Teflon pen

“… all babies are born with knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother’s heart is in iambic meter. Then, life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us." - Billy Collins

It is essential for the readers of this blog to acquaint themselves with the phases of this writer's literary history, in order to better appreciate the forthcoming contents. Till I was 20, I was quite attracted to sombre stuff like the Billy Collins quote above. Its poignancy would have drawn some sighs and long ruminations from yours truly. Now, if I were to be surprised by a curve-ball of that sort I deftly observe "Pretty stiff stuff that" and move on with the usual business of existence.

A mature sense of humour, which some detractors have mistaken to be flippancy, elevated my persona almost as soon as I was done with being a teenager. Given that this emotional progression is usually in the reverse, it will have to be said that this author has always lived his life in reverse. Perhaps drawing from the wise insight of one Søren Kierkegaard: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Don't groan, you were sufficiently warned in the first post that this blog is going to be about chronic name dropping. Heck, I heard that Kiekegaard quote in an amusingly relevant context, from my professor at the start an "Introduction to Dynamic Programming" class.

Anyway, in what I shall call the sombre phase, the oevre was dominated by deep existential concern coupled with scant regard to form. A sample:

What else is there to make us stay?
What more than Beauty ?
Transforms the mundane Moment
Into an illusory Snowflake

But what use does he have for beautywho can't come to terms with:
Hot breath and cold sweat;
They speak for themselves
Eloquent flagbearers of Proximity
They laugh when I call Man an Aesthete

Ridicule is stronger than proof
Must I then bow to Truth ?
'What is truth ?' I'll ask Pilate-like
And then wash my hands.

Truth is not my purpose
It is seldom beautiful.

20 changed all that. Guard was up, growing up happened and it became essential to be amused than concerned. Limiting "moral concern" to oneself, figuring out "how to fit" rather than changing the world etc. have been humble intentions of this writer always. So it is only the form and tone that have gone under observable change. Here is the first poem marking the conscious change in approach acknowledging the importance of form and choice of tone.


Rereading, my poems made me sick
Grey pictures of a no good nick
Then you were cruel only to be kind
‘Blank verse reveals a blank mind’
And I’ve graduated to Limerick

My prof thinks I’m taking down notes
While I search for a line ending ‘boats’
For poetry I do dare
For math I do not care
Non-poets may go love goats

Rigorous math with epsilons
Enough to upset the balance
Of the simple life of a simple man
Mathematicians do all they can
To fortify us with malevolence

‘Character efforts whet’
‘Man is the child of his sweat’
Never mind all such clatter
I’d like my like my life on a platter
And so do you I bet

That I’m trading life for ease
Does perhaps give peace
But I know it’s a half-truth
For life lacking in ruth
Shall patternize this squeeze

Discarding lie after lie
In search of a central why ?
But philosophical excess
Is a deterrent to success
Which itself does definition defy

Depression in free supply
When you do care to apply
Rendering this attempt to be punny
Not even remotely funny
God! More effort this does imply!

The purpose of this post is forewarn readers not to be impressed by works from the earlier phase, that may make an appearance here and prevent conversations like

me: eppo sonnEn ?
reader: annikku sonneengaLE
me: adhu vEra aaLu


  1. So was there a significant life-altering event at 20 or was it just an accretion of experiences that culminated at 20? And why 20?

  2. Significant ? Notwithstanding what Robert McKee says: nothing happens. Does it ?
    If anything you try to create the eventfulness. Looking back and to exploit a pun possibility, there was a marked departure at 20, in that I stopped being a day scholar (nice try) and moved away from home.

    Since this concerns my favourite suibject, me, my reply is more elaborate than you bargained for.

    It is sad and blackhumorous how in the ignorant innocence of youth, one thinks change will come from environment and events and not from oneself. Unfortunately I already knew I couldn't go to a "new place and start being a new person". A pre-emptive justification piece written back then.

    தனிக்கவே யோக்கியனாய் இருந்து நான் முடித்ததும்
    துளிர்க்கவே வழிவிடா ஓர்மையை ஒழித்ததும்

    எனது பழி சுமக்கப்போகும்
    செல்லப் புது உலகங்களுக்கு
    என்ன தருவேன்

    இருக்கும் ஒன்றையும்

    The change in poetic style (!), was not a manifestation of a change as my publicist encouraged me to mislead you. It was perhaps the only change.


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