K for Karna

All my life, I have been adrift
In a basket, or among scattered friends:
Clouded, under a patronizing Sun – –

My flaws embrace me tighter than
The guilt of broken loyalties:
Someone’s right becomes another’s wrong – –

I am the eldest of all my closest foes
And bowing to a plea at dawn
I fight with one hand tied behind my back – –

A birth, better left unexplained
And, a death by betrayal on a battlefield:
Someone’s boon becomes another’s bane

The Gods indulge in playing their sacred games
The sages long to curse in different tongues:
Brave deeds sprout from rotten seeds.

NOTE: Karna is an important character in the epic Mahabharata. He is “the spiritual son” of Surya, the Sun-God and Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas.

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About VijayNair

I retired as Associate Professor, Department of English, Government Victoria College Palakkad, Kerala. I taught English Language and Literature in various colleges for 31 years. My Ph.D. thesis was on the plays of Wole Soyinka. My collections of verse include "The City and the Hermitage" (1988), "Doors Swing Open" (2008), "Eyes" (2010) and "Whispers of Light in Darkness" (2013). My poems have also appeared in the International Anthologies "I am a Poet" (2013), "With Love" (2013), "Synthesis" (2014) "Poetic Symphonies" (2015) and "Heavenly Hymns" (2015).

5 thoughts on “K for Karna

  1. amitapaul

    A new take on an old mythological story , reminiscent of the story of Moses, who as a baby was placed and found among the bulrushes .

  2. amitapaul

    The Story of Achilles is also very similar . This story of a flawed birth giving rise to a flawed but glorious hero is found in many an ancient culture and is a powerful symbol of Man fighting bravely against Fate .
    Faiz writes :
    Ji’s dhaj se koyi maqtal mein gaya
    Woh Shaan salaamat rehti hai
    Ye jaan toh aani jaani hai
    Iss jaan ki koyi baat nahin

    ( It is the bravery with which you confront your Fate that matters
    As for Death , it must come to to each one of us one day so Life is nothing to be worried about )

  3. amitapaul

    As Macaulay writes in ‘ Horatius’ :

    “To every man upon this earth
    Death cometh soon or late.
    And how can man die better
    Than facing fearful odds,
    For the ashes of his fathers,
    And the temples of his Gods.”

  4. Suma K Gopal

    Quite a different reflection from Karna’s perspective – a man whose life built on losses and sacrifices! Loved the last line – “Brave deeds sprout from rotten seeds” – very profound!


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