Image credit: J J Harrison

Tumbling tonight in tavernous treks,
My breath reeking of Sauvignon Blanc,
I have courage enough to read the blogs
of whitest crows and blackest swans.

“Seven best ways to flag off a blog,”
She croaked to soak in a hundred stars,
And nine hundred ardent followers who
inhale deep at ghosts of cigars.

“Look folks, a frame of a tulip in bloom,
the best I have captured with my Canon zoom!”
Eyes rest on a focus inches amiss;
Beautiful, marvellous! Get us more please!

“Wake up, President! I’m swimming in the Bay!
Guess what, I’m toasting a glass of Chardonnay.”
The ululations rend the vines of the Web
to have a thousand throbbing at her fate.

“O, my love like a burst of daffodils,
That was doomed to wither in the noon, alas!”
My eyes are creamy and senses awash,
Ears shudder at the thunder of applause.

“Gouge all men— they are ogling cleavage!”
Righteous thunder, murderous rage.
I scour my heart if I’m also a lecher:
The chalice of wine will earn me a stretcher!

The night was long but the morn was nigh,
I fell upon the land of words fifty five.
What drama, what shocks, what pathos abound!
Characters and plots may go to the hounds.

I strained the vision beyond the gables
to the milky way of seventeen syllables—

Wine was dancing
in the sails of my thoughts
moored in sand.

When ostriches ascend
higher than larks
I am a dodo.

88 thoughts on “Of Crows and Swans

  1. Oh dear USP…this is like my reaction to Miss K, remember HaraKyra tweets? Except–you have managed to vent out so exquisitely and so brutally and so accurately and so…(no, I don’t want you to shudder)…except say this–In Solidarity!!!! (In btw, I do not know Chenin Blanc-what wine is that?)

    1. Yes Bhavana! HaraKyra tweets indeed! Kindly excuse the fumes of the foam.

      winepros.org says, “Chenin blanc is arguably the most versatile of all wine grape varieties. Crisp, dry table wines, light sparkling wines, long-lived, unctuous, nectar-like dessert wines, and even brandy are all produced in various areas of the wine world, all using dominantly or entirely chenin blanc grapes…. Nearly all the truly memorable Chenin Blancs are French, from Saumur and Savennières (very dry), Anjou and Vouvray (off-dry), Coteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaume (dessert), and Crémant de Loire (sparkling).”

    1. Deb, earlier I was writing a prose version where I’d accused Franz Kafka of stealing the “Metamorphosis” from me even before I could take birth! :-D. But you upset my cart when you published that masterpiece of yours where you realise how certain Leonardo da Vinci stole Monalisa when you uploaded her to the Net! Crestfallen, I surrendered to Bacchus yesternight and was blessed with this vision!

  2. Reading in verse what you have always spoken about is more exquisite! And please don’t be deader than a dodo, because if you do, who will read and comment on Cybernag’s soliloquies? 😀

  3. Same here…one reading wasn’t enough to grasp the essence of it all. Not sure if I understood the right meaning of,”
    She hollered across the vines of web
    To have a thousand sobbing at her fate.” I replaced a word and see how the meaning changed. “to have a thousand at her sobbing fate”…:p and also “…..inhale deep the unlit cigars”, what does it mean?
    Btw, El Dorado is right next to Folsom…;) wine could stop here tonight….:)
    Do I need to say, it needs to be re-read?

    1. Latha, essentially you are asking me to uncork again! Because it is only when I waft in misty clouds that I know the meaning of the words I utter. 😀 Go ahead, read it again!

  4. Ha ha! Nice summing up of the situation!

    No need to be deader than a Dodo- there’s still a place for those who write in words of multiple
    syllables. 🙂

  5. Wow, amazing words! What brought this on — disenchantment with the quality of writing or blatant self-promotion or the pedestrian being applauded or the hypocrisy that inhabits us all? I share your indignation! Sometimes, I feel like a hypocrite myself. Wish you success to come up triumphant and to keep your daylights about you including your sense of humor in this crazy maze of virtual world. Don’t become a dead dodo. Like zephyr, I would want you to continue visiting my space and commenting even if it deadens your senses :).

