Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry II



It is not so much the blade of day
that slices the morning's eye open
as that it begins anyway
uncoerced and softly-spoken

breathing in the yeasty 
rising breeze;    and warms its fingers
on the rose-glow of clouds steep-
stacked and neat-racked by the sun's balusters; 

begins despite the clamour and the war cry
of the blown conch, the dawn prayer
the challenge of javelin voices that vie
to fling their chants through the air.

Morning comes like a man used to 
lying awake waiting for tomorrow. 

Red Chillies

113° Fahrenheit on 
the third day of May.
In Guntur 
every red chilli in the market
as if by concert
into sharp-tongued flames


the air breaks
into loud

No Thirteen Ways About It

The beauty of inflections 
Or the beauty of innuendoes
			 - Wallace Stevens

Slant your rhymes which way you will
Varuna, each wave only sways to one will

Plant your deep-rooted feet upon the shore
Abandon for a while the shifting clay of your will

Show me a face I know as little as I know mine
I'll follow my fingers and obey the dictates of their will

Though the scrapyards are filled with abandoned words
We could salvage a few from decay if you will

Songs the birds whirled in the autumn winds
Dance still unruly swayed by no one will
Long only for the elusive and contrary, Sridala
Spike the everyday upon the point of your will