Friday, December 23, 2016

Mimoza Erebara writes


We keep on talking about “rising” and “sleeping” of the Sun. As a Copernican model of the solar system eventually placing it over Ptolemy’s system. Our vocabulary, our grammar, our metaphoric meaningless dressing, the figures we use – are those which accompany us every day”. (Reelles presences- Les art du sens – George STEINER / Essais- Gallimard, 1991)

Nowadays the metaphoric solidified meanings have not often taken the attributes of symbol. As in the above-mentioned case. Today it is useless to try to replace what was created, but we take it as it is in the moment we need it. At the same time the poets always try to create new metaphoric forms, as well as new symbols. After a wonderful artistic world heritage, in fact it is difficult to create metaphors which contain the DNA of the word. The etymology of the word, its authenticity, originality, if any, they no doubt attract the attention and encourage us towards other philosophic analysis. It is an interesting creation process in which at the same time what exists is evoked, is ready, and on the other hand it is a recreation in substance, full of spiritual strength.

In my analysis I shall try to bring to attention Niels Hav's poetry, even though not in full.  More correctly it is just one poem. The poem is:


During the killings unaware
we walked along the lakes.
You spoke of Szymanowski,
I studied a rook
picking at dog shit.
Each of us caught up in ourselves
surrounded by a shell of ignorance
that protects our prejudices.

The holists believe that a butterfly in the Himalayas
with the flap of a wing can influence the climate
in Antartica. It may be true.
But where the tanks roll in
and flesh and blood drip from the trees
that is no comfort.

Searching for truth is like hunting lizards
in the dark. The grapes are from South Africa,
the rice from Pakistan, the dates grown in Iran.
We support the idea of open borders
for fruit and vegetables,
but however we twist and turn
the ass is at the back.

The dead are buried deep inside the newspaper,
so that we, unaffected, can sit on a bench
on the outskirts of paradise
and dream of butterflies.

It is one of the poems which has a first meaning which is entirely not poetic and in the meantime it is visibly in contrast with what it contains in itself. The imagination and mystery which are easily offered to us and take us to the interpretation of specific poetic-esthetic-philosophic attitudes. Only after you enter into a deep analysis of such words, you understand its metaphysical purpose and at the same time you also understand the mechanism of creating the metaphors and the interpretation of symbols.

During the killings unaware
we walked along the lakes.
You spoke of Szcymanowski 

This is how this poem starts, with a quasi-prosaic language. The redemption of mind walks along the shore (taken for a synonym to the word Along as used by the Poet), which doesn’t belong to one lake, but to lakes. Hunting-Mind-Shore – just create an association with a state of relaxation so desired by everybody, it makes me wonder: What is the relation between Shore and Lake? What is the relation between Mind-Shore-Lake? In our case Lakes? In the relation Shore/Lake, Shore is the permanent host, whereas the Lake is the hitter of such Shore with its waves and it is a mystery as well, the unknown which is unseen but just sparks the imagination. After this we can ask further: What hit are you talking about, what does it represent in this case? Which mystery are you talking about, will I be able to discover what is hidden on the way? On the other hand the binomial Shore/Lake offers us also another specter of meanings, in which I would distinguish: patience, insistence, stubbornness, fondling, resistance and tranquility. In the case when the relation is trilateral Mind-Shore-Lake, the primary that remains is the mind which has its own Shore, the same as Lake. So, not only one Lake! It is not sufficient to the mind, it is free and its freedom is precious. Because this is how it is, at the same time it preserves its lucidity which makes it necessary to the poet’s philosophy. And it is known that the philosophy is philosophy as much as it is also the action, the author’s attitude which leads us to knowing him at first, but also the whole of nature. To lead us to the Truth and “after I have found such truth, I will try to apply”. (Arshi Pipa- Kritika, fq. 56, -Tiranë 2006). Mentioning the name of the polish composer Szymanowski is not random for the Danish poet Niels Hav. Szymanowski is a composer known as one of the most famous representatives of neo-romanticism, impressionism. Otherwise said, his sweet, soft music is full of feelings and trying to discover such feelings. In this case his name served to Hav to make the counterpoint when he says:

I studied a rook
picking at dog shit.

