Courage II (Or: What the Lady M can teach us on Shakespeare’s birthday)

“But screw your courage
To the sticking place”, she said,
And I think of my fear as
Something you can embed –
A small, innocuous wooden peg.
Of my grief as a
Finely tuned thing, a string
Instrument, where each
Memory is stretched
Clear and fixed
At its appointed pitch
Across a body delicately
Calibrated, the mind a sturdy
Soundpost, designated
Survivor, carved with incisions
That each anxiety may breathe
And all, in resonated precision
Hum in its wake
And I take
My fate in my hands
Like a bow on the wing,
And courage is the song
That the strung heart sings.

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.)