Monday, February 14, 2022

Swan Lake


                  SWAN LAKE  

New Poems 


Gopikrishnan Kottoor 




Gopikrishnan Kottoor is an award winning poet. He founded Poetry Chain. He presently edits the online poetry journal He lives in Trivandrum, Kerala.  




The author is indebted to the editors of the following publications in which some of the poems in this collection first appeared or will appear: Mahesh Paudyal, The Gorkhatimes, A J Thomas, Indian Literature, (Sahitya Akademi) Premila Paul and Ganesh, Kavya Bharati, (SCILET) Gautam Karmakar, The Lie of the Land (Sahitya Akademi) Sukrita Paul and Vinita Agrawal, The Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English, 2020, Sudhir Aurora, Creation and Criticism, Gayatri Majumdar, The Brown Critique Home Anthology, K. Jayakumar and Sangeetha Kaul, The Journal of the Poetry Society, India, Saumya Choudhury, Delhi Slam Wingword Poetry Anthology, Kritika, The Hindu Daily, Sudeep Sen Ed. Best Asian Poetry 2021, Kitaab International, Singapore, Mandira Ghosh, and Amarendra Khatua, Travel Poems, New Delhi, and not least, to all Facebook friends who keep returning to my poems and have been in many untold ways inspirational. 




About the Author iii 

Acknowledgements iv 



GOA, 2018 15 





















THE AFTERMATH OF 14.02.2019 44 












FUR 61 





DAWN 68 








7.30 A.M 77




MAY 2021 81 















SIN 96 















MIST 112 

TORN 113 







BED 121 



SPACE 124 
























BLAME 149 










STORM 159 






































LOSS 198












FERNS 210 






AH, POEM 216 



WHY 220 










THEN 234




The House Where We Stayed 

From the bus I can see 

 The house where we stayed. 


All that coming home, late, 

Looking up at the stars, 

As though someone was looking for me 

All over earth. 


There was Ruby 

wagging her brown tail, 

waiting for her saucer of milk 

Quieter than the Buddha Under the Banyan tree. 


Those footsteps that came up to the stairs, 

They always disappeared 

At the door bell. 


Is mummy there in the kitchen, 

Still peeling onions for the night meal? 

Is little Daisy singing in the shower, 

The water boiling on the stove

 For Daddy’s Last cup of tea? 


Song of the Guitar 

Tonight, I hear guitar music. 

I’ve heard this music before. 

I hear him, 

Among the voices of the crickets

 And the breaking wings 

Of the falling alates.

 The rain is painting a picture  

Of wet, burning light. 

This music— 

It is that boy again— 

He’s plucking hard at the guitar strings. I’ve heard him shout, 

Call his father a dog  

Now his father is on the other side. 

He has once again taken the guitar off the wall. 

Now he begins to know  


How hard, it is 

 To sing, to make it feel  it was just a flow. He’s thinking  

As he makes his music,

 It is your son here, dad, 

I’m deeply sorry. 

I can smell your fingerprints, dad, 

Upon these strings 

Just like your lips, 


All over my face.  



Goa, 2018 

There’s a crucifix 

Near the seashore, 

Atop a home by the sea,

 Of a boy who drowned,  

And I hug it. 

Christ never felt so close, so human, So warm. 

I think of him drowning, 

His body washed ashore. 

Late that night I see the last man in the bar 

Dwelling in fish 

Shrunken omelette, and rain. 

There’s music, I’m drowned already, That song. 

It must be the Pussy Cats. 

My friend tells me 

Let’s get back to Yellow House. 

One more drink, 


My boy, my little boy swallowing the Goan sea, 

The whole of it 


I start the scooter  


Somebody’s son’s crucifix 

Upon a tiny mossed 



Looking at My Father’s Photograph

 on Father’s Day  

That calm gaze on his face, 

That awaits  the wuthering moor. 

The valleys made fonder with sorrow where

 Those shivering lights hung,  overlooking  a night’s sad waters. 

I look at him, 

stopping to think what thought must have been in his mind. 

A small cold feast on the table past supper-time, 

The wait for daughter’s disappearing with the evening trains,  

Of sons crash-landing in distant seas, 

Those meadows in his eyes, undone, 

Across the far bridges of our longings, The secret origami unfolding 

 unquenched tears, as with one side paralyzed,  

A pain subterranean seeks its answer 

gazing at God’s mysterious dominion,  His vast blue unrelenting skies. 



The Direction 

Next to the farm house of death

 is the small ghost town. God knows the time I took to get in here 

Nobody gave me the right direction. 

I had to find my own way. 


The lights kept vanishing. Betrayals, turned to fat bandicoots snorting the dark; 


Love stripped and dumped was a stopped moan of a raped foetus

 among the leaves. Past seasons in orgy crucifying fire. 


Ghost town looks neater, so quiet, laid white like a table cloth by a straight nun. 


It wasn’t at all like they said it would be. 


The cherry trees hold still green cherries that don’t need to turn red and fall. 


Time puts me in safe mode on delicate hold; 


Yesterday’s rivers turn to ice 

and flow on.  

The Dollhouse 

Dolls don’t live In dollhouses. 


They cry the tears 

Of our young daughters 


Combing long hair 

Thinking love 

Will precipitate 

The mid night air. 


They don’t turn fools, 

These dolls... 

They jump red lips, 

Play see saw upon eye lids 

Dream of young heroes 

And idle to sleep, 


Wink with blue eyes 

Dressed with opulent lies 

Open their tresses  

Like news satellites, 


How they wet dreams. 

But they never slit their veins. 

They never bring forth blood. 


They know no railway tracks 

Though love is all they need 

They don’t ever need to cry 

Or, fall down suicide point 


To die. 


And, they don’t live in dollhouses. They float in the air,

 Their arms ever ready for love

 Sans infidelity. 


Late in the evenings 

After a few sad beers they don’t drive into unlit Dollhouses

 Like we do. 


The White Spider 

She has grace, and is Miss Beautiful As she spreads her beauty in white mat 

Upon the orchid flowers. 


Her blue eyes are dark roses 

Bred in sky breeding among the white clouds. 


She knows she is beautiful,

 That she won’t scare you letting you get near her. 


Her web knows the art 

Of turning diamonds into morning dew. 

You let her climb you, 

Oh, she’s sheer white 

Folding into softest wafer 

That can glide between kissing lips 

And you want to go and touch her 

Refusing to believe 

All that they say 

That she’s the richest 

Poison bag 

 in love’s perfumed garden. 



We tell each other it must never crack. 

That’s why you blow the sand bubbles so light. 

Like first time kisses.

 That’s why you wash it  beautiful in the river. 

Like tears that mirror love. 


Let the glass be, let the glass be, 

so that its crystal flowers look like love looks as though it is born never to die. 


But we know when love dies, 

don’t we, though we don’t tell each other 

and the silence rises and sets. 


We hold the glass saying we mustn’t let it fall. 

But inside us  it is all very clear. 

Better it breaks  while we are still together. 



Out in the Woods 

I was out in the woods  

All forest, 

With the rain 

For company 

Singing my mother’s tune. 

That was when


In the latch of sleep 

Opened the night window 

 Calling out to me. 

What are you doing, my son? 

Come in, come in from the rain, 

Come in and dry

 Before you catch a cold. 

That was all that he said. 

All wild and wet  

I rushed in from the woods, 

Running into, 

Where father stood, 

All dark as when darkness is hissing serpent hood. 

Out there, 

Forest on forest, glowing emeraldine 

And here, tip-toe upon a missing heartbeat  

Is father dancing, 

Death-dancing with mother 

In the singing rain. 



Tiger Skin 

I still remember the tiger skin 

Halcyon on the wall in our Pooja room Vying with the great Gods,

 Lord Krishna, Shiva, 

And the little Elephant-God. 


Its snowing lamb-fleece from under,  Rising aurous  

Across looped black-rock lashes; 

That scoop of one lone curved claw, faded jewel,  

A resting fang. 


Mother would spread it upon the floor 

Revering there the Bhagavad-Gita  

as she lit the sacred oil lamp; 


And then, Om Nama Shivaya Transcendent, rocked all eyes shut in nirvana,

 And I forgot  the homebound birds’ pecking lullaby 

Outside our window,  

While rising acrophilic 

In a rendezvous of razoring sabre That cut through the rhythm  of our night bells pealing,

 The curved claw a lit ruby,

 Pincing muted terror 

There he stood 

By the misted water’s edge,

 the last red drops on his tongue, 

a quiet mantra, 

Trickling down his dripping avalanche.  


A light brown heifer tethered to a stumprises in circles; and sensing it cannot get off its rope-hold calls out to its mother, perhaps dreaming of her udder. Upon the red-brown mossed laterite hill,  the serpent-twined Radhamadhavam puts forth its arduous red 

like Radha’s fingers playing upon Krishna’s lute upon his lips;  

The rice fields ripple their green milk into the river as the few mynahs and parakeets trim the dragon-fly air, 

a lonely blood eyed koel cowering 

among the low branches of the yellow red fruiting cashew blossoms 

with juicy smells of arousal 

of calf-love wedded to love’s nudity among haystacks; 

In the distance, 

in the centuries’ old Shiva temple, amid turmeric serpent hoods, 

the river-drenched priest lights the ancient bronze lamps 

as within the sanctum dark, a sleeping god rises a flamboyant redeemer of the universe;

 In the algae dense temple pond, 

 the dark girls wade, who’ll soon flower their lord, their wet breasts hitting the waterlilies as lily on lily,  

that forgives touch forbidden  by love’s memories. 

Upon the temple podium wreathing in dust, an elder one 

puts on his evening Kathakali mask, becomes the blue lord Krishna, 

the Supreme charioteer of Karma in the battle of Kurukshetra. 

Now the orange sun seeks its daily burial under the sea as the lake water ripples, ear-ringing the water lilies the blue and violet bank flowers, and the sound of the temple conch, 

awakens the coconut fronds that spread their palms in the air and dance in peacock swarms, as the jack leaves and the temple peepul leaves 

swirl breathless in an embedded Bharatnatyam trance....  


Dragon fly 

My bright dragon fly  is always 

A memory of childhood, lit, 

Alighted, wings puckering 

To rocket stillness 

On a long breezing sky reed 

Before its falling mourning; 

Dazing its 360 degrees  

Misty milk green head, laced with all over inflamed Jet blue eyes, 

As the sun throws its cavalier dice all over burning, 

Casting ivory, and ebony, light flowing quick silver, 

As the long wire body, an Alveoli lyre Lights up its pristine fire Of green and red coal lava. 

And there, my wind hover, 

 He’s beautifying spring, 

Simple thing. 


The Electricity Goes off at Night 

There is now this primeval darkness, 

The darkness  

Before which, as to a God,

 Man learnt to light a fire. 

It brings on a stillness, 

And with it, a perfume of leaves,

 Of clouds, you cannot quite name. There is now this utter calm, 

As in the Buddha’s closed eyes. 

A smell of the river in the distance, 

With its fragrance of swimming fish, or a water snake  

And lilies closing like chapters of a song book closed for the day. 

This is a kind of darkness  

Kalidasan must have walked through in the deep woods

 To get drunk, to be with his concubine, and get killed. 

This darkness, that brings on poetry of the rarest kind, 

Memories of grandmother’s stories 

Of Yakshi, 

the woman who would walk all night, beneath tall swaying palm fronds Waiting for the blood of one 

Who seeks love in a woman’s beauty. Such darkness 

That takes you back to the memory 

Of a child lost in its mother’s womb, of the tombs  

Of your father and mother  

Lying, quiet, after all that, 

Lying together, in the cenotaphs 

Of centuries. 

This darkness, with a break of last blue 

Among the vanishing clouds, 

Bringing her back again to mind; 

As one by one, 

God places his stars, cleaning them For the late night show. 

And then,  

How suddenly

 The lights come on. 


Small White Roses 

They turned in, late night, drunk all over with dew, and stayed all day throwing their perfume around like gifts they brought in just for us. 

They changed our world. 

I remember that afternoon, 

when a sunbird begged a beakful, they all got around beating the punch out of him. And so they stayed, pretending that they would be with us, laughing jokes about faraway winter. 

It filled me, how they filled us,

 that late night, and all through day, as we played the 78 rpm record, singing love as it shone running unwinding on the gramophone like long black hair; 

Their perfume, thicker than the wind.  Those small white roses, 

they knew the touch of father’s hands, the coolness of mother’s water pot, as they partied in their hundreds upon the green wall. 

Little me, I spent, I remember

 the whole day with them, before leaving, for the boarding school. 

And now, I stand there by the empty wall,  those hundred friends once with such soft petals, that make me even shudder to think, that they had the power, such timeless power  to turn their soft white petals to scars. 



Moonlit, this darkness. 

Father, mother, and me walking under the apple trees, and flowers falling. 

The only sound is that of the white owl waking, shaking its feathers to a quiet. 

It’s looking at me like God knows how. In that great night-hunt tonight, after we have all slept, moonlit, in this darkness, light years away. 


Father’s shirt 

My Father’s shirt 

Pegged on the clothesline. 


I remember  

Playing hide ‘n’ seek 

the day  

I wore my father’s shirt 

Bulging at the arms  

And his soft paunch, 

Where I imagined the globe, 


As I lay by his side 

Hearing him snoring. 

