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Tiny little flowers,
tiny blades of grass.

Rosy innocent smiles
on tiny little lips.

Wink of the twinkling little stars,
thin stream of tears under the moist eyes

pallid, mild flames,
of little earthen lamps.

Delicate flowers.
little dew-pearls.

Little spots
on butterfly's wings.

Specs of dust
tiny droplets of rain.


Whatever the seeing eye
Calls the miniscule in creation,
there the mind discovers

THE SOUL'S PRAYER(Self respect)
In childhood's pride I said to Thee:
'0 Thou, who mad'st me of Thy breath,
Speak, Master, and reveal to me
Thine inmost laws of life and death.

'Give me to drink each joy and pain
Which Thine eternal hand can mete,
For my insatiate soul would drain
Earth's utmost bitter, utmost sweet.

'Spare me no bliss, no pang of strife,
Withhold no gift or grief I crave,
The intricate lore of love and life
And mystic knowledge of the grave.'

Lord, Thou didst answer stern and low;
'Child, I will hearken to thy prayer,
And thy unconquered soul shall know
All passionate rapture and despair.

'Thou shalt drink deep of joy and fame,
And love shall burn thee like a fire,
And pain shall cleanse thee like a flame,
To purge the dross from thy desire.

'So shall thy chastened spirit yearn
To seek from its blind prayer release,
And spent and pardoned, sue to learn
The simple secret of My peace.

'I, bending from my sevenfold height
Will teach thee of My quickening grace,
Life is a prism of My light,
And Death the shadow of My face.'

Meditation
I am a palm-tree
on the bank of this paddy field.
My voice is lost in the wind.

On the hill-top
I am a monastery.
My head is tonsured
in the prayer ofThathagatha.

The sea-shore is my love.
Soaked in sunset
we walk towards the moon.

The cry of this unseen bird
is my life. In the slant
of the sky it becomes deep blue.

This blind old man
is my prophet.
Like my alphabet
he keeps asking:
"What is your name?"

D. Vinayachandran (1946)

Freedom
A disciple asked the tailor:
Sir, what is freedom?
Is it the calf frolicking in the fields?
The bird that flies up to build its nest in the sun?
The train that runs, whistling, north?
The street-lamp the wayfarer in the dark pines for?
A sleep without cares ?
Or is it my redemption from the endless
lengths of cloth, the wheel that turns
non-stop and the relentless needle?
The tailor replied:

Freedom is food for the hungry
water for the thirsty coat for the one left out in the cold
a bed for the weary

The word for the poet
the arrow for the hunter
society for the loner
courage for the frightened
death for the eunuch
and a son to perpetuate the family for the married man
arc indeed freedom.

Wisdom for the ignorant
Action for the wise
Self-sacrifice for a man of action
and for the martyr his life arc freedom.

But
one who stitches not will lose his dream-vision.
There is freedom at the illuminated
tip of the stitching needle.

It is the grain the sower reaps.
The bread for the one who sweats his brow.
The shirt for the one who stitched it.

Then the master resumed his stitching
The disciple, his doubts dispelled,
started threading his needle.

Balachandran Chullikkad (1957)

Stones
Stones splinter and lie scattered
in front of me all the way.
Stones that trip my legs,
stones nailing in sharp; stones
that poison the deep in me,
stones that measure and mark the earth,
stones sticking out ill-omens.
Yes, stones and stones all this way I
S
 
mooth, some rough-
these beauty-spots of the earth,
they are at times ugly and raw.
Stones again, the sinners aimed
at poor Mary of the past;
(stones with blood-tinged curse on every lip-
have we poked at their hearts for their kindness ? )
Stones with their branded foreheads
stand witness to the graves that hide
the lavish waste of lives
that ate, drank and died reckless:
Stones lost in the flow and falsehood of history;
stones that have byhearted the echoes of those
who thirsted to' renew the land:
lives in thousands,
numb like dead stones,
somebody has trampled on.
Stones again, dreaming of some
divine touch of bliss;
stones, yes, the dark rock splinters in life
dare cap the caves of this wild of millions;
stones that boil like sun;
stones brimming like sad tears;
stones that darken like the night;
stone reddening like the dusk;
stones, time plays nickels and dimes,
they're the earth's still-borns,
an ever-forgiving mother's griefs.
Who can bring them back
carving life from their stone-blocks ?
Who can fiddle its hush into a song ?

