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Sep 28, 2019

Bob Dylan As A Poet: Bijay Kant Dubey

By: Bijay Kant Dubey

An Icon of Pop Music And Culture; A Song-writer Superb; A Composer And A Singer; Above All, Poetry As The Songs And Lyrics of Modern Culture And Living;
A Representative American For The Country, Folk, Chapel, Jazz, Rap, Rock’ N’ Roll & Blues; Lyrics As The Discography of Music

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
                ----Robert Frost in "The Road Not Taken"
                         
In the literary history of the United States of America and that too into the annals of poetry, there is none but Dylan who has wavered and fluctuated so much in taking the award from the Nobel Prize Committee of the Swedish Academy the most-coveted Nobel Prize for Literature for the year 2016 as for keeping them in doubt if he would take or not, as for realizing within if these really would fall into the domain of poetry or not. His doubt was the doubt of a song-writer, his doubt the doubt of a poet if these are really worthy of being called poems, the songs if are poems in reality. The poet in him questioned and he kept mum and quiet maintaining silence for months letting them musing in the dark if he will accept or decline. He was at a loss if to take or not, quite disturbed and bewildered too, the dilemma, the dichotomy raked him so badly. But it was really a prerogative on their part, indeed a breakthrough in announcing his name for the most sought-after prize that he got it as he so richly deserved it and had been one of the contestants even though never aspired for. Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan is the name whose name has been nominated and accepted as the recipient of the most precious award as the jury thinks it right after adjudging to bestow upon. Who can better stand before in popularity and acceptance? Unrivalled and unparalled in his stature, he is no doubt a world class musician-composer carrying the traditions of music and song altogether so far. A guitarist, he is a musician, a song-writer and a singer and his lyrics the lyrics of the guitar. He is a bandsman and his poetry is the poetry of the bands, musical bands. He is a rock star, a pop star, the icon of American culture and tradition. But before we sum up, there are several things to be noted. In Bob Dylan, one can see an American tradition and legacy of music without which none can flourish. There are definitely some before him to be acknowledged, whose contribution we know it not. What are the impacts and influences on him? How has he grown? Who is it who has imparted the lessons to him in music? How has it been his experience? Who is that who has nurtured and inspired him? How has he grown over the years? Were there no introducers’? Were there no recommenders? There were definitely referees and still are whose services we know it not, what it goes in the making of a talent or genius. Talent hunt is equally difficult as writing.

Robert Allen Zimmerman whom we know as Bob Dylan was born on 24 May, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota, but was raised in Hibbing. To see it differently, the diasporic origin can be marked in the lineage and heritage of Zimmerman as his paternal grandparents were Jews from Ukraine and maternal grandparents Lithuanian Jews. His paternal grandmother’s family had been originally from Turkey. But his father who had an electric appliance shop moved to the wife’s home in Hibbing as for his polio and Dylan grew up there. At Hibbing High School, Bob got the idea of poetry and literature as he heard the teachers delivering on poetry like religion and taking up so passionately. Even now he has not forgotten though far from classroom poetry. The ideas and remembrances create music in him and the attachment and the things poetical get relayed through music, songs and lyrics. The best of our songs are sounds and notes, the frequencies and wavelengths of the pitches and tunes of sounds as signs and symbols.

In his schooldays Bob had been interested in music, listening to the radio, while at school, he performed too, but once it turned loud. But at that time too he had not been Bob, but Zimmerman. Later on, he made a tryst with moving from this place to that place and performing for. When he had been trying his luck, he thought of changing his name to get a breakthrough and in that way he turned into Bob Dylan. To know him is to search for many a thing as his is a musician’s story, a music-composer’s, a songwriter’s story, a singer’s story, an artist’s story, a performing artist’s life.

It is not that Bob Dylan has turned into a great artist all of a sudden and he has taken time evolving and someone has definitely helped him grow over the years. It is his teammates and bandsmen; it is his friends and lovers, the introducers. Joan Baez who had been popular even before lent a hand to him after recording his songs in the 1960s.

A musician-singer songwriter releases not his lyrics, but tries to sing and perform and in songs, poetry is tasted, the lyrical quality of poetry relaying sound, musical sound. He is first of all a musician then a singer, a composer of music and songs, setting songs to music, but vocal music too is poetry and song-writing a part of poetry. Were the Elizabethan age poets not lyric writers and songsters? A good reciter can convert any piece of poetry if the content and the length are okay.

The guitarist as a singer and a song-writer, a composer and a performer, an album-presenter, how to view it all in one? Dylan Thomas, his broadcasts and songs have definitely influenced him. George Harrison’s records too cannot go unheard. The beats and the Beatles, their fatigue with, search for cannot be sidetracked as Bob is bound to have these impact and influence which we can note in as traces.

For years the media and the papers used to talk of the probable conferring upon of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan. But the reality came true when his name was declared and the committee agreed upon giving the award. In him one can see the images of Walt Whitman, William Blake, Dylan Thomas, Woody Gutherie, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and so on.

His poetry is the poetry of the guitar, the music of the guitar, words set to music and tuning, words coming through vocal sounds and systems. His love songs are the melodies of the guitar in rhythm with other accompaniments reflective of modernity, urbanity, modern accents of speech and colloquialism, colour, romance, dream, intimacy and stylish living and thinking and that too with a philosophical tinge never missing from. 

A musician’s history will always be different from the of a writer penning down poems though the goal is the same, but the song is the singsong quality of the verse whereas the poem is a representation of thought and idea, image and description, pattern and length as per the context of deliberation. A poem is a thoughtful presentation where emotion and feeling, thought and idea are considered. But in a song lyricality, melody, musicality, singsong quality and rhythm are considered.

