Monday, July 1, 2019



“Poetry is what gets lost in translation.”
Robert Frost

Once upon a time, a king was returning to his kingdom after conquering a foreign land. Exhausted by his long journey he decided to rest under a tree. Suddenly, a bird sitting on the tree started singing. The king found this very soothing and he was greatly pleased. The king ordered his minister to catch the bird and take it with them to their own land, so that he could listen to this wonderful music every day. The minister told him, that the bird will not sing inside any cage. The king replied, he would free the bird in his own garden where it could sing freely. The minister then told his king the bird would only sing sitting on certain trees, and these trees were not available in their land. Promptly, the king ordered his minister to uproot the tree also and take it with them. Again the minister told the king, that for the tree to survive, they would have to take with them, the soil as well as the climatic conditions of that particular foreign land.

Yes, one can say the same regarding translating a poem into a foreign language. One of the most important issues of literature or poetry is the importance of translation in poetry, as well as the role of the professional translators in literary world. Our literary world is actually divided into so many language communities. Most of us don’t know any language other than our own. Yet many of us would like to read poems of other languages as well. So we wish to read poetry of other languages in translations So the role of the translators is very important in world literature as well.

Is it not a tough task to translate a poem? Translating stories or essays is quite different from translating poems. Poetry is one of the most delicate forms of art. Every poem has an unique soul of its own. As a reader you’ll find a definite character in each poem you read. The very essence of any poem must be so subtly and deeply rooted in its own language, that it is really an impossible task to translate that subtle essence in another language, or any other form. Even if one wants to achieve this extremely difficult mission, he or she should be a master in both the languages, as well as should be well acquainted with the literary customs of both the language communities. And this is not an easy task.

To translate a poem in any other language, one needs to find the soul of the poem. Then you have to draw the subtle essence of the poem in your own realization. Otherwise it would not be possible for anyone to go forward with translation. Next a translator has to formulate a sketch through which he or she can transport that subtle essence of the poem in another language. And again you have to transport it in such a manner, that the soul of the poem will remain intact even in the foreign language. Otherwise the readers of that particular language would never feel the pulse of the poem.

With this process of translations actually you have to transcend the language barriers of both the languages. This is the most delicate phase of a translation. You are working with a language, yet going beyond the language; otherwise your translation wouldn’t get the lifeline to survive in the foreign language and in an alien environment. Actually this will be a rebirth of the original poem.

Personally, I do believe writing poetry is much easier than doing the translations. This may be the reason why we don’t have many translators around. 

In our monthly editions we publish lot of poems in English translations, sometimes along with their original versions. But it is really difficult to say all the translations are good enough to portrait the original poetry in its real essence. Yet, we have focused on this particular area only to present literature of different languages and cultures to our readers around the world, so that; they may evaluate it on a comparative basis. We believe it would pave the way of cultural exchange among different literary traditions and heritages. We think as an international web journal it is our primary responsibility.

Our Poetry Archive is pleased to publish it’s July edition with hundreds of poems of fifty one poets around the world. We are also pleased to publish an exclusive interview of Dalip Khetarpal, the poet of the month. We hope our readers will also find this issue worth reading with utmost pleasure. Thank you all.
From The Editorial Desk



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JULY 2019

ALICJA KUBERSKA: What does poetry mean to you?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Poetry, which is one of the earliest artistic creations of the human mind, means a lot to me. Poetry is surely an enhanced and emotionally charged form of ordinary speech, though imagination is the main source where from it springs. Governed by imagination, poetry is infused with intense feelings, emotions and ideas that are expressed spontaneously in a distinctive style often characterized by symbols, images, metaphors, similes rhyme, meter and other literary devices. However, doing away with rhyme and metre, blank or free verse has become the choice of many poets these days. Poetry assumes great meaning because it makes an immediate appeal to the emotions or soul of the readers or audience. It also assumes wider meaning in the sense that it is both pleasure-giving and psychologically and morally elevating. It’s meaningful role also lies not only in delight or instruction but also in transporting--its capacity to move the reader to ecstasy, to transport him to the other better world.

ALICJA KUBERSKA: What’s according to you is the meaning of poetry in the contemporary world?

