Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bharatanatyam Dancer

- Sudeep Sen
                  for Leela Samson

Spaces in the electric air divide themselves
    in circular rhythms, as the slender
grace of your arms and bell-tied ankles
 describe a geometric topography, real, cosmic,
 one that once reverberated continually in
a prescribed courtyard of an ancient temple

in South India. As your eyelids flit and flirt, and
    match the subtle abhinaya in a flutter
of eye-lashes, the pupils create an
 unusual focus, a sight only ciliary muscles
 blessed and cloaked in celestial kaajal
could possibly enact.

The raw brightness of kanjeevaram silk, of
    your breath, and the nobility of antique silver
adorns you and your dance, reminding us of
 the treasure chest that is only
 half-exposed, disclosed just enough, barely —
for art in its purest form never reveals all.

Even after the arc-lights have long faded,
    the audience, now invisible, have stayed over.
Here, I can still see your pirouettes, frozen
 as time-lapse exposures, feel
 the murmuring shadow of an accompanist’s
intricate raag in this theatre of darkness,

a darkness where oblique memories of my
    quiet Kalakshetra days filter,
matching your very own of another time,
 where darkness itself is sleeping light,
 light that merges, reshapes, and ignites,
dancing delicately in the half-light.

But it is this sacred darkness that endures,
    melting light with desire, desire that simmers
and sparks the radiance of your
 quiet femininity, as the female dancer
 now illuminates everything visible: clear,
poetic, passionate, and ice-pure.

Copyright 2014.

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