Walking all along the ‘Seamarks’ ⇒ Kirno Sohochari

The outset of today’s post led me Mr. Craig Spencer’s YouTube channel. He recited French poet Saint-John Perse‘s long verse ‘From Seamarks’, and uploaded the partial reading in his channel. Craig Spencer is not a familiar face to me; however, his partial recitation expressed loving affection to the French poet who once makes bound me to read ‘Anabasis’ with mind-shivering sensation. Today’s post could be treated a little homage to both of them; I mean the poet and his reader as well. The reader recited fragment pieces of Perse’s long narrative and he did this with tenderness. 

Mr. Craig tried best to utilize the sensual pleasure Perse deserved. His exertion of reading ‘From Seamarks‘ earnestly tried to keep the tacit beauties of the poem intact. ‘Anabasis’ once made Perse the awestruck voyager of his centuries. ‘From Seamarks’ was a later sublimity but Saint-John Perse planted the seed in course of his long rumination when he was a busy diplomat. He knotted the mesmeric images of ‘Anabasis’ when he was staying in China, and kept busy himself to the diplomatic juggle like as many other bureaucrats; so what, ‘Anabasis’ was just flowing underneath his mind on that China days. 

Anabasis_4

Pinterest Collection: St-John Perse

… Perse poetic venture has always tried back to the root where he belonged from the civilization and beyond over the civilization as well… “From Seamarks” started from the point of no return and landed on the grand ‘oneness’ where all memories are the repercussion of present and presence of existence in that present.
… … …

We have to remember, those days were China days and later it will appear American days for Perse; since he was forced fleeing in United State to save his life from the Nazi Gestapo onslaught. He knotted the beautiful images when he was walking alone in the China road along with the memories of a childhood dream and adulthood spasm. Not entirely but largely identical to Ezra Pound, the British poet once rediscovered him seized under the China crimson clovers; needed to mention, the country was China as well. 

Anyway, in ‘Anabasis‘ Saint-John Perse ruminated his childhood like a peddler on the seashore. He was born in a maritime city, to carry the sapling images of human life. Life is the genesis of memories and Perse was fervent to recall them over again until his death. His lifelong epochal travelogue has always provoked him to see his face in the two images, which he has owned by going throng the waling and laughter or the whisper and silence of life. One was when he has grown up in the primordial memories to sip the intrinsic taste of life. 

Mentioned ‘one’ is the beginning of a man who has strolled on the sea-land with his intrinsic savagery; and he had been the absorber of every detail was reeling around him. This is childhood and this is the dazzling state of human memories. He was dazed to the dashing images of wild sea-waves, poignant marshland, lazybones oarsman, talkative parrots, well-dressed silent faces; was mesmerized to see the drowsy trees, trapped fishes, daredevil sailor boats, slumbered snails; was bemused to the horse forelock and its living nostril-holes; and was eager to dig out his identity in the cloggy mud and all other mesmeric images. All those images have appeared and flowed underneath his memory as a common and primordial stroke of life. He was the man of a century when images were born to keep the memory and that is:

“… the departure of prodigious roads, the invention of vaultings and of naves and the light in those days, fecund in purer feats, inaugurated the white kingdom where I led, perhaps, a body without a shadow…

In those days, men’s mouths were more grave,
women’s arms moved more slowly;”
[To Celebrate a Childhood, Anabasis, Translated by T. S. Eliot]

His memory cells were the living container of those fecund images when “A man is hard, his daughter, tender. Let her always be waiting,”. This is the inner sensation, the sought of a man who wrote ‘Anabasis’ to make a meaningful inward conversation with his solo existence; and he did this by going into every living hole of his memories. The memory of a man might be identical and intrinsic with Daniel Defoes lone sailor Robinson Crusoe and his savage slave Friday. 

Anabasis_10

E. John Robinson’s painting

… “Seamarks” beacons the craving desire of ‘oneness’. Perse once beckoned this in ‘Anabasis’, which tried to say, -all touchable images are the repercussions of forsaken past; all is going to the identical ‘one’ despite their fraction and division. This oneness is the root of existence, a tireless genesis of memories of pain and of festivity.
… … …

They were unfamiliar to one another when they met on the solitary island. Marine storm brought Crusoe on the lone island and his own clan brought Friday for cannibalism. Crusoe saved Friday and when they met, they were utterly unlike, was carried different images in their mind. Perse carried Defoe’s characters in his mind on the days of ‘Anabasis’. He tested his fate with relevance by calling his memories one time for Crusoe and another time for Friday as well. 

