Posts filed under ‘A. K. Ramanujan’

Instead of a farewell

A K Ramanujan


To meet and say farewell
to this part of me
that turns and returns
with a different partner
in a square dance,
meeting before I begin to see
seeing after I have done
with meeting,
squaring at last in a glimpse
the ancient circle
of you and me:

how can I say farewell
when farewells are made
only for people who stay
and only for people
who go away?

What I love about the poem is its symmetry, the constant counterpoint of action and reaction, the juxtaposition of opposites that conveys perfectly that hesitation between staying and leaving (how did Rosetti put it? “I half turn to go yet turning stay”). ‘Meet’ and ‘say farewell’, ‘turns’ and ‘returns’, ‘before’ and ‘after’, ‘square’ and ‘circle’, ‘you’ and ‘me’ – trapped between these choices the poem comes to embody the very two-mindedness that it seeks to describe.

Today’s poem is also, by the way, the first appearance of A.K. Ramanujan on Poitre. That’s one more oversight taken care of.


May 16, 2007 at 1:16 am 1 comment