Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Coconut Tree

she was five
when sitting on the step
of the veranda
behind the kitchen
she bent her little head
at right angle
to see the top
of a coconut tree
and the branches
swaying in the wind
beckoning to her
to join the birds
and the crows
disappearing into it
or flying out of it
and soar into the sky
soft in the dying day
and wished she were those birds
and could fly high
and wander into the heavens
and say hello to the angels
and then return
and disappear into the coconut palm.

Now five decades later
she looks down the eleventh floor
of a high end apartment
in the capital city
at the riot of coconut trees
at her feet.
Watches the birds
playing hide and seek
among its branches
and envies the birds
and the crows.

And when she roams
in lands without coconut palms
her heart swells
at the colours of fall
at strange trees that flourish
in softer climes
and looks for birds
and crows
and feels stirrings in her heart
and mind
and her whole being
and looks for her coconut trees
in vain.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Terror of Absence

The presence of absence
permeating the silence
turning oppressive
becoming tangible
in the aftermath

of the brief disruption
of its humdrum reign,
by invasive Presence
fun and frolic in tow.

As though it resents
the destabilising
of the peace of Limbo.

It wreaks vengeance
with the torture
of the deafening sound
of Silence.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

outside the box

Inertia of thought
like death that breathes
conflict free

This life in death
death in life
is it worth it?

Better to have thought
and struggled to create
and suffered

and died

than flow along
without thought.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Moment

The Moment of release
From Time

A moment in a millennium?

Released by a strain
that rings a bell
in some far-flung zone of consciousness
Or by the cool breeze
flowing gentle and silent into the balcony
brushing my cheek
in the late hours of the insomniac night
to the accompaniment of the stirring day

The Moment
Suspended in time

of release from the known and comprehended
poised in a bizarre ambiance of freedom
confronting truth measureless

A flash of recognition
like a bolt of lightening

And then it’s gone.

The aftermath of the glimpse- - -

Where is THE word?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Breaking the Magic Wand

They ask me how it feels
the day after

Does it hurt?
do you miss it all?

The routine. the role,
the camaraderie
the feel of belonging.

The burden, the deadlines.

The young minds – impressionable
the puzzled frown
the joy of the idea
the starry excitement
the faces volatile as knowledge unfolds

Do I miss all that?

Strangely enough, no.

Didn’t I love it all?
I ask myself.
Where, then, are the pangs?

Ripeness is all.
Stoicism born of a second lease of life !

Life -
to be celebrated
till the last breath

Every change brings a new horizon

So, how does it feel
the day after?

Serene as I scan the new skies
words falling around me like pleasant showers
‘you gave better than your best, mom’.
‘really m'am, we are proud to be your kids - we treasure your classes – sorry if we let you down – thank you’

What more can I ask?

Posted first on on Wednesday, July 02, 2008, the day after i retired from service.

The End of Silence

am no poet.
i know that.

my muse died young
a slow death though
with growing estrangement from my tongue
and my self.

a casualty of imperialism
and acculturation.

but of late I find myself
tinkering with free verse
in the alien tongue.

the genre issues a license
the poetic license
liberation from the strain
of logical exercise,

And offers a mould
that won’t crumble
when loaded with feeling.

minds crippled with entrenched silence
turn to the spirits of the muses

can they be raised from the dead?
will they take kindly
to the strange sounds of broken silence?

posted first in on Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What are you doing, my son

What are you doing, my son?

Counting crowns.

Crowns? What crowns?

King’s crowns.

Where are the crowns?

Can’t you see? The rain is making them.

She looked where he pointed
At the water rising where each drop fell
And saw the crowns
King’s crowns
Thousands of them

I wrote this piece to be published anonymously in the college magazine, in a page dedicated to versification on rain. Most of my students guessed it was my piece ‘cos I used to relate this little episode where my 4 year old son opened my eyes to the crowns that rain drops made - to prove the point that all of us are born poets but our creativity falls by the way side in our struggle with this business called life.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

thank you for the music

talat, denver, rafi
alliyaambal and eleanor rigby
silk route and sindu bhairavi
among others
waft in
flutter in
one after the other - - -
as I sit here and now

the mind plays truant
strays, despite itself.
visits memories
buried under heaps of sunshine and life

the pain of no more music
what sort of heaven can it be?


It moves on
And we, with it.
Insensibly we move
Like the in-flight feel.
Dates and days
Mere figures
Like the in-flight map.

Till the mind
Childhood sunshine
Adolescent love
Toddler offspring
Empty nest
A long race
Breaking the wand

And then you see
And feel
Its unrelenting advance

Like the wind
You ‘see’ from the eleventh floor
As it sweeps the thronging coconut palms
Which bend in unison
In an easterly direction,
And drives the rain too
Like an aerial wave
Moving eastward
Shrouding the distant land
In a misty haze.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Mask

Jostle blindly
And silently
Masked sanely

Don’t rip the mask, please.
You’ll peel off the skin.

You won’t like what you see, I tell you.

You’ll turn away in disgust

And shatter me.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Silence of the Ashes

The blog visitor: Why no update?

My muse goes into hibernation
I do not know why

And when it stirs
and struggles in the cocoon
and finally breaks free
into the light of the day

it gets singed.
No colourful wings.

Only ashes.

The struggle to be born
to fly about
to exist
the pain of death

lost in silence.