Poems of Kamala Das

Posted: May 31, 2009 in literature

Note: Find more poems on Kamala Das on my other blog:

http://arjunpuriinqatar.blogspot.com/2011/10/poems-of-kamala-das.html

http://arjunpuriinqatar.blogspot.com/2011/10/poems-of-kamala-das-part-ii.html; http://arjunpuriinqatar.blogspot.com/2011/10/poems-of-kamala-das-part-iii.html;

http://arjunpuriinqatar.blogspot.com/2011/10/poems-of-kamala-das-part-iv.html

The first poem of Kamala Das I read was An Introduction in my degree. Kamala Das is no more and Ramamani, the teacher who taught us the poem, is also no more. She was the one who brought interest about Kamala Das during our college days. May both rest in peace.

An Introduction

I don’t know politics but I know the names
Of those in power, and can repeat them like
Days of week, or names of months, beginning with Nehru.
I amIndian, very brown, born inMalabar,
I speak three languages, write in
Two, dream in one.
Don’t write in English, they said, English is
Not your mother-tongue. Why not leave
Me alone, critics, friends, visiting cousins,
Every one of you? Why not let me speak in
Any language I like? The language I speak,
Becomes mine, its distortions, its queernesses
All mine, mine alone.
It is half English, halfIndian, funny perhaps, but it is honest,
It is as human as I am human, don’t
You see? It voices my joys, my longings, my
Hopes, and it is useful to me as cawing
Is to crows or roaring to the lions, it
Is human speech, the speech of the mind that is
Here and not there, a mind that sees and hears and
Is aware. Not the deaf, blind speech
Of trees in storm or of monsoon clouds or of rain or the
Incoherent mutterings of the blazing
Funeral pyre. I was child, and later they
Told me I grew, for I became tall, my limbs
Swelled and one or two places sprouted hair.
WhenI asked for love, not knowing what else to ask
For, he drew a youth of sixteen into the
Bedroom and closed the door, He did not beat me
But my sad woman-body felt so beaten.
The weight of my breasts and womb crushed me.
I shrank Pitifully.
Then … I wore a shirt and my
Brother’s trousers, cut my hair short and ignored
My womanliness. Dress in sarees, be girl
Be wife, they said. Be embroiderer, be cook,
Be a quarreller with servants. Fit in. Oh,
Belong, cried the categorizers. Don’t sit
On walls or peep in through our lace-draped windows.
Be Amy, or be Kamala. Or, better
Still, be Madhavikutty. It is time to
Choose a name, a role. Don’t play pretending games.
Don’t play at schizophrenia or be a
Nympho. Don’t cry embarrassingly loud when
Jilted in love … I met a man, loved him. Call
Him not by any name, he is every man
Who wants. a woman, just as I am every
Woman who seeks love. In him . . . the hungry haste
Of rivers, in me . . . the oceans’ tireless
Waiting. Who are you, I ask each and everyone,
The answer is, it is I. Anywhere and,
Everywhere, I see the one who calls himself I
In this world, he is tightly packed like the
Sword in its sheath. It is I who drink lonely
Drinks at twelve, midnight, in hotels of strange towns,
It is I who laugh, it is I who make love
And then, feel shame, it is I who lie dying
With a rattle in my throat. I am sinner,
I am saint. I am the beloved and the
Betrayed. I have no joys that are not yours, no
Aches which are not yours. I too call myself I.

The Looking Glass
Getting a man to love you is easy
Only be honest about your wants as
Woman. Stand nude before the glass with him
So that he sees himself the stronger one
And believes it so, and you so much more
Softer, younger, lovelier. Admit your
Admiration. Notice the perfection
Of his limbs, his eyes reddening under
The shower, the shy walk across the bathroom floor,
Dropping towels, and the jerky way he
Urinates. All the fond details that make
Him male and your only man. Gift him all,
Gift him what makes you woman, the scent of
Long hair, the musk of sweat between the breasts,
The warm shock of menstrual blood, and all your
Endless female hungers. Oh yes, getting
A man to love is easy, but living
Without him afterwards may have to be
Faced. A living without life when you move
Around, meeting strangers, with your eyes that
Gave up their search, with ears that hear only
His last voice calling out your name and your
Body which once under his touch had gleamed
Like burnished brass, now drab and destitute.

The Rain

We left that old ungainly house
When my dog died there, after
The burial, after the rose
Flowered twice, pulling it by its
Roots and carting it with our books,
Clothes and chairs in a hurry.
We live in a new house now,
And, the roofs do not leak, but, when
It rains here, I see the rain drench
That empty house, I hear it fall
Where my puppy now lies,
Alone..
(From Only The Soul Knows How To Sing)

The Dance Of The Eunuchs

It was hot, so hot, before the eunuchs came
To dance, wide skirts going round and round, cymbals
Richly clashing, and anklets jingling, jingling
Jingling… Beneath the fiery gulmohur, with
Long braids flying, dark eyes flashing, they danced and
They dance, oh, they danced till they bled… There were green
Tattoos on their cheeks, jasmines in their hair, some
Were dark and some were almost fair. Their voices
Were harsh, their songs melancholy; they sang of
Lovers dying and or children left unborn….
Some beat their drums; others beat their sorry breasts
And wailed, and writhed in vacant ecstasy. They
Were thin in limbs and dry; like half-burnt logs from
Funeral pyres, a drought and a rottenness
Were in each of them. Even the crows were so
Silent on trees, and the children wide-eyed, still;
All were watching these poor creatures’ convulsions
The sky crackled then, thunder came, and lightning
And rain, a meagre rain that smelt of dust in
Attics and the urine of lizards and mice….
(From Summer in Calcutta)

Love
Until I found you,
I wrote verse, drew pictures,
And, went out with friends
For walks…
Now that I love you,
Curled like an old mongrel
My life lies, content,
In you….
(From Summer in Calcutta)

Winter
It smelt of new rains and of tender
Shoots of plants- and its warmth was the warmth
Of earth groping for roots… even my
Soul, I thought, must send its roots somewhere
And, I loved his body without shame,
On winter evenings as cold winds
Chuckled against the white window-panes.
(From Summer in Calcutta)
The Stone Age

