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Valsa George

Who Am I?

‘What a piece of work is a man! ’
……… ………
And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? ’

From Shakespeare, through Hamlet
It rings down to generations
And falls heavily on my ears too

In vain, I attempt to probe into the mystery
Nay, the enigma called man
Both in the silence of my solitude
And in the learned circle of pundits

Unable to find who you are
Can you venture to say who the other man is?)

Man, a jumble of contradictions,
I know….A hard nut to crack!
So unfathomable, so mysterious
At once a Satan and an angel

To the outer world I am someone
But in the well guarded cellars of my privacy
Aren’t I different?
Hiding my innards to light
As every other man

At times, I feel so proud
Excessively in love with my own image
Like Narcissus, the poor hunter boy
Fated by gods to languish
On the bank of a pond,
Over his own floating image!

However with all my strength within
Do I not feel as helpless as Prometheus bound?
Waiting for a Hercules to come
And save me from my plight
If Prometheus’ bondage was God willed
Mine is self willed…! Is the difference so very crucial?

Sometimes I feel I am Janus
Looking backward and forward
Into my past and my future
Never living in the present
Or am I more a Sisyphus
Eternally rolling a rock over to the cliff
From where it keeps falling down

Sometimes I wonder
Amid the splendour, do I not starve?
Like Tantalus of Greece in the pool
Beneath the tree, with the low lying branches of fruits
Constantly eluding his grasp
And the water, ever receding before
He could take a drink!

As a poet how I wish I could
Equate myself with Calliope
Carving my mind on the wax tablet
With stylus, my pen and coloring it with my fancy
Or Orpheus, so skilled in music
That with my sad musings
I can make even Hades weep
And the rocks fall in line

I shudder to be a Medusa
Turning everyone to a stone
With my sinister glance!
Instead, I want to be one of the Graces
And never one among the Gorgons

Pitched in this gallery
Of queer mythological entities
I wonder how I appear to others
And whom I resemble more!

Submitted: Monday, January 27, 2014
Edited: Monday, January 27, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I invite you for a ride through Greek Mythology

Comments about this poem (Who Am I? by Valsa George )

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  • Silver Star - 9,962 Points Soulful Heart (2/6/2014 7:04:00 AM)

    Thru this poem u look like a poet that will dwell in the golden books of literature..so beautifully mythical characters have been reflected in humanity around and self..... great poem (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 421 Points Shahzia Batool (1/30/2014 12:54:00 AM)

    I am humbled as i am but a student of poetry and criticism, and my li'l scribblings are just an entry ticket to stay among the learned people and teachers, and all my accounts are not for posting and exchanging but learning from all of you and representing my country by my writing...many thanks! (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 12,580 Points Valsa George (1/29/2014 11:55:00 PM)

    Hmmm.... Shahzia... over and over again.... I must repeat the same statement about you... you are such an erudite CRITIC! Such critical depth, I wonder if anyone else here has! This is not 'reciprocal eulogizing'! Your additional illumination on Janus as double faced adds more to the meaning of the poem... Honestly I didn't expect much from this poem... I feel this poem is made outstanding by the comments it received from many particularly Dinesh and now you! Thank you! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 421 Points Shahzia Batool (1/29/2014 11:34:00 PM)

    A new addition to My Poem List!

    ...........And falls heavily on my ears too Valsa ji, yes you are right that probing into Man's enigma and mystery is in vain, i include myself too into all this confusion and chaos; Can you venture to say who you are yourself or can i say the same for myself? Man is a jumble of contradictions, because Man is subject to situations, the circumstances that vary, and Man's being is composed of two major abstract substances, general disposition and moods, both stay in contrast together, most often our nature or disposition is different and moods are different, we force, we coerce, we subjugate ourselves many times most unwillingly, i can't even say that we are justified but we are what we are, if we accept Man is Man, the same liable to err being, he is not neither an angel nor satan though behaving sometimes an angel and sometimes a devil, sometimes both simultaneously, what we need while staying together is just to develop a clear understanding of each other...Getting enamoured at our own image varies from person to person, some have this humor high some low, but all have it in veins, indeed...feeling helpless as prometheus bound and waiting for Hercules carries some touches from the areas of the present plight, and the concepts of resurrection, armageddon and the final hope for salvation...(i don't know it's right or wrong but the first read rendered all this to me) , i just wish we could understand the essence of fate and free-will so connected to our lives...We are janus not only in looking backwards or forward but in being double-faced hypocrites too, sometimes we take it as an obligation, sometimes as a compulsion, but we are bound, we are bound not only by Fate but by our own Free-will which we don't understand, we need a second hard check over us who should tell us whether we are exercising this free-will in a right manner or should we bridle ourselves before this self-willed freedom engulfs us into nothingness...the question raised in the end I wonder how I appear to others...compels me to click BACK TO TOP button to say again:
    ‘What a piece of work is a man! ’...
    @ lexicon and diction of this poem: it is embellished with classical, mythical images, so it appears abstruse or esoteric but even then it doesn't mean that everyone should write a homemade, within the reach poem, yes, such a work incites a curiosity to decode the greek obscurities to feel how closely they are connected to Man's life...
    @ your comments: accept it as something special for style, knowledge, and symbolism, though poet's modesty is important...

