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Archive for फ़रवरी, 2010

Forelorn leaf- 12

Memoirs of mirror house
Traverse from heaven and abyss
Compact set of images, voices and fancies
Imposing a straggled vision on me
Mirror house with unknown symbols
Future past flying together; the self unidentified
Don’t know where is mirror where is glass and where void
Feelings murmur as I proceed inside
Journey amidst everything unknown
No foreknowledge of end, path or ideation
The identity so split, difficult it is
To know the self, from where it see
Through mirror, glass or eye
And strange is the vision
A tale of suppression and depravation
Graceful and all yet so human
Crows, Swine and barks again
The vase ears, dish-wide mouths
And molded chain in active unrest
Trickling water from cistern
Entreating ideas to endless discontent
Conscious objects and bigot menagerie
When millions of emotions fly in airs
In fluid a image lustrous
A strange foetus crystallize in psyche
A simple skeleton in single hide
Stumbling ceaselessly from side to side
Absolute in caste and conviction
Absolute life-consciousness and ritual
Aborting itself from mercury
Ina world of innumerable hues
Move vertically across timelessly
Punishing the world zoo by death
The crystallizing element of mind
Became an extinction listless names
Above all categories, if world compels
That everything it is, a transparent gel

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Some thoughts on your hints.

Since I was talking about movie and religio-political and cultural stand it takes, I shall restrict my observations on the ‘Universalism’ to this limit only.

Universalism means continuity- a history, a logical coherence, an attempt to understand happening in light of certain assumptions. So the new construct of universalism of the ‘West’ or ‘Middle East’ is as inane as a continuity of the Great Indian tradition.

This also means that I reject the linear unidirectional projectile of history and civilization. This is a typical post-scientific view.
There is a close inter-dependent relation between science and history. For where can be the history without science and which stream of knowledge other than history ( and you will appreciate in west history and religion go hand in hand, without Jesus, Mohammad and historical veracity of Bible and Koran these religions becomes groundless so on and so forth) sets the agenda of science! We know that the stem cell research funding in US Congress is discussed on biblical and political arguments. Every decision that scientific establishment takes has this typical bias, thus greed for energy of US is different from that of China and India. The attempt to control the agriculture with gene technology has also this background. This is the success of the decadent West. But Non-Universalist societies can survive without this history-sense very well, be it India, China etc.

So we cannot take Art, ethics and morality in isolation.
When I asked you last time – How you see science and technology? And that do you accept the view that science has given us a truth, basis for moral and ethical dialogue? I was interested in knowing that do you believe in these assumptions. For if you accept it them then … Things need discussion on different level.

I don’t see Virgil, Homer, Socrates, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Marx, Mozart, Camus etc. in that continuum called the West (as Civilization). For we speak of civilizational continuum we impose an anthropomorphic bias on the existence. No doubt the much hated and obscene claims made on behalf the Great Indian tradition are also there and they are product or reaction to this world view.

As far West, there is a great internal dissonance in the thing that we understand by the West. They have internal contradictions yet to be unraveled. But the material success and general extroversion imposed through popular culture and inability of self to get into self have helped to burry these things in the din and glare of light. That much my take of the popular art if that world, it lacks cosmic unity and comprehension (spiritual connect of individual with cosmos) except occasional flashes here and there. As far Middle-East they don’t have any such pretence and their Islamic agenda is clear, Art has no relevance except craft.

Kamlesh Duttji hinted at this thing and weakness of the American hegemony when we last met him at railway station. Do you recall?

So in my estimation West’s is primarily a scientific-technological success story. Now if no West exists, then there is no Indic tradition either. ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ is a forgery, (Are you aware of this interesting fact that this quote has been used by a villainous Jackal to lure a gazelle in Hitopedesha and it has no lofty ideal in it that has so erroneously been imposed on it).

So I don’t believe in this great scientific, golden tradition of India, beguiled and by cunning foreigners and so on. I accept it as a open heathen world, where universalism is not based on tangible, rational, logical or ideological basis, it is in its relation with nature. To be India and Indian means to tune oneself with this ‘Rta’ and ‘Dharma’ and not to fight the windmill called the West.
There is a basic unnaturalness in the ways of these regions and it has made them powerful. But I feel that this civilization a typical Western, Mid-Eastern concept successful for one eon and once its utility ends will clash and come to end.

