From 'Travelling in a cage' - Dilip Chitre
This poem’s been on my list for a while now. I’ve shared other poems, or excerpts that have come close to it’s locus of existence (possibly shared space in an anthology, for instance) the way you come close to a raag with similar notes without actually giving in to its seduction. Recently another poet put forward that unanswerable question - your favourite line from a poem - and I shared a line from this poem. “In my memory you are a treatise on light / written in Braille” I met the excerpt I’m sharing today, in an eclectic collection of ‘Indian love poetry’ edited by Jerry Pinto and Arundhathi Subramaniam - Confronting Love. I’ve previously shared other poems from this collection - Leaving your city and Love as Research. I highly recommend this anthology. I often marvel at the persistence of lovers and poets in letting their tributaries flow into the ancient river of love poetry. This surrender, this ecstasy of the meeting of two souls, is evergreen. Every new kiss, passionate embrace, every epiphany of flesh and tongue, is novel, yet primordial. I’m reminded of a line from a beautiful film that captures the agony and the ecstasy of clandestine passion between two women, Portrait of a Lady on Fire -“Do all lovers feel as though they’re inventing something?” Chitre’s persona slips easily in the synaesthesia of a lovers’ meeting. Swinging between cataclysmic lust and the freedom of knowing another completely, without inhibition, the poet blusters through the enigma of dissolving into something else that is beyond self and body.
“My senses are beasts without forests My soul is a bird without sky”