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Kashmiri Nocturne

I want the silk worm's desire:
warm dream of mulberry. She is green
silhouette on the banks of a river.
She is the bone question
nibbling your throat.
She is almost the lily,
almost the bird --
vanished below water
on night's crisp sleeve.
She is odalisque crowned
in the Shalimar's waters,
idol enthroned
in the heart's waiting chancel.
She is almost the lily: look
into the flower's
chiseled calyx; see
the deep avenues of green
blood sequestered!
Daughter of no one, she is
almost a garden;
to see her laid bare is remembering
the broad-faced earth.
I want the clear night.
I want the milk light of her
solemn toes: supple fish loved
by the Shalimar's waters.
I want to listen at her waist.
Underneath her ribs,
underneath the electric of her
heart there is the silence
of a sea's floor --
where pale creatures live without eyes.
I want to swim alone
with the consort of no one.

7 Jul 07

Rated 6.7 (8) by 5 users.
Active (5): 1, 9, 10, 10
Inactive (41): 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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how much
i love this poem
cannot be

very nice work.
 — varun

This is truly lovely. No critique, just appreciation.
 — ka

Yes, beautiful and evocative, something of the wistful dreamer, i can read these words, this desire, and the form over and over and never tire of this.

i love it

i have no criticism of it.

 — Mongrol

but, milk?
 — chuckles

yeh milk... white, so white diffusion, moon light white, pale, not pink or brown, delicate little white toes..

lovely imagery
 — Mongrol

how elegant.
I love the "almosts." They allow you to say pretty much anything. Beautiful, water-colour images. And your final two lines-- they work surprisingly. I wonder whose voice the last two lines belong to? Ah, no matter. I like how your poem moves: river bank, water, garden, sky,
( "a thousand kisses deep"? )

the journey is so subtle that the reader never stumbles, never loses footing.

Extraordinary writing.
 — banditfemme

agreed Bandit - it is an extra-ordinary piece
 — Mongrol

the 'almosts' in this are so tantalising - the only shame i can find in this is that it's been posted by an unknown, i'd like to read more of thier work
 — Mongrol

I can't decipher this. If I try to understand I just lose interest. It is like a song where you just love the sound and the rhythm of the words. Am I alone in having problems getting this?
 — unknown

so far yeh
 — Mongrol

i know what milk means
i just don't like milk in this poem
is it about cereal, now?

seriously, though
i might suggest going even further and removing every single adjective
this poem is so strong i think it will be able to


without carrying all that unnecessary weight
 — chuckles

Kashmiri Nocturne  

I want the worm's desire:  1
dream of mulberry. She is  2
silhouette on the banks of a river.  3
She is the question  4
nibbling your throat.  5
She is almost the lily,  6
almost the bird --  7
vanished below water  8
on night's sleeve.  9
She is odalisque crowned  10
in the Shalimar's waters,  11
idol enthroned  12
in the heart's chancel.  13
She is almost the lily: look  14
into the flower's chalice,  15
the calyx; see  16
the avenues of green  17
blood sequestered!  18
Daughter of no one, she is  19
almost a garden;  20
to see her laid bare is remembering  21
the earth.  22
I want the night.  23
I want the light of her  24
toes: fish loved  25
by the Shalimar's waters.  26
I want to listen at her waist.  27
Underneath her ribs,  28
underneath the electric of her  29
heart there is the silence  30
of a sea's floor --  31
where creatures live without eyes.  32
I want to swim alone  33
with the consort of no one.  34
 — chuckles

it is rather dense.
 — unknown

17 green was too good to take out
 — chuckles

milk is suggestive of the image of this eastern exotic woman bathing in milk - as they apprently did in harems, the high status and classy ladies of their culture used the rich creamy milk to add lustre and softness to their skin.

i think milk is appropiate and has basis in the imagery here
 — Mongrol

the adjectives are fine - they arent weight as far as i can see
 — Mongrol

I was avoiding this poem all day. Don't ask me why, heh.
After reading it a couple times now, I have to say I like it.
I love poems that admire, lust, love, any and all synonyms of the previous...

