(Poetry Compitition for General)

Compititions : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Compititions - 7

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:
Seventh National Poetry Competition :  1997

Mr. Stephen Knight, the well-known British poet was the chaiman of the panel of judges. The other judges were: Dr. J.P. Das, Mrs. Imtiaz Dharkar, Mr. Jayant Mahapatra, and Mr. Keki N. Daruwalla. Dr. Richard Walker, First Secretary Cultural Affairs, 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-officio members of the panel of judges.

The Awards

First Prize

Ranjit Hoskote  for the poem:  Portrait of a Lady

Second Prize

Gopi Krishnan Kottoor  for the poem   Digging

Commendation Prizes

1.         Smita Agarwal  for the poem   The Lama

2.         Anish Vohra  for the poem   Write Your Name Only

3.         Vivek Narayanan  for the poem  Monument

4.         Vijay Nambisan  for the poem  You, Wystan Auden

5.         Sudeep Sen  for the poem   Woman with Amphora

Special Prize  on the theme related to the 50th anniversary of Indiaís Independence

Tara Sahgal  for her poem   Independence Day

Raghav G. Nair for his poem  These Are the Things We Could Talk About

Award Winning Poems

PORTRAIT OF A LADY by Ranjit Hoskote

Objects are lesson: from bowls, hairpins, brooches,

you learn of forgotten lives. The stories say

my grandmother was a fever tree:

two birds sat on her branches, one pecking

at a grape, the other singing an aria.

What historyís bookkeepers do not show

is the tremor down the spine she felt,

the tendril of blood that coiled in her nose

when the whistle of a train announced

her husbandís return from a tour of duty.

In the stories, sheís an actor, a pilgrim:

shadow-boxing with a thunderstorm,

she slips through brick walls,

treads a theatre of scrubbed floors

and ember beds. She leaves me

a loaf of shortbread in the oven,

a page of couplets in a script I cannot read

and wrapped in a peel of green appleskin,

a tea cup glazed with a Dutch windmill,

the last one of the set.

The urchin-cut waif in the vignette above

is the child she was. Voyeur, clairvoyant,

she stares in at windows, her head a gourd

hollowed by the age she never reached

in life, her hair a silver floss.

Objects are lessons: the light seeps

through the slats, sets off a shimmer

on her lace. Sheís crocheted the evening

and its creatures: the silken thread

that she pulls from her pattern

knots tight around my neck.
DIGGING   by  Gopi Krishnan Kottoor

The soil I now pick

contains fragments of the dead.

They once saddened and happied themselves here

turning to the sun and moon, quite puzzled

then taking things as they came,

for granted. This is hard brown laterite

that I turn,

to plant a few bright periwinkles

stolen from the mound of one long obscure,

dead. They should grow well

here. So I turn out

the millipedes curling up

ashamed of the sudden expose

into the dark ringstones of sapphire and topaz.

Pinned to sudden light they have all coiled up

in abject surrender. These things we bury back

with pushed up soil, crushing strange roots

going everywhere like soft nerve fibers,

sending messages of thirst to strange

destinations. Each scoop of mud

brings more life to light

lost like death underground

doing odd jobs, ordained like saints, salient

in dark recess drawing salary in kind.

Mud-work is a kind of worship.

A silent thanksgiving for a home, called earth.
THE LAMA  by  Smita Agarwal

I cannot say where he came from.

Possibly, from beyond the tall

Mountains, from Tibet, past crevasses

And glacial screes, like a high

Stinging wind. The bells on his

Pack-mule tinkled. He shuffled along

Peddling borax, salt and gold,

A lion-manned, eagle-eyed lama.

He travelled down the gorges,

From the Jadh Ganga to Harsil.

The beauty of Bharioghati

Poisoned his blood. He taught

Himself to wear his curse like an amulet.

We chanced upon him singing

Of fires that burn, snows

That numb. Seldom does he speak

Of that serpent that has

Seized his tongue.

Mountain-dweller, below you

Stretches a plain that asks

Nothing of you. The river that was

Always by your side shall flow,

While you till and sow, and having

Unlearned language, relearn the

Song of silence.



Master, write-

Write your name only.

I tell the truth. I swear on Marimai,

You write-

Look at the coils of his hair, master.

So much like a cobra hood, no?...

He is a gift of God, ... God.

Master, when the earth heats up

Then it becomes, like, ripe.

But without putting the plough,

And sowing the seed,

Does the tree grow?

Does it? Tell!

Then how will my name do for fatherís name?

If the father is not there then how did

This boy happen?

Donít write the name of any God

Only a man...

What have the Gods done?

They have not filled my stomach...

Write your name only.

Donít ask his caste.

We are not any one manís wife,


We are not women of the hearth

Who has that much luck?

His birth is of here only.

In the dawn he was born,

When my stomach slipped down,

No midwife, or anyone was there,

My heart was troubled, ... but it was


Touch boy

Touch the feet

Touch his feet

But write your name only.
MONUMENT  by  Vivek Narayanan

It stands immobile. Fender bent

around bulge, steel twined

into flesh, horn locked

into fender.

Both, supine. A buffalo curled dead

into a truckís dented front.
YOU, WYSTAN AUDEN  by  Vijay Nambisan

Now six feet beneath the air

The Nordic shape of skull is bare

And behind the august frown

Worms have gorged on verb and noun...


The baffling lines that seemed to trace

Maps of care upon his face,

Now nothing between brow and chin

But maggots have tunnelled in...

And the hands whose fingersí ends

Once held the keys to common sense

And the truly careless wrist

Which cherubs have often kissed

Lie open now without pretence

That they enclose arguments

To shatter prison doors or shake

The steps of wisdom on the make...

The compassionate eyes which hate

Could not face and grew desperate,

Now bony voids where worlds once turned

In agony at being burned...

The heart that could some pity find

For every shape of human fiend

Now less than dust, because from thence

No spring of friendship does commence...

Of all those works of lust and pain

No human fragment can remain

And all the foolishness is past

Yet our lives are still so vast...

And in that vastness since we speak

Strong words of love though we are weak

He cannot know something survives

The carrion bleaching of our lives.

Unpasting herself

from the deep

blue of the sky,

she rises

and walks gently

towards me,


on her head

an earthen jar


the mysteries

of fresh amphora.

Her shadow



into the blue,

then appears,

long and elegant


of Giacometti.

Just as she comes

into focus,

she freezes


her tall frame

holding the thaw

of her contents,

the perfume


just enough

to make me

wanted more.

Fifty years of independence from you.

You that I am when finally I sleep.

Where colours blur into a muddy brown

and almond eyes are startlingly blue.

You are my context, my only clue.

How do you deny me when I am you?

My tongue curls sounds that you have made.

My box is of stones that you have laid.


These are the things we could talk about

for the instance, rising prices, inflation,

non-availability of food grains, things

we could build our theses upon, poor

children in the streets, hunger like acid

burning down their tongues, our country-

green fast disappearing, the morning sun

coming out from somewhere among the denuded trees

like love betrayed. Other things happening around us:

The cries of our women and children still fresh from

behind the cold walls

of partition. So much more.

The woods are lovely dark and deep.

But we would rather look away,

give a god to ransom. Quietly forget,

that bloody country with clipped wings

flying out of Nehruís hands.


Poetry for the Young       Contact Us       Privacy Policy      Sitemap

                 © Copyright 2003.The Poetry Society (India) L-67A, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi-110017, India

                   Site Designed by : Parthasarathi Pal/Susanta Mohanty/Suchisnita Nayak
Best viewed at:600*800