The Unfinished Job

( A tribute to Michelangelo’s Captive , unfinished marble sculpture circa 1506 AD. )

The Mallet's ExorcismThe figure with arching tendons and fear
of closed spaces bides its day –
veiled behind timelines in brilliant stone.

Each time the mallet swoops in,
with its promise of open skies and applause,
the dusty air in the workshop wobbles;
inch by inch, the tether of fate loosens its
grip, and the flaky skin of time floats away.

The sculptor stands in the grey wilderness –
the whelming mist of shifting shapes
and mournful ghosts that haunt him.

Biding their release through his tremulous fingers –
for if they don’t like the mineral home
that he’s built, then they will return to haunt
until he gets it right or taunt
when he gives up in mortal defeat.

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8 Responses to The Unfinished Job

  1. ramya February 1, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    n wat made u think of this to write!!! good as usual.

    • Meena February 2, 2011 at 11:04 am #

      Soni, the thing with your writing…. reading it once is like taking a bite of sinful gooey chocolate cake, and wanting more…. I ended up reading this 5 times over, and each time, I discovered yummy bits I’d missed the last time. Beautiful!!

      • Soni Somarajan February 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

        Thx, Meenz! I know you that you have read me like forever and your kindness/appreciation has contributed in a big way to help me keep the faith. Thank you for being there.

    • Soni Somarajan February 2, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

      Thank you, Ramya! I guess its a variety of reasons but the immediate one which I can pinpoint is drawing a world wherein a creative process takes place.

  2. Ash February 1, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    Its been ages since I read something you wrote and boy, does it feel good. I loved it – particularly the last two lines
    “until he gets it right or taunt
    when he gives up in mortal defeat”
    I might have said this before but wish to say it again – reading you is such a sensory experience. I mean, right now – I feel like I’ve come out of a hot bath. Your words always do that to my mind. Cleanses, teases, refreshes.

    • Soni Somarajan February 2, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

      Thank you, Ash! The irony of the whole creative process described above is that the sculptor can’t afford to make a small mistake (I know lesser ones do that and still cover it up) and even a wrongly-executed chip can render the entire labour useless. This is simply because the sculptor wants to get it the way he sees it in his mind. In poetry, we have the luxury of editing and re-writing in a shorter frame of time while going about the process of getting what you want. And your mistakes don’t live in time like Captive did.

  3. Appu (745) February 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Soni….liked…”…and the flaky skin of time floats away”….
    A sculptor just removes the flakes to expose the sculpture….
    A poet works on a blank screen like a painter….
    Still…….the sculptor’s job needs more care and precision right from the start………

    • Soni Somarajan February 14, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

      Thank you, Appu Sir. Please do visit often and encourage me with your kind words.

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