Poem From

Michael Chacko Daniels'

Split in Two


The telegram was brief—

even in death

an economy for grief—

from careful relatives,

distant and impenetrable:

Beloved Mother dead,

Thursday funeral.

Confused by the news that

Grandma was dead, I lingered

out of sight of Mother’s blurred head,

when I saw entrails of fish

fly out the kitchen window.

She—who’d learned thirty years before

after leaving behind Kerala’s

ancient, durable Christian ghetto

not to dump our refuse

in Hindu cities, and said often,

Some feel unholy, trapped,

by rotting fish and meat

in the all-encompassing

fecund, humid heat—

had violated her

Number One

social harmony rule.

And I began to sense

what I had not till then

amidst life’s daily passageways.

Mother’s mother,

unseen for years,

seldom spoken of,

now stone cold dead.

How was I to know

of the endurance

of the knot that binds

child to mother

despite distance and many

a silent year? Or what

breaks within when hearts

part beyond all earthly hours,

without another chance

to share a single second

or a simple daily sorrow?

~ ~ ~

Mother read the telegram,

then returned to the kitchen

and cleaned fish for father’s

feverish diabetic dinner.

No culinary step was abbreviated

or clumsily forgotten.

Moment after moment,

movement after movement.

This continuity in mundane action

was her mother’s

ultimate hereditary success,

though death had cut the physical tie.

Only after the day’s duty was done

did Mother retreat wordlessly

to the white-tiled bathroom,

where, drowned by the lukewarm shower,

she wrung out her pain.

Afterwards, with green steel trunk

and black umbrella from last season’s rain,

she flew, abrim with memories,

to the wetter, hotter south

of her hope-filled childhood,

her first journey alone in two decades.

I know my own trip south approaches.

Though I’ll go from this much colder clime

back to sunswept, rainswept lands,

I’ll go remembering how my mother went

and how she came back, dry-eyed,

her hardest tears shed,

life’s final farewell done.

From: Split in Two

(Revised Second Edition, 2004, Writers Workshop, Kolkata)
Copyright 2004 Michael Chacko Daniels

Look for Split in Two in May 2005!

Look for Split in Two in May 2005!

Available directly from:

Michael Chacko Daniels

Post Office Box 641724

San Francisco, CA 94109

United States of America

Each copy is beautifully handcrafted, a work of art in itself.

In a world of automated printing and copying, the art of creating books by hand is not fully appreciated. Each time I handle one of these books, I feel honored to have my work memorialized by the traditional craftspeople in Calcutta, India, who contributed their skills to these creations.

Even if my artistic skills as a poet and novelist does not strike a responsive chord in you, I am sure the look and feel of the books will.

It has cost me $25 a copy to complete all the phases of this work. Consider me to be a hopeless romantic at sea in this world of writing and publishing, but I am committed to bringing these fables about modern India, and the poems, to you in these beautiful, handcrafted editions.

Each copy that is requested at this price will be personally signed by me.

These handcrafted, signed copies of the limited, revised second edition will please any book collector and should have added value in the years ahead when hand-produced books, and the novels and poetry they showcase, are history.

Need I add that these lovingly produced books will make excellent presents?

Also available from Writers Workshop, Kolkata.

A Writers Workshop Redbird Book

Writers Workshop books are published by P. Lal from

162/92 Lake Gardens, Calcutta 700045, India.

Layout and lettering by P. Lal.

Printed by Abhijit Nath in a Lake Gardens Press.

Gold-embossed, hand-stitched, hand-pasted, and hand-bound by Tulamiah Mohiuddin with handloom sari cloth woven and designed in India, to provide visual beauty and what the publisher describes as “the intimate texture of book-feel.” The publisher, who glories in that “each WW publication is a hand-crafted artifact,” refuses to hide WW bindings “concealed behind ephemeral glossy jackets.”

ISBN 81-8157-280-7 (Hardback Limited Edition)

ISBN 81-8157-281-5 (Flexiback Limited Edition)

Visit Writers Workshop at www.writersworkshopkolkata.com




And the following

Popular History Pages


____________ * ____________


A Grand Rapids Popular History


Pages from New River Free Press, 1973 to 1977


Your Friendly Guide to Urban Survival & Improvement:




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"The books are beautiful,

they look like little treasures."

--Brenda Coleman

Each copy is

a work of art in itself.

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