Author Archives: Stephanie Suh

About Stephanie Suh

I write stuff of my interest that does not interest anyone in my blog. No grammarians, no copy editors, no marketers, no cynics are welcomed.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

IL BUONO

Whistle, and he’ll come to you

From a wild haze of wind maze

Blowing smokes, looking aglow

On his steed with the blue gaze

Into the windows of your heart

Sealed against pillage of the cabinet

Full of secrets locked tight and fast. 

For Blondie is The Good doing it. 

IL CATTIVO

Watch, and he’ll stand behind you

In a drifter’s hide with a golden watch

Grinning with the blue lamps that glow

Like the phantasmal light of a ghostly torch 

Penetrating the bastion of your spirit

Guarded in the deep forest of your mind

Against a carnage of the spirit with a feat. 

For Angel Eyes is the Bad doing it.

IL BRUTTO

 Wait, and he’ll show you

In a gringo’s hide with a squint eye

Calling you, “My friend!”, following you

Wherever you go, even to a valley 

Laced with tombs of the drifters and solders

Where the dollars are paid for the tribute

To the litany of woes and more woes. 

For Tuco is the Ugly doing it. 

Author’s Note: This is based on my viewing of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” directed by the great Sergio Leone. The film, often referred to as the mastperhece of Spaghetti Western, is in fact far superior to any other western movies made by Americans in terms of storyline, plots, settings, and cinematography. 

For example, in this film, all of the characters are morally ambiguous and ethically challenging, which makes them realistic and relatable. Besides, compared to the perfected appearance of typical “American” characters, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly are all scruffy-looking and unhygienic even, and yet they all look quite stylish in their naturally rugged ambiance and masculine outlooks, especially well manifested by the iconic piercing gaze of Clint Eastwood as the Good and the amazingly chiseled face of Lee Van Clef as the Bad. What’s more, even though director Leone had never been to the States before making the film, he was excellent in portraying the Wild American West during the Civil War by filming it entirely in Spain. 

The music by Ennio Morricone also plays an integral part in this film, creating timbres for each of the characters, so that whenever the character appears on screen, the unique thematic music is played, indicating the moods of the characters without having them narrated in words. Hence I wanted to write about the impression on this unforgettable film that’s engraved in my Hall of Fames.

Stoic mind

more-than-200-posters-from-la-belle-epoque-are-available-for-free_04-744x549

That which they called Providence,
A divine scheme of God’s purposes,
Was the handiwork of Fair Fortune,
The ancient idea of lucky chances
Of adventures and misadventures,
Knocking the door of a poor man’s hut
With a pouch of lucky stars regardless
Of what the world saw for his worth,
Pacifying his ills of grief and grievances.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The doctrine of providence that a man’s life was an intricate handiwork of God’s mysterious purposes was a tenet of Protestantism which, as a counter-cultural way of resisting medieval Catholicism, advocated zealous work ethics in an effort to combine a practical faith with an active self-reliance and independence. That riches and authority came of men’s industry and diligence, of their labor and travails, not of miracles as a result of mechanical recitations of prayers and devotions to saints was the canonical principle of the reformed church. However, the folks who were not well-off, not-too-rich, poor, and very poor never subscribed to the doctrine of providence. They still clang to the concept of luck because it accounted for any misfortune befalling them regardless of merits and efforts when others wayward seemed to prosper. By believing in luck or chance that reformists condemned, he who in travails did not have to jeopardize his self-esteem as something of a mental analgesic against the strains of his contemporary life, lest he should fall by the wayside, and thus could reconcile himself to the environment he lived. Hence this belief in luck survived the seismic protestant reformation and still thrives on in our time. 

fortune’s compass

150px-RWS_Tarot_10_Wheel_of_Fortune

Her eyes are blindfolded, her hands are rapid

In a paroxysm of wild ecstasy at the Great Rotary,

Spinning it around and around like a delirious maenad,

Changing the positions of the compass willy-nilly,

Bringing tears and sorrows, beams and windfalls

To the names of the stars the compass indicates

till the stars above fall, the earth below collapses

and her game of fortune the god of gods terminates.

Author’s Note: This self-evident poem is about the Wheel of Fortune, a popular medieval folk belief that human lives are governed by the whims and caprice of Goddess Fortuna. She is said to spin the wheel at random, blindfolded, by which human fates are decided despite our efforts through constant trials and errors. It may sound bleak and fatalistic, but it also means that it’s not our faults to go through the ordeals of life, but that such is our fates, a force majaeur circumstance beyond our mortal controls, that we have to endure with stoic attitudes toward the vicissitudes of life. It is also a way of positive outlook on life because by attributing the ups and downs of life to the force of fates, we don’t jeopardize our self-worth and thus blame ourselves. 

How well they’re read, to reason against reading!

I have recently read an article about popular instapoets from one of my subscription magazines and been appalled at the author’s dyspeptic raillery on the poems of the known poets and brazen-faced mockery on the literary merits of the works by playing a role of agent provocateur following the instapoets just to mock their works with malice.

Just because one does not like another’s work doesn’t ipso facto endow the person with right to desecrate the work and to insult the author by putting him/her in the pillory and, thus dispiriting the mind and the heart that are indeed “noble” and respectful. As a hobbyist writer of my blog who has the temerity to write in English, I am now indeed in more sorrow than in anger that there might be agents provocateur or double agents in hides of followers intent upon deriding my amateurish but sincere writings.

The instapoets, bloggers and anyone dabbling in the craft of writing are the cult of Knut Vonnegut’s maxim: “To practice any art, how well or badly, is to make your soul l grow. So do it.” I hope the author and his likes will understand it with magnanimity of the learned literati who will not use their learning to reason against these noble spirits.

Kemosabe

flying-horse

The labor is done,

The spell is broken,

The soul is aloft

in the firmament

and rides the Great

White Spirit Horse from 

the Great Beyond

higher and farther than

the Seagull Jonathan

till they disappear

over the arc of the horizon.

 

Author’s Note: This poem is a spiritual recipe for the existential malady which stifles the soul’s desire for freedom of expression for a social recognition denied on the ground of unfortunate biological and social planes. Kafka’s miserable salesman turned into a big monster bug, but the narrator of this poem becomes a beautiful, confident spirit rider, jettisoned from the dreadful realistic shackles and chooses to embark on new adventures with Kemosabe, meaning “a faithful friend” in Native American language, which is the Great White Spirit Horse.