For Shakespeare, wherever I may find him

All the worlds a page
And all the men and women
Poetry in the writing
Stage. The death of
Bards should make us
Think of grief and joy as
Pen and ink.

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Living Organs

As dusty brown as the loft
It rests in, its rusty crown
Soft with deflected sun
It’s keys ivory yet not so white
As to shine in the battened down
Window’s muted light
Such pipes as once breathed
Majestic airs, silver-gleam
In proud ranks still. Place
An ageing organ wheresoever
You will, it is part of a body, a
Living thing. Climb the stairs,
Open the doors, walk the floors,
Hear it sing.

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Follow the Sun

When giving directions
to daughters, the astute father
is usually content with rights
And lefts, and the odd mention
Of traffic lights. “Follow the sun”
My girls are told, and I think
– So much wisdom for one
Instruction to hold. Teary eyed
I listen for further pearls.
“Then go straight and turn right”.
And that, my friend, is how
We failed to rendezvous one
Lovely summer evening. So
Now, as you wonder if there is
A deeper meaning – remember
‘Second star to the right and
Straight on till morning’? Cute
Peter Pan moment is actually
A warning.

April Fool

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In velvets and lace, gold
And pointy shoes, ribboned
Cuffs and ankle ties, the
Finely painted eyes that hold
A glimmer of knowing hidden
In a fine mist of white – almost
Motley, almost the Fool, a thing
Crafted from Venetian light.
Of Christmas ornaments long since
Taken down, this last survives.
Perhaps it alone bears the hints
Of the wisdom of the clown
In the warming Spring of our lives.

“Its loveliness increases”

It is a souvenir. Made from lack
Of artistic flare, meant for serving
Soups and such. An afternoon of festivity.
And to make up for my lack of creativity
I wrote on the inside when I was done –
“Ask for more!” Everyone thought that was fun.
Sometime later it broke, as these things do.
Glued together, it held the minutiae of our lives
Not much good any more for serving soup,
It managed to serve as a keeper of lost erasers,
Pencil stubs, cracked sharpeners, rubber bands
Retied into serviceable loops, bits of broken
Things. Today I rescued perfectly dried roses
Stiffened on their stems. I repotted them in token
Of all the things waiting to be renewed that hands
Cannot remake. A keepsake that forecloses
The possibility of newness, a thing of fleeting
Beauty. Kept for the sake of keeping.

Gratuitous Picture of Dog Attached (You’re Welcome)

My daughter thinks time stands still
While she plays with her dog. She’s not
Done licking my hand, she explains, chill,
Mom. It’s late, maths awaits, but what
I clearly don’t understand – the eye-roll
Punctuates the exasperation –
Is how time and tide wait, and no bells toll,
And the earth stills its rotation;
Clock hands twiddle their thumbs, because
The dog and her human haven’t played all day.
And here’s the riddle: Why is it so late, calculus
Takes so long! she wails. This is probably not
A good time to weigh Time taken against
Time spent, and when we wonder where the years
Went, will those hours learning calculus
Help us calculate value-per-lick versus
The short end of homework’s stick?

Unnameable II

I remember when my girls were small,
I trained myself never to say their hands
Were soft as flowers. Or that their faces
And smiles and dancing figures brought
To mind roses or lilies or stalks of tall
Rajnigandhas. Not even the thought
Was allowed to enter my heart. A heart
In whose depths lay a memory so wild
-“She was like a flower, my little child” –
A mother whispering of her girl, 2002.
I will never – am never allowed to – forget you.