Black as the coal workers, soot collects in her hair.

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SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1168
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Black as the coal workers, soot collects in her hair.

#1 Post by SivaRamanathan » 19 Jan 2020, 20:21

Black as the coal workers, soot collects in her hair.

Grandmother ran to pick up a fallen mango
during her own wedding procession.

She plied me with her recollections of railways,
of engines that ran on coal fires and steam.

When a bike was brought down from the train,
a man cycled in circles making her head spin,

while men with shovels fed the coal fire
and the train coughed.

The engine driver, his mate, the fireman,
their whole bodies were black with soot;

she begged oil and powder of green leaves
‘shikaki’ to help them scrub.

I can relate to those coal-fired engines
opening up the western ghats,

but now we look forward to 'The Bullet'
whizzing 400 kilometres an hour.

My tiny grandchild prayed to the roadside coal-iron box
fumes resembling incense --a God.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------.
























2-2-2020
Post Final

Soot, Black as the Coal -Workers, Settles in her Hair

Men with shovels fed the engines
coal-fire, and the train coughed.
The engine driver, his mate, the fire-man
their whole bodies covered with soot.

The little girl who ran away
from her own wedding procession
to pick up a mango that had fallen,
had taken oil and shikaki powder
of dried green leaves and the mace
of ridged gourds out of her father’s house
to help them scrub off soot
from their bare bodies.

‘From this train,’ Grandma said , ‘a bicycle
was brought to the village, and a man
went cycling in circles making my head spin.’

Grandma plied me with recollections
of the first railways, of engines
that ran on coal fire and steam
and opened up the Western Ghats,

though, in her husband’s house
she missed the soot in her hair
which she had had to comb away,

every evening, and they, the engine
driver, and the coal-man missed
her kindness.
























Final ?


Black as the coal workers, the soot collects in her hair


Men with shovels fed the engine coal-fire
and the train coughed.
The engine driver, his mate. the fire man,
their whole bodies covered with soot.

When Grandamma was of mango-plucking-age,
she smuggled oil and shikkaki powder of dried leaves
and the mace of ridged-gourds out of her father’s house
to help them scrub their bodies.

The day a bicycle was brought down from the train,
a man went cycling in circles
making her head spin.

This little girl who ran away
from her wedding procession to play,
plied me with the recollection of railways,
of engines that ran on coal-fires and steam
and opened up the Western Ghats,

though every evening
she had had to comb off soot
black as the coal workers,
away from her hair.

Siva Ramanathan

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------





Pre-Final

Grandmother ran to pick up a fallen mango
during her own wedding procession,
plied me with her recollections of railways,
of engines that ran on coal fires and steam.

When a cycle was brought down from the train,
a man went cycling in circles,
making her head swirl,

while men with shovels
fed the coal fire and the train coughed.
The engine driver, his mate, the fireman,
their whole bodies were black with soot;
she begged oil, the powder of green leaves
‘shikaki’, and the mace of ridged gouards
to help them scrub.

I can relate to those coal fired engines
opening up the western ghats,
but now we look forward to 'The Bullet'
whizzing 400 kilometres an hour.

I saw my tiny grandchild praying to the iron box.
Fumes resemble incense when water is splashed.
Maybe this is how we found our Gods.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rewritten Version


Another version

Men with shovels fed the engine coal-
fire, and the train coughed; the engine driver,
his mate the fire man, their whole bodies
covered with soot, so Grandamma,
when she was the mango- plucking- age
smuggled oil and shikkaki powder of dried leaves
and the mace of ridged-gourds out of her father’s house
to help them scrub their bodies.

At one time a cycle was brought down
from the train; a man went cycling in circle
making her head spin.

This little girl who ran away
from her wedding procession to play,
plied me with the recollection of the railways,
of engines that ran on coal- fires and steam
and opened up the Western Ghats, though
very evening she had had to comb off soot
black as the coal workers, away from her hair.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

























V2

Black as the coal workers, the soot collects in her hair.


Grandmother ran to pick up a fallen mango
during her own wedding procession
plied me with her recollections of the railways
of engines that ran on coal fires and steam.

At one time, a cycle was brought down from the train;
a man went cycling in circles,
making her head swirl.

Men with shovels
fed the coal fire and the train coughed.
The engine driver, his mate the fireman
their whole body was black with soot,
so she begged oil and the powder of green leaves
‘shikaki’to help them scrub.

I can relate to those coal fired engines
opening up the western ghats
but now we look forward to 'The Bullet '
whizzing 400 kilometres an hour.

