Snakeskin Jackets Were More Familiar

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SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1169
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Snakeskin Jackets Were More Familiar

#1 Post by SivaRamanathan » 30 Mar 2014, 11:05

Beneath the coconut palms in the cement pit
I collected snakeskin jackets of dull shades and design,
much like collecting labels of box matches
or silver liners of cigarette packs and traded them
in the evening for small pleasures.

Grandfather was a Tagore figure, lean and wiry-strong;
princelike, he wielded the thin bamboo on the slime
of the python advancing on the tar road, and with a few deft
arcs he would take it out.

Grandmother had a different tale to tell—a favorite
was the Asher Seth lady-- paramour of her husband
whose piety spoke in white, her pet snake pampered
with silver saucers of warm milk under the lady's cot,
slept near her, so that to an outsider, it would appear
a displaced coil of hair.

Daddy warned me to beware of the bottle neck and the green snake
with a bud-like mouth dangling from mogra branches;
it coiled like a creeper and clung like a tender shoot,
liked to tunnel through the human ear losing track.

Amma was a beautiful maiden, like Shakuntala in a pond;
she sang sweet songs as she paddled those paddy fields
wooing parrots,snakes and Siva in Tamil, like P.U.Chinnappa.
Creatures, tinkled her anklet so often it became ritual.

I collected flowers with the snake hood, and peered at pollen
and a tiny yellow Siva Lingam that crouched in the bottom layer,
thought God had made duplicate snakes to jump and drop
from gnarled trees, perhaps He would make me a snake kite too
to fly in the November sea breeze.



Beneath the coconut palms in the cement pit
we collected tube plastics with shades and design,
much like collecting labels of box of matches
or silver foil cigarette packs and traded them
in the evening for small pleasures.

Grandfather was a Tagore figure, lean and wiry- strong
prince like he wielded the thin bamboo on the slime
of the forward moving python, and with a few deft
arcs or quarter arcs he would take its life out,on the tar road.

Grandmother had a different tale to tell—a favorite
was the Asher Seth lady-- paramour of her husband
whose piety spoke in white, her pet snake
slept near her, so that to an outsider, it would look
like a displaced coil of hair, it was pampered with silver
saucers of warm milk right underneath the Asher lady's cot.

Daddy warned me to beware of the bottle neck and the green snake
with a cute bud- like mouth dangling from mogra branches;
it coiled like a creeper and dangled like a tender shoot
it liked to tunnel through the human ear and fumble until it lost track.

Amma was a beautiful maiden like Shakuntala in a pond
she sang sweet songs wooing parrots and snakes and Siva
in Tamil like P.U.Chinnappa, as she waded those paddy fields
snakes, water creatures tinkled her anklet so often, it was a ritual.

I collected flowers with the snake hood, and peered at pollen
and a tiny yellow Siva linga that crouched in the bottom layer
thought God had made duplicate snakes to jump and drop
from gnarled trees, perhaps he would make me a snake kite too
to fly in the November sea breeze.

Michael (MV)
Posts: 1702
Joined: 18 Apr 2005, 04:57

Re: Snakes At Different Levels

#2 Post by Michael (MV) » 30 Mar 2014, 20:50

comment upon a 1st read:


all snakes are at a low level

perhaps there are different levels in the underground world


a snake is a snake is a snake - see how serpentine that spells & sounds




8)

Michael (MV)

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1169
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Snakes In My Childhood

#3 Post by SivaRamanathan » 31 Mar 2014, 15:21

I have changed the title,Michael.
S

Michael (MV)
Posts: 1702
Joined: 18 Apr 2005, 04:57

Re: Snakeskin Jackets Were More Familiar To Me Than

#4 Post by Michael (MV) » 07 Apr 2014, 08:46

Hi Siva,

sharing some workshop:

I like the current title; yet might abbreviate to:


Snakeskin Jackets Were More Familiar

or another variation

Snakeskin was familiar, too  


Beneath the coconut palms in the cement pit
we collected tube plastics with shades and design -
much like collecting labels of box matches
or silver liners of cigarette packs - then traded them
in the evening for small pleasures.

^^ I don't see the connection of this 1st stanza to the rest of the poem?

Grandfather was a Tagore figure, lean and wiry-strong -
princelike - he wielded the thin bamboo on the slime
of the python advancing on the tar road, and with a few deft
arcs, he would take it out.

Grandmother had a different tale to tell—a favorite
was the Asher Seth lady-- paramour of her husband
whose piety spoke in white. Her pet snake, pampered with silver
saucers of warm milk underneath the lady's cot,
slept near her, so to an outsider it would appear
a displaced coil of hair.


In the 4th stanza, is it one snake or two: 1/ bottle neck & 2/ green snake

or is it: the bottle neck of the green snake, and if so, then:

Daddy warned me of the bottle neck of the green snake
with a bud-like mouth, dangling from mogra branches;
it coiled like a creeper, clung like a tender shoot, and tunnelled
through the human ear, losing track.


Amma was a beautiful maiden like Shakuntala in a pond;
she sang sweet songs as she paddled those paddy fields
wooing parrots, snakes, and Siva in Tamil, like P.U.Chinnappa.
Creatures tinkled her anklet so often it became ritual.

I collected flowers with the snake hood, and peered at pollen
and a tiny yellow Siva Lingam that crouched in the bottom layer,
thought God had made duplicate snakes to jump and drop
from snarled trees, perhaps He would make me a snake kite too
to fly in the November sea breeze.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1169
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Snakeskin Jackets Were More Familiar

#5 Post by SivaRamanathan » 08 Apr 2014, 18:20

Michael
Thank you for your workshop suggestions.The poem looks comparatively neater though it still sounds very prosaic.

ryan
Posts: 14
Joined: 18 Apr 2005, 00:43
Contact:

Re: Snakeskin Jackets Were More Familiar

#6 Post by ryan » 18 Apr 2014, 04:11

Work on cutting the pointless staging and modifications. Work hard on the arc. I suppose language, too. Thanks for the read

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