Come, Shiva and Shakti. come,
come in a mighty hammer and a chisel
to dance over these stones t
Let these stones labour in pain,
beget children fit enough
to create and destroy.

O. N. V. Kurup (1931)

 
The Path Towards God

Don't go to the temples;
Images will entangle you.
Don't trust the holy books;
Their truths are obsolete.
Don't seek out priests;
Middlemen always bargain.
Keep away from groups;
They breed only violence.
Watch your body:
It is splitting apart.
Attachment does not hinder;
Only practise it with detachment.
Love is way
If not confined to Man.
Poverty is divine
When not imposed.
Don't block the wind.
Don't go after the cause.
Meditation needs no mounts.
Squat on the grass.
Listen keenly to the leaf,
The bird, the rain and-the river.
Don't forget the waking sun
Even while sleeping under the moon.
Don't curse solitude.
The world is most alive
Inside the lonely.
Silence is prayer;
Emptiness, fullness.

K. Satchidanandan (1946)

How to Go to the Tao Temple
Don't lock the door.
Go lightly like the leaf in the breeze
along the dawn's valley.
If you arc too fair
cover yourself with ash
If too clever, go half-asleep.
That which is fast
will tire fast:
be slow, slow as stillness.
Be formless like water.
Lie low, don't even try to go up.
Don't go round the deity:
nothingness has no directions,
no front, nor back.
Don't call It by name,
Its name has no name.
No offerings: empty pots
 
are easier to carry than full ones.
No prayers too: desires
have no place here.
Speak silently, if speak you must:
like the rock speaking to trees
and leaves to flowers.
Silence is the sweetest of voices
and Nothingness has
the fairest of colours.
Let none see you coming
and none, going.
Cross the threshold shrunken
like one crossing a river in winter.
You have only a second here
like melting snow.
No pride: you are not even formed,
No anger: not even dust is
at your command.
No sorrow: it doesn't alter anything.
Renounce greatness:
there's no other way to be great.
Don't ever use your hands:
they are contemplating
not love, but violence.
Let the fish lie in its water
and the fruit on its bough.
The soft one shall survive the hard,
like the tongue that survives teeth.
 
Only the one who does nothing
can do everything.

Go, the unmade idol
awaits you.

K. Satchidanandan

The Ashoka-Grove
We fixed the wall
When Seema was born.

There is a calendar, a poster
with a deadly terminator of a film hero
and perhaps two embroidered hares.

When Sameer was born
We put in a glass window

A torn bed sheet that served as curtain,
the tinkling sound of Panwallah's shop,
And into the late night, the light
Of the street lamp settling down
And refusing to leave.

The third time in the third month
A miscarriage.

The scattered debris
of unrecognizable household things;
rags, tatters, bricks, bamboos,
The mirror, soot.

 

Cinders smouldering in a puddle

The tin-sheets of the roof
Were rotten.

The same old sky

May or May Not Come By
Sporting in riversand this town may or may not come by
This scene on the screen of memory may or may not come by

Draw in your breath its ocean of fragrance
Again this drift of moist earth may or may not come by

Let us look at the colleagues with content
These smiling faces, this amiable gaze may or may not come by

Fill the sight with roads, windows, walls
Afterwards this town, these streets, this house may or may not come by

Lament today clinging to the kins
Later on someone's grave may or may not come by

Farewelling faces will reappear in the eyes
Even if any consort in the journey may or may not come by

Let me smear the soil of homeland on my head
Perhaps in a lifetime this earth may or may not come by

Adil Mansoori

Orchard Of Ram
In the land of Ram, in Ram's farmsteads
Let us not stamp our separate tags

