Category Archives: Occasional Poems

A Red Finch

Once when I was in the Agha Khan University hostel, napping in the afternoon, I woke up at sundown, went out of the room, came back and saw a red finch perching on my red towel on the small clothesline we had. It was staring at me and I slowly went to it and grabbed it, and then it suddenly squeaked. I brought it out and let it fly. Quite strange that it got into my room at some point, and then I let it go, which was perhaps one of the noblest things I’ve done.

Love has a life of its own.

Last night, I dreamed that I was walking with my brother, who is just older than me, through a bazaar where there were fruitsellers, iron smiths, grocers, and other people. I didn’t even know what he wanted to get, but we walked so long past the populace that we ended up in a wilderness, and that is when he said we should go back home. As Wallace Stevens says, “being there together was enough.”

Vigil at AKU

I submitted a poem for the Winter 2010 Issue of AKU‘s alumni newsletter and I’m very happy to see it there.

Vigil at AKU

There were long balconies before the small hostel rooms
and it was barely light enough to see the heavy clouds
drift before the sun could break another day.

Another young man sitting on one of those rooftops
smiled and reassured me saying it will go well,
and I inspired appraisal and air in the same breath.

There were biscuit crumbs and long bones on
a crumpled white bed sheet in my room, and the room
itself was full of dreams which often emerged from

teabags or sugar tins, a set of strings or a dusty book,
and slid into the closet, hushed between a row
of shirts, or inside the knot of a tie I could not tie.

That was the problem – where to look for them, especially
when the wind blew bleating wet and stark, and there
still was a faraway place alive with things that made

it home. They were dreams but all were not as roses.
Some were monsters that I thought if I ever saw,
I would want to die. And most of this time, although

I was not there, as it were, in a world without me,
the indian-red building heaved with allegories
of young minds in sleep and awe, as the body in excess

came apart in their hands. It was strange to know thyself
as body, or to think in those days what beckoned me
to the sounds I did not know and words I could not say.

6:49 pm 11 June 2010

Autumn Eve

The sun, a windfall red and cold,
sets like an afterthought
of last night’s precious rain.

What creatures have not been here -
and I have been with them -
heavy of heart and lighter of years.

That is how the savors of a circle
hemmed in time may burn
a long time, incessant like incense,

rising as falsely as fairies
from blades of autumn grass
on which the future faintly dews.

If the flurry of things is pressed like
lives into leaves of a yellow book,
if silence has a backward sweep

over the loudness of palm lines,
the birds may also seem to sound
our logoi like their songs.

12:17 pm 12 October 2010

The Seagram Murals

The muses in these murals
are seams of days,
the singing ones who

do not stop the brink
and second skins
from staining sounds

carmine, black looms
from warping profuse
poppies with sears –

they knead expanse
into ceaseless shape
along the course

of arks and bones,
along the jaded side
of light, they levitate

the breeze, their ages pry
the imprint of a psalm
and lavish haze on eves.

5:16 pm 26 September 2010