Sunday, October 24, 2010

Everything to Say and Nothing to Say

You reach a point where you have everything to say and nothing to say. It's raining outside - hoping that it will stop before the day passes. Locked up in my room writing, while listening to the "Classic" album, an ERA's adaptation of the likes of Vivaldi and Bach - Vivaldi's "Spring" of his Four Seasons is especially good. Mingled with classical music since a few months back perhaps, and think it takes a lot of work to find out more, apart from listening to FM 92.4 - "Good life, good music" with the occasional popular pieces, otherwise all gibberish to me. The fare largely started with KJ:Music and Life, and I have since harboured a damn-should-have-listened-to-this-stuff-earlier kind of feeling.

I ran a fair bit last week, and I think doing interval training (fast-slow-fast) in a stadium does help with timing. Totally exalted with my New Balance REAL Run's 15 KM timing this year, especially for the first 10 KM, totally kicked ass.

On the bookish side of me, I am reading local poet, Grace Chua's "The Stamp Collector's Wife". The funny thing sometimes about relishing local poetry is that you are reminded that the writer is a Chinese. It's difficult to specify the reason, perhaps it is the imagery that reflects this heritage, or the usage of language? It's at times like you're reading lyrics of some Chinese pop song. In this aspect, I found Teng Qian Xi's "They hear salt crystallising" to be so un-Chinese, thus making the poet a rare breed. Of course, most poems are to me like little puzzles to be disassembled, only to be put together word by word. Like I said before, I can't possibly understand all the poetry. Still, it bugs me sometimes not to know. And anyway, they are all subjected to interpretation, I realised, discussions of which the world wide web provides aplenty. Totally enjoy Sylvia Plath's "Mirror":


I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful-
The eye of the little god, four cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

- Sylvia Plath


I think that when Sylvia Plath started about the mirror being a lake, she is actually referring to her heart, or rather when "a woman" looks into the mirror, it reflects her own heart or thought. In effect, the mirror (or the heart) is the greatest liar, not the candles, or the moon. And that is truly tragic. Age is all in the mind, I say.

Two noteworthy points: 1) I think it's rather Chinese to refer to the heart as a lake, don't you agree? 2) Again, poetry is subjected to interpretation, and this is only my own, no less important, though by analysing, or stripping the piece down, it seems to take the magic away, not unlike that of a magician.

P.S.: I once read from a book on poetry writing, that it helps in your own writing to think critically about poems.

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