DALIP KHETARPAL: In the contemporary world of science and technology the meaning of poetry, I’m sure, has not changed, but it has definitely lost its sheen and its importance to a certain extent owing to its lack of practical utility. I find that this world craves for money, hankers after it lifelong, but finds that poetry cannot be the means to fulfill this desire. Unless one is an established poet, poetry for most poets can only be a passion, not profession. However, like me, this world also, heart of hearts, recognizes the meaningfulness and benign role poetry plays. Here, my views coincide with those of Aristotle who thinks that poetry acquires great meaning in a sense that the emotions that are aroused by it enable the audience to undergo cathartic experience i.e. purging unpleasant feelings from the soul. In the medical language it signifies the removal of a painful or disturbing element from the organism; elimination of any unwanted alien matter leads to the purification of soul and refining of our passions and emotions. So, the meaning and emotional appeal of poetry is health-giving and also aesthetically and morally satisfying. Through poetry, the poet reveals the truths of a permanent and universal kind. A poet participates in the eternal; the infinite. While history narrates what has happened, poetry, what may happen. Poetry, therefore, is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history for it tends to express the universal, while history, the particular. Its immediate function is to please, delight and transport. To instruct cannot be denied if it is incidental to the pleasure it gives. Further, poetry does not only present life as it is, but by adding something to it, also enriches it. It is ‘the power of forming, sustaining and delighting us as nothing else can.’ Hence, poetry has acquired a concrete and potential meaning, not only in this contemporary age but in all ages.   

ALICJA KUBERSKA:  Can you describe your creative process while writing a new poem?

DALIP KHETARPAL:  An idea to create can occur any time; there is no precise moment for it. A new idea first lands on my mind from some unexpected source which could be a leaf drenched in rains, a quaint or ugly face seen on the road, in the bus, train or plane, some interesting, exciting or mysterious news or any weird incident or experience and the like. This idea then after occupying its space in my mind begins to grow silently, imperceptibly till it develops into such a mass that it begins to exert pressure, clamouring and struggling to be let out and finally, spills out abruptly over a white clean sheet. As I start writing, the idea chosen continues to grow and grow until it reaches its final maturity, so the conclusion was no problem for me. But then before sending the whole stuff to the press for publishing, this spontaneous overflow of powerful, irrepressible psychological ideas and feelings are trimmed, disciplined, shaped, revised and edited at least three or four times with my critical sense so that they finally get crystallized into a definite and exquisite piece of art. This very creative process is felt by me whenever I sit to write a new poem. Writing poetry especially has a therapeutic effect on me as its process helps clear all trash from my mind and eliminate some unhealthy feelings and emotions. With a clear head, wholesome vision and vibrant imagination and emotions, I easily and clearly write whatever comes to my mind in the best possible words so that the ideas, feelings or events described carry weight, meaning and are readable. Good poetry is basically best thought, best word, in the best order.            

ALICJA KUBERSKA:  Did it happen to you that a poem was just your dream?

DALIP KHETARPAL: An idea occurs all of a sudden and later I feel a gush of emotion that demands urgent vent, leading finally to creation. At times, I feel that whatever is created is something beyond my expectation, my capacity to create. So, all this makes me feel that the creation and its entire process is just a dream.   

ALICJA KUBERSKA: Tell us about your inspiration. What’re the most important subjects to you?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Any scene, any object, any dialogue, any poem, any philosophy, principles of psychology including abnormal psychology, historical events or even some trash or something worthless could be the basis of my subject as they engender some novel thought in me and naturally impel me to poeticize it. Everything is a source wherefrom my poems are generated.

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Which were the emotions that inspired your first verses?

DALIP KHETARPAL: The bleak social scenario accompanied by my own anguish and an air of gloom and despondency that settled over me assumed some form of emotion that initially inspired my first verses.

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Was your aspiration to become a poet or did all happen by chance?

DALIP KHETARPAL: It all happened by chance.

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Who is the first person you read your poems to and why?

DALIP KHETARPAL: To my ex-professors of English literature and few litterateurs and poets.

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Have you published any poetic anthology, if so what did you feel the first time you got it in your hands?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Till now I’ve published only six anthologies (of poems) and the seventh is in the offing. Most of my time is spent on editing, writing criticisms, reviews, appraisals and social service. I was elated when the first published anthology came in my hands.

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Who are the poets you prefer reading? Do you get inspiration from them?

DALIP KHETARPAL: I prefer reading romantic poets like John Keats, P B Shelley, William Blake, S T Coleridge and modern poets like TS Eliot, WB Yeats, Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound, Dr Yayati Madan Gandhi, Dr Maria Miraglia, Jen Walls, PCK Prem and Dr OP Arora. Though I feel inspired by the romantic and some modern poets, their traits are reflected only peripherally in my poems which scarcely reveal their influence. I’m only inspired by my own original thoughts, philosophy and everything I experience, feel and observe in life. I’ve my own opinion on everything in life.