    regards! (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 12,580 Points Valsa George (1/29/2014 9:59:00 PM)

    Bri, how can you be so 'nasty'...... mistaking this one with the poem on Dementia and stop reading it mid way? ? ? (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 3,896 Points Bri Edwards (1/29/2014 6:21:00 PM)

    hey valsa, i was looking for the 'dementia' poem you mentioned. i guess this isn't it. i did not finish reading this, but thanks anyway! bri :) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 5 Points marvin brato (1/29/2014 2:19:00 PM)

    GREAT METAPHORS...man is unique and multi-talented individuals, its a matter of honing for great purpose that counts! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 102 Points Muhammad Ali (1/29/2014 1:46:00 AM)

    nice to ride...
    now these are symbols for us of worth and worst.
    who am i?
    is not it a life mystery! (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 5,319 Points Geetha Jayakumar (1/28/2014 11:17:00 AM)

    Very true said, We had a Fantastic ride through Greek Mythology. Many Characters became known to us, especially with Dinesh Sir, writing. This is really a Master piece......You have a vast knowledge of oceans and you have put each characters in proper place and choosing proper words. Really an Exclusive poem...Loved reading it. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 3,543 Points Tirupathi Chandrupatla (1/28/2014 10:12:00 AM)

    You are a bundle of knowledge to quote Greek mythology from your finger tips. Dinesh's notes helps us a lot in decoding the poem. I hope I know who I am. Thank you. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 13,026 Points Deepak Kumar Pattanayak (1/27/2014 11:35:00 PM)

    Oh what a poem it is......this is poetry and poetess' masterpiece......I am speechless Valsa..............please keep
    sharing always great piece like this...... (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 12,580 Points Valsa George (1/27/2014 10:07:00 PM)

    Thank you Dinesh, for complementing my poem with your elaborate notes on the mythological figures referred.... Please don't make me feel embarrassed with your glowing compliments on this poem... I am thoroughly flabbergasted! Personally I don't believe, this is a great poem...! I was surprised to read the comments of Sandra Fledman, Pradip, Gulsher, Dinesh and Sunprincess..... Thank you so much, though I don't deserve so much! (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,505 Points Dinesh Nair (1/27/2014 10:07:00 AM)

    What a poem it is madam Valsa? Could you ever imagine any of us posting a poem of the kind with such vivid inferences and lofty attributions of human traits and idiosyncrasies? I feel the poem needs to be with the following piece of information on the mythological characters you have brought into the picture of your authentic characterization.

    1.Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions and she is also the god of gates, doors, passages, endings and time as seen in ancient Roman religion and mythology.

    2.In Greek mythology itself we come across Sisyphus the king of Ephyra / Corinthia who was punished for chronic deceitfulness by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this foolish action for ever.

    3.Calliope is the Greek god of epic poetry and she is daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, and she is believed to be Homer's muse, that led him to write the Odyssey and the Iliad.

    4.Orpheus in ancient Greek religion and myth was a legendary musician, poet/prophet. He was able to charm all living things and even stones with his music. He attempted to bring back his wife, Eurydice, from the underworld, and tragically he died at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music.

    5.Hades was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. Eventually, the god's name came to designate the abode of the dead. In Greek mythology, Hades is the oldest male child of Cronus and Rhea considering the order of birth from the mother, or the youngest, considering the regurgitation by the father.

    6.Medusa in Greek mythology is a guardian/ protectress and she was a monster. Described as having the face of a hideous human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair she could turn onlookers to stone with a mere gaze. She was perhaps the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, [ Hyginus (the author of Fabulae 151) however, interposes a generation and says about lesser known Chthonic parents of Medusa.

    An excellent write on a few mythological characters metamorphosing themselves into one Valsa George of these times to interpret the identity and much more of a human being in retrospection.
    I give this write a 10 and regret it cannot be rated at a 100 on hundred. Thank you madam for this sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 919 Points Gulsher John (1/27/2014 2:23:00 AM)

    i too titled one of my poem months ago... Who am I?
    invite u to read that.

    gracefully you fabricated the story of man and his destiny in this mysterious universe (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 3,206 Points Pradip Chattopadhyay (1/27/2014 2:17:00 AM)

    would be all and would be none, we perpetually live in the conflict of this dichotomy keeping the real I beyond eye.
    an amazing work, Valsa, this poem I place in my personal Hall of Fame. (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 7,522 Points Sandra Feldman (1/27/2014 1:34:00 AM)

    Fantastic work Hypnotic Powerfull, Oustanding.! ! !
    A profound but very clear analysis of the many facets of man, illustrated brilliantly through Greek gods, and minor players of Greek Mithology while the Poet analyzes herself and man's similar behavior since time began
    .After all this, I hope I'm right, Valsa? In any case a masterpiece! Thank you (Report) Reply

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