Vachanas

by Ankur Betageri (July 2018)


#159, Herb Kornfeld


 
 
Vachana is a 12th century poetic form which originated in the Kannada language. Vachana literally means ‘saying’, ‘thing said’ or ‘promise’. With the birth of Vachana, Kannada poetry was freed of the metrical and courtly conventions of traditional courtly poetry and its free-verse format made poetry the voice of the working man—the fisherman, the ferryman, the cobbler, the weaver etc.,—as well as that of the minister, the mystic and the rebel. Vachana poetry was revolutionary in that it rejected the Vedic religion, its ritualism, social customs and the caste system.
 
This is my attempt to write vachanas as an atheist.
 
1.
 
What’s revealed
by blaring mantras on loudspeakers?
What rebirth is achieved
by wearing the decaying thread?
I’mBrahmanI’mBrahman
I’mBrahmanI’mBrahman
you mutter until you drown
in delusions of grandeur.
R.W. and W.W., W.B. and T.S.,
what’s with the Aryan bombast and thunder
what’s with the consecration of fertility cults?
You gave psilocybin
to these megalomaniacs
now, who will save them from superlatives
from orgasming on the ineffable?
Look, how they sit in a saintly posture
and think evil of everyone else
O Karlnatha!
 
2.
 
You called woman mayé
because woman-as-phantasm
is adsorbed—not absorbed,
she can be squeezed out of you
like water from a sponge.
Be like a sponge! is your dictum
or better, like thermocol in a tank
or like waterdrop on a lotus-leaf.
 
3.
 
Like Krishna, Kudalasangamadeva
is Transcendental Signified.
And Bhakti, the affect of capture.
So the nomad says,
‘I am the cat who walks by himself
and all places are alike to me’
O Karlnatha.
 
4.
 
There was a time
when you longed for her
then there was a time
you longed for her to disappear
the friction between beings
that produces celestial sparks
also turns them into rocks
O Karlnatha. 
 
5.
 
I am not this form of flesh
I am not my memories or name
I am not the congeries of ideas, yours or mine
I am not anything crystallized or framed—
I am the unformed and form
-ing lightning
between the world and the brain
just the thinking and affecting
and the thought and affected
O Gillenatha.
 
6.
 
If the voice of your conscience 
tells you I am a villain
know that your conscience
is internalized social norms.
Priestly talk has parasitized
your brain
disinfect it with dhamma
O Assalaayana.




 


________________________________
Ankur Betageri is a poet, short fiction writer and visual artist based in New Delhi. He is the author of The Bliss and Madness of Being Human (poetry, 2013) and Bhog and Other Stories (short fiction, 2010). He teaches English at Bharati College, University of Delhi. His poetry has appeared in New English Review, Mascara Literary Review and London Review of Books.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast

 
 
Comments
No comments yet.


Available on Amazon
and Amazon.uk.

Your shopping matters.
Shop at
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/56-2572448 and Amazon donates to World Encounter Institute Inc.

Subscribe

Categories

A.J. Caschetta (6) Alexander Murinson (1) Andrew Harrod (2) Bat Ye'or (6) Brex I Teer (2) Brian of London (32) Christina McIntosh (855) Christopher DeGroot (2) Conrad Black (338) Daniel Mallock (3) David P. Gontar (7) David Solway (75) David Wemyss (1) Dexter Van Zile (74) Dr. Michael Welner (3) Emmet Scott (1) Esmerelda Weatherwax (9125) Fred Leder (1) Friedrich Hansen (7) G. Murphy Donovan (57) Gary Fouse (88) Geert Wilders (12) Geoffrey Clarfield (308) Hannah Rubenstein (3) Hossein Khorram (2) Hugh Fitzgerald (20648) Ibn Warraq (10) Ilana Freedman (2) James Como (16) James Robbins (1) Jerry Gordon (2497) Jerry Gordon and Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah (1) Jesse Sandoval (1) John Constantine (119) John Hajjar (5) John M. Joyce (380) Jonathan Ferguson (1) Jonathan Hausman (4) Joseph S. Spoerl (10) Kenneth Lasson (1) Kenneth Timmerman (25) Lorna Salzman (9) Louis Rene Beres (37) Marc Epstein (6) Mark Anthony Signorelli (11) Mark Durie (7) Mary Jackson (5066) Matthew Hausman (34) Michael Curtis (477) Mordechai Nisan (1) Moshe Dann (1) NER (2568) Nidra Poller (71) Nonie Darwish (3) Norman Berdichevsky (86) Paul Weston (5) Peter McLoughlin (1) Phyllis Chesler (14) Rebecca Bynum (7138) Richard Butrick (24) Richard Kostelanetz (16) Richard L. Benkin (21) Richard L. Cravatts (7) Richard L. Rubenstein (44) Robert Harris (78) Sally Ross (37) Sam Bluefarb (1) Sha’i ben-Tekoa (1) Springtime for Snowflakes (1) Steve Hecht (25) Ted Belman (8) The Law (90) Theodore Dalrymple (797) Thomas J. Scheff (6) Thomas Ország-Land (3) Tom Harb (2) Walid Phares (28) Winfield Myers (1) z - all below inactive (7) z - Ares Demertzis (2) z - Andrew Bostom (74) z - Andy McCarthy (536) z - Artemis Gordon Glidden (881) z - DL Adams (21) z - John Derbyshire (1013) z - Marisol Seibold (26) z - Mark Butterworth (49) z- Robert Bove (1189) zz - Ali Sina (2)
clear
Site Archive