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In The Sandbox With Dr Koshy.

In this week’s “In The Sandbox,” Dr. Koshy introduces a theme which I am sure many of us poets are familiar with: Depression and Suicide. For some of us, those moments when the soul is in despair are the richest in terms of inspiration…

Poetry consoles one in one’s suicidal moments.

By Ampat Koshy

Sometimes in life one is depressed beyond measure. This may come from either having messed up one’s own life or having messed up the lives of others also. Whichever the cause, and by the way the ones I have stated are only two of many such causes for depression, reading poetry in such times or writing it consoles us.

What they read in such instances varies from person to person but I turn to very dark gloomy poetry from Grecian or Roman times, the poetry of people like Sextus Propertius or Ovid or Sappho, or Malayalam poetry sometimes, that is; poetry in my mother tongue or by someone from my home state in Kerala who writes in English. Today I remember two poets in this context, Balachandran Chullikad who writes beautiful lyrics and K Satchindanandan. Satchindanandan once said that insanity was his muse in Atta Galatta, an interesting bookstore in Bangalore. Satchidanandan has also been nominated for the Nobel Prize.

I quote a poem of his that strangely enough buoys me up.

Sachidanandan

Koyamparambath Satchidanandan

I CAN TALK TO THE DEAD
I can talk to the dead:
dead men, trees, rivers.
Sometimes I see my ancestors:
My granny flies on proverbs,
my grandpa crosses rivers on riddles.
Some swing on quartrains and couplets,
some ride chessmen.
Some play in circles, ploughing fields,
some pluck the betel leaves of heaven.
Sometimes I come across my dead friends.
They have not changed much; only
their bodies have turned into glass.
We can see their hearts inside.
No, they have not stopped, they beat
faster than our hearts.
They cry in the voice of drizzles and
laugh softly like falling leaves.
they are not very different from us,
the so-called living; only sometimes
they choose to fly. Their desires, anxieties,
disappointments: everything is like our own.
Death is not the end of doubts;
questions still haunt them.
But they lost their language long ago.
Their sun rises like a skull in the east.
Mushrooms grow on their foreheads.
When I am talking to myself,
I am really talking to the dead.
When I am talking to you too.
Sun has set in our language.
1988

( Translated from the Malayalam by the poet )

Why I like this poem is because of its dirge like and elegiac atmosphere whereby it lays our hopes about what happens in the afterlife to rest, showing it as a continuation that is not better or worse, only different. The last stanza especially captures my attention as a lament for the death of indigenous languages, language, poetry and for – to end up where I started out – oneself in not being able to become better or for not being able to stop hurting others which accounts for the notion that we are already dead, you and I.

For those who want to read more of and about K Satchidanandan you can on his site which is also where I took this poem from – “http://www..com/picantalktothedead.html” and for those interested in Balachandran Chullikad, another beautiful Malayalam poet, you can look up his poems here – “http://www.kritya.in/0511/En/poetry_at_our_time5.html
And today’s challenge? Why not try writing a poem with the title I Can Talk to the Dead in the comments box, dear friends?

K.Satchidanandan

http://www.satchidanandan.com

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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.drniamh.co.uk

28 comments on “In The Sandbox With Dr Koshy.

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

  2. BUTTERFLIES OF TIME
    July 11, 2013

    I can talk to the dead

    But what do I say
    They kill me–my soul mates
    in every birth we take
    Behind a blinking eyelash fence
    my nights gather in earnest
    talking of a sun that failed to rise
    Life roams with a poison pitcher
    a new one everyday
    They hold out cups, the stronger ones
    I cradle mine and weep
    We laugh under the anonymity of neon eyes
    I am too scared to venture into their day
    There some winged friends crash and die
    Their scars and bloodstains willed to me
    and in the ditches, some dreams too
    The spirits of each gather around a bonfire
    burning shells and verses everyday
    I hide my dead within my soul
    where nothing survives too long
    I know too much to live a farce
    They know I am dead to all alive
    -Reena

    Like

  3. Patricia Tilton
    July 12, 2013

    Powerful. I like Dr. Koshy’s comments as they add so much more to the poem he shared.

    Like

  4. Thanks Butterflies and honestly I don’t know which one I like better yours or Satchidanandan’s now. Just for that single comment this post has been worth it.

    Like

    • BUTTERFLIES OF TIME
      July 14, 2013

      Ampat Sir.. That means so much to me Thank you.. This has set off an avanlanche of responses.. I am so glad to read all the different ones

      Like

  5. Thanks to all who tweeted, facebooked, google plussed, liked, linked in-ed and pinterested.- lots of love

    Like

  6. linked in-ed. 🙂

    Like

  7. radhadr
    July 12, 2013

    I can talk to the dead
    As they talk back to me,
    They know how to listen
    In rapt attention
    As no one listens
    to their stories.

    I can feel the dead talking,
    Whispering, singing,
    Songs of life, sometimes of death
    Songs of longing, things unsaid.

