Poem Therapy: Sita - Jason Schneiderman

Sita enduring the ordeal by fire Mughal, ca. 1600

Jason Schneiderman

Do you remember Sita? How when Hanuman came to rescue her
she refused, how she insisted that Rama come openly,
defeat her captor Ravana openly? She had no desire for stealth,
no desire for intrigue, and though Ravana could not touch her
for the curse on his flesh, she remained captive until Rama came.
Do you remember that she was tortured? That Hunaman asked her
for permission to kill the women who had tortured her? Do you
remember how she walked through fire to prove her purity,
even though everyone knew of the curse on Ravana? How the people
said the fire didn't matter because Fire was the brother of her mother, Earth?
How Rama was as weak in the face of his people as he
had been strong in the face of Ravana? Can you imagine the eyes
of Sita when she refused another test? When she looked at Rama,
a man she loved enough to die for, a man who was a god, and knew
it was over? Can you imagine her eyes in that moment, as she asked
her mother to take her back, to swallow her back into the earth? I think my eyes are like that now,leaving you.

I understand Sita's "enough is enough" come to Jesus moment,(yes, I know I am mixing my religious metaphors), in which she finally realizes that her love is not enough, that it will never be enough, for a lover like Rama, whose pride, or wound, or ego, or whatever, will always require another test.

I imagine Sita's eyes, a mix of fury and relief when she asks to be swallowed back into the earth.

I think I'd like to write this poet a letter:

Dear Jason Schneiderman,

I read your poem on poets.org at exactly 2:45 this afternoon. As my eyes moved across your words, I felt as if a small hand had reached inside my jacket, wormed through my shirt, and plunged its sharp fingers through my flesh, grabbed hold of my solar plexus and gave me a good you have my full attention shake.

Thank you for articulating my emotions so accurately.


P.S. I plan to read more of your poems, but I am going to need a lot of chocolate to survive if this poem is indicative of your oeuvre.


  1. Thanks for your lovely letter, Danna! My friend showed me your blog post last night, and I had one of those weird art moments where you think, "I ripped out your heart? Awesome! Exactly what I was going for." Yours, Jason

  2. Thanks Jason, for the note, and especially for the poem. I love it when I chance across a poem that speaks directly to the heart.