I don't get the last two lines though. Kind of threw me off guard.
 — luster

There are areas that are filled such word-beauty, but I also find it a little heavy throughout.  I enjoyed the lighter version here in the comments, however, I would keep L9 as is...I like the crisp sleeve.  
I avoided commenting for awhile as well since I don't follow the whole way either, but it is a nice poem, author, whoever you are.
(why does it feel like I'm talking to Mong?)
 — jenakajoffer

oh trust me :D - i'd love to have written this, heavy on the adjectives or not ;)
 — Mongrol

simply fantastic
 — trochee

it is about a woman, and also about Kashmir.
 — Bombazine

more specifically, Kashmir personified and embodied as a woman.
 — Bombazine

so this was written by B? Ah, its beauty is explained.
 — banditfemme

glad to know you are the author Bomb.. you work is very impressive.
 — Mongrol

very nice
 — stout

It's time for this one to move up into the upper reaches of the Top Rated poems now.  It is stunningly poignant and beautiful.  Saraswati is proud of you!  
 — starr

Line 27, I like that you actually paid attention to your Capitalization and punctuation here in this stanza.  It makes it stronger... I love this piece.
 — aforbing

i too was somewhat put off by the title - I expected something overblown and I got this - it's very good indeed - some of the language used is beautiful and it works on several levels - I like ll 19 -22 best. A treasure.
 — opal

Very nice. Even better with some Bach playing.
 — Andramelach

hmmmmm... this poem seems to be a favorite for all the guys. interesting.
 — unknown

i love the description here. helps the poetic degree ten fold, and that's saying something, as without all of that this is already great.

 — unknown

good to see this moving back up
 — Mongrol

 — poetbill

Bombazine, would you contact me please? ka@divergencies.com. Thanks!
 — ka

Lines 33, 34 might be cut with no loss.
 — mcverse

A vote to keep 33-34, but alter "I want..." to "I'll swim alone with the consort of no-one."
 — netskyIam

milk here is about much more than a bath!
 — poetbill

 — unknown

Reading this is like swimming underwater in a clear lake, with your eyes open.  Lovely work.  I would love to know what inspired this.
 — Isabelle5

bombazine have you been to kashmir?
 — unknown

 — unknown

One starts reading this imaginative nonsense with some difficulty.
The title refers to Kashmir, yet we apparently have a silk worm feeding on green mulberry leaves. (What in Kashmir?)

Apparently enjoying its meal on the banks of a river.

Silk worms are Chinese and do not breed outside of captivity.
Was this a renegade silk worm perhaps?

Is the silk worm the mysterious she, or is the she to materialise later in the poem

Therefore, I believe the first stanza needs some form of explaining
before the bone sticks truly in the throat.

 — Mor

I am still struggling on this apparent master piece of poetry.
This first stanza intrigues me

From the title, we deduce it is a night scene in Kashmir.
Where we have an imagined silk worm desiring to munch its way through a mulberry leaf. Kashmir being adjacent to China mulberry trees do grow there, unfortunately Pakistan’s silk production is now virtually non-existent. China being the worlds largest, with India the second largest producer of silk yarn. Pakistan has virtually given up the economic ghost in that direction.
Never the less the scene changes to a green silhouette which is strange because the title suggests it is night time, which if true the silhouette should surely have been grey the human eye  being unable to distinguish daytime colours at night.
The undefined she becomes a bone question, if so, what was the pertinent question?.

And which of the two nouns was doing the nibbling.

Therefore, as you see I have not got very far along this road of poetic discovery.

However, I will persevere,

 — Mor

The second stanza is even vaguer than the first.
The undefined she is still transposing herself into various forms.
Firstly a lily but what kind of lily, being Kashmir the Cannas  springs to mind, but it appears that lily submerges herself so the lotus appears a better contender for this seemingly active role.
Though it appears to be winter judging by the crisp sleeve of night.

Obviously this lily gets around a bit and has a very busy life

May be river life did not suit her, and she found greater admiration in Lahore. Where the still waters of the Shalimar were more to her keeping, well even whores have to earn their keep.

This lily is quite a quick change artist she now appears to have taken on the appearance of an arum lily the dreaded funeral lily.
Is something imminent?
I will have to come back later and find out.


