Thursday, August 30, 2007

samia - the yellow moon - work in progress

I cross him

Beside him

He rises upwards

I wait

He does not

They all look at him

(He used to be more

He used to be everything

They have deserted him now

Conquered him)

He rises though

To his throne

His throne

Is all we know



He rises

Above our lowly decor

His gaze holds them all



samia - exhibiting a nice sense of control over the poetic medium of writing short pieces

I feel nothing

Not grateful

Nor grace –full

I feel true

I don’t pretend

I feel blue.


It’s a fight

to take off

this cloak.


from me -


With such magnitude.


Just like waking

From a mid-dream,

My permanent soul

Usually soars-

But sometimes

This depth of feeling


As if by god speed.

An enchanted day




All in a rushed heat.


Faded smiles-


like an old dream.

Incomplete fragments,



but in their own

strange ways





The swaying

still smells fresh,

The silver

still rhythmic.

All were enchanted.

A sole wind

could unsettle

the delicate.

The silence:

still draped

around my shoulders.


You hand me dollops

and dollops of talk.

So fluffy.

So many.

I cannot eat them



prerna - work in progress- the three witches

As I see them…


Their hands full of dirt

Cleaning each other with some mirth

Swaying in each other sins

As I saw them…

..seeing themselves

As they felt…

The pleasure of Lust

With the Pain of Love

The three thawed


In their own thirsts

As I felt them..

…feeling themselves.

vaibhav- a good tight poem

Why kneel,

I asked myself,

Walking down an urban landscape


for my self,

Searching for myself.

I turn notice.

The world is kneeling,

Burdened by this weight



Certain demise

eludes the few

Craving for forced intellect.

Certain anger

Pervades the winds,

Those sorry winds

Of sorrow,


My thought's scream agony,

I wrench my heart,

Twist my lungs,


Throw away ecstasy.

Why feel

I ask myself,

Walking on in ignorant darkness,

Picking up bits,

Of my self,

Kicking at bits of myself.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

ashwin - Inside a womb

Inside a womb, my blanket

I re-arrange my reality,

I am blinded with clarity

That’s been hidden from me,

It’s close to me,

More distant every time.

Never mind,

It’s only my spotless frame of mind.

I count numbers

On my fingers

As our souls turn to stone,

And without even one nest

I cannot call this home.

Behind, beyond

The big bare wall

A twig breaks.

The silence of my steer

Into highways that intertwine….

Never mind,

Our world enters a darker light

Worker bees can leave

Drones fly away,

The queen is their slave

Never sing, never mind,

It’s only my spotless frame of mind.

roshan - perfecting his art

The dark is cold and near.

Much closer than I would have liked,

It leers at me through the window,

Through the frost-covered one,

And vein-like cracks appear in the air between

Me and the lonely dark.

The moon is no cure,

For the night’s death-like pallor,

Sometimes even adding to its death-like pallor,

And death is at home, everywhere in the dark.

And death is so close, anywhere in the dark.

You came to give me comfort,

And yet you lie there in someone else’s thoughts,

Writhing in pleasure, in somebody else’s thoughts.

Two feet away, yet in another’s thoughts.

And I extend my arm to touch your bare neck,

But to intrude into your thoughts would

Make me distraught.

The wind howls now, whistling in my


It whispers like it’s passed through hell.

I would if I could, to bleed your heart,

Lift up hell and push it into heaven.

And let you live in the space between,

Where no one can see good or bad,

But they will see more bad than good.

And there you will suffer,

As I have suffered here- flee-er of

Thoughts, digger of shame,

Making me fall into an unending pit,

That cannot be filled.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

pratap - work in progress

So It Seems

it’s a beautiful quiet day,

brilliant golden fireball,

breezy wisps of white

against the peaceful blue void,

radiant green trees,



all changing constantly,


as I silently change for them

with each step

I /they take.

They are each many

as I am;

a series of




surreptitiously shifting shape/s




fitting into

the contours of

theoretical impressions

in my mind.

So graceful,

we would

seemingly seem:(squared):less;

to each other.



units of existence

existing separately

of each other.


my II hand

perspective radar- ever searching

seems to

indicate otherwise.

I ask them-

Who are you?

They reply-

Who are they?

What are we?

Do we believe what you see?

Are we real because you (singular) sense?


Do you (plural) sense because we are real?

Are your senses real?

What is real?

What is what is?

? is ? ?

? ? ? ?

It’s a beautiful quiet day,


so it seems…

aditi - two more


An idle mind...

A wandering thought...

Reckoning about the lost days...

And a lost friend ...

Reminiscence brings up

The laughter... the smiles...

The silence and the pain

It's strange the way

Those moments have waned

A silent little wish

Still lingers alongside

That those times return

As a remembered friend

Remembers another in turn....


A small little thing

you do, generally

Didn't know it would mean

so much to me

A pattern of yours

became habit for me

Setting a pattern

to your change

now seems

difficult for me


is the fact

that this


shall soon be


but a memory

that I shall cherish

I know we walk

what'll turn out to be

a forked road

I'm afraid

To reach that


for this journey

might be,

our final destination


I'm hesitant

to take the next step

Would it be

Our last together?

Afraid to let go

Afraid to hold on


the familiar walks

I shall gather

those unknown moments

that quietly

slipped through,

turned into

a memory.

Habit now,

will be

a finger

looking for


with the other

caressing one.

Habit now,

shall be

Eyes I search:


and a mellow

long long road.

aditi - lost count

Reasons unclear.

