Tell Me, You Who Know

Tell me,
you who know of poetry –
I know nothing of it
but I know what rasam is.

Do you think it’s a mere nothing?
It calls for a blend
of the principles of water,
aroma and essence –
a tempered state reached after simmering . . .
Thus . . .

There it was in the corner,
a container with rasam,
on a seemingly dead and ash-covered
coalfire, waiting and waiting . . .
Does it matter that it waits?

In the great durbar of meat dishes
seasoned with spices that sparkled,
of servers who danced as they walked,
of laughter and chatter,
it had waited, since morning,
the clear rasam on a seemingly dead
coalfire, simmering,
still fresh even at night.

You who know all about poetry,
tell me,
do you know what rasam is?
Forgive me,
I don’t know any poetry.

[From: Bindu Bindige
Publisher: Akshara Prakashana, Sagara, 1990]

by Vaidehi

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