Guest poem sent in by Deepa Balakrishnan and Suresh Ramasubramanian
(Poem #682) Advice to Women
Keep cats if you want to learn to cope with the otherness of lovers. Otherness is not always neglect -- Cats return to their litter trays when they need to. Don't cuss out of the window at their enemies. That stare of perpetual surprise in those great green eyes will teach you to die alone.
commentary by suresh follows ... This is a really off-beat poem - comparing a cat's haughtily indifferent attitude towards life, the universe and everything (it's always there - and it's all mine - let it be) to what a woman's reaction must be when jilted by a lover. I rather like the way it cloaks bitter sorrow and anger with light hearted banter about a cat ... and also note that cats are (if I've read enough books) often the companions of old maiden (Miss Marple-ish) ladies <g> Eunice deSouza is one of India's better modern poets ... a Roman Catholic Goan brought up in Pune, and now Head of the Dept of English at St.Xavier's College, Bombay. She's also published a lot of children's fiction - most of which was published by Echo Books, a more or less defunct arm of Uncle (Ananth) Pai's India Book House (more popular for its Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle comics - see http://www.freeindia.org/ack for these) This poem is typical of de Souza's work which rarely drifts beyond the particular, the identifiable object. The writing style is sheer drama, using the seemingly transparent language of spoken English, without any conceits and attempted graces - which make her poems a sheer pleasure to read aloud. The idiom is almost entirely uncluttered by metaphor and imagery (a lot of which I grew to _hate_ thanks to being force-fed a diet of the 'Chhayavaad' genre of Hindi poetry - Mahadevi Varma and such ... which believed in heavy use of symbolism to express often maudlin sentiments - one of the reasons why I abhor poetesses like Toru Dutt and Sarojini Naidu ...) but I degress .... back to Ms. deSouza, Her poems are totally devoid of the traditional devices which indicate mood or define emotion. They rely mainly on sound, rhythm of lines, on tone and the (natural) accenting of precisely placed words and phrases. Again, one of the best reasons why her poetry is best read aloud. - Suresh [Links] poem #603 for another poem by deSouza I was unable to find a biography I could link to. [Offtopic, but...] See http://www.indiatogether.org/relief/quake.htm if you'd like to help any of several relief efforts for the recent earthquake in Gujarat.