Kalon

This poem is a re-working of one I had written three years ago. Much has changed in three years and I felt the need to change the lines to my poetry too. But some of them remain like a bridge between then and now. Often beauty is portrayed as a woman, subject to the male gaze, endowed with feminine attributes and twisted to suit the male taste. This poem is an ode to Kalon – the beautiful and Kalon is a he.

 

Morose thoughts swirled, bereft of beauty seemed the world,

In this hunger, in this gore, surely beauty could exist no more.

‘Kalon! Where did you vanish?’ was the constant refrain of my heart beat,

Now my eyes are open and there is misery; misery everywhere in pitiful heaps.

 

Never to appear before mortals, never to grace this dreary land,

Dead is Kalon, the mists whispered; buried is he, Kalon crumbling in the dust beneath me,

Gone is he from this age of weakness, for only the worthy may restrain him, grasping his hand!

Death’s half-brother softly stole him away in a vespine drone of lullaby.

 

Swiftly was Kalon hustled into the waiting embrace of the night,

And all that is good fled with him in a dust storm of glory,

But can Kalon ever truly leave? I wondered,

When in restless souls like mine, lives he.

 

Did we not create him? We the flesh puppets of nature’s whims,

Did we not trap him in our stone sculptures and poetry?

And in our hubris did we not believe them to be immortal?

How then can he leave when each mind creates him in its own image!

 

Forever bound is he to the human race and he plays both master and slave,

Do beasts sigh over the exquisite beauty of sunsets? I cannot tell,

But green forever shall remain the ground Kalon treads upon.

A never ending dream of beauty I live in, never ceasing like the waves that crash upon the patient shore,

Not for this undeserving world were you made Kalon, and yet, from this realm you shall never leave.

Advertisements

Light The Fire

(An english ghazal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The heroes lie on funeral pyres, awaiting a ritual severance by fire,

But none remain to scatter their ashes, no one to light the farewell fire.

 

The stench of decaying flesh stills the sandalwood notes,

Over this lonely battlefield the heavens weep tears of fire.

 

Crying is all that is left to do when virtue has departed,

And evil rears its head from the phoenix’s fire.

 

Evil wreaks not its havoc in a blazing spectacle,

It lives in the silence of cowards; in the absence of fire.

 

It lurks in the dark caverns of ignorant minds,

Thwarting illumination, chasing away lightning and fire.

 

Out of the scorched earth grow a new breed of men,

An unholy offspring sired in the womb of hell fire.

 

He kills in God’s name and his sins he washes away

By an ablution in the flames of sacrificial fire.

 

Cattle, forever in quest of pastures greener,

Deserter of comrades at the first sound of gun fire.

 

Apathy his only inheritance, his gift, his curse,

Not for this ignoble creature did Prometheus steal fire.

 

In this bleak land hope is a wretched refugee,

Wandering in hunger, in search of a stove fire.

 

A few good men splutter like dying embers.

Weep for the brave, for them in store is a trial by fire.

 

And yet the dead shriek to you from their graves,

‘Lost as the cause may be, light the fire!’

Sonnet Of The Grasshopper

 

Aesop lied; he sold his soul, once upon a summer’s day,

Before you pity, before you judge, allow me my side of the tale,

I danced and pranced, they piously hated to see me play,

Those scurrying ants, those jealous ants, marching around the vale.

I was drunk, I truly was, and the summer sun was my aged wine,

I heard the wind whisper; I sang to the roses and watched them bloom,

Those infernal ants, those dull little things, they never did see, they never had time,

They shook their heads, sages in spasms, gleefully predicting my doom.

My honour I must defend, truth be told,

Winter’s frost gnawed away at summer’s green, the bright sun now no more than a gleam,

But I swear, I never did plead; over life I loosened my haggardly hold,

And yet I smiled, for I know of the beauty of starry nights, that others can only dream.

My life though short was coloured and sweet, seize the day,

Else time is a bearded fool, an endless stretch of dreary gray.

The Poet Without A Muse

The poet without a muse sits in pause mode,

Like a bud about to bloom, but cruelly sapped of all life force,

Waiting impatiently for that last surge, to flower and flaunt its florid hues,

Or else to rot into revolting compost, unseen.

 

The poet without a muse, lounges with a brain simmering

In impotent rage, turning into mushy rice pudding.

Grain, milk and sugar break down with dramatic sobs, hug each other

And dissolve into sticky tears, sweet, but rice pudding is inconsequential.

Continue reading

Man and Superman

 

I walk with my head in the exalted realm,

Yet my feet must suffer the filth of the earth,

What cruel trick of nature kindled my mind with cognition’s gleam,

And fettered it with feeble flesh that must huddle around a hearth!

 

No sinews of steel, am no roaring beast,

Only a spirit in throes of feral rage.

Man is condemned to partake of weakness’ feast,

Trapped in the knowledge of the inevitable, its invisible cage.

Continue reading

An Ordinary Life

Countless and blazing verdant were the leaves that sprung, buds of hope,

They clung, precariously, on to my skin, feeding on my sweat and tears,

Then some winds blew, with those frosty gusts, I watched them elope,

One by one they fell, as if sliced by a butcher’s knife, the cold metal smelted from my fears,

I protested, with my silent screams the air was rife, there was nobody around, no one to hear,

And yet they crumbled; those withering leaves, yet they fell,

Softly they floated, carried by unseen arms, ringing a death knell.

 

Many dreams visited my half-awakened mind,

Bright drops of mercury that I cupped in my hands in a shimmering pool,

But now, those oft-remembered wishes, I cannot find.

The winds of time speak; they call me a fool,

For this is how things must be, dreams die as a rule.

Trickle away you brilliant snakes, into memory’s depths, into its dark wells,

And rest there; while slowly fade the music of tolling, mourning bells.

 

Continue reading

Perhaps not to be is to be without you….

I could name a thousand things I love about Kolkata. But if I had to pick one place as my favourite it would be the South Park Street Cemetery. The reason is the tombstone in the picture. Derozio, William Jones and Rose Aylmer are buried there too. But the glory of the poets and the poet’s muse pale before the touching tribute of the grieving husband. If tears froze into words etched in stone probably something like this would be created. Every time I read it, I cannot but help sigh over the haunting sadness that surrounds this story of this young woman who lived, loved and died in a strange land at twenty three. Maybe Edgar Allan Poe was right. The death of a beautiful woman, is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world. But a thousand florid Annabel Lee and its seraphs could not match this simple poem in its poignant beauty. Find below the text of the epitaph.

Continue reading