Though the musical fields are different with the experts of their own, of the country, folk, jazz, rock’ n’ roll and blues, Bob Dylan has tried to assemble and assimilate the musical trends of America with poetry writing to be presented anew to take the generation in his stride.  It is a time of rap and pop, pop and jazz, rock’ n’ roll and going blues, pop and rock and Bob a hearer, a listener of all that and a performer too and in sole isolation how can one grow disinheriting it all? He is a composer, a composer of music and a songwriter-singer, a scripter of the song, a putter of words into music and its vocal sounds.

Songs and lyrics can be specified for the singing quality and the lyrical note, but a poem tends to be poetical merely. But it does not mean that a poem cannot be sung; it can definitely be recited as recitation is an art. The intensity of emotion and feeling can make anything impressive on the way we present, we take to. Can a lyric be not written as a prose-paragraph? So are the things with Dylan he has tried to imbibe the pop culture of America; the pop tradition of America; the vibes of it, the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the American language, the time-spirit.

Songs as poems, poems as songs, how to take the songs for a study? How to take up for studies in classrooms? How to teach them for the students of literature and poetry? What Dylan as a poet has to offer to? What the themes of his, how the images, how the ideas? Some of the poems can be taken and some may be left out where intensely personal and private is meant for the adults. The lyric writers write the songs personally and sometimes these are taken and put into a cinema. Sometimes situations are given to the lyric-writer or the song-writer and he writes keeping in view the context or imagining about the scene of the moment. This is like sit and draw or extempore speech.

As he has taken to the guitar and has kept performing so both the talents have gone together with him. Had he been in a band from the start he would not have got the chance of evolving. But he evolved as tried to grow it himself. The music composers rear talents as well as let them not grow. Of the many awards and honours he has received, a few may listed as for our ready reference. His is a personal story of personal intimacy and relationship from Sara Lownds  to Carolyn Dennis to Sally Kirkland to Ruth Tirangiel to Sara Dylan to Dana Gillespie to Mavis Staples to Chris O’Dell to Joan Baez to Suze Rotolo, telling of romance and relation, inspiring his songs with their presence, but how to look into things private, individual and utterly personal which but the singer guitarist and composer knows it well? Something hidden, something open, which is but whose memory and melody, which is but whose lyric? How to take the road, the road of life and of love?

Bob Dylan, is he a rapper, a folk musician-singer, a country cowboy singer or a blue man? A jazz man or a rock and roll artist? A musician or a music-composer? A singer or a songwriter or musician? Where to start from? Or, is he a poet as he inducts in philosophy, the philosophy of life? What is rap? What the blues? The rock ‘n roll? The jazz? What these to do in poetry? Poetry as the folk, country, chapel, jazz, rock’ n roll, disco, blues of life. Poetry is the music of the guitar. The music composers too think in creatively in consultation with the bandsmen keeping the soundtracks; accents, stresses and falling pitches of the words which are but signs and symbols combining transmuted sounds. Can a musical composition not echo a song? Musical compositions are songs, melodies breaking mean it. Pictures and images are poems. Bob Dylan, is he a guitarist, a singer-songwriter or a lover boy? A tall man in the hat, coat and pants and boots taking the stage in consonance with American vibes of modern life and culture is he the musical, singing stalwart giving an impetus to song-writing, Bob Dylan the musical-composer and songwriter; a representative singer-musician of the modern time. A rock star or a pop star? In the rocks, what does a rock star do? In the pop songs and music, what does a pop star?  Who is whose, which is of whose?

Bob Dylan as a poet is a lyric-writer, a songster, a music composer for whom melodies matter it more, the song qualities rather than themes, thoughts and ideas. A romantic, he moves clutching along American fashions, styles and trends rather than poetry which comes to him through musical melody and composition. Had he been not a guitarist, he would not have been a composer; had he been not, not a singer-songwriter. With the guitar in hand, he has thought of music to give and the song to set to it rather than emulating, following others.

His is a slangy base and American curtailed speech is his forte, a poet of the present contemporary living and time-spirit and love matter, not a poet exactly in the strictest of the term, but a melody-maker, a music-maker, a song-singer. His lyric is the lyric of style, modernity and fashion; living with love. A poem is a lucid, emotional, passionate, imagery-laden presentation in verse form, but the rap beat only a musical rapper can say it.

Bob Dylan as a poet is of the pop culture, so modn, colloquial and slangy, full of the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the American language and Americanism singing the songs of the Americas be he from Texas, Massachusetts or California. He is a poet of modernity, urbanity and his poetry the poetry of the folk, country, chapel, jazz, rock n' roll and blues and the jargon of these. His poetry the poetry of the guitar and its music; the melody of music. A social activist, a civil rightist, he is a guitarist and his poetry the music of the guitar, vocal melodies cackling and taking us by surprise.

A singer-guitarist and songwriter of the 1960s, Robert Allen Zimmerman has been in limelight since 1960s with his debut folk song based album appearing in 1962, but Blowin’ in the Wind, 1963, The Times They Are a-Changin, 1964 songs impacting the anti-war movement and the civil rights movement contain in his notions and ideas approving and disapproving the establishment. 

We cannot help without knowing the song meanings and song facts as these are quintessential while dealing and dispensing with his poetry.

