Sail away to a new beginning sail away from an old harbor; Sail, Ship of Destiny, ongoing Across life’s wide oceans Thru the tides of fortune; The year has swiftly gone let her go, and look at the star; Sail away to the bright anon Sail away from the dark afar.
My misery will be beatitude Smiling at grief, grim and gray Till I see two little birds afar, fly Tweeting in fugue of melodies unknown And sit on the back of my weak palm Frolicking with the beads of Rosary Wreathed by pearls of wishes porcelain, Bringing the message from the Queen Above to her votary sentenced in sadness Patience in Blue and Fortitude in Green.
What if the present is not present but dreamt? What if the past is not past but future forecast? For all of this, I am living now is reenacted Of the previous life, I once lived forgotten But not erased in the paroxysm of sadness That my soul cannot bear without tears And the heart refuses to shield in reason Because the grief weighs against hope – The forced illusory vision to staged elysium – With every fate already weaved, cut, and shipped To Destiny from Departure to Arrival, and again Till the Moon orbits the Earth for 1000 years To live 1000 lives elsewhere in whatever forms, Each bearing pieces of cracked memories Reflecting the central fractures of the pasts In the circle of life, the wheel of lives. Alas, poor soul! I know her, dear reader! Pity her not with the condescension of charity! But give her a rope at the end of a life Not to fall into the cruel rat race of the rut Not now, not ever, once, and that’s all for good.
Writing is the most solipsistic and democratic means to make people discover your secret histories or inner world so that they can understand why you are what you are. That is what Khaled Hosseini does enchantingly in The Kite Runner. It is a bildungsroman story reminiscent of the Au revoir, Les Enfantes-Esque ambiance surrounding the narrative of a grown-up boy who wants to reconcile with the stupendousness of mistaken guilt becoming a malady of the heart. But that doesn’t mean it is all too surreal or stark grim to make an accidental reader think it is a wrong choice. On the contrary, Hosseini vividly conjures up the faces and scenes, resurrecting the spirits of the places and times, by putting together the tesserae of his memories in this rivetingly heartrending read.
The book incorporates the sociological theory of symbolic interactionist perspective focused on the relationships among individuals within a society and how political changes affect the lives of individuals and the sense of who we are and our relationships to others. The story’s narrator, a young Afghan boy of the upper-class named Amir Agha, gives the reader a ride to his childhood in Kabul to show the halcyon days of pre-soviet and Taliban reigned Afghanistan. First, you will see him and his best friend Hassan, a Hazara servant boy in his house, wallowing in reading stories and lost in kite flying. Then and thereafter, Hassan becomes a victim of the most horrific act committed by the half-German blue-eyed Afghan boy threatening him to win kite. Amir’s retrospective narrative becomes his public confession and ablation, all of which is a combined act of purging out the painful memories of the past and exorcising his demons tormenting him with the guilt of jealousy, ignorance, and cowardice. The whole narrative then becomes a plethora of pathos and empathy, resulting in a cornucopia of forgiveness and sympathy, drifting it all in a high-flying kite once and for all.
It is a fitting story in this particular time of Afghanistan history and Abdulrazak Gurnah’s winning of 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for his achievement of universalizing human travails transcendent of racial, cultural, and geographical differences. Vivacious at times but dolorous at most, the Kite Runner is synthetic literature that wears habiliments of memoir and novel. There truth and fiction dissolve into one another anchored in real life with factual geographical and historical facts smoothly amalgamated in the individual narrative account, which reminds me of Herodotus’s “Histories.” Or it is an alluringly pioneering memoir-making that resembles Realistic Fiction. For whatever it is, the Kite Runner bestrides the aisles of contemporary literature sections, alluring the public with simple language that magically juxtaposed in beautiful prose style with lyrical quality, all soul and mind in the marks upon pages evocative of the spirits of the memories materializing.
I have seen the insidious sea Lull the children of the shore With the sweet aeolian lullaby And the pretty nymphs appear From the bottom of the ocean To bring them into the palace Where their father, Poseidon Keeps the souls of the sea As is his mighty brother Zeus For the world above and beyond; Woe betides those who forego The fates of the young souls, For their grandfather, whose eyes See the insidious machination Fascinate the innocent hearts In the whirlpool of rapid waves! The old man’s fury is greater Than the furious god of the sea; He dives into the angry waters, Fighting against the god in spades With his bare arms cutting the waves Like swords that could kill ghosts And wins of his two grandchildren; From the god whose wrath sees No end until it grows the waves Into the myrmidons of madness And carries the old man into the abyss.
P.S.: This poem is based on my reading of a newspaper article that a sixty-one-year-old British grandfather died while trying to save his two grandchildren, aged seven and ten, in the sea off the island of Crete, Greece. The man got into the sea, fighting with the rapid, treacherous waves like Caligula, who declared war on the sea, whipping the waves furiously to invade Britain. Finally, his grandchildren got out safely, but alas, the old man was engulfed by the wrath of furious waves and drawn to the bottom of the sea. I could not just forego my feelings upon reading the story with poetic elements that also bring me the mythological image of Laocoon, the Trojan priest punished by Poseidon who sent the great serpent engulfing him and his two young sons for his discovering the Greek ruse about the wooden Trojan horse. Hence this little poem is in memory of the brave and loving grandfather.