Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A. V. Koshy writes

Swapna Sundari
(First Draft.)

Idyll II - Surreal time

One of my seven look alikes

duplicates or clones

met one of yours in the forest of Arden 
in the midst of Illyria

called you Viola

inviolate Lotus, mine

with a background score playing Lawrence Arms

landed up in the middle of the night

was not able to check in to the hotel

not having enough booty 
hoping to score in the game of love

Necromancer rushing into the alms

of Lady Divine, smelling of rose and thyme

Overhead the stars were in the sky

watching as later they drive through the streets

of a city that has no name

city of dreams, nightmares and comeuppance

where once bodies had been just numbers

and revolutions and giants had been submerged

except for the verses he was writing of her life

a few of which might still be found in the creases

of her cheeks when she smiles

or in time

but that sojourn never happened as it was out of time

Every poet must have this story

of meeting his heart on some seventh or eighth storey

and for once being able to hold it to himself

as it ought to be held

and in principle, never let go of

When the shadows parted

from each other 
in that ghost city

it was early morning

Duplicate or clone or look alike was startled

out of sleep and then by destiny carted

off to some abyss, still now uncharted

We do not know if in this tale, he will ever be resurrected

but two shadows are etched in life's corridor somewhere

coming together and parting in a shadow play unnamed, unmarred

and around it one can see clearly two haloes

and also, if one listens sounds of sobs on the night air

the result of that idyll and that dream time

you could call it 'romanticide' but it was something much more

no ghost score can do justice to the floods of poetry it brought forth

 Image result for two shadows paintings
 Two Shadows -- Simone Rioux


  1. The Avon river marked the boundary between two distinct areas, the Feldon, cultivated land to the south, and Arden, forested land to the north, including the village of Wilmcote , the home town of William Shakespeare’s mother (whose maiden name was Arden). When the trees were cleared to make way for the field systems the hedgerows (some of which are more than a thousand years old) that were left to surround the fields were all that remained of the original Forest of Arden. Many place names there end in “-ley” (such as Henley-in-Arden, Bearley, and Oversley), signifying that the settlement originated as a woodland clearing, while other place names such as Packwood and Four Oaks refer to landscape features.Over 500 old oaks with girths of over 5 meters still stand in the Arden area, indicating they are around 300 years old. The largest English Oak in the area is at Stoneleigh Abbey near Coventry: with a girth of 9.2 meters its age is estimated to be around 1000. But some of the coppiced small-leaved lime or linden trees in Oversley Wood, between Stratford and Alcester, may well be as old as 2000 years. (Coppiced trees have been cut back repeatedly so that instead of having a single trunk the tree develops a stool from which many branches grow. The wood was in effect a crop that could be regularly harvested with many uses including fuel and the making of cups and bowls.) Shakespeare set part of his play, “As You Like It” (ca. 1599) in the Forest of Arden, supposedly in a duchy in France, so perhaps the reference is to the Ardennes, a forested region covering an area located in southeast Belgium, western Luxembourg and northeastern France. "Arden" may also be a combination of the classical region of Arcadia (the home of Pan, the god of the wild, of shepherds and flocks, and of rustic music, celebrated in Shakespeare’s time as an unspoiled, harmonious wilderness) and the biblical garden of Eden (the original, paradisal, home of Adam and Eve before the introduction of sin, labor, and the other ills of mankind). The Arden of the play takes on a special role as a place of inversion, cross-dressing, and unsettled gender roles. The move from the court changes the characters and creates a space of sexual freedom and chaos, where women take control and men learn lessons in romance. Shakespeare borrowed heavily from Thomas Lodge's “Rosalynde, Euphues Golden Legacie” (1586-1587), but violated many of the theatrical norms of the time; for instance, about 55% of the text is prose, not verse; although in many plays the rural commoners spoke in prose, the courtly characters spoke in verse, usually blank verse, but Shakespeare deliberately overturned the convention. The play also featured more songs than any other Shakespeare play.

  2. William Shakespeare chose a fictionalized Illyria as the setting for his play “Twelfth Night.” The historical Illyria disappeared from the historical record after the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans in the 15th century, but in classical times it referred to the western part of the Balkan peninsula, named after Illyrius, the youngest son of Cadmus (who introduced the Greek alphabet) and Harmonia (the goddess of harmony and concord). In later accounts, Illyrius was the son of the cyclops Polyphemus and the sea-nymph Galatea. In Shakespeare’s play, Viola was a young woman from Messaline who was shipwrecked in Illyria and disguised herself as a eunuch in order to serve the duke. Though the play’s main character, her name was not revealed until the final act.
    Publius Ovidius Naso wrote about the nymph Lotis, whom Priapus (a fertility god who was the protector of male genitalia and was always portrayed with an oversized, permanent erection) tried to rape while she slept. She was changed into a lotus tree in order to escape. (Later, another nymph, Dryope, picked one of the tree’s red flowers and was transformed into a black poplar.) The lotus tree in this case is not the aquatic perennial that has been given religious significance by Hindus (who connect it to Vishnu, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati) and Buddhists (who associate it with purity of the body, speech, and mind; Siddartha Gautama [“Buddha”] was born with the ability to talk with the lotus flowers that bloomed wherever he stepped; in Tibet, Padmasambhava, the Lotus-Born, converted the people to Buddhism and is reagarded as the “Second Buddha”), but rather a North African tree that bore fruit that caused a pleasant drowsiness and was the only food consumed by the Lotophagi; according to Homeros, these Lotus-eaters chose to live in idleness rather than return to their homes and friends.

    The Lawrence Arms were a Chicago-based punk rock band that formed in 1999. They took their name from an apartment complex from which bassist/vocalist Brandan Kelly and guitarist/vocalist Chris McCaughan had been evicted.

    Lady Divine (or, simply, Divine) was the stage name of Glenn Milstead, a transvestite singer and actor who worked closely with (and was named by) transgressive film maker John Waters. “The most beautiful woman in the world, almost.” His name was taken from a character in Jean Genet’s 1943 poetic novel about homosexuals, “Notre Dame des Fleurs” (Our Lady of Flowers); Genet’s Divine was a drag queen who was canonized after dying of tuberculosis. Milstead’s best-known movie was 1988’s “Hairspray.”


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