The Maggots

At sunset, on the river bank, Krishna
Loved her for the last time and left…

That night in her husband’s arms, Radha felt
So dead that he asked, What is wrong,
Do you mind my kisses, love? and she said,
No, not at all, but thought, What is
It to the corpse if the maggots nip?

Kamala Das (*1934)

A poem by one of India’s important writers posted for Totally Optional Prompt‘s request for poetry inspired by mythology.

For reference:


About James Steerforth

I am an author of poetry and fiction, translator and painter who loves to have fun with borrowed feathers.
This entry was posted in Life, Literature, Poetry, Stellar poetry, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Maggots

  1. whypaisley says:

    well i know the feeling well.. and whether or not she realizes it now or not.. it is sure to turn into revulsion….. very interesting take on the prompt…

  2. suburbanlife says:

    This a power packed into a few lines; quite the metaphor for the disengaged wife and the cuckholded husband. G

  3. Thank you both for visiting and commenting.

    I quite agree with you, suburbanlife, that this is a very powerful poem.

    What I find so fascinating is that the story of Krishna (the god) and his love Radha (a cowgirl or “gopi”) is thousands of years old and everyone in India is so familiar with it as if it happened yesterday.

  4. Radha Smith, MSW says:

    Perhaps, Mr. Steerforth, it does happen today. 🙂

    The dead heart, “so what does it matter if the maggots eat the flesh,” strikes, indeed, with a fantastic power. Thank you for sharing the poem.

  5. Nisanth says:

    Steerforth, Kamala Das passed away last day. She was born as a Hindu growing with the love and devotion to Krishna. Later she said “I’m converting Krishna into Allah and making him the Prophet after naming him Mohammed. If you go to Guruvayur now Krishna will not be there he will be with me”. and started writing Ya Allah I perceive the Prophet’s features, as
    yet unrevealed, on my beloved’s
    Who once wrote the words you reproduced here.
    She conerted to Islam towards her end.
    She is being cremated under the Islamic custom. Some one who breached the boundaries of Religion.
    With tears, we are going to say farewell to her next morning.
    Thank you for rerading and reproducing the lines once written in our language- Malayalam (an Indian Regional Language)

  6. Pingback: Kamala Das passed away « Steer Forth!

  7. Anonymous says:

    this poem has a very deep meaning … and only that person knows who is the victm …

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