From Malaysia to Lowell: A Poem Travels

Following are a few email messages between Malaysia and Lowell this weekend. The story begins with Swagata Sinha Roy finding a poem of mine, “Deep in the Weave,” on the web, very likely in a post by my blogging colleague Marie, who shared on this blog a post from the blog of artist Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord, a friend of mine from Newburyport. “Roy” went on to tell me about herself, as you’ll see below. With a blog post or any kind of published writing, you just never know how far and long your words will go. At the bottom is a link to the old post on this blog that contains the poem, for those interested in reading it.–PM

—–Original Message—–
From: swagata sinha roy <swagroy@hotmail.com>
To: paul <paul@paulmarion.com>
Sent: Sat, Jan 14, 2017 10:14 am
Subject: Greetings from Kuala Lumpur
1.

Dear Mr Marion

I came across this poem Deep in the Weave and totally love it. May I know if you have written it? Since you founded Loom Press, I thought this would be your poem. I’ll be discussing this at my poetry club tomorrow and was wondering if you would like to add a comment or two. Thank you for your time.

Best regards, Roy

2.

Hi,

Yes, Roy, that’s my poem, and I am so glad to hear that someone from Kuala Lumpur has found the poem and likes it. When you talk to your poetry club, you can say that the author of the poem comes from Lowell, Massachusetts, which at one time was the largest textile manufacturing city in the United States (middle 1800s). Today, Lowell is a national park, like the Grand Canyon and Statue of Liberty in the USA, a special place protected and preserved because of its important place in the history of the nation.

I wrote the poem in the 1970s, I think, or early 1980s. I wanted to write about the essence of weaving, the way we bring two or more parts of material together to make something more substantial, larger, meaningful. I began thinking about pairs of concepts, ideas, mythic figures, the two components of things such as the warp and weft in weaving. Several associations began to come together in my mind. And I pushed the idea in the poem as far as I could, toward the insight about what we are made of in a cosmic and real sense. Strands of DNA, threads of experience, complementary elements that make us whole beings. We are not one thing or the other, but the combination, and better for it, and connected more broadly because of it.

Where did you find the poem?

My mother’s family name is Roy. My ancestors are from France and then Quebec, Canada, where many French settled in the 1600s. At one time the name was LeRoy. Something to do with “the King,” but we are not nobility. Maybe my ancestors worked in the King’s farm fields or vineyards. So, you and I are connected by Roy.

Paul Marion

You can see more about me at my website, www.paulmarion.com — but maybe you have been there already and found your way to me.

3.

Greetings! here in Kuala Lumpur it is almost mid-day. Was so happy to get your mail – it has actually made my day! I will convey the information to my poetry club members. By the way, they all thought it is a wonderful poem. We loved the way you had interwoven the Yin and the Yang and Shiva and Shakti and Anima and Animus into the fabric of the poem. One commented that the poem was about life and how we deal with the good and the bad etc.

‘Sinha Roy’ is my surname but Roy is convenient so I prefer to use that. And wow what a coincidence! Do you know when my sisters were renting a unit while studying they called it LeRoy as their roommate was a girl called Lee. So we have more than just ‘Roy” in common! My name is Swagata which means ‘welcome’ … me being the first child born to my immigrant parents. I am a Bengali (read: Tagore, Jhumpa Lahiri, Amitav Ghosh???) and we are known for being interested in the arts (music, poetry, etc.). Parents came from India/Bangladesh and settled in Malaysia. They are no longer around but I am so proud of the gift of reading and learning from them (they barely made it into tertiary studies, though). I am with a local private university at present. I have two girls (23 and 16 years) and my husband hails from the Himalayas. I tell my girls they have mountain blood and the plains in them.

I see I am getting carried away. Am just happy to connect with a poet. I browsed the internet and Deep in the Weave kept cropping up…telling me literally…hey…read me! I believe the books I read find me, not the other way around and now I see it applies to poems as well.

Thank you truly for having got back to me. So appreciate it. I hope we can keep in touch and that you come to Kuala Lumpur one day.

Cheers, Roy

4.

(From Marie of rh.com)

Amazing!   such a reach….

(From Paul of rh.com) Re: previous post (sent to Marie and Dick)

I think this is what “Roy” from Kuala Lumpur may have found on the web. A Marie share of a Susan K. Gaylord website post about my Deep in the Weave poem. The web never fails to amaze. I don’t know what key words she searched to get this.  http://richardhowe.com/2011/04/15/8468/