Add to that list the poet who
rambles on in stolen dark a
dark prepared in stark solemnity
a dark unacceptable to the lavish
word the poem struggles to
breathe it crosses over and
touches void and here it
speaks attaches belongs the
proverbial becoming adversary
We live of course in a world not only of commodities but also of representation, and representations—their production, circulation, history, and interpretation—are the very element of culture. In much recent theory the problem of representation is deemed to be central, yet rarely is it put in its full political context, a context that is primarily imperial. Instead we have on the one hand an isolated cultural sphere, believed to be freely and unconditionally available to weightless theoretical speculation and investigation, and, on the other, a debased political sphere, where the real struggle between interests is supposed to occur. To the professional student of culture—the humanist, the critic, the scholar—only one sphere is relevant, and, more to the point, it is accepted that the two spheres are separated, whereas the two are not only connected but ultimately the same.
– Edward Said, “Culture and Imperialism”
There is a void in the effluence of
A metaphor broken, a folktale eulogized, a
Myth taken for fact; the earth-yearning
Goddess balks in her tracks – not good.
“Fie then,” it follows. Fie then upon the
Track-stopperers, the metaphor-brokerers.
Refill the jars now, make them reek of
Praise, scream out “the goddess is thus and
Also thus.” You need a thousand and one tales
Context: This started off as a somewhat serious commentary on the darker aspects of the fallout of the modern quest for identity: when the stories, folktales and songs that have been informing us for millennia have been stultified or forgotten. But then as the poem progresses, it acquires an irreverent tone (in line with one of the functions of folklore as explained by A.K Ramanujan).
Of forgiveness for one insolence, you blasphemous
Lout, you un-carer of myth, you track stopperer
You. Counterpoint needs point, dialogue ogue.
Sloughing off inner form,
The grammar of dissent accedes
To the howl in the vowel
But only so much.
Tending to the tender build
Up of an umptious velocity
Of will, the preposition
Proposes the act
Of severing the shill, the
Bond of a trembling fever
Of anxious relief; the
Cymbals can sound
Out now, the empire stands
Naked. O root of the
Predicate, take barbs
At the conjugal noun!
“Empire follows art and not vice versa” – William Blake