Valsa George

Who Am I? - Poem by Valsa George

‘What a piece of work is a man! '
……… ………
And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? '

From Shakespeare, through Hamlet
It rings down to generations
And falls heavily on my ears too

In vain, I attempt to probe into the mystery
Nay, the enigma called man
Both in the silence of my solitude
And in the learned circle of pundits

Unable to find who you are
Can you venture to say who the other man is?)

Man, a jumble of contradictions,
I know….A hard nut to crack!
So unfathomable, so mysterious
At once a Satan and an angel

To the outer world I am someone
But in the well guarded cellars of my privacy
Aren't I different?
Hiding my innards to light
As every other man

At times, I feel so proud
Excessively in love with my own image
Like Narcissus, the poor hunter boy
Fated by gods to languish
On the bank of a pond,
Over his own floating image!

However with all my strength within
Do I not feel as helpless as Prometheus bound?
Waiting for a Hercules to come
And save me from my plight
If Prometheus' bondage was God willed
Mine is self willed…! Is the difference so very crucial?

Sometimes I feel I am Janus
Looking backward and forward
Into my past and my future
Never living in the present
Or am I more a Sisyphus
Eternally rolling a rock over to the cliff
From where it keeps falling down

Sometimes I wonder
Amid the splendour, do I not starve?
Like Tantalus of Greece in the pool
Beneath the tree, with the low lying branches of fruits
Constantly eluding his grasp
And the water, ever receding before
He could take a drink!

As a poet how I wish I could
Equate myself with Calliope
Carving my mind on the wax tablet
With stylus, my pen and coloring it with my fancy
Or Orpheus, so skilled in music
That with my sad musings
I can make even Hades weep
And the rocks fall in line

I shudder to be a Medusa
Turning everyone to a stone
With my sinister glance!
Instead, I want to be one of the Graces
And never one among the Gorgons

Pitched in this gallery
Of queer mythological entities
I wonder how I appear to others
And whom I resemble more!

Topic(s) of this poem: Search

Poet's Notes about The Poem

I invite you for a ride through Greek Mythology

Comments about Who Am I? by Valsa George

  • Savita Tyagi (11/30/2017 6:20:00 AM)

    The question you pose so exquisitely is one that can be answered in million ways and still would stay incomplete. May be Buddha got it right with his nothingness! Though that doesn’t satisfy me either! Enjoyed reading the poem. I was looking for your other poem but instead opened this one. So much to learn about mythology here. My favorite reading part. (Report) Reply

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  • Glen Kappy (7/15/2017 7:51:00 AM)

    hi, valsa!

    so now, with your help, i've read this a second time. the first, coming on it by accident, i was drawn in by the hamlet quote, one of my favorites from the play, one of my favorites from shakespeare in general.

    it just strikes me that it is we who have leisure who have the time to think long on such things. that said, in the role of teacher (like you) with young people, i have called attention to the importance of knowing ourselves. and certainly an important take-away from sitting in meditation is getting acquainted with ourselves as we watch our thoughts.

    one of the things this poem of yours reminds me of is of all the impressive writing on us taking both positive and negative views. the hamlet quote contains both. and what a phrase, quintessence of dust(!)

    on man and self-reflection i have several poems you could read:

    who are we?
    my sixty-eight year old self looks in a mirror
    scrawny chicken
    nature and man
    another glimpse of whitman
    listening to genius loves company on christmas morning
    imagine me

    several with home pome in the title fit this category, and in these you'll find some positive views of my wife and granddaughter.

    as i write this i realize that i tend to find comfort and inspiration in nature as a counter to my disappointment in people.