Master Ram's corn is scattered in this world's birdpark
And over it you have spread a fine net of intrigue
Do not scare away the birds from seeds of grace

Orchard of Ram belongs to the entire village unfenced
If your might rules, try barricading the sky
By building boundaries blemish not the horizon

Justly watering let us savour Ram's garden
We will relish Ram's fruit sharing slices with all
Let us plenish our plates along with everyone

 

Ushanas

Buddy, You Have Naught To Fear
Buddy, you have naught to fear
And nowhere nothing formidable
Let the rhythm of your freely revelling stride swirl on

If the darkness confines, so what ?
Lightening will flash at a flicker of your eyes
When you feel foresaken
Raise your finger if you have an inkling of the might
An escort for the valiant ? No, brother
Drink merrily to the fill from the rill along the way

Aim your sight on the distant
Coming close even a straw would mask a mighty mountain
Bother not what is little or large
Unencumbered as we are
Cast aside the Death
And relay the resonance of this Existence

Aimlessly
Aimlessly in this dustfilled attire
My ambling over the earth.

Fragrance of flowers at times
Hugs me close,
At times from the far beckons me
The sweet cuckoo-call.
The eyes go delirious in gazing
Myriad hues of infinite.
Ah, to wander steered by will
Steeped in Love
Aimlessly.

Forgoing any path
I mark track where the steps lead.
On the blissful veena of light and dark
I open a melody.
On an ocean of joy
Rolls away my raft.
I exult with all
And finally I remain extant
Aimlessly

Impetuous Virtue
A mutiny declared
The flag that had slithered down
was raised again by upsurging hands; the enemy shuddered
B
 
ut the fate did not quaver
Goodwill was yet incapable
To extract the essence from future

Columns of warriors lying
A line marked by history
But the downlaids smile from within;
Someday this

Let The Harbour Be Afar
Allah the rescuer, Allah the saviour
To voyage is a must
Let the harbour be afar
Your rescuer your saviour
Your master is yourself
Let the harbour be afar

Sharp stormy winds keep hurling
Only the cowards at heart hezitate
If you have an enduring spirt
Let it be afar

Lightening is splintering the celestial boat
It is cracking at your craft too
Let the inebriated ocean be mad
Let the harbour be afar

This night extinguishes lamps of the eyes
The meek breast would thump with fear
But your heart has some singular grit
Let is be afar

Allah the resuer, Allah the saviour
To voyage is a must
Your rescuer your saviour
Your master is yourself
Let the harbour be afar

Sunderji Betai

rout will turn into victory'
Inopportune to the Destiny
the challenge without gauging the enemy strength
remains merely a shade
A star sank
The mutiny was muted
Shrouded by earth, decaying to become compost
(The new dawn : night's abortion)
The stroke marking the forehead of the defeated
will ultimately strike victory

Impetuous virtue : sometimes the universal order
Is hindered certainly
What tumbled down from the Time's arithmatic table
rested in stonebellies
With Dea

 

th forged on every brick
ultimately it will rise to the dome
and will touch the high skies resembling God's topaz soles

What you did was your feat
What we did espoused us
At the end of a century
We dedicate back to you
What you had begun

Plucked unripe ?
Only in the lap of the Fortunate
falls the fruit ripened by itself
On the centennary of 1857 rebellion

Krishnalal Shridharani

Grant Us This One Boon

Grant us this one boon. Liberty
That this mind may never have ignoble aims
That this heart may never despair
Let all our actions be consumed by upward flames
But not netherward
Let the speech be not harsh without reason
The sight not obscured by mist of temptation
The lustre of love may not dim in the eyes
The earth may not become like barren cow
The wealth dwelling in commerce
May not solicit self-ruin in selfishness
The women may not stray away from grace
Nor youth age before time
The pristine smiles of children may not be blighted
The leaders holding reins for people
Would take the last remaining place at the banquet
And brahmins - the placid intellectuals
Do not purport to be priests of power
Being a poet I plead
Do not permute our poets into your captive parrots
Prattling pleasing platitudes
Liberty, grant us this one boon

Umashankar Joshi

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In The Years That Are Remaining
In the years that are remaining, dear, sip heartily
The beauty of the world, do not wander around dejected.
From companionships occasionally acquired along the way
Forge endearing amities.
No, not for you is destined any demonic world.
Oh, you motley world ! How to glean you ?
Naively I try to alter you and I am changed.
Steeped in the self, down the abyss this step slips.
But if abjuring the self I abide, cordially you co
 
mply.

