poems

Monotone

Monochromatic photographs and movies are graceful and attractive but life if lived in only two colors won’t be an exciting one. The daily drudgery, repetitiveness, and monotony can bog anyone down. That’s why we take to avenues of entertainment, to movies that let us live lives that are not ours, listen to music and start believing in the world. Emily Dickinson, the great poetess said

IMG_20170611_012846:

The riddles we can guess

We speedily despise-

Not anything is stale so long

As yesterday’s surprise!

The Square Root of Three

During my final year of college I watched a movie – Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo bay. The movie wasn’t something to be remembered for any reason except this math poem that David Feinberg – a professor in Computer Science department at Carnegie Mellon University wrote down.

It indeed is a fun, nerdy read.

 

I fear that I will always be
A lonely number like root three

The three is all that’s good and right,
Why must my three keep out of sight
Beneath the vicious square root sign,
I wish instead I were a nine

For nine could thwart this evil trick,
with just some quick arithmetic

I know I’ll never see the sun, as 1.7321
Such is my reality, a sad irrationality

When hark! What is this I see,
Another square root of a three

Has quietly come waltzing by,
Together now we multiply
To form a number we prefer,
Rejoicing as an integer

We break free from our mortal bonds
With the wave of magic wands

Our square root signs become unglued
Your love for me has been renewed

If only !

Mahadevi Verma was one of the pillar of the romanticism/chhayawaad era in Hindi literature.It was marked by a rejuvenating and renewed sense of the self and personal expression, visible in the writings of that time. I read one of her poem as prescribed in the school text book -swati ( which means first drop from the sky that falls into the sea and turns into a pearl) in grade 10.

जो तुम आ जाते एक बार
कितनी करुणा कितने सन्देश
पथ में बिछ जाते बन पराग
गाता प्राणों का तार तार
अनुराग भरा उन्माद राग
आंसूं लेते वे पग पखार
जो तुम आ जाते एक बार

हंस उठते मन में आर्द्र नयन
घुल जाता ओठों से विषाद
छा जाता जीवन में वसंत
लुट जाता चिर संचित विराग
आँखें देतीं सर्वस्व वार
जो तुम आ जाते एक बार

I cannot think that it can get any more romantic,submissive and unconditional than what she has described. In the poem the poetess is describing what her feelings would have been if her beloved comes to see her only once.
I might not do justice with the translation but I can present a crude one here.
Inordinate compassion, inordinate communiques and messages
would have bestrewed the path as flowers.
Every chord of my soul would have sung a melody full of intoxicating passion.
The tears would have washed the feet.
If you would have come once; if
The moist and tear drenched eyes would have gleamed.
Would have washed away the megrim and sepulchral from the lips.
The spring would have canopied my life.
The eternal hoarded despondency would have been lost.
I would have submitted everything that I have.
If you would have come once; if
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I have heard that many people associate romanticism especially in Hindi literature with God but I am open ended to this discussion as the feelings could have been directed towards a lover too for which a poet/poetess or the protagonist in the poems is longing for.