Poesy shall save our souls!
03 May, 2012
Poesy shall save our souls!

 

A gigantic question mark is hanging over summative deeds of humanity – what have we done with our existence? Have we not in the end found ourselves aboard the electronically operated runaway train, rushing us towards our over-equipped sophisticated end? Hopefully, there lingers on a certainty that for survival we need spirituality more than scientifically mechanized way of life. The devil is at work to steal the remaining bits and pieces of our aspiration for the blessed human elevations like literature

and philosophy – poesy above them all.


I have no way to presume the number of readers of this piece of writing. Nor have I any idea who would among those readers be, but I am stubbornly determined to feed them the message that the Georgian poetry and its crown jewel – the genius of Galaktion Tabidze – constitute in concert the Olympus of poesy as such. Lovers of Shakespeare, Baudelaire, Goethe, Shelly, Byron, Whitman and Pushkin might direct their resentfully indignant looks at me, but having enough ground under my feet, I am more than ready to defend the overconfidently arrogant slip of my tongue and pen.

And the divinized case in point is readily available to illustrate the above conceited utterance of mine. The intellectual epicenter of the corroborating example is gorgeously dominated by our Georgian lady of letters Innes Merabishvili – poet, translator, pedagogue, literary critic and researcher. It was she who had Lord Byron make a new entrance into our culture, letting the entire Georgian society breathe a fresh breath of the great Englishman’s life and poetry. And it is she who is giving us the deepest ever insight into the enigmatic poetic world of Galaktion Tabidze. Innes is teaching us how to make sense of reading his verse. And she possesses an outstanding professional skill to perform the magic. Not that she makes the poet’s symbolized word simply known to the reader because the reader needs her help. This is not a plain case of another specialist, feeling obligated to pay his or her dues to poetry. She fearlessly cuts through Galaktion’s poetic legacy with the help of her sharp intellect and knowledge of poetry as such and leaves it open for us to feel and grasp the value of the discovered sacred jewelry. She is delicately but resolutely trespassing over the line beyond which the access had always been tabooed as something unethical because Galaktion’s untouchable poetry would not allow any direct literary interpretation – experts deliberately eschewed the explanation of his enigmas in trepidation about getting scorched and scathed. Innes Merabishvili has defied every precedent of surreptitious dancing around the Georgian giant’s poetic legacy and has taken the bull by the horns without a vestige of apprehension to be defeated. Not a sign of nervousness! No unease about being in the dark! The tunnel was long and bottle-necked but with a lot of potential light in the end. And here it is – the amazing outcome! This is a story of one poem by Galaktion Tabidze, translated into English by Innes Merabishvili. Let’s first read into it and then invite Innes to give us the magic key for opening the poet’s enigmas, so profusely used by Galaktion when he was only a budding poet of twenty-three. The poem is titled ‘Evening’.

 

The mountain torrents madly rush,

Or marvels of astonishment

With savin, sand, weeds wild,

Through faith in constant light,

By mighty gales they deafened are

Are latched as in no merriment

With fright and awe of Christ.

By scythes of the night.

 

The poplar that’s a real queen,

Or, what is concealed from others,

By lightning is bent down,

I notice in the skies,

The drought has gone, has gone away

Oh, those sacred ancient letters,

To let the rains fall down.

I longed for them long while...

 

The cross, the lion and the bull –

The lightning seen across the cross –

They are the peacocks’ mates,

The sister blue of mine,

The eyes of angels envy you,

And trampling of the flowers blue

The Virgin of the Gate!

When young – a way of life.

 

And David Narin’s cross of might

When ivy climbs close to the cross,

Will cover marble slates

It shows a lone harp’s fate...

With dread and horror of the skies

The eyes of angels envy you,

Amid the roar of gales.

The Virgin of the Gate!

 

There is no need at all to be simplistically marveling over Galaktion’s crushing poetic talent or his translator’s thrilling aptitude to give the Georgian poet to the English-speaking world. This is already being taken for granted, and not only here in Georgia. What we desperately need though is getting better versed in what the poet means in general by his work of life, and what those innumerable enigmas want to say in particular which are scattered profusely over the entire field of his seemingly impenetrable poetic philosophy. This is exactly where Innes Merabishvili has turned up – her honed pen poised and ready – to help the reading public. Her recently published article in the Georgian press (Sakartvelos Respublika, No. 52, March 17, 2012, page 6) is dedicated to unfolding the enticing symbolisms, so masterfully planted in this poem. Merabishvili’s English translation of the piece skillfully reflects the original’s rhythmic sounding, and this is not surprising – the lovers of Galaktion’s and Byron’s poetry have already grown used to this part of Inesse’s literary activity. Her unconventionally liberated and enlightened usage of both the English and Georgian languages allows her first to reach into the depths of the two poets’ creative intentions and then to present them expressly to the hungered adherents of their versified thinking. Now the enigmas of Galaktion Tabidze! The poem is in front of you, and it takes an extremely educated reader’s mental power to be fathomed and appreciated accordingly. If it bothers you with its complexity, the above-mentioned article (written in Georgian) by Inesse Merabishvili is readily available to serve you as torch and guide through the refined obscurities of the enigmatic maze of Galaktion Tabidze’s poetic eminence. Good luck! We all need a moment of slight vertigo for a momentary getaway from the abominably clattering rat-race we are all involved in. And the remedy is the intoxicating power of the Poesy which can definitely save our souls for the ever-lasting blessed eternity.

 

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