Thursday, May 29, 2008

Of Flowers and Poetry

The best part about working in your favourite bookstore is how books you'd reserved yonks ago show up out of nowhere, still reserved in your name. The books section staff come waving the bundle, reservation slip secured by rubber band intact, mischievously asking if you still want the books, knowing full well that you do. You chase them up and down the aisle, behaving in a manner most unbecoming of bookstore staff, till finally the pile nestles in your palm. What makes this triumph even more happy is that the books in questions are this one, this one, and very, very awesomely, this one!

I am the most thrilled about Tell me the Truth About Love simply because of its incredible price. I mean, when was the last time you bought Auden for Rs 150?! I've read some of the 15 poems (and no, it's not the same thing as the expensive version just because there are only 15 poems!) but some are new and, as all Auden is, they are delightfully brilliant and the subject of another post. The other two collections are really rather great and one of my very favourites from Short and Sweet is this one:


Have you forgotten what we were like then
when we were still first rate
and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth

it's no use worrying about Time
but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
and turned some sharp corners

the whole pasture looked like our meal
we didn't need speedometers
we could manage cocktails out of ice and water

I wouldn't want to be faster
or greener than now if you were with me O you
were the best of all my days

--Frank O'Hara

The Chinese Erotic Poems, you say? Well, I'm still savouring a lot of the book but of the ones I have read, I lack the finesse to describe the sheer *poetry* of these two so I'll just let you get on and read them.

Tangled Hair
From 42 Songs

Last night I didn't comb my hair.
Like silk it tangles down my shoulders
and curls up on my knees.
What part of me is not lovely?

Night is Forever

From 42 Songs

The night is forever. I can't sleep.
The clear moon is so bright, so bright.
I almost think I hear a voice call me,
and to the empty sky say, Yes?

-- Zi Ye
(3rd-4th centuries CE. Translated by Mike Farman)


I'll leave you with a photo from a set that I hope to finish over the coming weekend. It was taken at the Globe Hotel in Udwada, Gujarat. I'm not much of a fan of "flower photography" (and I know there's a better name but I just can't remember it!) and I indulge in it quite infrequently but I must admit, I really do quite like the shot.



Vi said...

A view from the ground. I like.

I felt the same way when I worked in my town library - we were able to pre-order and pre-request books at our leisure, and staff always got first pickings.

And the lack of fines or due dates was a pretty sweet deal, too. ;)

Space Bar said...

what luck!

and i'm a fan of flower photography (as you might have guessed) and this is a great shot.

Extempore said...

@Vi: Well, the discounts make it a pretty sweet deal for me. :-)

@Space Bar: Thanks! Luck is your awesome findings at the BL. The one time I found anything good there I had it whacked off me!

Space Bar said...

oh at the bcl nobody reads poetry - not even those who come for the sale books. so it's not as if i have to fight anyone off for the books i find!

anocturne said...

am as fond of poetry as the next one, but your selections ravished me.

and the flower - shamelessly hacked for current gorgeous wallpaper, thanking ye verra verra much.

Ashwath said...

your evil,that Auden was meant for me....

Haiku Poems said...

nice poetry.

Haiku Poems