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:
|Sixth National Poetry Competition : 1995|
Ms. Jo Shapcott, well-known British poet was the chairperson of the panel of judges. Dr. J.P. Das, Dr. Eunice de Souza, Mr. K. Satchitanandan, and Mrs. Imtiaz Dharkar were the member of panel. Dr. Richard Walker, First Secretary (Cultural Affairs) and Dr. Rajni Badlani, English Studies Officer of the British Council Division, and Mr. H.K. Kaul, Secretary-General, The Poetry Society (India), were the ex-official members of the panel of judges.
Tabish Khair for the poem Birds of North Europe
Krishnan Kottoor for the poem The
2. Smita Agarwal for the poem A Grass Windowís Prayer
for the poem Movie
4. Lalitha Biswas for the poem Anything But the Truth
for the poem Salvation
Award Winning Poems
BIRDS OF NORTH EUROPE by Tabish Khair
Twenty-four years in different European cities and he had not lost
His surprise at how birds stopped at the threshold
Of their houses. Never
Flying into rooms, to be decapitated by fan-blades or carefully
Herded through open windows to another life, never
Building on this lampshade
Or on some forgotten, cool cornerbeam where droppings and straw
Would be tolerated until the fateful day hatched
And the world was fragile
Shell, feathers, a conspiratorial rustle of wings above and of
An intrigued girl below. Even the birds in their neat towns
Knew their place. They
Did not intrude into private spheres. demanding to be overlooked
Or worshipped. They did not consider houses simply
Exotic trees or hollowed
Hills. Not being particularly learned, he did not know the thread
Of fear that knots the wild to the willed, not
Being well-read, he
Did not remember the history behind their old and geometrical
Gardens, could not recall a time when the English
Parliament had killed a bill,
Shocked by a jackdawís flight across the room. He simply marked
The absence of uncaged birds in their homes. He thoughtIt was strange.
|THE COFFIN MAKER by Gopi Krishnan Kottoor|
The coffin maker is a happy man now.
More and more orders keep coming in.
Soon heíll able to marry off
his daughters who have just attained puberty
and keep pretty Angela happy
on condoms strawberry flavoured an chocolate ice.
Of late he painted his house bright chrysanthemum red
ordered teakwood beds and never cared a damn
what the neighbours said. Atop his showroom
the great catlights came on
and his name glowed in the dark
whenever passing lights hit it.
Now heís not wondering any more,
he knows heís the best in town.
What about air-conditioning? That would lengthen
the life of coffins. Now heís struck with a bright new idea
that would revolutionise coffin making for
all time. Electronic remote-controlled polymer coffins
with micro chips and inbuilt flash units
that brought home to your PC screen
your dear dear dear departed along with uptodate
information on the state of decomposition
that you could activate or slow down
much like a video-game. An idea he knew would catch on like
wild fire making him a billionaire overnight.
Now whenever he kneels down with Angela
he can only think of this
no one else can help him raise such funds
which of course secretly meant
more and more accidents, causalities, fatalities
of course work was worship, it didnít matter what you did
you just had to put in your best, there could be no wrong asking
and for all this (if his dream came true)
he would keep his wood
and bury his god
in a coffin of gold.
|A GRASS WINDOWíS PRAYER by Smita Agarwal|
Tall hill speckled with pine,
The air scented. Again I
Undertake the annual ascent up
The spiralling way to your temple.
It is Navaratra. The goddess is
A decked out bride. I go to
Offer her a red scarf trimmed
With gold lace. Just-married girls
Spill out of taxis and buses. Theyíre
On their visit to Surkhanda
With their spouses. The lucky ones
Shall meet their kin and shop
At the fair. Meanwhile, I shall wind
A red and gold thread round the peepul;
Tie tiny brass bells to its outstretched
Arms, bells that shall peal out my
Prayers the unseen gods that look askance
At my bare wrists, my forehead clear
Of the sacramental dot, in the parting in
My hair a quiet, empty street. Devi-Ma,
I come to deepen, your red with my
Absence of colour. Keep him safe,
He who is alone at his outpost
Battling shadows and sounds
May he win the war he set out for.
"Itís the truth Iím telling you," the gossip fired at my back.
"The truth, the truth, but donít tell anyone."
|MOVIE by C.P. Surendran|
Hands crossed, we watch
A Japanese movie
With different eyes, but
Conscious of each image
Quivering like an arrow
In our heart. This has been
A difficult love
For the while it lasted,
Not unlike a dream
In a strange language.
What we feel is not what
We speak. And in translation
We lose, just like these
Subtitles, but the images remain:
Like great paintings
With incomprehensible captions.
Who knows, this night may be
Our last. On the screen the lovers
Cry separately, our cheeksWet with their tears.
|ANYTHING BUT THE TRUTH by Lalitha Biswas|
"Donít tell me anyone I told you
but Mrs. T turns into a cat at the stroke of one
and jumps on unwary rats.
Then drags herself home before the sun
throws light on the truth."
Nodding disbelief one listens, playing snake to the old gossipís charmer.
"There are signs," said she, curling her lip knowingly.
"Watch her eyes, they donít blink.
And not a single mouse in her yard!
Thatís proof, donít you think?"
Her cat influence creeps with long shadows in my rooms.
This is nothing but the truth Iím telling you,
not a word to anyone,
But Mrs. Tís dark magic plays havoc with my son.
He shuffles his feet, slumps
and failed his typing class,
my bunions hurt, my plants are dying,
my cakes refuse to rise.
My husbandís hemorrhoids broke their dam
heís reduced to half his size.
Our paper never arrives on time, my toiletís sprung a leak,
and its all because of that damned cat freak.
"Ask the lady in number seven,
she saw Mrs. T turn into a cat
with her German binoculars."
I politely removed myself from her grasp,a little dazed by events
|SALVATION by Anthoney Nag|
I want salvation
For my night
Which is laid with stones
Cold to walk on
And hot to touch.
I want the night
To grow darker,
Thicker like cowís milk
On Thebal plains.
I want the nocturnal beasts
To cook their heads
For Christmas dinner.
I want the owl
And crescent moon to marry
And devour each other.
May salvation swallow
Beasts, blindness, moon, madness-all.