Fond husband, ancient settler in the mind,
Old fat spider, weaving webs of bewilderment,
Be kind. You turn me into a bird of stone, a granite
Dove, you build round me a shabby room,
And stroke my pitted face absent-mindedly while
You read. With loud talk you bruise my pre-morning sleep,
You stick a finger into my dreaming eye. And
Yet, on daydreams, strong men cast their shadows, they sink
Like white suns in the swell of my Dravidian blood,
Secretly flow the drains beneath sacred cities.
When you leave, I drive my blue battered car
Along the bluer sea. I run up the forty
Noisy steps to knock at another’s door.
Though peep-holes, the neighbours watch,
they watch me come
And go like rain. Ask me, everybody, ask me
What he sees in me, ask me why he is called a lion,
A libertine, ask me why his hand sways like a hooded snake
Before it clasps my pubis. Ask me why like
A great tree, felled, he slumps against my breasts,
And sleeps. Ask me why life is short and love is
Shorter still, ask me what is bliss and what its price….
(From The Old Playhouse and Other Poems)

The Maggots

At sunset, on the river ban, Krishna
Loved her for the last time and left…
That night in her husband’s arms, Radha felt
So dead that he asked, What is wrong,
Do you mind my kisses, love? And she said,
No, not at all, but thought, What is
It to the corpse if the maggots nip?
(From The Descendants)

Krishna
Your body is my prison, Krishna,
I cannot see beyond it.
Your darkness blinds me,
Your love words shut out the wise world’s din.

(From Only The Soul Knows How To Sing)

Annette
Annette,
At the dresser.
Pale fingers over mirror-fields
Reaping
That wheat brown hair.
Beauty
Falling as chaff in old mirrors,
While calenders
In all
The cities turn….

(From Only The Soul Knows How To Sing)

Comments
  1. Kay says:

    I don’t know you. You don’t know me. But there’s a common thread – Kamala factor. And I’m so happy to see her poems on your blog, the accidentally stumbled upon blog. I have been in grief ever since I heard about her death. These poems put life back on me…oh how honest she is…isn’t she?

  2. thanks dude… thanks a lot… but can u pls help me with the poem…. a hot noon in malabar.

    thanks a lot:)

  3. Leonard Dabydeen says:

    I accidentally visited Newstrack India on the internet and came in contact with news about Kamala Das.
    Her poems are filled with rich honesty of life. So gratifying you want to relish more…more…give me more.

  4. 0088877655 says:

    look in the mirror

  5. Mangomousse says:

    Currently reading her autobiography, its lovely , makes me weep , makes me want to sit across a table and talk to her..

  6. kalpana says:

    hi u dont know me but i like ur pomes, amazing n true feeling of life,makes me weep i want to sit across a table n talk to her

  7. tressa joseph says:

    Thanks a lot, U made me alive with these poems. u have done a great job.U made me find something that i had lost

  8. Deepika says:

    I want to get the summary of the poems an introductin and the looking glass.
    If anybody knows pls tel me… Help me out from this..

    • arjunpuri says:

      An Introduction, a poem included in Kamala Das’s first volume of poetry, Summer in Calcutta(1965), begins with a statement that shows her frank distaste for politics, especially in politically free India ruled by a chosen elite. The poet asserts her right to speak three languages, and defends her choice to write in two–her mother-tongue, Malayalam, and English. She doesn’t like to be advised in this matter by any guardian or relations. Her choice is her own: authentic and born of passion. The poet looks upon her decision to write in English as natural and humane.

      From the issue of the politics of language the poem then passes on to the subject of sexual politics in a patriarchy-dominated society where a girl attaining puberty is told about her biological changes by some domineering parental figure. As the girl seeks fulfilment of her adolescent passion, a young lover is forced upon her to traumatize and coerce the female-body since the same is the site for patriarchy to display its power and authority. When thereafter, she opts for male clothing to hide her femininity, the guardians enforce typical female attire, with warnings to fit into the socially determined attributes of a woman, to become a wife and a mother and get cofined to the domestic routine. She is threatened to remain within the four walls of her female space lest she should make herself a psychic or a maniac.

      But the poet is an individual woman trying to voice a universal womanhood and trying to share her experiences, good or bad, with all other women. Love and sexuality are a strong component in her search for female identity and the identity consists of polarities. The poem ends with repetitions of the 1st person sigular I to suggest vindication of the body and the self.

    • sandeep says:

      hi deepika
      i m sandeep
      you can have all explaination regarding kamala das poems…
      mail me for any help….
      sandeep
      sandeepsuneja2009@gmail.com

      • Anamika says:

        sir
        are u evn dere in facebook??if u dont mind can u plz add me dere nd send me d summary of summer in calcutta?
        coz tomwr i hav got my xam nd i gues m nt prepared..nd my mails r nt openin:(
        my id is-anamika.singha827@gmail

  9. maitreyee says:

    Hi..thx so much for uploading Kamala das’s poems. I discovered her late in life & boy! what a discovery. Being a poet myself i feel extremely deprived as she is no more, her thoughts are so mine & so entwined.. wish i could have met her. Reading her poems here just felt so good yet all over again.. thx a ton!

  10. Aicha says:

    Desperate longing for real love !thats what Kamala Das is all about.Thats what she cared for and nothing else and its so been understood in each line and verse and the poem.the sad solitude so clear! yet never been quenched.It connects many of us together through her.Only her physical body collapsed ,shes all alive..as a bird (as she always wanted ).
    So glad that you uploaded her poems.expecting more.
    Prayers

  11. Deeptesh says:

    Nice 2 read this stuff!

  12. imwatiam says:

    This woman is crazy. I cant resist reading such insane poems. I WASTED MY TIME.

  13. shashank jain says:

    dear sir
    can forward me one of kamala das’spoem entitled as

    “My Grand Mother’s house” I would be thankful to you.Please i need it urgent

    • arjunpuri says:

      MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE

      There is a house now far away where once
      I received love……. That woman died,
      The house withdrew into silence, snakes moved
      Among books, I was then too young
      To read, and my blood turned cold like the moon
      How often I think of going
      There, to peer through blind eyes of windows or
      Just listen to the frozen air,
      Or in wild despair, pick an armful of
      Darkness to bring it here to lie
      Behind my bedroom door like a brooding
      Dog…you cannot believe, darling,
      Can you, that I lived in such a house and
      Was proud, and loved…. I who have lost
      My way and beg now at strangers’ doors to
      Receive love, at least in small change?
      We will now divide the poem into three parts and read the first part once again.

