Ruth Padel

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

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