Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Embalmed-------Poetry Thursday

Since my summer vacations started, I have been reading and writing a lot. My muse seems overactive at times. I don't say that I am churning out master pieces. Such times are rare when one writes and writes. I am reading too. In those 23 days, I have finished 12 books. I wrote reviews for a few too. I will not write for all that I read. I still got a LONG list, intend to finish that and keep adding to it as I go along. Posted a book review for Zoya's Story: An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom. All are welcome to read that.

Now back to poetry.
No structured poetry for some time to come. I think I have had my fill of that. It feels good to be back to free verse!

This one is for imagined dialogue for poems. Here a mummy is talking back to an elated archaeologist. I do not think it follows the prompt strictly.


“Long way from home,
hours turned to years,
digging this dump.
Finally, I find
rows and rows
of hitherto
unknown mummies.
It was what I needed
to be renowned.”

“Cutting so deep,
your words offend.
My master died,
I was just a slave.
Wherever he went,
I abided by.
One day I was alive,
next day dead;
what killed me.
My entrails opened.
Cleaned. Sewed.
Hundreds of us
followed him to
his grave.
Elation you feel,
overlooking our
blazing soul.

I wonder why."

Read more dialogues...


  1. Oh wow write reviews..I will sure visit and read it


  2. Gautami -

    I really like this piece. Dialog between living and dead, past and present, searcher and searched -- fascinating.

    The rebuked insensitivity was very poignant.

    Well done!

  3. Nasra: I used write book reviews regularly. I posted those to a few networks too. Now I back at it.

    I owe you that interview. I will come around to it.

    rob: I had written another piece but it did not gel with me. It was one sided. I hope this works. Thanks for your comments.

  4. I love the mummies voice, it's so *dry* and sardonic. :)


  5. it's great that you've given a voice to those slaves who were entombed with their masters.

  6. Definitley not the usual voice given to mummies, who are always portrayed as evil in the monster movies. I like the twist of making the mummy sympathetic.

  7. the dead deserve a voice
    i agree

  8. Spirits entombed ...waiting to be free ... the connection between the living and the dead.
    Good one Guatami :o)

  9. Apparently, some of us don't treat our dead with any more respect than we do the living...what might the excavator have replied?

  10. wow the piece does cross the boundary between the dead and the living. the
    mummy's words filled with raw emotion. masterful write.

    thanks for dropping by my blog. I will link you :D

  11. This made me think of all the lives wasted by slavery. The artists, writers, scientists who could have been, but were instead degraded, used and then killed. The world could have progressed much further than it has now, if only the multitude of buds had been allowed to flourish.
    'If only', a cliché indeed.

  12. Very powerful political statement - reminds me of the inscription on the Pyramids "...and no one was angry enough to speak out."

  13. I think I am on the same page as Paris on this one. I never understood how of all those slaves not one had the courage to speak up against his master. You dialouge changed that view for me and made me realize maybe the real courage was loving a master enough to be able to die with him. I had never thought of it that way. Very good poem. The dialouge is so personal and intriguing. One of my favorites.

  14. The voice is pretty cynical, but it sure rings true!

  15. it is always incredible to see where a prompt takes someone. fantastic. this poem feels powerful to voice to someone in this way is powerful.

  16. I like the dual meaning of "Cutting so deep"--the words and the actual act of excavation. Your mummy's voice feels very authentic.

    Happy Poetry Thursday!

  17. I love both history and archaeology, and I thought this was a wonderful statement on how we often clinically make a value judgement on what we see of the past without actually seeing--better yet, feeling--through the eyes and hearts of those who lived it.

  18. I love this from the mummies point of view ..well done..thanks for the visit..madd

  19. "One day I was alive,
    next day dead;"

    Wow- very powerful.
    As the master, so goeth the slave...

  20. Wow.

    I've never really thought of things through the slaves eyes. They must have just dreaded their master's death because it meant death for them too.

  21. You reminded my of history long forgotten. Very sad and yet I so get the mummy's confusion. Well done!

  22. This works on so many levels, and it makes me think of all the wonderful, very old dialogue poems that are these kinds of arguments.

    This is tremendous.

  23. I liked how you gave a voice to the dead and linked the past to the present.

  24. Gautami! It goes without saying I am thrilled you are back to writing reviews.

    "Embalmed" was a very thougtful piece. It reminds me to be more than just a voyeur but a thoughtful participant when I read history or visit museums.

    A truly beautiful dialogue.

  25. The number of books you read is phenomenal! I will read your book reviews later today. I really love your poem "Embalmed" -- such feeling in it! The entrails and blazing soul are so powerful. And so is the dialogue.

  26. I love it!! I can hear the mummy telling the archeologists to come on in, the dust is fine.

  27. perfect...if a mummy from national geogprahics can speak....:D

    Like the flow...must write something similar soon!

    And its my turn to ask...why r u not in me blog!!!

  28. this is great!
    love the voice of the mummy.

  29. Great job, great dialog! WOw, and I am really impressed with the number of books you've read recently--I wish I could say the same. It seems to take me forever to finish a book.

  30. I like the contrasting views. On the one hand the elation at the discovery of something no one else has found and the fame it will bring the finder. On the other hand, the mummy/slave is saying his death was not for glory, but born of duty.

  31. gautami,
    This gives pause to think about what actually goes before. I like the way you revealed the truth of a situation.

  32. I felt the same things as if the mummy was saying...What ARE you looking at?

  33. i find you very fascinating, gautami. your poetry is deep and rich and fresh and sometimes sharp. and your comments on the blogs are insightful and funny and clever and sometimes provocative.

    i always enjoy seeing your avatar.

  34. Intriguing subject, it works!

  35. I never expected this kind of response. I was in two minds to post this. Glad I did. We always see the excavators views, seldom giving a thought to why/hows of the buried people. Those mummies are fascinating to us. We try to decipher how they were preserved for so long. But along with a well-known person's burial, his various wives and slaves too were kiled and buried along; not to forget the riches. It was assumed he would need all those in the nether land.

    The slaves had no say. They were expected to what their masters desired. If he died, so did they.
    No one gave any thoughts for their innocent lives. According to the prevailing customes, they deserved to die if their master died.

    Few did out of love, most had no say in the matter.

    We seldom think about the under dogs. We see the elation of a find forgetting the depth of pain. The anguish of a slave.

    Thanks for your inputs. I welcome those.

    rax, I linked you too. Your poetry is one of the best I read in the blog world..

  36. The Egyptians came up with a god that was born of a virgin and resurrected on the third day, designed and built pyramids that were miles from available construction materials, and yet their technicians spooned out the brains of the 'Mummy' because they were deemed to be useless. Ironic.

    I really liked your Mummy.
    We associate their stories with tragedy, political intrigue, and endless love. The social injustice of it all reminded me of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shihuang, who built the Great Wall and was buried with an army of terra-cotta soldiers.

    Politicians never go down alone do they? What egomaniacal pigs! I share more of a French Revolutionary vision for disposing of government officials by the people, for the people...those bastards won't be dragging me into an early grave with them.

  37. I understand mummies, but will never really understand archeologists!?:)

  38. Gautami,
    Thumbs up for this one. Thanks to PT, I know your work and the work of other good poets...

  39. What a treat this is! An absolute treat - two sides of the same coin dialogued.

  40. What a unique perspective from which to write a poem...very clever! I especially liked when the mummy said,

    Elation you feel,
    overlooking our
    blazing soul.
    I wonder why."

    Thank you for re-posting this one!

  41. Tiel Aisha Ansari and I, Mike McCulley, have created a 'poetry exchange' blog at Totally Optional Prompts , and you are invited to participate.