Words unsaid.

Deeds that attract,

actions that repel.

Difficult to decipher

your intentions.

Harder, your thoughts

to comprehend.

vaibhav hits a home run

Each day passes,

the air decays with the sinful breath of man,


In newspapers

we stand

With a blank gaze at this rat's alley


No more tears, men have broken

my faith,

The night torments, I wake up full

of hate.

A bitter taste

In my throat,

Bitter thoughts

From my heart

Into my skull.

We broke these lights,

ran the show,

Scurried like mice,

Pouring into glasses

our fright.

Cling and clatter,

Curse and run.

You walk on through

The door,

Into one,

Out another

Never wondering,

Who’ll bother

With those shreds?

For glasses,

That you never saw,

crunch under your feet.

Gentle the rain falls,

Silent, as teardrops

Tormenting soft, dry


Dragging your guilt,

Frozen to a moment

You walk on,

search out,

a new place

to pitch camp

start anew


Roshan - another good long poem

The end of the night is near,

the sounds progress gently, lightly illuminating

sleepy eyes.

The rain is noisy outside, clattering against the walls.

Soon there would be more sounds, of


Food lies forgotten against hungry hands,

The rain continues and is immaterial to us.

Our fathers sleep peacefully,

Hands under their cheeks.

Returning from long journeys, has taken

Its deathly toll.

A siren distant in its intent, but proximal

In its distance wakes up the sympathetic moods

Of a few.

The world crashes against the shore,

A stone wades into its deep waters,

And calls softly to the wonders that

Lie in its ignorance- or so it thinks.

And the water marks it till there is no

Surface to mark, and then

It is complete.

Beauty and its deceit roam freely

Where the simple music of freedom plays,

A leaf, clean and brown falls,

Kicking up specks of dust, thudding to the base

Of a tree.

And all over again, I stand quietly.

On one tile.

Just one.

Attempting to be small, and smaller

And sometimes minute,

Hiding away, between my shoulder blades,

I squeeze, tighter.

I would like to disappear-

if only there was,

such a place.

And as the sun goes down, hiding another day,

The rest of the world sees slaughter in a garden

Of fake offspring and conditioned reflexes.

Murdered of many and consoler of some,

Take my hand and impart a few words of wisdom.

We look at him and he speaks no words.

Great men listen with intent at the

Sound of people singing a tuneless song,

The bells crack against each other

Showering the prayers beneath in a fit

Of ungainly chaos, the sun, today red

As always, goes down, with shame.

The mellow colours of a soft summer morning,

Are no balm.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Roshan - one more down

The path sliced curtly, through

A paradise of grass and man's waste,

Glimmering in the morning rain, unaware

If awake, of revolution.

The monkeys perched slightly, on a wall of stone,

reflecting their larger glorified selves,

with shining steel and no armour.

Food goes uncooked and hearts are heavy,

Hunger is universal, love is glory.

Between my words of stone and steel,

There lies no wisdom or cure for any.

Feed the dog, feed him well,

For he will be your bride in hell.

Every line ever spoken, is not a potion

For the fleeing of things unsaid.

Trees are breathing, breathing death.

Blaze of fire, beneath the flames,

Beneath the fire, there lies only shame.

And after the bath, men lie naked,

Gazing up at the ceiling of steam.

And after a bath the men lie naked,

Glistening, to the sound of bodies raped.

The young boy watches the world go by,

Seeing its birth in his pale brown eyes,

Stroking the green, dipping his clean hands,

Into an ocean of dirt and lies.

And in a single moment of time,

A single, capsule of mirth and rhyme,

He throws the ball into the air,

Extends his arms, and cups them there,

But the hollow globe of our life,

Doesn't fall back, doesn't return.

Everyday we look up, smiling,

(why do we smile all the time?)

Another day, fleeing our lives,

Stepping into the shadow of what we want.

Feeling around blindly,

Finding our way around the barren world.

I find nothing, my hands pass empty,

(Is there something?)

My hands are sore.

Tell me, does the sun bring

Something new, everyday?

It would please me if you say yes.

Come my lover, come my liege,

Come be near my artificial crust.

Don your clothes, wear them right,

For you will be judged on but one light.

The flakes of snow are heavy and frozen

But on your skin, they feel the cold.

You don the throne of ice,

Look around and spread your vice.

Would it hurt you if spoke no lies?

"Feel your lies in my demise-


You lift your finger in your kingdom,

Those that bow, require no pardon.

And speak such words that would wreck my heart,

If but it were made of iron not rust.

Come my lover, let us begin.

Come and peer into my heart's basin,

And glance towards the side where there are

No sins and lies but love and art.

And when you must, dip your hand within

And swirl it such that there can be no end.

Let it drain out.

And there, in your land,

You roam freely.

Without need or doubt to be informed.

Am I a hindrance to your elaborate plans?

Do I belong to your immaculate plans?

Your schemes will have me begging and fooled,

And I will live in this artificial world,

Until the day, you reveal them to me,

I will live in constant harmony.

For I cannot, even if I know,

That you belong to another's throes,

Live a day without you.

Aashim - Facade

These faces need to change,

this façade needs to end.

Drawn by my ignorance,

I stumble to defend.

Bewitched a little,

I start to fall,

mind first;

feeling appalled.

Questions tethered.

Answers too.

Uncertainty delivers

leaving voices blue.

Open to speak

A truth to tell

A game to play

A door to seek?

