Indian Princess Picks Lover out from Gods

Ruth Padel


Indian Princess Picks Lover out from Gods

Ruth Padel


Poem introduction

The next poem does come out of art, in a way; it came from the introduction by Richard Gombrich to a book about the history of shadows, of cast shadows, in painting. But I was interested in the idea of shadow as a guide to you when you don't know what is happening to yourself.

Indian Princess Picks Lover out from Gods

Indian Princess Picks Lover out from Gods

Thank God we cast
A spot of shadow in our lives,
Said the Mahabharata bride,
Facing five versions of her groom -

Your man himself plus four male gods,
Four dead-spit images, self-xeroxed in his shape -
Who recognised that heartbeat,
The man she'd have to part with

By the shadow at his heel. Gods don't go round
Casting shadow. Things we do and feel
(As a leader in The Independent
Put it afterwards) are incomplete,
Imperfect, therefore real.


from Rembrandt Would Have Loved You (Chatto, 1998), copyright © Ruth Padel 1998, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Recordings

Ruth Padel Reading from her Poems

1Writing to Onegin

2Rain

3Kiss

4Mary's Elephant, Elizabeth's Spinet

5Icicles Round A Tree in Dumfriesshire

6The Pazyrak Nomad

7Shaping Up

8Pharaoh's Cup

9Indian Princess Picks Lover Out From Gods

10Pilot Light

11The Soho Leopard

12The Stone That Flows

13The Appointment

14The Red-Gold Border

15Trial

16Godfearing

17Angel