    1. Rachna, despite the overwhelming pedestrianism and the hypocrisy surrounding it, I have no plans to quit writing anytime soon. Unless of course Time has something else in store for me and no one has had a peek into His database! And you are one of the most natural writers I know. 🙂

  6. USP, a massive shoo-away to the Dodos of the Chenin Blanc infested world……

    A pitcher of Chenin Blanc
    transports him
    to another world…

    Holding on
    to an older
    gentler webbed palm
    wide eyed
    he skips into the circus tent.

    Wild with
    acrobats in frills
    performing word somersaults,
    clowns in emoticon habits
    slapping comments
    at each other
    while
    pseudo ponderous bears
    lech across railings
    at the uni-cycling girls
    trying to document
    each revolution
    of their Life Wheels….

    Some roaring tigers
    swiping at
    would be tigers,
    some parrots,
    learning to steal words of others,
    swans, crows, egrets and kingfishers
    trying
    to be
    NRI flamingos
    as some
    unusually honest types,
    walk a tightrope
    between
    looking straight and
    looking down.

    The band strikes a note,
    and
    he looks up
    mesmerized
    by the trapeze web
    and smart ones surfing
    and swinging
    singly and in pairs
    from coast to coast,
    and
    there is a sudden
    mind flash
    as something
    Nikonically clicks.

    He pulls urgently
    on the webbed palm,
    siddling up
    to the owner,
    too excited,
    too full,
    disturbed by the Chenin,
    but yet hungry
    and wanting to leave….

    Perhaps Home, Bed and
    a decent Harry Potter
    for dessert ?

    1. Suranga, you have drawn an amazingly living portrait of the Great Circus in progress in the Blogsphere rippling with acrobats, clowns, ponderous bears, fake tigers and uni-cycling girls caught in the very act of word somersaults, slapping comments on each other, stealing words and leching at finer artists. There are the “honest types too who walk a tightrope between looking straight and looking down…. Beautiful, magnificent, marvellous and peerless as ever!

  7. There’s no escape…dodos are trapped somehow in their own traps…lol..
    Great blog!
    I don’t feel any of these demotivating – they are merely realistic! Everything needs a massive dose of luck!!

    1. Panchali, I am far from being demotivated. And I am not trapped anywhere either. Its rather those sad creatures who are battling forever in the cages of their own crassness and making such a show of it. I agree with you when you say “they are merely realistic”: their realities are there for all to see except probably themselves! Unfortunately, we have a bit too many of them.

  8. It is so heartening to read your frank & honest appraisal of our virtual reality…but doing it in this fabulous poem–i don’t think anyone can better it .It is also reassuring to know that i have company in feeling this way about the whole shemozzle !

  9. Ha ha ha. What a cool parody on the blog-o-sphere. That too in verse. You have not spared any genre, have you? Awesome stuff!

  10. SO which blog does my blog fall under whitest crow or blackest swan 🙂

    hmmm i hope i can get some good pics with my cannon zooom 🙂

    lovely little poem sir.. talking about blogs and all

  11. Such a delightful read. I read again and again, loved it even more every time I read it. Also, I was trying to figure out whether I fall under any of those categories. I hope not. 😛

    PS: And something told me a post on these lines was on its way after I read your Nikon tweet. 😉

  12. Umashankar,

    I vent my frustration in words when things get worse
    You express your web-induced angst in wine infused verse!

    Yes, it can be frustrating, irritating and nauseating. Earlier today I read 30 responses to someone who was desperately seeking attention because an ice-cream cup fell on her toe – and it had swollen, it seems. My left foot!

