“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Strictly personal - a selection of poems

TOMMY (1998-2010)  My Best Friend

1. Signs of Love
You said you loved me.
Show me a sign.
A smear off your lips
A smudge of your tears
A smell of your scent
A stain of blood from your heart
On these pages of my life –
That you shredded with your scalpel…
Balachandran, Kottayam 27.12.2006

2. Life, a lie
How much truth in words?
How much fully said
How much wanted to say
How much conveyed
How much understood
How much you want to know?
When truth itself is so limited –
Its all a lie-
Balachandran 27.12.2006 in train, Kottayam to Trivandrum

3. Random Access Memories
The time is nearing to leave.
File – save as – give a name
And it becomes a part
Of my documents
Hidden behind a password
Which I only know.
In the recesses of my hard disks
C:\ My documents\ Kottayam, or-
Some other name that I decline
To tell you.

Later, in a lonely night
I will access the file
And glance through it
At random.

This flower, that face
This light that flicker in the darkness
Those shadows thrown by the moonlight.
That faraway bark of a dog
That fading noise of a truck
This moment – save, save
Save to the file.

Memories are read-only
Unchangeable, inerasable.
One day, the system would hang –
And the Technician would say –
The hard disk is gone.
Perhaps he would re-use
The serviceable parts –
Perhaps he would dump it as junk.
Till then, my love,
I shall access you – at random.
****************** Balachandran V 18.12.2006, Kottayam.

4. A Traveler True.
A traveler never forgets
The trees that gave him shade.
A traveler never forgets
The streams that quenched his thirst.

The paths he trod
The winds he rode
The grass he slept
The rocks he leant.

To remember and to be grateful
Is the way of the traveler true.

And –
The trees and streams,
The paths and breeze
The grass and rocks-
They too, will remember him.

As he passes-
The trees, the streams
The paths, the wind
The grass, the rocks-
Will heave a sigh, happy-
As they wait
For you, my love.

So, heed my words-
To remember and to be grateful
Is the way of the traveler true.
****************** BALACHANDRAN 22.11.2006

5. The Last Lover

One day-
Allow me
To kill you-
Your slender neck
In my callous palms
My thumbs on
Your three-lined throat
Pressing down hard, deep
Your limbs crushed
Wriggling beneath my legs.
Ah! Ask no mercy!
I shall watch the light
Dying in your eyes
I shall listen
To the ebbing away of life
My ear
Close to your callous heart.
Cradled in my arms
I will carry you, lifeless
Over the hills
Past the windswept trees
And the wet weeping earth
Beneath the dark skies
Where stars shall not
Twinkle, in fear.
Atop on the bare rock
I shall lay you down-
Your arms around my neck
I will kiss your eyes, your lips.
There I will wait-
For the pain
To burn me alive…
************************ Balachandran 23.11.2006

6. Requiem for a Hen
At nearly fifty, it is rather silly
To mop for a hen, now dead.
Yet, to learn that she died yesterday
Bitten to death by a civet or a cat-
It bit her clean through the neck.

She was rather a silly fowl
Wading as she walked
Rolling as she ran
And driving all at home crazy
With her cackles short and long.

My wife shooed her-
The hen bit off her precious plants.
My son chased her off-
She liked to snooze on his bed.
She worried the dog
And scared the cats
She sent the maid
In tears and wails
As she shit -
Wherever and whenever she did.
She laid eggs erratic
Whenever and wherever she felt.
At her cries, he would scoop up the egg
My son would eat it fried with toast.
She pecked at the rice
She gobbled up the geckos
She thrashed the rubber bands
For practice as with worms.
Oh! That glint in her eyes
As she scratched and rummaged
For that runaway bug or roach!

She was a lonely hen
Though she didn’t seem to mind it.

The weekends I were at home
I would call her – Kozheee, ba, ba –
She would squat, only for me-
With her wings stiffly spread –
Did she take me for her mate?
I would hold her to my side
Call her My Beauty
Caress her silky feathers
Flip her red comb
And tickle her beneath the chin.
And all the time
She would cackle and chuckle
In her insufferable, inimitable tones.
Today morning my son telephoned
And conveyed the sad news
That the hen is now no more.
In her coop she had, he said
Left her last egg, brown and mottled.
I don’t know whether my son
Fried it
Boiled it
Poached it
Scrambled it
Or beat it into
An Omelet.