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right as a song was written in 1962. It is all about the proposal of love and disposal as well, approving and disapproving of stylistically. It is up to the babe to  decide. It is up to him to take it along or admonish it. Why to say goodbye? Why not to bid farewell? Do not think twice, it is all right, if feel you. Let the lover boy go whistling and piping. It is all about loving and proposing before and leaving which the romantics do it often. In his own admission, he loved a woman and a child, the woman wanted his soul and he her heart. Only a Lawrentine lover can do it.

Just two lines from Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right will suffice to do it:

It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It don’t matter, anyhow

The lines from the last stanza of the song, The Times They are a-Changing too may be cited in:

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall

Bob Dylan raked by the dilemma if he really deserved the recommendation, a musician-composer, a singer-songwriter, he felt the dichotomy of being split in two rather than corroborating the stuffs and hesitated to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature for the poetic part merely, but in reality the song too is a part of poetry as the lyrical and singable qualities are quintessential while dealing with the same. Bob Dylan as a singer of the modn pop culture has tried to imbibe the vibes of American life and culture, the nuances of American speech and slang, the idiosyncrasies of the language.  

Most of the time he remains on guard of what it happening around, what it taking place, most of the time, people coming and going, he is indifferent to when he chances upon the lost love of the lost mistress, even if he comes to notice his past love going. Most of the time he keeps going, going on the road of life. There is no remorse for her; there is no lamentation or regret. To go is the name of life and so he keeps going, up and doing. He can handle everything what it to befall. Most of the time he is ready to keep abreast of things and events. The past things, let the past bury its dead.

Let us go through the opening lines of the lyric, Most of The Time:

Most of the time
I’m clear focused all around
Most of the time
I can keep both feet on the ground
I can follow the path, I can read the signs

The song touches the heart so the melody soothing. Most of the time, most of the time he keeps, he keeps following, following the path which it turns, turns to and winds unfolding many sub ways to go to, pass through most of the time, most of the time there is nothing to lament, lament if to take it, take it otherwise.

Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues marks the development and growth of psycho-analytical thoughts and feelings of the mind stored into the dark layers of our consciousness and it comes to the fore as the babbles, murmurs and whispers of the soul frustrated and depressed or in quest of something supernatural or exploratory conditioned by the situations of life.

It is a great book, the blues of the heart, the jazz of life continuing and encompassing in all that it happens internally, in the mind of a man and soul who is so lost and bewildered and perplexed searching for values, what it lies unto the end, where the path leads to ultimately. Half-said statements, poetic truths as from the abnormal drugged psyche tell of the life full of bare lies. But how to correct if one deviates from the path?

All these bemoaning and howlings of the age, be that of the Beats, Beatles, hippies, romantics, Krishnites, roamers and ramblers haunted him and he as a witness of the age and times tried to transmute them into the body texture of music and melody, lyric and lyricism.

Let us take the first stanza from Under The Red Sky:
There was a little boy and there was a little girl
And they lived in an alley under the red sky
There was a little boy and there was a little girl
And they lived in an alley under the red sky

Under The Red Sky is definitely a beautiful nursery rhyme written in a narrative, make-believe style reminding us of the verses of Walter de la Mare and William Blake as they are. The little boys will definitely like to hear with so much patience and curiosity as he keeps telling and taking them into his poem.

To charter the course of his career is to start from his guitar and to hear the melody of lyrics impassable. Bob’s association with Columbia Records, which has really given him a chance, how to negate it?

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
….
I’m with you in Rockland
   in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-journey on the highway across America in tears to the door of my cottage in the Western night
               -----Allen Ginsberg in Howl

Robert Allen Zimmerman whose Hebrew name is Shabtai Zissel is a singer-songwriter, a musician-artist who starts his journey from the 1960s with his debut album featuring folk songs, but The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan strengthens his stature as a song writer with Blowin’ in the Wind, A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall drawing attention from. The Times They are a-Changing as the album with the title track works splendid for him. It is here where Bob Dylan comes closer to social justice cutting across the lines of prejudice and bias even voicing against poverty, racism and asking for social change. Another Side of Bob Dylan too adds to his fame and places him on a pedestal of glory. But the latter albums of the same time-span introduce him as a rock star and he doing with the rock items. Blowin’ in the Wind and The Times They are a-Changing, the songs have impacted the civil rights movement and the anti-war stance of the conscious people as Bob had been close to them politically, socially, emotionally and intellectually. 

Blowin’ in the Wind sets the tune of the song as such:
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?

How many roads to take, how many pathways to be a man, to be a man? The answer is my friend, the answer is my friend, blowing in the wind, blowing in the wind. How much time to devote, devote and dedicate in knowing the things of life and the world and come to realization?

Like a Rolling Stone too has a melody of its own:
Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?

But Series of Dreams is a different type where he talks of the conflicting times of crisis and influx and upheavals, psychological trauma and pain:

I was thinking of a series of dreams
Where nothing comes up to the top
Everything stays down where it’s wounded

In the song, Things Have Changed, he chooses the loving pair and keeps deliberating upon in a rocky mumbling and fumbling style of expression. Bob, who is the woman taking champagne? Whom has she assassinated? Say you, say you, Bob? Is she a bar girl? Is she a villain? Has she become herself or this society of ours has made her so?

Let us just see it:
A worried man with a worried mind
No one in front of me and nothing behind
There’s a woman on my lap and she’s drinking champagne
Got white skin, got assassin’s eyes

Even the pop culture has been impacted with his bourgeois consciousness and counter-bourgeois stance intercrossing so social, so romantic, so trendy, so folksy, so tonal and linguistic. There is something as that of George Bernard Shaw, the thesis and the anti-thesis of his but romantically, poetically in him which gives a new look of its own. His poetry is the poetry of the Beats and the Beatles, the music of the Beat tradition and the lyric of the Beatles which none can negate it the influences as man is a part of society which he lives in. His poetry is the poetry of the Afro-American world; his music the lyrics of the Afro-American world; the beats and nuances of it, the jazz, the blues, the rock n’ roll. 

