Monthly Archives: December 2009

auden, kipling and a eureka moment

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no laptop = all the time in the world.
been reading poetry.
loved this first one by auden.

and pg wodehouse in several novels often wrote:” the female of the species is more deadlier than the male” in fact i think he said it so often that in one novel he shortened it to: “f. of the s. is more d. than the m.”

SO. he was quoting from kipling. total “aha! moment” for me.

wanted to rush out onto the streets screaming “Eureka”. baby param was watching. so i put a lid on it.
**

O Tell Me The Truth About Love

Some say love’s a little boy,
And some say it’s a bird,
Some say it makes the world go around,
Some say that’s absurd,
And when I asked the man next-door,
Who looked as if he knew,
His wife got very cross indeed,
And said it wouldn’t do.

Does it look like a pair of pyjamas,
Or the ham in a temperance hotel?
Does its odour remind one of llamas,
Or has it a comforting smell?
Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is,
Or soft as eiderdown fluff?
Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?
O tell me the truth about love.

Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes,
It’s quite a common topic on
The Transatlantic boats;
I’ve found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides,
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway guides.

Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation
On a saw or a Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot?
Does it only like Classical stuff?
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?
O tell me the truth about love.

I looked inside the summer-house;
It wasn’t over there;
I tried the Thames at Maidenhead,
And Brighton’s bracing air.
I don’t know what the blackbird sang,
Or what the tulip said;
But it wasn’t in the chicken-run,
Or underneath the bed.

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing?
Does it spend all its time at the races,
or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of its own about money?
Does it think Patriotism enough?
Are its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love.

When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I’m picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning,
Or tread in the bus on my toes?
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.

WH Auden

***
The Female Of The Species

When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail,
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag, the wayside cobra, hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can,
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail –
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws –
‘Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale –
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn’t his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the others tale –
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations, worm and savage otherwise,
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise;
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger; Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue – to the scandal of the Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same,
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity – must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions – not in these her honor dwells –
She, the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else!

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate;
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions – in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him, who denies!
He will meet no cool discussion, but the instant, white-hot wild
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges – even so the she-bear fights;
Speech that drips, corrodes and poisons – even so the cobra bites;
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw,
And the victim writhes with anguish – like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of abstract justice – which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern; shall enthrall but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him and Her instincts never fail,
That the female of Her species is more deadly than the male!

Rudyard Kipling

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children’s books you wont see

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for chox2

~ You are Different And That’s Bad
~ Daddy Drinks Because You Cry
~ Strangers Have the Best Candy
~ Why Cant Mr Fork and Miss Electrical Outlet Be Friend
~ The Kid’s Guide to Hitchhiking
~ Controlling The Playground — Respect Through Fear

(from the dictionary of modern quotations. compiled by fred metcalf. penguin books)

I thought i’ll add my own…

~ Seven Ways To Torture Your Sibling. Your Mother Need Never Know
~ The Fully Illustrated Guide to Chewing Food Only in Slow Motion (CD-attached)

How bout you guys? Got any of your own

melange in malaysia

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for shruti/ t.p.l– lovers of art
and bhu — who’s seen the previous post 40 times…

apparently the flowers soaked in water is very typical of thailand, add to that the pookalam, which is very “Mallu” .

In this case the flowers were sewn on to glittery cloth and topped off with sequins and glitter. floral alchemy.

(spotted at a wedding here in Kuala Lumpur)

4…

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i like.

he needs me less. we laugh when one of us says octoger. he can eat pooris at saravana bhavan. he can be seatbelted. he will describe his ‘exclamation point’ moments. (and draw an invisible ! in the air…)

i turn around to thank him for waiting patiently while i de-loaded baby param’s pram.

only to find him busy. sticking his tongue out and licking the boot of a black corolla.