APRILIA ZANK:  How important is accessibility of meaning to you? Do you challenge the readers to work hard to decipher your poems, or do you prefer transparency of meaning?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Accessibility appears very meaningful to me only initially, for later when I start writing, my thoughts are given the first preference and the word ‘accessibility’ gets lost in oblivion. It would be a gimmick if I challenge my readers to work hard to decipher my poems. So, honestly speaking, without keeping into account the tastes or likes of readers, I go on writing spontaneously. Keeping the interest of readers in mind while writing would make my writing ostensible and unnatural. But then after assessing what I’ve written, I find that it is transparent and though avant-garde in style and content, it approximates to the tastes of serious and meaningful readers’ --- lexically, ideologically, psychologically and even philosophically as the thoughts presented are universal and appeal to all common men and are also very much within their comprehension.

APRILIA ZANK:  What kind of poems do you write mostly? Do you have recurring themes, or are all your poems unique?

DALIP KHETARPAL: I tried to pioneer a new genre in poetry writing and I think I’m one of the first Indian English poets who for the first time successfully synthesized and poeticized almost all branches of sciences including medical sciences, psychiatry, abnormal psychology and parapsychology and integrated them into my poetry. My poetry, thus marks a dramatic change in the literary history being a novel attempt to solve the most central problems of aesthetics comprehensively by examining them carefully and systematically on the basis of science, psychiatry and psychology. Veering away thus, from the type of poetry we witness today, I pioneered my own psychological poetry. My highlights are mainly related to the sub-conscious and unconscious mind. Though I know that laying bare subconscious and unconscious thoughts could be unacceptable, even dangerous, I still go in for it, but in a refined and elegant manner. I know that it is in one’s sub-consciousness that the truth of man lies—my aim being to reveal the ultimate truth hidden in the psyche of man. My themes do not recur. If they recur it is only incidental or inadvertent, but one must agree that every writer has a vision and because of that vision and certain personal beliefs, some key ideas may reflect in different poems in distinct ways. But this should not be interpreted as overlapping of themes. Viewed thus, my poems appear unique. 

APRILIA ZANK:  Do you think your poetry is typically feminine / masculine? If yes, in what way?

DALIP KHETARPAL: I’m yet to appraise whether my poetry is masculine or feminine as I don’t write with preconceived ideas or notions. However, in general, I’ve always considered females superior to males in many ways. On the whole, I can conveniently say that my poetry powerfully resonates with the readers of both sexes.

APRILIA ZANK:  Do you write mostly about yourself, or do you also have an open eye/ear for the issues of the world?

DALIP KHETARPAL: I live in this world and so is an indispensable part of it my eyes and ears are always open to the vital issues of the world. Sometimes, I write about what I observe in this world and sometimes about my personal feelings and experiences—depends on what occurs naturally to me at a specific point of time.

APRILIA ZANK:  In what way is your poetry different from that of other poets?

DALIP KHETARPAL: My poetry is basically psychological in nature. Unlike most contemporary poets, my highlights are mainly themes related to unconscious and sub-conscious thoughts that are often conventionally unacceptable because of their bohemian nature. Still, I go in for them, but in a refined and cultured manner, for I know that it is in one’s sub-consciousness that the truth of man lies—my aim being to reveal the ultimate latent truth of human psyche.

LEYLA IŞIK:  What are the main factors to make poetry real poetry?

DALIP KHETARPAL: True emotion and honest expression without caring for the audience’s likes or dislikes or saleability of the anthology in the market are factors that make real poetry. I feel that the greatest poetry is still out of the view of this world. Great poets writing in obscurity today are still oblivious to the world.

