Thursday, January 11, 2018

Pramila Khadun writes

In the backyard of your heart 

He was a London-born designer
Inspired by the rich cultural heritage
That is synonymous with India.
And she was a ballet dancer
With sophisticated tastes
And a champion for social causes.

Both knew each other for some time
And soft flames of love and desire
With emotions cascading in all forms
Grew gently in her heart
Sparking a ray of hope.

He was the answer to her prayers,
The warmth that encased her
And when she thought of him,
Be it dawn or dusk,
A sweet radiance of happiness
Glimmered in her grey eyes.

Her soul embodied the perfection
Of love God had created.
One evening, while they walked
Fingers intertwined, in the long
Promenade in the pine forest,
She unraveled to him
The sweet mystery of her love.

The horizon shone
Luminescent orange and white.
The birds sang unheard melodies
And she felt like stepping on
A threshold to a new experience.

He held her close to his heart
And she whispered in his ears,
‘I know your heart is not mine,
Yet give me a small place
In the backyard of your heart.’

He held her closer to him
With a resplendent smile
And strolled his fingers on her hair.
He thought for a while and said,
'In love, I don’t give all my heart,
I always keep some to myself
And that precious part,
I give it to you now.’

The strings of her heart
Strummed into celestial melody,
In an air scented with lavender.
Enfolding her soul in his,
He gave her his first passionate kiss.

Wilis -- Yuri Pysar

1 comment:

  1. The Vila were female spirits who lived in the wilderness or in the clouds. They had control over the winds and delighted in causing storms. When they did battle they shook the earth. They had healing and prophetic powers. If any of their hairs was plucked, they would die or change back to their human form, and if they were burned they would disappear. Anyone stealing a piece of their skin would gain control over them. They usually appeared as beautiful maidens, naked or dressed in sparkling white dresses, green skirts of leaves, and special fabulous blue robes. They were, variously, the ghosts of women who had been frivolous in their lifetimes, or jilted young women who died and became vampire-like beings, or were cursed never to find their true love (and if they did, he would die a terrible death). They were known for luring young men to dance with them to the death. The German poet Heinrich Heine wrote about them in “Elementargeister” (Elemental Spirits), an essay on folklore, which appeared in French translation as “De l'Allemagne” in the “Revue des deux Mondes” in 1835:

    "Dancing is characteristic of aerial spirits; they are of too ethereal a nature to walk prosaically on earth, as we do. Yet, dainty as they are, their little feet leave traces on the turf where they have danced in nightly rings. These are the stamped circles which people call elfin-rings…. The Willis are brides who died before being married. The poor young creatures cannot lie calmly in their graves; in their dead hearts and feet the old passion for dancing, which they could not gratify in their lives, still burns. So at midnight they rise, assemble in troops on the highways, and woe to the young man who meets them! He must dance with them, they surround him in unbridled madness, and he must dance with them without rest or repose till he falls dead. In their bridal dresses crowns of flowers, and ribbons flying from their heads, flashing rings on tgheir fingers, the Willis dance in the moonshine… Their faces, though snow-white, are young and fair; they laugh so strangely sweet, they nod with such seductive secresy, so promisingly -- these dead Bacchantae are irrisistible! For when people saw beautiful brides die they could not believe that youth and bloom, in all their brilliancy, could pass abruptly into black nothingness, so that the faith arose easily enough that the bride continued to seek after death the joys of which she had been deprived.”

    The essay inspired librettists Théophile Gautier and Jules-Henry Vernoy de Saint-Georges, choreographers Jules Perrot and Jean Corelli, and composer Adolphe-Charles Adam to
    create a ballet-pantomime called “Giselle, ou Les Wilis” in 1841. Act I, inspired by a poem called "Fantômes" by Gautier’s friend Victor Hugo, who had inspired him to abandon painting for literature: Duke Albrecht of Silesia, in disguise, fell in love with the beautiful peasant girl Giselle, only to be revealed by his fiancée. Shocked by the revelation, Giselle flew into a mad fit,
    dancing erratically until her heart gave out. She died in Albrecht's arms. In Act II Albrecht laid flowers on her grave and wept with guilt over her death. Giselle's spirit appeared and forgave him before joining the rest of the Wilis, led by queen Myrtha. Despite Giselle’s pleas, the Wilis forced Albrecht to dance all night but the power of Giselle's love prevents him from collapsing from exhaustion. The spirits returned to their graves at daybreak. The character of Giselle was premiered, in her 1st major role, by ballerina Carlotta Grisi, whom Gautier fell in love with; she spurned his affection, so he married her sister Ernestina, a singer. In 1884, inspired by the same folk material, Giacomo Puccini produced his 1st opera, “Le Villi.” And in 1905 Franz Lehár’s operetta ‘Die lustige Witwe“ (The Merry Widow) which featured “Vilja,” a love song by a hunter pining for "the witch of the wood" of the title.


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