Friday, May 20, 2005

The Dance of the Eunuchs - Kamala Das


"The Dance of the Eunuchs" by Kamala Das is a descriptive poem. It describes the dance of the eunuchs in an Indian street. Obviously, they are trying to eke out a livelihood by dancing. Their dancing is mechanical and painful. The conditions and the climate are forbidding. The spectators are merciless. Even God seems to add to their woes.
Features of the Eunuchs:

It was very hot even before the eunuchs began to dance. They were wearing skirts. They had long braids. They wore jasmine in their hair and had green tatoos on their cheeks. They were generally dark, though some were almost fair. They were thin in limbs and dry. Obviously they were under fed.

Dance of the Eunuchs:

The eunuchs sang and danced. When they danced, their skirts went round and round. They danced to the accompaniment of cymbals and drums. When they danced, their anklets were jingling and the cymbals produced loud music. They danced under the red gulmohar with their long braids flying and their dark eyes flashing, as they danced barefooted in the hot sun. They bled.

Eunuchs - Behind the Mask:

The eunuchs' voices were harsh and their songs were full of melancholy. The themes of their songs were those of lovers dying and sterility (children left unborn). Some beat their drums while others beat their flat breasts and wept. The joy on their faces was only a mask as they writhed in pain and their faces were really vacant... ... ...

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