LEYLA IŞIK:  Do you think imagery is important in poetry? Where does the importance of imagery begin in a poem, where does it end?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Though imagery enriches the poem and adds beauty to it, it is not indispensable in poetry as there are poems which are philosophical, psychological, moral, metaphysical and religious that are denuded of images. Earlier, history, religion, magic, law, metaphysical speculations of the Aryan race and even Egyptian astronomy and cosmogony which were rhythmical, metrical and poetic in form, were almost devoid of imagery. A very powerful, strong and expressive language has to be employed for the sustenance of a poem if the imagery is to be put in abeyance. A poet sometimes imagines a suitable word that could convey the essence of his feelings or ideas and when he feels that words chosen or imagined fail to express his idea or feeling effectively and appropriately, he goes in for suitable images for the sustenance of his poem. So, he uses images as mental snapshots that appeal to the readers’ senses to reinforce the power and effect of his feeling, idea and theme till the end of the poem, thereby making it also appear well-knit. It cannot be denied that imagery embellishes and enriches the poem. Its main importance is that it stimulates imagination and creates vivid pictures in the reader’s mind and inspires them to enjoy sensory experience—sight, sound, taste, touch and smell till the poem finishes. Imagery starts playing its role when the poet wants to help his message get across in an expression that is vivid, telling and visual. If it is subtly used, it helps the reader to create a picture of his own in his mind. An image also facilitates the readers’ understanding of the crux or spirit of the poem. One can say that imagery is a sort of compressed language like simile, metaphor, personification, oxymoron, paradox, pun, etc.  A scene tellingly and vividly described with apt images can be unbelievably more lively and thought-provoking than its actual photograph.      

LEYLA IŞIK:  What are the most used types of poetry in your country?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Mostly, poetry in India is written in free verse or blank verse, though few poets write sonnet, limerick, haiku and haibun. Themes are on personal frustrations, fulfilled or unfulfilled love and on moral and socio-political evils.

LEYLA IŞIK:  What’s important to be a good poet? To write good poems!

DALIP KHETARPAL: It’s important to be original, spontaneous, honest, straightforward, gutsy and sensitive. It’s also important to wield some amount of imagination, powerful and intense feelings and emotions with some mastery over the chosen language to be a good poet and write good poems.

LEYLA IŞIK:     Who are the most important poets and their main properties nowadays?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Romantic poets like John Keats, P B Shelley, William Blake, S T Coleridge are still read today with great interest and fervor. We have many modern poets, but according to me some poets like T S Eliot, W B Yeats, Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, Dr Yayati Madan Gandhi, Dr Maria Miraglia, Jen Walls, PCK Prem and Dr O P Arora and Hulya n. Yilmaz and few more are really important and hold the sway today in the current literary world. As a reaction against Neoclassicism, I feel that Romantic poets are important because of  their fascinating properties and modern appeal. I’m somewhat attracted and inspired by romantic poets because they were known for their strong senses, emotions and feelings, the awe of nature, celebration of the individual, liberal self-expression, love of liberty and freedom, subjectivity, escape to the beauties of middle ages, supernaturalism, capacity for wonder, reverence for the freshness and innocence of childhood, simplicity in style, interest in rural life, presentation of common life and emphasis on importance and truth of imagination, rather than scientific truth. The intellectual urbanites of today have reverted their interest and taste to these romantic traits at least in India Modern poets are also important, but in a different way. These poets inspire me by their stylistic experimentation and disruptive syntax, stream of consciousness technique, theme of alienation, freedom to experiment with new hybrid structures, free verse, ambiguity of ideas, reaction against formalism and established religious and socio-political views, focus on disordered life, symbolism, objectivism, psychological appeal, clarity and economy of language and imagism which combined the creation of an ‘image’ that is defined as ‘an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time’ or an ‘interpretative metaphor’. The mysticism of Blake and Dr Madan Gandhi also makes an interesting read.  A modern poem often ends by asserting that a poem is nothing, but ‘an act of the mind’ is quite true, psychologically.    

DEBORAH  BROOKS  LANGFORD:  Understanding poetry begins with visualizing the central images in the poem. What do you see, taste, smell, hear, and feel? What is the imagery of your poetry?

DALIP KHETARPAL: True that understanding poetry begins with visualizing the central images embedded in the poem. But the way one visualizes images is personal. So, one just cannot generalize what he visualizes. The way, what I see, taste, smell, hear and feel depends on the tangible or tactile quality of poetry. If I find the poetry picturesque and sensuous enough with vivid feelings and emotions of the poet, I do drown myself into it and palpably see, taste, smell, hear and feel it intensely. The imagery of my poetry depends on its theme. If I write about nature, images like sun, moon, stars, seas etc. are used, but if it is about human nature and its concomitant failings, various terms of psychology and even psychiatry are used. These are not actually images, but terms like ego, Id (Psychoan), super-ego, psycho-somatic, aetiology, prognosis, aphasia, autism, pathological fallacy, Pollyanna, dysphoria, sociosis, etc, etc. But when these are used figuratively or metaphorically, they create a particular mental picture which becomes an image itself. It may sound abstract, but a reader with a powerful imagination visualizes such self-made images in his own individual way. Rest, many more things are left to the readers’ imagination.                                                     

DEBORAH  BROOKS  LANGFORD:  What is the mood of your poetry? (Or How does it make you feel?)

