Sunday, 25 December 2016

Nani - Kamala Das

- Kamala Das

Nani the pregnant maid hanged herself
In the privy one day.  For three long hours
Until the police came, she was hanging there,
A clumsy puppet, and when the wind blew
Turning her gently on the rope, it seemed
To us who were children then, that Nani
Was doing, to delight us, a comic
Dance... The shrubs grew fast. Before
the summer's end
The yellowflowers had hugged the deorway
And the walls. The privy, so abandoned,
Became an altar then, a sunny shrine
For a goddess who was dead. Another
Year or two, and I asked my grandmother
One day, don't you remember Nani, the dark
Plump one who bathed me near the well?
Shifted the reading glasses on her nose
And stared at me. Nani, she asked, who is she?
With that question ended Nani. Each truth
Ends thus with a query. It is this designed
Deafness that turns mortality into
Immortality, the definite into
The soft indefinite.

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