“While she slept like Vishnu” -a poem by Neha Viswanathan

The Ganges is alien to those who
eat rice of the Cauvery delta, he
says. She says she doesn’t care.
She just needs her starch. White
cotton, snakes its form with the
midnight wind. All is a deep shade
of somnambulist blue.

The cats near the Ghat are dazed
by the final flames. The milk in
their stomach curdled, and their
paws kicking dust into the winter
regret. This man, and this woman,
they have gone past the first ten
days of lovemaking.

From tomorrow they will share their
childhood. Their purest parts, the
dirtiest clothes, the smelliest aunts.
Superlatives traded for memories. He
looks wistfully at his new lover, she
sleeps on her palm that rises from
the elbow, slanting.

He will tell her, on their eleventh day
“My dear Kannamma, I will eat even
dirt with you. But rice is preferred.
But you must know this, last night,
I stole a little of you, while you were
sleeping like Vishnu.“

1. Ghats: The term ghats refers to a series of steps leading down to a body of water in many parts of South Asia [From Wikipedia] [back]
2. Kannamma (Tamil): Term of endearment, used for women/ children. [back]
3. From some vague link, an explanation of Vishnu’s reclining pose. “Some Puranic literature refers to him as the eternal, all-pervading spirit and associates him with the primeval waters believed to have been omnipresent before the creation of the world. So regarded, Vishnu is depicted frequently in human form, sleeping on the great serpent Shesha and floating on the waters.” [back]

“White cotton snakes its form with the midnight wind” is a beautiful image.It refers to her long drawn out saree against “somnambulist blue” of the Ganga. “Cats near the ghat are dazed by the final flames” refers to the funeral fires of the dead on the river steps of the Ganga in Varanasi .The most beautiful image is the woman “sleeping like Vishnu”.Vishnu is the primal God responsible for the preservation of the Universe and he sleeps on the folds of the snake in the ocean of milk from where He controls the world. On the river ghat ,witnessing the cremation fires she sleeps like Vishnu,who controls life preservation ! He of the Cauvery belt ,a rice-eater comes here 2000 kms to this ancient city to experience its intense beauty and its spirituality .

One comment on ““While she slept like Vishnu” -a poem by Neha Viswanathan

  1. My Collections says:

    Excellent Poetry

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