nabinadas13

Do You See?

“We thought of return”; Mallaig Mural

Trust Cesare Pavese to make my day when it just seems to go nowhere.

But the last couple days I did go somewhere. I mentioned in my earlier post — the Highlands! Yep, I’m done touring Fort William and Mallaig. What a cracking visit.

Really don’t know how to describe it all. Too many precious little memories and far less words at my disposal. And I have quite a few photos that I will upload only later.

But something should be said. Or shown. Pavese has a poem that makes me happy and anxious, both. It says something. It draws a plane — from a confinement to a return. It makes me forget all that could be imaginary. A poetic attempt to “cleanse my vision” should I say?

Also, I have a Mallaig mural from the Internet… I didn’t see any while walking about there.

 

“Words from Confinement” BY CESARE PAVESE

TRANSLATED BY GEOFFREY BROCK

We would go down to the fish market early
to cleanse our vision: the fish were silver,
and scarlet, and green, and the color of sea.
The fish were lovlier than even the sea
with its silvery scales. We thought of return.
**
Lovely too the women with jars on their heads,
olive-brown clay, shaped softly like thighs:
we each thought of our women, their voices,
their laughs, the way they walked down the street.
And each of us laughed. And it rained on the sea.
**
In vineyards that cling to cracks in the earth,
water softens the leaves and the grape-stems. The sky
is colored by occasional clouds that redden
with pleasure and sun. On earth, flavors and smells;
in the sky, color. And we were alone there.
**
We thought of return the way a man thinks
of morning after an utterly sleepless night.
We took pleasure in the color of fish and the glisten
of fruit, all so alive in the musk of the sea.
We were drunk on the thought of impending return.
**

Source: Dissaffections: Complete Poems 1930-1950 (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)

 

Mallaig mural: from the Internet

 

***

How do you cope with a seemingly ending end? How do you cope with not looking at a sky lit up till late night, at loggerheads with the rhododendrons? What sun and moon are your companions? Your answer should only be in a poem. The way Pavese says: “We were drunk on the thought of impending return.”

And I will return.

“On earth, flavors and smells;
in the sky, color. And we were alone there.”

***

Saturday night in Fort William, I chatted up a couple of men working at a takeaway while ordering my sheesh kebab. “We’re from Turkey and we’re Kurds.” One loved the Highlands; the other complained the “mountains” were too low. I mentioned Bahman Ghobadi’s film “Turtles Can Fly”. They went delirious! Kurdistan, oh, Kurdistan. Even in the smile, I saw glassy eyes.

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3 comments on ““We thought of return”; Mallaig Mural

  1. Mihir Vatsa
    June 19, 2012

    Such a nice poem! Reading your blogposts is a very informative work to do. 🙂

  2. Do You See
    June 19, 2012

    Cesare Pavese is amazingly fresh, even when he is simply being descriptive and ruminative … Not one of his poems in this collection has disappointed me. MV, note the musings, the reflections, and note how nothing falls flat at all. The tactile words and the color words are matched brilliantly. It re-livened the sea town of Mallaig for me.
    Ah, informative? I like that epithet. I feel I belong to the information age. But don’t call it work 🙂

  3. rohith003
    June 20, 2012

    We thought of return the way a man thinks of morning after an utterly sleepless night. We took pleasure in the color of fish and the glisten of fruit, all so alive in the musk of the sea. We were drunk on the thought of impending return.

    Oh! Lovely Pavese

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This entry was posted on June 18, 2012 by in Cesare Pavese, Fort William, Mallaig, Nabina Das, poetry, Words from Confinement.
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