The man in the black long coat, who, who is this man, waiting, waiting and wanting to take a girl away, away to where? Who, who the man in the long black coat? Where from? Is he? Man in the Long Black Coat is his excellent poem, really a marvelous and mystical one:

Crickets are chirpin’, the water is high
There’s a soft cotton dress on the line hangin’ dry
Window wide open, African trees
Bent over backwards from a hurricane breeze
Not a word of goodbye, not even a note
She gone with the man
In the long black coat

How to clear the identity of the man in the long black coat and who the girl going with him at his call? Where will he take to? And why is she going with him? For what purpose? Tangled Up In Blue is a beautiful lyric of Dylan touching the heart, taking our imagery away from:

Early one mornin' the sun was shinin'
I was layin' in bed
Wondrin' if she'd changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together

It is all about love and loving, what one thinks and what it becomes, how the things keep turning. Here the poet recollects and remembers his love, loved and lost and re-found. 

To consider him is to consider many a thing in literature; in poetry. What is poetry? What is songs? What the relation between poetry and songs? Are songs poems? What is music? How are song, sign, poem, song, picture, image, sound, music and melody related to? What is in a poem? What is it in a song? What is in a picture or an image? What is sound? What the letters? Are letters signs? Music, is it tuning, intonation, melody? Is the song a singable poem or anything can be sung? Or, a man should have the capability? Poetry as images and pictures; thoughts and ideas. Dhavani, rasa, how to take to? What is dhavani? What is it rasa? How the types of rasa? How the dhavani, lyrical or harsh or jazz or full of melodies? Who man poet? A singer or a man of thoughts? A man emotional and full of feelings, passionate, sensitive, sensuous and sentimental? Can prose lines be not poetry lines? Is modern poetry urban and of city-space gasping for open space? Is modern poetry of the hollow men? Broken lines as the lines of modern poems? How the jazz poems? How the blues? How the scripts of these? How do the musicians compose setting words to music? How the rock n’ roll compositions? How the country songs? The folk songs? How the chapel music ecclesiastical?

How the pop songs? The pop music and its composition? How the Beat traditions? What about the Beatles? How the rap music, the rappers and rap scripts? How the alignment and arrangement of words and melodies? What is that he has imbibed, how the traditions before? What the influences and impacts bearing upon? What is it that gone in the making of his personality? How have the bootleggers, hippies taught in adversity? Whatever be that, Bob belongs to a tradition, a legacy of musical tradition and lineage and is under the influence and impact of these definitely of which he is also a witness to that.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
             ----Robert Frost in "The Road Not Taken"

Sep 22, 2019

The Drinker

By: Bijay Kant Dubey

The Drinker (Darru Mat Piyo, Daru Pina Buri Baat Hain)/ It is Bad To Drink, Leave You Drinking, Think About Your Family, What has Wine Given To You?/ Life Is Not A Bottle of Liquor, A Few Puffs of Marijuana, Life Is Not Drug Abuse And Alcoholism


Drinker, daru mat piyo,
Daru pina buri baat hain,
Nasha kaa huya jo shikar
Ujada uska ghar samsar!

Drinker, drink you not wine,
To take wine is bad,
One who turned into a victim of addiction
Destroyed his family!


Daru mat piyo, bhaiyya,
Do not drink, brother,
Daru pina buri baat hain,
To take wine is bad!

 People take wine
And get ruined,
Spoiled,
Destroyed taking

Daru, Indian daru,
Liquor, foreign liquor,
Wine, English wine,
Alcohol, whatever call you

My friend,
Big boss,
Brother,
Wine is wine, am I clear?

Nasha kaa huya jo shikar
Ujada uska ghar samsar,
One who turned into a victim of addiction
Destroyed his family!

Daru mat piyo, daru mat piyo,
Daru pina, pina buri baat hain,
Do not drink wine, do not drink wine,
It is bad to drink, drink wine.

Wine,
Alcohol,
Liquor,
Take you not, take you not!

Daru,
Alcohol,
Wine,
Liquor, abstain, abstain you from!

It is wine, wine which will ruin, ruin you,
It is alcohol, alcohol,
It is liquor, liquor which will, will
Finish, finish you.

Wine, wine
Abstain, abstain you from,
From wine, alcohol, liquor,
Daru, daru!

Toddy, palm juice,
Rice-brewed handia,
Earthen bowl-kept stale wine,
Mahua-made.

Wine, wine,
Wine will snatch happiness,
Happiness of your family,
Family.

Wine, wine
Will, will destroy,
Destroy your family,
Family.

Wine, wine will take,
Take your sleep away,
Away from your eyes,
Sleep, sleep.


II

Taking wine,
Wine,
See, see you,
What you have, you have!

Taking, taking
Wine,
Wine,
Drinker, O Drinker!

Drunkard, Drunkard,
O Drunkard,
The world calls,
Calls you a drunkard, a drunkard!

Having taken, having taken
Wine, wine,
What,
What have you made, made of you!

Having taken, having taken
Wine,
Wine,
What, what have you, have you!

After taking wine, wine
Lie you, lie you fallen,
Fallen on the roads, roads!

After, after taking you,
Taking you wine,
Wine, Drunkard,
Drunkard!

Do the shops, shops,
Liquor shops,
Shops attend,
Attend to?

Drunkard,
Drunkard, for wine,
For wine,
You have it all!