 His snore 

Had a certain kind of bird music, 

Slipping somewhere along the bough, To a bright sudden frog croak. 

And when he woke, 

He would take his bath, 

Run to the prayer room, dripping, 

Almost naked,


Comb his balding head, 

As though it still had hair, 

Yea, he would slip into his  

Terylene shirt 

The one I wore, 

But never told him about  

Bulging at the arms. 

His paunch. 

Yea, I became that day, 

His secret ghost. 


My father’s shirt, 

Pegged on the clothesline,  



That mother forgot  

To take back inside 

From the pouring rain. 


Father Takes His Bath 

Father comes out of the bathroom, 

And rushes near naked 

 Straight to the prayer room Dripping.  

Middle aged, he stands before the family mirror,  A hippo out of water. 

He yawns, says Vishnu Sahasranamaah, 

Plucking grey hair, 

Holding them before his eyes awhile, Like some priest holding 

His precious prayer book. 

From the small parting in his wet towel, 

I hesitate with my childhood eyes

 But still sinning, clearly spy 

That once beast  

Now quieter than calm 

All besotted with water 

And imagine it  

In mother’s hands, 

 Waking me up. 



Mother’s Hand 

Long years after 

I see her hand. 

Those lines with swan-gait 

Writ in water. This flow of ink 

That overflowed the heart’s bottle 

Into our time desert,

 Bringing along a few leaves,

 In an unnoticed garden.  

This hand 

That rested its warp 

Upon mine,

 and took my lips Into her own, unwinding the lime shower 

Of her breast upon my face 

Lighting up with tender milkweed Uprooted,

 flowing away in the rains. 


Great Grandmother 

Great grandmother in her younger days

 Was a beautiful lady. 

Many were the students who would stand by the corridors 

To wish her ‘Good morning Madam’ In the misty Delhi mornings 

Nearly two hundred years before. 

Great Grandmother taught Shakespeare, 

Her favourite was ‘The Tempest’ 

An Avon edition in silky white pulp  

With a bright balding Shakespeare 

Looking strangely handsome 

That she read every night  

Before turning to sleep, 

Like the Gita or the Bible

 And kept under her pillow.

  By then, great grand mother 

Was already a widow. 

In her late twenties 

As she waited at the village railway station,  

What greeted her out of the sleeper coach 

Of the late-night train,

 Was the railway coffin,  with her husband in it. 

He had died on the way.  

Great grandmother  

Then went back to do her post-graduation. 

Back to Shakespeare. Marry again? Never.  

He was my life, she would say.

 ‘The few moments with him 

Are my eternity’. 

It was a great code to us 

That put her on purity’s pedestal. 

She became our fairy tale of chastity. 

Grandmother rose to become 

The Head of the Department of English. 

She lived all her life 

In a girl’s hostel, 

helping students to write British 


And poetry. 

When grandmother retired, 

She came back to Kerala, 

All her relations welcomed her Wishing, that all her life wealth Would be theirs. 

They gave her all she wanted, plantains dipped in honey, 

But grandmother would have none of that. 

Nothing of her wealth. 

Even the fruit of her mango trees  

became bank FDs. 

One day while climbing the wooden stairs of her ancestral home, 

Great grandmother slipped and fell. She broke her spine. 

The doctors said 

She would never rise again. 

I remembered then,

 great grandmother,  standing before my old Click 3 camera 

By the hanging blossoms of the Chinese lanterns. She was still beautiful 

At 78. A kind of Portia. 

That was when she fell. Independent soul,  

great grandmother, she said she would lie in an ashram, 

To die. She would not burden 

Any relative. To the ashram 

She would give all her wealth.

 You come alone, she mumbled, 

You go all alone. 

Soon, all her relations, they said, Stingy, dirty, old selfish woman, 

No wonder her husband died young. 

No wonder she broke her spine. 

God did right. 

We’ll have nothing to do any more with her. 

Time lays big eggs in the desert 

And life scoops them down in the dust. 

Thirty years later 

I visited my great grandmother at the ashram. 

She’d been lying in bed for thirty years now, 

Bed sores sun flowering about her spine, 

That the ashram mates washed at guest-time. 

She lay, her open eyes  

Rolling up the old teak ceiling, Completely blind. 

She was told by the holy sister of the benevolent ashram, 

Akka, your favourite grandnephew has come. 

In a room that smelt of sudden Dettol 

And tulsi trying to outsmart all pus, 

Great grandmother held me tenderly by my hand, 

(The same touch that gave me such a beating l’ll not forget 

The night I tried to 

Dislodge ‘The Tempest’ from underneath her pillow) 

And she kept mumbling to me, 

You have come  

You have at last come, 

I waited for you so long I knew you would come  I knew you would find me. 

Now I can die, 

I can die in peace  

God will not put me to test any longer, 

My time has come, 

My time has at last come  

God will not let me suffer any longer

Her cataract eyes flitted like silver butterflies. 

That afternoon as I drove back among the paddy fields diamonding rain amongst its tiny flowers, 

The rain wipers momentarily  

Clearing glass, 

I dreamt my dream. 

It was all, 

About God, all about the earth’s seasons,  all about you and me, 

Why the seas churn the sands choking our lives  

Immersing us in tidal grandeur, 

Why  all this benevolence of fire 

Blossoming us 

In its burns. 




Sex was again possible 

Only if grandmother died; 

It was difficult to cross her room 

In the middle of the night; 


It was just no longer possible; 


As long as grandmother lived, 

We would have to put up with her; 

Her incontinence for example 


Making Pollocks  

Acidic on the living floor;

 but grandmother, 

She’s all airs  


She has her way of defence, 

She tells of her life’s acres  

That made her daughters 


She says she knows it all, 

Pretends she is the queen  

Of all that her eyes will behold, 


And yet after the lights are shut, 

Feels the slow drip in-between her thighs 

And thinks of him 


And what it once meant to be held, 

 A beauty queen 

in his wedding arms.  


They come in fancy colours. 

Decorated, with the morning sun, 

The night stars, 

And the flowers.  

You can use them once. 

Pat the child, croon him crying to your breast, 

His tears ending in milk song. 

Dress the small thing, 

And all dressed up, smiling, 

Till the cry comes back again. 

That’s when something’s wrong. 

The time to undress. 

To make the child comfortable again. And upon the diaper, 

Your lovely hands, 

How in a surging suddenness 

You cannot fathom, 

How they turn wet, sag, 

Like worn out faces, 

And wrinkle in that fresh garden  

Or the night lit with stars. 

Now is the time for you to cry, 

To put on that Alzheimer’s smile  

And to remember,  

The fancy colours no more, 

And be blessed to be, if at all 

To get back a kiss tearing across the moss of tears, 

Up the rain wall of the years 

And you know nothing of that cover, that covers you  

And you don’t know that you cry, 

As the bright hands dress you 

With stars, 

And how much you would remember  

Now if you could, 

All those lost  

forget me not flowers. 


Photographs of Tiger Prabhakaran’s Son Minutes Before Being Shot Dead, And After 

Perhaps this is the perfect 

Toy bunker 

From which there is no escape. 


Sand sacks. 

A toilet mug for a drinking cup 

By his side. 


That far look in his bullseye eyes 

Unmistakably his father’s 

Hung still,

 in mid ocean of uncertainty 

Minutes before, 

Counting 1 to 5 upon his breast 

Became the hardest thing to do on earth. 




We make such fine mosques 

and bomb them. 

We make such fine churches and bomb them. 

We make such fine temples

 and bomb them. 

Who said

 We don’t make things good? 

We make such fine bombs. 


The Aftermath of 14.02.2019 

(In Memoriam, CRPF Battalion 54.)

This morning, the newspaper  

Was soaked in blood. 

What terror the bat wings  

Bring, with what do they claim, 

Their cowardice 

Hooding hideous shapes of betrayal. 

This is strange that in the name  

Of holy books,  flesh cuts into brethren flesh 

Drilling hatred, spilling sibling blood. 

This morning, the newspaper 

Was soaked in blood, 

And my eyes are still red 

With all the rivers of Kashmir  in flood 

With a Nation’s silent tears. 



And When They Bring the Boxes Home 

And when they bring the boxes home,  

With fragments of what once was us, 

And is always ours 

Now to be returned home to quiet earth, 

We’ll not forget, the warm winding hearth, 

The cold mountains they climbed,  The glaciers they embraced, 

To that burst of sudden hot blood. 

They that pulled the trigger, 

That bit the button that turned to blast 

Bitten in that metastasis of hate; 

They that bear them, 

They who are no more ashamed to clothe the sun in darkness,  

Nor refrain from wading in blood rain, 

In that tormented madness of angst, 

They break the hearts of gods, 

In whose name they shatter 

Scattering every bit, filling every pit 

With shards where should have been stars; 

And in the corners of their closing eyes 

They will too late realize, 

That they whom they slaughtered and martyred in 


Dreaming a dream of our earth, and home 

Were but their own kin.  


Spotting the White Rhinoceros, Kaziranga, Assam. 

We woke up at 3.00 a.m., 

As the guards had warned us 

 That this was our only chance.  

We drove down before daybreak, 

Down the dark murky trail, 

Cricket shrills on either side booming  Until the jeep stopped at the foothills  Of the forest.  

Atop the elephant, braced and belted, We geared for the trail.

 It was all for  the white horned rhinoceros.  

We’d get lucky

 If we can get to find him said our mahout, 

a teenager who held our elephant by his tusk,  

Springing on to his head 

Like a red-tailed  

Monkey. Some never find him. Ever. 

It looked like the elephant knew where he had to go. 

Perhaps he has been doing this now, Almost all his life. 

By the time we reached the thick reeds  reeking of rhino dung in the wading mist

 The night sky had broken its white salt of morning 

Upon our lips. ‘It seems he was just here... '

the tusker boy took in a deep breath 

Inhaling, as though he smelt familiar fragrance. 'He must have left.  

They don’t just stay, they keep moving, you know'. 

There was no sight of anything near or far, 

A few gazelles shot past like arrows from the bow 

Of some hunter god hidden among the trees.  

Our search, our wait was in vain,

 we thought.  

We had reached almost the end, 

And a few wild buffaloes pulled themselves out like teeth of tar  

From the mouth of dying grass.  

The elephant ears flapped,

 the colours of the rising sun  

Spurting upon them like ticks in flight  

Returning to rest. 

'We must go back, our mahout turned to us, We have reached the end. 

From here, everything is out of bounds...'

And the elephant with the seven of us upon him shaking  

like carcasses upon a dead sea without hope were suddenly silent. And then the tusker 

Shook himself in ankleting pachyderm gait,  

His vitiligoed tusk  

Pythoning the wet air to stillness. 

And there,

 from over our heights, 

Still bobbing to his benevolent shake, As a screen far thence, 

Lit up with the projector 

Rolling its celluloid, 

Into light, 


An apparition crystal, 

Camouflaged, yet, unbound, 

Still, against the white mountains, 

The low crescent, luminous,  

All risen out into the great mass

 of celestial snow, 

Melting before our eyes 

Into morning. 




An airplane keeps flying down low,

 As though it would soon touch the fields. 

My dog keeps chasing 

The neighbor’s ducks 

Shooting them down into the pond’s green. 

Four squirrels thump to order 

Their political meeting rioting 

Upon the fruiting papaya tree, 

As far up the stone wall,

 a puppy 

On paralysed legs, drags itself into oblivion. 


The Bright Boy in Class. 

He was fat. And round. 

His round face was a big water melon, or a made to laugh pumpkin burning with a bright red lamp for a smile in Halloween. 

We were head on Enid Blyton, Biggles, & The Saint those days. 

The more privileged among us 

Could call him Fatty. 

And if he liked the guy

 He would smile.

 Otherwise he would turn

 Into a Cassius Clay. 

What was admirable about him 

Was his way, 

Of putting on his badges. 

The red one, that said First in Class. 

Then the next one pinned under, 

Exactly under, that read in the Centre 

Class Leader 

And the brown one just under 

That said 

Proficiency Leader. 

I guess his mother had a tough time, pinning them, 

Until when 

He could at last pin them all by himself,

 Until he was satisfied in the mirror. The way he kept on,  as though he never even read his books. 

His secret?  

Listening to the teacher in class he once said.  

I never study at home. 

And we caught our different ships, sailed different seas, 

And finally came home. 

One evening  

I found him by the old University gate. 

He had put on a beard.

 Only, his face had  

A little added gloom, 

And his fat 

Was as though it was made to suit. 

I was in a bus, and just waved.

 But he did not seem to see me. 

I looked for him,

The next time I went to church Thinking he would be there.

 The church was where 

We used to play as kids

 Behind the flung crosses 

And before he got his badges. 

Yesterday, the young priest told me. The funeral was yesterday. 

I did not ask him what it was, 

It could have been anything, 

Every death has a common denominator, 

That’s but the love of life, 

But whatever, there he was,  

Fatty, school mate, the one who once  

Used to have us 

Stare at him 

As at a God, 

Or at a War General in Salute

 In all pomp before a World Memorial, 

 And now, how earth’s turning prayer Makes him sleep so peacefully,

  on such hard ground. 