      - Kamala Das

    • saj says:

      dear sir,
      I will be extremly greatful to you if u can forward me kamal Das’s poem, The sunshine cat. Thank u

  14. Sudhakar Joshi says:

    I felt very sorry to learn about Kamala Das death but it is enviatbl.Her poems are representing solitary life of man Indian Wome. Her openness is appreciable I feel sorr for her decision of opting Islam which indicates She didnt understand Hindu Philosophy indeapth. Her critism of HIndu religion puts bitter taste in mouth

  15. Sudhakar Joshi says:

    I felt sorry to learn Kamala Das s death. Her poems represent solittary life of Ind ian women in general.Here openness about hersexlife needs appreciation.I also feel sorr for her opting Islam.Probably She did not understand greatness of Hindu Philosophy

  16. choden says:

    can you plz explain me the poem ‘punishment in kindergarten’?

  17. malkeet kaur says:

    Hi, The very first of her poems I ever read was ‘The looking glass’ during college and I and my friend sat reading and brooding over it’s beauty….though there would be prudish giggles from other students when this poem was referred to. It started my journey to into self introspection though I had started writing poems in English before….the introduction to kAMALA DAS opened a whole array of the unknown world to be explored by me…yet unexplored in my poems being from a conservative family. I appreciate her because I still could not achieve her type of openness…it’s as she says…I don’t bring myself to write more frankly as I feel ashamed….may it’s a universal experience of woman writers worldwide… it’s drilled in their collective unconsciousness by the patriarchal society…that’s why poets like SYLVIA PLATH saw herself as a frigid woman in most of her poems…maybe it takes a poet like DAS to celebrate her womanhood even aesthetically, whatever ‘price’ she had to pay for it later. Her death…I stumbled upon the news accidentally….and something broke inside…a silent grief…and I did not know with whom to share what lay beneath as not many appreciate her or know her where I work…Thanx dear….

  18. choden says:

    would you plz give me the summary of the poem ‘punishment in kindergarten’ by Kamala Das?

  19. Rony Patra says:

    Thanks for uploading the poems of Kamala Das on your blog, Mr. Puri. Could you also upload her poem “The Substitute”?

  20. Tina George says:

    Great!! Thank you for keeping these live poems alive.

  21. Kishwar jahan says:

    Hey there…..i wd realy b obliged if u wd js 4wrd me d tytals of all the poems of kamala das……i realy need it urgently….please help me out…i wd b grtful to you..thank you

  22. Renu says:

    Hi,

    I would like to read the poem ‘Middle Age” by Kamala Das. Can anyone send me the same?

    Tks

  23. Ummu Jabir says:

    Iam very happy to get introduced to several poems of Kamala Das.Can I have the poem “The Freaks” with explanation in your blog sir?

  24. Pooja says:

    stumbled upon this blog.. n so glad to re-read her poems after years… she is a very outspoken yet expressive poet.. her solitude is evident… thanks for the upload !

  25. priya saxena says:

    Hi
    I haven’t read Kamla Das much but her poems are an honest glimpse of a woman’s longing for love, that kept transforming in the gentle flow of her style.

  26. Panjami says:

    One should be very careful with what one chooses to read at the beginning of a new fervor. Kamala Das’ is one of the first poets I happened to stumble upon and chose not to lift myself up from her honest verses. It is so difficult for me to bring myself to enjoy poems by many other poets.
    How I wish I could get glimpse of her in the flesh!!

  27. Arun Nair says:

    I can’t express myself with words…… but i know the language of soul….

    Aami ( kamala das ) knows that very much………………

    i love her………………

  28. prasanna nair says:

    Stumbled on to your blog while looking for some of Kamala’s writings. Thank you for doing this. Great stuff.

    She was and will always be an inspiration. I remember reading her autobiography when I was twelve, weeping bucket loads and then writing out in my diary…’ I am not mad. I am like Kamala.’

  29. AFREEN says:

    plz…..send critical appreciation of my grand mother’s house of kamala das

  30. neelam says:

    i love all her peoms

  31. swetha says:

    hey there! by any chance do you know anything about kamala das’ first collection Sirens?

  32. amita says:

    plz……….. send me critical appreciation of” the sunshine cat” and what does the title “the freaks” symbolise?

  33. Rajesh Banshiwal says:

    Please anybody send me kamladas’ poem
    ” A hot noon in malabar”

    • pooja says:

      anybody send me poem a hot noon in malabar
      plzzzzz

    • shivanthani says:

      A HOT NOON IN MALABAR
      This is a noon for beggars with whining
      Voices, a noon for men who come from hills
      with parrots in the cage and fortune cards,
      all stained with time, for brown kurava girls
      with old eyes,who read palms in light singsong
      Voices, for bangle-sellers who spread
      On the cool black floor those red and green and blue
      Bangles , all covered with the dust of the roads,
      For all of them , whose feet , devouring rough
      Miles , grow cracks on the heels, so that when they
      clambered up our porch, the noise was grating
      Strange……. This is noon for strangers who part
      The window-drapes and peer in, their hot eyes
      Brimming with the sun , not seeing a thing in
      Shadowy rooms and turn away and look
      So yearningly at the brick-ledged well. This
      Is a noon for strangers with mistrust in
      Their eyes ,dark silent ones, their voices
      Run wild, like jungle-voices. Yes this is
      A noon for wild men , wild thoughts, wild love. To
      Be here, far away , is torture.Wild feet
      stirring up the dust, this is a hot noon, at my
      home in Malabar, and I so far away

  34. Sarita says:

    May u send me kamla das’s poems on my email, my grandmother house,the sunshine cat,
    I hope u help me,
    Thanks

    I’ll wait 4 poems.

