A poem by Eunice de Souza

Through a Twitter discussion with Rohit Chopra (an Indian academic based in the US), Eunice deSouza re-emerged in my cluttered mind. DeSouza taught a college friend of mine Reshad at St Xavier’s College, Bombay. I recall the various discussions we had and he also presented me copies of her poems (such were those idyllic days at college when you had the time to indulge in long discussions). In my opinion, she is a major poet of our times; however, she has not gained the global recognition that her work deserves.

Eunice’s poetry is piercing, chilling and leaves you without a strange, uneasy feeling. It is not a disturbing feeling per se but something that stirs yo from inside and refuses to go away. The poem below is a classic example of the powerful impact a few lines can have:

Advice to Women

Keep cats if you want to learn to cope with

the otherness of lovers.

Otherness is not always neglect —

Cats return to their litter trays

when they need to.

Don’t cuss out of the window

at their enemies.

That stare of perpetual surprise

in those great green eyes

will teach you

to die alone.

The poem and the comment has been stolen from Rohit’s hibernating blog:

“This is a really off-beat poem – comparing a cat’s haughtily indifferent attitude towards life, the universe and everything (it’s always there – and it’s all mine – let it be) to what a woman’s reaction must be when jilted by a lover.”

Read more here: http://wonderingminstrels.blogspot.com/2001/01/advice-to-women-eunice-desouza.html

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