This soft sunlight beckons me, the south breeze,
Smiles of the four directions, glorious peaks of mountains.
The elixir of moonlight in a corner of night condenses on the heart.
The ultimate play of Truth rejoices in the rise and ebb of Mankind.

Imbibing all the love, brimmingly I will declare to the Heavens
From the years allotted to me I bring the nectar of the Earth.

Umashankar Joshi

The Boy
On the hills near villages in the east,
Sometimes in mango orchards, sometimes on dykes,
Sometimes in the lanes, sometimes in the lakes,
Sometimes amongst the merriment of youngsters half-clad,
At dawning, dusk, in the darkness of the night,
Sometimes at fairs, among the pantomime players,
Or lost on quiet by-paths chasing butterflies,
Or sneaking towards the hidden nests of little birds,
Barefoot, no m
 
atter what the weather,
Out of school, in deserted abodes,
Sometimes laughing in a group of pretty girls,
Sometimes restless like a whirlwind,
In dreams, floating in the air, flying like a cloud,
Swinging in trees like the little birds,

I see a boy, wandering, carefree, independent,
As the flowing water of mountain streams.
This nuisance acts like my shadow,
Following my every step, no matter where I go,
As if I were an escaped convict.
And he asks me:
Are you really Akhtar-ul-Iman?

I acknowledge the blessings of Almighty God;
1 admit that He laid down this earth
Like a vast bed of velvet and brocade;
I admit that the tent of skies is His benison;

He ordered moon and sun and stars in space;
He brought forth rivers by splitting mountains;
He created me from dust,
And gave me dominion over the earth;
Filled oceans with pearls, and mines with rubies;
Filled the air with bewitching bouquets;
He is

 

the Master, Mighty, Singular, Wise;
He separates darkness from light,
If I know myself, it is His benevolence.
He has given splendour to the greedy,
And adversity to me;
Made idiots wealthy, and a beggar out of me;
But whenever I stretch out my hands to beg,
The boy asks:
Are you really Akhtar-ul-Iman?

My livelihood lies in the hands of others.
All I still control is my mind which understands
That I have to carry the burden the rest of my life,
Till my elements are dispersed,
And my pulse stops beating;
That subsisting means forever singing
Melody of dawn, or lament of night.
In front of the victors,
I cannot even call my song my own:
I have to smile when they say
I am singing their song, not mine.
My pen's creations, the work of my sleepless nights,
Have to be passed like a counterfeit coin.
When I think about myself, in sorrow I say
That I am a blister, bound to burst one day.
In short, I wander like the morning breeze,
Longing for the morning,
When I seek help from the night,
The boy asks:
Are

 

you really Akhtar-ul-Iman?

When he does so, in a fury I reply:
That depressed, neurotic soul
You keep enquiring for is long dead.
I have wrapped him in the shroud of self deception,
And thrown him in the grave of his hopes.
I tell that boy the flame is quenched
That was bent on burning all the trash of the world.
The boy smiles, and says softly
That's a lie, a fib, a cheat.
Look!1 am alive.

Akhtar-ul-Imaan

Root Out Desire
The wise declare that desire is the seed
of the sprout of future births.

Desire freedom from births, and this comes from
the end of other desires.

Be it here, be it there, nor the wealth nor joy
can match freedom from desire.

Truth-consciousness leads to desirelessness;
this, in turn, to purity

The truly free have conquered all desire;
others, seeming free, are bound.

Ascetics root out desire, for it is
a trap and a disaster.

