Tag Archive: Nihilism


Listen to Aram Saroyan’s Crickets

Aram Saroyan’s poetry may evade any poetry enthusiast reading for a coherent meaning in and between the lines. His one-line poems may seem outlandish and vague to many. When I first came across his oeuvre, I was stuck by the idea of communication through symbol; and they called it poetry.

Poetry, it is.

No matter how much we like to enjoy an art form without delving into its intricacies, It is true, that its impact grows manifold when we relate, understand and “lemon squeeze” it. We are constantly, consciously or unconsciously, on a look out for a meaning.

When I read Aram Saroyan’s poetry, I couldn’t put my mind to rest until I could decode the symbol, people call poetry. If coding decoding is poetry, as someone at wordpress.org would like to call “code is poetry” ( being technically challenged, I would refrain from commenting on the quote within the implications it is used at wp.org, allow me to take it vice versa), then the best way to enjoy it is to deconstruct the Derridian signifier-signified of the symbol. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring critical tenets to poetry, no matter how sacrilegious it may seem. Everything, afterall, is a quest for meaning.

Being an avid pessimist, I yearn for meaning in nullity; nihilism in reason. I guess that’s the reason why Saroyan’s poem (never mind if you think it isn’t one) Crickets drew me to its depths. A one-word poem running repeatedly until the end of the page, it runs beyond an ordinary understanding of a regular poem. If you read the poem, you are likely to shrug and conclude: this is nuisance! It doesn’t make sense.

I agree, it doesn’t. Yet, I insist it does.

The poem holds in itself a moment of epiphany. It occurs as a spark when you suddenly, for a fraction of second, pull down your hand-me-down glasses and see the world with your own vision. The recitation of the poem makes the experience unforgettable.

Crickets are the symbol of hope. They chirp monotonously after the rains, and even amidst the mundane ear itching sound, there is a message of rain. There is a meaning in recurrence, in monotonous chirping, in every chirp which may sound the same but is different. The rendition of Aram Saroyan’s Crickets is a reflection of that meaning. Every next word, even if it is the same, comes to life as an independent entity with its own meaning, as you hear it.

The poem is an art form of Nietzsche’s philosophy of ‘eternal return’- the belief “that this life as we live it at present, and have lived it; we will have to live it again once more, and also innumerable times; and there will be nothing new in it but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh, and all the unspeakably small and great in our life must come to us again, and all in same series and sequence, and that “the recurrence will recur ad infinitum.”

It is this recurrence that would occur ad infinitum, that is reflected in the poem. Nietzsche asks “Isn’t such a recurrence where you cannot change anything a burden?” With this poem, Saroyan answers that if at all it is a burden, it can be made bearable by opening ourselves to the possible visions of the world, in and about us.

Copyright, Tina Rathore

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I gotta use words when I talk to you
But if you understand or if you don’t
That’s nothing to me and nothing to you
We all gotta do what we gotta do. – T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot. Sweeney Agonistes
     

Painting by Pisarev Gennadiy© Amsterdam Art Gallery — 2000-2010

Make me word
less, peel
away the rhe
toric, the
      white man’s
burden
o’ words-
that mean
nothing to you 
nothing to me.     

Make me word
less, let’s
delve in Pin
teresque pauses
.
Why do I when I
talk to you
need words-
that mean
nothing to me
nothing to you.     

Make me word
less, like the ligh
                   tning,
the messenger o’ the
black blue bass
drum sky. Why?
should I be
prey to words-
that mean
nothing to you
nothing to me.   

Copyright, Tina Rathore.   