All the forty-nine 

Present on that day, 

In specially ironed uniforms 

That their mothers took care to erase the creases tenderly 

At the collars and the knickers. 

The neck ties,  made tame as pets,  The pairs of white socks

 Specially washed for the  Special day. 

All the forty-nine, yes,  

Present, the boys with their 

Well-oiled hair, 

The girls with pony tails  

And their cherubic stare, 

Some with hands 

Bolted across their chests, 

The big ones showing off, 

Their thin first hair upon the upper lip,  

Not yet touched with blade, and some girls, 

With more to show than some others 

Still bare, 

Beside the calf boys. 

Small forty-nine faces they, 

With the class teacher, in the middle,  

Her hair bright silver, breasts with mushroom sag 

Raised up to the camera front, 

And the smiling vicar almost touching her, 

Not thinking anymore of the crucifix. 

One word runs past the lips 

Of all of forty-nine, 

Bright, bright as rain light 

Who said that morning 

Present teacher, 

And turned up as boats to harbour 

To face the seas 

And of all the forty-nine, 

Some now without faces,

 some without hair, 

Some hung down on their own neck ties, 

All those white socks turned muddy 

And thrown without care, 

The vicar and the headmistress 

Far apart, 

The bat-wing haunt of ‘present teacher’, ‘Present teacher’

 Rending the wailing wall. 



The death is announced

 Of a tiny chipmunk 

That fell off the jack fruit tree. 


There came a dog, 

As though it had come to hog him  

That caught it in its mouth

 And shook it, shrieking, its hind legs apart.

 The death is announced  

Of a tiny chipmunk 

That felt like a child, 

When I took it between my fingers,  And brought it to my room.

 For a while it dragged itself 

On its torn body, 

With fear  colour  

Tearing on the three yellow stripes on its fur. 

The death is announced  

Of a tiny chipmunk, 

Trickling blood 

As snow trickles down  

An ancient mountain, 

That had not yet time 

To thump its tail on some forest wood In wild ecstasy. 

The death is announced,  

Though none will turn back to grieve, 

No one shall tenderly close its small blue eyes, 

To make a case 

 For the pain it took on 

Like any other child. 

Such is the cuddled up  

Silence, that speaks 

For what is, and what must be,

 Where seconds turn to minutes, 

To hours, running blind. 

Now, with all of earth gone, from the blues in those eyes 

Still wide, wide awake, 

I turn to digging in the new rains, 

The shovel shedding footsteps 

As lines exploding in a poet’s head 

And I lay him down,

 A muted poem to mature, 

upon a wet page. 


Ants on a wire 

They move fast. 

Each a small speed train, 

Alone, and  

Sometimes as bogeys


On either side, 

They meet, greet 

Stop, kiss, and move on

 Not one falling  

As they give each other  


The ones setting out, 

Those returning

  As though they all know 

One another since long, 

And go their way. 

They are focused, 

They know why, 

And where they go, 

The sunlight

 Turning their red

  Into cinder glow. 

And with such knowledge  

Of their kin and clan 


Unknown to us, 

It must be, 


They too must have a home, 

Where they come together  

To mourn 

The loss of those 

That set out with them

And have not yet returned.  

The Secret Lives of Ants 

There they go, one at a time 

Through the needle eye 

Of that crack  

Into the deepest recess Of the wall.  

They must surely know, 


They’ll all go in that God line

  From there. 

Terrifying to think that they run 

Over leaf, knife blade 

With such sureness, 

And without a fall.  

That they know their way, 

Seeing through such inside darkness, 

Such that their eyes  

Go beyond all light 

And all our little seeing. 

What they build there, 

Their kinds of pyramids, 

That we cannot climb, 

How they mark one another, 

Build their dreams, 

Or satiate time in their small bites,

 Turning suicide bombs. 

But inside walls, 

Inside what seems dark to us, 

They ferment, 

In thousands, 

Becoming one, 

Gathering,  dark as dust, 

All breathing flesh like us, 

Turning, pausing to touch, 

Brother to brother, 

Making love in mysterious ways, 

Running the kingdom  

Of the underground, 

And, out  

Into our world, 

Our simple light, 

That’s but infancy to their eyes, 

They roll over 

The morning petal, 

Bite to bits the dead, 

Turn unwanted fossil 

On a small wet cube of sugar. 


The Brown Ant  

The death is announced 

Of a brown ant 

That died in strawberry jam. 

The circumstances that led to the death  occurred late, 

yester night

 While we were all asleep. 

The ant was briskly running all over 

Strawberry jam, 

When it suddenly slipped, 

And fell  

Into a small streaming strawberry pool. 

It was a sticky pool, and though

 sweet, immensely sweet, 

All that the ant wanted 

Was to get out of it, 

Out of all that sticky mess  

All it wanted,

 Was to climb back 

To solid strawberry jam. 

But the pool was a sucker. 

It would not let his bowel go. 

So half was him was struggling in the air, 

The head, with those small honey feelers, 

Those angel  Eyes. 

His friends passed him by  

Occasionally one or two

 Touched and stroked his feelers,  

And went by. 

By morning, 

With bread on the plate, 

We opened the loose lidded strawberry jam. 

We did not see him. 

We spread him, 

On a slice of milk bread. 

We spread him,  

And he was so strawberry coloured by now, 

He made no difference. 

Though late, 

And the bread was eaten by a child, 

Death is after all death, 

And the death is solemnly announced 

Of the ant 

That struggled all night 

While we were asleep, 

Going gently down  

Gently down Into strawberry jam. 



A Baby Millipede. 

Wonder where he comes from. He? For beauty, He looks she. 

Looks like somebody

  Polished him or her 

With red cherry blossom. 

So rich red. 

Like blood tip toeing on quiet feet Making no bruise. 

Fine enough. 

He or she 

Lifts the small red head. 


Swinging into a tight curl, 

Firming into itself as though in love’s first embrace. 




Early morning Pontius Pilate

 washed his hands saying,

 I have no hand in this But let Him be crucified if that is the will. 

Aye, aye, it was the will 

and He was crucified.

 But he was not skinned alive

 like a bushy skunk, because no one wanted His skin. 

For a man of God Crucifixion was enough. 

But for a skunk whose fur the celebrities worship

 it is necessary to fleece the skin layer by soft layer, skin him inside out 

and leave him to drip breathing, 

his eyes still all seeing. 

No father in heaven watching. 

No need to talk about the pain. 

We cannot. We end it  with Christ, bleeding and in raw skin

 upon the hot sand lies the skunk breathing. Well, without cross, without thorn, but knifed raw over  and over again, 

he still bleeds a little less

 Because he is more fur.

 His eyes blink longer, long after the Christs in our tall churches are all dead. He does not rise, 

because, on the road, 

skinned raw 

He takes centuries of pain  

in his small fainting eyes, 

 more than just for mankind. 


Black Snake 

This black snake

 Will not leave my mind. 

It was gliding, under cover, 

Perhaps just going back home

 When I spotted it again.

 There, I said  

And the snake killer  

Ready with his iron rod 

Brought down the weapon

 Upon its flowing midrib 

Crumbling it into two. 

His hood looked as though  

He knew no pain

 But I knew

 he was reeling, struck. 

He tossed him up  

Ripped alive,  

His beauty of skin and hood,

 Borne in silence.  

There was a fire near 

For old clothes and dead paper, 

As he held him breathing  

Twining round his rod,

 And spooned him

 Into the flames. 

Ah. That lust of fire. When that fire died, I searched for him. 

In those ashes 

There was no differentiation, 

Whatever was burning, 

Or had burned this way, 

That quiet little handsome face 

Gliding towards home  

That silence in all that burning  

And me, thinking  

CHRIST, my CHRIST How many crosses

 Held your kind? 



On bare ground. 

Suddenly he lifts his wings. 

Two hoods open wide and reveal the soft airy flutter. 

But no. No more flying. 

The hoods close. He’s still moving around On bare ground. 

He’ll move around here, 

In this alien home, 

And I’m not going to put him out, knowing, 

That tomorrow, 


Perhaps under the teapoy, 

Or with an army of ants, 

Coated all over  

By the ledge 

I’ll find him,  

On his back, perhaps feebly moving 

His last moving leg not knowing  

How long more he has to be there like that 

Feeling the pincers feasting, 

And I tell myself again  

God knows how long he’s been like that— And I’ll know, 

It’s not all about flying, 

But much more, 

About coming back to earth 

After all that taste of fruit, flower, 

and pollen, 

To lie  

In that patient wait,  

Staring at the sky 

For the one mutual friend 

To come by.  

The Meat Woman in the Mall 

The woman in the mall cutting meat, cutting meat, 

surrounded by  dead fish, 

in hundreds as though they are her pets. 


In the cold storage  

From morning to eve she lives with smells of blood. 


The slit rabbits with their flopped ears, 

The juice of shredded beef trickling, the soft shaved chicken,

 it is all her style. 

She has them decked in neat rows

 like poetry books on a library shelf. the lives all dead, dead, all dead. 

Once you show her the cash receipt, she’ll pick up the chops she’s done for you 

Well cleaned, the frozen blood, now a river that must be bled. 

She takes care,  

That the liver comes large. 

She has a face Leonardo would pause a minute for, that’s the way she smiles. 

And there, as she bends forward to cut, 

Her meat-drenched passion whites flush.



What must one say of wings 

The body has left behind? 

Their bright colours, erased

 Not yet, not yet gone with the wind. That is the memory 

Time will swear by. 

On the floor, this little wing. 

An ant lifts it high in the air 

Like a proud chieftain 

In an army parade. 

And there it goes. 

Not just a flying thing. 

But that 

Which lifted high, 

Creating ecstasy in the sky. 


That must stay, 

That need 

A little more time to die. 




At about the time that moist buds bloom

 just about before the sleepiest bird wakes, quietly, all that blood flows.  

Along with innocence

 slaughtered for meat in closed abattoirs and open market sheds, their limbs tied, the hard to die catfish mouths sealed with knives the executions of the guilty follow their last prayers in Death rows. 

So, with the taste of meat, 

the taste of bodies hung in innocence and executed without shame, 

the sun rises, the flowers blossom,

 the scent of God  fills, 

while the poet praises the beauty of the dawn. 


Dead Friends on Facebook 

Here’s a place you go to, 

To look up friends 

You never looked up to then, 

And who left 

Without telling you.  

They there 

Standing beside vineyards

 Or colourful bloom. 

Some with their pets, 

Some hiding regrets 

Some with their books, 

Rented horses for fame, 

And some with their singing  Breaking guitars. 

The gates are wide open, 

The rivers still flow, 

Wild birds still fly about  

The skies they breathed in  

And it is all riot, 

These coloured walls of air

 From which they still shine 

As though they are still there, Somewhere there, 

Without telling you exactly where. 

You look deep into those faces. 

Faces that have begun to trace

 the lights

 Of glow worms under the earth’s  Brown sky. 

The body unwired, 

The small smiles unplugged, 

Their last cries,

 seeking your prayers for life 

Caught in a ghost fog 

Rending the mobile air.  

Office Staff, A Demise 

There’s the xerox copy

 Of the news of the peon’s death

 Upon the sprawling mahogany table. ‘You must all attend the condolence meeting

 At the basement this afternoon’. 

Signed, Manager. 


As the manager curves the alphabets  

He thinks— That was cancer 

I have just a peptic ulcer. 

Having signed, the manager reads on. The office also wishes to thank 

All those who have been kind enough To contribute Rupees ten each

 For his complicated surgery expenses... 

No, he thinks in between I won’t go in for surgery in any case,

 Homeopathy will surely cure me. 

 The paper goes into the out tray 

One copy for the notice board 

And one for the signature of all staff present 

And return to manager. 

In the afternoon 

We are all gathered

 in the basement. 

The manager enters,

 Visibly touched. 

‘He was a good man 

Let’s all close our eyes for a minute

 To the memory and peace of the departed’. 

We close our eyes. 

The manager closes his eyes 

 Thanks God for his peptic ulcer

 And prays for a miracle. 


Mangalesh Debral,  

A Requiem 

One day it must be 

That we must cross that pass. 

We must move along. 

The fragrances 

On either side 

That seemed to tell us 

We would always belong. 

The fragrance of water 

In that far river, 

The sunflowers begging the sun 

For another sunrise. 

It must all go.  

The rainbow must tear 

To nothingness in the sky 

 One colour at a time.

 One day it must be, 

That poet to poet, 

We must hold hands, 

And tremble together 

In earth’s 



I watch them periwinkles. 

Bright, calf-tongue red,

 White, whiter than milk. 

I hunt them down, each red, 

each white,

 Their smells, acrid in my hands, in maze

 Of childhood gauze. 

Hundreds of them, 

thicker than friends, 

Abloom over a ski boot  

Of shine-on leaves. They wave young, 

Frolicking as new born,

Awake magnificently all night

Fresh in the cold raging winds, Licking up the moon-lichened walls  All over the dark mounds of the long dead. 


I’ll not forget these little flowers 

I’ll not forget these little flowers

That made me what I am. 

Therefore, I’ll not deny them. 

So I’ll stay back, looking closer at their colours.  

What’s a poet if there was no flower? 