The solitary island trapped Crusoe, Friday trapped by his own clan first, and later he appeared in the novel as a victim of his lifesaver Crusoe. Crusoe was fate-seeker and his daring sea-voyage brought him to the unpopulated island by accident. He then builds his own colony in there. It was his sovereign state and Friday was make-bound to play the janitor rule of protecting the island from enemies. Perse memorized himself belonging in the maritime city which most likely the echo-bait of Defoe’s island; not lone or unpopulated but the images are dubiously the repercussion of Defoe’s lone reality.

Perse discovered his childhood through Friday’s eyes and recalled his memories to talk about the early images of the city. He is Friday who is savage and primordial; who is waiting to hear the raindrops are coming for washed the arid land, which will bring a new life in the half-dead grains. Friday is the resonance of primordial raindrops in an arid land; he resonates primitive memories; that man and his life is seemingly the repetition of boring images; despite this, the images of Friday has remained in the ‘always beginning state’, from where life could have begun to store the memories in brain-chamber. Life is attractive when a man belonged to his childhood memories likely the stroller in the seashore; he belonged there with curious amazement and primordial joyfulness:

“A man alone would bury his nose in his armpit. Those shores are swelling, crumbling under a layer of insects celebrating absurd nuptials. The oar has budded in the hand of the oarsman. A live dog on the end of a hook is the best bait for the shark… I awake dreaming of the black fruit of the Aniba; of flowers in bundles under the axil of the leaves.” [Praises: Anabasis, Translated by T. S. Eliot]

Anabasis_1

Artic: On the Point of a Lance, Painter:  Benton Spruance, (American, 1904-1967)

… This entire contrast is ‘Anabasis’, and this is Perse, who eventually asked himself tirelessly, “Other than childhood, what was there in those days that there no longer is …?” The feeling of absented things despite their boring presence is ‘Anabasis’, and that is Perse, who discovered himself a forsaken vagrant in the seashore where at once “moons, rose and green, were hanging like mangoes”, and later “…the Dreamer with dirty cheeks/ comes slowly/ out of an old dream all streaked with violences, wiles, and/ splendour,”.
… … …

Perse often recalled his childhood memories not for the nostalgia that he had a wild childhood under the immense images of fabricated civilization; rather he recalled his boyhood to celebrate the real blossoming flowers under the primitive tree-leaves. He recalled Friday until he has driven himself to the later feeling that a fortune-seeker Robinson Crusoe captivated him in the even more barbaric civilization. The depth of laughter or the thickness of green is tough for measurement in there. He asked himself:

“Laughter in the sun,
ivory! timid kneelings, and your hands on the things of
the earth…
Friday! how green was the leaf, and your shadow how”
[Friday: Anabasis, Translated by T. S. Eliot]

Perse was not haughty like many other poets, not angered to curse fabricated civilization for its fault, rather he expressed his puzzlement by setting his memories in contrast of Crusoean and Fridayn hinterland. He was perhaps bewildered to the feeling that is, —once ‘the fruits might fall without rotting our lips’ and they are falling even now by the same order, but the taste is missing, which made life at once a joyful event. Is it the curse of a human that he can remember his memorable images? Does it push him to feel the pain-stroke in his mind? The substance of ‘Anabasis’ is perhaps the realization that, —taste is more important rather than anything to celebrate the memories of life.
… … …

Anabasis_13

Poetry Foundation: Ezra Pound

… He knotted the beautiful images of ‘Anabasis’ when he was walking alone in the China road along with the memories of a childhood dream and adulthood spasm. Not entirely but largely identical to Ezra Pound, the British poet once rediscovered him seized under the China crimson clovers; needed to mention, the country was China as well.
… … …

Crusoean dictum provoked Perse to swill the bait in excuse of saving his life to the savagery, albeit the differences are banal in both contexts. Life is inevitably going through decadence and it was true to all extent. Perse childhood was all along the lifeline of a man who at later was compelled to flee away to the maritime city by left his memories abandoned. This separation forced him to compare the memories he contained in today and was contained in those days when everything around his surface has existed as they exist even now! 

