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Proverbs for Doing Battle - The Consonants


Proverbs for Doing Battle - The Consonants** by Priya Sarukkai Chabria******

Priya Sarukkai Chabria is a poet, writer and translator. Recipient of the Indian Government’s Senior Fellowship to Outstanding Artists in Literature she edits Poetry at Sangam. Her five books include poetry, novels and non-fiction. Her work is translated into French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian and Tamil and is published in international anthologies, journals and websites. Forthcoming are translations of Tamil mystic Aandaal’s songs. "I'd recently read Arvind Krishna Mehrotra's stunning translations The Absent Traveller : Prakrit Love Poetry from the Gathasptasati of Satavahana Hala. Arvind's translations of these compressed poems give us their erotic thrust encoded in dhvani/ overflow of resonance in language sleek but not terse, while retaining their simple forms. I *just had to *write contemporary *gathas *that were, I hoped, allusive and  leave it to the reader to fill in the rest." More here

In & Out * Poems after the Prakrit

He comes to comfort me he says , arms open. He comes violating me. He rapes my sorrow too.

Insects swarm to the lamp to mate, then die. But before they die their sting !

I think of the vast betrayals we live under . Why does this small one hurt so much ?

For him I turned barbaric : Stopped wearing earrings , necklaces innerwear . Wild he’d fling pillows off the bed , fling away my shame .

Now I’m clothed in shame , bejeweled. A gentlewoman again !

Dear God the way he would make love :

Like a phantom all over me , like a demon leaving me weeping with bliss.

Dear God the way he left me : Like a phantom, like a demon restless and cursing.

I ask myself again: Why did he toy with me? I open my small drawer of whys: Why was I born? Why is dark matter present ?Why does the universe exist? I drop him into the drawer, shut it tight.

• Some of these poems were first published in Not Springtime Yet, HarperCollins (India) Publishers, 2009

Vowels

I

Blood will have blood. Better do it than wish it done; better late than never. Circumstances alter causes. Delays are dangerous: Destroy the lion when he’s but a whelp.

II

Finding’s keeping. Give a dog a bad name and hang him. Heads I win, tails you lose. Justice pleaseth few in their own homes.

III

Know thyself. Lookers-on see most of the game. No time like the present.

IV

Promises are like pie-crusts, made to be broken. (Quickly come, quickly go.) Remove an old tree, and it will wither to death. Revenge is sweet. Stolen fruit is the sweetest. Straws show which way the wind blows.

V

The nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat.

Venture a small fish to catch a great one. What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is my own.

VI

no proverbs found under the consonant X. I suggest: battle x. you are x. no one’s x. nothing is x. pray for x

VII

You never know what you can do till you try. Zeal without knowledge is fire without light.