The last time I was here I told you that I was reading Indian literature, and in that somewhere I lost track of what exactly I needed to read and what I wanted to read. You know there is really a very thin line between these two and I seemed to have crossed that route. So somehow I started with Sarojini Naidu, Aurobindo Ghosh, Henry Derozio, and eventually I landed up on my most favourite, (honestly just for the sake of reading her, I mean if it’s literature and I cannot and will not finfish without reading her) to Kamala Das. And of course I started with my most loved piece of hers which is An introduction. From there it went on to her other works including The Sunshine Cat, Summer in Calcutta, In Love, my Grandmothers House, the Stone Age and so on. My first thought was to share An Introduction here with you guys but then I remembered I had already done it, not once but more than twice, and I know not all of you are obsessed with her. So then I decided that it’s time I share something more and beyond that one poem. Which brings me to this poem.
I hope you love this piece as much as I love her.
You planned to tame a swallow, to hold her
In the long summer of your love so that she would forget
Not the raw seasons alone, and the homes left behind, but
Also her nature, the urge to fly, and the endless
Pathways of the sky. It was not to gather knowledge
Of yet another man that I came to you but to learn
What I was, and by learning, to learn to grow, but every
Lesson you gave was about yourself. You were pleased
With my body’s response, its weather, its usual shallow
Convulsions. You dribbled spittle into my mouth, you poured
Yourself into every nook and cranny, you embalmed
My poor lust with your bitter-sweet juices. You called me wife,
I was taught to break saccharine into your tea and
To offer at the right moment the vitamins. Cowering
Beneath your monstrous ego I ate the magic loaf and
Became a dwarf. I lost my will and reason, to all your
Questions I mumbled incoherent replies. The summer
Begins to pall. I remember the rudder breezes
Of the fall and the smoke from the burning leaves. Your room is
Always lit by artificial lights, your windows always
Shut. Even the air-conditioner helps so little,
All pervasive is the male scent of your breath. The cut flowers
In the vases have begun to smell of human sweat. There is
No more singing, no more dance, my mind is an old
Playhouse with all its lights put out. The strong man’s technique is
Always the same, he serves his love in lethal doses,
For, love is Narcissus at the water’s edge, haunted
By its own lonely face, and yet it must seek at last
An end, a pure, total freedom, it must will the mirrors
To shatter and the kind night to erase the water.
PS: The featured image is chosen intentionally with the review!