‘Anabasis’ is not only the story of migration which Perse has forced taken at once, alongside, his poetic imagery rebuild the sea-town where he was strolling like uncivilized Friday and later caught by Crusoe’s civilized tapestry. This shifting was not likely the division of imagery memories that he carried in childhood; it was the division amid locus and time. Locus was primordial along with the vibrant breathing and tumult by the orderly disordered life. This locus is natural where a boy was born to hear the cricket jingle in the dark moisture. On the other hand, the time has composed along with the same imagery he had carried in his mind, but present time having lot differences to the past.

Time is the changing parameter of human memories. The event which happened in past and which is now happening has made a breakdown difference between images. Saint-John Perse is not the same man who was at once a boy, having curious desire to see what meaning could be sleeping underneath the ‘yellow nurse’ who wiped ‘salt’ to the corner of his eyes. That time was magical with perplexing wonder when a boy was amazed and said:

“In those days they bathed you in water‐of‐green‐leaves; and the water was of green sun too; and your mother’s maids, tall glistening girls, moved their warm legs near you who trembled… 

in those days longed to be deafer, and deeper the sky where trees too tall, weary of an obscure design, knotted an inextricable pact…”
[To Celebrate a Childhood: Anabasis]

Anabasis_7

Poetry Foundation: T. S. Eliot

… This juxtaposition is ‘Anabasis’, this is ‘From Seamarks’ and this would be the poet who influenced Eliot and other major poets in his time. Past and present have equally existed in Perse’ juxtaposed images, and certainly, Crusoe and Friday have existed there alongside to sip the taste of earlier and later civilization where the poet has belonged now.
… … …

Early childhood was the time when his every living cell sprouted to absorb the limitless mysteries of life. The mysteries were just floating beneath the silence and tumult of the maritime sea-town. It was the time when events are widened likely the uncertain boo of babies or the ever-uncertain bopeep of naughty boys:

“…the earth in our games bowed like the maidservant,
… I remember the salt, I remember the salt my yellow
nurse had to wipe away at the corner of my eyes.
The black sorcerer aphorized in the servants’ hall: “The
world is like a pirogue turning around and around, which no
longer knows whether the wind wants to laugh or cry …”
[To Celebrate a Childhood: Anabasis, Translated by T. S. Eliot]

Yes, that was the Dreamtime when the poet was amazed to think why ‘too long flowers’ have ‘ended in parrot calls’! All those things are happening even today by following the same clock tick, but the power of being astonished has gone to the living cells and left some memories for later recall.

Life is the changing tick of cell biology. Cells are born and died in the body resembling the turning clock tick. Life’s events are the images of germinated cells and their decadent disappearance to the living body. This body is the container of boyhood images and the same body played as a medium to take care the adulthood images. Life is the moments-tick of cyclic-clock. Old cells die by emanated their energy and new cells always have been waiting to born during the dying moment of old. This born-death cycle of cells destined the fate of all living life to the end. ‘Anabasis’ memorable images reminded the truth again with poetic nourishment

Anabasis_3

Artic: On the Point of a Lance, Painter:  Benton Spruance, (American, 1904-1967)

… Perse was not haughty like many other poets, not angered to curse fabricated civilization for its fault, rather he expressed his puzzlement by setting his memories in contrast of Crusoean and Fridayn hinterland… The substance of ‘Anabasis’ is perhaps the realization that, —taste is more important rather than anything to celebrate the memories of life.
… … …

A clock-tick-moment means a new cell has just appeared in the body and reversely the old is dying regards the ticks. This is time, the perplexing feeling of banishment. Bewildered boyhood soon shriveled and filtered by the adulthood wrinkle just because the changing ticks of cells in the body. This body is the cage where memories weirdly belong after-death of the living cells. A declining body is nothing but the combination of memory bits. Body died but memory resists. The dying cells left some memories for us, as Perse’ dying cells have left boyhood memories for him just before the arrival of new cells, which are arrived to make him an adult. Memory is the rumination of blurry past. The poet of ‘Anabasis‘ has nothing to do sans solacing his soul by the ruminated words. He said: 

“Childhood, my love, was it only that?…
Childhood, my love… that double ring of the eye and
the ease of loving…” [Praises: Anabasis, Translated by T. S. Eliot]

There will be no problem if previous memories have vanished with the dying cells. Farce is that memories are somehow occupant; they existed in the changing body and cohabited with the new living cells like a nymph. Memories are the golden-wing butterfly and as well the rotten flyblown, fervently bearing unbearable burdens in mind, even if time has melted like Salvador Dali‘s painted clock. 

