Sunday, May 28, 2017

Miri Cela writes

Niels Hav's universal truths in the poem Doomsday


At night the rat emerges,

sits in the window,

gazes at the moon.

Me? I’ve become a stone,

coatless in the wind –

it’s doomsday.

        --Tr. P. K. Brask & Patrick Friesen

The powerful title Doomsday brings to the poetic
hearthstone all the worshippers of three main religions that are recognized worldwide. Doomsday or the Last Judgment is the day when people will have to pass a final examination in front of God for everything they have done during their lifetime.

While reading
this poem for the first time one may think that its affinity with the title is too distant and furthermore may be suggestive that the possibility of having no connections at all may be taken into consideration. But let's go back to the poem to see what the poet has offered to us. Immediately the image of two 'main characters' of the poem is enkindling usː The rat and the ego of the author, which remains in question whether it is individual or universal and displayed as 'human ego'.

In addition to the two main characters we have two main images that are centered and collide in the same world. In the first part of the poem appears the smooth figure of the rat that comes out of the hole every night and takes a look at the Moon. The ensign of the rat is vast in Eastern Cultures (mostly in Chinese) but I think this symbol in the verses of the Danish author Niels Hav
is vaster.

The rat symbolizes vitality and briskness, as it is a creature with an amazing survival and reproduction ability (where a female can spawn about 5,000 babies a year). The rat also symbolizes intelligence, slyness, attention, adaption to the environment. and flexibility (the rat may not be harmed even if it falls from lofty heights)
. Meantime the Moon symbolizes devotion, knowledge, the gaps between consciousness and unconsciousness, the pace, the passage of time (like the completion of its cycle), the beginning (hope), and the end.

Let's go a little further away from symbolism towards the universal message that takes shape within the religion-title-image’s triangle.
 Inizio modulo

The rat figure is presented with a lot of hope, as an observer of truth, light, Moon, love, eternity and beauty. As the rat sits quietly and looks at the light, it does not hurt anyone. By means of its figure we can personify all innocent, sincere, simple, loving and hopeful people.

This moonscape that pleases the living creature's eye is put into the shade by the next imageː
Me? I’ve become a stone, / coatless in the wind –

It is the same world with the same Moon that illuminates it, but the human creature does not notice it at all. He furthermore is troubled by something else, the wind which has stripped his coat off. Here the poem reaches the peak of criticism. This naked stone, or coatless as the poet says, is the man who day by day is destroying himself and ruining every virtue and love, every purpose and hope.

We are turned into stones by the sins in our hearts that no longer feel. We are turned into stones by removing the mercy and the smile on our faces. We have become stones owing to the outbreak of dreams and hope in our eyes. We are naked in the wind. Wind symbolizes the trials and challenges of this world. Clothes symbolize morality, principles, ideals, purpose, desire and willingness to do good to people, while the denudation shows the disappearance of virtues in the twenty-first century, which again emphasizes Hav's strong criticism. We have become like a stone naked in the wind. There is nothing to fight anymore.

As the rat sits quietly and looks toward hope, it moves, lives, takes courage and doesn’t do any injustice. Let’s try to meditate again the title of this poem which casts us with much insecurity towards conscience. Will we have to accept our own iniquity in silence or sit somewhere where the wind turns into a breeze so we will watch the moon and get full of light?

1 comment:

  1. Niels Hav is a Danish author who lives in Copenhagen. He made his debut in 1981 with the novel "Mobility Forbidden" and has published other novels and colections of poetry and has been featured in many English, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Dutch, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, and other journals and anthologies.


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