Monday, January 2, 2017

Analysis of "Had She" by Elizabeth T. Gray Jr.

Poem found here: "Had She" by Elizabeth T. Gray Jr.


What starts out as a hypothetical hyper-focused location poem, "Had she stayed / Had she stepped up / Into the train that carried them down" of a missed chance or opportunity turns into four lines that I don't understand.

What kailāsaranashiva
chandramoulīphanīndramātāmukutī
zalālīkārunyasindhubhavadukhahārī
thujavīnashambomajakonatārī

Language in poetry is, as one can assume, the most important part in constructing poem.  So when I encountered this the first time I guess three years ago my comment was "what the hell is this -- language."

Something once familiar, or rather, something that the scenario brings is that when the reader feels the most comfortable and aware -- "Home through Rangoon and Vientiane," does the language make me feel less at home -- yes.  Then why feel so distant or rather foreign.

There's something metapoetic in the construction of the lines -- so precise is the language that it seems that the poet has went back to get the right wording.  I can't translate those lines in google translate, but should that matter.

Who, in context, is saying these words, "In the cripple's mouth after he spat".  This theoretical she would know the translation from this cripple rather know the exact language.
O Lord Shiva on Mount Kailash
Moon-Jeweled Serpent-Crowned
Ocean of Mercy Remover of Delusion,
Protect me I surrender 
I'm not sure if this is the correct translation.  It doesn't matter.  What matters is the intent of the translation -- a humble grandiose gesture -- a simple prayer.  But not directed to the people in the poem, rather the idea of someone listening.

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