Where to Buy
Washington Writers' Publishing House
Winner of the 1998 Washington Writers' Publishing House Press Award
Finalist in the Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series, Calyx, Wesleyan University Press
In these lyrical and inward poems, Ramola D constructs a personal but deeply interactive poetics of self and culture, self and object, self and world. Her gift for the beautiful is singularly impressive, though the beautiful remains as much a barrier as an end to desire. This is a signal of the poet’s insight, which seems to originate in the moment of pure sensual awareness, but climbs quickly back toward mind and identity, where the beautiful alone cannot endure. This movement itself enacts an experience—perhaps a daily experience—of the self’s defeat and its seeking, its obliteration and renewal, in our violently complex world.
SUSAN TICHY, author of Bone Pagoda, The Hands in Exile
Excerpts from Invisible Season
Across the Street: Tamil Nadu Monsoon, 1988
Let the wind breathe easy
tonight, the ranging of clouds
Far below the open drift
of starlight, stretched clean
across the Kite's unkept
diagonal, he sleeps in spasms
of lit sulphur.
His body no longer
discerns the even
ascent of sand-pile or concrete,
taken so calmly
toward the earth's small
I see it curved
into the casual warmth of torn,
familiar cloth, closed
to the incomplete scatter
of forgotten silver, kept
from the vagaries of wind by its own
When I lean, hungry,
searching, into the white
naked edge of lightning,
and welcome the pulsing
shudder of rain on skin,
he shifts toward
the meagre shelter of a store's
awning, he carries
the bruising hollow within
him; the blanket reclaims
the hunching limbs.
now dull as tarnished
fills and floods the unkempt street.
The wind makes no distinctions.
I have seen
his eyes in daylight, they are empty of all pretension,
all desire. They reach deep into my fulness
In the Valley of the Shadow
Yes, I say, persist, and you listen, flat
on the wind like a solitary ear,
plucked from its limbs and pendant,
wistful. You have come
into silence now, a sterile blue
where clouds are antiseptic, air a gauze
of bare padding. What can you name
without your scalpel?
Each time you walk in a moonlit
garden, you see behind fences the raw
and scented, unwilling.
But you are given the garden.
Upward rising of oak, a fidelity
to birth your own hands have abandoned.
What must you grow from, what
must you approach? What way is there
Sometimes you sense you can pull
moons into your house, yellow
and fervent, rich as the hope
a harvest yields, or waning, content
to honor the hour's offerings. Folded,
a hand like a prayer on water, carrying
its luggage of words--there are no retrievals.
You must go on as you are, peeling the grain
from the mower's blades, because
it is here, even displaced, we become
ourselves. In the sleep of the scalpel's
finest edge, in the bitter sleep
of new magnolias, I will tell you
what the garden tells you: where you are
is a holy place, there is no other.
Published originally in Indiana Review