Half past dawn

saturday morning, ashen, as if this monsoon has stapled itself
to the sky and will never leave, the deluge will wash away

everything, even sins, even sinners, the levitating fear that
woke me up before dawn is still rising, though I’m afraid the moon

will be much too cold to touch, the numbness with which I greet
the news is surrounded by a hollow moat that aches as a flaccid

sun wakes, how much more, a woman is killed, a child is raped,
hurricanes line up in the ocean like planes waiting to land, maybe

if the earth opens up like an orange, so we can fix it wedge by
wedge, stripping fibre, spitting out bitter seeds, biting into

summer, remember the juice running down our chins, we were
laughing, not a cloud in the blue, the sky schooling us to cover

our blemishes, it is raining again, someone is gathering clothes
hung out on the line, blue jeans, wet as fear, the saturated ground

is refusing rain that pours and pours, the sea, filled with storms,
is refusing water, so it waits, turning the colour of absent light,

a bleeding orange, unwedged, how much more, the hollows ache as
they drown the dead, but we are laughing, wiping juice on our collars,

pointing at the untainted sky, the moon, wrapped in cloud, is cold
as ice, summer burning my throat, saturday morning, half past dawn,

****
First posted this poem here on this day five years ago. Everything seems the same, chaos, gloom and the late-season monsoon fury. Change is no longer the constant.

River of grass

now that I think of it: it was that night,
stranded in the rain, watching a wet
car drive by, slowly, painfully, drifting in
a river of blurry headlights, squelching
through a pothole, a game of hopscotch,
landing all four wheels on clear asphalt,
a story through that car window, the drama
of sky and reflections and black sheets of
unrelenting rain — you see me trying to hail
a cab, a rickshaw, a stranger, anything that
will stop, you see my outstretched arm, bare,
gathering raindrops, gathering cold,
everything heightened, everything base,
you see things differently when you know
you won’t see them again,

I wonder if it is warm inside the car, what
song is playing on the radio, does it smell
of emptiness, of waiting, are you curious,
wanting to pull over, asking if it is cold, is
there someone to meet, is there somewhere
to be, does it smell of eagerness, of waiting,
the truck in front floats away, behind you four
vehicles honk, it rains harder, tail lights flash,
the car looked black, wanting to blend in,
afraid to break the line, is there somewhere
to be — now that I think of it: in the middle of
the afternoon, sunlight and shadows cavorting
in the grass, dry grass, warm grass, a river of
grass, I think, you see things differently when
you see them in the rain,

Dirge on the fifth morning

there is no dry in incessant rain
on the fourth night the deluge fills your stomach
skin dissolves, drowning the last barrier,
you are the edgeless lake, you are shadowless rain,
you are the mother that seeded the cloud,
the daughter orphaned to the thirst of the sea,
you are a single drop shattering in grief,
you are the dark cosmic wave on which
sails the bright lie of creation

you hover, neither on land nor in the sky —
see, sorrow has trajectory, weight,
immeasurable pain can be measured by the spoonful,
but this stillness, this suspension,
this, they tell me, is the culmination of human feeling,
to feel nothing, except breath,
or its lack,
this, they say, is mindfulness, touching time
on the inside, touching the universe
on the outside,
the moment soaked,
its belly distended,
its water fecund, birthing distortions

the monsoons overlap
the soil gags
the rocks grind against fallen sky
precipitation is a stranger’s joy
the perversion of air tells a story
of the myth of sunshine
the wet, a raging minotaur,
the light, a prince trapped in a labyrinth,
inside a moment
inside a cloud
inside a lake
weightless,
skinless,
the rain, a sinner,
a penance, a discordant lover

************

It has been raining a lot, the south-west monsoon followed by the north-east monsoon with hardly a break. But grey clouds teach you to appreciate even mellow, liquid sunshine. Or the rain brings poetry of the sort that a summer’s day can only dream of. There are silver linings, if you look long enough…or if you stop looking! Do you see more rain, more aggressive rain in your region – because of climate change?

It rained again today…

As if life was found,            accidentally, when
we took a wrong turn from             death: a
shell lying on a shore               that

it shouldn’t, that

it couldn’t,

yet, within it, the            roar of the entire
ocean. Today, I held life up          to my ear, it’s
voice was wet like rain, it       wondered

if I should.