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My two penny review of MNIK

एक बदचलन जीवन वृत्तचित्र

जब कोई स्त्री अपनी सीमाओं से परे चलने लगती है तो उसे बदचलन कहा जाता है। यदि कोई फिल्म निदेशक अपनी सीमाओं को लांघे तो? चाल में कहीं कुछ बदी शायद यह माय नेम इज खान की हकीकत है।
चूंकि इस फिल्म के लिए बाजार की ताकत से प्रभावित और बाजार को प्रभावित करने के लिखे गए रिव्यू का दौर समाप्त हो चुका है और फिल्म भी किसी बदचलन औरत की तरह उगाही कर अब अपना ठीया समेट चुकी है तो देर रात में अपनी हताशा चौअन्नी छाप कमेंट्स के जरिए सामने रखने में मैं भी कोताही नहीं करूंगा। कुछ बात तो है कि फिल्म-तमाशा जैसे बेकार विषय पर देर रात जागकर लेपटॉप पर अंगुलियाँ दौड़ाई जा रहीं हैं?
फिल्म में उठाया गया विषय है नाइनइलेवन के बाद का मुस्लिम एलिनिएशन। और इस संवेदनशील मुद्दे को पूरी असंवेदनशीलता से उठाया है बालीवुड तमाशा मंडली के अग्रणी मंडली मास्टर करण जौहर ने। अंग्रेजी अखबारों के (आजकल हिंदी अखबार भी अंग्रेजी अखबारों के एडिट आलेखों का अनुवाद ही होते हैं) पन्नों पर जो तर्क देखने को मिलते हैं, फिल्म की थीम कुल मिलाकर उन विचारों और इमेजरी का कोलाज भर है।
यहाँ सिनेमा के हुए रूपांतरण का भी स्मरण रखना जरूरी है। गरीब मध्य वर्ग को तीन घंटे के सुनहले ऐशगाह देनेवाले हाई-क्लास तमाशावालों का ध्यान हटकर अब जब ओवरसीज कदरदानों की अधकचरी कृत्रिम समझ या स्मृतियों को पपोलकर के लिए बढ़ा है, तो उसके पीछे हरे नोटों की ताकत है। यह फिल्म भारत के लिए नहीं दुबई, यूके से लेकर अमेरिका तक फैले लोगों के लिए परोसी गई है। आम भारतीय के लिए यह उड़ती सी ही निकल जाने वाली है।
तमाशा कंपनियों और मीडिया होर्स (जुमला प्रेसटॉक से साभार) के जो संबंध पुख्ता हुए हैं और यह जोड़ी उच्च वर्ग के लिए जो मनोरंजन के माध्यम से जिस प्रकार कंसेंट क्रिएट करती है वह इस फिल्म के कथानक में और रिलीज के दौरान के लटके झटकों से स्पष्ट हो ही जाता है। लेकिन भारत में इसकी सफलता यह बात भी इंगित करती है कि हमारे जैसा सिनेप्लेक्स में जाकर 500 रुपए फूंकने वाला वर्ग मनोरंजन का कितना भूखा है। लोक की इस भूख में शास्त्र की दृष्टि न होने से परिणाम में होने वाले सत्यानाश की यह दुखांतिका है।