The strike is immediate. What does the Rook represent in symbolic meaning? Just Death. And Death on the other hand is the symbol of the most Evil that can exist. Death is inevitable, deceitful, similar for everybody. The black. It’s always a symbolic figure but in modern times no doubt Edgar Allen Poe remains the first who comes to my mind. Hav’s rook for sure is not Poe’s Rook. The reason it is mentioned is different, as is the author’s attitude to it. If with Poe the symbol of the Rook is visibly related to power on the next chosen, the darkness accompanying the bird symbolizes death; so death becomes an everlasting memory, an arrogant annoying man. Taken in a broader context, Poe’s Rook can be related to the impossibility of man to save himself from his final destiny, a repeated theme by the writers in different periods of time. Whereas the Symbol of Camaj’s Rook takes us to our search into the unknown, into the invisible spirit. At the beginning by presenting the classic symbol of this bird, as the one which evokes Death wherever it appears, the Evil, the undesired and at the same time the inevitable, towards that Hidden Truth and ignored with our human indifference. Symbolic parallelisms are easily seen between Poe and Camaj, two poets of different periods of time and by different cultures which in essence achieve more or less the same thing. But I think these are already analyzed and I used them just to illustrate the symbolic of Hav’s Rook. Hav’s Rook is picking at dog shit.

It turns out another symbol – the Dog, presenting us loyalty, honesty, socialization and justice and it’s also part of the second zodiac sign, which contains only symbols with positive energy. So we have a confrontation: on one side is Rook/Death/=negative energy and on the other we have Dog/Values/=positive energy. The philosophic problem of knowing comes out of the symbols themselves. The most known philosophic problem is no doubt the understanding of the relation between forces of Good and Evil, between the forces of Development, Prosperity, Peace and the Divine Light as well as Human and the opposite forces, the ones of Regress, Wars, Darkness, Loss and Human Treason. The symbolic existence of the Dog which just shitted, (read: catharsis) is exactly such permanent confrontation. But Hav states that: I studied a rook/picking at dog shit, which is Death that picks at the remains of Life, which not necessarily can be just the Shit. The Remains of Life can be Non-achievements, Failures in this Life. But also in this case we have a trinomial; we have also the dog shit which the Rook picks at. In my mind this is read like this: Shit is the Dog - dirtiness of Life – picked by Rook-Death. So we remain in the same primary symbolic-Death. In the meantime we know that Life is the Theme as also the Spirit can be. Set in such relation, I can advance my judgment to the process of knowing. Such relations are not only two poetic figures in a verse, but are a beautiful rivalry between the poetry itself and metaphysics. How much chance does Death have to be considered a Theme? Hav could have mentioned any other bird rising at the shore of the lakes, but he stopped at the Rook. To show us sadness? Sadness of what? Of the impossibility of Man to save himself from his final destiny? Or to save the Truth? Or maybe to show us at the same time that the World, Nature, Reality and Human Being is always just dual and just rivaling interference exists? In the meantime that Mind is sailing on the lake of feelings to the sound of music of Szymanowski and is walking carelessly on the shore, Life and Death are there, face to face measuring their forces. In the most prosaic way possible, far from the romantic radiance on the waves of the lake. It is the first poet’s affirmation. It is true, Life and Death are always together, always fighting with each other, invariably tough. Nothing is more important in comparison to such relation. Can man explain exactly such relation? Emerson emphasized: “Man cannot explain anything else but his history”. (Ralf Waldo Emerson- Esse, page 12, Albanian Publication). But isn’t his history the one which comes around just within such two states: Life and Death? And for Hav to be in front of Death is the same as being in front of Life. Tranquility, with which he says I studied a rook, creates the image of the man doing this action. In the meantime my background is the Black Rook on the ground picking at the Dog Shit and the perspective of Shore, Lake and hunting, both talking about Szcymanowski. A Monet, doubtless a foreword for a Dali. An ancient creation process deriving just of the Spirit, that special Theme. And which takes a Shape. “The Shape is the whole mystery of life and spirit”- says A. Pipa. From the Chaos to Shape it is a long way. Ways already known in art, but it is interesting as well to see the theme, text and verse to be conceived and passed to symbolism escaping the handcuffs of theme restrictions, by turning the symphonic and sounds of color as well as solid shapes and creating poetic and also non-poetic words.

Each of us caught up in ourselves
surrounded by a shell of ignorance
that protects our prejudices.