Living with old memories seemed appeared impossible in sometimes. Perse has hunted by this. He was lame to solace his mind that ‘everything is all right’ as it was before. This is the pain which led him to exilement, which driven him to think himself the unbearable dweller of dualism. This feeling led Perse to discharge hesitation, uncertainty, discomfort and perverse in ‘Anabasis’. This discomfort insisted him later juxtaposed his boyhood celebration and adulthood jubilation alongside. 

Anabasis_9

Painting and frame : Robinson Crusoe And Friday in The Cave: Painter: Thomas Sully

… Perse carried Defoe’s characters in his mind on the days of ‘Anabasis’. He tested his fate with relevance by calling his memories one time for Crusoe and another time for Friday as well.
… … …

This juxtaposition is ‘Anabasis’, this is ‘From Seamarks’ and this would be the poet who influenced Eliot and other major poets in his time. Past and present have equally existed in Perse’ juxtaposed images, and certainly, Crusoe and Friday have existed there alongside to sip the taste of earlier and later civilization where the poet has belonged now. In ‘Anabasis’ (and late verses as well) Perse recalled earlier tumult images (where maybe Friday belonged at once) and imposed the recent clatter (where Crusoe are belonging now) on it, for saying it:

“The City like an abscess flows through the river to
the sea…
Crusoe! —this evening over your Island, the sky drawing
near will give praise to the sea, and the silence will multiply
the exclamation of the solitary stars.
Draw the curtains; do not light the lamp: …
Everything is salty, everything is viscous and heavy like
the life of plasmas.
The bird rocks itself in its feathers, in an oily dream; the
hollow fruit, deafened by insects, falls into the water of the
creeks, probing its noise.
The island falls asleep in the arena of vast waters, washed
by warm currents and unctuous milt, in the embrace of
sumptuous slime.”
[Pictures for Crusoe, Anabasis, Translated by T. S. Eliot

The robust transition of images is indeed the transition and disfiguration of memories which civilization belonged earlier and now upside down to the banishment. Perse signified:

“… and letting your worn finger wander among the prophecies, your gaze far away, you awaited the moment of departure, the rising of the great wind that would suddenly tear you away, like the typhoon, parting the clouds before your waiting eyes.” [TBE Book: Pictures for Crusoe, Anabasis, Translated by T. S. Eliot]

Anabasis_12

Pinterest Collection: Salvador Dali’s Painting

… Memories are the golden-wing butterfly and as well the rotten flyblown, fervently bearing unbearable burdens in mind, even if time has melted like Salvador Dali’s painted clock.
… … …

Once again should have to say, the transacted banishment of things let not able to banish past memories and the present as well; it let not able to vanish the way civilization has introduced itself with Crusoean dictum, which might be more barbaric on comparing to the past. Reasonably, Perse recalled the old images of the city and recomposed the old with new. This re-composition has appeared a ‘luminous exile’ to him and forced him talking with confusion and hesitation. Ronald Gaskell adequately explained the traits in his article. He mentioned: 

“… It is a poem not of power, though the imagery of power is impressive, but of exploration. Moreover, it deals not only with migration and conquest but with the founding of the city — and this not perfunctorily but with an evident delight in order. One of the principal themes at the opening of the poem (‘la chose publique sur de justes balances’), this is developed in sections III and IV and orchestrated fully in the final section with its enumeration of ritual ceremonies and of the trades and occupations of men. 

The arrangement of the ten sections is narrative; there are anticipations, hesitations, reversals of mood. But within each section the writing is lyrical, meditative and dramatic. Bold ellipses, which bring the material within less than thirty pages, give the poem additional force. ‘The justification of such abbreviation of method,’ as Eliot remarks, ‘is that the sequence of images coincides and concentrates into one intense impression of barbaric civilization.’”
[See: The Poetry of St.-John Perse: Poetry Magazine.org]

This entire contrast is ‘Anabasis’, and this is Perse, who eventually asked himself tirelessly, “Other than childhood, what was there in those days that there no longer is …?” The feeling of absented things despite their boring presence is ‘Anabasis’, and that is Perse, who discovered himself a forsaken vagrant in the seashore where at once “moons, rose and green, were hanging like mangoes”, and later “…the Dreamer with dirty cheeks/ comes slowly/ out of an old dream all streaked with violences, wiles, and/ splendour,”.

