Kataragama Sutras

01 May, 2015

ABOUT THE POEMS It is easily acknowledged that poetry keeps language dense, fresh, generative, alive. But just as poetry may seed and shape our experience of the world with words, so it may tie its own work of creation with that of god, both taking delight in the world’s plenitude. Kala Krishnan Ramesh, who has earlier written beautifully and evocatively about Murugan, the Tamil god of war, now returns to his path and his praise by taking up another of his names, Skanda—recognised in both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, with his home at Kataragama, in Sri Lanka.

To describe a world tinted by Skanda-feeling, she takes up a form little-used in poetry, partly because of its reputation as a didactic device: the sutra (literally, “thread”)—an aphorism containing an important teaching, to be committed to memory. Laying sutra upon sutra, each one extending or amplifying the thought before it, she draws Skanda through all the elements of creation. Each thread points to his grace and power as the hinge of the world’s movement, and enjoins readers to give themselves up to Skanda so as to uphold the world order, since “this naming keeps you, you and he, he.”

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Kala Krishnan Ramesh studied English literature at Bangalore University, worked as a freelance journalist for some years and now teaches in the Communication Studies department of a Bangalore college. The poems in this issue are part of a manuscript of 50 poems, titled He is Honey, Salt and the Most Perfect Grammar.