Out of this,

a memory burns.


yet I stall to turn.

Immature as I,

you fail to listen.

Screams prevail,

till parting backs glisten.

As façade’s fall,

I seem to feel

like a whirlwind

out of the storm.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Aashim - first one this time

A little bit of this


a little bit of that:

you get to see what you can't,

feel the Feel of this rant.

you feel the This and the That

and see the unity of this intricate mat

on which sit tiny little tit-bits

of elaborate wit....

while the mat waits,

for those and these

to sit and seize

the magic in its bait.

The auditory imagination - Shyamli's four poems for this time

I would like to preface these poems by saying that Shyamli has one of the finest ears I've come across in quite some time.


They walk amongst us,

though you see them not-

or just barely so.

Feeding and feeling

blindly about,

Stealing kisses under the mistletoe.

They’ve watched you


in your bath-

they snigger and leer

at your nakedness-

with nothing to hide,

and nowhere

to hide it.

Your porcelain mask

serves its purpose no more.

Even I,

see through the redundant shell-


it fails to lie

as it did before.

So, throw away

the silver-cuffs

and scatter

the shattered reflections


They’ve seen your wretched hate

and despair

and now know

there is nothing uglier

to be found.

Your foul fell stench

consumes their living breath.

Your expensive parfums

even more so.

And the scents so lavishly

lathered on….

don’t cleanse,

your sinful compromise.

Now burn that flimsy cloth

to its last bare thread,

it doesn’t disguise your

gaping scars.

E'en the courtroom filled

with cloaked gentlemen


about your

foolish pride.

and all your attempted altruistic delights.

How far will you run, woman?

In what darkness will you hide?

To conceal

what everyone already knows.

As I said once-

in me you should never confide.


SOUND the bells

and spread the dreary news.

The poet inside me

is now dead.

He either left

early this morn

or is hiding-

lurking in the dark

gallows of my mind.

I’m blind now

to the beautiful shimmers

or the spectrum

that I would so zestfully


No melody makes me pine

and grieve-

for lovers I so easily would leave.

No stones, no brooks

no carnal pain

leaves me now but in disdain.

So sound the bells

and raise the cry -

the poet inside of me is dead.

No longer is there

that tug inside,

that unexplained and childish hurt.

I’ve grown up!!

I’ve grown old.

Thus the poet inside

me won't wake up.

I fled- left him behind

for something that I thought shone

much more

My beauty,


became the only

things I owned.

I tried my best to be someone else,

now my life itself plays the temptress-

to everything mundane, ugly

and tasteless

it says, come, abuse me!!

abuse me!!

The poet inside

me is dead,

is dead, is dead, is dead, is dead.


Creeping slow-

it will rise.

Escalating every moment

of this sightless

skillful, sinful



in and out,

Of the madding crowd.

I stumble

Drunkenly away -

It clings on…


Coiling- snake-like,

Leaving me gasping

For a fresh draught of


This time, Jealousy…

Just a


of the poison.




The flight.

You wait for me.

Fluttering among the

Steel birds,

Your dress-


Like the sea breeze

you smell still -

I remember, still.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

August 25 - lesson notes

The students listened to and read the words of "In my craft or sullen art" by Dylan Thomas - his rendition of the same - and then watched Federico Fellini's Satyricon which is a free adaptation of Petronius's original Latin classic.
The afternoon started with a discussion on the film and then it made sense to the students as to how it was connected with poetry. The film is a poem. The students saw that it had an epic feel, was tragicomic, poetic, lyrical and in depicting three kinds of poets showed three lives and their end results in terms of poetry. The themes of the film were discussed. Impotence as a symbol for writer's block - compromise and its lack, the connection between sexuality, war, violence and art, writing and literature etc...
Deviance, gods, politics, society, decadence, experience, suffering, love, hate, life, death, anger, patriotism ,vengeance, lust, sex etc.,
were shown as some of the themes dealt with.
After this keeping Satyricon in mind and the poems written by the students themselves this time around they were taken through my handout on poetry so that the entire gamut of what great poetry consists of - a combination of form, content, structure, genre and style -with each of these five divided up into its further components - was explicated upon.
The section on deeper sources of poetic power was only listed out but will be dealt with in the coming classes along with learning objectives and goals.
The final project is becoming clearer - Roshan, Samia, Shyamli, Aditi, Vaibhav, Pratap, Roanna will make poetry books that are e-texts, handwritten or printed. The books must include images and text and - if possible, sounds/music/voices.
Prerna , Ashwin, Aashim will compile their poems and also do an audio-visual presentation along with Pratap and Roanna. the av presentation is a must for the first three because they haven't written too enough poems as of now, in the middle of the course.
Aashim will work on his fourth poem.
Pratap on his second poem.
Roanna on Kaleidoscope.
Ashwin on his first poem.
Prerna on Rabbit.
The others are also free to work on audio-visual stuff for at least one of their poems, if they want to.

You all need to read each other's poems and leave constructive comments and criticism on them , in the blog - this is a prerequisite for the course - apart from Pratap, I haven't seen anyone else really do it.
It's also a must to read all the poems put on the blog like Drunken Boat by Rimbaud etc.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sinister game

I apologize
my dear

My deepest regret
intended for you.

For I did
warn you.

I dreamt about you last night.
I heard myself scream.
I could alone -
bury them;

I would search
for a befittingly filthy -
cursed heap.

A burial
for them
in fact
would be obscene.

