Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

9 February 2011

Poetry - the higher algebra of metaphors.

I am an unabashed lover of poetry. I do not remember a time when I have not loved it, even at a time when I was too young to go looking for it, poetry, as with Neruda, came in search of me.... Wherever I turned, there it was: like a gleaming piece of glass found on a vast beach, like a gentle drip-drip on a rainy afternoon, sometimes a bright flame, at others, a warm fire. It fills me with a sense of magic to discover the secret of life in a sudden line, it grabs me by the throat, shakes me up and says "how could you have missed the blindingly obvious?" It has been profound as philosophy, it has brought me the sort of delight a child finds in a picture with bright colours. As William Carlos Williams says, it has helped me close the doors of sense and to roam in other worlds, my anguish mended, my doubts answered, my anxieties borne away on the wings of a page or just a few lines..... It has been my solace in dark hours, soothing, comforting and uplifting me by turns. It has imbued me with ideas, it has spurred me on with heatening tones, made me weep, made me chortle in glee at a recognised discomfort, or delight me with an insight. 

Dylan Thomas says it so well: 
I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books, 
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words, 
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter, 
such and so many blinding bright lights,
splashing all over the pages
in a million bits and pieces
all of which were words, words, words,
and each of which were alive forever
in its own delight and glory and oddity and light.

And here are two poems on poetry that I love tremendously: 

Introduction To Poetry

ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light 
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to water-ski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means. 
 Billy Collins ~ 

 I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all 
this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one 
discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become 
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
feels a
flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician--
nor is it valid
to discriminate against 'business documents and

school-books'; all these phenomena are important. One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
'literalists of 
the imagination'--above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them', shall
we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.
~ Marianne Moore ~ 

1 comment:

Vinayak Razdan said...

Wonderful! And I kind of like Dylan Thomas.

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