Muse And Modernity … Tilak
There is prospect for modernity when it imbibes poesy.
For that matter, poesy itself is modern.
But just for the touch of modernity and to say something new,
why do you trouble yourself and torture me
with your borrowed-, ill-digested experiences,
senseless imagery and haggard presentations
warping words without purport and restraint
trying to one-up Dylan Thomas in imitation?
“In the wee hours of yesterday, I swallowed two knives
Poured Sulphuric acid on my tonsured head and chest,
clipping my lips I stacked them on your back,
At this moment, my eyes are goldfish in potion”
appears novel and glamorous.
But this is childishness plus madness multiplied by decadence.
This decoction backfires
this culture generates degeneracy.
Obscurity in poetry is permissible at times
But the reader should catch
The contours of your experience,
it must leave an indent,
that darkness should be translucent.
A poem should always open up
a fresh lease of firsthand experiences
that greet and grind the reader.
Each word is potent, each word is fine-edged,
each detail has a meaning, a propriety,
waggling pebbles in a can, don’t dub it as great music,
curse me not in ire, brother, I am not angry with you.
A harness makes no horse of an ass,
Donning Khadi makes no politician a Gandhian,
Modernity confers no acceptability to everything new ,
costumes can’t turn a commoner into a king
A prosaic idea cannot be poetic by rhyme.
Poetry is an alchemy…the secret of which only a poet could know .
Kalidasa knew— Peddana knew
Krishna Sastry* knows– Sri Sri* knows.
Try to live in the present… reflect contemporary times,
Ventilate your house opening up all windows, welcome all currents in.
No matter what you say, it must be yours
It must come out from within, tearing you open.
Don’t resurrect the dead genres from the vaults of the past
Don’t drive into the open the crazy horses of ideas without tack and harness
Brother! Poetry must reveal the fulgent expanses lying within.
It must expand the bourns of creative consciousness
whether it spits fire or sprays manna
Beauty and Joy are its ultimate aim.
(Telugu Original: కవిత్వం – నవత్వం … బాలగంగాధర తిలక్ )
* They were alive when the poem was written. And the sense of the word used in Telugu conveys both the past and present tenses. For clarity, the distinction is used here…. Murty