I apologize;

My friend
I did not train you
against them.

They tried to trap me
time and again

But I slipped-

I swung on that swing
that morning,
shuddering with outrage;

in front of all..

Hung them up
on their own crafty ropes,

but that would be a
heartbreakingly painless fall.

Embarrassment caught them,
froze their inhabited eyes;
not a Twitch dared.

They were cornered now.

The taunting grave
beneath which they could not pervade.

A wall of shame
which would never fade.

I assumed
they’d learnt
their lesson.

I thought,
they’d be ashamed enough.

But a sickness
such as this
can never be

A scar to mend.

A memory to burn.

For them it’s gratification -
A sinister game

For us now it’s a plague
we will obliterate.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

roshan's first long poem - under the aegis of Eliot's star

Evenings are the most graceful,

Unleashing sheets of speckled rain,

Washing away red mud.

Scurrying leaves, sprinkling water down,

Twisting the cold, brittle air, before arriving

To gently make ripples and

Little exploding crowns of water.

The people see it too, and stop

And smile.

And shake their heads slowly and smile again.

The second lasts only a second,

and their estimable lives continue.

The rain,

the rain falls more than slowly.

Life’s bitter end continues now,

An aftermath of decades of cruelty,

It came upon us, a red mist, over the forest,

Under the bridges, through the narrow alleys,

Until it reached a large, high wall where it waited.

Over the city, it spread now, and children blew

Yellow bubbles from their mouths,

Tugged at their parents' black robes

And asked them in shrill voices for more money.

The world buckles, and turns to man.

Half begging and a little green.

Artificial insemination doesn’t work in the brain.

A transient life form,

Grabbing at comfort, sees another of its kind,

Perceives irregularities in the physical,

Doesn’t sense the mental.

Immediately, after a wait of nearly a second,

It's utterly mystified creator, puts his head into

His hands and cries for years-

‘not again!’

Yet again and again, they throb to each other’s

Pulse and feel skin-deep.

And another one tomorrow.

And yet, comfort comes

And comfort goes,

Leaving nothing for the unfortunate.

Where they sell their souls for instant pleasures

Or bleed their brains for alcohol- there

seemingly exists no pain

And unending comfort.

But the barman knows the truth.

And so do the tramps who pick up the bottles

The very next, sunlit morning.

The sun excellently wipes out memories,

Masterfully erases artificial thoughts.

Clear and pure, its warm rays, glow and

Caress the cold flesh of waking zombies,

Until their inseparable thoughts become


The sun appears now, high above,

Carefully adjusting its angle,

Not wanting to sprout unnecessary joy.

For it too knows the cost of extra joy,

And no pain.

The people, like always, walk on.

Vaibhav's 2

1. Digging up dead habits

as I buried
one of my dead selves

he came to me and said
“of all who come to bury, you alone I like.”

My joy unbound
I asked him why

“the reason” said he
“some come weeping
some go weeping
you alone I’ve never seen cry.”

Walking down the hall
This evening,
I saw a girl sitting
On the tiled steps

At the entrance
Sitting between two men,

Pale, she looked on one side,

On the other, she was blushing.

Prerna - The Rabbit

Reaching the hill where the house was built,

Dipped in the fragrance of the love they felt

I was asked to fill the ruins with my self.

I sat in the middle

Of the house and the hill

Perched on the hollow

The piercing sun,


Falling deeper

In the dark mist

Blazes of lightning

Some gray, some dark- green

Embraced by the in - sight

Washing my in – sides

Falling deeper in – to

The spiral within my – self.

I saw someone scurrying by with a coat and a clock

Guess it was the rabbit

I was tracking,

With the sun above, the hollow within and the dead beneath


Roanna - deep in the poetry mine finally


The midday dreams glare

and you blink,

focusing on

a faraway picture


Faraway land.

The sounds Scream

into your reality


You care not

Finally finding the sense

in this



The signs call out,

And I succumb

To this seduction.

Melancholy draws, and

Like an addict,

I cut open

The wound,

For fear it may close

Once for all.

3.The tune

The tune dances

Over and over




And louder

Like voices repeating

Stale conversations-

Filling overflowing vessels

The drops keep falling.

Aashim - fragile nights

As fragile nights play

with gray streaks,

masters meet their game.

Silence, stellar, throned.

Whirlwinds away from destruction,

the two sit,
heady in their own

pools of melody.

They sit on wild stones

and yet they sit still.

They sit on innocent fears

and misread tears

hoping to catch a glance

of settled emotions.

Careless they sit.

Is this It?

It is This.

(pause) to appreciate

a source of light,

on this fragile nightc

Shyamli's first one this time - Sliver

Only a slight sliver

of something vile,


in every ungodly


of the still

unborn child.

It was almost beautiful.

A little,

f r a g i l e.

Undulated cadence

of something crimson,

something ripped...

Torn and


A flicker of eyelids.

Heaving breath

in the winter sun.



the ceiling fan,


to my lovely-

still praying.

A book,

filled with His words,

in her hands.

Gagged and bruised,

something blue.

something vast, laden.


Gently unfolding

stiffened fingers


My rising wrath.

I writhe,

for my something lovely,

something irked.


To Wake me,

Before singing me to sleep…


Roshan returns

You are far away and I can still feel your incessant cries,
Hear your name repeated many a time - like a prayer.

Why are they wailing?

All I see is your body, and I miss nothing.