Forgive me
For I must stop now
For I am crying
A lone old man
For a lone old hen, now dead
And gone.
******************** Balachandran Kottayam 18.05.2006

7. Running in
Birth is mundane, a mere formality
A realization of dreams, or of lust.
In the nurse’s arms, swaddled in clothes,
The baby screams, or whimpers with eyes shut.
This is it; you have bought it, my lad.
Formalities over, the manager stands up
The key in his cupped palms.
Theatrical, he pauses as if in a short prayer
And drops it into your open palm.
In her flowered dress, hair braided
Arm resting around the baby on her left
Proof of my manhood, her motherhood
She looks at him, at me, in gratitude and love.
I stand a little apart, look uncomprehending
At the beast, silent; glittering chrome
Massive tyres, sweeping handlebars
Steely machine, graceful, powerful.
Go on, she says, don’t be scared,
Hold him close, your son, my gift.
Gingerly, I touch his palm-
My finger, too big –
Yet, he grips – I let it all flow
Into him, into him, into him.
I straddle, caress the head
Contact; thumping deep,
The machine rumbles to life.
Gently throttling,
I nurse him to move on -
I lead him into the streets of chaos.
*********11/03/2006 Balachandran Kottayam

8. Om Namasivayh!
I am a snake
Slithering thru slush
Over fallen leaves
Twigs, rocks
Into cavities
My tongue darting,
Coming out
As I test the moods of life.
A lumbering python
Dragging the weight of my mind
Heavy with memories
Of unfulfilled lust
And unrequited love.
Slumbering, hanging
On the high branches
Or on the fallen tree
By the side of the river
I dream
Of those who had passed by.
Passing, they had poked my belly
With sticks
And hit over my head.
Unblinking I had watched them
Recording, sharply
Their eyes.
Rain, sharp as needles
Prick my skin.
Sun, burns;
Wind, soothes;
Falling leaves comfort me.
One day, I will shed
This old skin of mine.
Then, gleaming, I will wait
Basking in happiness
As He drapes me around His neck.
9. Compositions of the Dead
The cemetery was rather
It sloped easterly,
Uneven, not neat rows
Of the dead.
Marked and unmarked
Some tombs, sarcophaguses
Some graves marble laid
Shining black.
And then, there were plain, cemented ones.
Carved crosses adorned some
Some had plain solid C-R-O-S-S.
Withered wreaths and bouquets lay around.
It was a winter morning
Mist still slept among the graves.
Slipping over the wall
I wandered among the dead
Looking for an angle
A frame to compose.
The large one before me
Had a plain blank marble headstone
I looked at it closely
And saw-
My face.
Shocked, I turned around to find –
All had risen from the graves
Legs crossed, arms crossed
They posed –
Beside me, the gravediggers waited
For my final click.
*************** Balachandran

10. Straddling His Desire
The swagger in his walk
Sends the right signals
Like a courting bird
He approaches.
The bulging crotch is evident for all.
His eyes convey the ownership
Sure-footed, he moves in close
He pauses – like a lion readying
His hands caress the smoothness
And his fingers grip.
In one smooth swing
He straddles
His moves are so sure
He knows how to spark
The fire of his desire.
His hips slide, smoothly
His groin presses against the swell–
He kicks – and the bike growls into life.
Balachandran 03.03.2006

11.A Drunkard, Alone
In these fumes of whisky and tobacco
I disappear, slow-
This soft music
And this solitude-
Mind dulls
Limbs droop,
My death, come!
The last visitor has left.
*************** Balachandran Kottayam 26.02.2006
12. When you left…
I will ne’er blame thee-
You’ve every right
To love or thwart –
But I wish –
When you left-
You could’ve left-
A little of me!
*********** Balachandran, Kottayam 08.02.2006
13. Imprisoned
A prison is a cage
Where untamable beasts
Lie in disquiet, quietly raging
As the iron bars melt in the heat
Of their volcanic minds –
Or like me, frozen beneath
An inundation of emotions.
Balachandran , Kottayam 06.02.2006

