Mysteries, Yes

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will
never be broken.
How two people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
Look! and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

Mary Oliver

Let Me Die A Youngman’s Death

Let me die a youngman’s death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I’m 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I’m 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber’s chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I’m 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman’s death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
‘what a nice way to go’ death

Roger McGough

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou

Flower Like Love

To our love,
which was once Vivid.
Gradually turning dull and grey.
Like a flower,
bright and beautiful when it blooms.
Just a few days pass by and it begins to rot.
And nobody likes it,
Even the parent plant disowns it after a moment.
And there you see, the petals falling apart.
We fell apart the same way,
with no odds of us ever getting back together.
Neither do I hope to,
seeing our escalation from vivid to grey


It’s okay if you’re not okay sometimes

You wake up
Head hammered
Under the weight of the night
Wasted in self loathing.
Slog yourself to the day
Your face in the mirror
Dull, tired and bloated.
You nibble on the slice of bread
And down it with a glass of juice.
Your tongue still tastes bitter.
You can sense it coming to possess you – something dark , nauseating and unwanted.

You rise up and dress yourself for work.
Dab some colours to silent the exhaustion your face screams.
Go out to face the world,
Meet some dozen faces
Put up a false show.
The faceless energy still lingers an arms distance wriggling its slimy tentacles to reach you.

You engage with the people
Trying hard to distract your mind.
Your limbs go numb.
The more you resist the more it grips you from the leg upward.

You run to the restroom with uneven steps
You feel choked on your own breath.
detachment from reality seeps in,
You flounder.

drop the mask!
It’s okay if you’re not okay sometimes.

/Upashna’s blog

Try to praise

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the grey feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

Adam Zagajewski

Sketch of Modern Love poem

And yet whiteness
can be best described by greyness
a bird by a stone
in december

love poems of old
used to be descriptions of flesh
they described this and that
for instance eyelashes

and yet redness
should be described
by greyness the sun by rain
the poppies in november
the lips at night

the most palpable
description of bread
is that of hunger
there is in it
a humid porous core
a warm inside
sunflowers at night
the breasts the belly the thighs of Cybele

a transparent
source-like description
of water is that of thirst
of ash
of desert
it provokes a mirage
clouds and trees enter
a mirror of water
lack hunger
of flesh
is a description of love
in a modern love poem


Propaganda and other poems


The logic of insanity
insulated from reality
by barricadeof deception.


An extensive probe
has failed to discover
any sign
of heaven in our galaxy
or beyond
where it may have got
by a black hole
or exploded
many light years ago
as a star
which is why nobody iIs there
to hear your prayers.


Time passes kindly
over memories
of recrimination
anguish and anger.


The solemnity of silence
escapes through an opening
that closes with a bang


Inconsolable trees
weep their leaves
for friends
you can’t believe


Grandfather’s Photograph

Grandfather wasn’t fond of being photographed
or didn’t find time perhaps
There’s just one picture of him
hanging on an old discoloured wall
He sits serious and composed
like a cloud heavy with water
All we know of Grandfather is
that he gave alms to beggars
tossed restlessly in sleep
and made his bed neatly every morning
I was just a kid then
and never saw his anger or
his ordinariness
Pictures never show someone’s helpless side
Mother used to tell us that
when we fell asleep surrounded
by strange creatures of the night
Grandfather would stay awake inside the picture
I didn’t grow as tall as Grandfather
not as composed or as serious
Still something in me resembles him
An anger like his
an ordinariness
I too walk with my head bent down
and every day see myself
sitting in an empty
picture frame.

Mangalesh dabral

A Picture of Father

There are lots of little pictures of Father
Scattered throughout the house
His eyes sparkle brightly
with something far-seeing
Goodness or courage
In the picture Father doesn’t cough
He’s not agitated
His hands and legs don’t ache
He does not stoop or compromise

One day Father stands next to his picture
And begins explaining
Just as a teacher shows a map to his pupils
Father says I’m not like my picture
But the new rooms I’ve added
In this old house, you take them
Take my goodness to battle against those evils
That you’ll meet along the way
Don’t take my sleep take my dreams

It’s me who’s worried who is agitated
I stoop and compromise
I groan with the pain in my hands and feet
I cough like Father
I look at Father’s picture for a long time.

Mangalesh dabral