You lie there quiet, lonely and beautiful, like always.
Eyes closed- even now you are watching something.
(You always saw something in nothing.)

The leaves around you pay their tribute- brown,
Falling from the tree.
Their shadows playing little games on your face -
Soon they will hide you- but they mean no harm.
You liked to play among them - now they play around you.

Soon, you will disappear- another cycle over.

But I will never heal.

Your words will always play in my heart,
Your whispers will gently coax me into living again;
But your touch -

I will never feel your skin against mine.

Samia - lyricism (2)

A leaf twirls down
avoiding the puddle beneath.

The morning, already wasted
before she even fell into her dreams.

The land ahead misty now;
the gift approaches.

Nothing more -
than a subtle hiss.

The smoke can’t get away.
Swelling upwards repeatedly,
beaten beneath.

Pigeons sit cuddled
to avoid the consequence.

The hiss gets louder -

The lovers lock their door.

No more shadows;
a cold floor.

Tiny blue schoolboys
splash this evening through.

Expanding goosebumps
rouse her crouched silhouette;
motionless -
beside the window.

Window-sill droplets
plunge hastily,
almost in unison -
into the clear abyss
so steep below.

He rides away from the storm,
taking the sun with him.

It’s getting dark and cold.
colder, still.

Sunny days don’t offer strength.

Thunder adds to the symphony.

She pulls the storm clouds over her.

Aditi - 3 ( Mother )


The mellow warmth
Slowly breezes
Over her oval face

Even chaos
Is forced to cease
When it sees her resting

The fatigue falls
takes a break
and exhaustion too
falls asleep

She’s up before daybreak
when you are still conversing
with your dreams

She softly calls
asking you to see
out of the clouds
the sun peeking

The sweet fragrance
of her wet hair
mixing with incense smoke
tickles your nose

The soft creases
around her eyes;
each says a story

A testimony to her life

Beads of perseverance
crown her head
celebrating her effort

The sinews
of her mind and body
strain and exert

with the rising glory
in the sky
surrounds her

That one rare occasion
you get to see her
in her afternoon siesta
just the way she finds you
each morning

it seems as if
everyone conspires -
sound reduces
to a mere whisper -

Every disturbance
remains as nothing
but an ephemeral wave
existing only to be ignored

The breezes
quietly hush
everything that’s around

As genesis
weaves a few dreams,
quietly sneaks in
a little sleep.

Samia's lyricism


A scarecrow.
on a lone mountain top.
Nothing to fret about,
nothing to state.
the breeze passing -
by and beneath.

A shell, on the
never-ending shore
With nothing to undergo
and nowhere to go.
Only to lie there -
float in and out
of the sea.

A seed -
on an old, old tree.
Nothing to hold on to-
fall free.
Grow all alone.
form myself again -
remaining free.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On the Circuit
by W. H. Auden

Among pelagian travelers,

Lost on their lewd conceited way

To Massachusetts, Michigan,

Miami or L.A.,

An airborne instrument I sit,

Predestined nightly to fulfill


Unfathomable will,

By whose election justified,

I bring my gospel of the Muse

To fundamentalists, to nuns,

to Gentiles and to Jews,

And daily, seven days a week,

Before a local sense has jelled,

From talking-site to talking-site

Am jet-or-prop-propelled.

Though warm my welcome everywhere,

I shift so frequently, so fast,

I cannot now say where I was

The evening before last,

Unless some singular event

Should intervene to save the place,

A truly asinine remark,

A soul-bewitching face,

Or blessed encounter, full of joy,

Unscheduled on the Giesen Plan,

With, here, an addict of Tolkien,

There, a Charles Williams fan.

Since Merit but a dunghill is,

I mount the rostrum unafraid:

Indeed, 'twere damnable to ask

If I am overpaid.

Spirit is willing to repeat

Without a qualm the same old talk,

But Flesh is homesick for our snug

Apartment in New York.

A sulky fifty-six, he finds

A change of mealtime utter hell,

Grown far too crotchety to like

A luxury hotel.

The Bible is a goodly book

I always can peruse with zest,

But really cannot say the same

For Hilton's Be My Guest.

Nor bear with equanimity

The radio in students' cars,

Muzak at breakfast, or--dear God!--

Girl-organists in bars.

Then, worst of all, the anxious thought,

Each time my plane begins to sink

And the No Smoking sign comes on:

What will there be to drink?

Is this my milieu where I must

How grahamgreeneish! How infra dig!

Snatch from the bottle in my bag

An analeptic swig?

Another morning comes: I see,

Dwindling below me on the plane,

The roofs of one more audience

I shall not see again.

God bless the lot of them, although

I don't remember which was which:

God bless the U.S.A., so large,

So friendly, and so rich.

the poems themselves

In My Craft or Sullen Art – Dylan Thomas

(The Poet Speaks on Poetry)

In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.
Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

Not Reading From A Chair

I don't want to read my poem sitting on a chair

For poetry belongs to a time before chairs

Before table cloths and tables, it was there

It should be easy, this poemmaking - just tear

The poem from the air, for it is there, always there

Breathed by the others who breathed before

In the time of whalesong and sea, river and night

Not the carpet under the fluorescent light

Is the space for poetry,

But the panthertrodden ground beneath the tree,

The space between foot and earth, the magnetic line

Between groin and ground,the marrowstuff of the spine

That is the space, the face beneath the mask beneath the face

That is the place, the time of leaf and stone

The time of wind and watersong

The voice in the desert singing to the burning bush

That is the time the space the place the voice

I want to speak my poem from.


