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Thursday, April 28, 2016

NaPoWriMo 2016, Day Twenty One: Just a Note

Day twenty-one and counting, inching closer to closing the gap between date and NaPoWriMo entry.
Not that it matters when every day invites its own poem, NaPoWriMo challenge or not.  The prompt to be disciplined,  and 'just do it,' is the thing.

Today's prompt is to write a poem in the voice of a minor character from a fairy tale or myth.  While that sounds fun, the idea that pops immediately into my mind speaks in the voice of a musical note, the one a musician plays, the one printed on the page of begin to speak here goes:

SInce last night when I attended a gala including several items of South Indian (Carnatic) music, my thoughts are still dwelling on contrasts between carnatic music and our relatively tame western music, traditionally served up in rhythms that are multiples of twos and/or threes.  Carnatic music has a veritable library of ragas, defined patterns of ascending and descending parameters for every different season and occasion, and usually accompanied by a real tambura (stringed instrument of a certain kind)  or virtual one in the form of a small, electronic music box, to keep up a background ostinato consisting of three notes for do-so-and -the next highest do (in India called saa, paa, saa.)  The 'voice' in this poem is a single note considering her past and present, and decides that her role is to do what she can and does do well, that is, play just one note as well as she can.
      n.b.  Performance vv notation, vv strict vv improvisation....

Just a Note on the Tambura
by Shirley Smith Franklin

Here I am again, just humming along
with saaa, paaaa and a saaaa at the octave,
ostinato to an Asian raga.

I remember days, the British empire,
in whose days I knew my relative place,
when music was of a simple design.

There were lullabies, marches and dances
where I played a predictable pattern.
Cadenzas weren't really all that fancy.

But since the Brits have gone away, bless them,
and I don't mean I want them back to stay,
I miss their music's order.  The concert

Of raga and alankar perplex me,
the alaps of ragas confuse me,
I lose myself in their complexity.

Let me find content in this simple role,
anchoring a singer's meditation
anchoring the alpana of her soul.

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