From elegant Ivory Tower of intellectual theory
A professor plods, a parched poem in hand
To rough plains of ordinary experience.
There he shares, surely, softly and slowly
His philosophy and wisdom to a plebeian.
Thus spake the articulate professor
With Oronte’s* eloquence to Alceste:
‘Rubrics* go heavy in metred blank verse
Finds its free footing in cathartic heptatet
Lineation fall loose like a chandelier
Subtly spun is my metaphoric motif
In a maladroitly detached caesurae
The eclectic content juxtapose form
Inspired as antiphon to a post-modernist piece
Writ, mind you, in the heat of a purgative muse
Fixated enjambment charms the rhyme scheme…’
The don delves deeper and deeper
But lost, the plebeian interrupts, unsure if
She’s following him or chasing after meaning
‘But sir! My mind is more mesmerized
And mislaid in jungles of my subconscious
For how do I appreciate what I can’t apply?
What one doesn’t have knowledge of?
What goes beyond the bounds of the ordinary?
That has nothing to do with everyday living?
Can a ‘clinically detached style’ put salt on my table?’
She is a stranger on this side of the world
And most words won’t obey her tongue
But her rough riff-ruff voice endures—
Devoid of emotive lingo, she analyses
Characterized by a pedestrian interpretation—
Like a dog placing a prized bone at his master’s
Disinterested feet—she annotates. The prof becomes
Student. She a mentor. She revises, refines his philos.
Purifying the poem with lyres of shared wisdom
Of singing and dancing with the soil, sowing, raking,
Scything hay stalks—the concerns of common humanity!
One creates a work in solitude, independently
Meticulously and cautiously and with restraint.
One pens and polishes poems like Basho*, until
They shine like a fox’s tail in the winter moon.
One deems it perfect—but unless you breath
The insight of daily life into your thoughts
Your philosophy of crowned wisdom remains
Dry and withered—no more than scraps
Of writing, a man with a pen in his hand
Might make for idleness or for practice
Purgation pours forth the prof’s brow
He is most poet! But she is most philosopher!
He is hearing the theory of relativity from Einstein himself!
He needn’t approach her in unfamiliar academic tradition!
He needn’t win her with airy arguments or gentle coaxing!
He needn’t quote an ancient Elizabethan sage that:
‘A mark of great poetry is to communicate
Even before it is fully understood.’
His buoyant thoughts, a hamlet habitation is given
She replaces his arm-chair theories with plebeian flavour
Trying to give him wisdom—which nature had denied —
To spice up an understanding for his academia
Out of the indulgence of her own peasant life.
Abstract meets concrete, theory seeks out practice
Intellect finds senses. Man woos woman. For one
Without replenishing the other is incomplete!
Wit, subtlety and cleverness tampered and churned
Serves not to display craft of the artist
But rather to reveal the truth of the poem.
That of erasing boundaries, between one world
And another. His and hers. She is a world
He can enter only through her.
He learns, discovers, the power to enrich,
To bring universality in art, and craft,
And learning, and life, is through harmony
Of the ideal and the real. The spiritual and secular.
Intellect and sensual. The ying and the yang.
As it is in art; so it is in life.
*Oronte – in Moliere’s Misanthrope, Alceste dismisses Oronte’s puffed up poem, which the latter doesn’t take it lying down.
*‘Rubrics…rhyme scheme…’ – very deep literary devices!
*Basho – a legendary and ancient Japanese Haiku poet, though Basho and the Fox story is apt and serves best the context.