G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Mice Speak: Living is Obligatory; so, too, is Dying.

The NYT editorial on June 5 2009:

"Over the years, scientists have developed many strains of genetically modified mice, many of which incorporate human versions of similar mouse genes. But there is something different in a recent experiment performed at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Scientists there have created a strain of mouse that contains the human variant of a gene, called FOXP2, associated with several critical tasks, including the human capacity for language.

What makes this different is how fundamentally human — and unmouse-like — language really is. Something essential to us, something defining in our species, has been implanted in a rodent.

FOXP2 happens to work pretty well in mice...

...And there is another question hovering over this experiment: Just how alien to themselves do these transgenic mice become? To that question, scientists are bound to find no answers, until, perhaps, mice can speak for themselves."

बा. सी. मर्ढेकर, # २१ , "मर्ढेकरांची कविता" (B S Mardhekar, "Mardhekar's Poetry", 1959)

पिपांत मेले ओल्या उंदिर;
माना पडल्या, मुरगळल्याविण;
ओठांवरती ओठ मिळाले;
माना पडल्या, आसक्तीविण.
गरिब बिचारे बिळांत जगले,
पिपांत मेले उचकी देउन;
दिवस सांडला घाऱ्या डोळीं
गात्रलिंग अन् धुवून घेउन.

जगायची पण सक्ती आहे;
मरायची पण सक्ती आहे.

उदासतेला जहरी डोळे,
काचेचे पण;

मधाळ पोळें
ओठांवरती जमलें तेंही
बेकलाइटी, बेकलाइटी!
ओठांवरती ओठ लागले;
पिपांत उंदिर न्हाले ! न्हाले !

Translated from the Marathi by Vilas Sarang विलास सारंग:

Mice Died in the Wet Barrel

Inside the waterlogged drum, the mice are dead,
Their necks hang, wrung by nobody.

The necks hang, and lips meet lips
Without desire.

Poor bastards lived in holes,
And, with a hiccup, died in the drum.

Day spilled into gray eyes,
rinsed their limbs and genitals.

Living is obligatory;
so, too, is dying.

Melancholy has disquieting eyes;
they are glass ones, though.

Even the honeycomb
brimming on their lips
is merely foam rubber!

Lips nuzzling lips:
O the mice are douched in the drum!
the mice are douched!



Artist: Paul Noth, The New Yorker, June 8 2009, Cartoon Caption Contest #196

My caption:

“The poet is right. They are saying: Living is obligatory; so, too, is dying.”