What’s poetry if there was no colour? The colour of beauty, pain 

and tragedy, that in my childhood that these little flowers have made me sit down beside them, 

and left Half-explained. 

How can I forget flowers? 

They are God’s embroidery over our happiness 

his clever engineering over our love, broken hearts and sadness,  

they are the only ones that’ll cover us entirely,  so beautifully in the end. 


Plane About to Land, Mumbai 

From the window, 

The huts are torn blouses 

In faded colour. 

Imagination is riot. 

All those lives in there,


There’s the sea just after that. 

Blue, turning hot, 

With the afternoon sun 

Masturbating its stars all over. 

I can hear  

The drone of the landing gear 

Its fly open, 

Blossoming erect. 

And it is touchdown, 

Blowing into 

The face of a city, 

Pressed so close,  

That you can smell off 

a blood-stained cunt. 


Leaves in the Rain  

This wet morning 

In pouring rain 

Leaves quiver, 



As quiet fish in high seas. 


7.30 A.M. 

A white butterfly— hover-over-over 

A purple chrysanthemum 


A car screeching past 

With a man in it 

Bitten by a snake 


A silver munia 


Wet cherries 


Late 2020, A Day Begins 

A car swiftly moves in 

At the neighbour’s gate. Someone’s coming back home 

After quarantine. 

I receive a mobile message. 

A friend’s dying of Covid, 

He has sent an S O S on fb 


Please pray for me. 

And I say, my prayers, friend. 

Put in a like 

And continue 

Reading the newspaper. 

There’s a siren coming from main street 

Of an ambulance dying to reach the hospital, 

Someone in it gasping. 

Someone’s already dead, 

That was a bike accident. 

The family is waiting for the dressed coffin. 

A dog’s barking at a stranger 

Who might tomorrow be my friend; 

In my garden, 

Crushing a caterpillar 

Eating my tender bean leaf, 

I turn on the tap 

Direct all the water 

At the first flower 


Perhaps this could be the last.  

A Peace of Covid 

Ducks cackle as usual this afternoon by the green pond.  

Swiftly one by one they take to the water 

Their ruffled wings waking up a dew factory.

 The Four way, a crucifix with its ripped Christ is closed.

 It stretches submerged in silence, These by lanes, have lost human flesh. 

Anosmia is all we have 

 That drops us at the hospitals. 

It is here we hear, 

The black cries of angels. 

The angels that our kissing Gods left 

In a half-embrace 

For the sad peace of Covid. 


The Second Coming  

Slow killing, unleashing, its whip of death, 

That at first seemed to come soft, 

Then reared its ugly head, of masks, pain, and terror. 

Death of another kind, new to mankind, 

When the beloved would seek not to place a flower 

Or go hear, 

Or let upon that lost body one last kiss

Filling the air with a strangely lurking poison, 

Somewhere making one dread to even make love— 

The suddenness of the tearing away of closeness, 

Bringing on of fear as laden clouds upon the mountains, 

All over mankind, 

A never before haunt of uncertainty, of how long, or what’ll be left  

A haunt of pain, of a suddenness jammed, of the ventilator,  

Of Black fungus…. What will be left, 

Something like an Anti-Christ,

 that makes distancing, Alienation, the new form of love:

 No, this can’t be the Second Coming. 

 All we prayed for all these centuries of Man, 

This can’t be, no, this can’t be the Second Coming. 


May 2021 

We do not know 

 That we have reached this far, Singing in the dark. 

Here where darkness 

Skids again into darkness,

 Ending in black fires  

Where we dump our dead. 

For a change, 

May is the cruelest month, 

They are all cruel months 

That pluck us one by one, 

Like hair,  

From the ghosts of flesh, 

Like leaves Off shadow trees. 

The pain. It pours as heavy rain

  That turns to flood: 

Even the corpses floating in the Ganges

 Tired of dying, 

Bleed fresh blood. 


What Corona Did to Girls 

Beautiful girls 

Have become a thing of the past. 

All that we see 

Are faces covered behind coloured masks 

A pair of eyes like riverside deer

 Or shelved half sculpted at an atelier’s. 

Those were the days 

When the faces of pretty girls 

Bloomed in abundance as garden flowers 

A pleasure to see 

That took our hearts for granted 

Broke them, 

Then set them burning, with poetry astir. 


Oh, will those old days come again 

Will our streets ever fill up again 

With streaming faces, 

Of those laughing beautiful girls? 



The Moon with Her Light 

Like a nurse in the hospital 

Before your gazing eyes, 

Smiling good night 


Where is Kalidasa? 

Where is Kalidasa? 

I haven’t seen him for days. 

Tell him that his king wishes to see him. 

But it is near midnight, 

O King, 

Kalidasa must surely be drunk, 

He must be asleep with his enchanting woman. 

Go, bring him here, 

Tell him, Vikramaditya his king

 is troubled of heart, 

And wishes for a poem 

To comfort his mind. 

Here are two lines that my heart 

Speaks to me, 

The one who completes them,

 I’ll know. 

Two lines, and just the dark woods. 

They searched the forest all over 

For the poet of love  

That poet, adorer of a woman’s 

Navel, lips, and wine. 

In the depths of the woods, 

Beneath the fragrant Asoka bloom, 

 They found him asleep on a leafed drugget. 

What was that sleep? 

There were stab marks on his body. 

The blood still oozes 

The way winter, spring, and summer, 

Tow their flowers  

Bleeding in the rains. 


Kalidasa Appears  

I dreamt in a dream 

That Kalidasa came  

And asked me 

What are you writing now? 

Oh, I said, 

Nothing, nothing. 

But Kalidasa insisted. 

Are you still  

Not writing about her? 

I looked at Kalidasa in his face. 

How do you know? 

And Kalidasa, he smiled and said 

Ah, she. 

She is such a sweet knife. 

She doesn’t know It’s your blood. 

She spills it all  

Like jamun 

Until the river beneath turns red. 

That, my friend,

 Is poetry. 


Aroma Or,

 Radha Thinks of Krishna 

Maybe the night snakes sipped 

The ripe cashews and just left them there.

 So many ripe fruit, red and yellow ones 

Lying on the ground. 

The breeze is still proud

 With the aroma of wild cashew flowers 

And doesn’t seem to want to move away. 

So it stays here, all perfumed, 

Like me in the centre of half-bitten fruit 

All honey not yet sucked 

The ripeness still in ooze, 

All red and yellow and darkening nuts, 

Azure with your blue cloud.


The Hand of a Poet 

The hand of a poet 

Searches your face

 With words tonight. 

It is the moving hand

 And will not wait. 

It holds you 

As tulips 

Umber their petals into night 

Spreads you 

As a feather 

Dancing to night rain. 

The hand of a poet 

Searches you with words

 And you are now near. 

This is sheer magic. 

In the hand of a poet  

Conjuring word after word  


Wearing a poem 

You appear. 


A Secret Language 

Yours is a secret language 

A language of night air

 Suckling a flower— 

 Bat’s wings. 

Your language  

That seemed so easy 

 But has me pouring my nights over, trying hard, 

To find its rhythm, its form, 

 The ways it puts forth  roots 

That delightfully sip  

Unwept water 

 Its cuneiform  


Running me over  

 The poetry Of fossils. 


Small Voices of Memory 

It is because with small voices of memory

 you still make me walk in the rain, That I’m still myself, 

And your stranger again. 

It is because with small beats 

Along the pebbles of the morning mists, 

My breath breathes your name  

Like one breathes in 

The fragrance of an extinct flower. 

It is because, I cannot tell you more  

Because you have me unsaid 

And wed with every word  I’ve known. 

How the poetry  of you 

Comes off in bloom in a tree all rich and green, 

How you fill lightning in the smallest drop of rain, 

Where love is a river rich and flowing 


In green banks of good night 

I’m still myself, 

Your stranger again. 


Laughing Sun 

You were too much light for me 

to rejoice 

I had you like too much joy to spend.

 And all that is too much, must to little, bend, 

And in time, all that must make amends. 

Let me compare you, 

to small flowers overgrown, 

that riot the garden valley  

With beauty’s oversight where, 

In the glow petal of your body that turned to me, 

I curled in like living rain. 

Such  Rain that in a passion that comes once,  

turning nature all green

 must not in evaporating dignity,

 Endeavour forgiveness of the laughing sun. 


The Boatman 

How strange, 

I think of you now, 

Letting in  

 your voice over the phone Mesmerizing pain, 

Making me part of you again. 

Why, as you used to

 Even now you turn   to birds in the sky 

And I tell myself it can’t be 

It must not be so  

It cannot be, but it is, 

With you, your voice 

Your eyes, your words, 

And I’m a boatman with his flowers 

By the river 

Who has forgotten all 

About fragrance. 


If You Were with Me 

If you were with me 

Sunflowers would not matter, 

Not even the pigeons flying 

In a cloud burst. 

Matter, would not matter, 

If you were with me  

And nothing could shatter, 

Nothing would matter 

If you were with me 

With your doe eyes, 

That ponder, 

Making me a forest, 

 Of night and mourning. 

Ice bergs would melt, 

And become parts of the peaceful ocean, 

If only you were with me now 

Letting bloom 

The garden of Gethsemane. 



It is the red, 

The scattered red 

Of your lips. 

Let me touch them once more. 

Lips and cheeks, 

Your face and hair, 


I’m the wounded hare. 


Where Desires Bend 

Where desires bend 

As trees to the wind, 

In the storm of the coming rains, 

Where lightning forks 

The tender body of earth 

Parting it into fire, 

Where memories breathe 

The perfume 

Of her uncovered breasts 


Where she lets her eyes 

Open a lake of lilies 

Soft petalling  

All over her, 

There, love, 

 so long a stranger 

Turns a steadfast friend. 


Just Like the Heart 

The earth, 

This morning 

Fills with rain 

Just like the heart 

From sudden 


Moist all over 

With you. 



Poetry is sin. 

Thank god 

I stopped sinning. 

Love is sin. 

Thank god I stopped loving. 

But sometimes, 

That serpent 

With its eyes full of apples, 

And the fragrance of your hair 

Blowing in the wind, 

And Eve’s apple bite in Eden 

Keeps turning  

Your nakedness 

To heaven. 



What is it that speaks  

Of this distance between you and me? 

This nearness that we shattered

 Like glass, 

What is it that tells of shadows 


When we bathed together in light 

If you were a poet, you would not recover, 

Show me a poet who has not burned all night 

 In a laughing girl’s flame. 

Now there is nothing more to claim, 

You are the one who chose 

Not to be the one  

Who was always the one 

And whether lost, or won, 

Even now, the smallest flowers  

I gather on earth 

Every time I open my eyes 

They belong to you. 



A poet is a shipwreck. 

The more he is into his poetry 

 The more he is

 Into disaster. 

He’s only fit to sink into a mire 

Of words.  

Finally, like her, 

She who said she would be by his side, 

She who is now, 

The unspoken empress of silence,  

His words, 

As her lips  

That became a thesaurus  

Of her heart— 

They just fall apart. 


The Last Snow Drop 

Where will I go now to forget,

 what I came back here to dream? 

Upon the mountain edge,

 a Last snow drop 

Awaits the forgotten lover.

 Where will I go now, to return 

One last snow drop of you? 



Forsaken now, this little of me left

 Has come this distance. 

It would have been easier 

without her name, 

Without a dream of her spreading like fame,  playing like flame. 

Without her among your notebooks, On the tip of your pen and in every cube of sugar. 

Easier, but then she is not to blame 

It was simply her butterfly life; 

It was God who carved love upon her wings 

And just didn’t tell her, 

Beware, even of walking the streets, You kindle love everywhere. 

Or, tread softly, because love can kill. 

And she just walked the streets among the grasses, 

Spreading wings wide, 

Because love was made out of her looks. 

Just to see her, just to look at her 

Was to love her, or simply fall in love. 

So forsaken now, without her, this far 

I live for her in a space called quiet, made quietly quiet. 

God, why did you let me walk close to her heart 

That pretended it wasn’t there, 

Yet stayed close enough to let across its beating; 

So fast, so quick, and in God speed 

Without giving me my time 

To turn, 

She lost me into her. 

Now like a pirate I set sail 

Thinking I’ll one day spill her riches of love 

All just for me. 

Will it, or no, I am a pirate, 

and she 

Made me a prisoner of sunrise, 

And, where flows red, 

Over the blue waters 


How things go suddenly dark, 

Before sunset. 


A Single Star 

Darkness is more darkness 

And light is no more light 

Ever since you squeezed your lips that bled  

And left me out of sight, 

And memory has since 

Turned a whore for you. 

What coloured candles  

You made of me, 

But it is still the same burning fire,

 That burns, and in its burning,

 Flames the furnace entire. 

What you were to me, 

Is still what you are, 

And what you are, 

Ask me, ask me what you are 

You are  

All the stars of tonight’s sky 

Turned into a single star. 


Pour Me Back These Roses 

Pour me back these roses, 

These roses that fulfilled your voices  

With perfume; 

Pour me back, pour me, 

Your blue fire, 

Your small silences 

When you were to me  

Green grasshoppers among the grasses,  

That I had to part, so quietly, 

So you would not move, 

And still stalked to grass 

I could hold you, 

And feel you in love’s desperate roving  

In my hands,

Those moments 

when without a word between us 

We knew  you and I, 

Breath taking, 

Breath giving,

 Was love. 



