Saturday, September 19, 2009


This poem is a companion to the poem Amba which I posted in August. The dancer is N. Srikanth.

Arjuna dp267

volte face of Amba the archer Arjuna becomes a girl
while Amba the girl becomes an archer
these are tales of twisted destinies
where people and gods intermingle
the sexes flow across the now-static boundaries
sky and sea cannot be separated
hills and clouds are mistaken for one another
the world is in flux and history
is yet to be made
here is Arjuna doing his level best to make it
to be remembered because the god-child
spoke to him so eloquently
but first he must shed his disguise
his woman’s attire with the muscles showing through
he laments that it’s a waste
to spend so much time as a woman
what use is it I’m good at archery not wiles
meanwhile he flicks a finger turns his wrist
and sticks out one hip in a grimace of imitation
he’s been married if sharing your bride
with four right hands and four left hands
can count as matrimony
bows and arrows are his passion
even beating old Indra of the rainbow
his archery always on display in the sky
Arjuna is fretting for battle and like all men
in serried ranks casting their eye
across the same vision on the other side
his innards turn to water
the war machine never stands still
Arjuna is roused to battle fury
the men around in awe even before he begins
none knowing if they’ll see the light of the next day


  1. It's been a while since I have commented - but I have been overwhelmed by the sheer quality, breadth and beauty of your work. As someone who was not really given the opportunity to fully explore these stories while growing up in India (thank British colonialism for that) I am relishing these interpretations through your creativity Sue. thanks for sharing them.

  2. I'm glad they resonate because as you put fingers to laptop, you sometimes wonder. Especially the short lead time some of these poems are getting.