Zephaniah – wrong Radio Station

My ears are battered and burned, and I have just learned, that I had been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

My mind has been brutalised, now the pain can't be disquised, I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

My future has been brighted, I am so short-sighted, I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

I was begining to not trust me, in fact, I wanted to arrest me, I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

I have been dancing to music that I can't stand, I have been reciting commercials to my girlfriends.

I have been trying to convince myself that what i really need is a Sunday, a morgage, and some hairspray.

The kind of hairspray that will wash my grey blues away. I have been trying to convince myself that,

I could ease my concience if i gave a few pents, or a few cents to a starving baby in Africa, because,

African babies need my favors, because Africa is full of Dictators, and ohhh yeaa..

Globalisation will bring Salvation, I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

I thought my neighbors formed an Axis of Evil, I wanna kill people, I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

I was sure I didn't inhale, so why is my mind going to hell?? I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

I was begining to believe that all Muslims were terrorists, and that Christian terrorists did not exist.

I really did believe that terrorism could not be done by Governments, not our Governments, not white Governments.

I just could not see what was wrong with me, I gave hungry people Hamburgers you see.

I was begining to believe that our children were better than their children, their children were dying of terrorism, but,

I could not hear their children at all, and a child from Palestine simply didn't count at all.

What dispair?, no children, I was not aware, I had been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

Everytime I got ill, I took the same little white pill, I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

When it started I was curious, but then it got serious. I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

It was cool when it begun, but now I hate Iran, and look at it now,

I wanna make friends with Pakistan, I wanna bomb Afghanistan, and I need someone to tell me..

"Where the hell is Kurdistan?!?!" Yeah, you can be my ally for awhile, until I come to bomb your child, and,

I'm sure there is a continent called the Middle-East, and I think I can bomb my way to peace.

I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

I've been listening to the wrong Jams, I've been listening to the wrong beats.

I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station, I've been listening to the wrong tones, from the wrong zones.

I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station, I've been listening to the wrong voices, I've made such mad choices.

I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station, I've been listening to lies, I've been listening to spies.

I needed to know what some Pop-Star somewhere was having for breakfast.

I needed to know that I was no longer.. "Working Class"

I needed to know if the stock market rose by one percent, I needed to know that I had a Ruler to give me confidence.

I needed to know that my life would improve loads, if i had an operation on my nose.

I needed to hear that DJ say.. "Good Morning, Good Morning!" I thought he was there just for me.

I loved the way he would say.. "This Show was sponsored by.."

"Oh my!, oh my!" he made me cry.. I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

Can you dig this?? I put myself on a Hit-List. I'm laughing, I'm crying, because I'm watching myself dying.

I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station.

The Middle Class Bengali Intellectual Makes Love to His Wife

From somewhere, afar off
The sound of Darbari comes wafting in,
Soaked by the rain, yet
Sombre and dignified
And mingles with our breath

From a recess in the wall,
Framed gods look upon our mortal love-
Do they frown? Are they taking
The measure of our sin? Or do they
Get hard-ons, thinking of framed goddesses
In their divine minds?

Of course, I know there are
No such things as gods but knowing
Is not quite enough. What if
They are there, sitting in judgement
A universe away?

Darbari swells in the night
Stray bits of Neruda flash by,
As I take your little finger and bite, not too hard
Imagining you to be a pale fruit of fire
That I unclasp from the tree of dawn.
See, Pablo? I can make metaphors too
And without private tutions from you;
Unlike that postman of yours.

You lie stretched, taut, still,
And I stop, my finger poised
Millimetres from your skin

Will the first brush of me
Break open each particle of you,
Convert you to white-hot wanting
Squaredvelocityoflight times greater
Than your fragile mass?

Darbari drifts in
Coated with dust from walls
That declaim: "Marxism is true
Because it is science."
And the truth of your erect nipples
Straining against your blouse?
Is that science too?

My tongue traces fractal shapes on your stomach
Creating and obliterating many histories
Each within the other, each like the other
And they pass into half-uttered ghosts
Of memory that find voice in your moans.

In after hours, there will be time for wistfulness
For each day is a graveyard of memories,
And when we've gathered all our graveyards,
In after hours, there will be time for silences.

But now you look at me and see

Hector before the gates of Troy;

Though your face might not launch any ships

In our dream-denuded days, and though

Hector's face has mutated for us

Into that of a Hollywood star's.

There will be a tomorrow of pots and pans
That the milkman and the paperman will bring
In the various sounds the city will make, as it awakes
There will be no music. I will walk
Into my office, a little exhausted,
Be greeted by knowing winks, and you into yours.

But now Darbari oozes
From the cold, silver body of the sarod
And you emerge from your chrysalis of cotton and synthetic,
Lambent witch!! The only adornment left on you
Is your red coral bangle
In deference to the framed gods.

Arka Mukhopadhyay

Poems studied in last class etc.


Arthur Rimbaud made his way through language like some crazed channeller of unseen forces. As a Symbolist poet, Rimbaud scrambled the senses and his prose, forging a synaesthetic wash of words sustained by their own momentum and internal sense. There is no clear form (he did not write sonnets); there’s no iambic pentameter; nor is there always clear meaning. Rimbaud anticipated the free-form poetry of the Beats and the odd juxtapositions of the Surrealists while embodying all the angst, suffering, and drama of the Romantic nineteenth century of which he was a part.