Let the desire be cast away first; all good
will then come with ease and grace.

The desireless eschew grief: the rest are
a prey to manifold lies.

Once kill desire, the evil of evils,
here and now the bliss is yours.

Desire grows by it feeds on; kill it,
and felicity is yours.

Tirukkural

Psalms of a Saiva Saint

What time O lord to me Thou camest,
The silent Teacher teaching me
The secret of the way of stillness,
How I in it might safest be,
Like children building toy sand-houses;
In fancy eat there fancy's food.
From day to day in soft contentment,
So have I chosen, Lord ,as good
The halfway help of human learning
And in my mind have held as true
The daring of unbridled fancy
That Thou and I are one not two.
To curb my mind that thus rebelleth,
To keep it under right control
I do not know the way, I languish,
I faint, and long for health of soul.
When wilt Thou make me heir and worthy
Of grace ,Who givest grace to all.
O Lord in bliss beyond all thinking
That dancest in high Wisdom's Hall?

Tayumanavaswamy

T
Almora Spring

Coral and emerald shade,
sun's heat first gold then silver;
snow mountain scent on silken breezes,
a hundred jewelled birds painting the sky.
On autumn's brittle yellow bodies
a world of newborn beauty budding,
while blaze of coolest green
sheds everywhere its tender light.
New heaven of pleasure, youth and love,
and loveliness created afresh;
Nature's in bud, horizon blossoms,
skies rain bird-song and hum of bees.
---See, like a bright cicada spreading its wings
about to fly to flowering valleys---
this is the Almora spring,
blossoming on every mountainside.

Sumitranandan Pant

The Show is On
The contrasting world you see
is called complexity.
Adam is not with it, as
much as with his colloquy.

At the rear of the non-stop reval
clamour sounds likea chorus
but, if you listen with care
you'll hear a sinister -sounding instrument
harping upon our indigence and ignorance
---much as we harp upon our culture;
it transmutes the pleas from the outer
world into an unlikely rhapsody.

Nothing is being born and yet
you all continue harping in despite.
At such moments I feel
I too had bettre relish, colloquially,
the taste of being
by taking a header for the lower rungs;

And from the formidable upper rungs
I should much against my palate
all the confounded tastes
from versifying to vasectomy.
Whenever I sense so


there rises forthwith the tail
of a query or a cow.

After searching and shifting it were said
the problems is ill-besieged,
the party the lone point of reference
nor the people.
Therefore erasing the line
between life and personal computations
the sene has been shelved
the one about sympathy, about civility;
goes on as it ever has.

If ever the curtain goes up
I shall demonstrate my readiness;
if it never does
I shall,like many another
plead my growing incapacity
to know, to comprehend.

Leeladhar Jagoori

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Everyone's God is one
He is Sadashiva and He is Allah
He is the Allmighty He is Helleluiah
Do not discern the Creator to be different
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate

Worship Krishna and Christ with love
Nor is he different for Jains
God is one but has several names
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate

Some one will say aqua and others water
But wise do not find this at variance
The ignorant hit their heads at hard rock
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate

Formless chant some and others incarnate
Some say Father and others Mother
He is assumed according to aspiration
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate
Somebody imagined God to be
And the eyes saw what is not a thing
Remember the instance of the blindmen's rift
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate

As there are different dialects in different domains
The Word was revealed uniquely in diverse ideologies
And again, extol what you like
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate

Even if we live in separate nations
We are the progeny of the same own Father
All are cornharvest growing from the same seed
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate

There is no different process of birth or death
Be one Hindu Chinese or Jew
One that gives up scorn and squabble is wise
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate

Neither Heaven or Hell are different for all
Not is our universe different from others'
Where will you go alone when this globe is one !
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate

Liar thief and killer are impious
Kind and honest religious
One-eyed may spot two moons
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate

There is no variance in judging right and wrong
Besides male and female there is no third kind
Enjoy the bliss in mutual harmony
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate

