Location: toronto, Canada

Ready to hit the world with everything i got.....

Friday, February 04, 2005

I saw the title of this poem and read the footnote corresponding to the title and thought it would be interesting.

Ts'ai Chi'h

The petals fall in the fountain,
the orange-colored rose-leaves,
Their ochre clings to the stone.

Ezra Pound

The footnote that corresponds to the title of this poem reads; Ts'ai Chi'h, or more usually Ts'ap Chih, a Chinese poet (A.D 192-232) who wrote five-character poems.
The points that interested me about the footnote was how long ago the poet wrote, the fact that the poet was Chinese and the style of his poetry, five character poems. I don't believe I've ever looked at any type of poetry influenced by a Chinese poet. American influence is quite popular and when studying different eras European poetry is often reflected upon. Conveying a relevant ideas or message in five characters also seems daunting. I then became interested in what Pound had created in relation to all that I had learned by simply reading the titel of the poem and the corresponding note at the bottom of the page.
The first line is strong. I think about and realize that this image is not the first of its type that I have been introduced to. What I mean is that I have seen this before either in a movie or music video or something. At the same time because I have experienced this vision before I can modify the way I see it in my mind by altering little things about the picture. I can change the way the fountain looks or what kind of day it is etc. Then there's a strange twist to the poem as the "rose-leaves" are orange. I had never heard of rose leaves, petals are usually what are associated with roses not leaves and orange? This suddle change of what we are so used to makes such a difference in the poem, it makes this short poem art and creative. Pound takes an aspect of nature or poetry that I thought was universal and changes it. It was a change that I thought to be extremely creative and rare and to me this is what poetry is about, that one word that changes the core of the picture you had in your mind.
The last continues the intensity throughout the poem. What keeps thinking about this poem is the little changes that happen in every line that I would never have expected. In the second line the shock is the color of the rose leaves and in the last line I see no water in the fountain. the ochre or color of the the petals stick to the fountain. Ochre is a pale yellowish color. As the leaves fall they are orange yet as they stick to the stone of the foutain they become pale yellow. By the end of this poem the image I had in my head has been completely revamped. From petals to leaves, from fountain to stone (no water), and from falling to clinging, and from orange to ochre every word is truly significant. Maybe the orange leaves are staining the stone of the fountain yellowish instead of the leaves themsleves clinging to the stone. One of my favorite poems!

On The Sea

It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand Caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them in their old shadowy sound.
Often 'tis in such gentle temper found,
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be moved for days from where it sometime fell,
When last the winds of Heaven were unbound.
Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with the uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody-
Sit ye near some ole Cavern's Mouth and brood,
Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired!

John Keats

I loved the way the poem opens with eternal whisperings being kept around. This mysterious introduction implies romanticism immediately. I also realized that the sea and word eternal have a common parallel. Countries throughout history change while the sea does not. As time passes the countries' people and image changes. Wars force a country to be rebuilt and other countries influence the rebirth of their neighbour countries. Seas on the other hand remain constant as travellers since the beginning use them as a means of travel. On these long voyages of discovery, war path, or adventure I can only imagine the array of emotions and conversations that have been held at sea.
The word "Cavern" that is continuously mentioned throughout the poem, and capitalized adds to this sense of mystery. Cavern meaning a deep cave. Hecate which is the Greek goddess associated with witchcraft and the underworld is also brought into the equation. When I looked up the word swell I found that it meant the heaving of the sea after a storm. The language in this poem paints a very mysterious picture. The violent movement of the water after a storm invading these deep caves in the ocean until "the spell of Hecate leaves them in their old shadowy sound".
After creating this vigorous image a gentle and soft side of the sea is seen. Even though such rough conditions can take place, a simple, small seashell can remain barely moved from where it was dropped some time ago. The words "gentle" and "temper" beside each other provide an interesting prardox. What is a gentle temper? I think Keats described a gentle temper extremely well with his seashell example. There also seems to be a cycle at work in nature, an understanding almost that there forces are to work hand in hand. Heaven's "unbound" wind is what pushes this shell to where it falls and the water which moves furiously in and out of this cavern after a storm barley moves this little object as if there's a respect for eachother's elements.
The poem concludes on an exciting note. Go hear the "melody" that is created. Hear the sound until you start thinking anxiously as if "sea nymphs" wrote poetry is the message to be taken in by his poem, and a beautiful one it is. The poem commences with high energy and retains it throughout until the very last word. By the end of the poem one is convinved that experiencing this aspect of nature is a must.

Dying Speech of an Old Philosopher

I strove with none, for none was worth my strife:
Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art:
I warmed both hands before the fire of Life;
It stinks; and I am ready to depart.

Walter Savage Landor

I've often wondered how is it that a person finds themselves? What I've come to conclude is that a person grows up by thinking about issues of pain, love, death etc. I believe its healthy to ponder such topics in depth and even exchange your ideas with a person close to you.
Last week I heard a person say that "in pain the soul refines itself". This phrase has ran through my mind countless times in the past week. This quote gives sense to why there is pain in life. So seldom do we reflect on anything when everything is going well. Like Rosita said about starting life anew, life seems to be brought in to context once again when our world is shaken. Our foundations are so fragile and life can really "stink" at times.
The first line of this poem struck me as odd. Was their nobody in this poets life that was worth strife? What kind of life can this be in which strife has been avoided? Is it even possible? It seems to have negative tone to it, as soon as life starts to stink departure is the way out. The poem according to my perspective has been written backwards. When we are ready to depart because "life stinks" is when we need to turn to nature and art as an inspiration to find a new birth.