DALIP KHETARPAL: The mood of my poetry depends on its theme. If the mood is melancholic or gloomy, it still makes me feel pleasant because I’m content with capturing that mood honestly, truthfully and delineated it with the same fervour, honesty and truthfulness. With an attitude as such, if the mood of a certain poem is cheerful and stimulating, I still have the same pleasant feeling, simply because of realistic presentation though imaginative and emotional colouring cannot be ruled out.

DEBORAH  BROOKS  LANGFORD:  In your poetry who is the speaker of the poem? Are you speaking to yourself or to others?

DALIP KHETARPAL: I speak to others, but first subconsciously, to myself also.

DEBORAH  BROOKS  LANGFORD:  What is the message of your poetry?  What messages do your poetry convey?

DALIP KHETARPAL: As I’m not a preacher, I don’t intend to convey any specific message through my poetry, though readers deduce that I’ve some message to convey and I also often discover this at some later stage. When I criticize social ills, violence, inhuman activities and various deficiencies and aberrations in the history of humanity, some positive and wholesome messages motivating and encouraging our sense of humanity, love, kindness, gratitude, sincerity, justice, truthfulness, sympathy, empathy, compassion, moral values, virtues, etc., automatically flow from my poetry.

DEBORAH  BROOKS  LANGFORD:   Does the internet and social media contribute to the success of your poetry? Is this the reason you write for?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Internet is one of the most effective and powerful tools of communication in the world. Sans internet no writing work of any writer is conceivable as all writers thrive on it to facilitate and accelerate their correspondences. Likewise, social media has a very crucial role to play these days as it assists its users to connect and share information with friends, relatives and writers. It also helps in shaping public opinion on one’s novel ideas or creations. Social media thus helps not only to carry my poetry and criticisms to the doorstep of writers but also builds relationships and establishes communication with potential poets and writers. Doubtless, such factors vitally contribute not only to the success of my poetry but also to the poetry of all poets. However, I still feel that without reading between the lines to decipher the essence of the writers’ thoughts and ideas, social media just go through their creations casually and spread the same among the masses as a matter of routine activity, mechanically. Hence, a greater amount of attention should be paid to the subtler and deeper thoughts and ideas of the writers so that proper message reaches the public at large. Honestly speaking, I write mainly to vent the plethora of my choked and suppressed feelings, but I feel blessed when my creations are widely recognized and valued, though this reason is of subordinate importance.      

NILAVRONILL SHOOVRO:  Thank you so much dear poet for the interview. We would like to know your personal experience with OPA as a literary web journal. Would you like to share anything more with our readers?

DALIP KHETARPAL: My experience with the interview has been wonderful and stimulating as questions asked were valid, relevant, thought-provoking and meaningful. Hearty thanks and best wishes!

DR. DALIP KHETARPAL Author, poet, critic, reviewer, editor, Columnist and short-story-writer. Former educationist and administrator.



(Features of narcissism)

Her husband died.
Amidst relatives and friends
She was to mourn
On the date and time scheduled.
Oblivious of the tragic demise,
The way to present her best self
Even in the sordid scenario
Became so important that
Anxiety instantly pervaded her psyche.
Grave and urgent issues like,
The fascinatingly melancholic clothes to wear,
The specific beauty parlor to visit,
Powerfully occupied her sub-consciousness.

Though only a few hours were left
To reach the burial site,
She could not embellish herself
To an extent that would make her appear
Both beautiful and sorrowful
To impress and attract the mourners
With her improvised beauty
And counterfeit dejected expression.
She then rehearsed the gloomy expression
That she was to soon wear
Before an all sides view mirror,
For, the face, deemed the mirror of the soul,
Ironically blushed with remorse for being so unnatural.
Anxiety began to grow, it grew so deep that
The flurry of excitement
Impelled her to rush into her car,
To quickly occupy the driver’s seat
And hurriedly drove past all red lights,
Cleaving deftly through thick traffic.
In the twinkling of an eye,
Her car finally almost collided head-on
With the best beauty parlor.
With some slight latent remorse and shame,
She urgently demanded
For the best waterproof make-up
From top to toe
That deluded the beautician into thinking
That a grand wedding ceremony awaited her client.
Enthralled by that misconception,
She rushed home after renewing
Every millimeter of her being, except her soul.
But another problem sprang-----
----attire, compulsively fascinating,
But sober and demure,
Must have to be worn.
But, that became another difficult milestone
For her to cross,
For modest and grief-stricken she had to appear
To harmonize well with the solemn occasion.
She ferreted and delved into the deepest depths
Of all the shelves of her wardrobe
And fished out a dress…. soberly fascinating.
Soon, she reached the grim venue.