Pure rhythms are composed by Dalpatram
Reading them will enlighten all
Then the King of the universe will be pleased at heart
My friends, do not dwell on this idle debate

Kavi Dalapatram

Do Not Ask Me How I Have Been
Do not ask me how I have been
I haven't asked me either
down the Holong flows
a youg female torso
What I was last nigt
king hermit farmer labour
lover rebel poet
a tiger looking for waterholes
after the kill
I forgot what I was

Do not ask me how I have been
After all I am not alone
for even after that last supper
I haven't bid adieu
nor could I take my leave
I haven't laughed since Auschwitz
nor cried either

And where can I go
I forgot where I came from
the day clings on to life
vomitting blood
the bones and bits
trudge along the road
with wry laughter

Do not ask me how I have been
for dogs in coital ecstasy
in shop-front show-cases
at the Bhutnath grounds
the blind Kali fancies
a girdle of male genitals

For everyone has the same fear
even the dead
to say or not to say
to do or not to
to open the door or the window
for ,this long wait since then
Fibs lies pretence deceit
Youth cruel kind

Do not ask me how I have been
because it's darkness now
Now even it flickers
Now even it glimmers
adversity travail disaster
and in their wake
the banner of man's blood

For in my trouser pockets I carry
two forbidden hands
a bullet reddens in flight
in my bosom
for, it is silence all around
the terrible din of peace

Do not ask me how I have been
down the Holong flows
a young female torso
because, for forty-two hours
my corpse lay there
on the footpaths of Guwahati

For even now I have my eyes open
even my death stares open eyed
for, in pool and puddle
in creek and lake
fish in shoals glisten

O you, my ambling horseman

Nilmoni Phukan

The First Raindrops
Feathery drops of rain
Drip down from tender, young clouds
In the sky
An overflow from the blue cup of life
After a long, long time


The first raindrops burst forth
Like the endless wails and whims
Of a new born child
How gentle, how very sweet.
Is the first rain!


I long to lift my face
To open my lips
To this fresh shower from the sky
Like a thirsty swallow
To feel the creamy soft drizzle
On my outspread wings
Like a sunburnt kite

Oh to fall upon the golden sand
Like a silver raindrop!
If only I could be reborn
This day
As a tiny raindrop!

Dinesh Das

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On the Slope of This Hill
On the rocky grassy slope of this hill, Topsy and I.
The quick breathing of the spaniel sitting alertly beside me.
A half-finished, distracted sketch;
Open in my lap, a notebook, bright white in the sun.
Standing all around me, big and small trees, stirring, glistening,
very green.
Rainclouds ---radiant with sunshine, radiant in the blue sky,
the washed sky.
Like big and small puffs of cotton scattered everywhere.
Sometimes the resonance of a clean gentle sweet wind.
The background behind the mild, mellow whirring and droning
on the hill, in the woods, on the slope---a railway station.

The clanking, hissing, groaning of engines: their long
exhalations
---when this wasn't here, there was only the soft and sweet
music of the wind.

....A low-then-loud-once-or-twice-shrill whistle.An engine
shunting----
The mixed-up whispers of the winds among themselves.Wide-
awake Topsy.
Below, in the distance, like a huge, smoky green, shimmering
garden, with some of its countless roofs shining here and
there, the city of Jabalpur.


Its green lawns, and in scattered places, its green compounds.
And below us, close at hand, the red-and-black stony mounds
of dug-up earth.
....A noise--what bird was that?
again? again?

That glass-house nearby.Somewhere also something like a
children's quarrel.
Little groups of women-workers carrying loads of red mud on
their heads.
The breathing of an engine letting off its steam as it draws
closer slowly---
Then quickly; the exhalations dying down one by one: but no
---suddenly, a long whistle.
The sharp slanting slope of sunshine.

Shamsher Bahadur Singh

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Rajendra Shah

Rajendra Shah

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an infinite world.

