Ananta Madhavan

To Know A Face

To know a face
Return a thousand times,
And scrutinise

Each vibrant grace,
Each shadow of surprise
That fleets across

The den of crimes
Beneath the tell-tale eyes.
To map a face

Survey the gross
Promontories and capes,
And learn to trace

The creasy track
Where grief pursues the past.
To scan a face

Forget the shapes
Your hands and visions raise,
And, tearing back

Each mask, unhinge
The layers of deceit,
Until at last

There comes the maze
Where memories retreat
In thwarted quest

Of rest, and cringe
Before a host of fears,
Return, repeat

The eyes' behest
Within a web of tears
To love a face.

Submitted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Edited: Monday, December 30, 2013
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I wrote this poem as a graduate student in Madras (now called 'Chennai') in south India, in 1955. Published by the 'Illustrated Weekly of India'. Later I sent it to the PEN anthology
of new poems in England. Published in 'New Poems 1958', London.
That anthology included poems by Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath among
others. Later this poem of mine was included in my small collection of Poems, (Writers' Workshop, Calcutta, edited by P. Lal) .

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