Poem by Revathy Gopal

Eyewear is sad to report that another poet has died. Revathy Gopal (pictured) was a winner in the All India Poetry Competition, a contributor to Nthposition, and a good poet. She died earlier this week, of cancer. Gopal was born in 1947 in Bombay, a few months before India became independent. She lived for most of her life in that city.

She wrote: "I grew up listening to and reading the great legends of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, as well as the mythology of Greece and Rome. I am fascinated by the strangeness of the poetic imagination. If poetry is a different way of seeing, there is still a measure of artifice in the way a poem is finished and presented. The struggle between ‘pure’ consciousness and the language and craft used to define and refine a poem is what makes a poet.” Her recent collection is Last Possibilities of Light (Writers Workshop, Kolkata, 2007).

Lines on Meeting a Cousin, Long-Lost

“You have your father’s mouth,” she says,
“and the family nose we have all inherited.
Such a gentle man, your father,
I remember him with great affection.”

She says nothing, practically nothing,
a perfunctory word about my mother.
Silence fills the spaces between us,
where once we shared noisy baths
and each other’s skirts.

The years cannot be breached.
Her muscular wrist, the strong jut
of jaw, the rough palm on my cheek
at greeting and parting,
tell their own story.

My mind the mirror,
I meet my mother’s eye
narrowed in recognition.
It is hers, the same
geometry of bone beneath the skin.

I could match her now, word for word.
I could meet her now, on equal terms. I think
I could draw blood.

poem by Revathy Gopal

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