In such verses we stop firstly at the word Caught up. If we refer to synonymy, there would be also other words such as emerged, lost, splashed and dreaming...but if such words are inserted before the word Roll, of the next verse, then it is not difficult to create a relation between them. Both words reinforce the meaning of each other. Their common denominator is Disconnection from reality. The fact that in the second verse Caught up is followed by another reinforcing word of the concept in which the poet reveals, In the Shell, which also in this point of view takes the meaning of Disconnection of something. So we have Caught up, Surround, Shell and the three strongly reinforce the idea of such Disconnection of the poet of the game reality Life/Death/Where. The poet doesn’t say with but in, so Where There. Where? It is a question which comes naturally. In the ignorance is the poet’s response, which in our case takes the meaning of our great misunderstanding. It is that kind of misunderstanding which leads us persistently towards misunderstanding. The higher the misunderstanding and ignorance, the higher is the prejudice. The conclusion again is the Misunderstanding. I tried to explain that if we make an energy balance of the symbolic words it will be noticed that their essential understanding of such energy is distributed irregularly, thus chaotic. So, Caught up, Thought, Surrounded contain both options, the positive as well as the negative energy. Inclined more to the negative energy are the others such as Shell and Protects. Whereas for Ignorance and Prejudice, their energy remains only negative. Anyhow, the analogy with the scientific concept of quantum physics is tangible and clear. But in fact this is what is seen on first glance, because if it is true that here we have word symbols related to each other, and not just related to them, but also carrying out overcoming towards it which is closer to the true essence of the meaning and at the same time taking energy-meaning-symbol out of that word and at the same time delivering new energy/meaning/symbol. It is a relation which Hav in the second verse mentions at the moment when he says:

The holists believe that a butterfly in the Himalayas
with the flap of a wing can influence the climate in Antarctica. 

Apart from the philosophic explanation of holists, Hav, after he prepared us in advance, presents us the Chaos and The Butterfly Effect. Nowadays it is the most notable theory in the world of Quantum Physics as well as in the world of Philosophic Thought.
If I present the Holists’ theory with a simple scheme maybe we will have this figure:

The big circle is as a Whole.                           
The arrows are concepts that at the meantime are tackled in the analysis.

As the rook, dog, thought, shore, lake, shell,… It may be true, affirms Hav, the fact that after we have analyzed the meanings of such words which seem common, that this “butterfly flaps the wings in the Himalayas and to affect the Antarctica climate”= which is nothing but The Butterfly Effect of Chaos Theory. Further analyzed we have this view: Butterfly Effect = sensitive dependence in initial conditions. The Rook picks the Dog Shit MEANS: Death/Life) which results in the sensitive dependence on the initial conditions? In math this has already been studied and they are just deterministic equations or nonlinear systems which often reveal fantastic, complex and chaotic behavior. Nowadays the chaos state is always equated with a stagnating, purposeless, disorderly state out of lack of purpose. This is not Hav’s Chaos. I mentioned above the creation process and highlighted that the creation is the recreation of the Spirit. The creation is the artist’s breathing and its Shape. But a Chaos with shape is not any longer a Chaos, as we are used to perceive. Metaphysics since Plato’s time has testified that Spirit is always an addition to Matter, but an addition without which the Human Being wouldn’t have sense. Theme itself is combined and these endless combinations, infinite numbers, compose the one which is known as the new creation. A new Shape. The Shape itself means symmetric and systematic regularity. Micro-world is also the Macro-world and exist exactly thanks to their perfect regularity. What about in the literature, more exactly in the poetry and even more exactly, in Hav’s poetry? I think that Thought, the process of thinking and the Purpose are “nonlinear” system of the verses and the symbolic expected by this verse.

“When the poet’s voice conveys to him by the depth of antiquity a feeling of his childhood, a pray of youth, then he leads to the Truth through tradition disorder and institution caricature.” (Emerson, Esse, page 23, same source).

Then crystalize my thought by equating Thought=Purpose=Truth. To make such defining you just oriented the Mystery of Hav’s words. Chaos, this proto-historic state so present even today, provides to man much more options to search for it, in order to discover the borders, if any. The organized asymmetry in perfect symmetry of energy, shape and forms in the Universe is the key of today’s meaning of such Theory. And we saw also how the Butterfly Effect of such Theory works when we made the correlation between the words which were diverted into symbols. These words “randomly”, preserved the hierarchy from text to text and so from verse to verse. One after the other their semiotic sequences explained us the Purpose of writing. Maybe the two first verses can be called as prior – poem, or prior preparation, to reach to Purpose. The Attitude to Chaos Theory as well serves to such Purpose. The meant evocation of Hav’s childhood with the association of shore, lake, hunting/ in fact dual meanings, they all serve exactly to Purpose.

The Truth is Purpose.
Searching for truth is like hunting lizards
in the dark               

Here I come to a very interesting part of interpretation. The Truth is taken for known, a correct data. In this regard, I will try to provide the other unknowns.