नायक मानता है कि इस्लाम और पश्चिम की लड़ाई नाइनइलेवन से शुरू होती है। वह बड़े मैटर-ऑफ-फैक्ट तरीके से कहता है कि आज समय को हम ईसा पूर्व, ईसवी और नाइन इलेवन के नजरिए से देखते हैं। कोई हर्ज नहीं। क्योंकि इतिहास को कालखंड मंे पढ़ने का सबसे बड़ा लाभ यह है कि आप अपने पूर्वग्रह को बड़े तार्किक तरीके से लोगों के गले उतार देते हैं। हर राजनीतिक विचारधारा कालखंड़ों को लेकर बड़ी संजीदा होती है। तो यह फिल्म भी एक प्रयत्न है, एक नए पूर्वग्रह गढ़ने का। हिस्ट्रोरिकल सेंस और उसे अनुभव करने के लिए जरूरी सांस्कृतिक और शायद आध्यात्मिक जमीन से महरूम एक आम भारतीय के लिए यह सच्ची रिलिफ है।
कल्चर का संघर्ष आज स्वयंसिद्ध है। हर विचारशील आदमी भीतर गहरे दफन किसी राज की तरह इसे इंटीट्यूली जानता है। मध्ययुग का खून से पटा इतिहास से आज तक की विकट वैश्विक राजनीति की ओर एक नजर देखने भर की देर है। सब कुछ साफ है। हर कोई अपनी शर्त लादने को बेताब है- इस इंतजार में कि पहले कौन पलक झपकता है। ऐसे भयावह समय में यह एक फिल गुड फैक्टर को क्रिएट करने की कोशिश है। फरेब के सिक्कों में शांति खरीदनें का प्रयास है।
आइए और आगे बढ़े। नाइनइलेवन को टर्निग पॉंइंट सिद्ध करने में जो स्लिप हुईं हैं वे खास तवज्जो देने लायक है। रिजवान खान की अम्मी की सीख कि दुनिया में दो ही तरह के आदमी होते हैं एक अच्छे और दूसरे बुरे, फिल्म के लिए बेडरॉक के समान प्रयुक्त की गई है। यह सरल सहज और मासूम-सी लगने वाली सीख के पीछे छिपी हकीकत कातिलाना है। कौन इस बात की तस्दीक करेगा कि कौन अच्छा है और कौन बुरा? नैतिकता, न्याय और कानून को आखिर मजहब ही तो संभाले रहते हैं। और इसके लिए अब कौन मुआफी मांगेगा कि मजहबी किताबों ने, जर-जोरु-जमीन और हर जानी-अनजानी हवस से कही ज्यादा खून बहाया है।
तो अगर यह गलत है तो क्यों मजहबी नेता अपनी किताबों में से या उनके अर्थो में से वे बातें नहीं निकाल देते जिसमें किसी दूसरे महजब के अधिकार को ठेस पहुंचती हो? कोई भीतर क्यों नहीं देखता? क्या मजहब अब तिजारत या सियायत ही रह गए हैं?
सच पर एकाधिकार और उसे ब्लैक एंड वाइट में देखने की मनोवृत्ति को हम नार्मल मान लें- रिजवान इस सीख को कम से कम तीन बार रिपीट करता है, तब तो फिर बात ही खत्म हो जाती है। शेष सारी फिल्म इसी बात को जस्टीफाय करने की मुहिम भर बनकर सिमट जाती है। यदि आदमी दो तरह के ही होते हैं अच्छे या बुरे, तो मासूम रीस बुरा है। न सिर्फ बुरा है उसके लिए दूसरी कोई संभावना भी नहीं है। मंदीरा की रीस को माफी में जो नामाफी छिपी है, वह डराने वाली है। कन्फेशन और रिडम्शन के विचार का यह ध्रुव विरोधी छोर है। माना कि कन्फेशन आदमी को मौकापरस्त बनने की गली छोड़ता है, ग्रे-नेस की जगह रखता है, उसमें छिपी स्वतंत्रता शैतान को निमंत्रण बन सकती है, तो भी उसकी जीवंतता में कायनात ही तो छिपी हुई है। एक यूनिफार्म रोबोटिक कौम चाहे कितनी नैतिकता रट लें, वह कृत्रिम और मृत ही तो होगी। ऐसे जीवंतता हीन समाज में न कला होगी और न तमाशा ही होगा और न तमाशावाले। जी हाँ, हाई-क्लास तमाशेवाले भी नहीं होंगे। तो यह लिब्रल लेबल वाली थीम लिब्रलिज्म की जड़ ही खोद देती है।