Tears welled up
In the eyes of many
But, in the souls of only few.
Seemingly unfortunate, but actually fortunate rains
Assisted some dry eyes
Including hers, to be tempestuous
And rain all rainless eyes, facilitating successful display
Of false grief.
But the rain-resistant make-up face she wore
Was unaffected
Like her love-resistant heart
That was also unaffected
By the permanent parting
Of her soul-mate.

Narcissism is all!

Mental and even spiritual interest
In oneself, one’s beauty,
Instead of God, nature, humans
Or even animals,
Reveals selfishness unbounded, unimaginable
Displayed naturally and brazenly by a narcissist.
A vain grandiose view of one’s own traits hollow,
In fantasy or behavior
And an abnormal craving for admiration
Proceeding from the abnormal pursuit of praise
To egoistic admiration of one’s presumed attributes
Is nothing, but a disorder.
A long term pattern of such abnormal behavior
Characterized by an excessive sense
Of one’s own importance
By one, who also wants to be breathtakingly beautiful,
Is dangerous also, for, she could demean herself
To any extent
To elicit admiration and success
That enlivens and sustains
Her ceaselessly demanding personality
That is also ironically, an extreme defense
Against her own feelings of worthlessness.
Behind this mask of ultra beauty,
Seeming success and confidence,
Lies a thin veil---- weak and sensitive,
Vulnerable to the slightest censure
That could derange her completely
And could also result
In the failure of all relationships,
Be it home, work-place or society.
Inability to handle the real,
Uncomfortable with her own deficiencies and limitations,
She unconsciously lives in fool’s paradise,
For peace and survival,
Signifying a colossal waste of time and energy, rather life.

Covert narcissists are a rare breed
And hard to decipher.
They owe their existence
To the attention they get excessive
Or tortured by rejection or neglection excessive,
Generating a huge void in adulthood.
Magnifying a real or perceived offense,
Taking offense also at minor criticisms,
Cornering most people,
They search for some flatterer
They earlier had or now lack,
But their never-satisfied stance
Perennially creates a frustrating vacuum
Never to be filled.
Their own problems for them are paramount,
While others’ are deemed meaningless and useless.
Adept at shooting from the hip with swift advice
And averse to answering or asking questions, they prefer
To shut down dialogue completely
To avoid any exercise or strain,
A conversation entails.
Outwardly, they appear very benign,
But can be damaging
And cause infinite distress to others.
Love to play the victim, they down play themselves,
Simply to bait others into sympathizing and complimenting them.
Cocooned in their make-believe world,
They’re warm, comfortable and safe,
Resisting all changes positive.

But, who’ll bring adamant, arrogant narcissists
Out of an overpowering stench of habits vicious,
Trends, tendencies and behavior
And restructure their psyche?
One may also be blown to bits
While belling the cat.

But once the gift of reflected appraisal is imbibed,
All narcissists would be wiped out from this planet.


After beating their brains out
All great professionals, researchers and specialists
Failed to decipher
What lies in the life after life.
The same idea also surged
Violently, uncontrollably,
In my sub-consciousness many a time
That finally, only confounds me.

I then searched for the most enlightened priest
Of the town.
On finding one, I willy-nilly, but reverentially asked him,
‘Where does a man go after he dies?’
His answer was stereotyped---- heaven or hell.
While the former is for the people good,
The latter is, for the bad.
On being asked about his fate
After death politely,
His answer was again off pat,
‘My seat after I die is reserved in heaven,
For, as a true priest, I’ve done infinite good
And also being nearer to god than any common man,
There could be no other place, but heaven for me.’
Instantly awestruck, but easily lapsed
Into willing suspension of disbelief
I bid him adieu.

