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Chitrakavi: Picture-Verse


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Chitrakavi: Picture-Verse

Chitrakavi or Chitra-bandha or chitra-kavya is a form of verse that originated in Sanskrit and popularized in Tamil prosody.

In this form, a verse is bound (bhanda) inside a picture (chitra). The verse need not be about the picture. It can be on any subject that the poet desires, but its letters should fit within the various crisscrossing dhruva (pre-determined fixed points) inside a chitra (picture).

If you search in Google images, with the term 'chitrakavya sanskrit', an amazing number of simple and complicated picture-verses would crop up! Even a pundit of poetry would find it difficult to master all the picture forms! But every poet can try out some simple forms, just for fun, if not anything!

Because of the crisscrossing binding points that force certain letters to be the same across the different parts, as the verse lines move over the pre-fixed points, composing a picture-verse results in cooked up lines that lack deeper meaning. However, it would still be fun to cook up these lines, based on the challenges thrown by the pictorial fixed points.

Since English is syllable-based,—not letter-based,—the English Picture-Verse could be composed by placing one syllable (instead of one letter) at each pictorial fixed point.

I start my chitrakavi, with a simple picture: shara-bandham: arrow-bind. 

01. shara-bandham: arrow-bind

Arrow-bind elements:
1. Written in two lines of verse, in any meter
2. The first and the last word are common to both lines.
3. In between, the pattern alternates between varying and common syllables.

A textual representation of the Arrow-bind could be as below:

                L1S1                           L1S3                         L1S5 ... 
FirstWord ------- L1S2/L2S2 -------- L1S4/L2S4 ----------------- LastWord
                L2S1                           L2S3                        L2S5 ... 

The following example, and the picture-verse that follows, would make it all clear.

chitrakavi: picture-verse
01. shara-bandham: arrow-bind
gurunAthan ramaNi

27 Jan 2021

(arrow-bind: four syllables)

Morning showers drench the dry ground.
Morning  flowers  scent the wet ground.

                sho           drench                 dry  
Morning ———wers ————— the ———  ground. 
                flo             scent                   wet



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  • 9 months later...

Hello,   I would like to include this post in the forms section Exploring the Craft of Writing Poetry.  I would just move the post to Indian Poetic Forms Section and add the name to the Alpha Index.  I would not attempt to duplicate this but welcome a contributer. 


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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