The wooden pillar

The pillar is smoothly rounded by the girl
As she swirled with hands holding it tight.

Her eyes looked dizzily at the hot tin roof,
Her face in slant, at forty degrees to pillar.

She whirled around it holding it steadfast.
It is worn smooth with her love for years.

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Grandmas

Grandmas cry from no salt in their eye.
They cry softly from waters in the head
Of memories of husbands lost in opium

Of sons and grand-nieces lost to moon.
They laugh toothless laughter in ripples
Over vegan jokes made special for kids,

Not fart jokes in high demand by them.
As they make hot noon snacks for kids
They rub the eye-whites, of blue smoke

Cuckoo

It seems cuckoo returned  this time
For mango festival a little too early.

Its calls coaxed rains to drop silver
Under an  Ashoka tree in  fruit fall

Recent yellow and ripe gray fruits,
Proving  television weather wrong.

Raindrops fall upon parasite brood
Now a black crow’s  responsibility

The black crow would raise chicks
From its  monsoon indiscretions.

But koel’s mango song is so sweet
Around stones tongues lick clean

That wagging tongues skip morals
And forgive lack of responsibility.

Hanging things

The man comes back from the holy river
Where he renounced a certain vegetable
The bitter one had always tasted terrible.
(Please leave behind here for your dead
All you consider dearest to your bosom,
Said the muttering priest of an ice river.)
We say return from a river purely bathed
After you have done your hanging thing.

The naked men would come from  hills
The purity not yet tested in natural sky.
(Here we write pure poetry in azure sky
About waters that washed down corpses.)
The corpses had renounced all the worlds
But their sun went on to rise regardless.
The naked men have renounced clothes
And now what to do with hanging things.

We have no tears enough to wet our eyes.
But we have genteel glycerine tears made
To stream down eyes and keep them wet.
But now what to do with  hanging things

Who is this hooded man?

raja-ravi-vermas-painting-the-hooded-man

The women are at their frivolous pursuits
At lake, with shameless crow on the tree.

Soon the crow will be black in wistful air
With princess’ jewel, to women’s shouts,

Their delicate fingers pointing to the sky.
There is a Krishna- flippancy to the crow

That flies away with a jewel hiding shame.
The women walk on the hushed whispers.

The hooded man is a crow running away
With a princess’ beauty on rising bosom

That went up and down on golden jewel,
Bored painter of languid women of myth.

These women are figures from his canvas
Bored with pointing fingers at crows in sky.

(Raja Ravi Verma’s painting)

Death criers

We will join ranks with them.
In return ,they will mourn us
When later , our turn comes .

The Rudali women have made
Breast-beating into a fine art.
They do it to some fine music.

The air is rife with fresh death.
Be assured that in the bargain
Nobody will feel unmourned.