Obituary By A K Ramanujan Poem by Ramesh Iyengar

Obituary By A K Ramanujan

Rating: 4.5

Father, when he passed on,
left dust
on a table of papers,
left debts and daughters,
a bedwetting grandson
named by the toss
of a coin after him,

a house that leaned
slowly through our growing
years on a bent coconut
tree in the yard.
Being the burning type,
he burned properly
at the cremation

as before, easily
and at both ends,
left his eye coins
in the ashes that didn't
look one bit different,
several spinal discs, rough,
some burned to coal, for sons

to pick gingerly
and throw as the priest
said, facing east
where three rivers met
near the railway station;
no longstanding headstone
with his full name and two dates

to holdin their parentheses
everything he didn't quite
manage to do himself,
like his caesarian birth
in a brahmin ghetto
and his death by heart-
failure in the fruit market.

But someone told me
he got two lines
in an inside column
of a Madras newspaper
sold by the kilo
exactly four weeks later
to streethawkers

who sell it in turn
to the small groceries
where I buy salt,
and jaggery
in newspaper cones
that I usually read

for fun, and lately
in the hope of finding
these obituary lines.
And he left us
a changed mother
and more than
one annual ritual.

B. R. Kumawat 19 December 2017

What a poem this is! It has nothing of a poem. It bears no poetic zeal. It's much shocking and disgusting that today we have killed our poetic zeal and sensibility. We appreciate even a bundle of words. This type of so-called poems are not worth following. We should come out of these dead bundle of words. Shame to the universities that prescribe this type of so-called poems in their syllabus. Shame to the publishers that publish this type of triflities.

15 34 Reply
aditya 05 December 2018

Why don't you try and write a poem with poetic zeal, you would surely be appreciated more than Ramanujan.

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Dhanappa Metri 01 March 2021


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Me 24 September 2022

Can I ask you to elaborate on your views?

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Rajan T Renganathan 11 May 2023

I am surprised by the number of comments on this poem, I remember - wrote in 2019 my comments now seems disappeared, was it due to Covid? ? ? well, the continuity is cannot overlook in human race. Family to family and generation to generations.

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Unnikrishnan E S 10 February 2022

Part 3.. Malayalam Poet of yesteryears wrote, "thaathan marannaal thanayan thudarnnu/ Thad vruththakhandam paripurnamaakkum..". Works left incomplete by father are completed by his son with zeal, is the meaning.

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Unnikrishnan E S 10 February 2022

People leave the world leaving many of their duties and wishes incomplete. It is for the next generation to complete them.

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In today's society, transferring the torch from one generation to the next is a pipe dream; you won't find sons following in the footsteps of their dads or forefathers; everyone wants their own identity, and allegations of nepotism have become all too common..

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Unnikrishnan E S 10 February 2022

A very forthright account of ‘life after death'. People, well, many of them, leave this world,

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Ruta Mohapatra 31 January 2022

Nice flow! Very realistic depiction!

1 0 Reply
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