Thursday, February 25, 2016

Poems by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra


To An Unborn Daughter 

If writing a poem could bring you


Into existence, I'd write one now,


Filling the stanzas with more


Skin and tissue than a body needs,


Filling the lines with speech.


I'd even give you your mother's



Close-bitten nails and light-brown eyes,


For I think she had them. I saw her


Only once, through a train window,


In a yellow field. She was wearing 


A pale-coloured dress. It was cold.


I think she wanted to say something.


[From: The Transfiguring Places]
 


On The Death Of A Sunday Painter

He smoked a cherry-wood pipe, knew all about cannas,


And deplored our lack of a genuine fast bowler.


My uncle called his wife Soft Hands.


Once in 1936 he sat in his Holland Hall drawing-room


Reading Ulysses when a student walked in.


Years later I read him an essay on D.H. Lawrence


And the Imagists; he listened,


Then spoke of Lord Clive, the travels of Charles M. Doughty,


"My dear young fellow . . . "


I followed the truck on my bicycle


And left early; his friends sat all afternoon

In the portico of a nearby house.


[From: Distance in Statute Miles]
 


Mirza Ghalib In Old Age 

His eyesight failed him,


But in his soldier's hands,


Still held like a sword,


Was the mirror of couplets.


By every post came


Friends' verses to correct,


But his rosary-chain

Was a string of debts.


[From: Both Sides of the Sky] (anthology ed. by Eunice de Souza)
 



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