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To the authors of Manimekalai - Part Two

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To the authors of Manimekalai - Part Two

                           Part Two

To have written is to leave but a mark
  nothing stands for the proud rhyming syllables
    more than his acquired business acumen
a Vaishya karmic hope

Now we stand aghast before this edifying monument
      and verily wonder at some man
who may have in gusting wind and blasting brine
clung to his loincloth on the scaffolding
  his knotted hair thick with the chimes of the Colamandala tide
the bells from Mahabalipuram to Chidamparam tolling in his veins
   his sinewy rhyming muscles pulsing to the chiselling of reliefs
       in memory of Kannaki and Matavi
             and the liana apsara Manimekalai
in her forbidding expunging of her caste courtesan rôle
                      the lethal unmaking of an infatuated prince

Tied then to the creaking wooden framework
left by Ilango Adigal's epic-making epic
                                   his stomach heaving
the low burning wicker lamp stinging his nostrils
  in the stilled small hours
     his eyes hardly following the olai leaf of his beaten memory
night after sleepless night
    his merchant's paunch and eyes sagging
        wife and mistresses in unrequited rut
                                      while in tryst forlorn
one thought lingering under the tree in Bodhgaya
lamenting for the disciple's offering of trichinosis
he lets the dawn creep into his ears
with the kuyil's ironically teasing call
                  the fingertips charred with lampblack
till loaded cartwheels grind on the gravel of his spent dreams

It is easy for us now to quibble over him
  and make much of when he may have conceived his poem
for at least in so doing he comes alive
       only to be killed 
    drowned in words
more than he has bequeathed us

© T. Wignesan- April 7, 1992 (from the sequence/collection: Words for a lost sub-continent). Pub. in T. Wignesan. Rama and Ravana at the Altar of Hanuman: on Tamils, Tamil Literature & Tamil Culture. Chennai: Institute of Asian Studies, 2006.

Copyright © T Wignesan

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  1. Date: 6/3/2012 6:07:00 AM
    The poets work is a humble foray, yet there are those who are not revived, chided, nor praised, so we continue to write our humble prose. hugs, Catie :)

    Lindsey Avatar Catie Lindsey
    Date: 6/3/2012 3:42:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I travel far in your poetry. It is wonderful. I am sorry to hear about computer problems. Is it only on this site? sometimes we get hackers here who delete a person's poems. Wishing you the best. Catie :)
    Wignesan Avatar T Wignesan
    Date: 6/3/2012 11:50:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Hi Catie! My computer has been invaded. Everything slows down, and even logging in is a problem, so here's saying: 'theirs not to question why...but to do and die', and the rest you know. Very many thanks again for reading all my poems. EGWish. Wignesan