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Losing My Way: Poems

Shiv K. Kumar

Kumar, Shiv K.;

Losing My Way: Poems

Peacock Books, 2008, 64 pages [11aug flipk -18% Rs. 62]

ISBN 8124801797, 9788124801796

topics: |  poetry | indian-english


Weeds p.4

Long, thin and brittle.  Like the strands
in an old infidel's beard. 
They stand under the waters
of a lake -- stagnant and muddy,
like an obsolete ritual.  But they
seize by the leg anyone who
dares transgress into their domain. 

Or, one may see them hooked out 
of a lawn as parasites.  As pustules
on a fair skin.  But nature doesn't 
disown even vultures whose spiked 
beaks gobble down dead bodies...

Purity of blood-- the thin line
that divides Bermuda grass from 
weedds -- is a myth created by 
those whose vision is impaired
by jaundice.  

Peacocks mating p. 28

Even if he offers to bring the constellation
down to the rubies in her eyes, 
it doesn't work.  A cold, blank 
stare.  Like Cleopatra, her desire
transcends the skyline. 

But as he places his crown at her feet
and breaks into a serenade,
unfolding his feathers to all the tints
of the coral sea, she stirs. 
Sways her body to the wind's rhythm. 
All the eyes in her spangled plumes
now awaken to the body's rapture. 

Two flames swing round each other, 
seven times.  Two prisms converge
on the same point on paper
to set it ablaze.  

But no commitment.  Next spring
another mate, another dance. 
Pain is born when the honey-
bee returns to the belly-button
of the same sunflower,
again and again. 

Words p.55

They lie dormant in a shark's pouch
till it is harpooned by a poet's quill. 
Relaxed, cleansed and baptized, they're 
now ready to be strung into verse. 

A solitary word is a foetus that floats 
rudderless on the womb's sea.  It's an arc
sliced off a tangerine that looks
like the lip of a Nigerian woman. 

A poem is born when words wing down 
from the sky, chorusing like nightingales
with holes in their throats. 

Don't cough out words.
Just let them out softly, like seals
rubbing their backs on a beach
off the Mediterranean coast. 

Feeding the pigeons p.62

A flock of visitors on my lawn --
freedom of the air on their wings,
the earth's greenery under their feet. 

Gingerly they come, hopping toward
my palmful of temptations. 
Assured of trust, they're now
within my reach.  Do they move
in pairs, I wonder. 

A white-feathered creature has already
hopped onto my palm for crumbs. 
Emboldened, I caress the nape of its neck,
the rondure of its bosom. 
It's drinking it all in. 
Has it abandoned its partner for a stranger? 

Sly are the ways of temptation. 
Birds with grains, children with peppermints,
and brunettes with bracelets. 

The way to catch a star
is to keep your palm open. 

Contents (partial)

Weeds 4
Wall clock 12
	In the muffled light of my bed-
	lamp, I hear a heart-throb on the mantelpiece --
	tick-tock.  Time's footfalls down a dark hallway. 
Peacocks mating 28
In memory of Begum Akhtar 45
A circuitous road 46
	I'll never come this way again. 
	Harding road, round Summerhill,
	circuitous like an argument, never
	unwinding -- a rattle-snake that coils
	around its own tail. 
I'm still waiting for you 54
	It was a child's love for you. 
	I stared at you with a teddy bear's 
	button eyes... 
Words 55
The Mist 56
	All other tints muffled
	except steel grey that has shrouded 
	the earth, this winter morning.  Each tree
	a cloaked assassin, each branch a dagger
	raised against some phantom, and each wall
	a hangman's scaffolding. 
Feeding the pigeons 62

amitabha mukerjee (mukerjee [at-symbol] gmail) 2011 Sep 03