Poems: A Selection



Trees stand upright, devoid of airs

Birds roam aimlessly

Clouds, one of their species,

Are afloat without wings

It is certain now that the time of rain’s begun

Horses are deep in their practice run,

With magic awhirl in their eyes

Like vines, the colour of rain has spread

On their drenched backs and streaked down

Unknown even to the rain, the scavenger is sinking

Along with the rain’s debris

There is no better season in which

To weave the body’s history


When the snow-body, molten

In the heat of breath,

Met the eye,

Life’s fount opened its lips and flowed

In the evening, when another time called,

The body wore, and wore again, those garlands

Of fire; was gutted

In the morning that greeted and spun you around

In the zones of breath, love itself

Was Death’s scented pollen

In the hard rain that lops your head

And flings it on the ground,

As wheels turning within a wheel,

Life’s eye shrinks to its essence


It was in that city deficient

In sperm count, through which

Burdensome nights passed, that I met her

In the groves that beckoned me to understand

The loneliness she had made familiar,

Sounds of falling fruit that birds chewed and spat out

Would stun me, like someone following furtively behind

Lean cats prowling in search of dried fish

And snakes racing now and again across the courtyard

Would drag her house bereft of electricity’s hues

Towards realms of magical fiction

Trimming the lamp’s wick, and casting

On the wall a gigantic shadow of her bare body,

She would tell me shadow tales spiked

With the milk of my forefathers

Only buds that are yet to flower

Wouldn’t have heard or known such tales


She who obsessed over the body

Started a trade for its sale

After scraping clean the body’s slush

From her underclothes, and

Making the body whole,

She carried it, as in a lamp-lit

Procession at the temple festival

Wearing a radiance beyond the oppressive heat,

Everyone followed her

Like wet clothes hung up to dry,

They were worn out by lust’s torments

By and by, they pelted her with stones

Carrying her lamp, she fled down those streets

The city itself caught fire, burned

We now look on piteously

At the tents coated with the body’s ash

Firemen are still at their task

Of rescuing the body


As seedlings, several centuries ago,

Breasts sprouted in her body’s black soil

She forgets them sometimes, as they quiver

Among the straining bodies

As the sun goes down, they boom like conches –

Very close to her heart

A thread of rain enters her and unravels; then

Lust’s fangs rise all over her body

If those conches were to open their mouths,

They might speak of her body’s travails


The day destroys the night’s holy processions

In the torment of being pregnant with a word

Untouched yet by anyone’s heart, finger and lip,

Her body yearns. Yearning is what it must do.

In this rainy season of lakes filled

With ashes falling from the sky, it lives

Like a virgin-seed battened with its own fruit

Patterns drawn by a child’s fingers, distinguishing

By touch the eyes, hair

And other organs of a flower,

Have strung her body together,

As the roots of a plant grip the soil tight

In the dimples of fleshy organs sits,

Cowering, her endless hurt

We who together sip our sweet drinks

From different glasses, savour

Our separate memories alone


Standing alone in the woods and writhing

At the touch of the finger that stalks –

That continues still

When I return by the same path,

It lies there limp

Like a noose-rope broken

Flowers of the night

Are awake, like the lidless eyes

Of corpses

In the din of the body sprouting machines all over,

A child’s laughs weakly sputters

In the lash of the season’s rain.

The eye’s flame is dimmed; goes out

We are not angels, after all


Breasts are bubbles, rising

In wet marshlands

I watched in awe – and guarded –

Their gradual swell and blooming

At the edges of my youth’s season

Saying nothing to anyone else,

They sing along

With me alone, always:

Of Love,



To the nurseries of my turning seasons,

They never once forgot or failed

To bring arousal

During penance, they swell, as if straining

To break free; and in the fierce tug of lust,

They soar, recalling the ecstasy of music

From the crush of embrace, they distill

The essence of love; and in the shock

Of childbirth, milk from coursing blood

Like two teardrops from an unfulfilled love

That cannot ever be wiped away,

They well up, as if in grief, and spill over


The tree’s shadow

Sat still beneath its canopy

Like a Greybird

As if she wished to snatch and carry away even

The protracted silence of the street,

A girl came down sweeping

It was here that

He’d asked me to wait,

Had asked my love too

The sweeper-girl

Went away long ago, taking

The silence with her, while she kept

Turning back to stare at me

Darkness has now begun to stream down

Like tears. Enchanted and fearful,

Like a body ready at last to arrive

At its own flowering, I wait

Here . . . he walks in from afar,

Like a laden cloud about to unburden

Itself of rain

At this unbearable joy,

Red stars have begun to spring in my body

The tree, though,

Is still; not perturbed in the least –

Like a Greybird


Your chest’s meadow has dried up

You don’t write letters these days

There’s a tumult of tears

In your tempered letters

Your body’s so tender; it makes me

Want to cover you with many arms

There is no one else on this summer street, except

The postman carrying his bag of strangled letters,

And the girl who’s lost her childhood secrets

When the strange bird of summer

That drinks up all the streams in one swift gulp

Arrives quietly, the rocks too come awake

Children refuse to play

Beneath the sun that daily soaks in blood and rises

Inside an empty house,

The telephone’s been ringing for a long time now

Girls’ eyes are afloat in the haze

In an earlier summer, too hot

For trees to stand their ground,

You had called my body a live expanse

I found, when I awoke from sleep,

That the handbag where

I had stashed away your kisses

And our quarrels stiff with the salt of tears,

Had been opened

This summer that brings to mind

A doused lamp’s acrid smell,

I’ve brought along just for you

Do write me letters. Do.

Translated by N. Kalyan Raman

Default image

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter

Leave a Reply

Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124