Ketaki Kushari Dyson, Fallen Leaves

There have been no letters from me. Such is your complaint
I am compelled to tell you that if my disobedient letters
Were to fall into your arms like inert leaves of autumn
Even once, you wouldn’t be able to deal with them, recipient.
Overflowing your arms into files, files into drawers, drawers into the trunk
Finally pushing open the lid they will emerge in a procession
Across the desk, the bed, the floor
The doorstep, the top of the cupboard, the window ledge
You will go mad.
The liberated leaves will not be contained even in your empty room
Unannounced, one night
Without sending word I will reach your neighbourhood
Peeping through the window I will see
Suspended over the jumble of my letters smothering your room
The white moon, laughing.
Your door is wide open
Turned insane by the torrent of shed leaves you have gone out
Without locking your room.
I will see my letters lying there
Naked, helpless, weeping
Anyone can pick them up and read them
And burst out laughing as they read
In competition with the moon

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Ketaki Kushari Dyson, Fallen Leaves

Ketaki Kushari Dyson, A Matter of Shame

Auguste Rodin, French sculptor,
Has a magnificent statue, many know,
Named The Kiss. Two nude figures, kissing.
Many do not know that the world also has
A memorable sculpture, named Shakuntala,
Whose subjects are two nude figures, embracing.
Its creator, Camille Claudel. Poet Paul Claudel’s
Elder sister, who was in love with Rodin
And was a skilful sculptor herself.
Apparently some of Rodin’s greatest compositions
Had this woman’s hand too in places
The chisel of her cooperation.
Paul Claudel, god-obsessed, jealous,
Could not tolerate his sister’s intimacy
With Rodin, and some even say
Her brother’s instigation forced Camille
Into tragic confinement, without being mad,
In an asylum for her last thirty years
Critics had said, for a woman to create
A pair of embracing figures in the nude
Is unpardonable insolence, a matter of shame.

Ketaki Kushari Dyson, A Matter of Shame