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Category Archives: Poetry

Satanic Verses: A Composition

The Satanic VersesThe Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

He had just finished his thirty-fourth reading of the play. The unsaid hate, the unseen events, the half-imagined wrongs; they tormented him. What could cause such evil to manifest, he just could not figure. He loved him too much to believe the simple explanation.

And then the idea starts growing on him – to explore the growth of evil just as Shakespeare showed, explored the tragic culmination of it. And because you show the growth, it can no longer be a tragedy, no, no it has to be a comedy. A tragi-comedy. Yes. And he set to it. He painted Othello as an Indian actor, worshiped and adored and off on a mad canter to get his Ice Queen, his Desdemona. On his way he meets him – the poor man trying to forget his own roots and desperately reinventing himself, his Iago.

Yes Iago too was once a man. What twists of fate made him evil incarnate? He sets out his prime motif: The question that’s asked here remains as large as ever it was: which is, the nature of evil, how it’s born, why it grows, how it takes unilateral possession of a many-sided human soul.

Wait a minute, he blinks at his notes, if Iago is evil incarnate, does that not also mean that he is Satan incarnate? Chamcha then is Satan incarnate? Then Othello has to be God? A little bit more corruptible maybe? Let us make him the angel Gibreel, he decided. As an aside, as the angel, he can slip into that reality in his dreams and reenact the story (history?) of Prophet Mohammad in inflammatory fashion, maybe talk about the ‘Satanic Verses’ since his Satan can’t help but gloat over his little jokes. Why not call the novel so too, except that it would mean something else – the verses that the real Satan of the story, Iago, sings in Othello’s ear. He knows that this might be cause for misunderstanding, might ruffle a few feathers, but it is just a digression, the real story is beyond that – it is not the Event Horizon. But he can’t help himself. He never could keep a story simple.

Ah, now something beyond mere Othello is taking shape is it not? If Iago is Satan, then surely it is in character to enjoy with consummate pleasure the sight of his own jealousy consuming himself – the green-eyed monster that feeds on itself. So Satan decides to narrate the story of one of his incarnations? Or rather, possessions? The questions that are to run his plot are flowing freely now. How an ordinary man when in contact with an angel inevitably had to transform into Lucifer himself. How can one exist without the other. They meet and the spiral ensues and Iago mutates and agitates and like a cancerous growth his strange fate builds until he turns his wrath square on his angel, his Othello. And how can he then not try to destroy what he is not, what he can not be. There is the moment before evil, then the moment of, then the time after; and each subsequent stride becomes progressively easier. But what about before and after the madness? It surely must be an ordinary life, with ordinary joys and pains. It is a cosmic drama, he concludes.

In the process, every insinuated implication in the play is to be played out in this story – Cassio does sleep with Iago’s wife, Iago is madly lustful of Desdemona, Othello is a deserving victim of directed revenge for very real ills and Iago needs no invented or unbelievable reasons for his actions. He is justified. It was inevitable.

Salman Rushdie sets down his pen.

He has vindicated Iago, many a literature lover’s favorite character.

And for that, I am eternally thankful.

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2 Comments

Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Book Reviews, Books, Creative, Poetry, Thoughts

 

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Night, My Hero

O Night, you are my hero.
Every hour the darkness encroaches on you,
every hour you plunge deeper and deeper;
no end in sight,
no light to be found -
that old sun, that glory,
forgotten in the long stretches:
of infinity, of time crawling,
yet you persevere, cling to life
and wait resolutely for day.
O Night, You are my hero.
You birth that glorious morning
every single time.
 
7 Comments

Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Creative, Philosophy, Poetry, Thoughts

 

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Tree, Interrupted

Today I sat
by the cluttered table
and sunk into the things I keep around me,
To keep me busy, to spend the days.
I grew tired
of glowing monitors
and red-eyed mouses, and striving wires
Trying to strangle, to choke life.
I lean back
to catch that one speck
of green, that hid the concrete beyond
That shielded me for a year.
Not there.
today’s stars will come out
and dew will settle and night will pass
Only you, you will not know.
Tree, interrupted.
 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Creative, Poetry, Thoughts

 

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Old laundry

I am that old collector
who collects every bauble,
every shining little verse
every idea worth its words,
to put them together
turn them over,
left and right
tweak that a bit?
To see what comes;
to see what births.
And I lay’em out
clean new laundry
washed and afresh
drying in the sun.
Are they mine?
Are they yours?

 
11 Comments

Posted by on August 7, 2011 in Creative, Poetry, Thoughts

 

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Who got bumped off Noah’s ark?

Who got bumped off Noah’s ark?
Who had it coming all along?
These days, in those cities of yours,
if you are not afraid, not quaking,
then you are not alive, not kicking;
Everything not forbidden,
is compulsory, every candle a nightmare.

We seldom hear the voice within us,
Because of the noise around us.
So please tell my friends to mourn me none,
It is time to go, time to jump,
Off the ark and into that flood.
Memories form the zenith of valor;
When happy memories lap your shore.

I was bound to leave that ark behind.
Was bound to leave that ark behind.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Creative, Poetry, Thoughts

 

The poetry he sees

The poetry he sees

He reads not the works of Neruda or Auden,

He writes not poems of elegant grace and beauty,

To read his poems, see what is reflected in his eyes;

As he looks at the sunset and is lost for a second,

See that sweet ode to an everyday sight?

Read it in his eyes and follow him for more –

As he looks at that girl and his heart wonders for a while

If it could be her smile that is to greet him every morning, and

Writes that elegy in the moment she fades away from view.

The poems to be found thus, of every form they are –

They move with him and is all around, everywhere –

His spoon as he sees it lying on the plate;

With half eaten rice cakes and an orange peel,

Is his sonnet of thanks, his hallelujah.

No this poetry is not found in books nor written.

He lives his poems, sees and breathes them.

He never has read a poem nor thought of writing one,

But if he sees beauty enough to stand and wonder,

The poetry he sees is poetry enough.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Creative, Philosophy, Poetry, Thoughts

 

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