Somewhere where nowhere,

 There where all 

Undone, where undone all done, 

You and I  

Stood naked by the river; 

Nothing undid us, 

Fastened to each other  

Our lips burning on bruise 

With the smell  deaths of stars bring. 

What more is left undercover? 

Ah, your clothes 

Things that pressed into you 

That close, 

You left them 

And went away 

Leaving me to drown 

On memory shore. 


Milk Maid 


It is too deep. 

I cannot get away. 

And all the time, 

Maid, among the sheep, 

How you milk 

My sleep. 


Memories of a Woman 

Hounded I am, 

In this ghost city. 

I see her in the end at the last street lamp, 

Wearing all white  

And the lamp shuts, 

And I cannot see her completely, 

Back when the lights come on,

 She is gone. 

She’s there again. 

She turned, she just turned  

As though she knew me following her In all her pretensions

 That I did not exist. 

—her face. Such lure, 

That fragrant cemetery grandeur. 

It is always night, 

And in her darkness 

Air borne, 

I flit, as verses flit in time. 

She knows I am hers. 

Precisely why, 

She’ll deny  

And if I get anymore close to her  

She’ll take me back to the sea

 where it all began, 

And the sea,  

Ever since the beginning of earth, 

It has known, her shape love takes  

Without her 

In its depths.


Love’s Distances 

Love’s distances 

Are in your lips 

They are gardening your eyes 

They are whispering in your hair 

But you 

Why do you not care, 

That you turn them embedded Bedewed in despair? 

Such distances 

Mellowing me  

Upon your cheeks, 

I’m there, for weeks. 

These distances. 

Again and again. 

In love’s distances 

And why 

Is this nearness of you, Again? 


What Losses 

What losses 

Must the heart reconnoitre 

That it tosses, 

A lit night sea,

 With you, for you, Moon? 

What is sadness, 

That without your distant wings

 Does not appear? 

For always, 

You are near.  

Just as far as the earth 

Would make, 

All illusion disappear, 

Only to return, Tame? 

Tame, that it would die 

At your feet? 

What dies, will not be known  

Just as tears dry in the eyes, 

Watching dear ones lowered into earth. 

What losses must the heart  


As it turns you in me azure? 


You left So Much 

You left. 

And you left so much. 

Like sea waves 

That return 

Not just leaving the shore drenched, 

And drenched, 

All drenched, 

Adorned with weeds, 

Such colorful shells  

A gun pack of memory 

To which it’ll  

No more return. But the shore  

That’s the true lover. 

He’s lying there for you  


To himself  

That you are his truth. 

The moon cannot help him 

Not even a galaxy of stars. 


Upon his breast, 

He takes it all. 


Now and Again 

Now and again, 

I ask myself, 

What has been the gain? 

As you swim around me as bright fish, 

Colouring a faraway ocean, 

As your face drinks my memory of you every time, 

And I turn floral and coral, 

In love again. Because you 

To me,  

Because you are love to me, 

Even though, 

You are love denied  

In my life you are love  

As only love can be, 

Just as stars shine 

For no one in particular 

 In nature’s eternity. 

Now and then, 

When I wake, 

when I sleep, 

When I rake the small leaves, 

Discovering, spring or autumn, 

Or pianoing themselves 

in some night rain, 

You still come back, 

And return me to the pain 

Of dark coal turning into diamonds

 Under the earth again. 


The Mind’s Tavern 

It is her feet, 

it is her feet 


At the doorway 

Of the mind’s tavern 

Playing  with the rain. 



I’ll go down where I’ll make me

 some more red wine with your heart’s vintage flavour. 

There’s a trace of you still in tonight’s air, 

the wetness on your lips is still playing its usual game

 of disappearing mist, 

so I will make the best of you, 

till you are not completely gone;

 its’ best now for me to keep awake, by the small flowering night grasses

 where your long hair, only moments before  cascaded in a rabbit shake,

 and got lost, timid and afraid of me, after all these years,

 now that you took with you,

 my sleep as your undivided share. 

And so I’ll go back to things i love,  

Sit all night growing periwinkles in the moonlight on the small dark

 mound of your buried smile still lit a little, with yester light, 

knowing they grow well, here, breathing the silence of the dead.



Torn between you and madness, 

my only martyr is sadness. 

What you made of me, what I became, 

ask the sea, if you have only done to me what it cannot tame, 

the sea, that talks all night to the naked moon, then gathers the

 morning sun, all red, all fresh, in its never dying arms, and all day never

 speaks of the moon to the sun, but lets it speak with its day long birds

 burning kisses everywhere, and I, torn like the sun, quiet like the moon, 

quiet as the sea, raging in love’s ageless martyrdom. 



It is the quietness of night 

That resembles her eyes. The riverside flowers 

That imitate her hands. 

And the cicadas they 

Remind of her against my face  

The way she turned  

Me to a side, 

Putting love to far away sleep. 


Mountains and Pebbles 

Though I have travelled mountains,

 I’d still like to be remembered by the pebbles, 

each pebble, washed in time so clear with her face. 


A Call in the Wild 

It must be that the heart is lost Because it found her. 

And now you know the heart is a lone sheep  

that wanders far 

And cannot return.  

There isn’t much you can do.  

Wait shepherd. Wait. 


Swan Lake 

In Swan Lake, 

the swans have come back to swim. 

Young, graceful, their long slender necks pondering  

Where every drop is bright upon the waters in turquoise glow  

of first born hyacinths. 

I came to, and this far, 

Watching them silently through the long reeds; 

Their happiness—the nestled abandon, the might of their wings 

The shrillness of their coupling voices, dating stars. 

It is late in the night. The birds 

Are in no mood for quietness. 

This thick of being, the incensed  

Inflorescence of togetherness 

That is but bedecked lust, 

Yet is also love in such inebriate beauty. 

I watch them in half-sleep, 

Betrayed, wounded, 

Yet cocked in an unearthly pride; 

But I’ll not turn away my gaze. 

The swan birds will not come again. And so, 

I gently part the reeds 

Careful not to break a stem, 

Or load curfew 

Me, king-bird once, 

Who also swam, me, now far away, hidden among the reeds  

Withered, lonely, and afraid, 

Lest seeing me, they kill 

Their love half-way 

And fly away. 


The Book of Angels 

I’ve closed the book of angels, 

I have shut those songs. 

What made the green grass greener 

Was her heart. I’ll not water 

Those leaves— No, no more.  

I’ll weather the weather

  In a climate of no return.  

Well, she was not just a bird, 

Her feather was not just 

 Coloured feather. 

What was she? 

She was my dolphin, 

My dolphin in the sea 

Returning me 

To me. 

Now across the years, 

I’ll not trace  

Those designs spun, 

The embroidery of hope

 With colours of the setting sun. 

I’ve closed that book 

I’ve shut those songs  

But I can hear  

A pell-mell

 Of waves over moonlit coral 

In the far tenderness in her closed eyes

 Where I belong. 


Let Her into the Guinness 

Let her into the Guinness 

the woman who perfected 

the art of not falling in love

 having fallen.  Let her into the Guinness for pretending 

she’ll not weep wading in the river around her. 

Let her into the Guinness 

for pretending that she 

is no green lily frog

 while she stood for me among green lilies 

in love’s camouflage. 



Once the bed was small 

And we slept 

Clutched together 


Now the bed is big. 

We lie

 At both ends. 



If she does not want to call, 

if she does not wish to stay; 

If all she wants is to say goodbye, 

Let it be;  

like there’s always the bright blue sky 

Under which the plane,  

Having flown so long 

Is grounded 

Its memories

 Heaped upon the clouds,

 without a sigh. 



Do you have anything more to say? 

I caught you in your secret prayer. 

Now, don’t hide in the coral of another dead dream. 

Like a full breast half revealed from your saree, 

love’s blossom is in endless revelation. 



Leave me a little room, 

A window open, 

A flower upon the bough  

I’m still gasping 

For your breath. 


Small Desires 

It is these small desires 

That make me want  

To write a poem again. 

What would I have done 

If a poem hadn’t come

 To rescue me? You fleet past 

In a thin veil. 

A sorrow I quite cannot lift 

To see you clearly. 

The way you stay 

The way a poem stays away 

That is closest to  

The heart 


The Smallest Rose  

  It is the smallest rose  

that smells of the earth raining.  wrapped, 


unmindful of the thorns. 

 Open it with your thumb 

and little finger in the dark.  

It blows her fragrance.  


Music of Light 

I’ve not cast my net 

Far and wide, 

Am not a magician of capture, 

But you, bright fish, I saw you

 Flip upon the waters, 

 one afternoon  

The sun, mouth—. 

Organing your body with its music

 Of light, 

And I knew, I knew it was you. 

It could be no other. 

And now upon the waters, 

I wait  

I have no net to catch you, 

I need nothing but to watch you 

Just flip upon the waters; 

Be bright dance your dance of ecstasy, Falling upon me gently,

 Scattering me  

In the  

Waters of your sea. 



Why must your evanescence still me as it fills me, 

and feathers me into a nothing bird? 

Yes, you were, once, the breather of words. 

Now you are its wreather. 

Why must your effervescence mist my deceased mountains of love, already sunk deep in aeons of lost oceans? why, must your grip, 

in which I slip, take me to secret metaphors of death, that you, 

name love, and after love, and love after, all under, and over? 

Take me as I am, where I am left, 

in petals of your non being where I, bereft, search the night dew, 

the morning dew, all over earth, 

for you. 


Once more, wind 

Once more, wind 

Blow her to me 

Though she’ll say it was me 

Knowing too well it was she 

Let her lie 

Among her flowers that pretend to live 

But die, 

I’ll take it as it was meant to me. 

Just blow her once more 

Back to me 

And she’ll I know 

Once again to hide 

In mountain mists

 that she herself denied. 

But she’ll still be what she has been 

To me, 


 Love’s epitome. 

So blow her, my wind 

And still let her be 

The grand pride she was, 

A sweetness of transience, 

For eternity. 


Poem Maker 

What makes a poem maker? Not everyone. But someone like you 

who sings in the street, 

as he passes by in his journey; 

And that is strange, He cannot stop

 or look again, but, someone like you, that his heart is sucked inside, 

with just one look, that fills his skies, and it rains, and rains, and rains. 


Are you there? 

Are you there? 

Or are you gone. 

I don’t believe the wind, 

That talks all lies 

Making love to the coloured skies. 

I don’t believe the wind 

When it tells me 

That you’ll be forever true. 

What you once were 

That blossomed you upon yesterday’s walls; 

In secret beauty among the thorns; Though they enthral, 

What you were to me, 

And what you still are, 

I cannot just fathom 

Just as no night ocean 


Its iceberg 

Lit with borrowed stars. 


There Are Poems I Miss 

There are poems I miss 

Like a woman 

Much missed. 

There are poems  

I’ve lost 

Like friends gone dead. 

There are spaces in time 

I can’t conjure up; 

Made of memories  

So red, 

That are much more than blood 

As I 

 Hold her to my cheeks 

And feel  

In her yielding, 

The coldness of death

 That once 

Was love. 


Leave Me, Leave Me, Like Lorca 

Leave me, leave me, like Lorca 

On the balcony. 

Leave me, distant,

  I have nothing to hide. 

How much you come, 

Or how much you leave me. 

I don’t keep a count on you. 

Leave me,  leave me like Lorca 

On the balcony. 

Leave me there on your bed of lips  Undying, dead 

Upon a poetry—kiss. 




You won’t believe it 

How the heart waits patiently Although through the years 

It has changed. 

All done now, 

Time had its thoroughfare 

And now past its time, 


Though painted a bright red, 

The heart, 

A post box in the junction 

Is still waiting for those  

Once young hands. 



how nice, how nice that you keep quiet. 

Keep quiet, like the mountain that sends its lava among sleeping folk

 in the village in its name, so everything is fossilized into posterity; 

Keep quiet, now you must not even smile I must pull the cloth over my

 eyes and you’ll come in the night so quiet, in your heat, so it won’t even be 

a moment. How nice. That you and I will be together but you want me 


all burnt, so late in the night. 



They bury our letters as mud buries bodies. 

Bodies that lived and died,  thinking of love. 

Small envelopes; you’ll find them filled with the dead 

 that opened up all their life for that which seldom came,

 the flowers of longing eyes upon them  dazzling, as postage stamps, 

 sending love, sending love, 

all over earth. 


Still waters 

After this long 

After they have been flying 

Upon still waters mirroring skies  They are flying so low,

 I can touch them I can feel them all, all over me, All ice. 

I’ll not ask why, why so long 

They keep flying about my skies 

If only to mirror still waters 

The way upon a poet’s lips 

His last word dies. 

For, I’ve laid to rest 

Your bird-eyes. 



Forget the trespass, 

Though I’ll not regret, 

The spasms yet, of words 

That in us met, as poetry phosphenes  In the eyes of love gods; 

What must be done now, 

After it has rained 

You and me night long  

In that dark window pane 

Behind which,  

We woke, coloured,

 Sans flesh, sans dreams,  

into each other. 