I think that we communicate only too well, in our silence, in what is unsaid, and that what takes place is a continual evasion, desperate rearguard attempts to keep ourselves to ourselves. Communication is too alarming. To enter into someone else’s life is too frightening. To disclose to others the poverty within us is too fearsome a possibility. – Harold Pinter      

I gotta use words when I talk to you
But if you understand or if you don’t
That’s nothing to me and nothing to you
We all gotta do what we gotta do. – T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot. Sweeney Agonistes
     

Painting by Pisarev Gennadiy© Amsterdam Art Gallery — 2000-2010

Make me word
less, peel
away the rhe
toric, the
      white man’s
burden
o’ words-
that mean
nothing to you 
nothing to me.     

Make me word
less, let’s
delve in Pin
teresque pauses
.
Why do I when I
talk to you
need words-
that mean
nothing to me
nothing to you.     

Make me word
less, like the ligh
                   tning,
the messenger o’ the
black blue bass
drum sky. Why?
should I be
prey to words-
that mean
nothing to you
nothing to me.   

Copyright, Tina Rathore.   

I think that we communicate only too well, in our silence, in what is unsaid, and that what takes place is a continual evasion, desperate rearguard attempts to keep ourselves to ourselves. Communication is too alarming. To enter into someone else’s life is too frightening. To disclose to others the poverty within us is too fearsome a possibility. – Harold Pinter      

People often ask me if i believe in god, Santa Claus, ghosts. but no one ever asks if i believe in believing. when I’m burdened with a task of believing in anything i have to let all my years of training in reason, intelligence, wisdom, inquisitiveness to rest. This is something i find most difficult to do.

From childhood we are made to scientifically and logically develop our views. We are taught that for a premises to be true it should have grounding in reason. If there is no proof there is no truth. We are trained to our five senses so rigorously that anything which fails to satiate them is non-existent, an illusion- something that is to be casually dismissed with a smile. Gradually we become slaves of the five senses, never attempting to search the sixth. We have to hear a person moan before we conclude how unhappy he/she is, we have to have someone express themselves for us before we realize what we are doing to them. We become apathetic to things we fail to see. We always need someone to work for us, think for us, act for us. We are so bound to our tangible knowledge that we fail to see beyond or beneath it. All our childish fancies- a product of far fetched imagery of carefree mind gradually become a thing to shy away from and we succumb to one and the only god- reason.

The wiser we grow the farther we get from the transcendental act of believing. We end up weighing pros and cons of every situation by a systematic logical reasoning, every time losing the link beyond our senses.

You’ll be given a hundred reasons not to believe in ghosts, Santa Claus, telepathy, horoscopes, the tooth fairies, speaking stars because they are non existent. But why don’t they exist? Only because we have no proof? Its because we think we need them no more. Gradually we lose our capability in the act of believing, how to perform it. We grow skeptical of every next thing we come across, every next person we meet. People forget to believe in themselves,in their loved ones, in their capabilities, in the potential of their existence and amidst such despair belief takes a ceremonial status.

It is only when destiny shocks us, when we suddenly discover the futility of our acts, when nothing seems reasonable, when no reason comes to our rescue do we want to believe in something. It is only then we find ourselves stripped of belief, the higher self, the inner god. It is then we act as passive recipients of inevitable pain unaware of the methods that may allay it. It is then we want to go back to our childhood when we believed; in fairies, Santa Claus, ghosts- and believe that there is a higher power called God. With this discovery we discover our true self, we discover a fairy world.

****

Nietzsche said
God is dead
we are now free
to be or not to be.

you madman
with a lantern
oh! you meek
what reality you seek?

you the one who said
ah! god is dead.
from illusion us you wake
for whose sake?

let us believe
in one who relieve
no God am i
nor can be.

let me be
your spiritual tree
with fruits of gold
and future untold.

ah! you god
now you behold
the incarnation, resurrection,
all action in inaction.

i killed him in
the countri-inn
Him I stabbed
with color daubed.

innocent am i?
a victim, a liar
no Ganges can,
no Thames that ran
can wash these hands,
of colored sands,
can dig away the corpse
of my hopes.

God you call me
so let it be
but I Know not
to be or not to be.

© Copyright, Tina Rathore.

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