I saw my tiny grandchild praying to the iron box.
Fumes resemble incense when water is splashed.
Maybe this is how we found our Gods
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
V1

Black as the coal workers, the soot collects in her hair.


Grandmother ran to pick up a fallen mango
during her own wedding procession
plied me with her recollections of the railways
of real engines that ran on coal fires and steam.

At one time, a cycle was brought down from the train
a man went cycling in circles, mere watching
could make her head swirl.

In the meantime men with shovels
fed the coal fire and the train coughed.
The engine driver, his mate the fireman
their whole body was black with soot,
so she begged oil and the powder of green leaves
‘shikaki’to help them scrub.

I can relate to those coal fired engines
cognizing the western ghats
but now we look forward to 'The Bullet '
whizzing 400 kilometres an hour.

I saw my tiny grandchild praying to the iron box.
all those fumes when water is splashed resembles the incense
so perhaps this is how we found our Gods.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1558
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Black as the coal workers, the soot collects in her hair.

#2 Post by BobBradshaw » 19 Jan 2020, 22:33

This is good, Siva. I like how your work your culture into your poems, sometimes in surprising ways. An example is here, in these lines:
so she begged oil and the powder of green leaves
‘shikaki’to help them scrub.


Some small suggestions:
1) remove "real" from S1...unnecessary
2) in S2, simplify it a bit:

At one time, a cycle was brought down from the train
a man went cycling in circles, mere watching
could make her head swirl.

to ?
At one time, a cycle was brought down from the train;
a man went cycling in circles,
making her head swirl.

3) their whole body was black with soot,
Do you want the two men seen as one entity?

4) cognizing....I have never heard anyone use this word. It seems odd, though I know what you mean. Is there another word you could use, one that sounds conversational?

5) take out "the" in front of incense

I love the last stanza, again surprising and related to your rich culture.
I really enjoyed this poem....

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1168
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Black as the coal workers, the soot collects in her hair.

#3 Post by SivaRamanathan » 20 Jan 2020, 19:15

V2

Black as the coal workers, the soot collects in her hair.



Grandmother ran to pick up a fallen mango
during her own wedding procession
plied me with her recollections of the railways
of engines that ran on coal fires and steam.

At one time, a cycle was brought down from the train;
a man went cycling in circles,
making her head swirl.

In the meantime men with shovels
fed the coal fire and the train coughed.
The engine driver, his mate the fireman
their whole body was black with soot,
so she begged oil and the powder of green leaves
‘shikaki’to help them scrub.

I can relate to those coal fired engines
opening up the western ghats
but now we look forward to 'The Bullet '
whizzing 400 kilometres an hour.

I saw my tiny grandchild praying to the iron box.
Fumes resemble incense when water is splashed.
Maybe this is how we found our Gods

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1168
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Black as the coal workers, the soot collects in her hair.

#4 Post by SivaRamanathan » 21 Jan 2020, 06:18

Bob

Does chug-chugging fit,instead of' cognizing?' And also 'plied me with her recollections of the railways,' ;Plied 'is no right.Can you suggest the right word?

"iva

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1558
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Black as the coal workers, the soot collects in her hair.

#5 Post by BobBradshaw » 21 Jan 2020, 09:00

Plied is fine. Chug-chugging? No....maybe "opening up" the western ghats, ie. making them accessible. Or "rumbling across the western ghats"...."thundering", "steaming"

capricorn
Posts: 333
Joined: 21 Sep 2017, 23:23

Re: Black as the coal workers, the soot collects in her hair.

#6 Post by capricorn » 26 Jan 2020, 02:14

Great revision, Siva and a fascinating poem.

I love 'the rain coughed' - such a good description.

'I saw my tiny grandchild praying to the iron box.' makes the poem so personal.

Good ending.
Eira

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1558
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Black as the coal workers, the soot collects in her hair.

#7 Post by BobBradshaw » 28 Jan 2020, 21:04

Siva, take out "in the meantime"....a cliche, and unneeded. I would like to nom this poem by the way...so keep an eye out for the nom

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1168
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Black as the coal workers, the soot collects in her hair.

#8 Post by SivaRamanathan » 28 Jan 2020, 21:35

Bob,thank you.

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 1168
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Soot, Black as the Coal Workers, Collects in her Hair

#9 Post by SivaRamanathan » 01 Feb 2020, 06:48

Bob and Aira,

Please read this once,before it is being sent.

Siva

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