I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

BLACK MARIGOLDS

A couple of weeks ago a chance mention in Lucy's blog about a flower called a "Nenuphar" opened up memories of only once before reading this word, in a poem that had a deep effect on me some 50 years ago. "Black Marigolds" - a free interpretation of the Chaurapanchasika, by E. Powys Mathers. It can be read in full here.

I first read the poem in a school library book when I was 17. I copied it out at that time and then, a couple of years later, whilst feeling bored in the army during office duties, I typed it all (and still have that ancient copy clunked out on an old Imperial typewriter on foolscap paper).

As a result of Lucy's blog I looked it up on the internet and found it was currently in print - so at last I have a copy of this most exquisite love lament in a "proper" book.

To end, I quote from Tony Harrison's introduction to the book:
"And the Black Marigolds of Edward Powys Mathers is a masterpiece that still affects me in the same way, even now, after almost 50 years. Perhaps even more with the "gala day" ever nearer. Even now!" (the italics will become evident on reading the work).

So thank you, Lucy, for re-awakening a long forgotten memory with such a satisfactory result.

10 comments:

Vita said...

I've been to your links, thank you, but will save reading all 50 stanza's for another time, since it's time now to go into the yard and water nothing so exotic. The few lines I read were beautiful.

Nea said...

Hard to believe that such love ever could or would exist between two people. I know that such a thing does exist, I have caught glimpses of it from time to time while strolling through life, but not in my own existance. Nothing so grand, or gala every came to pass in my life, and if it had, I doubt I would have recognized it.

The one thing that my family kept carefully hidden was effection and love. This is what dreams are made of........makes me wish I could go back and read again and again.

chiefbiscuit said...

A beautiful title - I must read the whole thing one day ...

sheoflittlebrain said...

Thanks, avus for introducing me to this lovely poem. I read a great deal of it just now, but I'll get the book so I can read it at my leisure preferably out in the garden..
Perhaps a glass of pomegranate juice near at hand...

Vita said...

Hi. I have tagged you, if you are up for it, for a middle name meme. Just say something about you for each letter of your middle name, then tag someone for each letter of your middle name.

Lucy said...

Thank YOU so much, Avus. I'll start on the poem forthwith!

Lucy said...

Wow, what an intensely coloured, luscious feast! And how terribly sad, I wonder what happened to her?
The 'proper book' would be good, as you could dip into it as and when, and the pomegranate juice sounds great too!

Avus said...

Glad you enjoyed it, those who have read it already. To those yet to read it, persevere, it's worth it. As is the meditation over it.

LUCY: You wonder what happened to Vidya? I like this paragraph from P. Whaley's review:
"The poet Chaura, so the story goes, lived in 1st-century Kashmir, and fell in love with the king's daughter, Vidya, and she with him. Things took their natural course; and eventually the two were discovered. Chaura was imprisoned and condemned to die; Vidya, presumably, was sent to bed without any supper. On the night before his execution, Chaura composed a 50-stanza poem, the gist of which is, basically: yes, it was worth it."

Charles A Smith said...

Over 50 years I first read "Black Marigolds". What a privalege to reread and discover others enjoying it.
I think Whittaker Chambers came closest expressing a love like this in his book "Witness". I copy here-
There is always one spring that is our own. Its memory, once we have it, is among the few things that cannot be taken from a man. He has only to let its special light fill his mind, and he feels the again the pang with which it is given every man, the dullest and least worthy, to glimsp once in his life, if only for a moment, beyond a beloved head the boughs heave and the petals break and spin along the earth. I was about to find that love whose force, once felt, that makes all a man's other gross or merely tender gropings seem irrelevant and meaningless, as if they happened in another lifetime or to someone else. I was about to experience that love which, not to have known, seems to the man or woman who have shared it, never to have lived, and entitles to the small, smiling condescension toward death itself of those to whom, in this sense, life had given all that life has to give.

Avus said...

Charles:

Thank you for your comment and quote. A nice surprise to read it on a posting I made back in 2007