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Nepalese Notebook: September 8th, 2014

September 8th, 2014

Chitwan

Chitwan: the Nepalese Terai, the land of the Tharu.  These are the lowlands of the Himalaya, a vast jungle filled with rhinos, tigers, and crocodiles, interspersed with the irrigated fields of the natives.  From Kathmandu it is a 5 hours bus ride along narrow and sometimes precipitous roads in which the drivers take every advantage of passing one another regardless of blind curves or the stories of overturned buses only days before.  And yet the driving is not reckless; for when you see your driver passing another bus without any hope of gauging a head-on collision, you are able to find in his unshakeability a small comfort, knowing that the danger he has put you in, he may now save you from, as he swerves back with amazing dexterity only seconds before another bus would have brought upon your ruin. This is only one of the shocks though; the city of Kathmandu itself holds more than one could ever imagine; danger becomes no more than an inability to understan…

Mineola: The Spirit of the War-Path

Here is the first act of a drama from Woodland Poems--feel free to comment!
Scene: A wood near an Indian Village (late evening) Enter: Two women (Mineola and Nakakowa) gathering wood Mineola: See you how this dark world in silence be? I think the evening awakes anxiousness Just as the morning delays it: Hear you? You may hear the birds, but they are far away; They sing, but their songs are echoes, long, faint; And yet they tell a truth, but it is scarce: That we are far from ourselves when we’d be The most intimate, and that our precious Moments are thoughts too lazy to be felt— And this, this, the worst sort of anxiousness! Nakakowa: And why? Mineola: Such times as this, when men are tired, I am awake, but cannot act myself, And being another, am an enemy To myself who was a friend, and un-friend The man who rises fresh to his passion.

Lost Poet Series: John Clare

If ever he were consoled by his own voice, even through loneliness of heart and failure of spirit, John Clare merits the attention of those who, not through pity, but of genuine desire, seek the inner motivations of man. His poetry, strange and wonderful, still remains intimate to those with a solitary moment to spare and his descriptions of the countryside offer a reason to escape.
Born on July 13th, 1793 at a time when men could still gain livings by titles such as 'wandering fiddler', of which Clare's grandfather was one, or 'wrestler and corn thrasher' as was his father, our poet grew up. Often said to be dreamy and shy--for one day he had gone off to search for the horizon--yet the boy gained from leisurely entertainment a scanty upbringing in poetry while listening 'to a curious old lady called Granny Baines' recite folk songs and ballads. Among the countryside he roamed much, but desiring in those early years to write verse, he was said to sit on hi…