  35. rosy says:

    dear sir
    can you forward me one of kamala das’spoem entitled as next to indira gandhi

  36. andrea says:

    i need as many poems by kamala das as possible for my thesis dissertation. i`m from argentina and there`s no material here so i´m surfing the net but up tp now i havent found so many poems for my corpus. please help me

  37. andrea says:

    A Relationship

    Yes,
    It was my desire that made him male
    And beautiful, so that when at last we
    Met, to believe that once I knew not his
    Form, his quiet touch or the blind kindness
    Of his lips was hard indeed. Betray me?
    My body’s wisdom tells and tells again
    And even death nowhere else but here in
    My betrayer’s arms …
    (Summer in Calcutta)

  38. andrea says:

    My Mother At Sixty-six

    Driving from my parents’ home to Cochin last Friday
    Morning, I saw my mother beside me,
    Doze, open mouthed, her face ashen like that
    Of a corpse and realized with pain
    That she was as old as she looked, but soon
    Put that thought away, and looked out at young
    Trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
    Out of their homes, but after the airport’s
    Security check, standing a few yards
    Away, I looked again at her, wan, pale
    As a late winter’s moon and felt that old
    Familiar ache, my childhood’s fear,
    But all I said was, see you soon, Amma,
    All I did was smile and smile and smile…

  39. andrepop says:

    This is the one I like most !!!!

    The Old Playhouse
    You planned to tame a swallow, to hold her
    In the long summer of your love so that she would forget
    Not the raw seasons alone, and the homes left behind, but
    Also her nature, the urge to fly, and the endless
    Pathways of the sky. It was not to gather knowledge
    Of yet another man that I came to you but to learn
    What I was, and by learning, to learn to grow, but every
    Lesson you gave was about yourself. You were pleased
    With my body’s response, its weather, its usual shallow
    Convulsions. You dribbled spittle into my mouth, you poured
    Yourself into every nook and cranny, you embalmed
    My poor lust with your bitter-sweet juices. You called me wife,
    I was taught to break saccharine into your tea and
    To offer at the right moment the vitamins. Cowering
    Beneath your monstrous ego I ate the magic loaf and
    Became a dwarf. I lost my will and reason, to all your
    Questions I mumbled incoherent replies. The summer
    Begins to pall. I remember the rudder breezes
    Of the fall and the smoke from the burning leaves. Your room is
    Always lit by artificial lights, your windows always
    Shut. Even the air-conditioner helps so little,
    All pervasive is the male scent of your breath. The cut flowers
    In the vases have begun to smell of human sweat. There is
    No more singing, no more dance, my mind is an old
    Playhouse with all its lights put out. The strong man’s technique is
    Always the same, he serves his love in lethal doses,
    For, love is Narcissus at the water’s edge, haunted
    By its own lonely face, and yet it must seek at last
    An end, a pure, total freedom, it must will the mirrors
    To shatter and the kind night to erase the water.

  40. andrepop says:

    A Relationship

    Yes,
    It was my desire that made him male
    And beautiful, so that when at last we
    Met, to believe that once I knew not his
    Form, his quiet touch or the blind kindness
    Of his lips was hard indeed. Betray me?
    My body’s wisdom tells and tells again
    And even death nowhere else but here in
    My betrayer’s arms …

  41. andrepop says:

    My Mother At Sixty-six
    Driving from my parents’ home to Cochin last Friday
    Morning, I saw my mother beside me,
    Doze, open mouthed, her face ashen like that
    Of a corpse and realized with pain
    That she was as old as she looked, but soon
    Put that thought away, and looked out at young
    Trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
    Out of their homes, but after the airport’s
    Security check, standing a few yards
    Away, I looked again at her, wan, pale
    As a late winter’s moon and felt that old
    Familiar ache, my childhood’s fear,
    But all I said was, see you soon, Amma,
    All I did was smile and smile and smile…

    • adittya vikram srivastava. says:

      it’s pleasure to read poems of kamla Das on the net. Now I am searching poems of some other poets.

  42. andrepop says:

    The Descendents

    We have spent our youth in gentle sinning
    Exchanging some insubstantial love and
    Often thought we were hurt, but no pain in
    Us could remain, no bruise could scar or
    Even slightly mar our cold loveliness.
    We have lain in every weather, nailed, no, not
    To crosses, but to soft beds and against
    Softer forms, while the heaving, lurching,
    Tender hours passed in a half-dusk, half-dawn and
    Half-dream, half-real trance. We were the yielders,
    Yielding ourselves to everything. It is
    Not for us to scrape the walls of wombs for
    Memories, not for us even to
    Question death, but as child to mother’s arms
    We shall give ourselves to the fire or to
    The hungry earth to be slowly eaten,
    Devoured. None will step off his cross
    Or show his wounds to us, no god lost in
    Silence shall begin to speak, no lost love
    Claim us, no, we are not going to be
    Ever redeemed, or made new.

  43. andrepop says:

    please I really need the poems “The Freaks”. “The Sunshine Cat”, “A Request”, “The Invitation”, “The Conflagration”, “Substitute”, “Of Calcutta”, “In Love” and “A Hot Noon in Malabar” for my thesis dissertation on her poetry. I`m from Argentina and there are no published material about Das here.

  44. andrepop says:

    This is the poem from kamala das I like best:

    The Old Playhouse

    You planned to tame a swallow, to hold her
    In the long summer of your love so that she would forget
    Not the raw seasons alone, and the homes left behind, but
    Also her nature, the urge to fly, and the endless
    Pathways of the sky. It was not to gather knowledge
    Of yet another man that I came to you but to learn
    What I was, and by learning, to learn to grow, but every
    Lesson you gave was about yourself. You were pleased
    With my body’s response, its weather, its usual shallow
    Convulsions. You dribbled spittle into my mouth, you poured
    Yourself into every nook and cranny, you embalmed
    My poor lust with your bitter-sweet juices. You called me wife,
    I was taught to break saccharine into your tea and
    To offer at the right moment the vitamins. Cowering
    Beneath your monstrous ego I ate the magic loaf and
    Became a dwarf. I lost my will and reason, to all your
    Questions I mumbled incoherent replies. The summer
    Begins to pall. I remember the rudder breezes
    Of the fall and the smoke from the burning leaves. Your room is
    Always lit by artificial lights, your windows always
    Shut. Even the air-conditioner helps so little,
    All pervasive is the male scent of your breath. The cut flowers
    In the vases have begun to smell of human sweat. There is
    No more singing, no more dance, my mind is an old
    Playhouse with all its lights put out. The strong man’s technique is
    Always the same, he serves his love in lethal doses,
    For, love is Narcissus at the water’s edge, haunted
    By its own lonely face, and yet it must seek at last
    An end, a pure, total freedom, it must will the mirrors
    To shatter and the kind night to erase the water.

