Ritam "The Fortress and the Temple"

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January 2013

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PDF (42 pages)

The Fortress and the Temple[1]

By R. Meenakshi

This fortress, built
By a king, is today
But a dream’s dark shadow
On the ground.
His love gift and palace
Are now merely
Ragged hives.
In the broken stone,
Parched grass,
Thorn bush cover and
In the ashen white
Of burnt bamboo,
Beauty in ruins.
A snake’s moulted skin
In the dance hall.
Is this cold wind
The tinkling of anklets?
At the edge of the pathway
To the headless spire,
In the water channel
Down the stone steps,
A nagalinga[2] petal’s coolness:
Transcending Time’s
Capers, Sivam has
Enshrined itself!

  1. Published in the magazine Indian Literature, translated by N. Kalyan Ram
  2. Nagalinga: flowers of the cannonball tree, with petals shaped like a snake with its hood raised and stamen in the form of a lingam, incarnation of Lord Shiva.