through all of the short stories though. May they be ravished slowly. ΓΌ

Curiosity was piqued by Eugenides glowing description of the story-- that's why I read it first. I hesitate between a review and a personal response to the story: should I go for technical brilliance or its effect? Munro writes in such a way that the grayness of life is ever drawn out. All intermingle. The effect of great literature, I suppose is a tempering of the reader's outlook-- a tolerance for shadings past the borders and the lines.
The Bear Came Over the Mountain follows the story of aged couple Grant and Fiona. Fiona suffers from Alzheimer's and Grant is forced to move her to an institution. A month later, Fiona develops an attraction to an elderly patient named Aubrey. She seemed to have forgotten Grant; and she slips away with Aubrey in their own world, sprinkled with strange endearments she never addressed to Grant. She tolerates Grant, who regularly visits and her almost stalks her, with politeness. He does not tell her he is her husband of fifty years; but despite his hurt, sadness and loneliness that pervade the story.
Fiona never leaves the passages; she is there even when she is not physically present in the scene. The past and the future dally in Grant's mind; the recollections ebb and flow in the most natural of manners. It brings a subtle point about memory and time; and perhaps, the Alzheimer's do not depart too radically from the normal course of the mind. Our walk is never entirely straightfoward; we often wander from room to room, lingering in some and sometimes passing by old corridors with diffidence. Perhaps, Alzheimer's patients are unable to direct their paths; perhaps like an invalid incapable of controlling his bladder.
Eugenides noted in the introduction the complexity of the characters of the story. Though his devotion is most apparent during the time of the story, he had always loved Fiona even though he he was a philanderer when he was younger.. But there is no harsh moral light cast upon him.
Old married couples always elicit feelings of warm, fuzzy, admiration; I suppose partly because it is supposed that their love is divested of any imperfections.-- as if being old rids you of any hang ups on beauty and all else superficial. But Monroe paints a more complex and realistic portrait of love. In the story is a intermingling of eros and agape, though neither is really out of the picture at any given point. And it's never all about love; it's also about betrayal and the inescapable faultlines and trembles of human errors.
At the end of the story, however, Grant's selfless act is still a stark gem of agape.
Monro ends the story poignantly and brilliantly. Fiona remembers, perhaps only for a moment.
“You could have just driven away,” she said. “Just driven away without a care in the world and forsook me. Forsooken me. Forsaken.”
He kept his face against her white hair, her pink scalp, her sweetly shaped skull.
He said, “Not a chance.”

It merits another reading. For sure, a few details eluded the first reading. It strikes me as poignantly, beautifully sad.

By the way, have I mentioned Alice Munro looks like my grandmother? No, seriously. If Grandma was Caucasian, she would totally be her twin.

MUST WATCH: Away from Her, a film by Sarah Polley, based on The Bear Came Over the Mountain

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Currently Digesting

My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead - Jefferey Eugenides
Penguin History of the 20th Century - J.M. Roberts
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting - Milan Kundera

Totality and Infinity - Emmanuel Levinas
Routledge Critical Thinkers: Emmanuel Levinas - Sean Hand
Jacques Lacan: A Feminist Introduction - Elizabeth Grosz

Friday, September 17, 2010

If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

I want you to know
one thing. 

You know how this is: 
if I look 
at the crystal moon, at the red branch 
of the slow autumn at my window, 
if I touch 
near the fire 
the impalpable ash 
or the wrinkled body of the log, 
everything carries me to you, 
as if everything that exists, 
aromas, light, metals, 
were little boats 
that sail 
toward those isles of yours that wait for me. 

Well, now, 
if little by little you stop loving me 
I shall stop loving you little by little. 

If suddenly 
you forget me 
do not look for me, 
for I shall already have forgotten you. 

If you think it long and mad, 
the wind of banners 
that passes through my life, 
and you decide 
to leave me at the shore 
of the heart where I have roots, 
that on that day, 
at that hour, 
I shall lift my arms 
and my roots will set off 
to seek another land. 

if each day, 
each hour, 
you feel that you are destined for me 
with implacable sweetness, 
if each day a flower 
climbs up to your lips to seek me, 
ah my love, ah my own, 
in me all that fire is repeated, 
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten, 
my love feeds on your love, beloved, 
and as long as you live it will be in your arms 
without leaving mine. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ode To The Sea - Pablo Neruda

Here surrounding the island,
There's sea.
But what sea?
It's always overflowing.
Says yes,
Then no,
Then no again,
And no,
Says yes
In blue
In sea spray
Says no
And no again.
It can't be still.
It stammers
My name is sea.
It slaps the rocks
And when they aren't convinced,
Strokes them
And soaks them
And smothers them with kisses.
With seven green tongues
Of seven green dogs
Or seven green tigers
Or seven green seas,
Beating its chest,
Stammering its name,
Oh Sea,
This is your name.
Oh comrade ocean,
Don't waste time
Or water
Getting so upset
Help us instead.
We are meager fishermen,
Men from the shore
Who are hungry and cold
And you're our foe.
Don't beat so hard,
Don't shout so loud,
Open your green coffers,
Place gifts of silver in our hands.
Give us this day our daily fish.

Kung Paano by Rofel Brion

Kung paano dumadapo

ang buto sa malumot na bato,

at nagiging binhi’t lumalago,

gumagapang tungo sa iba pang bato,

namumulaklak, hitik na hitik,

at bago malanta’y nagkakalat ng bango,

 ganito sana ako maging ako,

 ganito sana ako maging sa iyo.

♥ I would like this to be a poem about my life.