    • Manju says:

      My favorite is ‘My grandmother’s house’. Recently read Merrily Weisbord’s The Love Queen of Malabar. A must-read for all Madhavikutty fans.It is available on Amazon

  45. andrepop says:

    A Relationship

    Yes,
    It was my desire that made him male
    And beautiful, so that when at last we
    Met, to believe that once I knew not his
    Form, his quiet touch or the blind kindness
    Of his lips was hard indeed. Betray me?
    My body’s wisdom tells and tells again
    And even death nowhere else but here in
    My betrayer’s arms …

    (Summer in Calcutta)

  46. andrepop says:

    My Mother At Sixty-six
    Driving from my parents’ home to C
    ochin last Friday
    Morning, I saw my mother beside me,
    Doze, open mouthed, her face ashen like that
    Of a corpse and realized with pain
    That she was as old as she looked, but soon
    Put that thought away, and looked out at young
    Trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
    Out of their homes, but after the airport’s
    Security check, standing a few yards
    Away, I looked again at her, wan, pale
    As a late winter’s moon and felt that old
    Familiar ache, my childhood’s fear,
    But all I said was, see you soon, Amma,
    All I did was smile and smile and smile…

  47. indian girl says:

    thanks for this lovely post. what a woman. she was so ahead of her times and what can one say about her guts?

  48. rashi says:

    i m pround to b an indian with such a good writer

  49. C M Narayanan says:

    I can speak and write three languages, I can dream in on language. But I have no language to express pleasure of reading her poems/fiction.
    I was looking for the writings of Kamala Das . No bound for the joy to see your blog. Thank you for creating this blog.

  50. Mehnaz says:

    I love Kamala Das and her emotions-packed poetry…thanks for uploading her work here..

  51. najiya says:

    I would like to get Kamala Das’s poem starting with the line words are like birds.
    Do anyone have it?pls post

  52. Jacob says:

    Poems of Kamala Das

  53. i would like to get the detail contributions made by Kamala Das in Indian English literature and about her poem “forest Fire”.
    If you could kindly mail the above request, it will be a great help from your side.
    thank you.

  54. reshma says:

    can anyone help me out with the summary of the poem “The Invitation” by kamala das…..

  55. Murali Nair says:

    The poems of Kamala Surayya alias Kamala Das alias Madhavikutty are in fact a prick of pangs felt in the innermost receptacles of the human psyche, precipitating a gyration of all the passions, emotions and sensibilities, catapualitng the entire terrrestrial subdued potentialities into a sublime plane of esoteric vibration, elevating ourselves into ethereal and transcendental meditative and yogic trances that are quite ecstatic and exuberantly entwined labyrinths of human personality.

  56. reshma says:

    i love kamal das and her poem’s too…..
    i love the way she writes….
    i am pround to be an malayali…

  57. ashiquesash says:

    hi, please give me the summary of THE MAGGOTS

  58. Linda says:

    i would like 2 get a poem ‘My Sons’ by Kamala Das. Plz post it

  59. Maria says:

    I m very impressed with kamla das poem.somebody send me the old play house and my story.plz

  60. Swarnendu Biswas says:

    It would be of great help if some one can post the poem In Love by Kamala Das…Thanks.

    • SADHNA RAWAT says:

      IN LOVE-
      O what does the burning mouth
      Of sun, burning in today’s,
      Sky, remind me….oh, yes, his
      Mouth, and….his limbs like pale and
      Carnivorous plants reaching
      out for me, and the sad lie
      of my unending lust.
      Where is room, excuse or even
      Need for love, for, isn’t each
      Embrace a complete thing a finished
      Jigsaw, when mouth on mouth, i lie,
      Ignoring my poor moody mind
      While pleasure, with deliberate gaeity
      Trumpets harshly into the silence of
      the room… At noon
      I watch the sleek crows flying
      Like poison on wings-and at
      Night, from behind the Burdwan
      Road, the corpse-bearers cry ‘Bol,
      Hari Bol’ , a strange lacing
      For moonless nights, while I walk
      The verandah sleepless, a
      Million questions awake in
      Me, and all about him, and
      This skin-communicated
      Thing that I dare not yet in
      His presence call our love.
      From ‘SUMMER IN CALCUTTA’ 1965

  61. Lapyndap says:

    Well………..not that i can beat!

  62. stany lobo says:

    It is nice to read Kamala Das’ poems as they reveal the inner conflicts of the poetess. On reading about her poems i was reminded of Emily Dickens’ poems they are obsessed with death and also replicates her own life. Thanks

  63. otsal says:

    hey i just need to know the answer to a question_”what does kamala das’ poems reflect”..
    thnx. =)

  64. madhu sinha roy says:

    please upload the poem ‘ The sunshine cat” by Kamala Das.

  65. Rumela says:

    I just discovered Kamala Das… and I have been captivated ever since…
    She celebrates womanhood… in its most crude form..and maybe one of the most beautiful forms….

  66. Himanshi says:

    Hey … I am DU student.. I have to make a presentation of kamla das poems.. Please suggest me some very nice poems of her along with there explanation.. Please help me as soon as possible.. Will be thankful to you…

    • SADHNA RAWAT says:

      My Mother at Sixty Six –
      Summary of “My Mother at Sixty-Six”

      On a gray day, the speaker leaves her mother as well as her home to win her bread,
      while her mother with a long face stands and stares. The speaker easily filters her
      glimpses through the plethora of unfamiliar faces. When a bouquet of cheerful
      children is caught fluttering in the open with sheer alacrity, revives in her the
      smarting childhood agony of a mysterious premonition, that is, losing her mother.
      Reviving from the psychological flickers at once, she sees her mother is shielded
      inside a pal of benumbed silence. Still the airport hums, as the passengers are
      requested to filter through the custom’s care. Still a helpless mother, with
      wrenching heart and swelling emotion, bids a helpless goodbye to her helpless
      daughter.
      Strangeness added to beauty
      The readers are proud of having read such a poem built on the agony of a
      wrenching heart that resides in a child for her mother. The poet looks into the gray
      olden age strumming the strings of childhood life. Bringing of the sportive
      children restores vivacity into the relationship. So we may without having a tinge
      of hesitation say, a mother’s love is helplessly trampled under the technological
      terror of airplane wheels.