This shifting is memories and maybe the conflicted consciousness between his childhood and the adulthood, albeit things has germinates and rotten as they germinated and rotten in his boyhood days.
… … …

Anabasis_8

Pinterest Collection: St. John Perse

… There will be no problem if previous memories have vanished with the dying cells. Farce is that memories are somehow occupant; they existed in the changing body and cohabited with the new living cells like a nymph… Living with old memories seemed appeared impossible in sometimes. Perse has hunted by this. He was lame to solace his mind that ‘everything is all right’ as it was before. This is the pain which led him to exilement, which driven him to think himself the unbearable dweller of dualism.
… … …

Short Addition: the poet and the poem ‘From Seamarks’: Poetry sounds resonance and Perse make it by walking throng the countless fragments of life memories. Perse is still alive in our mind because of the memorable imagery he depicted with an unbearable pain of exile to his own country and the nomadic feeling of later settlement in the United States. He composed ‘From Seamarks‘ between the period of 1947 and 1956 and published it in 1957. “From Seamarks” has an accompanied and ruminant to the Perse earlier arty craft ‘Anabasis’ which we have already discussed.

‘Anabasis’ was published in 1924 and later translated by T. S. Eliot. Perse got Nobel Prize for his poetic contribution in 1960 but Eliot remarked his alluring significance before his widespread fame due to the prize. Perse poetry travels along with the nostalgic joyfulness and loving memories of humans despite the incentive duality of Nature and Civilization. “From Seamarks” is the same continuation of Perse lifelong sought for the place where his tireless caravan could stop to take a breath for while.

“Seamarks” beacons the craving desire of ‘oneness’. Perse once beckoned this in ‘Anabasis’, which tried to say:

All touchable images are the repercussions of forsaken past; all is going to the identical ‘one’ despite their fraction and division. This oneness is the root of existence, a tireless genesis of memories of pain and of festivity.

Anabasis_2

Artic: On the Point of a Lance, Painter:  Benton Spruance, (American, 1904-1967)

… This body is the container of boyhood images and the same body played as a medium to take care the adulthood images. Life is the moments-tick of cyclic-clock. Old cells die by emanated their energy and new cells always have been waiting to born during the dying moment of old. This born-death cycle of cells destined the fate of all living life to the end. ‘Anabasis’ memorable images reminded the truth again with poetic nourishment.
… … …

Perse poetic venture has always tried back to the root where he belonged from the civilization and beyond over the civilization as well. Today’s civilization obliged him to leave France for his negative stance against the Nazism as a diplomat. The Gestapo entered his flat, and they destroyed earlier manuscripts of ‘Anabasis’. This incident obliged him to flee United State. However, what be the difference? All roads have taken the same road like as today’s memory is the reminder of long day’s old memories, identically signified to make a man complete. This is the beginning point of his posterior long narrative that Mr. Craig Spencer recited with loving care.

“From Seamarks” started from the point of no return and landed on the grand ‘oneness’ where all memories are the repercussion of present and presence of existence in that present. Poet weaved his memories to say:

“Summer enters, coming from the sea. To the sea only shall we say
What strangers we were at the festivities of the City, and what star rising from undersea festivities,
Hung one evening, over our couch, on the scent of the gods.
In vain the surrounding land traces for us its narrow confines. One same wave throughout the world, one same wave since Troy
Rolls its haunch towards us. On a far-off open sea, this gust was long ago impressed…
And the clamour one evening was loud in the chambers: death itself, blowing its conchs, could not have been heard !” [Seamarks, “Narrow are the Vessels”]

Anabasis_5

Pinterest Collection: St-John Perse

… Yes, that was the Dreamtime when the poet was amazed to think why ‘too long flowers’ have ‘ended in parrot calls’! All those things are happening even today by following the same clock tick, but the power of being astonished has gone to the living cells and left some memories for later recall.
… … …

This sensation reminded the foggy memories of ‘Anabasis’ a little bit. Anyway, life is always a jubilation of painful twinness between laughter and grief. We are the bottleneck creature; drinking the memory-wine by entering our throat into the tiny bottle, for repentance to say:

“Oh, my cages, my pretty cages,
And the snow‐water in my goatskin bottles,
For whom now, daughter of the Great?” [Lullaby, Anabasis, Translated by T. S Eliot]

This could be the end-jolt of this Frenchman. He once hardly tried to live in his memories by having an escaping desire in his mind.
… … …

Anabasis_0
Foundation of St.-John Perse
… in ‘Anabasis’ Saint-John Perse ruminated his childhood like a peddler on the seashore…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.