Monday, May 29, 2017

Inam Hussain Mullick writes


Vigorous milkworts; 
Your torso's flaming flourish,
Sybarite's mauve, I.

Pantheist's skyscape encomium, 
Three graces, rain alchemy.

The Three Graces -- Antonio Canova


  1. Antonio Canova’s statue "The Three Graces" (the Karites in Greek, the Gratiae in Latin) featured three of Zeus' daughters (from left to right: Euphrosyne ("Mirth"), Aglaea ("Splendor"), and Thalia ("Good Cheer") who presided over banquets and gatherings to delight the guests of the gods. Canova carved a carved a version from veined marble for Napoleon's empress Josephine. John Russell, the 6th duke of Bedford, commissioned a copy in 1814, in white marble. The sculpting process was completed in 1817, and its installation at Russell's residence in Woburn Abbey in 1819 was supervised in person by Canova, who displayed it on a pedestal adapted from a marble plinth with a rotating top, rather than standing on a sacrificial altar adorned with three wreaths of flowers and a garland symbolizing their fragile, close ties. In this version Aglaea has a slightly broader waist than the original (now in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia), and has a round pillar behind Euphrosyne instead of a square one. Homeros wrote that they were part of the retinue of Aphrodite. In some versions they were the children of Dionysus and Aphrodite or of Helios (the sun) and the most beautiful of the naiads Aegle ("brightness" or "dazzling light"), daughter of Zeus and Neaera; but in most accounts they were sired by Zeus (and his third bride Eurynome, one of the eldest daugyers of the Earth-encircling river Oceanus and Tethys; or Eurydome, "Structure Outside the Areas;" or Eurymedousa; or Euanthe). The Spartans clained the third one was named Cleta, not Thalia, and other Graces were also mentioned, including Auxo ("Increase" or "Growth"), Hegemone ("Leader" or "Queen"), Peitho ("Persuasion"), Phaenna (“Light” or “Bright”), Pasithea ("Hallucination"), and Cale (Beauty")[or Charis, "Grace," Eurynome's daughter, the wife of Hephaestus: When his mother Hera, disgusted at having borne a cripple, cast him from Olympus, he was caught by Eurynome and Thetis, who together raised him for nine years]; a vase painting attested five of them: Antheia ("Blossoms"), Eudaimonia ("Happiness"), Paidia ("Play"), Pandaisia ("Banquet"), and Pannychis ("Night Festivities"). Sometimes only two Graces were mentioned.

  2. Tanka consist of five units (often treated as separate lines when romanized or translated) usually with a 5-7-5-7-7 pattern (often treated as, roughly, the number of syllables per unit or line).When Ōtomo no Yakamochi compiled the " Man'yōshū" ("Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves") in the 8th century,the term "tanka" was used to distinguish "short poems" from the longer "chōka" ("long poems"), but by the time Ki no Tsurayuki, Ki no Tomonori, Ōshikōchi no Mitsune, and Mibu no Tadamine put together the "Kokin Wakashū" ("Collection of Japanese Poems of Ancient and Modern Times")in ca. 905, the tanka had become the dominant poetic form in Japan, known as "waka." By 885, uta-awase contests were being held between two teams: A poet from each team would write a waka for a predetermined theme, and a judge would decide the winner and awrd points or each theme. When people gathered together to mark a special occasion, a utakai party would be held in which everyone would write and recite a waka.It became customary for writers to exchange waka instead of letters in prose. Lovers would exchange waka called "kinuginu" in the morning: though the man wanted to stay with his lover at her house, when the sun rose he had almost no time to put on the clothes on which he had lain. In the early 11th century, Shikibu Murasaki used 795 waka as though by the characters in her novel "Genji monogatari" (The Tale of Genji).The genre continued through various mutations over the following centuries until its modern revival, when poets began to publish literary magazines of their own; for example, Tekkan Yosano's "Myōjō" magazine (1900-1908) featured works by Yosano Akiko and Takuboku Ishikawa. But Shiki Masaoka, whose magazine "Hototogisu" still pu blishes, was instrumental in the form's revival. He praised the style of the " Man'yōshū" as manly and denigrated the "feminine" style of the "Kokin Wakashū," the model for waka for a thousand years, and insisted that waka should be modernized in the same way as other things in his country; to that end he revived the term "tanka" (Under the same impetus, he revised the traditional hokku form, thus coining the term haiku.) After his death, Saitō Mokichi continued his efforts through his own "Araragi" magazine. After World War II, the tanka and waka were again regarded as old-fashioned, but in the 1980s Machi Tawara revived widespread interest. Now many newspapers have a weekly tanka column; Ōoka Makoto published a daily tanka for more than 20 years on the front page of tghe "Asahi Shimbun."


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