Dr Niamh On The Plum Tree

Childhood Imagination Sows Seeds of Future Brilliance

In The Sandbox With Dr. Koshy

The Elegy

This piece is dedicated to the memory of Nikhil Sharma, who was a budding Indian poet and a bright shining light; a smart young personality I knew who passed away on 10-06-2013.

It is true that great poetry has always sprung from deep emotions and feelings, that this is the only stuff it can be made of. And no emotion is deeper than the one caused by bereavement. Of all occasional poems, it is the poem called forth by the death of someone or something that speaks to us as human beings most, that validates the task of poetry to us most, even in these days of its seeming irrelevance.

We all know of the elegy as a form and its definition as being a study in mourning a person’s death or mourning any kind of a passing away. No one would have read lines with the elegiac note in them like Keats’s – “where youth grows pale and spectre thin and dies/and beauty does not keep her lustrous eyes” in Ode to a Nightingale without feeling the deep pangs of sorrow he felt at the death of his brother Tom Keats or his own TB or the gash of unrequited love. It was this poem and such lines taught by a great Tamil poet called Nakulan to me for whom I wrote an elegy at his death that made me a poet.

W.S.Graham

W.S.Graham

I know that I could talk of poet friends or acquaintances I lost here today like the Malayali poet Aveesh K, his brother Sajoosh, a budding painter, – both young deaths – or quote Nikhil Sharma or a poem on Nikhil Sharma but I do not want to hijack the space given to me for personal ramblings. Great art is universal and in it we find ourselves and our tragedies too. Let me instead make you read from my esoteric treasure trove of knowledge a poem by W.S. Graham that best sums up for me the agony undergone at the death of a loved one who is also like all of us who really love art, one wounded by his or her love for art, in the hope that if we cannot yet write the code that cheats death we can at least wrest from it works of art that become undying, thus defeating it.

Background to W.S. Graham’s poem The Thermal Stair About the artist Peter Lanyon:
“Peter Lanyon died on August 31st, 1964, after a gliding accident at
Dunkeswell airfield in Devon. It appears, from the evidence of a witness to the crash interviewed in the programme, that one wing of Lanyon’s glider clipped trees as he approached the runway. Lanyon was not seriously injured and was only kept in hospital because of a comparatively minor back injury. He died suddenly three days later when a blood clot, formed at a bruise on his leg, reached his brain.”

Peter Lanyon Thermal

Peter Lanyon Thermal

Please do read and listen to W.S. Graham’s great elegy The Thermal Stair here to be inspired to write great elegies that defeat death.

http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=7508

From Wikipedia: William Sydney Graham (19 November 1918 – 9 January 1986) was a Scottish poet who is often associated with Dylan Thomas and the neo-romantic group of poets. Graham’s poetry was mostly overlooked in his lifetime but, partly due to the support of Harold Pinter, his work has enjoyed a revival in recent years. He was represented in the second edition of the Penguin Book of Contemporary Verse (Harmondsworth, UK, 1962) and the Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2001).

Note. W.S..Graham was also much appreciated by T.S.Eliot

Koshy

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com

19 comments on “In The Sandbox With Dr. Koshy

  1. connellykevin
    June 13, 2013

    A very moving post here Niamh, I feel privileged to have read, thank you.
    The lines from Keats you quote have never ceased to both move and quieten me since I first found them over thirty years ago. That is the power of profound poetry, Kevin

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 13, 2013

      It is to Dr. Koshy that we owe this post today, Kevin. I feature him twice monthly, and his posts are always a joy.

      Like

  2. drpendyala2005
    June 13, 2013

    you need deep emotions
    deep feelings
    you need to love red roses
    nature, romance and birds
    you need to feel pain
    and yes you need to miss
    someone to write poetry !!

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 13, 2013

      Thank you drpendyala. It is true – at these points of crisis in our lives, we need to express the soul, and poetry is the vehicle for the soul.

      Like

  3. Ampat Koshy
    June 13, 2013

    Thanks Kevin 🙂

    Like

  4. Ampat Koshy
    June 13, 2013

    Thanks Pendyala – that is a poem in itself! Your comment is. 🙂

    Like

  5. Pingback: In The Sandbox With Dr. Koshy:The Elegy | BUTTERFLIES OF TIME

  6. Ampat Koshy
    June 13, 2013

    Thanks for the pingback Butterflies 🙂

    Like

  7. Juliette
    June 13, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your post on loss and love.

    Like

  8. Pingback: In The Sandbox With Dr. Koshy | West Coast Review

  9. Ampat Koshy
    June 13, 2013

    Thanks Juliette 🙂

    Like

  10. Patricia Tilton
    June 13, 2013

    Very inspiring post. So much wisdom in your post in the last week. I love the offerings.

    Like

  11. Ampat Koshy
    June 14, 2013

    Thank you, Patricia 🙂

    Like

  12. thiskidreviewsbooks
    June 16, 2013

    What a great post. I am sorry that some people had to die young. 😦

    Like

  13. the secret keeper
    June 16, 2013

    It is unfortunate but true that one endures great loss to reach the depths of pain it takes you to. The screams echoing inside and out that cause you to lament a great loves death. They cannot be quieted so easily. Writing poetry finds a way to bring forth a way to express the unexpressable. This is such an accurate representation of a great deal of the poetry that exists for us to read. It gives solace when we absorb another poet’s words and helps in our own writing to release the depth of pressure that our mind and body sustain from the shock of lose or loses of those with whom we are profoundly close and love deeply. This post gives a directive guide for those who need to release through poetry the feelings and thoughts that arise. Thank you for your heartfelt words and sharing. The poem I turn to for inspiration is W.H. Auden’s poem, “Funeral Blues.” I will post it on my blog this coming week. It has been awhile since I have heard it spoken or read it silently. Thank you Niamh for creating this space for us to come to experience such profundity, and thank you Dr. Koshy for all these reminders of the necessity for poetry, especially in the time of grief, in expressing ones most secret thoughts and feelings. They should be shared and not kept secret. You not only help yourself but others will find relief hopefully from what you write. Peace. Jk the secret keeper Jennifer

    Like

  14. Ampat Koshy
    June 17, 2013

    Thanks Erik 🙂

    Like

  15. thanks secret keeper for such a great reply 🙂

    Like

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