 — Mor

Yes, yes and yes!
 — Highwayman

Getting back this narrative of allusion, apparently our enthroned idol is now been placed in the waters of the Shalimar enclosed by a chancel of the heart no less.

Now in the fourth stanza we appear to have gone back to the projected lily form or more correctly almost lily form though one would be excused in thinking it was related to the skink or possibly of Vulcan extraction with its green blood now possibly retired due to it being “sequestered” no less.

Hopefully it will start make some sort of sense shortly, I will try get back later to this presumed metamorphosis
At present, I have no judgement, good, bad or indifferent on this nocturne.

 — Mor

Incredible. I don't like the word electric in this poem and it kind of weakened for me around L27-L32 but finished perfectly. But there is something hypnotic and important here. First rate.
 — mitchl

I had to come back to this again something was niggling me about the river in the original stanzas.
There is reference to the waters of the Shalimar and a river If my memory serves me right the river Ravi which flows past Lahore is probably the most polluted and dead river in the world nothing lives in its waters or on its banks due to its overwhelming influx of chemical poisoning and raw sewage.
Therefore, there would be no mulberry bush or leaves, if there were they would full of toxic metal compounds.
Therefore, the desirous silk worm would certainly die a quick death if following its inclinations as would the lily, which now appears to change the aspect of the poem quite dramatically.

It seems like this illustrious and much vaunted masterpiece has hit an insurmountable obstacle in its location.

 — Mor

this would probably be beautiful if it was written in English, but it's not and it sings and reads like a hacked out version of an italian renaissance crucifix done in bitumen and knotty pine. people will love this i'm shur, but i suspect that's because they haven't read very many first order poetry, nor any poetry in urdu or persian and don't know how beautiful a poem can sound in a beautiful language. i'm saying this only to caution you that being liked here in provincial critical is not the same as having your poem read and liked at cafe voltaire. i'll give you a ten anyway, just because it doesn't really mean anything, but you ought to have a chance to have this thing voted for for the sympathy vote. very important on your poetry c.v..

translations into english are like hearing swan lake, in full orchestra performance danced in clogs. it's not fair to the original nor to english speaking readers.
 — joey

i have read some urdu, and some persian, and some fine translations into english by arabic/pakistani scholars..

and this follows some of the traditions of self-reflective imagery in nature.. with a modern use to the language of course...
 — Mongrol

reflective images are what we get in films. this is in word, and the words are clunky. it's not fair to poets to say that it's not about language and word. a tourist guide to kasmir would have more power than this writing, that were the case, simply because of the drooly images. you've read though, in persian or in urdu, poetry? there's simply no comparason between what we can't do and what they can do to words of love and nature in poety.
 — joey

"i want the worm's desire,
dark dream of mulberry:
green on the the river,
silhouette of deftness
between fingers,
thin, like lips
on her throat.

she is almost the lily,
the raven, the ibis,
craking in water,
the smell of green.
 — joey

it is poetry like this that makes me hate poetry.

you just don't know when to shut the fuck up.
 — unknown

Joey is right, this poem reads like poor translation of a travel catalogue.
One has to wonder if the writer has ever been to Kashmir.
The main problem I find is the lack of imaginative language.

This poem stumbles along like a kindergarten exercise of undeveloped emotion.
The first stanza is a poetic joke. There is not even a basic attempt at emotional language.

Upon mulberry leaf’s dark glossy sheen
Seeks I the sensual route desired between
its silhouette, of images dark imagined green.

(Silk worms are mainly dark brownish grey)

To my mind, the whole poem is a joke.
The writer refers to warm mulberry leaf, silk worms should never be fed warm food of any description let alone warm mulberry leaf, so the last thing a silk worm would be presumably dreaming off is warm mulberry..

The only thing that is more hilarious than the posted work is the comments and the ratings of the readers.


