Arun Kolatkar

(1 November 1932 – 25 September 2004 / Maharashtra / India)

A Low Temple - Poem by Arun Kolatkar

A low temple keeps its gods in the dark.
You lend a matchbox to the priest.
One by one the gods come to light.

Amused bronze. Smiling stone. Unsurprised.
For a moment the length of a matchstick
gesture after gesture revives and dies.
Stance after lost stance is found
and lost again.

Who was that, you ask.
The eight-arm goddess, the priest replies.
A sceptic match coughs.
You can count.
But she has eighteen, you protest.
All the same she is still an eight-arm goddess to the priest.

You come out in the sun and light a charminar.
Children play on the back of the twenty-foot tortoise.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, March 29, 2012



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