14. A Bequest to My Son
I am not what I am
But what I wanted to be.
Respect me if so you wish
But let it for be what I yearned to be.
I am not the list of my achievements
Rather, what I had hoped them to be.
I am just a grain of sand on the beach
But a roaring wave I wished to be.
I am not the blaze that burns the sky
But the smouldering coal that warms a heart.
I am not the stream that rises and falls
But a whisper of drop on lips so parched.
I rejoice, not in the successes I had
Precious, more, are the memory of losses.
I am not the sum of the conquests I made
Surrenders are sweeter, failures are prized.
I stand in this mush, a wasted life
But I raise my head to look at the passing clouds.
My life is passing, but my mind does flee
Like an eagle, soaring high in the winds.
The darkness of this pit reflects in my eyes
But stars glitter in my mind.
Be it so that I bathe in the pale moonlight
But a thousand suns glow in my heart.
I wish I could give you the best
The best, the best, the very best of all.
I give you, my son, the sun and the moon
The trees that sway, the birds that sing.
I give unto thee the murmur of winds
I give unto thee the chuckle of streams.
I give unto thee the mountains I loved
I give unto thee the woods I walked.
I am, my child, the dreams I dreamt
The lands unseen, the paths never trod.
My bequest to you is what I don't have
I leave you my dreams, for you to live.
Love me, not for what I've been to you
But for what I would've loved to be to you.
Look up, my son, at the sky so blue,
My way is the way of the clouds so white.
********************** Balachandran, Kottayam, 24 January 2006

15. Gently, into the deep woods
Please! Do not offer
No word of comfort
No solace-
Regret is a silent, deep pool
Still waters, dead calm
Dark and desolate
Black, cold marble where I lie prostrate.
Bubbles break, slowly
Between sighs
Between every heave of the lungs
Slowing down.
Discarded, I lie
Like a frog squashed on a highway.
Dissected, the heart
Still throbs, beating for a life already left.
Upturned, all I see
Is the black tarmac
As I wait
For the final flattening tyre.
Yet, I know, somewhere above
Stars glimmer and
A moon shines.
I know, some hand, gentle, would
Overturn, and rest me deep in the woods.
To wait, to hope
Until the last breath
Why, that’s what life is all about
To hope for thy gentle hand!
I see-
The approaching lights.
Balachandran, Kottayam, 18 January 2006

16. A Flag, Black
‘Come’, said the black (why black?) flag,
Hanging limp from the pole, head bow’d,
‘Yes, this is the house of the departed’.
‘Behind me, lies my master inside the house’.
‘I’, thought the black flag,
‘The herald, the proclaimer,
The silent trumpeter of death,
Turning eyes opaque in sorrow’.
On either side of the pathway
Chairs, red, lined up
Waiting politely for the old,
Awaiting their turn.
‘Why couldn’t I been red? My master
Now swathed in red silk, the flowers
In bright red and yellow,
While I, in sombre black’.
‘This one would soon need me’,
Thought the flag in smug self-importance.
It had an eye for the soon-to-be-dead.
In their glassy eyes it saw the coming death.
‘Ay’, sighed the flag, as
Women in black sidled up the path.
The men had little pieces of black
Pinned on their shirtfronts.
The skies darkened, clouds
Black, billowed. It rained –
Men came, umbrellas black,
Shoes black, squelching in the rain.
Men combed their
Black-dyed hair furtively
Women were upset-
Black kohl stained their cheeks.
The rain-washed tarmac
Glistened, in black.
The master’s car, a black saloon,
Waited, forlorn, by the side of the street.
‘I’, thought the flag, black,
‘Rejoice with my kindred.
For, death is the only truth;
Black is the colour of truth’.
Then, as rain fell in sheets,
The master was brought out.
Beyond the black umbrella bubbles,
The black flag saw the ambulance, white.
In the breeze, fluttering slightly,
The flag readied itself.
For it had a long vigil,
Braving the sun and the rain.
In a few days
Somebody will fling
The flag, black
Into the bin.
Balachandran, Trivandrum 07-12.2005