 — Mor

undead, you really don't want poetry, you want stories and muzak for your fantasy. you don't care how the words sound, just as as the voice is soothing and pictures pretty. don't you see? if this were lion king critical, then i wouldn't be critiquing this poem like i am. my re-write is only a suggestion for the author of this verse and should be seen as a kind of sampling only.

you don't really like poetry at all, and that's why i'm often asking you to tell me how it is that you learnt something is a poem.
 — joey

Mor: I'm not quite sure where you're getting your information but note the following:
silkworms are native to northern China and their preferred food is White Mulberry leaves. The White Mulberry flourishes in warm temperatures, mainly in the summer, since its leaves are deciduous in the winter. Based on these facts, then lines 1-2 seem accurate . . .
 — unknown

Oh, PS Mor: I think you're full of crap.
 — unknown

There are several types of silkworm whose diet is not specifically mulberry.
However as mulberry is stated, then it is the leaf in question.
Silk worms emerge in the spring, their growth being depended on the correct nutrition value of the mulberry leaf, whose age should correspond directly to that of silkworm; therefore, your analogy to summer is total nonsense.

As previously stated Pakistan has no silkworm breeding industry worth mentioning, it can buy its raw product cheaper from China than it can produce it.

 — Mor

great insight here...you possess great skill grasshopper. 9/10
 — Henry

mor, he's trying to write poetry, not book reports. he could have had aluminium foik growing on grape vines and it would have worked, had he been a poet. that he's not, allows this kind of small quibbling you offer, but go away, we just want to look at the fuckking mountain. damn'd locals!
 — joey

Joey, you must have got the wrong tourist guide, this poem is set in Lahore, the mountains are far away; damned intellectuals cluttering up the place.

 — Mor

well, i did get the "hori" part, or at least the "whore" part he was building correctly. and i like how the grape vines sparkle.
 — joey

"i'm saying this only to caution you that being liked here in provincial critical is not the same as having your poem read and liked at cafe voltaire."

that would be why people love Brautigan

 — unknown

reflective images are what we get in films. this is in word, and the words are clunky. it's not fair to poets to say that it's not about language and word. a tourist guide to kasmir would have more power than this writing, that were the case, simply because of the drooly images. you've read though, in persian or in urdu, poetry? there's simply no comparason between what we can't do and what they can do to words of love and nature in poety.
— joey          [ !]

i tend to disagree about the comparison in languages with what they can do with words of love and nature in poetry - having an urdu speaking mother who is fluent in both english and urdu and knows a good smattering of arabic is able to draw lovliness out of all of them - though i have to say i do enjoy the arabic structure and use of phrase... try converting 'spring quarter moon drinks pollen wine' into arabic - just beautiful.. of course they are entirely structurally different from one another - but they both follow rules that must be applied in order for sense to be made - and i would never be unfair to poets to suggest it was nothing to do with word and lan guage

how ever - reflective images are not just found in films - you dont have to be driven or sign posted the way in language in order to reach a visual destination - i find reflective imagery everywhere in poetry..

this poem is like a dream sequence, an explorer stumbling into paradise and trying to convey what he/she found there - and well i dont have any trouble with the text - dont find it clumsy at all - perhaps a little disjointed here and there but nothing that diverts from the sequences

i guess it all remains subjective in some senses, how we construct what we recieve from the patterns set in front of us, and i dont find the grammar, the textualisation nor the imposition of the fantastical in this to be a problem

it deserves to be where it is in the ratings... it is a fine poem which adheres to a genre of poetry with a long tradition
 — Mongrol

"following a rule" is grammar itself, and grammar is prior to word choice. for instance, the poet can invent words and they may be understood ( except by people like "unknow" ) as cognizant to some word move in the basic language the poem is written in.

the fresh grass xpringx -- is understandable as a kind of dancing version of "springs" by the sophisticated reader of poetry in english.

the move is not as necessary in, perhaps, japanese, where there are more possible internal vowel variations to play with sounds and space as word.

if what you say is so, what a boring piece of natural philosophy this poem is. Goethe and Herder speak of so many more things! not to mention a simple issue of "mother jones" -- "so sensitive and with such interesting new facts."

like some jazz band -- paul horn and shelly mann? in the sixties playing the ravi shankar music from pathar panchali... such a cool flute, and the drummer! clunk, clunk, clunk... toootle tootle toot. fear it, dude. it happened. it's happening here, and we thought it could never happen here.
 — joey

One of the best poems I've read in a long time, love to hear it aloud read with the authors voice.

timeless and original, hard to do but you've added so effortlessly credibility to a saturated art.

