Tuesday, July 1, 2008


As I sit down to type my first post of this brand new blog, I find I first want to say a bit more about the poet and dramatist Kālidāsa, the author of the lyric poem, “The Cloud Messenger” (Meghadūta in the original Sanskrit). The Meghadūta was first translated into English in 1813. That may sound like a long time ago. Since then, Kālidāsa’s reputation has grown, and he is now widely regarded as the Shakespeare of Sanskrit literature. However, no details of Kālidāsa’s life, including precisely when or where he lived, were ever recorded, and he is known solely from the works he left behind. Only in examining references in his writings, linguists and historians have been able to estimate he was active between 300-470 A.D. That makes 1813 seem like yesterday.

As someone who writes a lot of poetry, I occasionally indulge (like every writer of poetry does, I suspect) in the vanity of wondering if my poems will survive me. Who will be like Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) and go largely unnoticed and/or unpublished during their lifetime, but afterwards…? Here the reverie usually drifts off. My point in all this is: what did Kālidāsa daydream about? Could he even imagine a future that was millennia away? And what connection could I make between a poet so far removed in time and culture from my own?

Time. It’s a theme that runs in one way or another through just about everything I write about, the photographs I take, the artwork I create. It’s even an undercurrent in a lot of the books I read, the movies I watch, the music I listen to. The actual and metaphoric passage. It’s the reason I put a clock face on this blog. It’s only accurate for those who live in the same time zone, but that’s what I love about it – the sheer arbitrariness of it. What separates us in time and geography; in culture, habits and creeds, is ultimately, I believe, an illusion. There is only one person here.

On a more general note, things are still a bit "under construction" here. A few changes will no doubt be made, and some features will be added. Anyway, I hope you will enjoy TCM, bookmark us, come back often, leave comments, share your finds, etc. Peace out!

Banner photo: near Nine Pipe Wildlife Refuge, by Juanita Small Salmon, Ronan, Montana.
Rainbow photo from Shutterstock

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