Three days later,
I went to a hospital
To see an ailing friend admitted there
Owing to some heart problem.
Co-incidentally, I saw the same priest
On the adjoining bed, smiling.
On being asked after him, he said
A pain in his chest a day before
Made him presume that
He had cardiac arrest,
But doctors diagnosed him
With just a minor gastric problem.
Immediately a humorous, but witty and
Meaningful idea occurred
That I could not afford to conceal it.
Maintaining still my reverence for the priest
I straight away, but meekly unfolded him
Something strongly brewing in my consciousness
Since I saw him:
‘When you suffered the pain in your chest,
God was actually calling you’, but by calling the doctor
You unconsciously disconnected His call, so He,
Who is the greatest, the mightiest and the most supreme,
Must be annoyed with you’.
Suspended between repentance and shame,
He hung his head thoughtfully.
Encouraged, I further enlightened him,
‘If you were very sure
You would go to heaven after death,
you would not have called the doctor to intervene
In His communion with you,
You would have rather easily allowed yourself
To die sans treatment
And go to heaven, as you affirmed,
For in heaven there is no pain, no disease,
Problem or even death;
One can enjoy eternal bliss there,
So who would not like to go there?
Even fear of death would become extinct
And it would be most welcome
If one is sure to go to heaven after death.
It shows your faith
In your own religion was not firm’.

The whole episode proved that
Even the best theist
Is a bit of an atheist.
Conversely, a staunch atheist
Is also a bit of a theist,
For when he is thrown
In dire straits
Or stuck in a dire situation
Or on the threshold of death
And no human help is in sight,
He would imploringly look towards heaven
And solicit His grace to help extricate him
From the mire into which he has sunk,
Becoming quite unconsciously or even consciously
A bit of a theist.
So, the whole truth represents that
no one is purely an atheist
And none, purely, a theist.
But hypocrisy is universal,
For, man often pretends and projects himself to be
What he is not……..


As a choked volcano
Releases a gush
Of abrupt thick trail
Of fiery embers and lava
After its choked silence,
A choked heart
Throws up
A strong gush of warm trail
Of pent up emotions
After its choked silence.

A writer spills,
Oceans of ink,
Soils, endless papers,
Toils, endless nights,
To solely vent the plethora
Of his choked feelings and thoughts,
But only to simply remain choked, ironically.
Even after repeated ventilation,
This choke continues ……
…… fated to be eternally choked, as it were.

Strangely, the ignorant creative genius
Is ignorant of the blessings of choking,
Of its redeeming features
That every bad has.
He, perhaps, knows not
That choking stimulates creativity,
Cooks and beefs up raw ideas,
Speeds up the creative process,
Of his catalytic mind.
But, a fateful day finally arrives
When after much vent,
His entire creative exercise
Gets exhausted
Along with the exhaustion
Of his life.

During the entire creative life
A writer sees
No material fruit
His creation bears,
But still writes incorrigibly, unrelentingly,
For he fails to resist
The irrepressible surge
Of his inner irresistible urge
That bursts like every bubble,
That must inevitably burst.
But lucky is still he
Who knows not
That such resistance
Is fatal,
Such retention kills,
That any suppression,
Be it of sentiment,
Emotion or sex
Often takes a heavy toll,
That only ventilation
Infuses a new spirit,
And gives a new lease
Of life.

A compulsive writer
Lives to write
And also writes to live.
He has to live
The life of contentment
Even with the random passing accolades,
For he often realizes that
He has to feed not only his own,
But perhaps, many starved bellies
Not with encomiums empty,
But with work alien and distasteful
That often interferes, gnaws and claws
At his creative diet tasteful
That makes praises insubstantial
Vis-à-vis issue survival.
Even the showering
Of great awards or rewards
On Shakespeare, Milton
And some renowned masters
Miserably fall short
Of their magnitude of greatness,
Of their acme of creation,
Of the intensity and sublimity,
Of their thought, feeling,
Keen perception, unsurpassed expression,
Mighty imagination, profound vision
And unique language skills.
Doubtless, their works are glorified,
Their names are also always sung
With reverence and awe,
But only to the unreceptive souls.