You have a gift.

 — unknown

Recapping on the previous observations, let us go back to the first line” I want the silkworm’s desire”
Well, the only desire the silkworm has is to eat, in order to grow to several thousand time greater in size it has to eat constantly in fact its body is designed with breathing hole along its sides in order not to interrupt its continuous eating process.
Therefore, the first established fact is that writer wishes to eat continuously.
Line two states “Warm dream of mulberry” if line two relates to line one and the silkworms desire to eat then it surely should have read Cool dream of mulberry, warm mulberry would be death to the silkworm. Maybe the writer is contemplating suicide.

However line two introduces “She” but the nominative person has not been mentioned before, therefore who can she be? We need answers as to who the mystery and nominative she is.

 — Mor

had he written,
"i want to nibble your mulberry", you' have a critique. his clumsey, "i want to fuck you. and silkworms' fuck, or something like "fuck", so you are fuckable" --  though he wrote it in such polite language --  would have been the observation that would be more to the point and not simply to the point of Mor.

don't you want to talk about how a poem can give the illusion of more than one level of discourse -- with each word? and how this one simply tries to tell a pretty story, and uses exotic words to hook the reader -- catholic porn, that is... lurid but not sticky.
 — joey

Let us stay if we may within the line of questions.

The writer made a deliberate choice of word and subject.
The fact that the writer and the majority of the readers are apparently totally ignorant of the subject and technical matter of the poem,  is to my mind at least indicative of the type of nonsense and poetry we find paraded on the pages of PC with regular monotony.

It maybe that in the twisted world of modern poetry, the joyous wading through the sludge of a sewage farm creates apart from the accompanying stench an allusion of idyllic pleasure in the minds of some of its readers as an acquired and perceived allusion perhaps.

However, crass ignorance is crass ignorance, whether the reader be a poetry teacher, an intellectual of little merit, or just plain stupid.

This is poem is a technical disaster with regards to its subject matter, the writer has given no apparent thought to the technical aspects or the feasibility of her projected subjects.
The metaphoric allusions never get of the ground, they are hog tied by the undoubted ignorance of the chosen subject, the accolades of similar minded fools does not change that fault one iota, the fault remains constant.

Blowing up balloons of credibility is a pointless activity when the merest prick of criticism renders them useless rubber remnants of wasted effort.

The poem fell totally apart on line two with the introduction of “She”
Surely not everyone on the site is colouring blind seeing only what they imagine to be the true colours of nature.

Let us not pretend to cross the river of credulity, by way of stepping stones, which are unplaced, or fly in hot air balloons amongst the underwater creatures of the sea, lest they consider us strange creatures indeed.  


 — Mor

low culture, mr. mor. lectures in the locker room; essays on perfection: we are lowlife, but look at the stupid things this poet said about MG TF's!!
 — joey

This great have yoy ever thought of writing it down?
 — Drclocks

glad to see this rising back up where it belongs... still a joy to read in all its fantastical wonder
 — Mongrol

i think you need to read some more wonder-books, mr. mon. this is a pastiche and probably a hoax. there's a wonderful moment in literature where the space is so well represented in simplicity that any object glows. this verse just piles on the fish eggs and steak.
 — joey

pastiche maybe - but a rather well formed one...

unlike Cancer Fucks Ass - which is just a tired drawn out over used group of metaphors

i rather like inventive pastiches ...
 — Mongrol

 — unknown

jeeps, mon guerre, the point i'm making is that to me this is just overused metaphor and lifeless imitation. i'm still not convinced that this isn't a hoax, a typing job made to sound exotic by using the most hollywood cliche'.

there is a silence of a sea floor ( implying deaf ) where ... live without eyes" dude, this is really cut and paste, even if the writer is only trying to sound like the oxford book of colonial poetry.
 — joey

flowery language, nice imagery and quite creative...but unaffecting.
I think some of mors comments are accurate (for once)
 — john_daker

This is truly lovely and perfect in every way for me.  Thank you.  i love the images.  How it is both a love poem and we can visualize a woman and then I get the feeling that she is nature.  The poet seems to be by a body of water at night.  How beautiful.  Reading this was like looking into a jewel box of lovely living butterflies.  All lines are winners here, but "bone question nibbling at your throat" really hooked me.