      Focus-

      Mother stands in her life like a tree, on whose branch swings the childhood of the
      daughter.

      1. Relationship – Relationship is the nucleus of the poem. It seems love
      creates an unfading relationship and it wields its brush over at least two
      souls and assigns a meadow of agony with a river of fecundity.

      2. Nostalgia – The speaker is carried away by her childhood premonition of
      losing her mother.

      3. Sense of isolation – A deep sense of never-happened-before isolation
      creeps into the heart of the speaker.

      4. A silent agony – The speaker is overtaken by a terrible numbness. An
      awkward silence creeps into her being. She fears looking back at the
      slinking childhood of losing her mother’s magnanimous shadow. Her
      mother is presumably taken to be motionless and still – ‘dead’ to say in
      brief. The destination is worthy of its name too – Cochin – signifying
      ‘sleep’ – clearly signifies that the speaker would soon see her mother to be
      a denizen of the other world.

      5. Vitality of relationship – Children spill over, and yet again spring out
      vitality, vivacity and velocity of life. The moment a child is born, the
      mother is also born. So losing her mother is nothing but an idiosyncratic
      outlook? Her mother is not going to sink in death, since her child keeps
      breathing – since other children are still there to make the earth rotate.
      Reading between the lines
      The daughter evinces her mother silently suffer. She finds her mother
      heartbroken… she smiles away her agony though… she accepts her future
      loneliness… bereft of mother… having the unluckily lucky opportunity to love her
      absence, tread her shadows, and swing into the painfully happy nostalgia of a
      hallowed past. At the fag end of the poem, we see the mother stay as a neverending
      song in the speaker’s heart of comfort, happiness and being.

      About the word “Mother”
      ‘Mother’ fills the topmost rank in the list of most-used words. She carries the key
      of one’s soul in her bosoms. The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.
      “Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the
      payment is pure love” (Mildred B. Vermont). A mother is something absolutely
      new. A mother is priced of God.
      The never-extinguished love
      Love is a soothing balm over the wounds of expectation and waiting. That’s why
      love makes a dare infiltration even if the security of a heart is steel-tightened.
      Here, the mother’s love steals away with the booty – the soul of her child. Hence,
      love is not to mean, but be.
      The talking soul of the speaker – the silent monologue vanishes into the fading
      half of the day, but the journey continues, as every journey of a relationship need
      to be continued… “spilling over”… with optimistic enjoyment abundant.

      This poem revolves around the theme of advancing age and the fear adheared to it of loss and separation.
      The poet is on the way to airport in Cochin ,when she is stuck by the realization of the advancing age of her mother.It is very difficult for her to accept that her mother is creeping into the grips of old age.When she looks at her mother sitting by her side ,she notices her corpse like ashen face which reminds her of her aproaching death.She is pale and worn out.
      The green trees racing past the speeding car are grim reminders of time which has passed.The joyous children playing outside give her some respite a she is lost in her thoughts of old age.The children represent old youth,energy and life.she is probably driven back to the days of her idyllic youth when the mother had been young.Now she was encircled in the fear of losing her,this made her feel insecure.She had this feeling when ever she looked at her mother as she had lost the blush of youth and middle age and now in her twiligh years had become as pale as the winter moon.
      She is happy to see her mother is still breathing.But she is beset with sorrow and insecurity as she departs at the airport bidding goodbye to her mother and trying to hide her fears by smiling as she looked at her.

  67. basappa says:

    Hi, I want to read kamala’s poems and summary. Could you feed me?

  68. neha mehra says:

    hi plz can u post kamala dass poem “composition” here……….i’ll be vry grateful……..she was an awesum writer………..

  69. cool princess says:

    Can anyone please send me the summary of “My Mother at Sixty-six”?
    plzzzzzzzzzzz

  70. doyir says:

    pliz….upload her poem”spoiling the Name”.I am desperately in need of it.thank u so much!

  71. Sowmya says:

    Hi everyone, the one common factor KamalaDas brings so many like minded people together. I am bereaved by her death which is inevitable. i am sure her feelings on relationship is something most of us feel too, but dont voice it. She is the voice of every woman.

  72. prasanthi says:

    can any one forward me the poems ‘ the wild bougainvillea’,’jaisurya’

  73. SADHNA RAWAT says:

    My Mother at Sixty Six –
    Summary of “My Mother at Sixty-Six”

    On a gray day, the speaker leaves her mother as well as her home to win her bread,
    while her mother with a long face stands and stares. The speaker easily filters her
    glimpses through the plethora of unfamiliar faces. When a bouquet of cheerful
    children is caught fluttering in the open with sheer alacrity, revives in her the
    smarting childhood agony of a mysterious premonition, that is, losing her mother.
    Reviving from the psychological flickers at once, she sees her mother is shielded
    inside a pal of benumbed silence. Still the airport hums, as the passengers are
    requested to filter through the custom’s care. Still a helpless mother, with
    wrenching heart and swelling emotion, bids a helpless goodbye to her helpless
    daughter.
    Strangeness added to beauty
    The readers are proud of having read such a poem built on the agony of a
    wrenching heart that resides in a child for her mother. The poet looks into the gray
    olden age strumming the strings of childhood life. Bringing of the sportive
    children restores vivacity into the relationship. So we may without having a tinge
    of hesitation say, a mother’s love is helplessly trampled under the technological
    terror of airplane wheels.

    Focus-

    Mother stands in her life like a tree, on whose branch swings the childhood of the
    daughter.

    1. Relationship – Relationship is the nucleus of the poem. It seems love
    creates an unfading relationship and it wields its brush over at least two
    souls and assigns a meadow of agony with a river of fecundity.

    2. Nostalgia – The speaker is carried away by her childhood premonition of
    losing her mother.

    3. Sense of isolation – A deep sense of never-happened-before isolation
    creeps into the heart of the speaker.

    4. A silent agony – The speaker is overtaken by a terrible numbness. An
    awkward silence creeps into her being. She fears looking back at the
    slinking childhood of losing her mother’s magnanimous shadow. Her
    mother is presumably taken to be motionless and still – ‘dead’ to say in
    brief. The destination is worthy of its name too – Cochin – signifying
    ‘sleep’ – clearly signifies that the speaker would soon see her mother to be
    a denizen of the other world.

