And Once Again The World

seems possessed by demons

the phone rings

and you realise it’s in a movie

and not your house

how eerie the music

how brittle how old

how bad the earth

now the sky is so frightened

see how pale it has become

it has never been like this

and so many years ago in Bombay

we boys walked

down the road smoking

past the tailor’s shop

and the sun was so happy

so fresh

why is the world the way it is

why is it so deceptive

how did it become like this

what did we do

O now see the poor trees

have no names

and the children play no games

everything has been forgotten

our world is burning like paper

we will soon be vapour

our bodies our bones

our skulls our blood

will flow away

we will die

we too will be forgotten

our moon has no more

light no milk

and the sun burnt

itself and

its charred remains fly

so dear friend

say goodbye

to this dangerous sky

there are no more tears

left to cry

everything

they told us about

life was a lie.

And Once Again

the world decided to destroy things

things as in people

it was too much

the death of so many innocents

the human brain is made of flesh

the skull of bone

and when you think about it

the skull cracks

the brain breaks

and that’s it you’re dead

why this evil upon us

why this devil unleashed

to kill us all

and you are puzzled

naturally

why this wickedness in the genetic code

where this vast machine of war

is set loose

to do everyone in

and mere mortals

programmed like robots

to unleash such hatred

that burns like fire

is nothing but a colossal tragedy

we have to deal with

the end of us

and you wonder couldn’t this whole thing

be reversed

couldn’t we do something

couldn’t we douse the fire

couldn’t we calm the growing hatred

couldn’t we the children of happiness too

turn the anger into joy

couldn’t we calm each other

brothers sisters

couldn’t we stop the killing

couldn’t we all scream

it is enough

let the children live

they are mere flowers

you think all this and you keep watching

the gathering dark clouds

and your heart begins to beat

and your life your strength slowly saps

you look at your hands

and you know death

will make them meaningless

and then you look at the sky

red spectre of war now

claws of dripping blood

and you raise your arms to resist.

The Silver Moon

is gorged with red blood today

see how it drips from her

she has gone mad

she has been eating

her children non-stop

her hunger is insatiable

and when you look up into

her eyes you can see the

madness there

lost in her own fury

her craving she screams

and shivers with emotion

mother mother I say

have mercy on us your children

and all she does is shake her head

howling no and we are scattered

all over the world like prey

and how she hunts us

grabbing us in her

claws squeezing us as life slowly

begins to leave us and then her mouth

the horror her big sharp teeth

biting into us until we burst dead.

And The Wickedness

is transferred onto the skin

if someone touches you

you are gone

never to be the same

again it is that bad

it is poison that

the evil enemy

uses against you

and when you are dead

revels in it

such is its diabolical nature

now look at yourself

human

and the whole feeling

of being one

and see how frail

the entire thing is

a leaf in the wind

is stronger

and now you see

how the body bleeds

you see the mind

rolling like a marble

into the gutter

and how everyone laughs

and death is such a joke

only you feel you have had enough

and the gauzy curtains are transparent

and you can see

the red fire of destiny

the human reality

and the compassion the love

all burnt away like paper

such a bitch life is

and all good

is vomited to the ground

O this terrible evil

these hungry appetites

eating our hearts

laughing with glee

drinking our blood

slurping our brains

with greed

and after we are digested

we are defecated

and the moon our mother

screams in horror

over her children’s vicious deaths

she tears her hair and howls

till the world is bursting to pieces

and roaring with anger

her breath

sets the breaking earth on fire.

I Watch The Mountain

in the Periyar Tiger Reserve

through the leaves of the teak trees

from my terrace

and all around

the forest is so fresh so verdant

the mountains sheer delight

their cupola of green

against the lovely blue sky

is a marvel

a gem to treasure

and when we were

on the terrace yesterday

Claus Omana and I

we heard the yelping

of a puppy

it was crying

Claus went down

and brought the crying puppy

to its mother

and the other puppies

who were drinking

her milk

and then when Claus

came back

he said the puppy

seemed to be lost

and couldn’t find its way

to its mother

perhaps it was blind

Claus said

and I saw the puppies

from the terrace

how cute they were

sucking onto

their mother’s teats

and then I thought of myself

only I was human

and a middle-aged man

and I was taking my medicines

like the doctor told me to

and the puppies and I were

therefore brothers

both in need of nurture

and the earth is so round here

such a feeling I get about being

on the edge of the world

how we need to know

that we are all brothers and sisters

and beyond this is just air

and there is nothing more

than that

but our mortality

our death

though these relationships

we share

that teach us to care

have shaped us

our hearts our minds

so we must embrace everything

and link hands

offering each other

eternal love

and this we wish

for our children too

and everyone who will live

our love.

