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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

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."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

G A Kulkarni, Walter de la Mare: Fellow Travellers...सहप्रवासी

 Today July 10 2013 is 90th Birth Anniversary of G A Kulkarni (जी ए कुलकर्णी).
 
Owen Barfield:
 
"Walter de la Mare questioned everything, including - or rather above all - the things that everyone round him had become quite sure about. But he rarely or never stayed for an answer. He just went on writing with an unfettered mind unfettered poetry."


Walter de la Mare:


"Life's mere ordinary day-to-day - its thoughts, talk, doings - wither and die out of the mind like leaves from a tree. Year after year a similar crop recurs, and that goes too. It is mere debris, it perishes. But these other anomalies survive, even through the cold of age."



Henry David Thoreau:

"It is the stars as not known to science that I would know, the stars which the lonely traveler knows."

I love Walter de la Mare (1873-1956). (Does he remind me of Balkavi बालकवी 1890-1918?)

G A Kulkarni  'introduced' me to him by quoting him in some of his moving epigraphs and later I 'chased' him through Google and Wikipedia


I am not sure if I got to study any of his poems in my school curriculum although Wikipedia states "He is probably best remembered for his works for children."


Illustrator: Dame Eileen Mayo From 'Broomsticks' by Walter de la Mare  

courtesy: brain pickings

I have read two-three books of collection of G A's letters-containing letters written by him and to him. 

G A mentions many Western writers (and not many Indians) and I was hoping to see more of Walter de la Mare there but couldn't see it. I have a sneaking suspicion that,  in those letters,  GA has spoken the least about the authors that influenced him most!

These days John Gay is one of my favourite authors and I was delighted to listen to his BBC Radio 4 podcast on Walter de la Mare and the prevailing creed of scientific materialism. You may download the podcast "The Limits of Materialism" dated May 3 2013 from here

For me, this was like visiting a place  where three rivers meet (त्रिवेणी संगम) accidentally
GA, Gray and Mare!  (T S Eliot, W H Auden and Graham Greene too were fans of Mr. de la Mare.) 

Reading Gray's article, I felt GA not just loved Mare's poetry but was also influenced by his prose. 

Sample this: 

"...Entitled Winter, the story describes a few moments in a churchyard late on a cold January afternoon in which nothing very definite seems to happen. The church wasn't particularly striking. The traveller who tells the tale describes pausing after long hours of walking in "a mere half-acre of gravestones huddling under their tower, in the bare glare of a winter's day".

With the sky above a bright blue void, the church stood on a hill surrounded by brilliant fields of newly fallen snow. Nothing moved, and no sound broke the frozen hush.
"In surroundings like these, in any vast vacant quiet," the traveller wrote, "the senses play uncommonly queer tricks with their possessor."..."

If you have read GA's 'Ramalkhuna' (रमलखुणा) , 1975 containing 'Pravasi' (प्रवासी) and 'Iskilar' (इस्किलार), you may agree with me.  


Artist: Richard Decker, The New Yorker, July 18 1936

(I love the spirit of travel expressed- "not to mind where we go as long as we go"- in the cartoon above by one of my favourite cartoonists. 

Btw- GA liked Vasant Sarwate's वसंत सरवटे pictures. I wonder if he would have liked this one.)

 Here is a very small selection from Mare's poetry:

 "But the music is lost and the words are gone
Of the song I sang as I sat alone,
Ages and ages have fallen on me -
On the wood and the pool and the elder tree." 


("A Song of Enchantment")

 "When I lie where shades of darkness
Shall no more assail mine eyes,
Nor the rain make lamentation
When the wind sighs;
How will fare the world whose wonder
Was the very proof of me?
Memory fades, must the remembered
Perishing be?"

("Fare Well")