The Portrait of a Writer’s Mother as a Poet

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My mother, me, and our landlady whose husband was rumoured to have died on their wedding day. Holi, sometime in the 1990s.

Sometime this month, it was mother’s day. Everyone wrote about their mothers. I didn’t. That’s because it’s impossible for me to write about my mother. Here’s one of her poems you can read instead. It’s about marriage. This will tell you why we mostly get along.

MAN – WOMAN 

They come together
Against nature
And call it natural

They’re not made for each other
And live together forever

They declare their love
From the hearts filled with hatred

Before history,
They’d once entered a cave
To seek refuge from the rain

It’s not known who lit the fire
Who roasted the meat
But in the morning
They were found as they are today
They’ve been silent ever since

They silently love and hate
Silently build houses and wealth
They spit outside the room
Inside which they exchange gifts

He is tired of taking
She is tired of giving
Yet, they silently transact bodies

In the last hour of the night
The jungle is remembered
The rain, the dance
The trees flowing with fruits

Those days have vanished
Leaping like a deer
The cave remains
Decorated with potted plants
And piped rains

Boxed fire
Canned food

The partner leaves to hunt
With weapon stuffed inside the wallet
Which is rarely used, frequently displayed

The animal is not carried on the back anymore
They enter together, the hunter and the hunted
Making it impossible to tell who is the dead

She thinks, this time, he won’t return
The idea of freedom thrills her as she
Waits for his corpse, and yet
He returns, each time

Right when he is only ten steps away
She starts laughing
Then curves her body
Fills her eyes with tears
And says how much she doesn’t want to be alone

Right at a distance of ten steps
He messes up his hair
Stops humming
And takes her into his eager arms
To kiss the lips that have been kissed
A thousand times

Neither looks into the other’s eye

I will say it again
It’s against nature that they come together

I will say it again
They’re not made for each other

I am saying it again
He is tired of taking
She is tired of giving …!

 

(translated from the original Hindi by me)

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One thought on “The Portrait of a Writer’s Mother as a Poet

  1. Dear Saudamini,

    Thanks for sharing this. Could you please share the Hindi version as well?

    Regards, Sagar

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