Rimbaud was schooled in Charleville, a town in northeastern France where his family lived in poverty (his father had abandoned them when Rimbaud was six). Rimbaud was presumably a brilliant and precocious young man, immersing himself in his studies to offset the pains of poverty. When the Franco-Prussian war broke out in July of 1870, Rimbaud ran away from home. For the next year, he lived a squalid existence (he seemed to thrive on suffering) and continued to read poetry, prose, philosophy, and the occult.

In 1871, he sent his poems to the poet Paul Verlaine, who invited the young Rimbaud to live with him in Paris. The two became lovers, off and on, for the next two years, moving to London once the French literati had had enough of their depravity. Their relationship was often tumultuous; Verlaine spent 18 months in prison for hitting Rimbaud, who showed a certain schadenfreude at the situation. Soon after their relationship dissolved, Rimbaud, not even 20 years old, gave up writing. And in truly odd, Romantic fashion, he became a trader and gunrunner in Africa. He died in Marseille on Nov. 10, 1891, following the amputation of his right leg.

In his brief tenure as a poet, Rimbaud transformed the face of writing, turning out a prodigious amount of tortured, passionate, and angst-riddled work, including "Illuminations," "Sonnet of Vowels," "The Drunken Boat," "Letters from the Seer," and his infamous "Season in Hell." His combination of bravado, intelligence, spirituality, sexuality, and psychedelia has acted as proclaimed inspiration to a whole generation of twentieth-century rock 'n' rollers -- Jim Morrison, Patty Smith, and Bob Dylan among them.

The Sleeper in the Valley : A Sonnet

(Le Dormeur du Val)

In a green hollow, where a river sings

Madly catching white tatters in the grass.

Where the sun on the proud mountain rings:

Is a little valley, foaming like light in a glass.

A conscript, open-mouthed, his bare head

And bare neck bathed in the cool blue cress,

Sleeps: stretched out, under the sky, on grass,

Pale where the light rains down on his green bed.

Feet in the yellow flags, he sleeps. Smiling

As a sick child might smile, he’s dozing.

Nature, rock him warmly: he is cold.

The scents no longer make his nostrils twitch:

He sleeps in the sunlight, one hand on his chest,

Tranquil. In his right side, there are two red holes.


As I was floating down unconcerned Rivers,

I no longer felt myself steered by the haulers:

gaudy Redskins had taken them for targets,

nailing them naked to coloured stakes.

I cared nothing for all my crews

carrying Flemish wheat or English cottons.

When, along with my haulers,

those uproars were done with,

the Rivers let me sail downstream where I pleased.

Into the ferocious tide-rips, last winter,

more absorbed than the minds of children, I ran!

And the unmoored Peninsulas never endured more triumphant clamourings.

The storm made bliss of my sea-borne awakenings.

Lighter than a cork, I danced on the waves

which men call eternal rollers of victims,

for ten nights, without once missing the foolish eye of the harbor lights!

Sweeter than the flesh of sour apples to children,

the green water penetrated my pinewood hull

and washed me clean of the bluish wine-stains and the splashes of vomit,

carring away both rudder and anchor.

And from that time on I bathed in the Poem of the Sea,

star-infused and churned into milk,

devouring the green azures;

where, entranced in pallid flotsam, a dreaming drowned man sometimes goes down;

where, suddenly dyeing the bluenesses-

deliriums and slow rhythms under the gleams of the daylight,

stronger than alcohol, vaster than music

-ferment the bitter rednesses of love!

I have come to know the skies splitting with lightnings,

and the waterspouts, and the breakers and currents;

I know the evening, and Dawn rising up like a flock of doves,

and sometimes I have seen what men have imagined they saw!

I have seen the low-hanging sun speckled with mystic horrors

lighting up long violet coagulations like the performers in antique dramas;

waves rolling back into the distances

their shiverings of venetian blinds!

I have dreamed of the green night of the dazzled snows,

the kiss rising slowly to the eyes of the seas,

the circulation of undreamed-of saps,

and the yellow-blue awakenings of singing phosphorus!

I have followed, for whole months on end,

the swells battering the reefs like hysterical herds of cows,

-never dreaming that the luminous feet of the Marys

could muzzle by force the snorting Oceans!

I have struck, do you realize, incredible Floridas,

where mingle with flowers the eyes of panthers in human skins!

Rainbows stretched like bridles

under the seas-horizon to glaucous herds!

I have seen the enormous swamps seething,

traps where a whole leviathan rots in the reeds!

Downfalls of waters in the midst of the calm,

and distances cataracting down into abysses!

Glaciers, suns of silver, waves of pearl,

skies of red-hot coals!

Hideous wrecks at the bottom of brown gulfs where the giant snakes, devoured by vermin,

fall from the twisted trees with black odours!

I should have liked to show to children those dolphins of the blue wave,

those golden, those singing fishes.-

Foam of flowers rocked my driftings,

and at times ineffable winds would lend me wings.

Sometimes, a martyr weary of poles and zones,

the sea whose sobs sweetened my rollings lifted my shadow-flowers

with their yellow sucking disks toward me,

and I hung there like a kneeling woman...

[I was] almost an island,

tossing on my beaches the brawls and droppings of pale-eyed, clamouring birds.

And I was scudding along when across my frayed cordage

drowned men sank backwards into sleep!...

