(Poetry Compitition for General)

Compititions : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Compititions - 5

Award Winning Poems
                        All-India Poetry Competition
                       Organized in collaboration with the

                 British Council, India

The Poetry Society in collaboration with the British Council, India  organsed nine  All-India Poetry Competitions  since 1988.  Thousands of poets have participated in these competitions.  Nine volumes of short listed poems were published under the series  POETRY INDIA.  The following are the names of the award-winners:

Fifth National Poetry Competition :  1994

Mr. Michael Hulse, a well-known British poet was the Chairman of the panel of judges. The other members of the panel were Dr. J.P. Das, Mr. Nissim Ezekiel, Ms. Imtiaz Dharkar and Mr. K. Satchitanandan, Dr. Richard Walker, First Secretary, Cultural Affairs, British Council Division, Dr. Rajni Badlani, English Studies Office, British Council Division, and Mr. H.K. Kaul, Secretary-General, The Poetry Society (India), were the ex-officio members of the panel of judges.

The Awards

 First Prize

Anju Makhija (Bombay) for her poem A Farmerís Ghost

Second Prize

Smita Agarwal (Allahabad) for her poem Our Foster-Nurse of Nature is Repose

Commendation Prizes:

    1. Rina Singh (Canada) for her poem The Poetics of Desire
    2. Usha Rajagopalan (Anand) for her poem Voices in the Night
    3. Neeti Singh (Baroda) for her poem Come, Lift Me
    4. Ranjit Hoskote (Bombay) for his poem Legend Recycled
    5. Rufus Daniel (Bangalore) for his poem The Time of Brahma.

Award Winning Poems

A FARMERíS GHOST   by  Anju Makhija

Behind the trunk of a mango tree you were seen

vigilantly guarding rice fields, later,

collecting cow dung, rounding up cows,

you munched dry rotis, beat your daughter-in-law.

A farmer never leaves his land, they said,

till rice is safe from man and beast.

When bins are full, rice mixed with dry neem,

he will leave. The old man is dead, not asleep.

that night, I read about witty Veetal,

short-tempered Zhoting, man-eating Hadals

and other such Konkan spirits in The Times.

Next night: ghost-busting, to dispel tales spreading like flames

in the night. Dark face, still as a scarecrow,

leaning against a haystack, you were seen

by all but me. Disconcerted then, now I see the point:

dispelling superstitions city folk like,

but, to believe the imagined to be true

cab be a way of life, a fact, a truth.

Lying in bed on a pure white sheet, the

air conditioner whirring, I stare at the

strip light and when the eyes smart

I turn and it seems, for the first time,

I seriously consider your features.

Eyelashes like an auntís, inked and curled,

mouth-put petulant, the shape of your limbs

like your fatherís. Not even your temper

matches mine.

Brown-bodied child, sleeping.

You assure me that I belong to

the land of karma. Having performed my

duty why should I wish that my shadow,

like a stamp, should brand you

What gesture of atonement can I make

You whom Iíve flogged in dreams each

time you upset an apple-cart with a

sneeze or fever.

Let me clear this room of frost and fire.

Shoo away clamour, turn out the light that

drills through your lids. What can I give you,

before the world completely claims you, but

these few hours of uninterrupted sleep.
THE POETICS OF DESIRE      by  Rina Singh

Throw away your papers tonight

put aside your pen

let your fingers

write on my body,

an empty page

a word,

a sentence,

write a poem

if your syntax hurts my skin

if I sigh, if I moan

just tighten your embrace

if your fingers stammer

dip them in darkness

and start again

fill up my margins

suffocate me with your grammar

proofread the madness

you have created

erase with your lips

any mistakes

your fingers make

read to me

what you have written

see the pages of my life

come alive

in your fingers

VOICES IN THE NIGHT  by  Usha Rajagopalan

Few are those half-remembered days

as a child in Manamadurai

when you scared us, grandmother,

with the beggarís call for food.

"It is not food she wants, "you said,

"but little girls from cities

who torment their mother."

Quickly we promised to behave

fearing the mournful voice

that cried in the night.

The unsteady roll of the hand-cart

over the cobbles of the street

followed the heady scent of jasmine

that crept through the shutters

and brought grandmother out.

"Have you seen these before?" she asked

filling our eager hands with buds

just blooming with a trace of early dew.

The old singer was just a kind.

His cracked voice shot through the dark

but lowered to offer prayers

for alms given with love.

The pigs snuffled next, grunting

for leftovers, even human wastes.

"Chee! How awful!" we said,

"and people eat pork!"

"Be tolerant," she said, "Who knows

what youíll be like tomorrow."

The day dawned

but youíd left, long ago.
COME, LIFT ME   by  Neeti Singh

In a red skirt and saffron scarf I went.

To my lordís house I went.

the steps singed my feet

the steep tall walls questioned me

I turned my Lord

from the eighth step,

and took to the streets.

The beggars pulled my clothes

I exchanged them for their rags

and shed my only gold-

a ring, in the thick black pond

by their huts.

With open hair and blackened clothes,

Street dogs chased me for fun

a mad woman kissed me

and a serpent once mistook

my neck for a tree.

My dear come

to me, come

lift me!

Under the peepul

by the gutter one morning

while bathing I slipped,

my skull hit the rock

and my lord smiled.

O how I ran!

Leaving in my haste

my naked black body

in the water.
LEGEND RECYCLED  by  Ranjit Hoskote

The king is drawn like a sunstruck crow

to the fishergirlís creel:

his enchantment is complete,

he must ravish her.

And so, by the green river, he forces

his will upon her.

The kingís son, revolted, swears

never to marry:

a jongleur of herbs,

he turns his celibate hand

to the management of gardens,

dying, becomes a parakeet.

The king grows balder, less passionate.

Sunburned, he courts calendars that paraphrase

web-foot forecasts for his erratic crops.

He lives in a quiet country without hurricanes:

himself, enthroned between the kerosene streams

of dull speech and diligent policy.

The fishergirl, half-translated, is neither at home

on the wharf nor in the palace. Every night,

like a lute unstrung, she climbs to her terrace

and vomits the grief and hate of her queenly state

in torrents of fish:

striped, silver, riddle-tailed, arrow-headed fishes

released like toxins among the dominions of air.
THE TIME OF BRAHMA by  Rufus Daniel

Its only five something a.m.

but it is June, and the days are long.

I cannot say it is summer

for it does not feel like it,

the rains have left a coolness in their wake

that still lies upon the land.

Never become so empty, as the years pass slowly on,

that you forget what the dawn did to you.

For this is the succour for then wanderer

waking from a night of aloneness.

this is the time of shimmering reason.

When one feels

an...immense (?)

relationship with creation,

neither that of slave nor master

but one of complete belonging, complete oneness,

total surrender, total victory.

This is the time of power,

a very strange kind that hums in the air

and sings in your ears.

It gives one-quite casually, while passing by-

the strength that has no name, no origin,

and that always has to be born like this,

like a gift from a time of wonder.

Oh, it is a strange power, and I

will not try to give it words.

Who knows, it may be a blasphemy,

and my should would turn its face from me.

A bird chirps through the morning air

I must sleep now

This is the time of hope.

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