Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry

Priya Sarukkai Chabria

The Gathering Of Time --- Dialogues With Kalidasa


" This season's rainy fingers puts leaves and blossoms on the forest... slow- spreading low clouds sadden the hearts of lonely women. " Kalidasa, Rithusamharama


Once there was no horizon. Sky and earth mingled in a womb of rain as you entered me. Now I lie alone. My vision clear. My body rich with memories of passing showers. (First published in Chandrabhaga, New Series, No. 12, India, 2005)

Poems From Babylon And Persia

--- after2 BCE to 2 CE Tamil puram war poems

Salma, pi-dog of Baghdad, says:

Americans are kind.
They leave blood on the streets
for us to lick,
and morsels of human flesh

to charred clothing. 

They return us to our ancestors:

Salma's friend, pi-dog Imrana replies:

You don't hear and see so well
ever since the bomb went off in the neighborhood
dump where you had littered
      six pups, 
      one-eyed, one-eared, scar- faced Salma.

I've heard 
the scene of feasting is shifting 
       and underground,
       in tunnels long and deep.
And that the bombers talk in a language
we can understand, so to speak.
I'd trot there myself for the spread
if it weren't that I lack 
front feet.

(First published in Soundings Issue 34, A journal of politics and culture, U K, 2007)

Refuse/ Refused

Fragments From Three Cantos

1. Hahaha, he laughs, the bald boy, veteran rag-picker sitting on a pile of junk, toes splayed. Around him strays snarl or sleep, his pets, his messengers from the world outside, bound to this dump by its bounty. There's nothing you can't find here, he laughs, this mini lord of litter, here's a part of a ladder to dreams, a broken keyboard to miracles, a magic shoe with a hole in its sole, a silken bra of torn desires, and mountains of bags and more bags that leak their stink as joss sticks offered to me. The city's memories are strewn at my feet like flowers of pus. So much waste and so much want like the cut-up girl in that bag near the car parts, she's refuse now 'cause she refused to sleep with him. This is my kingdom come, this is your kingdom come; come, don't refuse your part of it... First published in TRASH Alphabet City -MIT Press, Canada, 2007.