Drunkard, Drunkard,
For wine,
For wine
You have, have your life!

Drunkard,
Drunkard,
Your wife is weeping,
Your daughter is, your whole family!

How sad, sad and pitiable,
Pitiable and pathetic
Is your condition,
Condition!

How sad, how sad,
It is,
It is to see you,
See you, Drunkard!

III

Can’t you,
Can’t you leave wine,
Wine
Which spoils it?

Can’t you
Wine, wine,
Ganja, ganja,
Bhang, bhang?

Can’t you,
Can’t you
Heroin,
Brown sugar?

Drunkard,
Drunkard,
Can’t you,
Can’t you friendship?

With bootleggers,
Drug peddlers,
Ganjeris, bhangeris, darpiyas?

Can’t you,
Can’t you,
Drunkard,
Drunkard?

Your connection with,
Association,
Association with them,
Them, Drunkard?

Leaving ganja,
Bhang,
Daru,
Can’t you, can’t you?

IV
Life, life not,
Not a bottle,
A bottle of wine,
Wine!

Life, life not,
Not a bottle,
Bottle of wine
Deshi or videshi, native or foreign! 

Life, life is to live,
Live,
Drunkard,
Life, life is but to live!

Life, life is not to,
Not to destroy,
Destroy as thus,
As thus, Drunkard!

Life, this life not,
Not a bottle of
Beer, rum, whisky,
Vodka, champagne!

Life, life is
But to live,
But to live,
Mr.Drunkard, did you understand!

Life, life not a pouch,
A pouch of ganja,
Not, not a pill of bhang,
Bhang!

V
Mr.Drunkard,
Think you,
What life has,
What has it?

What has it given,
Given,
What,
What has it taken from?

What, what can
Ganja, bhang
And daru,
Drunkard?

What can,
What can it daru, alcohol,
What, what can it bhang, hemlock,
What, what can it ganja, marijuana?

Wine will end you,
End you
And your life,
Not only you, you, but your whole family!

Think,
Think you, where are you,
Where are you going
To, Drunkard?

Drunkard, when die you,
Die you,
None will be,
None will be by you!

VI
Drunkard,
Drunkard,
How helpless are you,
How much hopeless!

I weep, weep to see you,
See you,
I weep, weep to see,
See you!

Your eyes red, red with addiction,
Your eyes red, red with weeping,
Weeping
Which the wide world has not, has not!

Come to, come to feel it,
Feel it,
How much helpless you are,
How, how much helpless am I!

You wept, wept,
I wept, wept,
Your and mine,
Mine and your weeping

The world did not,
Did not, Drunkard,
Drunkard,
Your and mine, mine and your weeping!

You wept and wept,
I wept and wept,
The world did not,
Did not,

You wept and wept,
I wept and wept,
The world did not,
Did not

Feel it,
Feel it,
I for you, I for you,
You for me, you for me!

Teardrops fell down from the eyes,
Teardrops
From the eyes,
My Love!

And I could not,
Could not hold myself,
Myself
In check!

As such was my weeping,
As such was my weeping
That, that broke I down,
Broke I down for you, my Love!

VII
Drunkard, what can I,
What can you,
Where you, there I,
Where I, there you?

We are powerless,
Powerless,
Drunkard,
Drunkard!

The State has its own rules,
Rules and regulations,
Laws and norms,
The State has, the State has!

If the State a welfare state,
Why does it,
Does it issue
Licenses?

If the State is,
The State is
A welfare-oriented,
Oriented state?

Why does it,
Does it
Issue,
Issue licenses?

Drunkard,
Drunkard,
There must be,
Must be someone to hold in check!

The medical practitioners
Must be there sometimes
To counsel,
The bar-owners should about public health!

This life is not for to die,
Die
If if one crosses the limit,
Should be, should be checked!

One should be checked,
Checked from
Over drinking,
Drinking beyond limit!

If one is drunken,
One should be held,
Put to safety
As to make one drink is not all!

As the Govt. collects duties,
Custom taxes,
It must,
Must take a note of over drinkers!

As they cannot be left to die,
Cannot be left to die,
Die like the ragged men,
As they too are men, are men!

How to redress their grievances,
How to, how to
Their cause and anxiety,
Depression and sorrow?

This the work,
The work of the nation,
The state, the state
To look after, look after!

Sep 15, 2019

Larkin's "Church Going"


By Bijay Kant Dubey

Church Going by Philip Larkin

Church Going by Philip Larkin is a poem of crisis in faith and belief, angst and bewilderment we are confronted with, the age of anxiety we are born in with so many questions resolved and unresolved, we do not know which way to follow, what to do, but cleared of false notions and assumptions doing the rounds for so long. A pessimist, a loner in life, living singly without any romance, Larkin tries to dig the church surface with his existential tool of curiosity and search. Why is faith so reverent and where is it faith? What is it in church going? What is it that makes a church really a church? Is it that not a house? Why do the people go there? Such an inquisitive mind is essential for knowing the hidden facts of life and the world. Why to bemoan the loss of ideals? Why not to question them with an inquisitive mind and heart? What has it happened to faith and where are we going? What is faith? Why is it held so sacrosanct in good belief? What is it holy, unholy? Why is the church so holy? Is it the place of God? Does God live in here really? Are the psalms and hymns from the heart full of feeling?

Since the start the poet is stoical and skeptical about rather than reverent and sacred and sacrosanct. His pessimistic attitude is known world over. But his style of narration is extraordinary no doubt. In a lively manner he starts the poem with the words that he is sure of it that there is nothing going on. The church is empty and he is stepping inside, letting the door thud shut.

