Saturday, September 10, 2011

A journey indeed...

“The journey is never over. Only travellers come to an end.”

Saramago ends this wonderful book on a note which is most most appropriate in the hands of a master storyteller. One really ‘feels priviledged’ in the company of a sensitive writer; sensitive to the place he belongs to, a place which is effortlessly shown to us to be more than just a place.
I had started Journey to Portugal a few months ago and I knew right away that it is just the way with this book. I literally savoured the descriptions of the country in the words of an author whose novels, almost consciously, avoid being set within definitive spaces of geography. The Journey, however, is about Portugal from the eyes of the ‘traveller’.
I must start by saying that the experience had been unlike all others; I’d never read a travelogue from the point of view of a traveller with keen sense of imagination and appreciation of things witnessed by him.
The journey is beautifully given a start by the element of an unconditional prayer, as the traveller sets off to embark his homeland’s untouched, unventured corners.
The second part of the book (two of three) is narrated in a slightly different complexion. The ‘traveller’ is beautifully shown to have associated with the places he visits people he meets. There’s more of human emotion involved in the narration as he moves deep into the Portuguese landscape, especially going through the lowlands and reaching the soft-stone mountains of the Guarda... a thoroughly considerate traveler who is sensitive to the crumbling artifacts and cultural symbols of Portugal. … almost every page of the book captures your imagination by catching you unawares and introduces words of imagination, witness and feeling…
And it takes much longer to read this book for me than any other.. a ten-page session cannot take less than an hour; normally more.
I am wondering why the traveller’s much anticipated visit to Lisbon starts on a somewhat dejected and somber note. Here he is, ready to witness the marvel of this port city, the museums and the monasteries whose architecture takes you on a journey through various ages. But all he could muster is the bitter memories evoked by objects revealing horrendous crimes committed in the past. He is thankful to the museums for preserving some of the objects in order to testify what, according to him, is “necessary” for us to remember.
The traveller is clearly occupied with these thoughts as his indecision gives way to questioning:
“The traveler regains the street and feels lost. Where should he go now? What is he to visit? What shall he leave aside, either on purpose or because of the impossibility of seeing and commenting on everything? And anyway, what does it mean to see everything?”
~ Journey to Portugal

Undauntedly however, the traveller reaches the end of an exhilarating journey. But stops he does not. Ceaseless passion to discover once again, provides impetus to the traveller to begin again what would be nothing short of an experience. And we are all invited.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Discovering Lisbon


I am wondering why the traveller’s much anticipated visit to Lisbon starts on a somewhat dejected and somber note. Here he is, ready to witness the marvel of this port city, the museums and the monasteries whose architecture takes you on a journey through various ages. But all he could muster is the bitter memories evoked by objects revealing horrendous crimes committed in the past. He is thankful to the museums for preserving some of the objects in order to testify what, according to him, is “necessary” for us to remember.
The traveller is clearly occupied with these thoughts as his indecision gives way to questioning:

“The traveler regains the street and feels lost. Where should he go now? What is he to visit? What shall he leave aside, either on purpose or because of the impossibility of seeing and commenting on everything? And anyway, what does it mean to see everything?”
~ Journey to Portugal

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The traveller reaches Lisbon


"So finally, here is Lisbon. But before undertaking the adventure, which he finds somewhat intimidating, the traveller wants to visit the village on the estuary known as Carcavelos, to see something that few people know about, when you think of the million inhabitants of Lisbon and the thousands who come to this coast, that is, to conclude, the parish church." ~ Journey to Portugal


As I begin reading the final third of this book, the 'traveller' looks as excited as ever and this turn is placed in such a way as if the whole travelogue had been busy in preparation for a visit to Lisbon, though appearances could still be deceptive. Strangely enough, the church and its architecture seems to be the element of the traveller's interest. There is no place devoid of it. Saramago, I reckon, intends to infuse various elements of Portuguese culture and is careful to include both the landscape and the art that adopts it. This is the reason why this book is more than a travelogue. In 'At the Gates of Lisbon' the author peculiarly alludes to Don Quixote de la Mancha as he prepares the traveller for another visit; this time to the place known as Lisboa.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Raisonneur(s)


            … and blest are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled
That they are not a pipe for fortune’s finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passion’s slave and I will wear him
In my heart’s core—aye, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.


Hamlet’s words for his friend and raisonneur, Horatio. As I miss the character of Hamlet today, I know the play calls for another reading which I suppose will get tended to soon. But let me first dedicate this post and its quote to all those who could relate to the position of Hamlet, reading these lines. The presence of a calm friend who listens when it is needed the most is a measure of great strength indeed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Poem

This is in response to my friend's beautiful postcard-pictures to inspire and create something in return.

http://sonamdema.blogspot.com/2011/06/in-love-again.html

And so I have; come up with a spontaneous verse I hope to have justified with the effort spent behind the camera. The title of the poem is not mine; for it got 'inspired'.

   
     In love again

Is it the breeze that instills

Rustling wind of the reeds,

Or nature's light which fills

My prism'd heart, a vibrance of beads.


