Thursday, April 17, 2008

Separation revisited

Among my favorite poems, and indeed the only one I remember fully is this poem that I had written about quite long back in this post.
A conversation with a friend yesterday brought it up again and now two years hence and a little wiser (I would like to think) about such things, I felt the need to revisit it and add to it.
The poem is titled 'Separation' and has been penned by W.S.Merwin.


Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

-- W.S. Merwin

It is a fresh perspective on separation....why do all of us have the need for something or someone to be constant in our lives....this is a repetition of what was said in the last post but every relationship/interaction teaches one a lot....but from some we learn a lot more...we see new parts of ourselves that we fall in love with. Here is a poem that says,
just being with you has made me a different different that its as if you changed something at the core (gone through me) . Indeed unless the change is that dramatic, one doesn't think much of the separation.
But then he says, "everything I do is stitched in its color" and to me that seems to mean that I have accepted this separation and I acknowledge that in everything I do henceforth I see a little of you because of the person I have become from knowing you.

Through this conversation I somehow got reminded of one of the verses from the Yaksha Prashnam episode of the Mahabharata. The pandavas while on exile, are looking for water and find a pond to which they go one after the other and don't seem to return. Yudhistira then goes forth to investigate why the other four haven't come back and finds them lying dead by the lake.
He then hears a yaksha speak to him and the yaksha says Yudhishtira can drink the water only if he answers some questions first.

The set of 20 something questions are Hindu philosophy in a nutshell. But the one I particularly got reminded of in the context of the above conversation is this one:

The yaksha asks Yudhishtira : What is the most surprising thing?
To which Yudhishtira answers thus:

Ahanyahani bhootaani gacchanteeh yamaalayam
Sheshaaha sthavaram icchanti kimaashcharyam ataha param

This translates loosely into: Everyday many living being die (go to the abode of Yama) and the rest of us see this and yet the rest of us live and behave as if we are immortal.

I have since been puzzled at the connection that my head seems to have made but I think the connection comes from the fact that in the bigger scheme of things what matters is that you were associated with someone , for however short a time and the separation in itself is necessary perhaps for life to go on.

This last thought , of course, is not very concrete since I am still thinking of the reason for the connection!

Saturday, April 05, 2008


A poem I read on orkut of all places.....but something that seems perfect.
Somewhere along the road
you meet up with yourself.
Recognition is immediate.
If it happens at the proper
time and place, you propose
a toast:

May you remain as my shadow
when I lie down.
May I live on as your ghost.

Then you pass, knowing you'll
never see yourself that way
again: the fires which burn
before you are your penance,
the ashes you leave behind are
your name.
Enough said.