Saturday, March 17, 2007

And Edgar Was Third

This poem is an homage to Edgar Allen Poe. One of Tabidze’s earliest Western influences outside the Symbolist poets, Poe shared the Symbolists love of and focus on the musicality of poetry — alliteration, meter, complicated rhyming, etc. Galaktion shared Poe’s grim disposition, even from a young age, and themes of impossible love, loneliness, sadness and desolation are prevalent throughout his work.

Here Tabidze refers to Poe’s muse, Lenore, (as well as to Poe himself) creating an appropriately dark, vaguely religious and lovelorn setting for “the stroll). The poem was published in 1915, during the beginning of Tabidze’s career, before the Communist revolution, during a period of relative literary freedom.

Some notable themes, which Tabidze was to continue exploring throughout his life, include the melancholic, romantic individual as well as elements of mystery, and the use of certain symbols (wind, bells, temples) which are given weight because of their roles as multifaceted (thus indefinable) symbols.

As you read the poem (especially in Georgian) read it out loud; listen to how artfully the poem moves, how the sounds flow together. This is where Galaktion’s genius lies.

And Edgar Was Third

We two toward the temple bore,
sunlight fading. Prayers. Tolling.
On our eerie way, Lenore,
the wind was snapping branches, howling.
These wings were pining for a bold
dispassion toward your isolation.
But suddenly there was a third
between us, quelling conversation.
And a hollow voice intoned:
The final hour’s drawing near.
In the crying, dying wind,
we three toward the temple bore.

1 comment:

Jessica K. said...

Oooh. Shivery.