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A Sloka and Commentary

Day 9 of NaPoWriMo 2020.

A Sloka and Commentary

Notes:  Day 9 of NaPoWriMo 2020.  The prompt is “inspired by Kaschock’s use of space to organize her poems. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a “concrete” poem – a poem in which the lines and words are organized to take a shape that reflects in some way the theme of the poem. This might seem like a very modernist idea, but poets have been writing concrete poems since the 1600s! Your poem can take a simple shape, like a box or ball, or maybe you’ll have fun trying something more elaborate, like this poem in the shape of a Christmas tree.”

For context, Day 9’s resource is “Kirsten Kaschock’s chapbook, Windowboxing”.

This exercise reminds me of a prompt from 2015 which was to write a visual poem – a calligram.

I’m not even sure if this qualifies as a poem, its more a meditation. The “concrete” part, which hopefully most will recognize is the symbol om, is a sanskrit prayer from Upanishad with translation.  And the rectangular “base” is essentially commentary associated with it.

I think the intent is for the readers to interact with the formatted poem.  But if you made it this far and maybe missed it – then here it is in plain form:

 

From Brihadarnayaka Upanishad:
Asato ma sat gamaya
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
Mrutyor ma amritam gamaya.
Translated:
From falsehood lead me to truth
From darkness lead me to light
From death lead me to immortality.

The middle line was a school motto.
From rote we recited everyday
Only later we understood the meaning of the line.
and the whole sloka
The three lines capture perhaps a
Fundamental human yearning:
That our brief lives have some meaning
Beyond just mere existence.

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