    I don’t need to die to talk to them,
    They bless me with this special ear,
    Which lets me hear
    their stories,
    From spaces, no one can ever veer

    This is a one way street, lonely
    Once the dead allow you to talk
    You are at their mercy.
    No matter how much you try to
    Stop listening
    To stories of dying of agony
    They will not let you go
    As so few,
    Are privileged
    To hear their living memories.

    I fear not death anymore
    And that is the bliss
    The dead have blessed me with
    As I know once I am dead
    I still will be able to tell
    My stories to ones who are interested.

    One of them may be,
    Just may be a poet,
    Who will then write,
    My unwritten verses, scribbles and poetry.
    I may be dead then,
    But my poetry will continue
    To traverse this world of the living dead’s.

    Like

  8. Thanks @Patricia Tilton

    Like

  9. I can talk to the dead
    they walk in and out of me
    my rooms that holds their secrets
    the secrets that cling on to me.

    I can talk to the dead
    I need not have any fear
    they can chuckle or snarl
    it means not much to me.

    I can talk to the dead
    they cannot talk to me
    and their endless paleness
    bores me plain to death…..

    ::))))

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      July 12, 2013

      Wow! Mary. Really interesting perspective. How their endless paleness bores you to death!

      Like

  10. ontheplumtree
    July 12, 2013

    The dead won’t talk to me
    I closed my ears, long ago
    when I grew sick of hearing them
    screeching through the wind
    whining into my consciousness
    flitting through time’s closed doors
    searching for echoes
    of wasted love,
    or murdered destiny

    Why cling to a world
    that withholds
    warmth of flesh?
    Why beseech ~
    cry for mercy?
    The rattle and hum
    of the clothed, fed and loved
    care not
    hear not
    see not

    No more than I am heard or seen
    ~ a ghost myself
    belonging neither to this world
    or the next

    Niamh Clune 2013

    Like

  11. Pingback: I can talk to the dead. | Marta Pelrine-Bacon

  12. mapelba
    July 12, 2013

    It may not be what you had in mind (and again I remind you, I’m not a poet), but I made an effort and posted it on my blog. Thanks for the challenge!

    http://martapelrinebacon.com/2013/07/12/i-can-talk-to-the-dead/

    Like

  13. Radha Debroy Raai’s response to my challenge:
    I can talk to the dead
    As they talk back to me,
    They know how to listen
    In rapt attention
    As no one listens
    to their stories.
    I can feel the dead talking,
    Whispering, singing,
    Songs of life, sometimes of death
    Songs of longing, things unsaid.
    I don’t need to die to talk to them,
    They bless me with this special ear,
    Which lets me hear
    their stories,
    From spaces, no one can ever veer
    This is a one way street, lonely
    Once the dead allow you to talk
    You are at their mercy.
    No matter how much you try to
    Stop listening
    To stories of dying, of agony
    They will not let you go
    As so few,
    Are privileged
    To hear their living memories.
    I fear not death anymore
    And that is the bliss
    The dead have blessed me with
    As I know once I am dead
    I still will be able to tell
    My stories to ones who are interested.
    One of them may be,
    Just may be a poet,
    Who will then write,
    My unwritten verses, scribbles and poetries.
    I may be dead then,
    But my poetry will continue
    To traverse this world of the living dead.

    Like

  14. Thanks to Niamh, Mary, Marta. Radha and Alan for amazing responses

    Like

  15. “I can talk to the Dead.”
    by Koshy A.V.
    I can talk to the dead*

    Like my non-verbal son they tell no lies
    do not spread rumours
    or backbite behind one’s back
    untruthful things about one
    carry no daggers to stab you with from behind
    they rejoice or mourn only about themselves
    jealousy, mistrust and suspicion have left them, I like to think
    tell you no lies about yourself to your face
    are quite quiet
    except for the sound of their bubbling souls
    that make them like witches’ potions

    or like good, strong, green tea.

    Title from a poem by K Satchindanandan.

    Like

  16. Poetry Challenge: “I Can Talk To The Dead”
    Those of you who work with me know that I talk to my deceased patients. They don’t respond but it makes me feel better.

    Death Calls
    ©2013 Anita Travis White, RN

    my beautiful lady
    death comes not so easy
    three days imminent
    clogged with apneic deception

    you relinquished your final breath
    rendering freeing silence
    spoken words are now mute
    only your cat hears my mumbling

    we had a good connection you and I
    Tuesdays and Fridays at two,
    bath at four, Morphine at six and ten.
    details of your affliction jotted in my nurse notes

    I prepare you for your final transport
    ticktock of your old timekeeper
    collides with the sound of the knock at the door.
    I’ll see you on the other side.
    by Anita Travis White

    Like

  17. Enjoyed reading all that:) Niamh Clune t y too:)

    Like

  18. patriciasands
    July 13, 2013

    Beautiful words that sum up my simple belief … the earthly being may be gone but the spirit remains with us forever.

    Like

  19. Thanks @Patricia Sands 🙂

    Like

  20. Zeenath Ibrahim
    July 15, 2013

    Splendid article and loved the series of poems that followed!

    Like

  21. thanks @zeenath

    Like

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