Linda Hepner

Veteran Poet - 1,101 Points (London)

Taurus You Are - Poem by Linda Hepner

Taurus you are,
Bull in a star,
Charging your car
Or raising the bar.

Pisces I am,
Finny not clam,
Java, not Ram,
Slippery dam.

Frantic with haste
Savoring taste
Time not to waste
Time must be faced,

Culling all sites
Dreads and delights
Seeding the nights
Scaling the heights,

Even when blind,
Deaf, sick, unkind,
Touch is the bind
That conquers our mind.


In response to GWH's:
CHINA SHOP 6.11.08

Though her eyes of peace are full

and her arms are lovely, I

feel she’s far away, and sigh,

in her china shop a bull.

Haste in heart, I rush, romantic,

as with single ox I plow

over wetlands I endow

with my seed, fast feeling frantic.

William Dalrymple writes about Indian erotic art and poetry (“India: The Place of Sex, ” NYR, June 26,2008) : :

It is this characteristic mix of courtly sensuality and intense spirituality that is arguably the most striking aspect of South Indian sculpture, as could be seen from last year's major exhibition of South Indian bronzes at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The art of casting such bronzes seems to have begun in the eighth century in the court of the Pallavas, but it was their nemeses, the imperial Chola kings of Tanjore, who patronized the sculptors that brought the art to perfection. On the completion of their great dynastic temple in Tanjore in 1010, the Cholas donated to their new structure no fewer than sixty bronze images of deities.The exhibition, named simply 'Chola, ' was one of the most sensual shows that the Royal Academy has ever mounted. Exquisitely poised and supple, these abstracted and ritualized bronze deities stand quite silent on their plinths yet with their hands they speak gently to their devotees through the noiseless lingua franca of the gestures—mudras—of South Indian dance: promising blessings and protection and, above all, marriage, fertility, and fecundity. In Western art, few sculptors—except perhaps Donatello or Rodin—have achieved this essence of sensuality so spectacularly evoked by the Pallava and Chola bronze sculptures, or have conveyed such a sense of celebration of the divine beauty of the human body. The near-naked bodies of the gods and saints are sculpted with a startling clarity and purity; yet by the simplest and most modest of devices the sculptors highlight their joys and pleasures, and their appreciation of each other's beauty.

There is something wonderfully frank and direct about these gods who embody human desire. Lord Shiva reaches out and fondly touches the breast of his consort, Uma-Parvati, a characteristically restrained Chola way of hinting at the immense erotic powers of a god who embodies male fertility. Elsewhere, Hindu sculpture can often be explicitly and unembarrassedly erotic, as can much classical Hindu poetry: Kalidasa's poem The Birth of Kumara has an entire canto of ninety-one verses entitled 'The Description of Uma's Pleasure, ' which describes in graphic detail the lovemaking of the divine couple. The same is true of much of the secular poetry of the period:

Her arms have the beauty
Of a gently moving bamboo.
Her eyes are full of peace.
She is faraway,
Her place not easy to reach.
My heart is frantic
With haste
A ploughman with a single ox
On land all wet
And ready for seed.[2]

But with the art of the Cholas the sexual nature of the gods is strongly implied rather than directly stated— in the extraordinary swinging, dancing rhythm of these eternally still figures with their curving torsos and slender arms. This is not just a modern reading: contemporary devotees from the Chola period who viewed images of the gods enraptured by their consorts' beauty have left graffiti asking the deities to transfer the sensual ecstasy they experience to their followers.

© 2008 Gershon Hepner 6/11/08

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, June 11, 2008

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