फिल्म गहरे संवाद की जरूरत के विषय का माखौल उड़ाती सी जान पड़ती है। इसके लिए अमेरिकी सरकार की आपदा नियंत्रण विभाग को नाकारा सिद्ध करना पड़े तो क्या और कैंडल लाइट प्रेयर में अरबी में कलमा भी पढ़ना पड़े तो क्या, रिजवान को जोर्जिया के ग्रामीण पिछड़े इलाके में मामा जेनी के परिवार और अश्वेत लोगों के बीच ही संवेदना और सुनवाई मिले तो क्या?
यथार्थ में संस्कृतियों के संघर्ष समस्या के समाधान के लिए सभी मजहबों को अपने भीतर ईमानदारी से झाँकना होगा, इसके लिए व्यक्ति को अपने भीतर भी झाँकना पड़ सकता है। शायद यह हकीकत बाजार, बाजार में लगने वाले तमाशे और हमारी हर उस चीज को खारिज कर सरेआम नंगाकर देगी। हमें अपने हर छद्म से बिलग कर देगी। इसलिए बेहतर है कि हम अपने इन हिजाबों में अपने फरेब को तरकीब से ढाँक लें और माय नेम इज खान ने यह बखूबी किया है। शायद सच्चई के इस स्तर तक समझने और उसे सामने लाने की कुव्वत या नीयत न तो तमाश मंडली के मास्टरों के पास है न उसके कदरदान ही इसके लिए तैयार है।
फिल्म की सबसे बड़ी कमजोरी है कि पूरा कथानक कहीं भी विश्वसनीय नहीं लगता। खुद बरखादत्त के आ जाने पर भी नहीं। वैचारिक स्तर पर फिल्म में संवेदना की कमी है तो व्यक्तिगत स्तर पर संवेदना को बेहतर उकेरा गया है। इन्हीं द्वंद्वों में नायक का चरित्र कमजोर हुआ है। एस्पर्गर्स सिंड्रोम से जुझता हुआ भी ईमानदार नहीं लगता नहीं पाता। ऐसे पात्र को अभिनीत करने में जिस कंट्रोल की आवश्यकता होती है वह शाहरूख के पास शायद नहीं है। जो चीज उन्हें किंग खान बनाती है वह इस कंट्रोल की विरोधी है। रिटोरिक और सटल-अंडरप्ले का द्वंद्व है। कलाकार के रूप में शाहरूख सामान्य से कुछ नीचे है। कॉजोल की स्पॉटेनिटी और खुबसूरती लुभानेवाली है। बेटे की मृतदेह पर रोती माँ के रूप में कॉजोल बहुत प्रभावशाली है। फिल्म का सबसे मजबूत पक्ष गीत-संगीत ही है। कोई ऐसी धुन नहीं जो आपको भीतर तक स्पंदित कर नहीं जाती। तो इस तरह अपनी सीमाओं से परे जाने के प्रयास में चाल से भटकी तिरिया की हरकत (नारीवादी तिरिया की जगह पुरुष पढ़ ले, हमें बिलकुल ही हर्ज नहीं) की तरह है, करण जौहर की माय नेम इज खान। वो फिर अपने घर लौटें और अपनी सीमाओं में फिल्म बनाकर संतुष्ट रहे। और कन्फ्यूजन ना क्रिएट करें। धन तो उनकी किस्म कि मूवीज में यों भी है हीं।

