Kodaikanal

by Sivakami Velliangiri
The Writer's Block
Second Place, July 2012
Judged by Troy Jollimore


The observatory draws tourists
who come to see dark spots in the sun.

Here they talk ‘climate.’ Space is a snapshot,
a museum of telescopes and explanatory pictures.
Each dark spot is bigger in size than the earth.

Favorable changes might happen, more rains,
unusual, unseasonal blooming of the Kurunchi flowers.

At the house the flowers are the same pastel shades
of intermingled bright hues. Same as when
my half sari twined around the oars of a boat.

Turnips, carrots, bush beans and herbs
still thrive in the backyard. Every summer
we pretend three or four days in a hill station
can reduce the heat of our working days.

Now I search the meaning of ‘Manorama’
Krishna as the full filler of Eternal Bliss
in these hills.


This is a quiet and evocative piece with some clever and memorable bits: “full filling” instead of “fulfilling,” for instance, is very pleasurable. I like the way the speaker and others are introduced almost surreptitiously as the poem progresses – the “my” in the fourth stanza, the “we” in the fifth—each of these is a small and satisfying surprise, and the whole piece gestures at a complete narrative without letting us lock one into place. And the line “Each dark spot is bigger than the earth” has a strange beauty. --Troy Jollimore

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