All or Nothing

It is not the way.

People lie.

The universe has no empirical data. Forgiveness
is not a primal urge. The natural order demands
unconditional submission to its rules. Oceans
bury their troubles deep, what the mountains
do not tell the clouds is debatable. But dawn
returns, over and over, despite the night. That
is neither mercy nor vengeance. I must have
forgiven you, a long time ago. But writing it
down like this makes it real. Like a confirmation
of rebellion. Not that it is useful.

Nothing goes away.

People lie.

The debris swirls around until it is sucked into
an unforgiving vortex. Forgiveness is not
divisible. You cannot forgive in instalments. All
or nothing. One gets all. The other, nothing. Yet,
this must be done. So we can return to the laws.
Stay in our orbits. Not confuse gravity with
want. Light with love. We will pass each other
sometimes. You will cast a dark shadow. They
will call it an eclipse. I will forgive you. It will
not matter. This much is allowed.

It doesn’t get better, anyway.

People lie.

On the Rough Road

On the Rough Road is a collection of haiku that I first put together in 2016 following a series of prompts on ‘Carpe Diem Haiku Kai’ based on Matsuo Basho’s ‘Oku no hosimichi’ (Narrow road to the Deep North)

Recently, I redesigned and edited the chapbook and though it seemed to take forever, it was a nostalgic walk through old haiku and haibun I had written, giving me fresh insight into my state of mind and writing style, then – and now.

Over the years, I’ve surely learnt a thing or two, but also lost something. I don’t entirely know what that is, but I believe some of my best haiku are in this little chapbook. For more details, check this link.

I chose one haiku to leave here today:

here, finally

i open my book of regrets

to the rain

Curfew: Day 44

Lockdown writing: ten things about The Poem.


1. When you open the door of The Poem, anything
can walk in. But look closer, inside and outside are

now one. What about these faces, are they arriving or
leaving? Where do you think you are standing? 2. Don’t

write about love. Love, like a story, demands an ending.
Everything searches for purpose and meaning. The Poem

will end the minute it has had enough. When there is
nothing more to say. 3. When a small word falls and rolls

under the table, under the bed, under a star or disappears
under the sky, make yourself even smaller and follow it.


what did you say –
that this damp twilight
now rhymes with darkness and dawn



Also read:
Curfew: Day 43

Curfew: Day 22

It both is and isn’t a severe pandemic. Lockdowns are both necessary and unnecessary. There is both enough and not enough testing. It is both destiny and the devil. It depends on which channel you’re watching, whose tweets you’re reading, which world you live in and how many hours of Netflix you have been consuming. Schrödinger’s virus. Both living and non-living. We both care too much and cannot care enough. We both can’t be bothered and are bothered too much. It is both yesterday and today. For a while it was also tomorrow.

the longer you stay
on the straight and narrow
the faster life comes full circle


Also read:
Curfew: Day 21

Curfew: Day 4

The images of reverse migration from locked down cities – millions of people walking on highways, stranded at state borders, crowding relief shelters and bus stands, hungry, tired and pretty much without any other option – will haunt us for a long, long time. Or until the next big thing happens. Inequality is also a life consuming virus.

“Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you have seen, and ask yourself if this step you contemplate is going to be any use to him.” – Mahatma Gandhi

looking up at the night sky –
who thinks
of the sun

Also read:
Curfew: Day 3

The way the days pass…

Hunkered down. The inexorable wait. How does a
killer virus ask for directions? There are two of us.

One waits. One watches. Both are me. Both must
be real. The world has already contracted into a

page that updates the toll. The dead are marked in
yellow. Already, so much has been forgotten. So

much has been erased. A forsaken god has been
woken from his bed. How do you wait for peace

while you wait for death? How do you wait for love
when waiting overflows with dread? This is a silent

war – no explosions, no guns, no song, no words
that hold up the sky. The subtraction slips into the

quiet, into the dark, the way it was foretold. We
wait, we watch, one real, one masked, as the

world we know ends with a whimper, the world
we know leaves suddenly without saying goodbye.


Of moon-eating suns and other things…

toothless morning
like a worn cliché
chews the dark end of the sky

I woke seven times
and saw seven dawns
all empty of light –
how much darkness does it take
to hide a morning?


in this amorphous dawn
is a moon-eating sun

I hold the darkness close
I pretend it is you
It pretends I am the light


Inspired by Rosemary’s Variations on a Theme to present a thought (of sorts) as a haiku, tanka and cherita. Which one works?

Sharing this with Poets and storytellers United – As a newbie storyteller, I can’t bring my flash fiction there because of the word limit, but if you are of a mind, do check it out here  and here and let me know what you think.

Our skies are empty

More often now, the hollowed out
husk of the afternoon light is overlaid
with images of impending dystopia:
an earth that will not forget, a culling
that will not be kind, an aftermath
that will frighten its oracle. How long
does it take for a glacier to turn to
grass, for a forest to return to dust, for
life to exhaust all possibilities? Already
our skies are empty, our gods have
moved, telling stories of the ghosts
of the sixth extinction. The universe
shakes its head in amused disbelief.


For – be sure to visit and share your #climateemergency poetry.

A little chat with Khaya!

Had a little chat with fellow-poet, Khaya Ronkainen, about my book ‘Water to Water’ and about life and all things poetry! Thank you, Khaya, that was a lot of fun!

Khaya lives in Finland and Amazon being Amazon and international shipping being, well, international shipping, I mailed her a copy from the closest point I could reach – a tiny little post office in the middle of Old Town, Tallin, Estonia, which has the friendliest post-office-person in the world! From there the book could have caught the two-hour fast ferry to Helsinki, if it wanted to! Poetry crosses boundaries in ways we cannot imagine!

Here’s the link to the post on her blog.

Also, with Diwali round the corner, I’d like to give away a copy of ‘Water to Water’ to one interested poetry blogger in India. (Indian mailing addresses only!) So drop me an email at before 27th October 2019 if you would like a copy  and I’ll pick one name by lot.  Please include the name of your blog in the email.


Like a beast at the water’s edge

I feed on the cold like a beast at the water’s
edge, head bowed to an existential compulsion.
The chill traces a dark path to a primal hunger
that predates the sun. Predates skin. Predates
touch. That November mist is the shifting circle of
my want, intersecting the unmanifest moon in a
contemptuous Venn diagram — a chiaroscuro of
shivering deprivation. But, I will not switch my fealty
to fire. I need this wintry balm, the numbness that
burns inwards from the extremities. If this is dissent,
then I dare heat to make its move. If this is revolt,
then mercury will never rise again. For now, my
blood is frozen. For now, light is an unformed candle
in the guilty sky. For now, warmth is absence, warmth
is malevolent myth, warmth is icy premonition.