Whither shall I flee?
In which obscure nook shall I

hide?
At home, in wilderness,
in oceans, in the sky;
in all ten darkness, in broad daylight,
in the darkness of the night;
in crowded places, in solitude;
in dreams, in waking moments,
what tremendous eye constantly stares at me,
striking terror in my mind!
The barred entrances of the fortresses,
stone walls, mountain caves,
dungeons, prison houses,
aye, easily piercing all barriers,
that very wide-open eye stares at me.
my whole being trembles,
battering my heart!
Piercing every layer,
my very innermost core,
The Dispenser of karmic justice,
ferocious thunder,
Scourge of the barbarian,
Ceaseless punishing God Almighty!
are you the self-same terrifying,

HEAVEN OF FREEDOM(Purity of thought)
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its ar
 
ms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into
the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening
thought and action-
Into that
There's always hope
the.pigeons will condescend,
form a circle about my feet-
they have so circled before.

But this noon,
without bread-crumbs
I not quite know how proceed-
they sit quiet
on the far criss-cross brick-court.

Opposite, boys fling rocks at trees-
trying to dislodge the sharp-tasting tamarind
from the boughs.

I have watched them at it often,
between hits and runs
they pull branches down.
As is said, boys will be boys.

But grown older, I can only look

 


for looking what's of moment now
and listening, straining to skim
snatches of secret sounds from the breeze,
scanning the skies for signs
of a rising columnof light-
the pepper of interior vision.

And yet, to be grounded,
that ancient life-imprisonment
in a decrepit body;
caught in the throes of dumb habit
the sleep of higher reason-
wish ungranted for the self-surpassing music,
and only dying echoes;

from a leaden concrete floor
no more than dulling reflections,
smoked windows-an X on the panes,
clouded h

 

ead the rule;

the mind wandering off from its mission
to ramble in a mist of nowhere,
and thus ramble it must-
no pilot on the controls,
guiltily reliving what it once lived.

Oh there's such buried life lies hidden-
now sitting here, now there,
sharing moments spared by the great,
shaking hands with wits
but out of touch with its own breast-
dead facts that continue to live in spite.

What angel of music will lay these spectres-
those legions boot black in death,
like the rolling plain
from Bijapur to Sholapur?

The chain of associations grows in length-
digit adding to digit-
that leads to little sense,
what will one with these legions?

Oh, for a mind steeped in music alone;
music that plays on nerves tuned to a fine,
vibrating above the warring dissonance that is
memory:
electric countering the goose-step.

Music, vital fluid,
activating the veins in the slowly revolving
sun-flow

 

er-
Orpheus who gifts breath
to sterile stone and wood;

the receiver tremblant like a seismograph's hair-fine
wire-
the sounding rods, percussions, tympanums
recharging the inmates in the house of the dead.

But one note from the magic flute,
and full blown the lotus-hued light-
an inert earth, see-sawing like moon-drawn waves.

Colossus
Long ago, beyond the memory of man,
In a blind night eclipsing sun and moon,
Writing In pain
Mother gave birth to a child.
in the dark moment
When the first brother slew the first brother
And buried him,
The child woke up and cried.

Then as murders raged
in seething darkness,
As lies surged up in triumph,
As deceits stole close
With daggers hidden behind smiles,
The child grew strong and smart.

His mother's milk not relishing,
He searched for battlefields and blood,
And laughed in glee at sight of them.

He began to run about,
He grew dark as night,
His fiery eyes grew round,
And teeth and nails grew long.

And once he saw The agony at Calvary;
Sucking that in
Another six feet he grew
Thus as he grew
And stood a terrible figure tall and straight,
Our forefathers fed him well.

They fed him on famine,
On the tortures of war,
On the pain of the deserts
Through which came slaves
Writhing under whips,
And groaning under loads of stone.
Life crawled into night
Burdened with centuries' pain and sin.
And now the Colossal Terror's
Hunger shakes the earth.

We, yes too, feed him well
With piled-up suffering hill-high,
With the blood of world wars,
With the ever-burning smoky flame of Hiroshima,
With the greedy hatred of empires
Swallowing each other,
With the debris of broken ideals.