    They go on and on about their glorious achievements and that of their spouses and kids, the amazing places they have seen and about all the holidays on which they have been; the food they ate and the friends they fête!

    I think Social Media helps us accentuate our ugly side.

    Enjoyed this one immensely … Have Chenin Blanc or Rouge more often!

    Cheers!

    1. Now, if that comment isn’t poetic, what is?
      Yes, it is all that you say: frustrating, irritating and nauseating!

      Ice-cream cup falling on the toe? Epic moments! But then the rot manifests in the social psyche itself. You are looked down for having less than 40 Twitter followers or 500 Facebook friends! Your observation is spot on: Social Media helps us accentuate our ugly side.’

      A million thanks for being frank and endorsing the post.

  13. Even Indiblogger is not without its bunch of fakes! 🙂

    I study the traffic analytics at my blog quite closely. There are some 450 likes for my articles at Indiblogger but only some 150 registered visits to my blog from there. So how did the remain 300 “Like” my article when they have not read a single one?

    Other than you there have been just 2 or 3 comments at my blog from Indibloggers. I think they need to be more serious about their writing and the promotional activities they do.

    Why like an article if they have not read it?

    1. Call me Legion, for we are many. Mark 5:9

      Now that you broach the subject, its a mighty bunch out there. I have no qualms in admitting that Indiblogger has played a pivotal role in popularising my blog. It is sad to see how a bunch of leeches are hell-bent on subverting a magnificent platform to their petty ends. It doesn’t take much to notice that there are a select few faces that you’ll find plastered on the promotion wall of each and every blog out there and that includes broken links! Do you think they are reading all those blogs? No big deal that they are forever hogging the Homepage and the Top-Page leaving many better blogs with a snowball’s chance in hell to gain a toehold there. Consequently, many are forced to adapt the same technique to subvert the scam.

      1. I can’t help but write here because just recently I got into a debate about Indivine with some friends. I really was naive enough not to know the quid pro quo rule. I only recently started putting my links in Indivine and the painstaking me used to read each post and then promote only those that I liked. That was a bad approach; I’ve only understood now :). I have come across some good bloggers too on Indivine, but I am shocked at some of the crap that is there in the top-voted posts. I am being nice and promoting posts that like my post out of courtesy these days. I don’t think I blame Indiblogger because it is a good community. There will always be people who misuse forums. I always thought blogging to be a laid-back, interactive activity and did not expect this manic urge to consume all others in some bloggers.

        1. And going by the comments, looks like you’ve brought the insecure to the fore in all bloggers. Everyone is wondering, which category they belong to :)? It is good in a way, as this acts as a self-check mechanism.

          1. Thank you, Giribala. I suffer from the foot-in-the-mouth syndrome :). Some others have conducted that experiment with very positive results already :).

      2. But how does that happen – that a few hog the top slots?

        Maybe the Indiblogger platform needs a more robust method to promote talent … like I said in my article today.

        The Indiblogger Editors need to work harder and discover the hidden talent and promote them. Have an Editor page that will showcase all that’s good.

        I wrote 2-3 messages to the Indiblogger team – not one has been acknowledged or replied. Did you notice how limiting the blog categories and sub-categories are? I had told them to widen the scope or at least a better set if it is going to be limited.

        Indiblogger did help to promote readership at my blog but to a small extent … maybe the back-links will help too. It’s a platform with potential if managed well.

        1. Bizarre as it may seem, it is rather simple. Some of those seem to be living just for churning out mediocre stuff and promoting each and every blog that sees the light of day at Indivine. To confound the matters, they work together in well coordinated moves. Yes, they have time on their side! Writing to Indiblogger doesn’t help. They don’t believe in writing back.

