For Chaucer, TSE, and Annanya: An Amaltas Poem

Summer without the heat: just sunshine and glory
Every bunch dripping with molten gold, chandeliers
Lighting a delirious dance in some glad apsara’s story
I’ve read of many Aprils now, cruelest of months
Or sweetest, depending on your poet. My ears
Have become tuned to its many songs, a daily
Epiphany, you might say, when each small, mundane
Thing beckons you to its lay. April is the Amaltas month
Each poem an exploding bloom of the secrets of the day.


As ever, my last poem of April for Anannya

I’ll spare you the metaphors of flowers, we
Are all April phools after all. And I’ll desist
From images of gardens and blooming and
Other such, because this one is for Anannya
But also for all of you – all of us, who resist
The stifling of words, the impossibility of
Poetry. To all the pictures of loveliness
That we have sent each other, I add this,
Of lilies. Because they so proudly proclaim
So shamelessly confess to their beauty.
Like trumpets, each head, triumphant
In its glory – and yet, you can close
Your eyes and breathe in its story. Each
Unique, each like its other, they are a
Cluster of gratitude, a world together.

The lily and the amaltas – a May Day labour of love

Fill your lungs with marvel, a wonder
Full of exaltation. To breathe
Each open red heart into your own
A kind of beatitude. They toil not
Nor do they spin yet which of us is
Freed from this sin. I have other
Places I want to be and other flowers
I need to see other labours
That beckon to me so far away
Unreachable so deeply lodged within.
Hours spent in the work of hands when
Other homes and other lands bloom
Yellow, gold, and shades of fire.
Give me an ecstasy of scents or
Bring me a fiery magnificence
But grant me no special beneficence
From this cleaving desire.

Fanfare for all the helping hands

The lilies, like a brass band, march across
The living room, trumpeting their deliciousness
In brazen tones. This year the arch of
Seduction spans seas and souls, bringing
Love in pressurised litres, texts, and zoom – no
Lyrical love songs, no dulcet tones. I hear
The amaltas like a choir over a billion strong
Thundering in my heart, and in my ear
Blasts this unprecedented song, this
Unbridled declaration of the sweetness
That lies at the core. Louder than hate
And evil and maliciousness, prouder
Than the sentries guarding death’s door,

May Day Mayday

How may we labour
To save ourselves?
Shall we gather about us
Bulwarks of uncertainty
To guard us from future
Arrogance? Shall we collect
Images of unaccommodated mankind
That we may be protected
From fears of ennui, enclosed
In our own four walls. Will
The memory of mountains
Not seen in decades ensure
Our survival as a species?
For myself, I call forth
The blazing amaltas that
Flame the streets of my city
That their fire consume the
Distance between us, and
Refine my relief to pity.

Amaltas II

I wish that I could be
The heat that saps a thousand blooms;
The powdered earth that breathes
The sun into its lungs.
I wish my days would be
As quick to ignite into fire
As sudden as gold that feeds
This city’s veins and fields.
I wish every summer’s thirst
Meets that moment when first
The bright chandeliers drop their grace
On my grateful face.

Amaltas: Masks of Summers Past


The pleasure of daffodils
Worth the words of that couch-lier
Danced springbright until
The light one early evening caught
The shine and glow and fire
Of Amaltas. An empty vase
A mirror, a mask – it’s not
As if reflections on summers past
Cannot be painted and worn. It’s just
That sometimes the pleasure of
The Amaltas
Cannot be borne.

The green and gold bronze
The all seeing eye; rivulets
Of yellow run down the ivory cheek.
Of all the things left behind, I
Carried a face to face the lost things
I would seek. It’s not
As if reflections of Indian summers
Can’t be worn. It’s just that sometimes
The memory of Amaltas
Can’t be borne.


(Amaltas is the Indian name for Laburnum)