Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Night is Dark from Street to Street

Ramabai C. Trikannad

A couple of years ago, I reproduced two of my late grandmother's poems Love Ageth Not and How Long? Here is another, which, in my opinion, reveals a different side to her writing. The Night is Dark from Street to Street is mildly noirish, though I'm sure she never meant it to be. She mainly wrote about families, parenting, relationships, and faith and prayer, often with humour.

Ramabai C. Trikannad, writer and poet, was inspired by the works of Agatha Christie, Peter Cheney and Erle Stanley Gardner, and P.G. Wodehouse. Some of her other favourite authors and poets were Shaw, Wilde, Keats, and Shelley. She loved the Classics. Together, they influenced most of her simple yet lucid writing published in 1940s and 1950s, in now defunct publications. I have them all—a treasured gift from her eldest son and my uncle.

The night is dark from street to street
I grope with my hands and feel with my feet
I think longingly of my house
Awhile the empty streets I roam.

A cosy fireside, a well earned rest
A wife — an angel of the best
All these I left in heedlessness
'tis too late now to make redress.

So on I trudge the weary track
It is no use now looking back
Ah! Who's there? A step behind me
A hazy form I dimly see.

I see it stealthily advance
I vow to fight and take my chance
"Hullo!" 'tis Swami, "How do you do?"
"I have run out of tobacco too!"

Step by step we walk very fast
The tobacco shop light gleams at last.



© Ramabai C. Trikannad

16 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you shared this, Prashant. Your grandmother really creates a solid sense of place here, and tells a story well. I hope you'll share more of her work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Margot. She was very well-read and spoke and wrote excellent English, as did her father who wrote over two dozen philosophical, mainly spiritual, books.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. I like it too, Charles. There is humour in her writing, especially in the poems and columns she wrote for newspapers.

      Delete
  3. Very nice, Prashant. I am glad you shared this poem with us. It is like a very short story in verse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tracy. Most of her poems read that way. In fact, my grandmother also published a collection of short stories called "Victory of Faith and Other Stories."

      Delete
  4. I can see the Wodehouse influence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oscar, she was fond of Wodehouse and Christie and got her children to read them when they grew up.

      Delete
  5. Nice poem - raises a smile and I think we all know those feelings...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Moira. Marriage and family are central to most of her writing.

      Delete
  6. I think Noirish is a good way of putting it Prashant, but with a decided twinkle - thanks chum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sergio. As far as I know, she never read noir fiction. As Col observes below, her poems do have that little twist at the end.

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Thanks, Col. Her poems can be interpreted in ways she didn't mean to write them.

      Delete
  8. Prashant - Thanks for posting this poem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Elgin. Every now and then I read her prose and poetry and admire the simplicity of her writing.

      Delete