Vijay Nair


Others before me
have offered a poet's soul
lurking beneath clever phrases
twisted only to add dimensions;

I know of only one
all my seekings like
grey pavements will begin
where they end...

Only a puerile nescience
will mark my words
though yellowed pages
will testify to my search.


Chrysalis -
is morning dewdrops
deposited on half wilted
mango leaves

autumn stench,
a rose with three
of its petals missing

tomorrow will obliviate
moods of despair,
schizoid longings
dissapear into a
cloud of cigarette smoke;

with fortitude
skilled fingers racing across
a weary sitar;
lacklustre witticisms
cracked in the long hours
of undulating boredom;

time's silhoutte stands still
the profile untainted
if objects of veneration
remain unchanged
woods shall not help anymore

morning dewdrops
on half wilted mango leaves
is chrysalis...


Summer nights,
mother's gentle drone
like rumpletile skin
spun a thousand yarns
not gold,
but blood and life
flowed through them...

about how, youngest uncle
aged eleven in insane
bouts of frenzy would yell
at grandmother: "I will
quarter you into a thousand pieces"
and how when the wheel turned a full circle
grandmother half insane yelling abuses
(Menopause brought it on
it happens to some women"
mother would explain
when we could understand)

Mother living miles away
could only read about it
from my aunt's letter.

And gradually the shadows lengthened
of the courtyard trees
mingled with family anecdotes
and sleep gradually overtook us

the last impression--mother's stark
eyes looking into the
distant past with untold
vignettes that were best
left unsaid...

The Lost Legacy

Do you know:
The last time I was home
amidst the green of the coconut palms
i was too young to understand
the wail of my grandmother's death
which travelled the long corridors
and died down to a quiet whimper
one corner of the backyard...

Days later,
when the last of my grandfather
had been offered to the ganges
the front porch where once old man
in the languid glow of an orange twilight
gave wages to the field hands
was set ablaze by voices, petty
quarrels I couldn't fathom then...

The house
was lost then together with the well
that went plop at every pebble
ripping its stillness and my
only birthright lay buried beneath a
pile of signatures and legalities
strange footsteps pattered the staircase
and from the windows strange
eyes peered out...

A decade later,
I lie awake at night and think
of taking you to the house that
was once mine but now lies
beyond the synthetic magic of words
fuller than the deft strokes
of an artist's hands...


still it could
have been longer
the long walk

we could have paused
and held the clouds
in our arms

still it could
have been longer

the mist from the windows
that settled in your eyes
and thawed something
within my soul.


if you had
told me
i would have known

like the brightest star
we saw on clear nights
you gave it a name
i don't remember now.

if you had
told me
i would have known
pain such as this
is not mere words.


Do swallows talk?
They have something
to do with summer
but do they talk?

The sea-- why
does it roar
in the stillness of night
after braving the sun all day?

every year when
they offer the goddess
to the river
does she smile
and bless us all?

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