    (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (2/13/2017 2:10:00 PM)

    Triumphant! ! ! You put into elegant words my - and I believe all of our- - thoughts about ourselves. And you did it so far far far better than I could by using your highly educated and intelligent mind to reference the Greek mythology in your exploration of the heart and soul of man. We are such a mishmash, and if we live an unexamined life, we are such a train wreck. If we at least confront the man in the mirror, we do have the opportunity to try to change. Powerful piece of literature here. Worthy of a million ten's. Putting this on my Fav list. (Report) Reply

    Valsa George (2/14/2017 1:24:00 AM)

    Thank you so much Susan! As ever, you have once again made me happy with your generous words of commendation! Both the poems are unique in their own ways! Yes, occasionally we have to make a self introspection to find out who we really are and think of ways and means to improve our selves. Glad you find the poem erudite and intelligent!

  • Edward Kofi Louis (11/10/2016 1:49:00 PM)

    Who am i?
    Made of Dust! But with hope. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Dimitrios Galanis (2/4/2016 1:53:00 PM)

    In the most emphatic way the question you pose, dear Lady, was posed by Sophocles in the fifth b.d. cent.. In his tragedy Oedipous the enigma put to him by the Sphinx of Thebes had one right answer ''the Human Being''.In other words that is the problem we have to face ''The human Being''.You probe the mystery the right way, through literary history, through the first attempts of human beings who tried for a thousand years from 1500 b.d. until 5th century to face it.This is the period of the greek myths were fformed.The most important thing for human's history is that those myths formed not any religious cast But the Poets.This very fact was it which formed the modern civilization, the whole western civilization.It depends on modern poets to continue on the same route.....And you undertake exactly this Labour by this poem.///I have started translating the poem into greek. (Report) Reply

    Valsa George (2/4/2016 9:56:00 PM)

    I am sorry I won't be able to enjoy your translation as it will ever remain Greek and Latin to me. However I am so happy that you will translate my poem into a classical language!

  • Dimitrios Galanis (2/4/2016 10:45:00 AM)

    In two, three days I'll have translated this one here.I hope in my translation it will sound equally beautiful.Thank you dear Lady, for the opportunity given. (Report) Reply

    Valsa George (2/4/2016 9:52:00 PM)

    Thank you sir for this honor!

  • Akhtar Jawad (12/26/2014 1:32:00 AM)

    Who am I A difficult question before replying it we need to decide whether some thing can be created from nothing or not. What is the meaning of clay from which Adam was created? Why story of Adam and Eve is heard in Sumerian Civilization only? Is soul a reality? What God actually is? Is God present in all the living and non-living matter? Is all the universes as whole a single existence? Is this life a reality or a dream? Budha is silent about God. I have my own thinking but I don't want to be tried in a court of law for blasphemy. So Valsa please let me be silent.
    As far as your poem is concerned it's really great. I believe in God because I think it's better to die believing in a God. And man, in one way or another has a God within him. Body is soil and soul is God.............10
    (Report) Reply

  • Soulful Heart (2/6/2014 7:04:00 AM)

    Thru this poem u look like a poet that will dwell in the golden books of beautifully mythical characters have been reflected in humanity around and self..... great poem (Report) Reply

  • Shahzia Batool (1/30/2014 12:54:00 AM)

    I am humbled as i am but a student of poetry and criticism, and my li'l scribblings are just an entry ticket to stay among the learned people and teachers, and all my accounts are not for posting and exchanging but learning from all of you and representing my country by my writing...many thanks! (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (1/29/2014 11:55:00 PM)

    Hmmm.... Shahzia... over and over again.... I must repeat the same statement about you... you are such an erudite CRITIC! Such critical depth, I wonder if anyone else here has! This is not 'reciprocal eulogizing'! Your additional illumination on Janus as double faced adds more to the meaning of the poem... Honestly I didn't expect much from this poem... I feel this poem is made outstanding by the comments it received from many particularly Dinesh and now you! Thank you! ! (Report) Reply

  • Shahzia Batool (1/29/2014 11:34:00 PM)

    A new addition to My Poem List!

