ABOUT THE POEMS Kala Krishnan Ramesh’s exquisite triad of poems takes as its subject the crisscrossing traffic between the eternal triangle of god, self, and society. At their centre is Murugan, the beloved god of the Tamils, enshrined in a tradition so ancient, and a set of rituals so elaborate, that both the deity (who can be capricious) and the poet (who can be unworldly) seem agreed in wanting to disrupt it. In the opening poem, the world prepares a vast welcome in anticipation of Murugan, except the poet, who chooses silence and seclusion, certain that “the stream of grace” will reach her in this state and none other. Possessed by love of the god, she is a mystery to the people around her, a state explored by other speakers in the second and third poems. Religious devotion and poetic ecstasy, it would appear, are related states, but what is marvellous in a god may be maddening in a human being, especially when she is a woman. Ramesh’s switches of perspective, single and choric voices, and shifts across formal and colloquial registers fuse the god-directedness of prayer and the self-focussed inwardness of the lyric poem.
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