Once I am sure there's nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence,
Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
Cleaned or restored? Someone would know: I don't.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
"Here endeth" much more loudly than I'd meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.
Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches fall completely out of use
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show,
Their parchment, plate, and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?

After the dark or when the congregations are over, the space lying thinned or almost empty, some dubious women will come to make their children touch a particular stone or pick simples for a cancer, believing in hocus-pocus or holy cure, so much conventional and faithful that they are not sure of what they are doing. It may be that she may on some night be advised to see a dead one walking. This is how the things keep going. What is religion? Religion is but faith; a matter of one’s faith. But the things are not so as we assume or presume to be. There is nothing like a place of God, but we like to give a shape to that to mean our supposition with the mat, book, dais, altar and other relics. Some neurotic and psychotic people too add to the story. The God-fearing hypocrites and whispering lady personae too add to the suspense.

Or, after dark, will dubious women come
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
Advised night see walking a dead one?
Power of some sort or other will go on
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random;
But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,
A shape less recognizable each week,
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
Will be the last, the very last, to seek
This place for what it was; one of the crew
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?
Or will he be my representative,
Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt
So long and equably what since is found
Only in separation - marriage, and birth,
And death, and thoughts of these - for whom was built
This special shell? For, though I've no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,
It pleases me to stand in silence here;
A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognised, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.
The poem is autobiographical and ironical too when he says:
Once I am sure there's nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.

The poet stops near the house riding the bicycle:
                               Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence,

Church Going is a poem of ecclesiastical realization and existential search. Where is God?

Why do the people go to church? A poet of the fifties, a Movement man, a pessimist and an iconoclast, a nihilist and an existentialist, an agnostic and an atheist, Larkin is monotonous, full of dull, dry and dreary thoughts and ideas. Only ideas are therein in him, the thesis and the anti-thesis Shavian and Galsworthyian.
Philip Larkin as a poet of the fifties, a Movement man, a pessimist dull and dreary and drab, lost and bewildered, monotonous and tasteless, an iconoclast, an idol-breaker, a nihilist, an existentialist, an agnostic, an atheist here in this poem questions what others have left for. Why is faith so reverent? Why the house so special? What is it that makes a church church-like? Is it faith or the make-believe stuffs? His pessimism dislodges it all seeing everything but with skepticism and suspense. His is a belief in disbelief as he sees everything but with askance. The ecclesiastical people have made the church hierarchal. The religious order seems to be pontifical and hypocritical. How to dispense with and dislodge them all? How to disapprove of?




Sep 10, 2019

Bijay Kant Dubey's "Gandhi: A Poetic Drama"


Written by 
Bijay Kant Dubey

Removal of The Gandhi Statue From The Ghana University Campus (A Poetic Drama)
                                              (A One-act Play)

Background is the scenery of the historical poetic drama opening with it, a mode to introduce to the audience, the readers giving a background of all that happened or to take place and in Background lies it Premonition, Nightmare as the latter is just a realization on the part of Gandhi. First, Background was put forth as for introducing the play, but later on the Chorus was assigned with and allotted to the role.

Scene I
The Chorus As The Voices of Prediction And Prophecy:
In this age of post-truth evaluation,
Post-truth evaluation,
How to prevent them
If the values keep changing?

Again, The Same Choric Voices:
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are here,
Here
To listen them,
Listen them.

The Same Choric People:
What they say,
What they do,
Hush, hush up,
Silence please, silence, let me, let me hear!

(In three turns and poses and postures to predict as prophecies, giving ears to whispers and mutterings, chuckling and laughing to give an impetus to enactment, staging of the Gandhian drama of life.)

II

Background
Premonition: 
My days are nearer,
Maybe will not here tomorrow
As this life of man too is as thus
For a brief stay comes he here,
Goes away from here.

In the nightmare
Saw I someone approaching me
With the pistol into the hands,
Bowing me with folded hands,
Why is this nightmare,
I don’t know.

(And the news spreading,
 Gandhi lies it assassinated,
Gandhi assassinated by Nathuram Godse
Who also knew it
That he was assassinating a great soul.

At Birla Mandir
Lay his body still,
The earthly remains of the great man,
The old man at prayers
But the things took a turn
As thus, drastically.

With the words,
Hey, Ram,
Passed he away, breathed his last,
Hey, Ram on the samadhi of his
At Rajghat.)

    III

(A shift in scene. Gandhian images of different pensive moods of reflection made to speak with the Gandhian look-alike personae or posing as Gandhi reminding of Gandhi Jayanti celebrations, birthday anniversary celebrations falling on the 2nd of October each year.)

Gandhi Bewildered And At A Loss (With the faint Image of his):
Again, again want they,
They to assassinate my character,
For what I did,
What I said it then!

Gandhi In Remorse(A Penitent Image):
O God, where are You,
What are You seeing,
What they saying,
O God, God…

God, The Voice of God As An Oracle:
Let them, let them, my son,
My son,
Let them, let them say
As theirs is the day!

(Gandhi feeling disturbed, blamed as for the misinterpretation, misanalysis. Gandhi looking sad and morose.) 

Scene IV

Well-wishers (Inclusive of Some Ghanaian And Indian Voices Or The Winds Hinting It):
Gandhi, Gandhi,
Get away, get away from here
As the campus is brewing with,
Brewing with trouble and tension
Fomenting for sometime.

The Voice of Gandhi:
The Voice of Gandhi,
Gandhi speaking,
Why, why, my dear,
Why, why, for what?

Well-wishers:
Gandhi, Gandhi,
Gandhi, you my Sir,
They are coming,
Coming?