  14. I have been thinking and thinking after reading this post and thank you to make me think. 🙂
    I shudder to think which category my blog falls in, so I would rather stay mum.
    BTW do u take writing classes 🙂 if yes, then pls enroll me, coming this month end to India

    1. Bhagyashree, you are a natural blogger and I am fortunate to have you as a reader. And I honestly don’t think you need classes of any sort, least of all from me, although I’d love to meet you! 😀

  15. …no I wasn’t a slow dodo when I read and re-read this to enjoy it sip by sip like wine, for gulping it like beer would not have it digested to my contentment 🙂 Exhaustive work…arduous a bit though…but definitely worth the effort 🙂 Thank you Uma 🙂

    1. Amit, it warms the cockles of my heart to learn you read and re-read it, sip by sip like wine. I can deduce from that, unless of course it is a sarcasm, the poem is not arduous to read. The arduousness that you speak of therefore seems to refer to the efforts of the writer. Allow me to assure you on that count: it was an extremely fluid process and I enjoyed doing it to the hilt. Thank you, Amit for your kindness.

      1. I try not to be sarcastic(barring my posts, with a purpose),but I candidly meant it for myself without any pretexts(men don’t fake it 🙂 )
        I’m sure it must have flown from your pen just like that!! Thanks again!

  16. Hello,

    I come here after the suggestion from Kavita , good and respected blogger friend.Well I felt she had a reason for her suggestion and after reading your lines a few times over I cannot disagree with her a bit.

    You have played a fascinating circus with words subtle and apt to cover a fair bit. I think I will have to follow your words carefully to grasp.
    By the way , I do not deny your findings on Chenin Blanc, though connoisseurs have begun to opt for vino from Chile and South Africa.

    1. I am ever so grateful to Kavita for referring you to my corner of the world! Welcome, sir, make yourself home! My words have only tried to mirror the great circus in progress in the bloglands. I agree with you when you say I have covered a fair bit. It is not worth descending to the bottom of the quagmire. Many thanks to you.

      I am far form being a connoisseur of wines but I will be on a lookout for ‘vino from Chile and South Africa’ next time I go hunting for Chenin Blanc. Indebted by the tip!

  17. He hee! you need fermented grape juice to get through our posts? :D. It might have also been helpful to write an honest poem like this.
    I think it was a good idea to write in verse. That makes this post quite euphemistic. Cheers USP. 🙂

    1. D, we both know I enjoy reading your posts. 🙂 And I believe the poem is more of a direct statement than a euphemism. Thanks for your continued interest.

      1. Thank you so much. 🙂
        What I meant was that in this form, it doesn’t come across as rude.

        Btw, there are some interesting comments and a very eye-opening conversation happening here, thanks to you. I take it that you were talking about quality of blogs and you are right — we all fall into difference levels of the scale. It might also be true that some posts/blogs get more appreciation than they deserve.

        I take offence to a particular comment (not yours 🙂 ) on the subjects of blogs/posts. I thought weblogs did not have hard and fast rules about what you should and shouldn’t write about. ( I just put this in ‘here,’ because I did not want to interrupt the flow of the conversation.)

        1. d.Nambiar, I didn’t choose this format to avoid rudeness simply because there is no rudeness I am trying to avoid. I have merely stated the state of affairs and I stand by each and every syllable I have uttered. Also, I have kept nothing under wraps. It would have greatly helped all of us if you had chosen to be direct in your comment too as I was also hoping for a larger discussion.

  18. To me, the spectrum from whitest crows to the blackest swans, mean just one thing: The love to write, read and being read. Those are the factors that hold us all together in the blogosphere. And these acrobats you talk of, are personal choices for some and survival adaptations for the rest. Whichever way, because they are manifeastations of the love for the words, I love and respect every single attempt.
    Great piece of writing. You write with so much depth and in most cases, I enjoy them like I enjoy wine, sip by sip. Once I finish one round, like I pour another glass, I start all over again. I love that feeling.

    1. Leo, I feel honoured by your kind words. You do remind me of one of my favourite poems Pippa Passes by Robert Browning:

      The year’s at the spring,
      And day’s at the morn;
      Morning’s at seven;
      The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
      The lark’s on the wing;
      The snail’s on the thorn;
      God’s in His heaven—
      All’s right with the world!