If I could.

Poetry Tuesday #4 – Blue

And for the last Poetry Tuesday offering this November, the prompt is ‘Blue’ – sky, sea, mood, music, sapphires, ink – blue is where poems begin! Blue was also the soul of my first poetry collection ‘Water to Water

Here’s my poem for the prompt today. Share yours using the Mister Linky widget below. Thanks to all those who’ve been part of this series with their thoughts and poems. Maybe we’ll do another one sometime soon!

 

 

On the other side of rain

The rain comes first and then the darkness,
then the fear, then the silence – louder than
the rain on glass and tile, darker than the
night, afraid of itself, holding me like a long
lost lover. If you were here, I would tell you
there are sixteen types of quiet. In fifteen of
them, I talk to you without saying a word. A
yellow chrysanthemum describing itself to
a moonless sky. Tonight, you speak and I
point to my ear and shake my hand, you are
too far away – on the other side of rain, at the
beginning of a protracted monsoon. Silence
breathes hard, holding my face in its hands.
Isn’t conversation easier when someone is
actually talking? The blue sky explaining to
the blue lake why they are both colourless.

Another Season

They said today, the monsoon will arrive in the first week of
June. Like it always does. We outlast summer because we know

the wet will come. We survive the rains because we know that
by Diwali, the clouds will begin their retreat. We get through the

festive season because the cold numbs our fevered brow. In April,
the first mangoes will ripen in the sun. There is always another

season. There is always another reason. One more transformation. One
more repetition. Our mortality is never in question as long as the variables

are constant. It is the unchanging that we fear. A forever downpour.
An endless summer. A predictable love. A world refusing to fall apart.

But Skin Is Different

There are indentations in the blue
porcelain like impressions on soft
wax where it was held softly, when

the tea was warm, for a while, and it
would not stop raining. We leave marks
on things that least expect it, on a passing

wing, on yellow afternoons, on the serrated
silhouette of leaves against a midnight
moon, on time standing on one leg, back

against the far wall, waiting. Truth is a
collage of careless fingerprints, the rain can
draw your picture from the way your hand

caressed the clouds, but skin is different,
naked skin can be cleansed, memory carries
the deliberate guilt of sieved pain. This tea is

cold, a level certainty in an imperfect cup, it
is only mid-June, the sun flattens like an
unleavened candle, and it will not stop raining.

Micropoetry Month: Nov 2017: #7

Micropoetry MonthTime for a Tanka, don’t you think. Always a massive challenge to get right, a tanka can be crafted in so many ways but I believe it works better if it says much more than the five lines allow and says it with subtlety, emotion and mindfulness.

Write your own tanka or any other kind of micropoetry and share it through comments or Mister Linky.

uneasy,
this monsoon sky
heaves inside my heart-
how can I hear his footsteps
in the pounding rain

This tanka takes me back to a poetweet (exactly 140 characters long including spaces and punctuation) I wrote almost three years ago:

A mango tree
outside my window
has broken into song.
Hush, I warn,
gather your boughs,
rein in your leaves,
tonight he may whisper his love.

 

Micropoetry Month: Nov 2017: #2

Micropoetry Month A quadrille (44 word poem) and a haiku on this second day of November! And yes, the monsoon is still on my mind and in my soaked shoes! After a record breaking season, the retreating NE monsoon seems to have more to say.

Join the party with your own micropoem- in the comments section or using Mister Linky. There are no rules- whatever the muse whispers!

(1)

somewhere an autumn
tumbles through the space
between bough and earth,
shrouding the sins of summer,
but what do I know of fall,
here the rain collects in
cloud coloured puddles,
the sky is giving way,
my face wears the mask
of improbable winters.

(2)

a requiem half-remembered
an autumn-winged bird
contradicts the monsoon sky

 

Micropoetry Month: Nov 2017: #1

Micropoetry Month I’m kicking off the Nov 2017-Micropoetry Month with a couple of modern haiku/senryu. If the poems or the theme or just the idea of micropoetry inspires you, then do join in by sharing your poems in the comment section or adding a link to your poem using the Mister Linky widget. Or just drop in, read and say hello!

(1)

dark monsoon night-
a drunken moon
slips on the balcony tiles

(2)

first light,
in my bed a sleeping moon
and an empty bottle of wine