Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mysore: After Merwin

So after sleeping most of the day of my arrival (my flights were comfortabe--I just wasn't that sleepy for them), I spent the next reacclimating to Mysore, doing errands amid this street scene. (setting up local phone, etc.) I've found a place for the duration of my visit as well as a singing teacher. Tomorrow, I start yoga classes. Meanwhile, Diwali holiday (in practice, the Western eye sees a kind of July 4 crossed with Christmas) continues.
One of the other projects I plan to work on here, is writing related to Deborah Slater's next piece, and inspired by the writing of W.S. Merwin. Today arrived in my mail a collection of his work to review. This piece, by the esteemed poet, as the prescient Slater noted, seemed apt:

Nothing Began as It Is

W.S. Merwin

Everything has its story. The story of the small black beetles, unable to fly, with a red bar on the upper half of each useless wing, is that they are the soldiers of Pharaoh, still following the chosen people everywhere, with the Red Sea above their heads.

The story of the rough stone basin of the oldest fountain in the city is that it was once the oldest miser in the city, but the mercy of the world found him painful to look at, and changed him into a form which would permit him to say, “I receive everything, I keep nothing,” until he himself was completely worn away.

The story of the one-legged messenger is that his other leg is walking on the far side of death. What seems to be over there?” they ask him. “Just emptiness?” “No,” he says. “Something before that, with no name.”
The story of the hinge is that it is learning to fly. “No hinge has ever flown,” the locks tell it again and again. “That is why we are learning,” it answers, “and then we will teach the doors.” Some things try to steal the stories of others. They have thieves’ stories. The story of each stone leads back to a mountain. The locks say that it is possible for a thing to be separated from its story and never find it again in this world. — W.S. Merwin, From the Book of Fables

No comments: