Monday, November 19, 2007

no more a place

poetry remains the genre of the hour for me here. less wide-ranging but just as bound to place and to translocal moment, these lines are from arun kolatkar's poem on jejuri, a pilgrimage place i never visited when i was nearby in pune last year.

among the successes of his work is the strange wonder he can create by allowing an intimate description of the place to unfold inseparably from his distanced view of it.

he writes:

that's no doorstep.
it's a pillar on its side.
that's what it is.

and elsewhere, describing a shrine to the god maruti within the jejuri temple complex:

the roof comes down on Maruti's head.
nobody seems to mind.
... least of all Maruti himself
may be he likes a temple better this way.

a mongrel bitch has found a place
for herself and her puppies
in the heart of the ruin.
may be she likes a temple better this way.
the bitch looks at you guardedly
past a doorway cluttered with broken tiles.
the pariah puppies tumble over her.
may be they like a temple better this way.
the black eared puppy has gone a little too far.
a tile clicks under its foot.
it's enough to strike terror in the heart
of a dung beetle
and send him running for cover
to the safety of the broken collection box
that never did get a chance to get out
from under the crushing weight of the roof beam.

no more a place of worship this place
is nothing less than the house of god.

photo is not jejuri, but rather of a shrine i visited in andhra pradesh with my sanskrit teacher last year.

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