      Many thanks to you.

  19. Now that I have your permission, here’s my take for the larger discussion. We all our own opinions and have a right to it. Agreements and disagreements are also ok. What I take offence to is Mr. Jayadev’s comment that writing about friends and family and achievements is not good enough for blogs. I’d like to think that I speak for a lot of other bloggers out there that it’s when we write about things that are close to our hearts and things that we believe in that we do justice to our blogs. Isn’t that why we have a category of blogs called ‘personal blogs.’

    I also take delight in reading and writing about travel. Now if we didn’t write about how a place affected us and about the food and culture, we’d be doing the work of guide books, wouldn’t we?

    I think the beauty of this medium is that it gives us that freedom to write what we want. The best part of it is that it allows the writer and the readers to interact, whatever the subjects we choose to deal with.

    We all have different interests, and different ways of treating it. I’m wondering how some ‘subjects’ are better than others.

    1. D.nambiar, I’m glad you chose to be forthright. First and foremost, we are free not only to hold our own opinions but to publish them on our blogs also. And that includes aftermaths of ice-cream cones falling on our toes. It goes without saying therefore that we can include autobiographical elements in our blogs as rightfully as we can spin socio-political satires. Indeed, significant portions of literature available anywhere on the earth in any language are autobiographical in context.

      Essentially, my gripe with the misuse of the blogging format is twofold. One, there is an utter lack of both quality and content in a majority of blogs. You will stumble upon myriads of instances where the contents are good but the presentations are poor and even atrocious; this includes most subjects you can imagine right from an esoteric science to a fallen ice-cream cone. Then there can be subjects that may appear howlingly frivolous like the missing underpants of a man but may have immense comic or portentous values. Portentous, if the man happens to be the pilot of a fighter aircraft of a country under attack. In the latter case, however, the pettiness of contents will need to be bolstered with a powerful punch and by that I mean, diction and style.

      The second kind of misuse has again elements of both content and style. While in many cases the contents may appear righteous and relevant but it doesn’t take long to realize how these have been cunningly used to serve petty personal gains. Then there is the misuse of formats like poetry and photography which are both the simplest and hardest of arts, and tepid haikus, 55-world fiction and even 140-characters tales.

      1. Put that way, I couldn’t agree more. Even the most trivial or weird things can be written beautifully or in a comic way. And I know you respect that, totally. We’re on the same page on that. I too like that story of a man called Gregor Samsa who turned into a dung beetle one fine morning. 🙂 It’s all in the treatment 🙂
        USP, All I meant to say was that it doesn’t sound right to me, to say that when you write about certain ‘subjects,’ you have a sub-standard blog.

        1. Correct, D. Nothing wrong with the’subjects’. 🙂

          Metamorphosis is a work of terrifying depths, peerless in its approach. As a matter of fact, I have awoken from sleep feeling like Gregor Samsa on countless mornings!

    2. Hi dnambiar

      I had not seen your message to USP till he wrote to me about it – and I didn’t read it for a whole week.

      Drat! Missed the opportunity to get into a juicy argument. So you have a bone to pick with me!! 🙂

      But I have to disappoint you – there is nothing to be debated.

      I think this is a case of crossed wires … I am sure there are a zillions of articles out there about family members and their achievements … but thankfully I can avoid all of them.

      What I wrote earlier in this thread was about folks going on and on about such stuff on Social Media … Facebook, to be precise. The ice-cream bowl incident and all the other stuff I mentioned pertain to updates people drop on my Facebook page, like pigeons and crows do on statues across our country – I wish the pigeons would stop crapping on Mayawati’s statues and do it on her head instead.

      I was remiss in not mentioning the context and incurred your wrath.