    5. Vitality of relationship – Children spill over, and yet again spring out
    vitality, vivacity and velocity of life. The moment a child is born, the
    mother is also born. So losing her mother is nothing but an idiosyncratic
    outlook? Her mother is not going to sink in death, since her child keeps
    breathing – since other children are still there to make the earth rotate.
    Reading between the lines
    The daughter evinces her mother silently suffer. She finds her mother
    heartbroken… she smiles away her agony though… she accepts her future
    loneliness… bereft of mother… having the unluckily lucky opportunity to love her
    absence, tread her shadows, and swing into the painfully happy nostalgia of a
    hallowed past. At the fag end of the poem, we see the mother stay as a neverending
    song in the speaker’s heart of comfort, happiness and being.

    About the word “Mother”
    ‘Mother’ fills the topmost rank in the list of most-used words. She carries the key
    of one’s soul in her bosoms. The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.
    “Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the
    payment is pure love” (Mildred B. Vermont). A mother is something absolutely
    new. A mother is priced of God.
    The never-extinguished love
    Love is a soothing balm over the wounds of expectation and waiting. That’s why
    love makes a dare infiltration even if the security of a heart is steel-tightened.
    Here, the mother’s love steals away with the booty – the soul of her child. Hence,
    love is not to mean, but be.
    The talking soul of the speaker – the silent monologue vanishes into the fading
    half of the day, but the journey continues, as every journey of a relationship need
    to be continued… “spilling over”… with optimistic enjoyment abundant.

    This poem revolves around the theme of advancing age and the fear adheared to it of loss and separation.
    The poet is on the way to airport in Cochin ,when she is stuck by the realization of the advancing age of her mother.It is very difficult for her to accept that her mother is creeping into the grips of old age.When she looks at her mother sitting by her side ,she notices her corpse like ashen face which reminds her of her aproaching death.She is pale and worn out.
    The green trees racing past the speeding car are grim reminders of time which has passed.The joyous children playing outside give her some respite a she is lost in her thoughts of old age.The children represent old youth,energy and life.she is probably driven back to the days of her idyllic youth when the mother had been young.Now she was encircled in the fear of losing her,this made her feel insecure.She had this feeling when ever she looked at her mother as she had lost the blush of youth and middle age and now in her twiligh years had become as pale as the winter moon.
    She is happy to see her mother is still breathing.But she is beset with sorrow and insecurity as she departs at the airport bidding goodbye to her mother and trying to hide her fears by smiling as she looked at her.

  74. krishna b pillai says:

    pl send me some lovely love,and sad poems of kamaladas

  75. MAMTA JAIN says:

    PIZ TELL ME VARIOUS THEMES IN KAMALA DAS’S POETRY.

  76. MAMTA JAIN says:

    PIZ TELL ME WHAT KIND OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIP IS PRESENTEDIN KAMALA DAS’S POETRY.

  77. Arun says:

    Thank you so much for putting together Kamala Das’s poetry…I can’t thank you enough.
    Her poetry brings to my soul, the coolness of a rainy evening…

  78. Arun says:

    Thank you so much for putting together Kamala Das’s poetry..I can’t thank you enough.
    Her poetry brings to my soul, the coolness of a rainy evening…

  79. pooja says:

    plz forward me the poems’The Inheritence’ and ‘The Corridors’

  80. Pawankumar Gategaonkar says:

    My Mother at Sixty Six –
    Summary of “My Mother at Sixty-Six”

    On a gray day, the speaker leaves her mother as well as her home to win her bread,
    while her mother with a long face stands and stares. The speaker easily filters her
    glimpses through the plethora of unfamiliar faces. When a bouquet of cheerful
    children is caught fluttering in the open with sheer alacrity, revives in her the
    smarting childhood agony of a mysterious premonition, that is, losing her mother.
    Reviving from the psychological flickers at once, she sees her mother is shielded
    inside a pal of benumbed silence. Still the airport hums, as the passengers are
    requested to filter through the custom’s care. Still a helpless mother, with
    wrenching heart and swelling emotion, bids a helpless goodbye to her helpless
    daughter.
    Strangeness added to beauty
    The readers are proud of having read such a poem built on the agony of a
    wrenching heart that resides in a child for her mother. The poet looks into the gray
    olden age strumming the strings of childhood life. Bringing of the sportive
    children restores vivacity into the relationship. So we may without having a tinge
    of hesitation say, a mother’s love is helplessly trampled under the technological
    terror of airplane wheels.

  81. M.S.Subbulakshmi says:

    Hai! I am M.S.Subbulakshmi from Trichy. Kamala Das is my favourite Indian writer and I do not want to use the term women writer as I do not want to discriminate between men and women writers as creation does not have any boundaries. I am an Assistant Professor now just because of Kamala Das. When I appeared for my SLET exams in 2004 I prepared a lot on so many Indian writers but had a very deep understanding of Kamala Das’ poetries. And its my luck that I had the essay question “Discuss Kamala Das as a confessional poet” which let me clear my

  82. M.S.Subbulakshmi says:

    Hai! I am M.S.Subbulakshmi from Trichy. Kamala Das is my favourite Indian writer and I do not want to use the term women writer as I do not want to discriminate between men and women writers as creation does not have any boundaries. I am an Assistant Professor now just because of Kamala Das. When I appeared for my SLET exams in 2004 I prepared a lot on so many Indian writers but had a very deep understanding of Kamala Das’ poetries. And its my luck that I had the essay question “Discuss Kamala Das as a confessional poet” which let me clear my SLET exams.So I am always indebted to Kamala Das

  83. Murali Nair says:

    I can only comment on the Poems of Kamaladas with another poem sprouting from my own inner self.

    Just as Kamala new the new sprouts of pubic hair in one or two places, I too knew fully well the sprout of not hair, but the burning ambitions of getting lost into the marshy places of the tweny first century which has already marked an absolute diabolic creature waiting to gulp the whole universe of values and morals.

    Kamaldas has done justice to her inner self confessing the anticonventional styles vying with the yonder writers.

    Murali Nair

  84. mohd kunhi says:

    I am looking for her poem WILD HONEY. can anyone help me.thanks

  85. ayha says:

    THANK YOU so much,I Really love aami because she is very much honest….

  86. ravimothsara says:

    I love Kamla Das for her simple and powerful confession.