17. The Stalker
You don’t know-
But I am still around.
Whirl around – but
You wouldn’t see me- yet.
Walk on, in blinding light
Or in comforting dark –
But – listen! My footfalls
Crushing the fallen leaves.
You don’t feel-
But smell – the breeze
The flowers carrying
My sweat pungent.
Sing on, gay, heart light
Let hair swirl over your face
But - listen! My voice
Rising over the winds.
From behind the fluttering curtains
Behind the creaking doors
Behind the Banyan tree
From behind the multitude – I watch you.
The shadow at your heels –
Look close – it needn’t be you.
In the crowd, breathing down your neck
I breathe in the fragrance that you are.
Unseen, unheard, unfelt
Not even a fleeting glimpse
Not even a faded footprint
Not even a forgotten song.
In my little shell
The only light: bright memories;
The only sight: yellowed images;
The only sound: silenced waves.
I watch – and wait. Kottayam 06.12.2005

18. The Shadow Man
Beneath the streetlights
I have watched him warily
Black, stout like a thug
Sticking close to my heels.
I walk away casually, as if unhurriedly
He doesn’t follow but moves swiftly ahead
Taller, taller, he stretches himself
I hesitate, wondering what to do next.
Bravely, I walk on, as he pales himself
Into the lights and shades of the doorways –
I look around, sigh comforted
Until he looms again beneath the next streetlight.
Now behind, now at my heels,
Now snaking, now sneaking away from me,
Like an omnipresent God
He streaks in the light of a passing car.
I pause. I realize he is an unobtrusive friend
The only one I can call my own.
My friend! I weep for you!
Where will you go when I am gone?
Kottayam 02.12.2005

19. Adieu
Let us then, do not lie
Though we lie next to each.
Let us then, do not touch
If our hearts so belie.
Let us then, do not kiss
Bereft of warmth are our lips.
Let not our eyes look at us
Blinds are drawn, the windows dark.
Let us then, do not let love
Fall into a habit like brushing the teeth.
Scatter the past to the rising wind
Like leaves fluttering in the Fall.
Let us then, not pretend to love
No reprimand for not being in love.
Life is a journey not bound on leash,
Let us, my love, now let us leave. Kottayam 28.09.2005

Today, aged forty-eight and few months,
I gained the right to drive a car.
A bit odd, it was, to stand amidst youth,
Grey haired, bald and a paunch to boot.
Like a baby taking its first steps,
I drove an H, snug, between iron rods.
Forward in first, backward in reverse,
Turn a right and then a left, do it twice for an H.
In the clutch, I sense the release
In the throttle, the urge to move.
Braking when enough, shifting,
Gears to change my pace.
Aged middle, I drove on the left
Steering myself steadily.
Off the middle, slightly to left
I drove as I have, all my life.
Ladies and gents, I always preferred the left.
But never to the ridges, just a bit to port.
Right or wrong, I went the way, the way
My conscience drew the map.
Forty-eight years, jerking and moving,
Turning wildly, off on a tangent.
Reckless a bit, casual a mite, but-
Never did I lose the drive to live.
A long drive it has been, though
Through potholes, mud, rain and sleet.
Curves, blocks, unexpected but-
Thank God, not reached a dead end yet.
Kottayam 19/07/2005