 — mnemosyne

Mor's critique is hot air lacking specifics!
 — unknown

I like it.
 — eyesaque

still loving this, every time i read it
 — Mongrol

This is supposed to be the best poem on this site?

It's not bad. I like it more than some. But it's kind of innocuous, isn't it? It's pretty, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of emotional depth here to me.
 — xixtas

it's maybe because all the poet wants is for you to admire the poet... it's like a love poem, in that way -- written to seduce -- but it's written in dog language -- english bark-bark -- and can't ever be as musical and poetic as its models.
 — joey

It is seductive, and despite Joey's biased, narrow definitions of good poetry, this qualifies as both poetry and good
 — poetbill

poetbill, you're not a poet and this is just a nice little story for you, and i doubt that you think it's even that interesting... or certainly that you doubt that it's more interesting than some PBS special on exotic places. keep my name out of this, unless you really learn how to think, comment and write as though poetry were more important than your brain-snacks.
 — joey

little joey - that makes for two incorrect observations by you
 — poetbill

Little Joey - that makes for two inaccurate observations
 — poetbill

sorry to have participated in sullying this poem's site
 — poetbill

It escapes me, that people could find a) any meaning out of this, and b) any kind of sense out of this. For some reason, the abstraction from reality/life, has become such that there is no point to contemperary art anymore. This is gibberish that sounds nice, it has no meaning, there is no evocative message, and therefore, worthless to me.
 — MattPat

requires a little active imagination to appreciate, that is more than some wish to bring to reading
 — unknown

I enjoyed the second to last stanza (L27-32).  The rest is biology textbook jargon and, in congruence with joey, metaphors belonging to public access television.  
I expect this will be very popular with a contemporary publisher.
 — aurelius

You and Joey must have been stoned when reading your biology text!
 — unknown

I don't know about joey, but I certainly was.
 — aurelius

ephemeral and numinous flow throughout like water reflecting sky; there are so many reflections in this piece almost haunting moments here and there ... as Joseph Brodsky pointed out, 'Reading Poetry is like watching crystals grow', and this does that except that it is soft and fluidic... in contrast to the jutting hard piece below it in the Top Rated rosters ... somehow these two poems were meant for each other ...

Top Rated (expand)

    * 1. Kashmiri Nocturne
    * 2. sixteen hours after beating a man in the snow outside a bar
 — AlchemiA

a 10
 — AlchemiA

i'm finally joining the lot.
whether this is a translation,
or inauthentic or whatever.
i love it. 10-faved.
: )
 — fractalcore

really great poem
 — unknown

 — vienta

disco for methodists.
 — joey

Lines 30-34 are magic... I wish they were all mine.
 — SarahMichele

ice dancing at the summer olympics.
 — joey

i've seen this title everywhere several times.
but i never read it.
now i have
and i love it.
 — 1994

the contrasting language is hard in the soft undulating weave of word and sensibility -- the dualities clash to lift the veil from this sweet pome revealing the intense wonder playing there -- from sperm to egg to slipping into deep water, diving deep so deep always alone with the bones of Truth and in that is its Beauty -- a pleasing reread
 — AlchemiA

is this cinemascope wonder still around? it's kind of a ballet danced with clogs -- like a translation from a not-yet written good poem, in a language you can write in,  and write beautiful things, without sounding like a legal definition of 'my poetic ability'. it's so nice that there are sensitive people here to like this, and i hope that they memorize it and it's the only poem they'll have left to comfort themselves when they're roasting in poet hell.
 — geckodrome

you read as jealous that you can't write as good as this.. you call it a hoax... yet you want it as your own..

you're a fucking liar and fake, Mike..
 — Mongrol

it's really not that good as poetry in english. it talks about some things which are nice though. but, so does a tourist brochure from BOAC -- that's found in the antique store too.
 — geckodrome