Kumar, Shiv K.;
Losing My Way: Poems
Peacock Books, 2008, 64 pages [11aug flipk -18% Rs. 62]
ISBN 8124801797, 9788124801796
topics: | poetry | indian-english
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.
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.
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.
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.
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