A beleaguered writer knows that
Making a living by writing
Is a remote dream.
However, mushrooming growth
Of pseudo-writers
Whose only marketing and not pen
That speaks,
Surge rapidly
To flood and defile
The world of letters, of creation,
Finding a kindred soul,
Plagiarists or copy-cats also join the camp
To further intensify and hold the sway
Over the aggrieved and the true
And multiply their woes
By subtle maneuvers and crooked
Marketing strategies and selling skills….
….. ejecting also the deserved battered few
In the process
With their creations trashy.
But the truly worthy noble laureates
Withstand this painful onslaught
With all their psychic might
Even after being unfairly hit
Below the belt;
Their frayed psyche, laden
With untold misery,
Releases not groans and shrieks,
But melodies sweet and deep
That enthrall even the unworthy
And the prosaic.
But this is the way of the world
And this is how the pitiable odyssey
Of a writer goes on….
…. who knows, for how long!


Israel shrieked
With countless wounds of conquests foul,
Millennia of torments later,
Her diaspora returns now.

Prophecies haunt her again,
And the Mayans had to be red faced
For being astronomically naïve,
Now see, a universe
That still appears alive
Was in truth dead, long ago.

Gagged, muzzled, sans identity,
Timid, in anticipation
Of imminent loss,
Danger, repercussion, lurking disaster,
We are stilled…..psycho-somatically.

Puissant, mankind lives,
Breathes, pulsates,
But should this be deemed the real meaning
That life or living really is!

Turned into zombies,
Mute, indifferent
Or intimidated into silence
And shamelessly apathetic
To the crumbling, collapsing system,
Our ruination begins.
We are automatons
Or pathetic cyborgs on death row
In the quest of a human death----
……ironically and miserably becoming human
Only on the threshold of death.

With their uncannily abstruse philosophy,
The inquest into the hidden order
By the curious seers, doubters and agnostics
Seem to lend credence, meaning and purpose
To this incomprehensibly absurd life.
But, one’s mind often resonates with an awful din
Of absurdity, emptiness and nothingness
That life seems to comprise,
That savagely lashes the chamber
Of a probing psyche.

When the biologically absurd activity
That is sex is performed,
The aftermath that is birth,
Becomes inevitable,
When the absurdity that is existence is lived,
The long stretch of darkness
That is before us has to be traversed,
And the ontological truth
That is death also has to be embraced----
---making man, oblivious forever,
And the whole universe,
A travesty or nix,
For, to cyborgs, spiritual enlightenment
Is a remote dream,
And rebirth, most fantastical.

Many a time,
Under the spell of collective unconsciousness,
When my latent divine spark
Ignited my inflammable instincts divine,
My heart broke, my soul wept,
When I could neither see nor hear
The arrival of Christ
At the appointed time.
I then also thought that
Mayans calculations were, perhaps, based
On the collision of this earth
With an asteroid,
So, I strongly felt that
The destruction of this earth
Would have been
A momentous occasion.
I was also to feel elated, to witness
Some joyously destructive transition
To the new era,
But I was disillusioned
To see nothing.

Smoldering within for years
I wanted to ask God
Why demons have been given so much time
To go on with their orgy of bloodshed, rape,
Murder, plunder and evil deeds multifarious.
When everything has gone topsy-turvy,
Every ill, irremediable,
Every damage, irreparable,
Every good, irreversible,
Should I then with some credulity presume
That cataclysm has struck
‘With a whimper’
But not ‘with a bang’
And God has emerged triumphant
In this God-Satan long silent war of attrition?

Christ displayed exemplary endurance,
Shed infinite blood,
Before and during His crucifixion----
…..salvaging nothing.
The virtuous also today
Salvage nothing
Even after displaying remarkable sacrifice
And endurance to endure the pain
That is even beyond endurance,
To further only endure the long-awaited, well-deserved
And excruciatingly silent
Ongoing apocalypse with bleeding hearts
And dismal squeaks and groans.


(An inspired poem)
Coincidentally, we met
Sans terms, sans words of affection, love,
 Or an affectation of love or surprise,
Sans even any assurance
Of the purpose, aim and meaning
Of the movement, of the momentum
Of our advances
That drew us towards each other
So strangely, spontaneously and inexplicably,
With unimaginable velocity
That we knew not how
We unconsciously or sub-consciously
Generated a relationship
By this mysterious, unplanned psychic journey----from alpha to omega,
From a formless void to a concrete tenable form
We call friendship or relationship and whatnot
Which is the sum total of everything
Whereby we give each other faith, love,
Commitment, sacrifice, pleasure, ecstasy,
Comfort and peace…… ……..incredibly, lifelong!


DR. DALIP KHETARPAL Author, poet, critic, reviewer, editor, Columnist and short-story-writer. Former educationist and administrator.