To contact Ruth, you can email her agent, Robert Kirby at United Agents, London:

If you want to know something about the background to her poem ‘You, Shiva and My Mum’ here is a page on it.

From Ruth Padel

                                          YOU SHIVA AND MY MUM
This poem takes off from a trip our family made in the height of summer, just before the monsoon broke, to the wedding of one of my brothers. He was marrying a girl in a mountain village of remote rural Orissa, an Indian state famous in the 19th century.for human sacrifice.
That village is in a tribal, ie non-Hindu, area. But as far as the Hindus in it are concerned, it is protected by a goddess called Maa Markoma. And above,in steep broken rocks by a waterfall, is a cave-shrine to the god Shiva whose image is painted on the cliff-face outside. Shiva’s familiar vehicle is a bull, Nandi – whose statue, lying down, is usually outside any shrine to Shiva.
The wedding rituals included us, the women and girls, having our faces painted with yellow turmeric and our feet painted with henna.
Cows are sacred in India so they wander everywhere and, like the buffalo, they sleep everywhere too – and cause a lot of traffic problems.  The sleeping calves look like heaps or puddles of wood-shavings.
And the “you” must (mustn’t it?) refer to a partner or lover back home.
So maybe the poem is partly “about” (whatever that word means) making connections – over continents, time zones, families?

. Shiva’s vehicle, the Nandi bull


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