Lizard is the most important. According to Henna Page Journal, the Lizard represents the symbol of Death and Resurrection to Romans. To Greeks and Egyptians it comes as a symbol of Divine Wisdom and Good Luck. In  the Mediterranean it is a symbol of the Old Family Friend. To Dogon tribe it is a symbol of Spirit Protection, In Cameroon, the symbol of power. To Christians it is a powerful symbol represented also by the snake and has got an ambivalent meaning. As well as in the ideology of Medieval Christianity it takes the values of “contemplative ecstasy” providing also another attitude by St. Gregory “the Great” = the soul that humbly seeks enlightenment.  For Hindu culture, Lizard symbolizes holiness and good luck. Regarding America it plays a very significant role in the folklore of many tribes such as: healing, survival, manhood, the main creation figure, genesis, child protection and generation (the regenerated tail). What is common to all such symbolism in different ethnicities and nations is positivity, divine, power, protection, survival, generation.

The semiotic relation between the Truth and Lizards has just one response=The Truth.

We follow all the Laws of Nature Within our historic Chaos, we try to provide the right meaning to our words we have created ourselves and we search perseveringly for The Truth. So we come to the only major problem out of which derive also the others: the correlation of the Truth with Immortality, The Good and The Evil, Chaos. Hav says: to search – which means to be in a continued process, an unfinished one. An unfinished one has all possibilities to be an immortal. An immortal has got all the possibilities to exist between existence of Matter (Life and Death), in Chaos. Then, is it sufficient for Hav? Can he expect as a response exactly such questions he constructed himself through his symbols? What is noticed is that in the moment that I analyze the verb to search, I give it many meanings. Firstly, it contains a past in it. Secondly, an action unfinished in either present time or future time. Thirdly, it may be a research of something which existed and doesn’t exist any longer, so something which is lost or may be a new thing, unknown before. The Lizard itself, even though it is full of positive energy is also healing for the soul, it’s divine exactly for such relief and soul healing, it is powerful to change the epoch destiny, protection of life, is in the middle of not finding it, a mystery because it cannot be completely and loyally interpreted in the metaphysics conceptual relation, this same verb which leads us to geometric solid shapes of the Matter, the universe. This is reinforced also by the dual role of the other verb – is, an affirmative form of an action occurring, despite us. Is, on one hand reinforces the first action – to search, and on the other hand affirms the following action. The conjunction as takes its meaning and role as well. It lets the doubt to be implied that it might be like that, but it may not be like that as well. The poem searches for the Purpose of Life in any object, even more in the Soul and human heart. It stands for the deep feelings flowing out of dark instinct of deepness. Doesn’t also Hav look for such Purpose, such Truth? Hav doesn’t develop the tragic problem of not finding or hiding the Truth. He doesn’t suffice only to present it to us, to make us sensitive to it. On the other hand, with very limited tools of literary available figures that as we analyzed are diverted into symbols, he affirms the existence of his soul in the moment he gives more of himself than he has got. This leads us to the analysis mechanism with which Hav perceives the poem. Classically we perceive the poem as a process deriving from feelings and their detailed description. But Hav offers us a poem of clean ideas over the abstract meanings. And there is nothing more abstract than geometry. Geometry is precise lines, perfect symmetry. But Hav is a poet and as such he philosophizes through his poetry. He builds, even though in the dark.  In such case such darkness just reinforces by not finding the Truth. The Dark is invisibility, the hidden, mystery but also the best place of the action the Evil. And this is the poet’s pain, the impossibility to find such Truth. Among Life and Death it stands, as rough as them. But Man even though faced with such incomprehension, misunderstandings and daily severity fighting, at the end doesn’t lose the essence of his existence – the Soul.

The dead are buried deep inside the newspaper,
so that we, unaffected, can sit on a bench
on the outskirts of paradise
and dream of butterflies.               

The poet is the one who more than any other person can sit somewhere lonely and dream…even of butterflies, which fill the imagination, and discover the Mystery of Existence and The Word Holiness. 

--Tr. Vasilika Papa


  1. Niels Hav is a Danish writer married to pianist Christina Bjørkøe. He once claimed, "I began writing in order to introduce myself, to find out what's going on and tell it with my personal words. And this is still the deep and restless ambition, to find the exact words, always a mystery of happiness in the middle of the timetable, they call it inspiration."
    In Defense of Poets
    What are we to do about the poets?
    Life’s rough on them
    they look so pitiful dressed in black
    their skin blue from internal blizzards.

