Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sunil Sharma writes

 Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid

The rain-whipped Copenhagen
Stands dripping and wet
On that memorable June visit
And recalled often in-between states
Of dreaming and waking up in Mumbai.

Standing at the Langelinie Promenade
That day I stand reverentially and watch
The Little Mermaid that has pulled me
There to that promenade, my pilgrimage!
She, the Immortal One,
Sits atop a rock, looking forlorn, detached!
The glossy raindrops and the grey afternoon
Make it a gloomy spot in the glittering skyline.
The rain accentuates her inner solitude
Which Hans C. Andersen hinted at so subtly.

The odd character from a celebrated fairy story
Becomes real here, that instant, with the ocean providing
A backdrop of immensity to her hybrid frailty!
Love and longings are caught vividly in the bronze
Sculpture by Edvard Eriksen so deftly.

The screaming tourists take pictures along with the
Iconic figure of that half fish-half woman as
A souvenir for posterity; their grins starkly
Incongruous against her suppressed pain;
Fascinated, I watch the Little Mermaid, a masterpiece
Of another masterpiece
Perched delicately on the rock, homeless, yet at home.

Mermaids fascinate mortals like the sirens
In the Odyssey.
On many lonely nights, I have heard them calling from
Across the distant seas, in my little home.

This mermaid is caught
Perfectly in a somber mood, pondering over the
Fate of unrequited love in the world of strange humans;

Standing there that wet afternoon
And being hit by the spring rain
In quaint Copenhagen where once
Vikings lived and went out in ships,
I see the vulnerable figure, this
Epitome of sacrifice and silence,
And her isolation on high tide and moonless nights
When her sisters call out her name but she pines
For her lost prince!

I peer closer as the warm drops cascade down my body
And find H. C. Andersen looking at me through her sad eyes!
In Copenhagen, along its winding alleys and arches,
Parks, woodlands and near the shore
You can still hear the footfalls of the cultural history. The Little Mermaid (statue) The Little Mermaid (Danish: Den lille havfrue) is a #bronze #statue by Edvard Eriksen, depicting a #mermaid. The #sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in #Copenhagen, #Denmark.:  
Den lille havfrue -- Edvard Eriksen

1 comment:

  1. Hans Christian Andersen wrote "Den lille havfrue" (The Little Mermaid) in 1836. Its working title was "Daughters of the Air," spirits who, unlike mermaids, can earn immortal souls by doing 300 years' worth of good deeds: "We fly to warm countries, and cool the sultry air that destroys mankind with the pestilence. We carry the perfume of the flowers to spread health and restoration. After we have striven for three hundred years to all the good in our power, we receive an immortal soul and take part in the happiness of mankind." On the other hand, “A mermaid has not an immortal soul, nor can she obtain one unless she wins the love of a human being. On the power of another hangs her eternal destiny." The story's titular character fell in love with a human prince and traded her tongue and beautiful voice for legs that will enable her to dance wondrously, though the Sea Witch who caused that to happen warned her that taking the potion would make her feel like a sword were passing through her and that she would always feel as though she were walking on sharp knives, and that she could only obtain a soul if she gained the love of a human, which would cause part of his soul will flow into her, but if he married someone else she would die of a broken heart and dissolve into sea foam. But on the night that the prince married, her sisters brought her a knife which the Sea Witch will exchange for their long, beautiful hair, with the promise that if she killed him and let his blood drip on her feet, she would become a mermaid again. Refusig to do so, she dissolved into foam. But Andersen was dissatisfied with the ending and, in 1837, explained that "I have not ... allowed the mermaid's acquiring of an immortal soul to depend upon an alien creature, upon the love of a human being. I'm sure that's wrong! It would depend rather much on chance, wouldn't it? I won't accept that sort of thing in this world. I have permitted my mermaid to follow a more natural, more divine path." In the revised ending, her body dissolved but, instead of dying, she was transformed into a daughter of the air. The story became immensely popular and was adapted into many other genres; in 1909 the Royal Danish Ballet, founded in 1748 and thus one of the world's oldest ballet companies, staged a version set to music by Fini Henriques, choreographed by Hans Beck, and performed by prim ballerina Ellen Price. Art collector Carl Jacobsen (whose father J. C. Jacobsen had founded the Carlsberg brewing company in 1847, naming it after his son) was so inspired by it that he decided to commission a statue on the subject if Price would pose for it. However, she refused to pose nude, so sculptor Edvard Eriksen used his wife Eline to model its body and Price its head. Installed on the Langelinie promenade in København, the bronze statue was unveiled in 1913; though only 1.25 m (4.1 ft) tall and weighing just 175 kg, it quickly became a popular tourist attraction. In 1963 someone poured paint on it. In 1964 Jørgen Nash and other members of the anti-authoritarian Marxist avant-garde Bauhaus Situationniste decapitated it as a protest against consumerism; the head was never recovered but a new one was produced. In 1984 the right arm was sawn off and returned two days later. In 1990, an attempt to sever the statue's head left a cut 18 cm (7 in) deep in the neck. In 1998, the statue was decapitated again, but the head was returned and reattached. In 2003 it was blown off its base with explosives, damaging its wrist and knee. In 2004 and 2007 it was draped in a burqa in protest against Turkey's application to join the European Union, and it had paint poured over it twice in 2007. In 2006, a dildo was attached to the statue's hand, green paint was dumped over it, and March 8 (International Women's Day) written on it.


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