Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Low Temple

I haven't read much of Kolatkar but I love whatever I have read. Anand and Uma both have some Kolatkar poetry here and here. Methinks now's a good time to post one my favorite Kolatkar poems, so here's A Low Temple.

A low temple keeps its gods in the dark.
You lend a matchbox to the priest.
One by one the gods come to light.
Amused bronze. Smiling stone. Unsurprised.
For a moment the length of a matchstick
gesture after gesture revives and dies.
Stance after lost stance is found
and lost again.
Who was that, you ask.
The eight arm goddess, the priest replies.
A sceptic match coughs.
You can count.
But she has eighteen, you protest.
All the same she is still an eight arm goddess to the priest.
You come out in the sun and light a charminar.
Children play on the back of the twenty foot tortoise.

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