Sunday 30 January 2022

Exposed brick


"Warning: Dangerous building." Calcutta. 2021.

Tread lightly on these paths lest your footsteps

damage the paving stones beyond repair –

even stone and concrete crumble from the edge.

So tread lightly as you go up those stairs.


The building’s fragile, in great disrepair

do take care when you lean in on the sides,

the courtyard’s lovely, but then nothing’s there

to protect you from the winds and the tides.


It’s easy to ignore, overlook the sides

bricks and mortar don’t usually creak

steel rusts quiet by itself along fault lines

and damp seeps slowly for years before walls leak.


Everything crumbles. Though none of it creaks.

Architectures of love often do not speak.

There's a fixed form - the exact nomenclature escapes me at the mo...and I'm feeling too lazy to google it right now, but the structure has second and fourth lines of one stanza repeated as the first and third lines of the next. So this repetition idea is kind of truncated and borrowed for the abovewritten (if abovementioned can be a word then so can abovewritten, get thee behind me, you disapproving squiggly red lines!) 

Hope your January has gone well and that there are no squiggly red lines anywhere in your horizons, past or future. Stay fit and happy. 

Sunday 23 January 2022

Origami Peace

Leaf on bench. Lucknow Residency. January 22.


Peace when it comes isn’t white, nor a dove

with an olive branch delicately held

in its beak. Nor a dusk skypink with love,

an even horizon where the days meld

into nights without fuss. It’s more a pulse -

a flare of time, hardly seen, hardly felt

rawred buds of sun, raucous squawks of gulls,

frozen cusps of dreams that sizzle and melt

like snowflakes falling into volcanos.

Peace, when it comes, is in a rush to leave

folding up its flags, scrunching up its logos,

allowing only the briefest of reprieves.

Folding and refolding everything small

as if to shrink itself, efface its shortfalls.

Saturday 15 January 2022



Prayer bunting at the Dhamekh Stupa, Sarnath.

Every trip’s a pilgrimage, with its own

little sacredness, with its small bunting

fluttering on a chain link fence somewhere

a hallowed symbol scratched on a milestone

vaguely sacred numbers, an ankh, an om

forming suddenly like a fallen prayer

as the light changes, a flash of gull wings –

and every pilgrimage is also home.


And each cobblestone’s a bamboo ladder

to some other plane, to someplace else

that smoothens the circuits, and makes gladder

the heart that comes to a standstill and marvels.

Each trip has its own sanctity. Purpose.

Each step’s electric. And miraculous.

I was in Lucknow, Varanasi and Sarnath over the new year and ticked off the original of the Ashoka Pillar, and also a few other things, from ye olde buckete liste. Juuust ducking out of the way of the third wave. Now its back to the same old, same old scary boring pathways of the pandemic. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.  I hope the new year is treating you well.