    Poetry is a horrible disease,
    the infected walk about complaining
    their screams pollute the atmosphere like leaks
    from atomic power stations of the mind. It’s so psychotic
    Poetry is a tyrant
    it keeps people awake at night and destroys marriages
    it draws people out to desolate cottages in mid-winter
    where they sit in pain wearing earmuffs and thick scarves.
    Imagine the torture.

    Poetry is a pest –
    worse than gonorrhea, a terrible abomination.
    But consider poets it’s hard for them
    bear with them!
    They are hysterical as if they are expecting twins
    they gnash their teeth while sleeping, they eat dirt
    and grass. They stay out in the howling wind for hours
    tormented by astounding metaphors.
    Every day is a holy day for them.

    Oh please, take pity on the poets
    they are deaf and blind
    help them through traffic where they stagger about
    with their invisible handicap
    remembering all sorts of stuff. Now and then one of them stops
    to listen for a distant siren. Show consideration for them.

    Poets are like insane children
    who’ve been chased from their homes by the entire family.
    Pray for them
    they are born unhappy
    their mothers have cried for them
    sought the assistance of doctors and lawyers,
    until they had to give up
    for fear of loosing their own minds.
    Oh, cry for the poets!

    Nothing can save them.
    Infested with poetry like secret lepers
    they are incarcerated in their own fantasy world
    a gruesome ghetto filled with demons
    and vindictive ghosts.

    When on a clear summer’s day the sun shining brightly
    you see a poor poet
    come wobbling out of the apartment block, looking pale
    like a cadaver and disfigured by speculations
    then walk up and help him.
    Tie his shoelaces, lead him to the park
    and help him sit down on a bench
    in the sun. Sing to him a little
    buy him an ice cream and tell him a story
    because he’s so sad.
    He’s completely ruined by poetry.

  2. George Steiner is a "late, late, late Renaissance man" who has insisted "that you can use human speech both to love, to build, to forgive, and also to torture, to hate, to destroy and to annihilate."
    Karol Szymanowski was a Polish composer who belonged to the Młoda Polska (Young Poland) movement in the final decades of pre-unified Poland that promoted decadence, neo-romanticism, symbolism, impressionism and art nouveau in the visual arts, literature, and music. Later he developed an imprssionistic and partial atonal style of composition.
    When Momoza discusses the "rook" in Edgar Allan Poe, the reference is to the poet's best-known poem, "The Raven." Rooks and ravens are closely related, belonging to the Corvidae family (from "corvus," the Latin name for raven). First published in 1845, Poe based its complex rhythm and meter on Elizabeth Barret Browning's "Lady Geraldine's Courtship," of which Poe claimed he had "never read a poem combining so much of the fiercest passion with so much of the most delicate imagination." Though its publication revived his literary career and made him an instant celebrity, he only received $9.00 for its publication. As he lamented, "I am as poor now as ever I was in my life—except in hope, which is by no means bankable."
    One of Poe's sharpest critics was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who referred to him as the "jingle man." A poet, essayist, and public lecturer, the leader of the American transcendentalists, he was the most important American intellectual figure in the 19th century and one of the most quotable philosophers who ever wrote.
    Martin Camaj was an Albanian poet, linguist, and folklorist, one of the major authors of modern Albanian prose.
    Arshi Pipa was an Albanian essayist and poet. His recitation of a verse from Johann Wolfgang Goethe's "Song of the Flea" led to 10 years in an Albanian prison, where he wrote "The Pine Tree":
    Dawns that cannot be seen
    Must be conjured by the senses.
    When direful dreams take flight
    To the snoring of guards,
    To the stench of urine mixed
    With sweat and kerosene.

    And then, from beyond,
    A bustling beckons,
    A rustling echoes,
    A twittering and chirping.
    The birds in the pine tree
    Proclaim the coming day.

    St. Gregory the Great was pope Gregorius I "Dialogos." His great-great-grandfather had been pope Felix III, and his mother and two of her sisters were canonized; their sister left the nunnery and married the steward of her estate, which prompted Gregorius to claim, "many are called but few are chosen. By the time he was 33 he was prefect of Roma, the city's highest civil office, as his father had been, but after his father's death he became a monk and converted his family villa into a monastery. He then served as apocrisiarius (papal before ambassador to the imperial court in Constantinople) before becomong pope. He was responsible for converting England to Christianity, the result of the first large-scale papal missionary effort; for championing the establishment of schools to replace apprentice-based learning; and for developing the monophonic, unaccompanied plainsong used in churc liturgies known as "Gregorian chants."


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