Friday, December 8, 2017

Desert

The desert is not always
Just a sweep of dunes
Lack of greenery
With an excess of sun
It can be an absence of tears
A dryness of heart
That watches agony
In unmoved silence
And may even smile
But the rain
Doesn't skirt the desert
It doesn't give up on it
Even if nothing 
Grows there now
Knowing what could lie
Dreaming under the sand
May stir to life
When it's time to die

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mirror

The hand mirror
Of my mother
I brought home
As heirloom
Seems full of remembered faces
When I hold it to my own
I fondly hope
She will reappear in it
Asking if she has aged
Or looks the same
I think I know
Why she thought
It had suddenly
Turned against her
Blamed it for
What stared back at her
Even suspicious
Of my brother
For buying her something
That showed her distorted
The first face we know
Smile at, stretch our hands for
Has disappeared
When we fade
What faces from the other side
Do we see again
Or think we see?
    

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Metaphor

Rituals seem to take the edge off grief
The dead become a metaphor
For all the dead before them;
The leaking pot
The offering of rice
Small change for the last journey;
The rapid-fire directions
Given by the undertaker
Keep the mind in line
The doing helps the forgetting ---
Yet the mourning never stops
A mother can't be mourned enough
Even if she dropped off
Ripe and old and willing
Her death is the first real shock
That life gives, that life doesn't last
Without ever answering the question
What lives after, if at all. 


Friday, October 13, 2017

Life after death

Strange things happened
When the departed
Left for the final stop
The wall clock
In the hall stopped
The other one inside
Started ticking
It can't be a coincidence
Someone said
It must be
What else can it be
The realist said
Time must have a stop
Another quoted the Bard
Hearing all this
The bereaved son said
My conversation with her
Will never stop

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Heartbreak

I'm back inside the familiar walls,
The room is as cosy as a womb,
This is my favourite spot,
With the window view
Of pigeons circling
The temple tower
And landing deftly ---
I shudder to even think it...
It's a coming back to
With only the heart broken
When it could well have been
An unseeing return on other feet ---
But I want to tell you, if you can understand
I can no more visit the temple
I've sought refuge in, before all this 
I can no more go there
Offer worship to the reclining deity
I can never forgive him for what he has done
Or for what he has undone ---
You tell me, because you still wake with his name
How could he let a mate
Who I thought was made for me
Turn suddenly so primate
How could he let him
Vandalise what he had worshipped
Let love turn so soon to hate
A heart to stone
And sleep through my nightmare.    


Monday, September 25, 2017

If only

We only know of dreams
We have when we sleep
Pleasant and unpleasant
And those we don't
Remember afterwards
Not the one like she had
That would not let her sleep
For it was a dream dreamt for others
Not to let death prey on her kind
Because the medicine men
Chose to stay so far away
That the iceman waylaid the dying
Like he did her mother
Forcing her to resolve
'Never again, if I can help it' ---
If only she could have 
Entered this new temple
If only the priests had allowed her
If only she had not said
'Enough is enough'
At the failure
Of her dream
She had thought she had failed
And herself chose
To waylay death


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Unforgiving

It's so hot the trees
Are still sweating leaves
Showing up the sun
For what it is
As unforgiving in June
As it was in May
Not giving way to rain
Still making its way
Like a reluctant temple car
Pulled by hands, not given to giving
In this covetous city, coveted by the sea
There are rumours of showers
Here and there, with lightning and thunder
Bringing children to the streets
To dance and wonder
If everything has been forgiven 



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Timeless

With this song
I keep playing
I often think
I can stop time
For a while
Keep him in my arms
Though like some toddler
Who has learnt to walk
He cannot be held back for long
Soon he is on his feet again
Soon outgrows the nest
But somewhere on his way
The son meets the father again
Knows what all he has been through
Hears the same melancholic song
With his ears
This was my father's favourite song too
I rediscovered it for myself
Long after he was gone
When looking for something
That had not been cast aside
By the swirl of seasons
These words have weathered for me
Fiery summers, storms and sleeplessness
As they must have for millions
Lightened their cross
When they had thought
They had been forsaken

Friday, April 21, 2017

Shades that hide

The pallor of the greenery
Showed it hadn't rained well
If at all, and there was an air of despair
The next spell was still far off
It was too early to be here
In March, to catch the spread of roses
Or the fruits or the surge of crowds
Heady with the undulating views and
Finding their eyes too few for the feast
Let the camera gather as much as it can
Though what would be seen
Would not be the same as what was seen
The garden was still in slumber
The shrubs had been planted and manured
Looking at them it was hard to believe
They would be dancing with flowers
Of such hues that no pallette could dream of
In just a month from now;
When it was time to turn back
The setting sun bloomed like a blossom
Telling us where all the shades come from
And where they all hide, in the off season


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

When it's time

It's only when you have to leave
That you most want to stay
Stay back to grieve
Over that which never can stay ---
Never was sundown so serene
The gathering darkness more marine
The hills and the hollows may never have been
With the whispering mist coming between ---
This cold as welcome as rain down there
Seeps through sheepskin, skin, even deeper
The spooky wind shakes the window
Keeps at it through the night, cannot let go
Till I let go of the night and find a new day --
When you have to leave, what's there to say