Poet: Pramila Venkateswaran
Two poems from: Behind Dark Waters, by Pramila Venkateswaran, which will be released by Plain View Press in one week. Pramila was raised in India and has many family members in Mumbai. There have been so many violent images from there these last days, we offer this beautiful music and poetry as a balance.
Krishna’s Reply to Arjuna
Krishna, do wars make sense?
Why fight against my own kin?
Krishna, restore my balance!
Arjuna, have you slept through my lectures?
For you are still at the beginning,
asking if wars make sense.
Look at war with a spiritual lens.
Do warriors think of me often
to restore their balance?
Among their mind’s inhabitants
am I number one?
Only then ask if wars make sense.
Am I more than a passing glance?
More than the stars that blink
to restore the traveler’s balance?
I am the woman who held the infant,
also the man who held the AK-47,
so, certainly, wars don’t make sense
if I am absent to restore balance.
*Krishna and Arjuna are the protagonists of The Bhagavad Gita, which is part of the epic, The Mahabharatha. The Bhagavad Gita is Krishna’s advice to Arjuna on life. It begins with Krishna persuading a despondent Arjuna to pick up his weapons and fight his hundred cousins to get his kingdom back. As the dialogue progresses through the eighteen chapters, Krishna unfolds the philosophical questions central to Advaita or non-duality, such as the meaning of reality and the way to liberation through non-attachment, right action, and devotion.
our little lives
you wonder how one lives after horror
but we do
as if something old inhabits us
and we have done this before
picking up where we left off
without hope, without dreams
to simply dwell in the gap
as a little girl in the hub of bloody hands
or the one in a crossfire
in an antiseptic city
each picks up her little life
and walks toward some uncertain
©Pramila Venkateswaran, 2008. For ordering information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pramila Venkateswaran, author of an earlier poetry collection, Thirtha (Yuganta Press, 2002), was a finalist for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. She has published poetry in the United States, Canada, and India, in Paterson Literary Review, Ariel: A Review of International English Literature, Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Kavya Bharati, Long Island Quarterly, Calyx: Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Nassau Review, and other print and electronic journals. Recent anthologies, A Chorus for Peace, en(compass), The Light of City and Sea, Long Island Sounds, Letters to the World, and After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery include her voice among poets from around the world. She has participated in multimedia presentations of her poems with dance, music and visual art and has performed her poems nationally, most recently in the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. Her essays on race and gender have appeared in Women’s Studies Quarterly and in Language Crossings. Her next book, Wild Syllables, is due shortly. She has a doctorate from George Washington University and teaches English and Women’s Studies at Nassau Community College, New York.
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