There’s a small rain here

 And a wild fragrance  

Of white flowers

  Of the red jessamine. 

No stars, stars, 

All white, 

all perfume Is the garden terrain. 

And I’ll not be thinking of you 

Though I know I’ll find you, 

Like the small red fruit all under, 

All hidden, 

among the  White flowers. 

The way the night no longer cares, 

The way a small rain hides all its stars. 


Don’t Talk to Me 

Don’t talk to me now 

As though I do not know 

of lit paper boats. Talk to me again like you used to 

Of love’s ocean 

Lit with your small hands. 


Give Me One Reason 

Give me a reason,

 why my birds must still sing in the blue boughs of your eyes. 

I’ve emptied all reason,

 thinking you are not there anymore in my life. 

But where you are, 

darkness takes me by my hand 

and trips into your light 

 and it is funny, because I stopped, long ago, 

believing in the beauty of twilight stars.  

Give me one reason, why I must

 mould your laughter like a snowball that I cannot anymore hold, 

  Tell me why I must burn by your window 

like a candle you have forgotten, 

you lit and won’t shut 

I’ve emptied reason, I don’t run after love’s season,

 no, I don’t look for cherries of your lips 

hiding in my memories, but where, and why, and how,

 can you not say, 

  now that pyramids have been built over us, 

where we thought we left behind for each other 

  a little, vanished love?  

Until the River 

I wake up this morning to find you Combing your hair upon 

Your left bosom 

Thinking how you must go away 

Taking me until the river, 

As one takes a cup to one’s lips 

And lets it linger 

So the tongue will taste that sugar 

Just as you taste 

My love, and leave me there, 

From where I must find my way back To myself again. 

And you win. 

Because you know 

After you have done your hair 

I want to talk to your mirror 

Tell it all about us, 

About a tear, that like a tear 

Circles the pond of a lost icicle 

Knowing not how yet to disappear.

 But you’ll by then have 

Changed your ways. 

Forgotten even our seaside embrace. 

Next time, after I am gone 

Even your mirror won’t know you 

For you’ll have changed. 

Unlike you, 

How you bring your hair 

How you now bring your hair

 Combing it gently upon your right bosom 

Like you never used to. 


Some Dreams 

Some dreams 

Are not just for dreaming. 

They are cenotaphs  

You enter, 

Where you were king, 

And she was queen. 

Some dreams, 

They go on for centuries 

And you are in. 

Well, speak not of exits. 

Her voice, her voice, 

Its tenor in your head, 

Such beautiful Living dead.  


Heart line 

In my heart line, 

The nights come on. 

I hear those voices 

As past waves upon a wharf; 

The suddenness of the sea 

In that Venus drip all over 

The ancient lighthouse 

Grown so tall, 

That stood it all, 

And will still do

 In bejeweled  Clots of you. 


And then the Secret Birds Sing. 

They have your eyes 

Put on your disguise 

And play about the white boughs

 of the night wind 

They have your eyes 

They breathe the skies 

And no more worry that they have sinned 

That they let you love me 

Covered us with their wings 

And went to hide before break of dawn 

Among the wet leaves of the night wind 

Where dark grew so dark 

Without telling me all about you 

Why you came 

Why you left 

And left me quiet bereft 

And then again the secret birds that sang 

That have your eyes 

That put on your disguise 

They lay down their feathers 

And lie awake upon the boughs of another night, 

All blind. 


My Air ways 

My Airways 


The departure  

Of flight No One Zero One 

To her kohled eyes. 

The take-off has been smooth, 

For most part, dreams,  

And imagination, that keep wondering How she’ll be. 

We’ll be flying, mostly over sea

 So look outside and enjoy the scenery. This is your captain 

Wishing you a good day. 

And a comfortable flight. 

The weather is fine,  

The sky looks clear, 

It is for most part cloudless 

And so we look forward to a pre scheduled landing. 

And even though the seat belt sign 

Is switched off, 

For safety it is advised to keep them on. 

Though you may be a frequent flyer, 

My dream, my imagination, 

Please take a little more time to read the safety instructions 

Especially in case, 

We land in water. 

The reading lights may be switched on 

For your reading pleasure. 

Soon, tears will be served on board With honey. 

If you have need for special assistance, 

Do not hesitate to call cabin crew Who’ll only be too willing to assist you.

 Sit back, relax, 

And enjoy the flight. 

The flight to eternity 

In her eyes 

Will be covered In one heartbeat. 


Where Everything Burns 

If you know a place 

Where we can set love ablaze, 

Come, let’s get there. 

There’ll then be no more need 

To kiss your face; 

Or talk of tears that tether 

The wind in its embrace 

Because we are going to a place 

Where we can set love ablaze 

No more in turns 

Where everything burns 

Just for you and me 




Put the blame, put the blame, 

Put the blame on me. 

You know

 I live In your flames. 


Who’s this woman 

Who’s this woman, 

Ghost and sapphire, 

All stone, all red, All fire? 

Making me words 

 In her book of desire? 

And why? 

Strings of an abandoned lyre

 That still makes music In soul? 

And why must I seek  

Truth in that lie, 

Why, must I burn In her winters? 

Reason enough, 

That I must not cry, 

Her breast in my hands 

That turned to squirrels, 

Running up the 

Tall tree Of good bye. 


One Hundred Years 

I wonder what you 

Must be doing now. 

Are you in the kitchen, 

Turning on the fire 

For your chicken 

From the fridge? 

Are you laying the table 

For one? 

Neat fork and spoon, 

A piece of tissue, 

And mayonnaise, 

Wet as our once laughter? 

Are you watering your coleus 

Bringing back their jaded 

Leaves to red, 

By the bedroom window, 

Or thinking why

 Your small night flowers, 

Have not yet blossomed? 

Or are you still crushing 

Grapes for me 

That sweet blood 

You once promised 

With my hand in yours 

We would drink  


One hundred years later. 


What You Once Meant to Me 

What you once meant to me  

Is what you still mean to me now; now to me and beyond,

 Bridges in the mist 

That had you and me 

Running towards each other; 

The echoes of that laughter  

Is the mushroom patch 

I still lay my hands on; knowing 

That it is now strange winter, 

Your breath, a frozen 


But still your face, 


That you cannot love me, 

Your voice like sometime rain, 

Ripples the truth of each other 


And our memories all night  

Grow words,  

Mossed, shaken,

 In the wings of starlit graves. 



The Stars, the Birds, the Words 

If the stars in the night skies  

Turned to birds, 

All of light, and in light years, 

They would sing the song 

I wrote for you,

 When it was darkness

 Between you and me. 

If the stars in the night skies 

Turned to words, 

All of light, and in light years 

They would be poems, 

Of what you meant to me  


That no words, no expression 

Could tell you openly, 

And in your lips, 

Magical love ships 

With me lonely in them, 

Looking for you, 

Have set sail, 

They have crossed the sea, 

How lonely the ocean, 

The stars, these words, 

That set out 

For you.  

The Poetry of Love 

Why have you come, 

This near? Did you not know, 

That if not for these verses, 

I cannot endear, and must be lost, And you must forget me

 Because I’ll soon turn dust. 

 Why have you come, why, 

Will you make soft deer 

Of this heart, that is now smitten 

With your atmosphere?


 Do I wait, wanting, that you, will appear,  

 you, bright sonnet,

You, ode of beauty, 

epic of my remembrance, 

In the poetry of love? 


Where the Words of You Blow 

Where the words of you blow 

Water lilies of picked days  

And nights, over coloured-glass memories  

Past the heart’s closed door, 

My sorrow of winter, spring,

 and rain  

I’ll not look back to see you again, 

Or recall, my lost call to you, 

What was that, what was everything, 

In the rosary of your beaded nothing at all. 

But time will hear this, and in time, 

From time to time,

 whatever I did to let you wall me in,  

A time will tell, and cast that spell 

Of you in me in a sadness that tears 

The reading eyes, with a madness 

That shreds the magnificent rainbow 

Touching the two ends of you and me 

In a sadness fogged with coldness 

Of you still there, 

 how much ever you may have gone,  you, scented, ascendant, windfucker 

In endless windhover over 

All the ways of you 

 Love buried me in. 



What Love is 

Love is a wet goat 

Tethered to a post, 

And all those green leaves, 

Where terror fills  

It is quiet, 

It is still eating from your hands. 


Quiet Harbours 

What our silence now is, 

Dark waters will tell, 

That hold the harbour lights 

As jewels to its breasts. 

Such silence  

That you and I shared 

Among the receding waves 

Shaking with the voice Of ghost cymbals. 

Such silence, 

That pauses, 

Between breath and breath, burning without us in the air, 

Such silence, made of a night of glitter of light waves 

After we passed the stars, 

Such that the night, 

That jewels the harbour lights 

Upon its breasts 

Can only comfort  

Us and tell  

As it tenders our meeting faces Upon its lap, to sleep. 


She Had the Kind of Face I Loved 

She had the kind of face I loved, 

And loved to love; 

The face I loved to see me mirrored in, 

In a mirrorscape of us together  

With our words quiet as dark bees 

Upon meeting lips 

Inside the hour, 

One with the dying winter  

Falling rain, 

And the quietly fallen leaves. 



I step out into the evening storm.  

Its fierce trees bend like fingers clasped in love.  

Dust has the sting of baby snakes. 

But suddenly,  

The wind is a tender smile,  

As upon my windshield, 

Rain prints  the slow alphabets of your name. 


One by One Your Memories 

One by one your memories 

turn red, they turn lost reeds of love green, unnecessarily. 

Your memories, they copy the sun, going down the hills, as though they will vanish but return faithfully, 

how faithfully, as though the wounds that crave to heal must be watered and sung. 

Your memories, they turn rose,  they dahlia the coldest mornings,

 as they burst with bird wings 

over the high seas with the brightness of burning. 


The Uncertain Lure 

A certain likeness, an uncertain lure, that takes on the heart and shoots it to the fartherest star, so that love born here, born so near, 

born of your lips, the light in your eyes, the fragrance of your tousled hair  must still count every star and be from you, light years away. 


You Who Will Not Be Defined by


You who will not be defined by roses yet takes me apart petal by petal.

 And lets the heart turn beast wandering in that jungle of never return. 

You who’ll not be taken in by light but sets aflame the submerged magic mountain and binds 

with the ring of time’s mystical mist until the coming of death’s dark sun; 

You, who sheds my life’s nights to full moon pieces pretending that you make me whole. 


Her Parting 

Her Parting is not for me; it is too much sadness for me to bear: 

Only Gods have the power, to turn tears to fruits on fruit trees on earth.

 I can have tears. 

I can pretend to be without her. 

I can ripen and shed and like a fruit of her, 

quietly fall. 


A Flood of Green 

No one else has let me come this far with a woman, without the woman.

 But with just her laughter, her voice that miraculously turns to birds every time i hear her; 

She has not the beauty for poets to run after; her lips do not remind of Ravi Varma’s red; 

but why will the earth not flower, for me, why will the waters turn away flooding bright greens with golden sunflowers 

with just a quick turn of her face? 


Not That I  

Not that I do not think of you. 

You are there like the need for water, the winged sleep of seeds.

 So in every thought of mine, your laughter bursts, as you circle my lifeline. 

And I still pretend that you are not there 

 knowing, all my life 

I’ll die, putting out your light flaming around me not understanding why. 


The Moth of Memories  

This is taking a wild turn. 

Memories moth us, there is no forgiveness. Perhaps Sappho’s fragrance, even time will not realize. 

And you, just standing there, 

turning infinity You are still there where words have ended. 

Where silence opens umbrellas thinking it still rains though the rains stopped long ago.

 You are still there, where I cannot find you, where I used to find you 

and now silence closes, and we have brought each other here, where silence cannot begin,

 but will never end. 


Were Love a Drink 

Why, will you blame me? 

Were love a drink, I would drink it all how much ever it kills the heart. 

But love is a terrible wink that you let sink 

that stayed so long at the brink 

for one look of your eyes the silliness of your dolphin lips 

(Maybe it was only love’s camouflage) 

all before you slipped into the lake of falling rain. 


One more question 

One more question,

 I know there is no answer. 

But why, 

Just by saying good bye 

You had me sculpt 

Your face in the sky. 



That she loved me, or no 

In what was it, that I was caught, Entangled like a comb in her long hair? 

That she kissed me, that she did, 

She moved me over in wet silence, 

As words move over in ink, 

Writing that secret poem,  

That you tear away with the heart’s blade. 

What was it that she did? 

She did what red and white lilies do to lakes, 

She filled a world with perfume, 

Before she left it ethereal as the sky 

That reflected in her beguile, 

She did this and she did that, 

She showed her face to my lips 

As though they held a mirror to her, And then she turned away, 

Turning all green to hay. 

How soon she did the things she did, 

That she loved me or no In what was it distraught, 

That I let myself go? 

And so, now I must let myself show, 


Over where, her lilies, still brightly grow. 



