Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Poem I like

A friend, David Raphael Israel, writes well. Here is a poem by him, posted today, which I liked very much.



david raphael israel said...

warmed by the notice, thanks.
Makes me wish to dash off a further thing. Generally the form I style a "boomerang poem" is in 8 lines; in this case I've composed a 12-line form of it.



A Boomerang for Batul

with ghetto-blaster sits Batul
the echo-chamber of the world
makes few of us nobody's fool
& who of us ain't often swirled

by plagal currents way too swift!
while idle clouds insouciant drift
kaleidoscopic grows the view
where waterways thru pebbles sift

the silage of the heart is pearled
the wind is hot the breeze is cool
the flag of day at dawn's unfurled
with ghetto-blaster sits Batul

Batul said...

Dear David,

Thanks for the special boomerang poem for me. This is a first for me, that is having a poem in my name. Have to check on "plagal" and "silage" though, are they real words, or coined by you. '

This poem makes me see myself back in Bhuj, filming my documentary after the quake.

david raphael israel said...


I think the practice of poetry can be overly impersonal sometimes (as if one only were to write it when on a proscenium stage, metaphorically speaking). Anyway: I guess "ghetto-blaster" (aka boombox) is familiar argot? Regarding the words you asked about -- hmm, on closer look I see I'd mistakenly thought plagal had the same meaning as pelagic: i.e., relating to the sea. (It turns out the two words are cognate, but plagal has very different meanings, and not the one I had in mind at all!) [In fact I had started with idea of pelagic, and (when looking for synonyms) the link (via-a-vis etymology) to plagal gave me the mistaken idea the latter had the same meaning.] So: this line needs amending. I suppose such editing-in-progress is permissible in the realm of the blog Comment. ;-) The problem with "by pelagic currents" is that it upsets the line's rhythm. Hmm, I find I like this idea however:
by abysmal currents
-- which could suggest currents deep in the abyss of the ocean (among other things). The odd fact is that even though in terms of syllable rhythm, pelagic & abysmal have the same rhythm, "by pelagic currents" is too much of a tongue-twister, whereas "by abysmal currents" is not so. However, altering the rhythm of this line prods me to alter the rhythm of the line that follows. Indeed, this heightening of the rhythm should (I observe) now carry over to the 3rd line as well. So here is the revised stanza:

by abysmal currents way too swift!
while insouciant clouds may idly drift
how kaleidoscopic grows the view
where waterways through pebbles sift

It seems I was also a bit hasty with "silage" -- which from a quick glance I took to mean simply fodder, as in grain for livestock. I had thought of the word (without being clear on its meaning) when I was trying to find a suitable 2-syllable word synonymous with "silt" (for the waterways line). Not finding one, I opted for pebbles instead. But this word silage I liked the sound of -- and imagining it to mean basically grain, I constructed in mind a notion of the poem's line to suggest pearl-like grain, or perhaps grain-like pearls, on which the heart can be imagined to feed. That's fine, except -- looking more closely (& less hurriedly -- I wrote the poem when a bit pressed to run out the door!) -- I see that silage is a more complex thing than I'd supposed. While it is food for livestock, it is not in fact grain the M-W unabridged dictionary gives this note for silage: << Etymology: short for ensilage
: fodder (as of field corn, sorghum, grass, or clover) either green or mature converted into succulent winter feed for livestock through processes of fermentation usually by being cut fine and blown into an airtight chamber (as a silo) where it is compressed to exclude air and where it undergoes an acid fermentation that retards spoiling -- called also ensilage >>. Well, yes, "the fodder of the heard" was my notion, though it had not occurred to me simply to use the word fodder itself. ;-)
The imagery about the process of producing silage is anyway perhaps interesting enough to justify holding onto the word. So in short, more leisurely inspection causes me to replace one of the words, and I suppose retain the other. I'll plan to blog a corrected form of the poem soon. (Till then, there's this peculiar marginalia that describes it without again showing it in toto.)

david raphael israel said...

ps -- pardon, I'd meant to type "the fodder of he heart" [not heard].

Batul said...

Thank you David, for taking the time to make the explanations. Like everything else, the more you learn, the more meanings you see, and the more you enjoy. Look forward to seeing the final version. Regards

david raphael israel said...

Hi --
fyi, poem's now finalized & blogged as A Boomerang for Batul. The title refers to my own coinage for this form of poem (i.e., I call it a "boomerang poem"). In English, it's a form of my invention; but it's based on a form (as an 8-line poem) I've enjoyed in classical Chinese poetry (though in this instance I don't follow certain conventions of that Chinese form; but on some occasions I do so).

I like how in this case, the "boom" of boomerang may secondarily suggest the boombox (aka "ghetto-blaster") seen in the photo that figured in genesis of the poem. You'll note I dabbled with digital alteration of the latter (a basic "watercolor" effect) in blogged presentation.


Aaman said...

Very interesting - I'd like to invite you to be a Desicritic - we have a number of Desicritic poets and you'd fit right in:)

Please email me - I am the publisher of Desicritics.org