Now The Blankness Becomes A Chirp

trains I remember

lots of them

one going over an endless river

and the red earth

and the green water the blue seas

O so intoxicating it is

the breeze across the rain drenched fields

the women bending working

and the towns the houses flying past

and the children with their happy faces waving

yesterday this very pretty yellow and black bird

flew into the trees and I saw this golden cat enter my property

the green hills are bliss they are magic they are the best actors

they can become anything and the trees the canopy O so haunting

so much power it has like a big green cave meditating and through its power

inviting you and you can hear the silence you can feel it now in your hands

flowing between your fingers you can feel the quietness in you begin to grow

and you know now as you close your eyes night comes in the sky and when you open them

the music of the cosmos is in this stillness this perfect calm inside the body the equilibrium

of the mind the balance when the universe hangs free and weightless you slowly rise into the atmosphere

and how you are now all delight formless brilliance shining how you are light glowing the world inside

you now and you breathing inside inside inside into such depths you are all air you are no more

yourself at all you are flowing you are no more one person or one entity you are no more tied you are free.

Such A Small Bird

black and white

so sweet

sits on a branch

of this tree

near me

and in the forest

through the canopy

of the trees

through the gaps

in one particular tree

there is the blue sky

that you can see

how nice life is

how many

wonderful worlds

there are

and this magical one

which we share

where the bird chirps

so beautifully

is the best

when the golden sunlight

takes on this character

and lights up the leaves

of my clove tree

so brilliantly

they are translucent green

and their shape is so beautiful

they seem so tender

like innocent children

so happily basking

in the sun

and it strikes me suddenly

that the trees

are the old giants

having lived for so long

meditating

lost in a trance

it is like I can almost hear

their chanting

their deep droning

and it is also strangely

the deepest silence

I have heard

something that takes

me back years ago

thousands upon thousands

of years

and I hear the heartbeat

of the earth

and I lie down on it

like it is my mother and cry.

The Bulbul

is beautiful

its small body

its helmeted head

its brown white

red black colour

its wonderful songs

yesterday so many of them

were in the trees around us

on the terrace

Claus Omana and me

and there was so much warbling

it was so nice

and there was so much breeze

for so long

it was so relaxing

so enchanting so mesmerising

I felt refreshed

I felt I was a magical creature

in the mountains

lucky to hear its silence

I felt I could be a bird

and sing and fly

in the sky

and I felt entertained

by it

there were such beautiful clouds

and there was light

at first

which was burning yellow

and golden in the white

and gradually that gave way

to a silver shaded dusk

and the breezes blew

and I looked all around

at the mountains

and the trees

and thought

how gorgeous everything was

the big black and white butterfly

and the children cycling

how happy they were

hi each one called out

as he cycled by

hi I said to them

on my way back home

and now as I write this

I hear a pecking

at my window

and as I get up

to investigate

the source of the sound

I find a bulbul there

and as I watch

it flies away

singing those

same sweet notes once again.

Now The World Is Quiet

once again

when monkeys

begin to hoo hoo

in the tree behind me

and I can shake the earth

off my hands

and fly into

the blue sky

flight is enchanting

with the breeze

against my body

I am so many green

rolling mountains

I am a city of lights

I am a country asleep

I am vast calm oceans

so mesmerised I am

my hair fluttering in the wind

I pass over

these big white clouds

and above me

is the silver moon

smiling like a lover

her smile

so beautiful

we kiss we make love

and I am merged with the sky

and soon I hear

our children laugh

these innumerable stars

in the vast dark vault

how bright they are

how they shine

how proud I am to

be their father

I gather them

in my arms

for a kiss

and my earthly life I do not miss.

The Children Have Gone For A Ride

in the horse-carriage along the sea

we stand in a circle

passing a bottle of toddy

when we play football

I realise I’m so heavy I can barely run

I have zero coordination

with the ball

I fall and fall

shouting things

the wind brings back

with the sky that comes so close swaying

like a child eager to join our game.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).