Monday, March 25, 2013

Questions of Travel

Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play
in this strangest of theatres?
What childishness is it that while there’s a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework
inexplicable and impenetrable,
at any view,
instantly seen and always, always delightful?
Oh, must we dream our dreams
and have them, too?
And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?
          (C)   Elizabeth Bishop, ‘Questions of Travel’

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Was it rain 
or you?

There were scents:
intense ones, 
of the rain-washed earth, of tobacco,
of the acrid sap of the mango-stalk, 
of oleander flowers, 
of woman’s inner lips.

There were colours,
flying ones, 
of the mynah, of the pink balsam,
of collyrium, of wild fire,
of wet yam leaves, of red wine,
of fresh paddy.

There were memories,
unendurable ones,
of the index finger, wet lips,
aroused nipples,
wounds, bells, 
irreplaceable hearts.

How many names how many selves
How many places how many births
How many rivers from touches

The mad ecstasy of dreaming of your return
when I lose you
The wild shock of the fear of losing you
when you return.

I have never seen a rain so blue
an embrace so liquid, a dance so irrepressible, 
a monsoon kiss that rains so incessantly
like flowers from a gulmohar tree. 

( 2005)
(Translated from Malayalam by the poet ) K. Satchidanandan