Monday, January 1, 2018




Jumps in mind flash, miracle or everyday?
time-place no connect:
a child becomes brother, little
and rooftop becomes ghat,
incense sticks throw me back
to that long past room with that old suitcase,
smallattar vials, comic book on the war and the allies
I’m an exile from my time not place.

My transports, jumps, whatever they are
Are not at will. I could not make it work today.

I’m no magician.
I was there, but the trigger was not.
Then, I saw a little frog, a squished slug
and a flattened earthworm, and all came back.

The old house, water logged, with snails filling
the monsoon floor, the garden
and house blooming little frogs leaping around,
the big earthworms that come out
when the garden is water logged,
or when we dig them out.


The air I breathe in, and space in all
Its dimensions; my waking thoughts
And dreams, you.

My fear of losing and continue living,
Day after day, year after year,
Not even shedding a single tear;
For that’s what I know I am –
Frightens me, it frightens me.

The question resurfaced.
From the depths of past, it came;
But it hadn’t gone anywhere.
My weakness that lay crouching
Pounced upon its prey at the
Moment of helpless vulnerability.

I wasn’t so weak before now.
I, who scoffed at those who
Allowed themselves to be drowned
By the emotion called love.

But now, going on the knees, for
One moment; leaving the guarded
Sophistry, my second nature;
I feel like begging; from a person
As powerless as I, to become
The air I breathe in, and congeal
Time right there, so that I don’t
Breathe out the air, conversely,
The air stays inside forever,
Killing me in the process,
Yet not leaving my body.

The question of intense passions
That make it easier to die for
A cause.You.

I’m not sure yet, for I love to live.
To live with you, how fulfilling,
And happy a state it would be!
Why do I feel I’ve sinned,
Against my own self, in not
Changing at all, even post-love?

Still loathe and avoid death.
Death, the recurrent theme,
Now intertwined with another,

You overpower death, or, let me
Rephrase, fear to fear, losing you,
As a possibility, so engrossed me
That I forgot death for a while.
And now, I have you and death
In front of me. My thoughts run.
They run to hide in your protective lap.
To lie there, to sleep, fearless.
for death can’t reach there, you’ve told me
With your reassuring eyes. You’ve told me
That the fear of loss – of life, of love; is true.
But asked me to rest while you make
A womb like cover, round my
Psyche. Saving me from this ruthless
World, where I’ve walked, throat
Dry, ever on the move, always
With the fear that one sign,
Of weakness, and they’ll tear me
Apart and feed upon my corpse.
I hardened the cyst but the soft
Core of weakness, of truth; remained.


Sunday evening is worse than Monday morning,
The fear of death, says Sir Francis, is worse than death.
A sickly feeling rises and churns in my stomach,
even now, after I’ve lived through such seven hundred
and seventy non-workingSundays. It’s the same every time.
It starts rising from Saturday. In the morning
a panic reminder rings, a tightening in intestines.
Saturday evening warns me that the next
will be the last before death comes again.


The moving hares have gone. The parched grey ground is dried of them, my talons clutch cracked bark. I cry shrill and low.
The small grey doves too, are gone, all gone. The cruel sun and the ugly sky, they smile today.
They smile for I search for food I can’t find, and I’m the one:  the lord of the sky above, the god of the earth below.

Enraged eyes range the ground beneath, the sky above, ahead. Now this, my home, is dead for me. Friends I had none, have none, won’t have, yet can’t forget my kind is gone, all gone, but me.
No, I won’t die, for I’m the one: the lord of the sky above, the god of the earth below.

It shines, my beak, it lusts for flesh. My talons glisten, they thirst for blood. I can’t stay still. Yes, I must kill.
If not to feed, then just to kill, or else, I die while the sun smirks and the sky cackles.
How can I die so young, I, who they called the lord of the sky above, the god of the earth below?

My lazy wings stay folded long. Once spread they hide the smiling sun. My talons clutch no bark; cut through the sky.
I fly and search. No, close to ground won’t help. Rise I must, and cut through the sky, up where eyes can’t see, then dive.
Or, do nothing I said, I don’t need to, for I’m the god of the earth below, the lord of the sky above.

At last, I see lambs, three small, one big. I choose the one that nibbles alone. My glistening beak and shining talons laugh at the sky, deride the earth.
I go close, so close, I see the white of the big one’s eyes. One bleating sound and two run back but not the one I singled out.
It’s slow. My eyes are fixed on it - the offering for the lord of the sky above, the god of the earth below.

My talons, glistening red, clutch it. My shining beak plucks clean one side. The little one is slow no more. It runs, but not away from me. I ride.
Its neck not near, I tear away the flesh from the side. Mistake in haste: its blood covers my eyes. Can’t see a thing yet work as well.
I know how it ends for it, for me. You know that too for I am the lord of the sky above, the god of the earth below.


“Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.”
Says Chomsky, is right in a way yet wrong.

Colorless crimson clouds move still
under the dark light of liquid gold.

Endless short moments live fatally
until their end begins to burn cold.

Until the beginning ends turning inward
Spineless straight frames live deathly.

Under the limpid night’s dark light
Sightless staring eyes see blindly.


RAJNISH MISHRA is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India and now in exile. His work originates at the point of intersection between his psyche and his city. His work has now started appearing in journals and websites.

1 comment :

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