21. The Very Last Remains of My Mom
Night. A moon veiled in gray.
Ganges curls lazily
To the riverbanks at Kasi
A black scarf studded with lights.
I sit on Harischandra’s Ghat
A dog curls lazily
Leaning on to my back
A half-burnt leg drops out of the pyre.
I sit on Harischandra’s Ghat
A boat glides in lazily
In a dark corner of the tower
Cannabis burns; an eye glows like ember.
I sit on Harischandra’s Ghat
A girl curls lazily
Face down on the lap of a boy
Kissing and hugging in French.
I will step down from the Ghat
Into the river tomorrow.
A pot of clay in my hands
With the very last remains of my mom.
I will dip, not once, but thrice
To wash away all my sins.
I will let the pot float away
Or sink- with the very last remains of my mom.
I will shake the pot gently
A coin, a bit of gold, pieces of bone and ash.
Boys would pick up the coin and gold-
Please, not the bones, it is my mother!
O! Ganges! Mother! To thee I give
The very last remains of one
Who bore, who fed, who clothed
Who made me what I am.
O! Ganges! Mother! In your arms
Take her down gently to the sea.
Embalm her with a drop of your tears
And let her roam free.
One day I will lie on Harischandra’s Ghat
Clouds would gather, skies darken in sorrow.
A drop of tear would fall on me, a drop-
With the very last remains of my mom.
Varanasi – 25/10/2004

22. The Burning Ghat
The White have a thing –
Being stared at is not really pleasing.
They fidget, get red in face
They shift their arses from right to left.
The thing the White stare at
Are the black corpses being burnt.
Or men scratching their groin
Or women peeing on the steps.
Men keep on scratching
Women pee on in pleasure.
The White get their blues
As the bodies get toasted, in brown.
Kasi- the heat zaps- it burns
While carcasses roast in glory.
A woman from Spain sits next to me
A black goat mounts a white.
Bodies, wrapped in red or white
Garlanded, flowers yellow in colour.
Brought to the pyre on bamboos green
Flames flare up in orange.
A few big logs this way
A few small logs that way.
A sprinkle of this, a sprinkle of that
A torch is lit and lets it eat.
In some, heads stick out still
In some, sticks out the legs.
Skin burns, blackens, smoke rise in grey
Beneath the skin, we too are white.
Wood, they say, costs like hell
Whether you go to heaven or hell.
In death too, one is poor or rich
It sticks out like the heads or legs.
Shadows lengthen, a pale moon rises
Tourists leave, so do the birds.
Goodbye, good luck says the woman of Spain
The flames leap and swirl like Hula skirts.
**************Varanasi 25/10/04

23. At the door
Fleeing train, lands rush past
It swings and sways, thunders and clangs.
Gripping on to the hand rails
I swing and sway in time.
Fleeing time, life rushes past
It creaks and cracks, shudders and whines.
Gripping on to the thread of life
I hang along till death.
Death, how swift it’ll be
If I let go off the rails!
Flung, smacked and scattered,
A mangle of flesh and bones.
I am, just pieces of flesh and bones
Sewn up like a ragged doll.
A casual toy for a little while
Of a child, to be thrown away, when bored.
Balachandran, Bombay 02.12.2004

24. I am It
A mosquito, intent on a bite
Sits on the tip of my foot-
I hit the mosquit-
O! it skips and skits-
An ant bites mosquito-it grips-
Mosquito quits the fight- the ant
Breaks a bit off the mosquito.
I see how it all fits-
The bite, my hit, the skit of the mosquito
Its fate, its plight in its last flight-
My might, if light, would’ve let
The mosquito bloat with
A draught of my bloot.
I sit like Mein Gott,
Who with a flick, sees it fit
To light a life or to let it
Smite, out of spite.
************ Kottayam 15.11.2004

25. Paper, Thin
News, old, on paper wraps
Of Parattas, warm, with fried beef on top.
Old news, like leaves, dead, withered,
Scattered away by winds of time.
On August twenty-fourth, I discover,
Between two pieces of beef turned over,
The eyes of a beautiful girl,
Smiling, with warmth, up at me.
Below the picture of Olympic runners,
Above an ad for a condom,
Caught between a train and a ditch,
Sheeba fell – and died.
A photograph is a moment,
Just one-sixtieth second long
Aperture at five point six,
A flash lights up - and dies.
Sheeba would’ve seen the rushing train,
Heard the rails rattling, felt the wind whooshing,
When it hit, a flash would’ve lit-
A shutter clicked - forever, on life.
The oil in the beef
Now spreads o’er her face.
The thick red oil,
Like thick red blood.
Thumping death-death-death,
Wailing woe-woe-woe,
The train would’ve passed with a huff and puff.
I chew-chew-chew my leathery beef.
Oil now obliterates her face.
It seeps, it spreads, it doesn’t stop
Over the grass, drips o’er the stones,
An ant now scrambles o’er her eyes.

