After the 2004 Tsunami’s lethal hug,

a mother-daughter duo stood

locked in an inconsolable hug

where their mud hut hours before stood.

The ocean by now had hugged

a state of deep depression.

A bunch of young men sprang up

from nowhere, hugged selfless action,

extricated bodies from under debris

and then went away

to hug anonymity.

The verandah of the primary health centre

Hugged dead bodies for days on end;

Until a common burial pit

Hugged a hundred bodies at one go.

And not far away, a  bower lay  crumpled,

except for  the two-some of a neem

and a banyan in an iron hug.

Government for three days hugged inaction

Public tears hugged the crocodile’s

Relief at last hugged publicity/corruption.

And a hellish  stench hugged the town for three months.


A prayer this is to the Lord,

From where democracy lies floored;

To shine sanitizing light

On this contaminated night.

Trashed, yes, by demons who lobbed

Questions at us at first and throbbed

With answers so prompt and pat

until, before them, we fell flat.

When they mocked at the ‘old’

And it became an art that sold

And issued threats and acted smart

We applauded to our heart.

But, greed was their main creed,

Some ‘ism’ or the other their feed;

Movies and cricket their deities;

With those icons lay their fealties.

Their answers went awry,

They hacked up humans by and by,

Teasing  grew into carefree rapes

And post-rape manglings and escapes.

Mother killed son, son killed mother,

Someone else went and killed the ‘other,

And wondered aloud if a dad

Should anymore be called a dad.

Triumphantly they marched

To where a hungry tribal reached,

Looking for a mouthful of food,

And they beat him to death, so rude.

A bun-in-the-oven woman

Then loomed in their horizon.

They kicked her belly and she bled,

Her baby-in-the-womb went dead.

This was their avowed holy rite,

The act of faith and displayed might,

Unstoppable their juggernaut,

With power centres lies their clout.

The songs of empathy they sing

Do not at all mean a thing.

It is all ceremony like

The calm before  the storm strikes.

Democracy we have faved,

Now it needs to be, long term, saved,

Raise it above just poly-tricks

Into where humanity ticks.

Note: This is a very recent poem. It has as its theme the degenerate society that we came to inherit, as reflected in the daily news reports, like the killing of a hungry tribal by a gang, and the physical assault on a pregnant woman leading to her miscarriage, which are only two such incidents that came to mind readily, though there are many more gruesome tales like them.


They poured in,  before the deluge

To outnumber the natives

folks in their  cribs-through-hearse  stages,

trusting like kids,  a sky,

burnished into a bad blue-white,

a tantalising wrong and right,

and the mountains, inwardly  grumbling ,

darkly forbidding…

Snaking it  up  to the high  spots  of primeval Gods,

thro road-ribbons , a happy-go-lucky grey, loosely wrapping;

sleeping in structures disputed by the rivers

on  questions of  right of way;

they milled about, haggled  and  honeymooned,

peed and  pilgrimaged, at  Badri and Kedar,

belonging to the likes of Sankaras,  long before

touts and tours  stirred their sequestered spaces .

And the super giant suddenly  fancied a good shower,

of unusual cloudbursts  , landslides followed

And down flowed oodles of old filth

with silt settling to ceiling heights.

The ones who managed to cling on to life

watched  their kin,  their bearings, settings and links,

uprooted, tossed and broken, hurtling down,

Escapees from being buried in debris,

now cornered in hell,  bereaved and battered,

famished  and  plundered, living and dying from moment to moment

on nothing, save air laced with rotting-death-fumes

sanity tipping,  pondering their turn of fates;

development  vis-a-vis  disasters ;

disasters vis-à-vis puny mitigation measures

tragedies-in-the-making  vis-a-vis  remedies forsaken;

freak  instances  vis-à-vis  climate changes.

They remain  stranded  , for days on end,

despite the IAF, army men and their copters

( not the other Services who hog all the limelight

but take to heels when push comes to shove)

risking their lives on a huge rescuing effort.

The natives, rescued or not, stranded for life, though.

* This is about the colossal loss of lives and destruction caused by sudden cloudbursts and landslides in the Himalayan heights in the middle of 2013.


“Our task is to listen to the news that is always arriving out of silence”

–                                           -Rainer Maria Rilke –

A  rare prologue gone awry

Drafted as it was in the midst of

A hated  denouement

Plain and bare , shorn of  frills

Exposed to all the evil

And in a fluster

Here  left incarcerated

Within walls of mutilated words

Craving   care

Words  that just couldn’t tell

That wouldn’t at all hear

Nor be fair

Before getting snuffed out

By the most blasted hand that  ever

Pulled  a trigger

Into Silence.

And here I stand  listening to the news

Arriving… arriving …

Out of… out of…

“—-  —- —-“

• On seeing  the photograph of the 12 year old Balachandran, son of Tiger Prabhakaran,  moments before the boy was shot dead by the Sri Lankan army during final days of their offensive against the LTTE.

GAZA 2014

GAZA 2014

Which veil b

locks o

ur view  of the app

arent ,    what


vis-à-vis this

land s

lice, that we should f


to make

sense of the rebus

it is or to


her the his


hieroglyph it is.

See the  man

iacal maw

that  makes it more

than a  guts-for-garters


yet i

t fails the

world’s celeb

rated  triage.

Cut through

the curt

ains, take a loo

k   at the bipeds

on the other

side and the end-

of-the-world im

ages they s

end forth

Pitted as

they are again

st  exist

ential odds,

and attitudes,  gun

gho  and ra


With  human

ity poro

us, pond


us, vapid busy

in  ba

lancing acts.

Note: This is what is called a ‘Cut’ poem. The cut style looked apt to describe the broken-down and shattered condition of the Gaza strip after the marauding Israeli forces overran it in 2014.

S. Jagathsimhan Nair is the author of three poetry collections, the third of which won the Harish Govind poetry prize,2017. He has one prose work too, a translation into English. His poems have appeared in poetry journals and anthologies. He lives in Trivandrum presently.

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S. Jagathsimhan Nair
S. Jagathsimhan Nair is the author of three poetry collections, the third of which won the Harish Govind poetry prize,2017. He has one prose work too, a translation into English. His poems have appeared in poetry journals and anthologies. He lives in Trivandrum presently.

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