The poem writes and makes itself mine

(an homage to my DR community – this poem is made entirely of lines from poems posted today)

A turn of phrase or metaphor
For the times cannot be found.
I wish I could learn to talk to trees.
What have I done to deserve this?
It’s an old hackneyed question.
The axe and the blight
The pause and the gush
Scattered twigs
A quilted screen
Yours for the taking
More than I
Can hold.


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.

For GP

Remember that night or was it early morn;
Remember how late it was, fourteen years ago?

The North Star hidden, it was too near dawn;
How hard to recreate  it was, fourteen years ago?

Twenty ninth of April, nineteen ninety nine,
What a random date that was, fourteen years ago.

Not chosen by pundits, consecrated by wine,
Stars in love with fate it was, fourteen years ago.

My distant country, my alien name,
What an odd choice of mate I was, fourteen years ago.

You had no money, no job, no prospect of fame,
I saw only how fortunate I was, fourteen years ago.

I don’t feel very different but gawds how thin I was!
Was it youth or the salads I ate?  (it was fourteen years ago!)

Not our quiet church wedding – but colour without pause;
A celebration consummate it was, fourteen years ago.

There were no other homes here, no weddings took place
We never thought  how desolate it was, fourteen years ago.

We never thought of nations, nor religions nor race,
Only how appropriate it was, fourteen years ago.

For me, who argued every step, Who could never stop thinking things through,
What a declaration, an end to debate it was, fourteen years ago.

Now eternity shines in the girls, in afternoons, in words, in you;
Infinity through an open gate it was, fourteen years ago.

For Anannya, as always

And my last poem, as ever,
Is dedicated to those
Who save us from our
Lives of prose.

We are those warriors who
Forge weapons from sorrow
From the things that haunt us
From our consolations. From each
Thought too tiny to share, from
Those fleeting visions too
Overwhelming to bear. Our wars
Are those that keep beauty awake
That inch of ourselves that remains
Defiant at the end of the day
And finds that one thing that
Is worth our while to say. So you,
My fellow berserkers, give me
Madness for my armour, my
Bearskin of words, and your open
Hearts that are a battle cry. Our
Voices sing each other’s songs
For thirty days, never long
Enough to douse that thirst
Till April ends with May the first.

Not A Poem Too Soon

Shall I write tomorrow’s poem
Today? Steal a moment
From today’s beleaguered few
To consider the possibilities
Weigh outcomes anew?
Or should I see today’s words through?

I could wait for tomorrow’s beauty
To reveal itself slowly, as it is meant
To do. Savour the last lights of the day
Wonder where the hours went.
The moon ponders its waning glow
Seeking a handful of syllables to throw
Into the verses that this day has sent.

Come, Teach Us Again (For Dr.Chandra) – by Rhea Lopez

(In response to her poem Good Be with lots of love from me, and i’m sure the graduating batch of 2014.)

You taught us to never stay locked up,
By society, by Gothic manor-owning spouse,
To let out the women in our attics,
Even if they burned down the house.

(You taught us never to rely on smooth-talking Englishmen,
Come, teach us again.)

“DO NOT CALL ME, unless you’re dying,”
Was the only time you pushed us away,
Other than when we had colds and you, a concert,
To sing at the very next day.

(You taught us to rely on ourselves, not on smooth-talking Englishmen,
Come, teach us again.)

I forgive you for rereading our childhoods,
Illusions of innocence were torn,
See, the tales have always remained,
Even if the fairies have gone.

(You taught us to rely on tales, not fairies,
On ourselves, not smooth-talking Englishmen,
Come, teach us again.)

In the attendance battle post a chicken pox plague,
For two weeks, I was fighting alone.
And then, you stepped in, and the war was won,
And I learnt that I’m not on my own.

(You taught us to rely on tales, not fairies,
On ourselves, not smooth-talking Englishmen,
And whenever we needed it- to rely on you to get us through,
Come, just once more, come teach us again.)


In Gratitude to April Wayfarers

A month of poems ends
With a day dedicated to labour.
A month that began
With a day dedicated to Fools.
Therein lies, perhaps, a metaphor
Requiring another set of tools.
Yeats’s hammer, pummelling thoughts
Into unity; Eliot’s chisel, moulding
Images from handfuls of dust.
The spade of James Wright, folding
Epiphanies into the earth’s crust.
Old Bill’s tarp stretched over our heads
To catch over weaning ambition;
Ghalib and Faiz, Ludhianvi and Mira
Solder and weld the self and creation.
But of all the names and works of hands
Those of you, all banded here
Are closest to the bone. You stand
Together and walk the way
From All Fools to Labour Day.


(April is, of course, National Poetry Writing Month. This poem is dedicated to all the fellow bloggers on Daily Riyaaz who wrote together through April.)