For love of the Muse

THE LATEST issue of `Poetry Chain', a poetry magazine brought out by a city-based group of lovers of the Muse, carries on its cover a poem instead of a telling picture, as is usually the case.

The poem, titled `The Reward', exhorts the reader to "laugh often and love much" and ends with the lines, "To know even one life has breathed/ easy because you have lived/ This is to have succeeded."

The former State Chief Secretary, M. Mohan Kumar, who is a regular in the magazine, has contributed a sensitive poem titled `Shadows', which reflects the pain resulting from the recent death of his wife due to a mysterious disease.

She had hidden behind a "smiling silence" when he had pooh- poohed her own star-based predictions of death. "As they remove the needles and tubes,/ I recall what she said a few months ago:/ `I will not give myself more than a year...''

Aparna Jayachandran, a student of film-making, has sent in two poems from South Africa. In one, `Overpowered', she says, "I want to be what a woman was/ when they still called her 'Miss'/ with no alternative but marriage...''

The issue features a book section on the `Vachanas of Akkamahadevi', the Bhakti poetess of Karnataka, who wrote with passionate intensity about her "lover'', Lord Shiva. Some of her poems had been rendered into English by A.K. Ramanujam in his work, `Speaking of Shiva', published by Penguin.

The magazine has an announcement that should interest many of its readers. The Poetry Society of India in association with Poetry Chain, plans to give away two poetry prizes of Rs.2,000 and Rs.1,500 each every year.

By Harish Govind M