The Voice of Gandhi:
Who, who my boys, girls,
My sons and daughters,
Who, who they
Coming, coming to?

Well-wishers:
They are coming,
Coming,
The guys
To dismantle you, dismantle you.

The Voice of Gandhi:
Why, why are they,
Let them, let them
If they want to,
Want to.

V

(After the trouble being fomented for quite a lot of time, the tension brewing, the radio broadcasts and T.V. news-breaks, the media personalities and the anchormen visiting the campus as for an opinion with regard to the statue installation and the aftermath of it, to gauge how the intensity of painted feeling of protest which a simple statue can provoke.)

Good Anchorman, Media Fellow
(With the microphone):
Lo, I am here,
I have reached the spot
To know the opinion
Of the boys and girls studying!

Good Anchorman Addressing the Passing Students:
Will you,
Will anybody of you
Tell about the trouble
Brewing it for sometime?

One Girl Student:
Yah, I shall
Though I do not know too much,
Bu have heard the people saying him
And the Indian independence.

One Boy Student:
Yeah, he was a great man
Who did so much for India
As far have I
From the teachers.

Anchorman Addressing Another:
Have you heard
That this old guy
Has anything derogatory
For the African people?

Another Girl Student:
No, I don’t know,
Know about it,
Know about it,
All about that.

Scene VI

(The Chorus as a choric voice or an assemblage of people reflecting upon from time to time with regard to what to take place, happen or occur in the future course of action or to enlighten upon otherwise as a hint, gesture tendered.)

The Chorus As The Notes of Dissent Sensing:
Lo, the storm is gathering
In the form of the dissent,
Dissent against the icon, the scion
Though we not against!

Good Judgement:
What, what,
What did you,
What your murmuring,
Muttering?

The Same Chorus:
Nothing, nothing
Did we,
Did we against the things
Phenomenal?

VII
(Premonition as the Refection and Musing of Gandhi ordaining it with its ruminations over and the Image of Gandhi flashing over. The Statue of Gandhi feeling discomfort in the midst of trouble brewing, fomented. The Image of Gandhi may be as shadow of Gandhi or a tiny speck of that something as photographically. It is not that Gandhi saying, but supposed to be the photos, images of his saying with the deigns and temperaments of their makers, be they makers of sculptures or images as they too are Gandhians, Gandhists, not less than as they continue to make after proper reading and assimilation of thoughts and ideas and images.)

The Image of Gandhi:
The image of Gandhi
Flashing upon
And they,
They holding meetings under the shadow of.

The Chorus:

They, they holding meetings,
Meetings unaware of,
Unaware of
Under the shadow of Gandhi.

The Chorus:
Let us, let us hide
Lest they see us,
See us hiding ,
Hiding and conspiring.

VIII

(The complainants, suited and booted coming, coming to hold meetings, the notes of dissent to be given approval in the form of resolutions drafted and the sub-committee to approve of; they coming with the petition to be handed over, to be submitted to the good office of the Hon’ble V.C.to be forwarded to be the Govt. as for relocation.)

One Complainant:
No, no, he has said
Something
Quite derogatory,
Derogatory about the Africans.

Another Complainant:
The copy of the text,
The text is with us
To see and verify,
What he has?

Another Complainant:
Why shall we,
Shall we the statue
Of an Indian leader
In the African campus?

Another Complainant:
Are there no leaders
In Africa,
In Ghana
Whose statue we cannot?

Another Complainant:
He did for India,
What did he for Ghana,
So why to install,
Install the statue of?


Pol. Sc. Prof. As Diplomat:
No, no, how can it be,
How can it be so
Gandhi anti-African,
Anti-Ghanaian?

Diplomat:
One who lived in South Africa
Fighting for justice
How can,
How can be branded so at once?

Diplomat:
He was not,
Was not a racist,
Not, not at all,
Gandhi.

Lady Journalist:
No, no, I cannot approve of
That he was a racist
As I myself loved to love
And like his theories
And went to see his statue personally.

IX
The Chorus:
They have resolved,
Resolved in the sub-committee meetings
As for the removal.

The Voice for the Govt.:
People, people
As the critics must understand,
Understand the compulsions of the times,
People too evolve.

The Chorus:
But who,
Who hears the good counsel
If they want not,
Not to hear the good words?

Good Voice:
Was Gandhi a good man,
Was Gandhi a bad man,
How to say,
How to say in this age of post-truths?

The Chorus:
But the professors,
Professors and lecturers not upon,
Bent upon brining the statue down,
Nothing, but the statue of his.

They going on a signature campaign,
Threatening a strike,
Demonstrating and protesting against
The Gandhi statue in the campus,
Campus of Ghana University.

I do not think
All are interested in bringing it down,
All cannot be of the same opinion,
Some may definitely opinion,
If it is, let it be, what harm is it going to do?

X

Campaigners (With pen and paper):
We shall continue to campaign,
Campaign for the removal,
Removal of the statue,
O Secretary, President of the committee,
Let us, let us be with!

Again, They Saying (Hand-in-hand, Shoulder-over-shoulder):
We the campaigners,
Campaigners on a signature trail
For removing the Indian statue
From our native campus.

Again, The Campaigners:
Brother, O Brother,
Sign you,
Sign you, here,
O Sir, O Madam!

Our campaign is against
The so-called Mahatma
Who is actually not,
But a simple man.

The Voice of Reasoning Contradicting:
No, no, say you not,
Say you not so,
It is bad, bad,
Very bad to say so,
You the people!