These leaves, these trees,

 these fruits, 

These bats upon the plums, 

The eagles circling in the air, 

These lakes, the meditating blue 

Kingfisher upon the bough  

Waiting for the break, 

This sunshine, blue shine of sea, 

The murmur of God’s voice 

Upon the bee wing  

My breath, my angel, 

Always a sophomore, 

Thinking this will last, 

But from what I know, 

It is enough to be comforted by, 

Death, not too far away 

With that silence of breath 

Upon a loved one’s breasts. 


Goodbye street. 

All night the red flame 

Flowers fall. 


Every morning  I sweep them. 


Ask the postman 

Who rarely comes this way. 

But he knows 

I’ve been here 

All these years,


Flame flowers. 

If you pass this way 

Don’t ask him my name  

Just ask  

For the sweeper of  flame flowers 

In Goodbye street. 


Hundreds of You 

Hundreds of you 

And still, in the closed chapter, opened each night, the one. 

And then, all over you, my love’s signature, like flowers among bright green leaves that fill sunflower fields. 

If You Ever  Thought 

that I was only an afterthought, perhaps, like gentle deer, I was looking to you in my forest of fear. What we wrought between us, was nothing more than rain symphony, breathing calm upon burning leaves of summer that had forfeited all memory. So we came together,  and then, later, or much too soon, if you thought, 

this was after all, an afterthought, let our love go and die together burning their hitting heads not upon rock, but upon light, the flames, that carried us, a little while, upon the cooling seas. 


There is no more sorrow 

When things go, when people go, 

grief comes. 

It knows it has a place to stay. 

A bedroom that overlooks a graveyard filled with roses. 

Or the smell of burning of flesh 

on fire. 

That’s what sorrow means. 

Flesh burning. 

Roses filled with morning dew 

upon them. 

And then, as the days pass, 

as the nights come on, the guest begins to sense, it is unneeded, 

The glowing fires have died, 

the roses have all withered,

 it is time to vacate the bedroom. 

It is same with love and death. 

Love dies. 

And death becomes a mirror, 

a mirror of yesterday,

 of a bedroom used to living without its guest. 


Your Small Dolphins 

Then your small dolphins gently rest together 

That suddenly heaved on seeing me, As though 

I hit you like a sea wave. 

I’ll only play on you like water drops Just to shred myself into rainbows Upon the breaking sun on your face. 

Your eyes deer, endearing all over my face.

 Blue forests slope down to the sea. Then I see your dolphins go calm, 

So calm, like coffins quiet with my breath. 


Love Falling  

I do not know 

if this is falling in love. 

I do not even know 

if this is love falling. 

But each time you fall,

 I know it can be with no other that I’ll  

Pick you up like rain. 


Small Birds of You 

Small birds of you dust the air. 

They simply do not care.

 That first thing in the morning 

You fog my eyes. 

And turn my life to life to landscapes tempting hill and air

 waiting for your calm descent in my nowhere air. 


Thought Bird 

Where you are 

My thought bird builds a nest. 

I’ll be tree, turn to leaf,  

and because you are, I flower. 

Why so? I haven’t tried yet to discover 

the way you blossom, 

like breasts swell, in wet nights  moist, before winter’s autumn. 


Somewhere Along the Line 

Somewhere along the line

 I got entangled in you. 

Suddenly the stars in the skies 

Turned to fine Chinese haikus, 

Each twinkle a winked surprise, 

Like a bright poem ending. 

The rivers stayed tuned all night 

To the music your lips made playing kisses with silence.

 Somewhere along the line 

You changed me, from man 

To bird, word and firefly 

And in your nigh hair, how I triumphed, 

And burned and burned. 


Sun Down 

If you had not come into my life, perhaps these poems would not have been. These waves of memories would not have caressed red sun downs in the evening seas. 

And now the moon rises. It is asking for time, so the nights will stay,               a little longer.Nights that must stay 

Because you are gone. 


Pretty New Wings  

Maybe in your absence

 fills love’s presence. 

This overtaking of your lips, 

over my memory, over riding.

 Maybe in your non caring 

birds learn to shake away 

small feathers  off their pretty

 new wings. And love ends up believing, it is true,

 it is alright, 

your wrong doing. 


So, Like a Rainbow after Rain 

So, like a rainbow after rain, thoughts of you come on me insane. Small waters these, that open to cold doors of pain. 

Where your laughter lingers with their ghosts of love, unhurried, waiting to make, and break me

 into rain, time and time again. 


Borrowed Waters 

Of course, to be in love 

is to be foolish. Is to think you are young still and wanton. 

Like fishes that play in their small aquarium, not sensing that they are caught, 

To love is to linger in freedom

 in borrowed waters. 



Perhaps I’ll recover someday. 

I’ll be healthy with no trace of you. 

No more words of longing, 

no thought of your lips fruiting, 

And your memory will only be a bridge for me to cross. 

Until then, I must take by spoonfuls, the mystery of your indifference. 


You’ll continue in my Eyes 

You’ll continue  

In my eyes  

As flowers everyday 

Break the day 

You’ll continue in my words 

As fish spawn  

You’ll sail in my ocean, 

As small ships that live to know 

That death is but  

Love of water,  

You’ll continue, 

As the lyric that bursts

 Between your breasts

 With a middle kiss. 

And so you’ll  wake love  

 From the place it longs to be in, 

Beside the church, 

Where small blossoms 

Crowd over 


To the moon, to the sun, 

Running roots  

Along the silence of that song 

Like I like once ran my fingers 

Over your night lit hair.  

Where the River Flows Down 

Where the river flows down to another dawn 

And in the sky, another red sun is born  

Where you will wander, 

Among searching eyes, 

Just wet your hands, where teardrops drown  If you find me gone. 

 Where the stars take light years to come back to earth, 

And the moon still follows the circles of the sun, 

Where bright birds wake into the skies again 

And you turn to me in the rain 

And find no one 

 Let the night be tender over you 

Like a loving hand 

As you walk leaving wet footprints on the sand, 

And it was here with you, 

I was once forever 

But it is already another time, 

Another land, 

Let that light linger, a little while, 

Pick up that small blossom 

Before its fragrance dies 

Promise me again all those stars in the skies Don’t remember that hunger, 

And that thirst that is gone, 

The poetry of every leaf  

Crumbling upon stone , 

Lay down with my name  

Silent on your lips, Breathe me a little deeper in your closed eyes 

Where the river flows down... 

 Where the river flows down to another dawn 

And in the sky, another red sun is born  

Where you will wander, 

Among searching eyes, 

Just wet your hands, 

Where teardrops drown 

 If you find me gone. 


They Have Slept  

They have all slept 

They who said they would not sleep because they were so much in love. 

But let us not wake them. 

They who said they loved, I know how tired they must all be,

 Let them all sleep. 

But to love you, is to let sleep keep awake to love the night. 


Three Drops of Rain 

Three drops of rain 

Are a lot of pain 

Bringing you and me together again. 


Shut World 

Just to listen to you speak is to listen to my love song.

 And so it is, I shut my world. 


Give it a Name 

What is this if it isn’t our onslaughts like the beatings upon a coloured water snake that came in for a little warmth in the pouring rains? 

Let it not be love. 

Let it be nothing. But the next time you pass me by and break into a smile, give it a name. 


Mind, Mind. 

Let’s go back to where she isn’t there. When apples red with beauty did not remind of her lips. 

When flowers blossomed in their own pride without her morning laughter let’s get back in there. 

when she wasn’t in the middle of the thoroughfare and clouds were so white clouds without her face streaming. When a stream or a river was just that and not at all her silly flowing eyes. When rainbow arcs did not tell of the fall upon her breast, and every flower that held its nectar was yours to taste, and not to drown. 

Mind, mind.  Let’s get back to that day before yesterday before she came to care, 

and now when you wake 

it is like that lake, that let you sail, into time’s nowhere. And it is all so beautiful, it is all so beautiful, 

it all so beautiful to drown.


And With You 

And with you  

A diamond returns to darkness 

of coal. 

After all that light, 


The smells of distances 

Gets stronger. 

The early storm 

Brings in the rubies

  Of your coming rain. 

With you, without, 

Every word in a poem  

Is every word without the poem 

The poet writes, 

Who must die, 

Stabbed in his sleep 

 By his precious poem tonight. 


We Don’t Know 

We don’t know, 

That we don’t know  

The things we between us do, 

The things, these things,

 Small songs that in us sing 

For each other, that we set 

To small fire, that burns us together, 

As though we must not know, 

Small songs, in those festive ways,

 the kind that used to write 

Poems upon stars 

That spring in us

 No more. 



What flavours you breathed me in  

Before turning time to winter, 

Before burning me in the summer fires of your whittled nest, 

What else, must I have waited for, what else,

 Islanded in the small seas of your eyes? 

Broken, in your face, 

I’m a mirrored token 

Of all that in centuries done, 

You and I have undone. 


The Hardest Lesson 

The hardest lesson it is, once 

Thought so easy 

So hard that in jungled beehives of remembrance where

 Your bright bees 

Keep flying past shadows nectarine, everywhere, 

The hardest lesson, 

As eyelids close, it grows, 

It grows into hills, turns to mountains,  

Waterfalls all dark 

Where you truly are,

 You who touched my hands to forgive, 

And burned my heart 

With your heart to forget. 


Ask me not  

Ask me not heart, again 

 What I seek to ask you. 

The same questions, 

That we have been asking each other 

Since long. What answers, 

In the path, 

Where we meet to depart? 

 And longs to meet again 

If only to part? 


All wrong. 


Dark Lines 

Dark lines,  

What do they know? Little by little 

What they have now done to paper. 

What cannot be erased.

 Her face. 



The greatest loss 

Doesn’t go for a toss. 

Her heart of gold 

Has the glow 

Of oblivion. 


Not Just Sometimes 

Even now, not just sometimes, 

The breeze whispers, Lorca, Neruda, Kalidasa. 

Ask the rain. 

It is the same. 

Ask the green frog. 

Ask the blue whale. 

It was as then. 

The way the ancient breeze  


Carries its rain. 

Like I once carried you. 



Whose cheeks it is 

That I still want to kiss, 

And no other’s? 

Who hair must I still  make music with, 

Upon my searching fingers 

Such that my hands 

Have made me an indolent hare  

Unafraid of dying 

Among the dark green grasses? 

Whose lips have become my memory, 

As lines of a holy book read, 

By a pastor dead, 

And buried in his own church? 

Whose face did I think 

I conquered, 

Only to be left wandering? 

Her small face that I keep searching, 

Though she buried it 

For me  

Somewhere among stars. 


All that I thought was love 

All that I thought was love,  

Was but the sparkle of sun 

Among all that diamond dew sailing 

In the sea weed to the ocean; 

 To the ocean; To the ocean, 

And who thought that sparkle  

Would not stay? All is myth  

 All is myth  

But the dazzling turbulence 

A sight to hold,  

Such beauty, the saddest joy 

Upon the noon waters. 


Out of Sight 

Out of sight, 

And still all light. 

Your bright ocean 

 Lit in nothingness. 


Rest in Peace 

When love dies, those in love

 those that pretend to be in love

 Those who have loved and lost  Those who have loved and found 

say to one another, how sad, how sad, It is all going round and round 

They all say it was such a nice love it used to send waves all around 

it was so unselfish it envied us to think that such love lived; 

it was always there ready to shelter, so ready to take in all the pain; 

and how sad it is now dead                and grown so cold; 

to think that such love that was now comes to ashes; and so it goes.

 Dead is love,  but it still needs a prayer to be buried; it is waiting.  

So when are you coming when are you coming to cry 

lamenting that love that was so much alive 

And seemed that it would between us never die, Has died. 

Come and pray. 

Do the last rites. 

Love was after all love, 

It must rest in peace.  

I’ll Try and Define Quiet 

The quietness of stars. 

The quietness of flowers. 

Such quietness. 

As though they were born 

Of my haze 

Of your gazing eyes. 


Love Tree 

Let her fell me 

A tree in absolute bloom for her. 

She knows it.  She knows my flowers She knows it all. But let her be happy, 

that in her pretence as I fall, my flowers all, so she’ll think,

 though she knows, that none other, will let her win, 

though I’ll let her, even as i fall,

 I’ll let her catch the sun, and let her deceive herself that she, is one  

slaying love, 

And won, 

standing tall. 


A Boat Put to Sail  

No need to put this boat to sail, 

as though I must set out to find my own world. 

But these prisoners of the soul they have no escape. 

If I do not sail, they await death. 

They have volunteered. 

They wait for their prison’s open doors.

 So I’ll commission a boat to sail around your eyes

Till they cry 

no more, no more. 


Why Unlock the Sea 

Now, why unlock the sea

 of imagination, After you returned

 All reality to dust? 

Our touch was no mermaid apparition. 

Of course, 

I must conscious be 

Of the things you did 

Without telling me. 

The magic, and the ways 

You would mystify your face, 

The perpetuity that stays In one fleeting gaze. 

After the tricks are done is but a time to sleep, But even  the night  

breathless with all that light,

 Is but, fire, everywhere. 



How come, 

you’ll not admit me? 

Love is a hospital, 

and I need a bed 

  with just you by my side. 


River Fish 

every night tell me if i do not appear 

like a meteor cramping light 

  every night that’s just what you do before you burn stars and disappear. 

  This is a strange happening. 

Something I was not prepared for 

  That you would come into my life 

swimming on, never asking to leave 

 like river fish entering the sea. 



