POETRY SPEAKS BEST
Letís talk about dissection in
The form is easy to dissect, fix and copy.
Fixed on dissection trays with pins,
or kept in formaldehyde filled jars for
future dissections, itís dead. Heart does not beat
in there; blood does not run in those veins.
Thatís not the poetry I talk about.
Mine is poetry alive,
heart beating, and blood pumping.
Simple, stupid, simply
stupid or stupidly simple?
Letís talk about deception in poetry.
The theme is easy to wear like a coat.
Wear the right theme at the right time,
and place, be politically correct, send it
to the right places, meet the right people.
Yes, itís deception
through poetry or
poetry as deception.
Letís talk about imagination in poetry,
Yes, letís talk about poetry thatís
honest, spirit fresh, soul clean.
Should there be any need to call
Any other thing poetry?
Why talk about poetry at all.
Poetry speaks best for itself.
Let it speak.
TRICKS LANGUAGE PLAYS
My daughter, eight, looked at me
with eyes: half-enquiring, half-afraid,
eyes with faith, half, at least,
and asked suddenly: Are we born again after death?
I looked at my wife. Our eyes met.
She smiled: that corners of the eyes,
so-it-did-happen smile, and I knew
it was not she who dropped
a hint to the child
of death or birth, or both.
I did not, I know. We donít discuss death
at home, especially with children
awake or around: never with them around.
No, not death, the old enemy, no talks
in the recent past with anyone.
Death horrifies me.
So, I sat back,
took a pause,
filled my eyes with light and strength,
that fills the eyes of those
with half-faith, at least,
and told her boldly that half-lie:
ĎNo, you donít have to die if you say no to deathí.
I knew I was half-true.
Tricks language plays!
Gods have grown small nowadays
Gods have become brands nowadays:
Saleable, buyable, marketable,
They live amongst us nowadays.
Like us they die too nowadays
GUILT AS ACCUSED
Unreal voice from my past, who are you?
I suspect I know you. I suspect I do not.
I ask again, who speaks?
Ah yes, so itís you,
my elder near-twin:
same home, same school, same grandmother,
same uncles, same aunts minus one
and different mothers.
Sixteen years, no twenty have passed,
since we last met or talked.
You remember our cousinís wedding,
way back in the previous millennium:
really, in the previous millennium.
Millennia change in a moment, not pass, you see.
You sound strange, unknown, and then confident.
I sound hesitant, tentative, and then confident.
We are both professionals with over twenty years
over our first twenty and two more.
We are good at sounding confident
even when we arenít, at least I am.
Twenty years is a lifetime.
Many were born, many died in that span.
Generations passed, if not ages and now,
you speak of my next;
I keep silent about your previous,
I donít have anything else to speak
It should end now, the call.
We know, I know, you know
that this visit may be your last.
You know, I know that you know,
but hope I am wrong,
this call is the last.
Rajinish Mishra, Varanasi, India