The more, the more we give,
The fiercer the monster grows,
His hunger rages;
He grows taller than the sky,
Towards us his arms come lengthening.
His mouth gapes wider;
We pour into it the tears of Dharma
And again the blood of Truth.

No, not enough !
Shaking with laughter
The monster bends down,
Takes our earth in his hands,
And stands straight and huge.
His wriggling tongue licks every corner of the earth;
He has begun munching it.

The sky fills with the poison of his breath ;
My heart Is faint
I have only a lute
To face this giant with.

Whom do I call through my lute ?
Whom do 1 search for ?
I search for a mighty one,
Mighty as the Varaha
That rescued our Mother
From the depths of the sea.

Sugatha Kumari (1934)

Home
This world is not of my liking
But what can I do ?
My home is rooted in this land
It is not built simply in a day
Who gets a dwelling without ordeals ?
And is every house really home ?

Building my home is an experience for me.

Brick by brick has been laid by the rhythm of heartbeats

The roads surrounding my home are convoluted and poisoned
and yet I like them
Wandering about them I return home
After leading me round and round
and tiring me
they drop me at my door
But I am no less
Spewing spittle, smut, spleen over them
I have abhored them warily
Loved them from the bottom of my heart

Remaining within home I have repeatedly run away far
I had deserted it two-three thousand years ago
and had stopped again for alms at the doorstep of Yashodhara
The same home while trailing me for fourteen fourteen years
has wandered and withered
From Panchavati to Dandakaranya to Kishkindha
to Demon-city
and who knows where else !

Look, with these same hands I have torched Khandav-van
Smashed by the mace of Jarasandh, I have seen this home
rising again in Dwarika

But I do not wish to stretch that for
Just a few centuries ago
mounting it in bursting bags on horses elephants camels
I have slaughtered my home in Arabian sands
Carrying in crammed ships and steam boats
I have squandered it over England and Europe
But I do not wish to go even that far

On some sixth December
with thousand hands
I have massacred it
I have been annihilating it with
weapons treachery pain tears reason swindle
And still I feel it within
right at this moment
inside the ribs
on the left
scorching me

Stone Play
The stones are aplenty
Ram! now come, to play.
The moon's friend, the mirror, lies broken.
Scattered all over is ocean's rubble.
Pips are strewn in unploughed fields.
Fallen feathers flame in the sky
I want to hold something, to connect, to raise,
To join something, to let fly.
And while just heaving a few pebbles,
Come rushing forth sand, fire, lava in torrents.

To float
There are many stones
Ram! now come, to play

Heaps over heaps of ash,
There are waters, there is blood,
Breaths are whirling on the potter's wheel.
Lumpy 'clay-dolls have made castles of sand

Now the stones are aplenty
Ram! now come, to play.

During childhood
In sleep
I had seen
A white horse neighing thunderously
Racing through woodlands

Today
In the demented monsoon squall
The backwall of the house
Crashed down

From that bleached backdrop
Sprinted away
The white horse of the dream

All over the city
A stampede of a thousand
Wildly neighing
Horses

Vanished in the entrails of the earth
Green grass
Re incarnating
Over the collapsed houses

Behind the emerging grassshoots
Quiver of gazelle tail

Next day

 


Masons had arrived
And
The backwall was re-erected

Labhshankar Thakar

At The Age of Eighty Nine

The wagon proceeding
From Charlestown to Johannesberg
From Charlestown
From Charlestown to reach Pretoria is the goal
From Charlestown races the wagon
rolling rocking rushing
abruptly halting halfway
on roadless land
few adjacent towns
few scattered villages
barely contained
above below
and yet here everyone is suitably seated
on several thrones
And the standing are dozing
awake sleepy everybody smoking
From the smoke-clouds
an eighty nine year old frame
is trying to catch a breath of air
In the rolling rocking rushing wagon
the firm steadying eye grows red at corner
ripe smile slides drops from the lips
The wagon proceeding from Charlestown to Johannesberg
He Ram !

Priyakant Maniar

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heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
all-seeing universal-Eye?