Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Dance of the Eunuchs

Kamala Das
(from Summer in Calcutta)

It was hot, so hot, before the eunuchs came
To dance, wide skirts going round and round, cymbals
Richly clashing, and anklets jingling, jingling
Jingling... Beneath the fiery gulmohur, with
Long braids flying, dark eyes flashing, they danced and
They dance, oh, they danced till they bled... There were green
Tattoos on their cheeks, jasmines in their hair, some
Were dark and some were almost fair. Their voices
Were harsh, their songs melancholy; they sang of
Lovers dying and or children left unborn....
Some beat their drums; others beat their sorry breasts
And wailed, and writhed in vacant ecstasy. They
Were thin in limbs and dry; like half-burnt logs from
Funeral pyres, a drought and a rottenness
Were in each of them. Even the crows were so
Silent on trees, and the children wide-eyed, still;
All were watching these poor creatures' convulsions
The sky crackled then, thunder came, and lightning
And rain, a meagre rain that smelt of dust in
Attics and the urine of lizards and mice....


Blogger dollyy said...

I dint get this poetry..
What kamla das wants to say through this poetry..??

9:16 AM  
Blogger Jolly said...

This poetry tells about the misery of eunuchs(chakkas) and she wants to explain that they dance and make other people happy even knowing that they cannot reproduce and cannot lead a simple life.

10:31 AM  
Blogger vikram said...

The misery of the eunuchs is explained by their physical appearance and the external features.
They danced for the normal events in normal humans life but at the same time they are wailing at their inability to enjoy those events by them.
In the end, as if the nature understands there pain and starts to cry for them in reply to their craving for normal life and starts to rain.

This is what i understood of the poem and would like to here comments about it....

8:26 AM  

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