Thursday, July 12, 2012

Globalizing English by Indianizing English

When I sing or recite, follow only the melody.
My lyrics wear dresses foreign to your memory;
widows wear white, brides red. The saffron priests
praise the un-manifested or incarnate divinities. Beasts
feature in my dances and myths. Chants obey rhymes
where consonants alien to the West accent these lines.

Follow only the melody, for I decorate my lines
with mustard-oil lamps. My bamboo flute melody
recounts the deep-song of ancient cowherds, rhymes
farmers composed for harvest dances & a memory
of wheat-colored beauties and sacrosanct beasts.
Echoing hymns older than myths, like Brahmanical priests,

I invoke all deities before the fire god, Agni. Priests,
my ancestors from the Vedic times, composed such lines:
"Revere the alive and the dead, wind, water, fire, beasts,
ether, nether. Every being, thing is divine. Om is the melody
the hymn, the hum of the universe. Aatma is self, a memory
of Paramaatma, the Grand Self. We are a billion rhymes,

chimes of the Grand Self. Incoherent, unspoken half-rhymes
of the present / absent Self. Juvenile egos, minds. Our priests
are within, any knower is a Brahmin. Our harvest is a memory
grown by centuries of soul-farming". What is obscure in my lines
conceals a lyric beyond English. If you follow only the melody,
the Westernized you will notice that we are two thinking beasts,

divided only by our memory. After rebirth as ignorant beasts,
we are conditioned by our space-times, by accidental rhymes.
My wild hope, instinct, belief ever seeks to arrive at a melody
that shall bring joy and dance to every territory. All the priests
within me, with verses I forget or dread or echo in my lines
insist, all humans are blessed with a transcendental memory

enriched by soul-farming. In spite of our divergent memory,
drives, lusts, cravings and myths, we, logical, liberal beasts,
surpassing our space-times, can traverse beyond these lines,
beyond dresses alien to our memory, beyond babel rhymes,
to Ananda -- bliss and tranquility. To Moksha beyond priests,
beyond prejudices, in harmony with the universal melody.

Though I sing in English, I adorn my lines with an Indian memory.
If we focus only on the melody, we argumentative, rational beasts
could reach the locus of rhymes of our primordial verses and priests.

A version appeared in Muse India in 2012; this is a highly revised nth version.  

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