lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Or how to read a poem:

She tossed the first four lines off casually, even as we chatted. It would be impressive, but then this is Neha, so it was only to be expected. Then she adds the next five. And what a perfect lullaby the whole poem makes!

When you read the first sentence in this poem, you are struck by the imagery. Then you read the second and realise that the first was the refrain of a lullaby. The cadence is right, the length too, for South Indian lullabies. We don't call it refrain, of course, but pallavi, and the repeats makes it poignant.

Here too, the next five lines establish the lullaby-hood of the poem though she calls it an ode. They speak of the deeds the singer will perform for the grown woman being sung to. That clinches it, especially as the eye is dragged back towards the first line. One can almost hear the drone of the song and sense the woman nodding off to sleep on a stomach overfull of soup.

Bravo, Neha.



Blogger neha vish said...

Many thanks Lali. Well, a poem is entirely dependent on serendipity and the Muse. :)

5:49 pm  
Blogger Chenthil said...

Ode to the mising toe - nice poem Neha.

2:30 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

Brilliant girl is our Neha.
I'll catch up with you soon, Lali.

10:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see why odes aren't written to my hair, which is much more fervently missed.

Oh, and BTW, sorry.

9:58 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Neha- Shall I add Muse to my other titles then? :)

Chenthil- Nice doesn't begin to say it.

Dipali- She is, isn't she? Well, you have my number and know where I live. One of these days, then.

Hehhhhhhhh- What an insensitive thing to say! I am disappointed.

This saying sorry afterwards is a futile exercise.

5:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lalita

Looking you up I know not where!
There is no place like"no-place" Glimpses of a world you spoke of to me when rajen and I last visited the three of you in Calcutta.

Read a few posts, poems, and essay, and many more comments.
Words do obey you!
May they always, always, always, and let it be a long always.



12:57 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Irpinder- Hi there. I just hope you didn't find the blog Googling for massage parlours in Calcutta! That accounts for most of my visitors, unfortunately.

I am glad you liked the posts you read. Drop in again. I hope to keep stringing words together for a while yet, so thank you for the wishes.


7:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a hastily written review, Lali. Not your style at all. But Neha's poem is brilliant in its restraint and that last line is worth akshara lakshalu in the succinct statement.

9:46 pm  

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