Thursday 13 April 2017

[Poem] The Woman in the Woods - An Ekphrastic Poem

                            Painting by Sushmita Gupta
I spied her among the forest trees
Her soft humming echoing in the dusk’s stillness
A forest nymph swathed in green georgette
Hiding her long lustrous hair in a tight oiled coil
I lost myself at the brink of the deep swirl of her liquid eyes
Evocative, their power moated by kohled rims

She plucked a hibiscus and struck it absently in her hair
I knew it would remain there
Secure – much like her fastened thoughts

The stark vermillion mark on her forehead
Was it there, to ward off advances
Or was it a symbol of her own confinement?
I wondered…

For, her lissome beauty
Would enslave all that she surveyed

Even the modest beads swinging from her ears and neck
Shone in borrowed glory

Yet, the downward curl of her lips,
The angry red spots on her cheeks
Invaded my aesthetic ruminations…

I drew closer.

Dear woman, you are no Ravi Varma damsel with bashful eyes
Life had visited you Time and again -
You bear its marks
The angry red streak on your forehead, perhaps sustained from a fall
Your cheeks roughened by vicious assault

Yet you go on
Defiance burns in your eyes
And in the firm set of your lips
Life’s attempts to break you fail
You fight back
And sport with the dragon flies

[Translation] ஆண்டாளின் நாச்சியார் திருமொழி - கற்பூரம் நாறுமோ

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