poet Kamala Das

Kamala Das

#91 on top 500 poets

The Old Playhouse

You planned to tame a swallow, to hold her
In the long summer of your love so that she would forget
Not the raw seasons alone, and the homes left behind, but
Also her nature, the urge to fly, and the endless
Pathways of the sky. It was not to gather knowledge
Of yet another man that I came to you but to learn
What I was, and by learning, to learn to grow, but every
Lesson you gave was about yourself. You were pleased
With my body's response, its weather, its usual shallow
Convulsions. You dribbled spittle into my mouth, you poured
Yourself into every nook and cranny, you embalmed
My poor lust with your bitter-sweet juices. You called me wife,
I was taught to break saccharine into your tea and
To offer at the right moment the vitamins. Cowering
Beneath your monstrous ego I ate the magic loaf and
Became a dwarf. I lost my will and reason, to all your
Questions I mumbled incoherent replies. The summer
Begins to pall. I remember the rudder breezes
Of the fall and the smoke from the burning leaves. Your room is
Always lit by artificial lights, your windows always
Shut. Even the air-conditioner helps so little,
All pervasive is the male scent of your breath. The cut flowers
In the vases have begun to smell of human sweat. There is
No more singing, no more dance, my mind is an old
Playhouse with all its lights put out. The strong man's technique is
Always the same, he serves his love in lethal doses,
For, love is Narcissus at the water's edge, haunted
By its own lonely face, and yet it must seek at last
An end, a pure, total freedom, it must will the mirrors
To shatter and the kind night to erase the water.

Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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Comments about The Old Playhouse by Kamala Das

  • Moloy Nandi (9/19/2020 10:00:00 PM)


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  • t.Sadanandan (5/8/2019 12:35:00 AM)

    It is a great poem love is Narcissus at the water's edgeby a great poet

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  • T.Sadanandan (5/8/2019 12:33:00 AM)

    It is a great poem by a great poet

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  • lhadron (12/28/2018 6:18:00 AM)

    It is very intersting

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  • Narayanan Kutty PozhathNarayanan Kutty Pozhath (4/25/2018 12:33:00 AM)

    This poem must be expressing her feelings towards her husband.

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  • Subair M (11/21/2017 3:41:00 AM)

    Wonderful lines from an Indian writer

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  • Soumita SarkarSoumita Sarkar (6/12/2013 12:42:00 AM)

    Phenomenal...........what else could be said about the demeaning ego and state of a wife belittled infront of her man.......a strong man.

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  • Rohit Dixit (12/21/2012 9:28:00 AM)

    One of the monumental work in Anglo Indian writing

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