I do not quite know

What it brings on its wings.

But my vision is worth the glow

Astride a pathless trail when it sings.


Sings it the song I once loved at school..

Brings it along the wonders that belong.

Fills it forevermore the fields we then thronged..

Sees it I imagine once again my lost jewel.


Through the stone-streets have I walked.

Treaded many a witness to the fields.

But lo! the hut calls me thither again,

'Blue of the sky' is what it takes to shield


A thousand greens a multitude of blue..

Brings forth the smile to the corner of my eyes,

In love and love alone lies my life's clue...

Carousels of delight emanate from the skies...


At evening do I wonder where my love is leading me...

To the meadowy spaces swings the call of my mind.

Zephyrs know no bounds to romance the cloudy spree.

Will, wattles, the walnut tree roots of love do find.


'In love again', in the sun again..

Being with all that is you gives delight...

Dusk is near and its twilight again...

To kiss, bid love in sleep and flight.

_____________________________________________

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Remembering with rememberance of words



On the first death anniversary of José Saramago, I can't help but remember and reminisce the worlds of words he so perseveringly weaved into narratives which, to me, are blessed with the author's literary voice that has forever become a part of my understanding of human existence. Replete foremostly with human emotion and an ever so patient motherly touch in such unforgettable characters like Blimunda, Lydia and Death, each book of his I have picked and read so far, has made me feel more rooted into the ground we all need to stand upon. Abound with astounding imagination, Saramago's writing could easily be credited with playing a conscious role of constantly contesting 'our' sense of reality (as well as illusion).

     The run-on sentence with an aural felicity beckons a reader's delight (provided the reader is able to give in wholly to the perspectival imagination of the written word). Challenging the notions of the world we inhabit, Saramago's books can truly be said to have started once they finish with our first reading.

Here's quoting words by him which do not fail to fill holes hearts could be found with...

"We use words to understand each other and even, sometimes, to find each other."

"Reading is probably another way of being in a place."

"Your questions are false if you already know the answer."

"Liking is probably the best form of ownership, and ownership the worst form of liking."

"Words that come from the heart are never spoken, they get caught in the throat and can only be read in one's eyes."

"One cannot be too careful with words, they change their minds just as people do."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Food for thought


Do you disagree to agree in a mindful situation’s mindless worth which is worthless to the extent of saying the unsaid over time’s timelessness?
Or stay weary of the everlasting neverthelessness from a perspectival want for perspectives?
Have we understood the absence of a surface we keep sticking to even when what is not in sight views itself in the reflection of a mirage that had accompanied the trails we thought we left but were due to appear in the course of events which are yet to manifest?
This and a lot more which cannot be this is the subject of a thought whose objective sense contests all appearances in the disappearance of an existence whose ethereal self helps to unlock the real essence of a dream not yet dreamt by the best of the rest.

Afterthought:  NEVERMIND

A Traveller's time.


Reading this wonder of a book: Journey to Portugal/ Viagem a Portugal. I am almost halfway through. It is one of those few books which, for all its descriptions and digressions, remains honest to the 'Journey'. I feel enchanted to find that this book travels at its own pace. I just cannot help it. But with that I mean something important I realise now with reading the kind I am dealing with. By taking me the reader at its own pace it shows how much the book is in control of the opposite side.


As I sail through these pages quite snail like; happily, I bring in a line from the author and rest shall resume:

       For a butterfly born with the morning and dying before dusk, night does not exist.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Poem


   'The Wattle Tree'     by  Dora  Wilcox







Winter is not yet gone - but now
The birds are carolling from the bough.
And the mist has rolled away
Leaving more beautiful the day.
The sun is out - O come with me
To look upon the wattle tree!


Let misers hoard and hide their gold;
Here there is treasure-trove untold,
In yellow blossom, mass on mass
Spread out for wayfarers who pass
With hearts to feel, and eyes to see
How lovely is the wattle tree.


O strange, O magical! to forget
For a moment care and fret,
Whilst the next spirit, like a cup
Drained of delight, again fills up
And overflows with ecstasy
Before the miracle of the tree.


And rich and poor, who pause to bless
The shining tree in thankfulness,
Are bound in fellowship indeed.
What matter politics or creed,
Or class or colour? surely he
Loves mankind who loves a Tree!


Towards illimitable skies
From the earth the trees arise:
Givers of Joy, their gold and green
Against the blue of Heaven is seen.
A symbol of man's destiny
Is the blossoming the wattle tree.


Winter is not yet gone - but now
The birds are carolling from the bough.
And the mist has rolled away
Leaving more beautiful the day.
The sun is out - O come with me
To look upon the wattle tree!



Sunday, February 13, 2011

The knock of words . . .

The last three months, it seems, have had a whirlpool-whirlwinding effect on me. Intermittent travelling and having to deal with things bit unwillingly resulted in lack of reading or putting the mind to thought. A phase which wouldn't have been complete without my own lazy lack of interest and initiative. Words accompanied me nonetheless.
 Here's a reflection on the few I did remember; and wanted to quote:

A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well, they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.

URSULA LE GUIN