Sneha Subramanian’s poems rework themes of migration, past and history

Poetry Editor Ananya Guha’s note: Sneha Subramanians’s poems rework themes of migration, past and history in a very appropriate manner. The words are carefully crafted, and, form is content. These three poems social and historical in perspective are evocative too. There is a quiet sadness mingled in these poems.

 — 

A Reminiscence: In Homage of

 

My grandmother, hair carefully parted, the analogy of

symbolism of Karachi tracing routes into a camp at

 

Ulhasnagar. Her eyes, the dreams of her brothers and

sister, carefully outlined in the papyrus of irises, thickly

 

inscribed in deft hands, tying my hair in two neat plaits.

As a small girl with borders inflicted on palm lines,

 

passed sea-creatures as they slithered beneath waves;

aboriginal names of areas in Karachi safely stationed

 

within the pleats of her pallu as time or whatever else it is,

ran its course, an alchemical winding of fibers between

 

a ballpoint and an ink pen.

 

She died inside when my grandfather died. The rhythm of

his death struck deep inside her belly: ravenous sky, in the

 

dark of an anvil where she often told me Shiv would come

to her rescue. The rabbits of hours dispersed in blank tandav

 

and linger among the dots and pores of frozen skin.

 

***

 

from the lens of a woman, writing

 

we had an inheritance in our national anthem:

Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha, Dravida, and

so it went. the carcasses of our independent map

were stamped by public the day later in mundane

conversation.

 

the relics of colonisation laugh at their irony of

being left; then, gather their composure like the

stiff English upper lip.

 

where did independent India lose me?

in the rape marks over the skin of innocent girls,

under the tired feet of rickshawallahs,

between words of promises in dirty seas over speech

papers on the desk of a politician?

 

over the evening in a garden at Sheffield,

a host of fireflies dance for me everyday.

***

 

The Evening Chaos Inside My Mind

 

You showed me the scorpion trail in the sky: it resembled a vast road,

the clouds were scattered like white pebbles, growing fuller with the

east wind. You remember, we saw an old lady leaning over a railing of

her balcony in the large house near the Queen’s Necklace? I had thought

about Woolf then, and told you about her stream-of-consciousness

technique in Mrs. Dalloway, and drew an analogy to the old lady’s solitude.

You smiled, and told me about Japanese artists and their attention to

minute details. I told you about Victorian era paintings, and how every

leaf was made to come into life in the intricate detail it was created with.

I felt the uneasy motion of unfettered winds today, as the kilometers between

us have multiplied: the old lady must still be standing, looking out into tides,

varyingly like the fading dots in her polka dot skirt.

(Sneha Subramanian Kanta is pursuing her postgraduate studies in literature and culture at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom this autumn after having been awarded the prestigious GREAT scholarship. She believes in the sounds of silence and scents of forgotten vocabularies. To her — poetry is a form of dissent. Postcolonial literature and literary theory and criticism are her areas of research interest. Her work has appeared or is to appear in Front Porch Review (IL, USA) , Sahitya Akademi (India) , Ann Arbor Review (MI, USA) moongarlic (Stoke-Upon-Trent, UK) , Shot Glass Journal (Muse Pie Press), Anti-Heroin Chic (NY, USA), Spillwords (Poland), Epigraph Magazine (Georgia, USA), NEW QUEST journal (India), Kitaab (Singapore), Chitralipi journal (India) , anak sastra , and in poetry anthologies such as Dance of the Peacock (Hidden Brook Press, Canada), Suvarnarekha (India) and elsewhere.She was also among the winners at the Golden Quill Monsoon Writing Contest, 2010.)