Do You See?

“with room in them for night and all its lights” — update!

A very quick post about all that is happening in my life right now. Personal. Yes, you got it.

Till the end of July I am at Skidmore College’s 2011 NYS Summer Writers Institute on a scholarship for Poetry, working with poets Campbell McGrath, Carolyn Forché and Peg Boyers. It’s been great so far and I’d perhaps write a little more later about what I felt was getting done to poetry here, mine as well as others’.

My MFA Poetry is in the works. Finished all my coursework from Rutgers University-Camden, NJ.

What next? Going back to Hyderabad, my current hometown in India. Leaving on July 30 to land on Aug 1. Any job I have? Not right away. Don’t want any nine-to-five job. Writing, communication/editorial consultancy, unwinding with reading — that should be my desired job profile.

Spending time with my family that I missed for almost a year is another agenda. I did visit home last December. My father’s death on Dec. 20 (just 2 days ahead of our meeting) changed a great deal of things for me. I’m still a little irritable, generous, impatient and gregarious — if somewhat irreparable. Broken somewhere.

But I still love fish, owls, spiders, pebbles (as body art or jewelry too!) and love wondering what happens to space at a given time.

Also, have some book reviews to write. Those are already lined up and I need to get to the reading soon after August chores pass.

What’s life been for me till now? Read this poem below for any answer you might want to glean. I sense something wonderful coming “with room in them for night and all its lights”…! :


(Octavio Paz, “Objects and Apparitions”, translated by Elizabeth Bishop in Geography III)

Hexahedrons of wood and glass,
scarcely bigger than a shoebox,
with room in them for night and all its lights.
Monuments to every moment,
refuse of every moment, used:
cages for infinity.
Marbles, buttons, thimbles, dice,
pins, stamps, and glass beads:
tales of the time.
Memory weaves, unweaves the echoes:
in the four corners of the box
shadowless ladies play at hide-and-seek.
Fire buried in the mirror,
water sleeping in the agate:
solos of Jenny Colonne and Jenny Lind.**
“One has to commit a painting,” said Degas,
“the way one commits a crime.” But you constructed
boxes where things hurry away from their names.
Slot machine of visions,
condensation flask for conversations,
hotel of crickets and constellations.
**Minimal, incoherent fragments:
the opposite of History, creator of ruins,
out of your ruins you have made creations.


Theatre of the spirits:
objects putting the laws
of identity through hoops.
**”Grand Hotel de la Couronne”: in a vial,
the three of clubs and, very surprised,
Thumbelina in gardens of reflection.


A comb is a harp strummed by the glance
of a little girl
born dumb.


The reflector of the inner eye
scatters the spectacle:
God all alone above an extinct world.


The apparitions are manifest,
their bodies weigh less than light,
lasting as long as this phrase lasts.


Joseph Cornell: inside your boxes
my words became visible for a moment.

(Thanks to Anu for this lovely gift of “fishy” earrings):

"for God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love"


2 comments on ““with room in them for night and all its lights” — update!

  1. Durgadas Sampath
    July 27, 2011

    you are a prolific writer .That too of various nature..
    nicely organised page..and also unique…

  2. Do You See
    July 27, 2011

    thanks a lot Mr. Sampath. Glad you like the blog!

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This entry was posted on July 20, 2011 by in india, Nabina, Nabina Das, poem, poetry.
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