      Imagine being invited to a friend place for dinner and you have to listen to the glorious stories about their family for 4 hours. Honestly, I can’t endure it. I would find an excuse and make an early departure.

      Let people write what they wish to on blogs – I can safely avoid such stuff; but on FB there is no escape other than the Unfriend button! 🙂

      Hope I have cleared the air now.

      Cheers!

      1. Mr Jayadev,
        You’ve cleared the air. 🙂 Facebook is another story. (We’ll talk about it or another day 😉 better still — have a ‘juicy argument’ about it).

        I thought you were talking about the subjects that people write about on their blogs. I read (and admire) some people who might be writing about a trivial matter (or family or trips) but do it so exceptionally well and thought it wasn’t fair to them. (I’m guilty about doing it too, although I don’t do a great job there :).) I might even know a few people who could do superb LOL posts on ice-cream cups falling on their toes.

        What I meant to say was that as far as blogs are concerned, there are all kinds of them, whether they appeal to the masses or are for a niche they have to be given their due.

        Cheers 🙂

        1. Hi DN

          Any time! 🙂

          As for your own blog: The idea is to keep working at the skill and put passion into it. Don’t “try”, just let it flow … and I am sure you will generate good stuff (as per your own standards).

          The Internet has given power to the people: We come across a few who stun us, a few more that entertain, but the majority are just key-punchers (equivalent to pen-pushers).

          The idea is to work one’s way upward through self – analysis and feedback.

          Question: How many of us are willing to listen?

          Fortunately the Internet also permits us to avoid. 🙂

          Cheers!

          J

  20. USP, carries your hallmark of brilliance all the way through! Such a delight like sipping the Chenin Blanc by sunset! Please d;nt kill the dodo:)

  21. Well… I have said it many times before and I will be saying this many times in the future. I haven’t read a writer more prolific than you. You just weave magic with your words. And I am simply stupefied by your vocabulary. Not only is it so rich and complex and versatile, the way you make use of it to emote and express is outstanding! A Standing ovation for that! And never thought that one could vent out his frustration so poetically!

    1. Raj, it is an ill-fitting garb that you honour me with! I don’t deserve it. Moreover, I am waiting for the grapes of wrath of the blogging intelligentsia! Meanwhile, I am sending an armada loaded with my humble thanks your way. God bless you! 😀

  22. Not many people can express those intricate ever swinging thoughts the way u do..
    most of the times I got nothing to comment only thing that comes out as reaction is Wow so I just quietly read n go 😛

    Leaving
    me deader
    than dodo…
    loved this, don’t know how many I’m going to use this 🙂

    1. Its nice to see you again, Jyoti. Its heart-warming to learn how you quietly read and leave although I’d love to receive your input every time you are here. Many thanks for the encouraging compliment.

  23. OK. I know I am rather late to comment here and I so wish I had come here before. 🙂 You and many in the comments section have criticized all kinds of blogs. This has left me totally confused. How does one go about getting popular in this blogging world? I have just signed up with Indiblogger and I am waiting for them to approve me. In fact I came to your blog now from Indivine. 🙂 I am careful what I read these days, because I have a tendency to react. At times maybe even over react. So I too read a lot and comment very less. No time to go around clarifying my point of view, I guess. 🙂

    The poem is good indeed, I , honestly had to read it three times to understand it. 🙂 It became more clear once I read the comments. 🙂

    1. Hi Jyothi! I am glad you stopped by. I and others have not criticized ‘all kind of blogs’. Rather, we have expressed our consternation over all kind of atrocities being committed on the blogging format! You are apparently new to the blogging world, as you say, and anyone in your place may struggle with the references in the poem. However, as you spend more and more days in these climes, I am sure you’ll come across more and more of the species mentioned in the poem.

  24. Ha ha …I am new to blogging …and only recently my blog at Indivine got approved . But today when I toured their entire website …your poem became all the more clearer to me . A fine parody of the times we are living in …this really had me in stitches…:)

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