Saturday, August 19, 2006

Morning verses
after an evening listening to Bhau
  [gnomic noodles]


I am peppermint   I am priest
  I am prasād of candy
I am a palace guard at least
  old and sweet like brandy

I have observed the changing days
  I have beleld the story
I have delighted in love's ways
  thrilled at its secret glory

I am a painter of paradox
  I am a weaver of legends
I am a spurner of politics
  I have endured the dungeons

I am a sprout from Buddha's tree
  a feather on Raama's arrow
I am the mirror of poetry
  echoing   in the marrow

I am a voice lacking a face
  I am a ghost of summer
I am the ash of an empty space
  with lightning bugs a'glimmer


I am Bhau   the potato-man
  my tales are long and deep
the memory of Brahm I am
  I am the verge of sleep

I am the dream   I am the sleep
  I am the shock of waking
I am the maiden prone to weep
  I'm the potato baking

I'm the banana Baba gave
  I am its recollection
I am the King's remorseless slave
  besotted with his perfection

I am a hint of future days
  I am the month of August
I am a wisp of prayer and praise
  I am the vessel's ballast

I am the one who eyed the sun
  and lived to recount the tale
I am the top that madly spun
  I am the dropping veil


A particularly rich season of Bhau Kalchuri's annual tour and talkfest. The poem's first line seemed to linger from a now-forgotten dream. Bhau's epigrammatic "I am a potato" is interesting to ponder whether as symbolist paradigm or by nonsense lyric.

prasād (a blessing-gift in form of a sweet) is pronounced like "prashad" (with stress on 2nd syllable)


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