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Forlorn leaf – 11

In moon’s blushing light
In translucent maroon silk cover
You were marble
The wine glacier
Gurgling blood in you
Was visible
When I touched
Lips swayed on breeze
And believe me it was fire
When those petals brushed my ears
My fingers- thin, hesitant, murmuring
Chiseled your emotions
Eyes closed ears red
A submission turned complete in silence
My reflections like shadow game
Melted like emotions

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Dissecting the mainstream

Being a world within the world, India is a unique case study to understand the interaction of people and identities. The so-called mainstream in India is as new a concept as the concept of this modern Indian republic itself. (Except perhaps Asoka’s reign the country never enjoyed such political cohesion. Mughals and Brits were set in too alien a cultural set-up to Own this land. Their control was more or less colonial in nature, for while the Islam’s claim as the only and truly revealed faith severely restricted Mughal Empire’s ability to develop a trust, stake and participation based relationship with the locals, Brits would never have dreamed of claiming the country.)
The modern republic of India took over the governmental continuum from this colonial tradition. Many parts of the government of the new republic were deeply entrenched in some such contexts that were at crossroads with the spirit of freedom. In a way the spirit of freedom, untamed (as it happens to be) was not in full consonance with the republic that was developing.
Innumerable regional identities, states along with cultural, lingual, religious and racial diversity ensured that even if all people were fighting for freedom from British rule, their vision of free India was less shared and less common. Some to this day cherish actual or imagined memories of the old good Raj days or lost glory of Moghul Durbar of Delhi. At that time there must be no less than 33 crore independent Indias floating in air with aspirations, sighs and all colours. No wonder immediately with the independence a group which had a greater ideological cohesion seceded for Pakistan.
But it was not only the Islamic thought that had a shared vision of a state (which, to be fair to all the Islamists and Islamic politicians of the time, in all its expanse is part and parcel of Islam itself). Regions that had strong intellectual-military (some would even argue a collective moral) character; had their own vision of state and even republic. Most notable among them were the Sikhs and Marathas. Sikh gurus had instilled the people of region with a sense of purpose, moral courage and sacrifice that lead to creation of Sikh-empire in the heartland of Moghul Empire. Marathas dreamed of installing the Hindu-Padshahi rule and went to an extent to become the captor-caretakers of the effete Moghul Emperors. These people even to this day have a far more cohesive vision, character; conviction and willingness to sacrifice that give them a common purpose of action.
Though Bengal and Southern India was politically more aware than the rest of the country owing to obvious reasons, these regions failed to generate a leadership in pre-British India which could have consolidated people to create a concept of state what would have overcame the hierarchical-feudal mind-set. When modern education spread in these regions the political awareness that grew was missing in regional or Indian response in it. So the political thought that came from these areas lacked social experiment, it lacked mass involvement. (They imported foreign remedies to local problems and that was the reason for success of left in Bengal and Kerala and reactionary caste-identity based politics of Tamilnadu.)
Continuous influx of foreign tribes and clans right from the Shakas, Hoons, and Moguls to Dutch, British and French on the power scene ensured that native collective response remained week and divided. Thus despite exceptional goodwill for each other in actual life, Indians were and are people most easy to be manipulated on the basis of some remote aspect of identities.
No wonder, in such a circumstance the modern republic was more at ease with the assimilative Ganga-Jamuni tehjib (whatever the term meant) of northern India as the mainstream concept of India than say the Sikh concept of state or Maratha vision of Hindu Padpadshahi. Mainstream meant accommodativeness and compromises, which in turn required absence of strong political ideological commitments. Naturally Modern India developed with obvious dominance of north-Indian culture. In a sense it was hijacked by this region, owing to high headcount while success in political arena was based on compromises and acceptance of lowest common concerns.
The ‘rootlessness celebrating’ English thinking elite has scant interest in regional or even so-called ‘national’ tradition of the country. This class is important as it creates opinion and policies they has bearing on the lives of people. They are the true heirs of Raj and Moghuls albeit in democratic set-up. More connected with global concerns and perceived image they have nothing in common with the majority of the people, and constitute the core of mainstream. Sometimes soaring high in conceits these people are ever ready to subscribe to anything ‘foren’, come down when needed to the north-Indian culture as a concept of India. Thus what we consider mainstream today whether in politics or media constitute of this English and Hindi thinking mindsets, who act somewhat like primary and secondary native informants.
This hegemony is hated deeply in the regions like Punjab and Maharashtra, for this ‘spineless hotchpotch’ politics are at variance with their spirit. Sikh militancy and rise of militant regional party like Shivsena need to be seen from this angle also. While these forces do not represent the majority view, whatever support they enjoy is derived from anger of people on some such counts. South India by putting strong defense against imposition of Hindu made things clear and in a way resting on the typical lingual identities have also surrendered their say in this mainstream India. They have their regional cinema, media and concerns.
The mainstream has in its command a strong education system, Hindi-English and Hinglish media, a global market force in form of corporations with their interests and monies and popular culture. In a strange manner the interests of English and Hindi thinking class merge, that’s what the regional mind thinks.

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Accepted that US has to depart from the country, the path chosen for the exit is not going to increase the security on the region or world.

The new plan envisaged in the London Conference in first week of February very curtly attempts to downsizes India’s role in Afghanistan that too when India with one billion dollar developmental aid is the largest regional donor to this war rugged country. This along with hard persuasion of India to talk to Pakistan shows that US lead EU is seriously looking for a face saving exit.