  87. Kaveri Cm says:

    Kamala das, she is an angel in Indian poetry THANK YOU SO MUCH. Upon to me aami is my friend, kamala das is my teacher, and kamala surayya is my role model, in my life. iam allways thankful to her for helping me to know who iam and my great path.

  88. Madupani Wahalathanthri says:

    I appreciate Kamala Das as a contemporary women writer of India b’cos she always attempts to write about the injustice for women in Indian traditional society. She also emphasizes on sexuality, urban lifestyle,freedom of women,and gender discrimination.As an Indian writer she has post colonial influence in her writings. Linguistics aspect of the Indian culture is obvious as she gives priority to her own vernercular language malayalam both in her writing and speaking. Priyadarshani from Sri Lanka.

  89. i searched too much for her poem ” a hot noon in malabar ” plz help me thanks :)

    • arjunpuri says:

      A HOT NOON IN MALABAR

      This is a noon for beggars with whining
      Voices, a noon for men who come from hills
      with parrots in the cage and fortune cards,
      all stained with time, for brown kurava girls
      with old eyes,who read palms in light singsong
      Voices, for bangle-sellers who spread
      On the cool black floor those red and green and blue
      Bangles , all covered with the dust of the roads,
      For all of them , whose feet , devouring rough
      Miles , grow cracks on the heels, so that when they
      clambered up our porch, the noise was grating
      Strange……. This is noon for strangers who part
      The window-drapes and peer in, their hot eyes
      Brimming with the sun , not seeing a thing in
      Shadowy rooms and turn away and look
      So yearningly at the brick-ledged well. This
      Is a noon for strangers with mistrust in
      Their eyes ,dark silent ones, their voices
      Run wild, like jungle-voices. Yes this is
      A noon for wild men , wild thoughts, wild love. To
      Be here, far away , is torture.Wild feet
      stirring up the dust, this is a hot noon, at my
      home in Malabar, and I so far away

  90. Madhu Verma says:

    My Godess of Love and Letters. She was my subject for M Phil & PhD
    both.People read her……….I lived her in my work for well 6-7 years. May her soul rest in peace.

  91. GRISHMA says:

    I WISH TO READ A POEM –FREAK

  92. Yashwant Singh says:

    It’s great to find so big treasure at one site. Though kamla ji is criticised, she is unique. She really lived her life beautifully.

  93. Preetha Sheru says:

    Being born in the same community i heard only nasty comments about’ my Kamaladas’ from my relatives and elders. But now I want to share my children of age 10 and 12, the writings of her only as it will help them to learn what honesty, truth and maturity are.I even like to measure these elements in others by their liking or disliking towards her

  94. i deeply love kamala das for her simple and power life path

  95. devadharshiny says:

    very beautiful poemssssssss

  96. Kaustav says:

    Could you please upload the poem “Summer in Calcutta”?

  97. shivanthani says:

    hai friends i am a srilankan please help me to buy kamala das poetry books. even in delhi i couldnt find

  98. fathima manal says:

    i accidently reached this blog.now am the happiest person since i can read such a wonderful writer.thanx

  99. priyesh says:

    i loved all her poems.it is very hard to study kamaladas and her emotive levels from a public view.
    we have to analyze and think about her themes and writings from an ordinary way which means from an emotive level of a human being.we cant see the real love and catharsis flow out from her poems by considering our poor man’s life in this conservative world enriched with hatred and poverty for love.
    to understand her we have to love each one in this world

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  116. janish says:

    will you give me the poem “the invitation ” by kamala da. i searched in many sites but i cudn’t get. if i get summary and explanation it will help me to present seminar

  117. kausar says:

    hey i need summary as well as critical appreciation of the poem WINTER very urgently as i have a poetry competition @17 jan 2012 can mail me at such shot notice??????????

  118. kausar says:

    hey need citical analysisi as well as summary of the poem WINTER as i have poetry competition 217 jan 2012 can any1 help me with it at such a short notice plz do reply soon!!!!!!!!!!

  119. garima says:

    thank u so much.. i once read kamla das during my school days..
    an reading her now again turned my day.. kinda festive..
    she is great..

  120. sunil says:

    hiiiiiiiiii

    kamala das’s poem is different to others.
    it is not simple. her poems about feelings of love.
    it is emptiness of life

  121. abhishek says:

    nice blog..but the poem ‘composition’ is missing from all your blogs…could you kindly post the full text of the poem ‘composition’..its very urgent..thank you..

  122. jagz says:

    hii… thanxx.. for uploading kamala das all poems…. its realy vry helpfull……. :)
    can u plz …upload some critics views..,or quots upon kamala das… i really need them…… thanku…

  123. Momo Fliez says:

    can you post “an invitation”? i have searched and searched.. but no use.. :(

  124. vivinparakkottil says:

    we good poems which never says any disqualify

  125. Anju Maria says:

    Hey, nice to go through your blog.. could you please upload the poem ‘Nani’ too ?

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  127. emani venkatesh says:

    I need say only one thing.Your website appeals to me. It’s tastefully done.

  128. Fathima Manal says:

    Sir,can you please tell if Kamala Das had adopted any particular style for composing her poems or were they just simple rhyme less poems?

  129. Abin shaju.C says:

    So good..
    Ella kavithakalum nallathanu.. Enik ishtappettu..
    Ellavarkum eshtappettuvennu vishwasikunnu…
    919633316404

  130. jangry says:

    kamala das the invitation poem plz give it soon

  131. Shinu Thomas says:

    thanks bhaiiii………..i have been searchng ths for an assignmet……thnks a lot
    ………

  132. sandhya rajan says:

    i had read almost all books of kamaladas in malayalam my mother tongue,.i had read some of her poems too.one hot afternoon in malabar some compulsion made me search for her poems and i accidentely came upon this blog.thank you.it is almost uncanny that she sees and feels exactlyas you do,as if she is me.

  133. bobin says:

    hi frns,,,can some1 pls help me,,,i need text of the poem the corridors by kamala das,,,

  134. sgupta says:

    can anybody kindly post her poem “middle age” . i hv searched a lot on internet but couldnt find it. your blog is very rich keep going

  135. anonymus says:

    please give a summary of kamala das’s poem_”The mask”

  136. kaushal kumar verma says:

    thanks 4 uploading but i am unable to understand the whole poem sir, i am having a little bit of problem.

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