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March 2024
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Saturday, 29. October 2011

Ghazal: Snow Man in Sakura Park

The mind in winter retreating into itself knows How green sap is held in the embrace of snow.

Blue-black (of her memorized eyes) is how the grave Statues gaze at his passing shadow, shaggy with snow.

In their farewell, nothing left really to tell or show But his x-rayed heart, inked with shards of snow.

What does the dead general dream in his icicled tomb? Wind off the river etches memory on his brow of snow.

“Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is”: So is the dark one hidden to Radhika by the snow.

After Wallace Steven's "Snow Man"

My Poems

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[1] A Passage on Time (Washington DC)

Don’t the ginkos wait all year For these brief weeks of cool blue Skies - they call it Indian Summer – To unfurl their haloes of golden flame?

Sometimes it is easy to lose track Of time, even as living is about time Most of the time. Six months, she says, Since they have started sleeping in the same bed.

No, she corrects herself, it is seven actually.

[2] A Passage on Memory (Hyderabad, India) “My memory is again in the way of your history.” - Agha Shahid Ali

This country, even as I didn’t know it, remains The substratum that I must drill into every time To standup these edifices of words, in a language Out of whose palm I surreptitiously ate, a starveling.

These words are as close to me as memory, Yet I haven’t summoned them by name often. They, like you, stand at an distinct angle to memory, From whose density you seek escape today

Into a lighter, less crowded air. But these are Orphic moments that I must sing as I attempt To ascend on a stair of alphabet towards a moment Of painless clarity. Perhaps it is true, the spirit needs

Memory in the absence of history, and history in Making seeks escape in the presence of memory.

My Poems

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Ghazal - a translation

Your memory’s trains kept arriving through the night. The wet in my eyes kept smiling through the night.

Through the night, the anguished candle kept burning As pain’s blood kept roiling through the night.

A flute’s sweet melody kept playing Insistent as memory through the night.

Moonlight of memories kept falling across the heart As the moon kept shimmering through the night.

A mad lover kept wandering through the lanes. My voice kept reaching me through the night.

Translated from the Urdu approximately. The ghazal is "Aap kii yaad aatii rahii raat bhar" by Makhdoom Moinuddin. Go here to hear this ghazal sung: www.youtube.com


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