Indian public can question the rationale behind such a bountiful gift, in face of stark poverty in the country. How Indian government can think of increasing contribution to Afghanistan (as reported during Robert Gates January visit to New Delhi)?  What are the strategic benefits derivable? And that what steps it is going to take to ensure that this precious investment of a poverty ridden country doesn’t prove useless and even detrimental to its interests.

As the London Conference want seek to hand over the rule to good taleban some relevant questions would be

How this new found ‘good’ Taleban is going to forge the tribal and clan based society in to nation? How the new government will control the Pan Islamist Sunni extremist forces in Afghanistan and outside?

Since we know that prime concern of the US is an early exit from Afghanistan. And it also wants to ensure that new incumbent ‘good’ taleban government in Kabul breaks its relationship with the Al Qaeda, for example the Haqqani faction, how it would be possible?

There are two issues here – first that the binding force behind various taleban factions (or even tribes) and Al Qaeda are getting more ideological, it is the Salafist world view of world and role of Islam in it. But when it will come to clashes of interest of tribes, warlords etc. and structure of governance, there could be a clash. So as the bonding has already developed, the key question is what is the US plan to tackle the Pan-Islamist forces in Arabia, Afghanistan and elsewhere?

Secondly the marriage of Al-Qaeda and Taleban factions was read by Pakistan’s Jihadist-military element; it also gave Al Qaeda free run in South Waziristan FATA region. Thus would there be any effort on part of US and Europe to convince Pakistan to delegitimize this evil use of religious extremism to promote strategic interest. Is it possible, as it would require a paradigm shift in the conventional wisdom?

How US will ensure that radicals of Pak military fed on anti-India feeling along with the Islamic warfare ideology will not use this now weakened position of India in Afghanistan to further its agenda like coercing India to make concessions on Kashmir and take strategic lead against India’s legitimate interests in the region.

With Pakistan at the helm of affairs and Saudi Arabia and Turkey backing the move how the international community will ensure that the tribal Afghanistan people are not sucked into the vortex of global Jehadi movement? This will have special bearing on neighbouring countries.

Even if we ignore other minorities, how 15 percent or so Shias would fare in the new power set-up? For neighboring Iran, Ajerbaijan and Iraq being Shias majority states have valid interest in the developments of Afghanistan, more than those who are taking shots today. If we take any clue from Iran’s absence and India’s shock at the plan, the path chartered doesn’t as propitious.

The Shia-Sunni divide would be another test. Unfortunately this schism and its impact on Islamic world’s relation with rest of the world is not studied in details,  the first real test for the US, EU and the world would be the governance of Iraq. Will Arab states open to one more Shia state among them; for a democratic Iraq would invariably be a Shiite in nature.

The US-European lead confrontation with Iran over the later’s nuclear ambition would divide the world. The Iranian Islamic bomb has little support in the Sunni world thus there are chances that Paksitan may seek leadership of Islamic world. It’s Islamic (more correctly a Sunni) bomb may come handy to it. And who is afraid of the Iranian Bomb? God knows, why US lead EU is baying for Iranian blood when there are many other ways to engage and contain it.

It is important to note that more power and concession to Sunni extremism will weaken the democratic movement in Islamic world. Thus US and EU need to think deeper as to their plans on Iran.

There will be wider convergence of views of India and Iran as far as Afghanistan is concerned. Till date Indian government under US pressure has taken some antagonistic stands at UN on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. There are doubts that this can last long, especially if US efforts in Afghanistan undermines India’s valid interest there.

As  the US is incfreasingly talking stands more open to other regional players (regional multilateralism) this would follow that the role and ability of Europe to enter into affairs of world would be severely restricted. Instead a regionalist approach will get preponderance.

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Forlorn Leaf – 10

The high western corner
Burning in a peach colour reflection
Sky full of weird muslin
Amber that fathomless heaven
Summer night taking over
Slowly chilling intentions
Awaken a date golden flush
Breeze from green myrtle
The western corner scene
In human form embody
Touching sweet youthful dreams
And glow, like lit wick
All myrtle leaves alit
In fine drapery
Flush of youth fragrant
Spread in the sighs

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