The dagger sinks in
Where grass has no
Home, where death took leave,
Where the bright claws of rust
Meet corpuscles of greed, lost
& felled, the maker of
Halves and halves not.
I have heard it said that one who excels in safeguarding his own life does not meet with rhinoceros or tiger when traveling on land nor is he touched by weapons when charging into an army. There is nowhere for the rhinoceros to pitch its horn; there is nowhere for the tiger to place its claws; there is nowhere for the weapon to lodge its blade. Why is this so? Because for him there is no realm of death. Lao Tzu.
shall I wield a dagger
What can I pluck it out of,
or stab it in
when You are all the world?
Dasimayya, translated by A.K. Ramanujan.
A.K Ramanujan is the whole deal…everyone else is kind of the “halves” !!
True. I am still trying to recall exactly how I stumbled on to his work last year.
It is only because of Ramanujan that I have begun to see and explore the fascinating overlap between folktales, Bhakti and social justice.
That sounds really deep… I’ve just been foraging online.. maybe it’s time to buy a book and find out more!
The social justice part is personal value addition 🙂 Two recommendations: his Collected Essays and Collected Poems, and OUP has both.
Thank you.. will look for them!
I like the way you put ‘Home’ on the third line, as oppose to on the second. This way, the third line can also be read on its own, and its meaning changes: ‘Home, where death took leave’. This is well done.
(I’ve meant to comment on this for a while now, but my Internet access has been in and out recently, and my comment would not post.)
Getting it right is an improbable act, so I am glad it worked this time 🙂 Thanks.
(I too have been out of reach of proper net access – up in the mountains – for over a week up until yesterday, which explains my tardiness in responding to your earlier comment on “Pronounce flower, bee, teardrop, bread, storm”).