Guest poem sent in by Suresh Ramasubramanian Here's yet another of my favorites ... with a (longish) commentary below. My colleague Deepa Balakrishnan re-introduced me to Eunice deSouza's poetry (after a gap of at least six years) with a poem on the cat theme (which I sent y'all some weeks back). Stumbled on another poem, which I'd like to share with y'alll.
(Poem #603) Marriages Are Made
My cousin Elena is to be married The formalities have been completed: her family history examined for T.B. and madness her father declared solvent her eyes examined for squints her teeth for cavities her stools for the possible non-Brahmin worm. She's not quite tall enough and not quite full enough (children will take care of that) Her complexion it was decided would compensate, being just about the right shade of rightness to do justice to Francisco X. Noronha Prabhu good son of Mother Church.
Wonderfully biting sarcasm and a sharp eye for the 'marriage market' of conservative (or rather stick in the mud, male chauvinistic) India - where prospective brides are examined like cattle being brought into a market. The poem is characteristic deSouza - a plain tale told without any unnecessary conceits and embellishments, letting well chosen, hard hitting words speak for themselves. Yes - speak for themselves - for this poem (like all deSouza's poems) is best enjoyed when read aloud. If Keats' poetry is like a fine, old, mellow wine, Eunice deSouza's poetry is like a good single malt - sharp, biting, harsh to the taste - but equally enjoyable. Ms.deSouza has been Head of the Department of English in St.Xaviers College, Bombay for over 25 years - and is also a leading theater / literary critic. Most of her poems have a strong sense of individuality and feminism, and Several of them (such as this one) are also 'catholic poems' - which take us on a deeply cynical tour around her Goan / Roman Catholic community, as also the conservatism of Pune, where she was brought up after she lost her father at the age of three. These two short poems she wrote speak far louder than any commentary .. Don't Look for my life in these poems Poems can have order, sanity aesthetic distance from debris. All I've learnt from pain I always knew, but could not do. [and] My Students ... My students think it funny that Daruwallas and de Souzas should write poetry. Poetry is faery lands forlorn. Women writers Miss Austen. Only foreign men air their crotches Daruwalla of course being Keki Daruwalla - a retired (and high ranking) police officer I think, and another of India's best contemporary poets. Finally, here's a stanza from her poem 'deSouza Prabhu' - which gives us a little more insight into her (of course, keeping that 'Don't look for my life in these poems' caveat above) <[broken link] http://www.indiaworld.co.in/open/rec/poetry/eunice3.html> I heard it said my parents wanted a boy I've done my best to qualify. I hid the bloodstains on my clothes and let my breasts sag. Words the weapon to crucify. -- Suresh Ramasubramanian + + http://kcircle.com