Is the Exile an un-simplified traditional Chinese Pictogram


Is the Exile a traditional un-simplified Chinese Pictogram hanging on an unrolled-up Bamboo Scroll on the Wall

first  
      left downstroke
start from the top
  plane out
let the long anchor tip roof-line curve sharply upwards
      at the stern down-end
  pile it in stuffed in the centre
           leave the bottom open
that’s where the studded boot rightly fits

Over billowing transmuted waters
       the haze lifts 
                         now and then
winds amber green waft and skim
with the late light caught shimmering
                                 no albatross circles the mast
guilt is pure guilt without wanton arrows
there are no signs of land
              but the proffered hand
the Wanderer knows no words of his own

   Reach - disgorge with your nails
   Walls that concuss entrails

Can he yet placate asylum
       echo the cluck of a poaching North American coot
     nestling amidst Eurasian breeding reeds
   taut bunching yarrow rushes
          an embattled haven
against majestic swan ships
   sleek velvety rich drake
         peacockish barnacle goose
come in early from the cold

Let the dards of Orion spell syllables of ease
      through the congested smudge of yore
contorted fantizi ideograms
cursory calligraphic long dripping brush strokes
                pale to pinyin

Simplified
the exile gasps for instant phonemic breath
    under choppy waves of stuttering tongues
racy blades
extirpate langue crucify parole
mix meaning into heady synaesthesiac brew
                 loss of face is a loss of noodles
                 develop equals hair

Could René Char’s Zeit Geist
have diagnosed the myna’s Kâla-Purusha

   Reach – disgorge with your nails
   Walls that concuss entrails

Resources

1. This poem has to do with a Bengali translator’s first encounter with René Char at his residence The French poet questioned his translator on the meaning of “le dard d’Orion” in his poem: “Jeu muet”. The translator interpreted the phrase as having to do with astronomy and thus rendered it as “kâla Purusha” (Zeit Geist or literally as in
Hindu mythology: the Primal Being at the beginning of time). René Char then
picked a certain variety of the cactus flower in his garden and said that the
French “phrase” applied to that particular flower. 

2. The imagery in the poem also relates to the simplification of classical Chinese
characters (fantizi) by the Peoples Republic of China in the early fifties and the
alphabetisation of Chinese characters, known as “pinyin” as opposed to the Wade and Yale systems. The simplified characters produced certain semantic anomalies. 

 ©T. Wignesan, Paris – May 3, 2009

Leave a comment