Sunday, March 9, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
Anguish burning behind skins
like flames behind colours of
see-through stone. Burning love,
exploding sparks of bush fires in
forlorn grasslands. Proud edifices of travertine
laid to desolate waste, utter ruin,
stripped to nakedness, still
dignified, untouched, tranquil.
They can set the spark
to burn my anguish, work
at trafficking every body part
fine tune rape into a performing art
strip me of every love, and each caress
they will not be able to undress
either my bodies or my souls.
I spin my own yards of fabric rolls -
sheer, translucent pleasure, and thick pile wool
blankets of independence, shaded tulle
in colours both frivolous and grave
hopeful and despairing, timid and brave.
Every thread a fine point weapon.
They can’t have me bared, or broken.
Rage burning in leaping tongues
of a saffron flameball. Like the young
sun shrugs off the restraining horizon,
somersaults into a wide blue freedom.
The slow burning of trust
quietly guarded small flames suddenly crushed
between callous fingers, wicks nipped
stand wisping smoke, still red tipped.
They can use their fingers, steel-cold, cruel
to nip my wicks, siphon away every fuel
that I have for happiness, pinch
off every source of joy, lay bare every inch
of flesh and bone, claw and snatch
at every covering. Still I’ll detach
from their grasp, no hand hold,
no firm grip on my bodies or souls.
I spin my own endless fabrics
in colours of alabaster and marble, jade and onyx.
In textures of silk and steel, of resolve and grief,
weaves of milky mercy, intricate loving motifs.
I spin my own immeasurable veil
the borders dark, the rest shimmering pale,
confident and free, the way it drapes
around my core and around its outer shapes.
I don’t wait for saviours, I call upon no prophets.
I am clothed in my own humanity, I cannot be stripped.
Draupadi is a character in the Indian epic Mahabharata, her husbands' enemies' attempt to publicly disrobe her is foiled by Krishna who answers her call for help. He makes her garment endless, and her attacker tires of trying to pull it off her. This event is one of the triggers leading into the climax of the Kurukshetra war.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The choice’s never between you who pour
and what you pour, that specific wine
how chilled the ruby red depths of colour
the fruit plucked off which pedigree vine
and in the graft of sweet on strong and sour
if the stock and scion correctly combine;
and I reckon it’s perhaps a little more
than the curve of spout and its scrolled incline.
The doors beckoned, and I didn’t bother
what’s inside - the inn is also a shrine;
you pour the glasses, I pass the hours
weaving your smile into my verse and lines.
Suppose I had knocked at some other door
at a different turn enticed by different signs,
no doubt the hands seen there would still feel yours
the roof and walls equally feel like mine
it’s no mistake, but all that’s here on offer
this tray of glasses in some random design
are these a choice, or is it all written before?
no matter; in the end both will turn out fine.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
I know when I open the door
the rooms will be empty, and dusty.
Their dust has long been scattered, washed
from the river into the sea;
there’s just the photo on the wall.
I know that I must turn the key,
yet I stop and raise my hand to knock
as though someone still waits for me.
The streetlamp in front sputters and glows
unsteady in some Morse like code.
A car’s long hand on the horn
skims down from the end of road,
the silence inside screams once, and twice
and then goes into rustling mode.
I turn the knob, the portrait is there
just that it's a bit more yellowed.
The light’s a whisper of the dark -
the frizz of smoke blown from its lips.
Silk thin shadows their edges blurred,
a sunmoonstar in reversed eclipse;
the dust a plume of a lonely search
paused before some rambling scripts
and death’s life with its grim mouth pursed
drumming the silence with fingertips.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
the moon has sucked its belly in
a wisp of white thread and thin
did you look up at it in the sky
and for just a moment imagine
the same splash of space as I did
like a silent sigh of sound, fluid,
invisible, feather-cool and dry,a grain of rice carved slow and languid.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen
and waste its sweetness on the desert air.
~ Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Thomas Gray.
In the front yard, a plain hibiscus blooms;
the rose’s glamour is on show at the back.
The gardener does not enter my rooms
he knocks, and I open the door a crack.
The guests wipe their feet on the front door mat
but the hibiscus twists shut by then;
it’s a simple short-lived, no-perfume format
rather like a pebble in the garden;
a pebble splashes only when it drops
a few ripples and the surface is blanked;
the rose meanwhile preens its bushy red mop
the closed hibiscus lies wholly outranked.
But just the gardener and I see the showsif no-one sees it bloom, is it still a rose?
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Eklavya’s not quite a hero, a bit player
many like him in that ancient epic
a one-off conflict, a scene here or there
and promptly dismissed in a casual flick.
How does that justify writing long odes
the complex crafted lyrics, line by line
moving glass beads of sounds on an abacus?
all praise’s for demigods
why should anyone carefully realign
the praise towards a mere man with so much fuss?
The quality of steadfastness is rare
rare indeed the mind which has the intrinsic
strings in place to wing it on a prayer
with a statue overseeing his technique
his aim and skills, all arrows straight, all lines toed
and stand fast at payback time and not decline
the cruel fee: his weapon arm made useless.
Admit it. It was odd -
that a Master should spot the statue at the shrineand gauge the pupil with an eye this ruthless.