Lines and limbs

.  “It is the line, as the custodian of the syllable, that controls the shape of a poem. Vowels expand the line; consonants contract it. … The line is the divining rod that releases the wellspring of poetry” (R. Parthasarathy). Perhaps this is also true of lineation in most English haiku?
.  I’ve just finished reading R.P.’s magnificent English translation of the 5th Century Tamil epic, the Cilappatikaram. On the first day of this year, out on the Coromandel Coast near the mouth of the Kaveri River at Poombukar, I had stumbled on a tiny local museum commemorating this gem of world literature. Thus was my interest in the epic awakened.
.  Epics could not be farther away from haiku in their length and form, and yet, strolling along the seashore afterwards amidst the holiday throng, I found a simple haiku to take away from my encounter with the mythic/erotic/heroic story of Kannaki and Kovalam I’d had that day …

Lithe black limbs flailing
As they dash into the sea …
Waves crash back.

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