But now I, a boat lost under the hair of coves

, hurled by the hurricane into the birdless ether;

I, whose wreck, dead-drunk and sodden with water,

neither Monitor nor Hanse ships would have fished up;

free, smoking, risen from violet fogs,

I who bored through the wall of the reddening sky

which bears a sweetmeat good poets find delicious:

lichens of sunlight [mixed] with azure snot;

who ran, speckled with lunula of electricity,

a crazy plank with black sea-horses for escort,

when Julys were crushing with cudgel blows

skies of ultramarine into burning funnels;

I who trembled to feel at fifty league's distance

the groans of Behemoth's rutting, and of the dense Maelstroms;

eternal spinner of blue immobilities,

I long for Europe with its age-old parapets!

I have seen archipelagos of stars!

and islands whose delirious skies are open to sailors:

-Do you sleep, are you exiled in those bottomless nights,

O million golden birds, Life Force of the future?

But, truly, I have wept too much! The Dawns are heartbreaking.

Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter:

sharp love has swollen me up with heady langours.

O let my keel split! O let me sink to the bottom!

If there is one water in Europe I want,

it is the black cold pool where into the scented twilight

a child squatting full of sadness launches a boat

as fragile as a butterfly in May.

I can no more, bathed in your langours,

O waves, sail in the wake of the carriers of cottons;

nor undergo the pride of the flags and pennants;

nor pull past the horrible eyes of the hulks.

Translation by Oliver Bernard

"Like city's rain, my heart . . ."

The rain falls gently on the town.
Arthur Rimbaud

Like city's rain, my heart
Rains teardrops too. What now,
This languorous ache, this smart
That pierces, wounds my heart?

Gentle, the sound of rain
Pattering roof and ground!
Ah, for the heart in pain,
Sweet is the sound of rain!

Tears rain-but who knows why?-
And fill my heartsick heart.
No faithless lover's lie? . . .
It mourns, and who knows why?

And nothing pains me so--
With neither love nor hate--
As simply not to know
Why my heart suffers so.

For Charles Baudelaire

I do not know you now, or like you, nor
Did I first know or like you, I admit.
It's not for me to furbish and restore
Your name: if I take up the cause for it,

It's that we both have known the exquisite
Joys of two feet together pressed: His, or
Our whores! He, nailed; they, swooning in love's fit,
Madly anointed, kissed, bowed down before!

You fell, you prayed. And so did I, like all
Those souls whom thirst and hunger, yearningly,
Shining with hope, urged on to Calvary!

--Calvary, righteous, where--here, there--our fall,
In art-contorted doubts, weeps its chagrin.
A simple death, eh? We, brothers in sin.



A term used by the Russian Formalist Viktor Shklovsky to describe the capacity of art to counter the deadening effect of habit and convention by investing the familiar with strangeness and thereby de-automatizing perception. Defamiliarization is not simply a question of perception; it is the essence of "literariness." Calling attention to its techniques and conventions ("baring the device"), literature exposes its autonomy and artificiality by foregrounding and defamiliarizing its devices.

A Martian Sends A Postcard Home

Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings
and some are treasured for their markings -
they cause the eyes to melt
or the body to shriek without pain.
I have never seen one fly, but
sometimes they perch on the hand.
Mist is when the sky is tired of flight
and rests its soft machine on ground:
then the world is dim and bookish
like engravings under tissue paper.
Rain is when the earth is television.
It has the property of making colours darker.
Model T is a room with the lock inside -
a key is turned to free the world
for movement, so quick there is a film
to watch for anything missed.
But time is tied to the wrist
or kept in a box, ticking with impatience.
In homes, a haunted apparatus sleeps,
that snores when you pick it up.
If the ghost cries, they carry it
to their lips and soothe it to sleep
with sounds. And yet they wake it up
deliberately, by tickling with a finger.
Only the young are allowed to suffer
openly. Adults go to a punishment room
with water but nothing to eat.
They lock the door and suffer the noises
alone. No one is exempt
and everyone's pain has a different smell.
At night when all the colours die,
they hide in pairs
and read about themselves -
in colour, with their eyelids shut.
n       Craig Raine


by Willie van Peer & Frank Hakemulder

(published in In The Pergamon Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguisitics, ed. Keith Brown. Oxford: Elsevier, 2006, vol. 4, pp. 546-551.)

What literature is, how it works, and why it is there at all, are some of the fascinating questions that the theory of 'foregrounding' tries to provide answers to. The term refers to specific linguistic devices, i.e., deviation and parallelism, that are used in literary texts in a functional and condensed way. These devices enhance the meaning potential of the text, while also providing the reader with the possibility of aesthetic experience. According to the theory of foregrounding, literature - by employing unusual forms of language - breaks up the reader's routine behavior: commonplace views and perspectives are replaced by new and surprising insights and sensations. In this way literature keeps or makes individuals aware of their automatized actions and preconceptions. It thus contributes to general creativity and development in societies. The theory of foregrounding is also one of the few literary theories which has been tested empirically for its validity.


may i feel said he

   may i feel said he
   (i'll squeal said she
   just once said he)
   it's fun said she
   (may i touch said he
   how much said she
   a lot said he)
   why not said she
   (let's go said he
   not too far said she
   what's too far said he
   where you are said she)
   may i stay said he
   (which way said she
   like this said he
   if you kiss said she
   may i move said he
   is it love said she)
   if you're willing said he
   (but you're killing said she
e.e.cummings (punctuation, spacing, capitalization – unconventional – graphological deviation/ foregrounding - capturing the attention of the reader through these )