By Leela Soma
A library, a temple for books, Saraswathi Mahal library
Invoking the goddess of knowledge set in Thanjavur Palace
Holding rare and precious documents on palm leaves,
Titles of literature, medicine inscribed in ancient Tamil, Sanskrit,
Cartography of lands, traced a priceless legacy, books
From all over the world, Samuel Johnson’s dictionary,
A pictorial Bible from Amsterdam, Persian, Urdu, Telugu,
Marathi, languages on palm leaves or paper, with medical
Records of Ayurvedic scholars and their patient cases
Carefully collected and cherished by the Nayaks of Thanjavur
A sixteenth-century treasure, one of the oldest libraries in Asia
Digitised and held for use for the generations to come to learn
the wisdom of the ancestors bestowed by the grace of the goddess.
Leela Soma was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow, Scotland. Her poems and short stories have been published in several anthologies, publications. She has published two novels and two collections of poetry. Her poems have been published in Gutter, The Blue Nib, Anthropocene, Black Bough Poems, The Glasgow Review of Books and many others. She was also was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2020 and the Erbacce Prize 2020. Some of her work reflects her dual heritage of India and Scotland.