You grow bright in distant waters 

that gush forth rain in my solitudes.

 You wave your laughter but that is my sorrow. 

You, beautiful, memory carver, hesitant love’s disbeliever, 

growing green on rock, how you bend over me 

Mysterious as light upon the undersides of bright forest ferns. 


How Do I lose You? 

How do I lose you, tell me. 

Will it be like a pebble thrown in to sink midstream?

 Shall it be like a fish long reared  

let into the river of my forgetfulness? 

How do I lose you? Shall it be  

like a dream in the middle of which I wake up and sit and cry calling out your name? 

Tell me a way to lose you so that I may stop this sleep walking 

down the streets of yester nights still holding your hands 

long after you left. 


In Waiting 

She’ll not be moved by the tears in your eyes 

Shipping broken hearts past the Bermuda, 

Wondering about her ocean,

 to weigh anchor; 

Rather, she’ll be amused by the lights, Signalling harbour, all lit for her, 

Waiting for her just one call. 

 Now from what is known, 

it appears The realms of sadness and parting Are not hers. Never were. 

Queen of the kingdom of ice, 

She throws up to you 

An icicle of forgetfulness. 

 One among them in waiting, 

Helps her with a red winter coat, 

And she disappears into the fog, 

Having won the night 

and all its dead stars. 

 Then the lights go down in the ocean, 

Gently, one by one, 

Leaving all the poets to wonder. 


Boy Cycling Down a Slope 

He’s now a singing bird. 

His wings are dancing in the hot afternoon breeze. 

How he inhales the rain, 

In that roller coaster world, 

That world again— 

For which I would give My life. 


Lying Upon Heine’s Tomb, Montmarte Cemetery, Paris. 

The stone is clean,  

Almost brittle in shine. 

Green leaves inch closer To Christmas. 

In this almost life, 

The afternoon heat  

Spreads softly  

As touch,  


upon a sleeping body. 

Overhead, a lime tree  

Has its boughful 

 To blow. 

Now, in this precious moment  

His stone is my bed. 

I lie, and over me the sky 

 Is a poem entering reading eyes. 


I’m the poem  

I’m the poem 

The poet who died last night 

Wished to write. Here I am. 

How he wished to write me down. 

But I have my pride. 

So I dodged him. 

Because I am that perfect poem. 

All my life he has been trying to write me. 

Just me. 

But he just cannot pin me down. 

Just as even a thousand kisses 

Upon a girl’s lips

 Cannot define love 

Unless she wants them. 

But I love him. 

He has always been there for me Even though  

I’ve set him on fire. 

I know that he truly loves me. 

And in that power 

He turns me to ashes 

In which he rises. 


Ah, Poem. 

Ah, poem.

 Without you I’m dead. 

Without you, 

Nothing happens 

Here on earth. 

 In her smile,

And in her  forgetting eyes.  

You are there. 

 My God, 

My God, 

You are everywhere. 


The Years 

The years have nothing to do with justice. They’ll do for a song. 

Every year, is a poem, written in the wind. 

They’ll do for the young flesh, those beautiful lips, and the sores. 

They do it, everything they do, in the name of love, in the name of God. 

And you turn in bed, your bedsores, there are no wilful takers for, 

They are both there, the years have much to do with them, 

In the yellow flowers in the garden, in the dark red leaves, 

and in the wisdom of the breaking fruits. 

Nothing they’ll do, that they have not done before. 

The slow slaughter, you call beauty, you call time. 

The years. More than son and daughter, 

They have everything to do with pain, and something, to do with the sun,

 the wisdom of the hand-plough, 

and the falling rain. 


The Name 

No one knows my name now, 

yet once they all knew it. 

They all called me,

 said they needed me they made me their honoured guest. 

I wore the mist of the mountains then. 

The blue of the blue tit, and the white breast of the angel doved my cheeks. 

And yes. You’ll ask. True. 

There’s nothing in my name.

 Nothing to put across, after all this for that which we have no name. 

  And I must count myself blessed, that you’ll no more wish to call me

 because my name, you have forgotten you who once hid it

 beneath your pillow, and could not sleep because it was my name that

 rained all night upon your roof. 

  Things have come to this, that I fold myself into a wayside forget-me-not. 

I’ll not ask that you even touch me good night 

Whose name you chose so easily to forget. Now, that does not matter. 

But that’s how things get better 

when things you love get wet and all you have is a handful of earth

 scooped in your hands and easing; with the rain that sinks in

 to show a whiteness of roots that’s henceforth your light into the dark, 

  And to set foot deeper into the woods, to stumble upon the night

 graves, gets so much easier, now when no one knows your name. 



Why has it to be 

That life must be a desert 

With all kinds of mirages, 

Why must it be 

That we must be

 Trespassing shadows? 

Why must it be 

That life must be 

A search for some one’s eyes, 

Some one one’s lips, 

Some one’s quiet breath 

That some one 

Who never comes  

Or who almost came,

 Or so you thought  

Leaving you in the misted air? 

Tell me, whose life, was it  

That was won, 

Before day break, or beyond the setting sun? 

Horses, they’ll gallop, rabbits, 

they’ll run, 

The praying mantis 

Will beg a prayer, 

A small time to be together 

Before the ecstatic neck is bit  

Peacocks will spread their rainbows, in that enchantment 

That in a moment flung  

once in the burning dawn 

Must be wrung.  


The Dying One Thinks of Tomorrow 


In these closed eyes 

Will be sunshine  

Trying hard to bathe me back in its light. 

Tomorrow those who once held my hand 

So endearingly, weeping into it all night 

Will be suddenly afraid to hold it, They’ll find a way, 

They’ll find a way. 

 There’ll be music again tomorrow  It’ll be laid to rise 

As birthday clothes upon the sunshine birches  

 There’ll be rain, 

Two and two will still be four 

And that last letter that comes 

To your door 

Cannot be returned to sender 

But the passing breeze will know  

The cherries enveloped, 

The pomegranate fell, well, 

Though to me are closed doors, 

Though you have put back the music again, 

At first slow, 

 You who held me dear, 

You’ll only have fear 

If I become 

An apparition at your window,

But I’ll know, I’ll know.  

Unread Brevity  

Night, I’m listening

  To your secret music. 

Secrets that you open 

With closing wings, 

Of things, 

God is the master of. 

I hear the whir 

And the rising fall, 

Of crooning, lilting, 

Swanning in music, 

of which  

I know no name, nor 

Can frame, the insect 

Among the green, 

Or the cricket among the tossed leaves that makes it, 

But it is there a symphony for the stars, hung aloft the night. 

Such voices, that we choose 

To gloss over, and perhaps, 

Do not even consider 

As part of our life.  

But that has been, 

And will be 

Until the end 

Of earth and time. 

A lesson, of what we choose to pass by As we pass them by, 

Passing by, 

Unlearnt, without another chance 

To come back to, 

Just as 

We forget,  

The beauteous, bounteous 

Wayside flowers, 

That in their smallest petal 

Lost to out eyes 

Holds the colour, 

Steadfast for a day, 


Earth’s lasting chapter, 

Past the unread brevity of our earthly lives. 


Late Comer 

I’ve been a late comer  

In everything, 

Late to school, watching the sun 

Crab walk the sea-hit moss, 

Upon the mid-day rock, 

Marked absent in the roll call 

And sent out to feed the last mocking bird. 

But perhaps there was a destiny in, 

Coming after the assembly bell 

After all the boys and girls said  

Good morning and opened the day’s chapter before them, 

In being late for prayer, after god has 

Woken up, blessed the early ones and left, 

Late to catch that last train  

Gathering speed like a rat snake  

Swooping in on the small heads of the distant hills, 

Quiet in its mouth, 

 Late again, and someone else has already  

Stroked those small wet breasts, 

that lay open,  

Waiting for me all night, 

And I see her turn in half-sleep, 

Her nude back disengaging me 

In small candlelight hours, 

As from my eyes, 

The tears wait looking on, 

uncertain if it is alright to fall. 

 How late it gets. How dark. 

And suddenly it is all light; 

Early mist, snowing mayonnaise, Liquid gold all over the trees. 


 I  Knew Him, Yes 

Him, I knew. 

Atop the mango tree in his house, throwing small green mango buds

 upon the heads of school girls passing beneath; and remaining hidden. 

  His eyes had the speed of pet squirrels 

Running upon a naked body Upon the beach, wet, sun bathing. 

  The sun had all the colors of the prism 

Fused into white sand, 

And the white sand was as hot 

As love that was fresh and hot 

Should be. 

 His thoughts were kingfishers,

 and parrots and mynahs 

And upon his red lips 

Was always a humming bird. 

 He made loops like a butterfly in ceremonial flights for pollen. 

The girls laughed, looking into their small breasts forming, 

Looking if he was watching. 

Wishing, their turning away 

Would make him weep. 

  In deep seas, the fish swarmed around him 

Wishing he would catch, hold them awhile 

Before throwing them back into the sea. 

 Him, I knew who was all love, 

Poetry upon him was all studded caterpillar beauty. 

 I knew, him, yes, 

There, now stumbling by the gate, Wondering if it is locked 

or would open 

To his scaled hands, shivering. 


Last Breath 

To my last breath  

This poetry, 

That in which I tried to drown,

 In which I’m now drowned. 




Why must sadness 

Be earth? Every river, 

Sings the songs of life 

So bountiful in its dying; 

Every cloud 

Carries the burden of water 

That must fall as rain 

 To replenish earth. 

Why must sadness, 

All truth, pretend to be lies? 

In every swallows’ throat 

The song is choked, 

Though the birds day long sing, 

What lies at their feet 

Are but mortuaries. 


After I Die 

After I die

 Do not send me to heaven. 

Put me back here. 


Give me my post life, 

My soul, a meaning. 


I’ll be a butterfly

 Camouflaged in  bougainvillea in blossom. 

 I’ll be the tear 

You want to think of 

And cry. 

 I’ll be here visiting every murmuring river, 

Touching greening moss, 

The texture of the dolphin 

And the sea whale 

Memorizing the oozing light 

of each star 

 I’ll be fun to be 

On the ears of a rabbit 

Jumping to either side. 

 And when I fall, 

Let me fall  

Like the maple leaf 

In autumn Fall 

 So I’ll rise  

A little colour 

Breaking the earth 

 into dawn. 


Somewhere This Light Must Cease 

Somewhere this light must cease 

And it must soon be darkness; 

A darkness where light 

Is a spill over, 

An embodiment, 

As upon a petal, 

Dust settles its unremembered stars. 



There’ll be no last poem 

There’ll be no last poem 

About you,  

All my poems of you begin in the end, 

As you tend  

My secret garden, springing everywhere  

In the precipice of nowhere, 

By the low mists  

Of sadness that take the shape  

Of clouds, that linger 

Embracing time you could not call by any other name, 

And by whatever name you call it, 

You are but grief, 

No more brief  

Tamed wildness, 

All distanced beauty.  

All these poems, they all grow,

 For you, throw your light 

In so many colours,  

In shapes of you, breathe unnamed fragrances, 

Call you 

With words that if they could 

Would have embalmed me all over With you, knowing  

that I cannot live there, and am  

Just trespass without thoroughfare, but it must be, 

Between you and me, that I  

Must turn, 

To return with you into river, 

Mountain mist and unending song.  


Without me 

Birds wake. 

And then they sing

 They sing. 

 Like yesterday. 



Bring Them to Me 

Bring them to me  

Such beautiful poems 

That coral your smile 

Allow me to pluck them 

Without hurting them. 

And let me have them 

Just to show you how 

You are a maker 

Of love’s colours. 

 Next time you come 

Bring some more beautiful poems That dolphin your eyes

 Whenever you give me 

That wide look of the sea. 

 I’ll be waiting 

Watching you go 

Where you take me 

Where such beautiful poems

 Become eternity. 



The morning rain has just left. 

But the earth still sleeps 

In its embrace. 







Piccolo (1972) 

Milestones to the Sun 

Sunbirds in the Rain 


Father, Wake us in Passing 

Mother Sonata 

Father Benedict Goes to Heaven , and other Poems 

A Buchenwald Diary 

Victoria Terminus, poems Selected and New 

Vrindavan, The Coloured Yolk of Love (Radha Krishna Poems) 

Tell me Neruda 

My Dear Little Tsunami and other Poems 

Reflections in Silhouette 

My Blue Alzheimer’s Sky and other Poems 

The Painter of Evenings, Poems (1980-2018) 



Editor, Poetry Anthologies 

A New Book of Indian Poems in English 

Living Poetry: English Poetry From Kerala 



The Mask of Death (John Keats, The Final Days) 

Fire in the Soul (Subramania Bharati, A Life) 

A Woman in Flames (A True Story) 

The Nectar of the Gods (The Story of the Beatified Devasahayam) 



Love’s Ecstasies (An Adaptation of Kukoka) The Fountain of God (Puntanam) 

Ramanan, The  Pastoral,

By  Changampuzha



Children’s Fantasy 

Wander-The Great Wide Wander Galaxy Valley 



The Twelve Petals of Enlightenment 



A Bridge Over Karma 

Presumed Guilty 

Hill House 

Chilanka (The Anklet)