Descent on Addis

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In one of those rare moments, the Muse smiled on me. Perhaps it was the frustration at my lack of sleep after a 6-hour layover at Heathrow and a subsequent 6-hour flight, or just my lucky day. But smile she did and opened up that now rusty and creaky door to inspiration, the fruits of which you find below.

I wrote this as we descended to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

Addis Ababa. Photo Courtesy of Sophie McGrath at http://sophiemcgrath.wordpress.com

Addis Ababa. Photo Courtesy of Sophie McGrath at http://sophiemcgrath.wordpress.com

 

Under the watchful gaze of a smile-moon,

the peeping sun kisses the horizon,

ever so lightly casting orange hues

in this deceptively furtive foray.

 

And so ensues this dawn’s cosmic dance,

the victor known yet the players play on.

 

Below, a thousand stars stare unblinking:

mere spectators, they think otherwise

as if thoughts on their hushed voices count -

as if will devoid of action yields much.

 

Soon enough this delusion is rested,

buried in the spur of reality.

 

Light betrays the tedious serene darkness

as lush alternating sighs of the earth

that form continuous mounds of deep green;

here too we chance beauty unfolding.

 

Nakedness of Night will die, till the next.

Plundering Palpitations

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The confluence of spare time and nourishment from my Muse has become, it seems, impossible.It is not so often that I will admit this: I have withered as a poet and been rejuvenated as a prose writer. But in anticipation of the just concluded Bitter Sweet recital by the Lantern Meet of Poets, I had to muster what poetic-strength I had left to write something, anything!

The following poem was the outcome. It was written to be performed.

Plundering perplexing palpitations pylon-high pile
Plying prime primeval ports like panthers in prance –
Portent in pure purpose, persistent in ploy.
I pause, purporting poise, to ponder this perturbation.

Like on divine pedestal, toward me she propagates,
Pride possessions pulsating in phase like pawpaws,
Curved perfect posterior pitched in epileptic parade.
She smiles and promises relief for pitch black plight,
Laughs with pricking eyes to preach endless possibility.
“Pardon me, kind passerby, where is Police?”

What ill-humoured Psyche permits such puppetry?
What power have I to prevent this persuasion?

Perhaps I shall promptly proceed to point her to Police.
Perhaps, if she pleases, I shall play gallant Prince –
Propose my protection for her procession to that place.
Perhaps this plot portends vile Hell or paradise.
Perhaps I don’t know – don’t care to partake this poison.
Perhaps I’ll be pleased and passionate prisoner!

Pardon me, fine passerby, I please to enter prison!

So, does pressure make diamonds? :-)

A Random Madigral

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Some struggles of 2012 have been enormous physical and financial challenges. That said, none can compare to the haunting literary ghosts, the shyness of my Muse (I suspect though that it was out of spite! My Muse, she is jealous!) and the endless, futile attempts at soul searching. In trying to find myself, I have found terrifying truths, and murky and shaming failures.

Legacy. That’s the one. I have found myself worrying helplessly about my legacy. About my mark and contribution to humanity.

Out of that was born this:

Ear-splitting screams tore through the fabric of silence-
Like the tongues of lighting through vast clear sky and space,
As if to echo the grumblings of the gods themselves:
To announce my birth- my genesis.
And there too the beginning of my end
Where time and age will conspire to give and then take apart
For at the birth of life is the birth of death.

But if I should with my end meet
It’d be on no terms but my sum;
Mine shall be a history by my own hand writ.
Each letter, each syllable, each phrase and praise
Crafted by these mine Muse-guided fingers,
Stilled for generations born and to come;
It shall be a footprint, a shadow, a mark inscribed in stone,
Ageless – bold as gold in the face of time

And when I am but passing memory,
When I am but dust dancing at your feet-
Inconsequential specs of nothing,
I should think they shall say I was here:
Not as mortal flesh and mind or eternal soul,
But as rippling black-hole force that moulded the very veil of space-time.
And on the wings of wind shall be echoed: “He was here. He was here.”

Withered Camellia

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There are few books I can claim changed my life; books that have made me think about the way I perceive my environment, relationships and generally, how I live. Paulo Coelho has about 2 books on that list, Khaled Hosseini another or two, and a bunch of other writers. But the first book to make that list was Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 3 years ago. It was exciting and enchanting as it was thought-provoking.

Probably because at the time I read it, I related to the character Florentino Ariza: dancing on Love’s burning coals oblivious of the wounds that ate into my very being. No matter how badly I got burnt, I lumbered on the promise of Love inflating me with insane courage.


This was written so much for and about Ariza as it was for me.

He danced on Love’s fiery coals

their heat exciting his heart

as Lent lilies by Wind’s tune.

His quill mercilessly bled

lucid verse on his ardour;

and his violin’s serandes

infused night’s serene quiescence.

Ah, but this cruel abscence

his sanity now pervades

and strips his heart to the core.
Yet he by Love’s promise led-

drawn into approaching monsoon-

yields and partakes of the hurt

as none memory recalls.

Head bowed, he’ll stand- in his hand,

a lonely withered camellia.

—-Mini- anthology: Hepatica—

Untitled 2

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I was going through my stuff the other day when I came across this. I must have been 17 or 18 when I wrote this.

Must I my Muse tire

with persistent omission of satire

from all but few of my verses?

She that guides my feeble hand-

and sharpens my mind-

in forging a great many verses?

 

I fear I have given to the habit

but by Jove, my Muse must hear noth’n o’ it!

 

 

 

—Mini-Anthology: Reflections from Apollo and Zeus— 

To Dawn

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Nature poetry is tricky, mostly because so much has been written that chances are, that whatever you write will border heavily on cliche. But it is nonetheless a great teacher and source of inspiration.

Dawn- slayer of pretence, usher of youth-

you, born anew as passing season,

wield those luminous swords, sharp and uncouth,

and absolve ignorance of reason.

Are you not the mother of sweet knowledge?

Dawn – light of tunnels, well of Saharas:

You, of divine hue, alive in Dark’s death

when all that’s fair is stripped of myrrhs

And Life’s Eden is, fast as youth, but heath.

Are you not the promise that Hope is nigh?

—Mini-anthology: Hepatica—

The Maiden’s Reply (Parody of “When She Comes” by Raymond Ojakol – Lantern Meet of Poets)

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Resolutions can be a real pain, depending on how seriously one takes them anyway. If you, like I do, take them seriously, they have a funny habit of haunting you. Like this one in particular: to perform CPR on this blog!

As that would have it, I’ll say, for the I-don’t-know-what-th time, that I have picked up my quill, dusted it, procured some inspiration from the Muse, and returned to my trade. So, here goes:

Perched as prying pigeons as Day is born,
I have gazed, hapless poet, upon you:
your quill frail from wanting ink anew,
oft as wind weathered your thoughts to bone;
given to pity, for you’ve looked lovelorn,
I have descended unannounced as dew-
to remind you of the plenty in few-
and done the duty for which I’ve been sworn.
I too, poet, enjoy what you call “Leave” :
peaceful sojourns where no work is mourned-
 far from bards roasting on Emotion’s coals-
till to the mount in ink your voice you give
and I return as a genie summoned.
So, tonight you’ll verse in sultry love calls.

—–Mini-anthology: Hepatica—-