    ...........And falls heavily on my ears too Valsa ji, yes you are right that probing into Man's enigma and mystery is in vain, i include myself too into all this confusion and chaos; Can you venture to say who you are yourself or can i say the same for myself? Man is a jumble of contradictions, because Man is subject to situations, the circumstances that vary, and Man's being is composed of two major abstract substances, general disposition and moods, both stay in contrast together, most often our nature or disposition is different and moods are different, we force, we coerce, we subjugate ourselves many times most unwillingly, i can't even say that we are justified but we are what we are, if we accept Man is Man, the same liable to err being, he is not neither an angel nor satan though behaving sometimes an angel and sometimes a devil, sometimes both simultaneously, what we need while staying together is just to develop a clear understanding of each other...Getting enamoured at our own image varies from person to person, some have this humor high some low, but all have it in veins, indeed...feeling helpless as prometheus bound and waiting for Hercules carries some touches from the areas of the present plight, and the concepts of resurrection, armageddon and the final hope for salvation...(i don't know it's right or wrong but the first read rendered all this to me) , i just wish we could understand the essence of fate and free-will so connected to our lives...We are janus not only in looking backwards or forward but in being double-faced hypocrites too, sometimes we take it as an obligation, sometimes as a compulsion, but we are bound, we are bound not only by Fate but by our own Free-will which we don't understand, we need a second hard check over us who should tell us whether we are exercising this free-will in a right manner or should we bridle ourselves before this self-willed freedom engulfs us into nothingness...the question raised in the end I wonder how I appear to others...compels me to click BACK TO TOP button to say again:
    ‘What a piece of work is a man! ’...
    @ lexicon and diction of this poem: it is embellished with classical, mythical images, so it appears abstruse or esoteric but even then it doesn't mean that everyone should write a homemade, within the reach poem, yes, such a work incites a curiosity to decode the greek obscurities to feel how closely they are connected to Man's life...
    @ your comments: accept it as something special for style, knowledge, and symbolism, though poet's modesty is important...

    (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (1/29/2014 9:59:00 PM)

    Bri, how can you be so 'nasty'...... mistaking this one with the poem on Dementia and stop reading it mid way? ? ? (Report) Reply

  • Bri Edwards (1/29/2014 6:21:00 PM)

    hey valsa, i was looking for the 'dementia' poem you mentioned. i guess this isn't it. i did not finish reading this, but thanks anyway! bri :) (Report) Reply

  • (1/29/2014 2:19:00 PM)

    GREAT is unique and multi-talented individuals, its a matter of honing for great purpose that counts! (Report) Reply

  • Nasarudheen Parameswaran (1/29/2014 11:07:00 AM)

    A very good poem of archetype images.Very attractive. (Report) Reply

  • (1/29/2014 1:46:00 AM)

    nice to ride...
    now these are symbols for us of worth and worst.
    who am i?
    is not it a life mystery!
    (Report) Reply

  • Geetha Jayakumar (1/28/2014 11:17:00 AM)

    Very true said, We had a Fantastic ride through Greek Mythology. Many Characters became known to us, especially with Dinesh Sir, writing. This is really a Master piece......You have a vast knowledge of oceans and you have put each characters in proper place and choosing proper words. Really an Exclusive poem...Loved reading it. (Report) Reply

  • Tirupathi Chandrupatla (1/28/2014 10:12:00 AM)

    You are a bundle of knowledge to quote Greek mythology from your finger tips. Dinesh's notes helps us a lot in decoding the poem. I hope I know who I am. Thank you. (Report) Reply

  • (1/27/2014 11:35:00 PM)

    Oh what a poem it is......this is poetry and poetess' masterpiece......I am speechless Valsa..............please keep
    sharing always great piece like this......
    (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (1/27/2014 10:07:00 PM)

    Thank you Dinesh, for complementing my poem with your elaborate notes on the mythological figures referred.... Please don't make me feel embarrassed with your glowing compliments on this poem... I am thoroughly flabbergasted! Personally I don't believe, this is a great poem...! I was surprised to read the comments of Sandra Fledman, Pradip, Gulsher, Dinesh and Sunprincess..... Thank you so much, though I don't deserve so much! (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 27, 2014

Poem Edited: Friday, December 26, 2014

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