(The Campaigners looking white-collar people come and go away with the pen and paper to get it endorsed and signed, initialed by more and more people though many of the Ghanaians know their tricks, not on their side. They are just a few after their vested interests, politicking to come to the fore, to be in the limelight. And finally Gandhi will bail them out. I shall not see, you will but see it.)

XI

Campaigners Joined In by Protesters:
Gandhi, Gandhi will have to go,
Go out,
Our protests will continue
Till it is removed.

If not, we shall, shall blacken
The statue of Gandhi,
Take off the specs
Stealing from.

The Joker As The Ragged Man Wandering Around:
No, no, do you it not,
As live I near him,
My friends, if take you off
The specs,
How will, how will an old man?

The Protesters (One Or two of Them):
Who hears you,
Hears you, the mad man,
O you rag picker,
It is not your business to see!

The Ragged Man:
O my compatriots, what did I,
Said I rightly
If take you off the specs
Of an old man,
How will he see?

Do not think yourself
A patriot of Ghana,
I too am a patriot,
A freedom fighter,
A patriot.

The protesters:
What is he saying,
Saying,
Ho, ho,
O what is he?

The Ragged Man:
Ho, ho,
I am not saying,
Which you are but,
Ho, ho!

The Protesters:
O, who hears  mad a man,
A mad man babbling,
What does eh about
The statue?

The Ragged Man:
What do you, my friend,
I a man of Ghana,
You too a man of Ghana
And the old man an old man,
Off where which but I don’t know it!

And the thing that I am mad,
I am not, but you
Debating over
A cemented thing,
Dong politics.

I too a son of Mother Ghana,
You too a son of Mother Ghana,
Yours is not the word of mine
And mine is not yours,
Why to impose upon, my friend?

XII
(If the petition is placed before with the make-believe statements distorted and proven in favour of then what to reason as there lies no scope for debating and discussing the matter. What can the Hon’ble Chair do if the law is taken into?)

Waiter:
May I come in, Sir,
May I?
(The door is opened
And he enters
To place before the files.)

The Hon’ble Council Members:
Let us peruse,
Peruse the papers
Of complaint,
The petition signed by.

O.K., nothing to say
And debate,
Had it been,
Would have been good
As it is in a corner.

If we like it not
Remove we
With respect
Keeping in view good gestures.

(The Hon’ble Chair without stoking the controversy refers it to the Govt. for an understandable better disposal and relocation and the Govt. which goes not by loose sentiments and is run by able persons and administrators, diplomats and ambassadors and secretaries think about the modalities of relocation and shifting the statue. The meeting ends and the Chair moves out to the Ministry of External Affairs to relay to about the come out to work out a plan for shifting it outside the campus.)

XIII

The Wailing Winds:
Rustling by, whispering,
Rustling and murmuring,
Mahatma Gandhi ki,
Mahatma Gandhi, amar rahe, amar rahe
Taking to Rajghat.

Taking to Nathuram Godse
Who shot Gandhi,
Gandhi
After saluting him
As knew it
That he was assassinating a great soul.

Protesters (shouting slogans with):
The statue must fall, must fall,
Gandhi has to go, has to go
From this African campus,
From this.

(The Protesters as cheerleaders cheering the crowds, the campaigners with badges distributing sweets as for the statue of Gandhi to be removed.)

XIV

The Last Part

(The campus full of hectic activity and chaos, hullabaloo and pandemonium. The cranes have been called in with the earth-moving machines to lift it with the drivers, operators, masons and contractors, university officials and govt. men to supervise it.)

Masons Discussing:
Why was the statue installed
If it had be recalled,
Removed from?
Well, wages our concern,
Not the bone of contention.

Women Gathered Around (as the representative of Mother Ghana):
Great Soul, forgive you,
Forgive and forget it
What they are doing,
Forgive you
What they are ignorantly!

Winds Sombre And Sad Wailing:
Yah, the moments are somber,
Grave like the ones
Felt during the time of
The assassination of Lincoln!

Women Gathered Around (as the representative voice of Mother Ghana):
Great Man, they do not know,
Do not know
What they are,
They are doing!

A Few Illiterate Women:
Even in the house,
The young ones care not for the old,
What to say to
About the old man’s statue?

In this modern age
When we talk of old man homes,
Old age rehabilitation,
What to say about this man
In specs?

The Ragged Man:
The world calls me a ragged man
But I know it,
Know it
What they do not.

Where shall I go,
Go
If the statue is removed
The place of my refuge,
Shelter?

(The Ragged Man goes to the site, asks the masons and labourers from uprooting the statue. Later on, the security staff of the varsity campus come to take a hold of.)



Security Staff:
O maddie, abstain you from
Showing the abnormal behavior,
Let them, let them be doing,
The work they have to do.

The Ragged Man:
Where shall I sit,
Sit on the campus
To repose in,
Seek refuge and shelter
From the wide world
To think and ponder over philosophically?

(The cameramen take the snaps of and the Ragged Man lapses into the things of his own self, reclining and brooding in the aftermath of Gandhi, bringing out the books, the New Testament, Sermon on the Mount portion, The Murder In The Cathedral by T.S.Eliot and Milton’s Paradise Lost and those too the pale page old and used books received from an old newspaper collector. The Ragged Man smiling and talking to himself.)

No Man:
Gandhi going,
Going from the Ghana Univ. Campus,
The Statue of Gandhi lifted on
And placed on a cart.

Post-truth Phenomenon(As The Critic And The Judge):
In this age of post-truth evaluation,
Judgement,
What to judge
And how to judge?

Who can but say,
Was Gandhi good,
Was he bad
As the things keep changing?

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