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.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

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."

Saturday, December 27, 2014

पिवळीच मी पाकोळी की...Poetry of Flowers is often Patchy and Ill-informed




Writing of his experiences in World War I, Edmund Blunden in ‘Vlamertinghe: Passing the Chateau’:

“…Bold great daisies' golden lights,

Bubbling roses' pinks and whites—

Such a gay carpet! poppies by the million;

Such damask! such vermilion!

But if you ask me, mate, the choice of colour

Is scarcely right; this red should have been duller.”

On September 18 2007, I wrote on "self-absorption" of writers. Read it here.

As mentioned there, apparently, writers from Kalidasa to Dnyaneshwar (ज्ञानेश्वर) and beyond never mention a butterfly/ moth  in their writings!

I claim this based on a book 'Nisrgotsav' by the late Durga Bhagwat. (“पिवळीच मी पाकोळी की”/ निसर्गोत्सव, 1996 लेखक: दुर्गा भागवत)

Now, I have learnt a little more on the subject.

In the issue dated September 25 2014 of the The New York Review of Books, Robin Lane Fox says:

"...Surprisingly, the poetry of flowers is often patchy and ill-informed. None of the ancient Greek poets mentions the brilliant wild tulips that run like red rivers through parts of the Greek landscape. Chinese poets focus on a narrow canon of flowers, soaked in symbolism and hidden meanings. They say nothing about the heavenly wild flora, the superb shrubs and mountain flowers that have transformed Western gardens since their collection and introduction by Europeans. John Milton’s poetry describes bunches of flowers that would never flower during one and the same season. No gardener, especially in Britain this year, would agree that April is “the cruellest month” and in no gardens or landscapes known to me does April breed “lilacs out of the dead land,” least of all on the American East Coast within range of the young T.S. Eliot..."

Very big names, very big civilizations were mentioned there...

Chinese poets focus on a narrow canon of flowers, soaked in symbolism and hidden meanings. They say nothing about the heavenly wild flora, the superb shrubs and mountain flower...

And so is true of  Indians.

For Indian writers, lotus and rose- followed by Parijat (Night-flowering Jasmine), Champak (Magnolia champaca), Gulmohar (Delonix regia), Bakul (Mimusops elengi) etc- are  'soaked in symbolism and hidden meanings'. Not much place for 'wild flora, the superb shrubs and mountain flower'.

Chinese Chrysanthemum cultivar

Courtesy: 'The Golden Age of Botanical Art' by Martyn Rix

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