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Posts Tagged ‘Benny Thomas’

SCENE.—A street along the hub of the commercial centre of London, closed off space by the Met police more in the vicinity of the Harrods. Lights pick out the line- Scene of crime-Do Not Enter. A posse of police men are at work and a constable officiously noting their findings while another is on his phone reporting to his superiors. To the right there is a kiosk with posters of Salome and the man on the moon a caricature of the author himself. There are stray stragglers who have nothing in their mind but to gawk. And an old cistern surrounded by a wall of green bronze. Moonlight.

One in shadows between munching a sandwich to a passerby
“You are lucky, the blast nearly shattered the Harrods.

The man stops and says, “You are lucky yourself there.’ And strides off
The man with the sandwich wiping his hand, mutters “Yes luck enough to finish my salami”.
Another one who comes along. The man who had a sandwich recognizes him to say,”Lucky dog! You got back in one piece!Bozo”
They hug with friendly affection, “You ought to be at home and not walk among dead things.”
The first man: I saw the Syrian and (pointing to the cistern) he came from there.
The second,”Lucky you did not try nicking him. Suppose your light fingers pulled the belt instead?”
The first man jerks violently. “My head is all scrambled and I see none but Salomé before me.”
Bozo hurriedly walks off and the man left alone:

THE YOUNG SYRIAN
How beautiful is the Princess Salomé to-night!

(A Pause)

Look at the moon! How strange the moon seems! She is like a woman rising from a tomb. She is like a dead woman. You would fancy she was looking for dead things.

A Police man suddenly comes towards him

THE LAW
Hey There! Keep your hand out.
(The policeman suspiciously approaches him and frisks him.

OK Beat it!

THE YOUNG SYRIAN

I know who you are. The page of Herodias.

THE LAW (nervously)
Sleep it off. (exit)

THE YOUNG SYRIAN

She has a strange look. She is like a little princess who wears a yellow veil, and whose feet are of silver. She is like a princess who has little white doves for feet. You would fancy she was dancing….

THE AUTHOR
Is it because of salami sandwich or the suicide bomber is not for me to explain. But London is not what she was once. (Brexit)
Benny

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Author, author what you lack in style
Your cackle and bubble run on as the Nile:
Harry Potter of course keeps the pot boiling
Cackle Joanna, the pot is already rawling.

Benny

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In Imitation of Dante’s Divine Comedy

Much was my confusion simulated
By dream within the life and yet the three
Stood a solemn wake about by the bedstead. 48

‘Why three’, I spoke, ‘and perhaps my soul free
Ranging in his sphere did send you hither
Or unbidden, least on truth shall we agree? 51

Choose what theme, although I may yet gather
from discourse what dreams do speak are fleeting
Its substance being laid neither here nor there’. 54

‘Why three?’, Why not five or one for asking
If you concede soul its circumference
Why settle for form and not unbound nothing? 57

In Conception what form you place summons
shades o’ meaning to which soul is but token,
As windswept clouds can toss pell mell a sense- 60

From shapes the eye will find names well spoken
But the wind casts it spell,- and what you read
Yet will vary, but fall within your ken. 63

The Sibyl spoke truly and she my rede
forestalled with words, ‘Look in your mirror
If we be the three Graces,- you concede 66

So much for the soul, it tells no error-
In the glass what form you would take
Paris must fit and here is our answer: 69

Art must but choose chaos so I would make
Names Raphael Michelangelo but
Two digits o’ selfsame Hand from it rake: 72

And so are we One in three forms strut
Imagination without Hand a lie
And without Art, we,- No more than a slut 75.

(To be continued)

Benny

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Sleep is nature’s cure when body has run
His weary rounds, a bed is just the thing;
Still is the body but his soul moves on; 30

Between being and un-being sleep holds something
A balancing act where a starry heaven
To the measure o’ man, but is this soul thing? 33

Death must with sleep settle in dimension
Altogether new for which leave my soul
To know worth and reckon the best bargain. 36

Soul must arbiter for all who their goal,
Being bonded for life and beyond, serves man
A pole star, to lift man out of his hole. 39

Thus it was with me one night when sleep had
Taken ease, I suspect my soul sent the three
Fates of Attic shape who before me stood, 42

The dream with Sibyls set my confines free
As though I lay beneath the vault of Sistine
And the three had stepped out on a spree! 45

(To be continued)
Benny

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Stroll down the colonnade of life, mosaic
Of days lend youth its Byzantine color;
But my soul would loath it as life prosaic. 12

Thus assail’d by doubts and misspent choler
Of youth as ashes when fire has died out
Of his blood, and leave nothing but pother: 15

By the midst o’ my woeful days I struck out
Past my depths, my route on impulse ringed
My soul might yet redeem entire past rout. 18

A walk simple into the woods where hope winged
Alternate with pitfalls along the ground
must give man pause, his purpose unhinged 21

Perhaps my soul would read my tracks and sound
Alarm or set escape route in case of need
Oh no! with my own will I come this round. 24

Long onslaught with Fates and Furies’ full rede
Did unravel much of my confusion,
And yet loath I was let my soul aside. 27

Benny

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Somewhere on the loom of life what I wove
I found design with each shuttle vary
Till its overall sign with my soul strove; 3

Ah me! how hard a thing it is for me
Admit my own hand my own pattern should
Prove a lie and cast it back,-Oh fie 6

Such a life of bitter toil weave its shroud,
Plodding hands with eye for long set in peace
But nothing what my soul’s design had show’d. 9

benny

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In a quatrain two ideas are set,- each line having 10 syllables and it follows a rhyme sequence. Poetic conventions are like a bowl into which ideas parallel or antithetical are poured. It has internal truth.
For example here we have a well known quatrain of Omar Khayyam:

One Moment in Annihilation’s Waste,
One moment, of the Well of Life to taste-
The stars are setting and the Caravan
Starts for the Dawn of Nothing-Oh, make haste!

Idea of life a journey setting up camp during the harsh day and the idea of breaking it up when coolness of the evening sets in, are all too familiar for the desert dwellers. These two familiar halves are part of human condition but what they recall to mind is the transience of it.

Two ideas complement one another and lead the reader to understand where their juxtaposition is leading to. The quatrain has internal logic or truth. Their familiar circumstances lead us to truth, meaning that the ideas transcend themselves to accept transience of life as true.

Internal truth speaks only for art and literature of man. Now let us discuss this from another literary genre, the world of fairy tales. Remember the gratuitous line almost without exception tacked at the end of a story, ‘and they lived happily ever after’? The heroine in the Frog Prince by kissing the hapless prince under a curse sets him free and they are married. Happily ever after? In reality the prince after decades of married life could prove to be an oaf but then a fairy tale like The Frog Prince is concerned with internal truth and nothing else. Truth of their marriage had Leo Tolstoy treated would be run on similar lines as Anna Karenina.

(This is a companion piece to God of Small sensations)
Benny

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