26.Ecstasy is a kind of Death
The passage of my palm-arrested.
The nipple said-touch me
With your forefinger
Feel me feel you - move gently.
Would you rather prefer
The smoothness of the breast- or
The interruptions by me?
I answer with a kiss – my tongue slowly
Swirls like a snake - and bites.
My palm, how arrogant he is!
As if he is the mould of the breast-
As if he is the reason of its being-
As if the heart is held by him!
Fingers are curious- they probe
The gully and beyond.
Moving, they press, bidding goodbye.
Their tips, sensitized antennas of a roach.
With murderous intent, they creep
As if to choke out her life- while
The breasts heave and harden –
In waiting – ecstasy is a kind of death. Trivandrum 09.09.2004

27. Gone up in Smoke
Crackling cellophane
As the packet opens-
Aroma of tobacco.
Fingers a- trembling, brain a- tickling.
The glowing butt, curling smoke
As the tip touches one’s lips-
Tingle! Deep intake of smoke
Seeps in settling, satiating one’s blood.
Rings dancing in the air
Wafting away into nothingness
Only a fragrance remains-
Then that too, like you, is gone forever.
************************ Kozhikode, 31.08.2004

28. In Transit
A toilet- one’s own
Gleaming white ceramic
Shining seat sans blotches
To lower oneself and relieve
In comfort, cleanliness and peace.
Clean, well-lit toilet
Like a restaurant to eat
Or drink- always to meditate
My home is a room and toilet.
Sharpness of senses-
In solitude - obsessions
Brinking on neurosis.
An ant on the table, a stain in the sink
A spider on the wall, a blot on the mind.
And the art of relieving, cleansing, purifying self.
12/8/04 Kottayam
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

29. In Another Country
Walking the streets of Cochin
Walking back in time.
Walking over my footprints
Walking, tracing, remembering.
Remembering shadows of a spent youth
Remembering lights bright and empty streets.
Remembering an open window, a shut door
Remembering light filtering thru leaves.
Gone- the room, the hotel, the lane
Garbage piled up where geese once honked.
Gone- the shops with fruits and cakes
Gone- the girls with shy smiles and love.
A stranger to faces rushing by
Strange indeed, the memories bidding bye.
Did I ever live here, doeth my breath linger here?
Did I ever stand in this shade- why, only a stump is here!
Nothing remains.
Nothing to remind, nothing to forget,
Monuments! What do you leave
But a fading name or a bludgeoned statue!
In the shores of time do I stand,
The lap of a wave, the cry of a Gull.
A caress- gentle and kind, only I will feel
A whisper- of love, only I will hear.
****************** Kottayam 14/08/04

30. Sunlight Slants
He is my spitting image, they say,
A miniature, a chip off the old block.
From near, from afar, he resembles me so,
My son, my blood, torchbearer of my life.
I don’t how I were as a baby,
But I could see it when he was one.
I was glad, proud, deliriously happy,
The proof my manhood, my only son.
I were, I am, still man enough,
For another progeny, his sister or brother.
A friend for my son to play with,
A heart for him to confide in.
‘All my friends have a sister or brother,
Why too can’t I have one?’
He no more asks me this question,
But its shadow still flits in his eyes.
You take a decision, once and forever,
Try as you may, never is it undone.
A movement, a word, a blink of the eye,
Life isn’t a reel, can’t play back at whim.
Sometimes, in the corner of my eye,
I see a shadow flitting by.
A little girl in ponytail,
A pinafore hangs in the sun to dry.
Raindrops on petals, roses so pink,
A pair of hands cover my eyes.
A drop of water drips from the still wet hair,
My daughter asks me to tell her name.
The tinkle of your anklets,
The tingle of your laughter,
The scent of love in your touch,
My fingers grope for your little face.
Who are you, my unborn child, my unsung song,
You with the soft curls that tickle my ears?
Why did you chose to remain in my heart,
Tease me not with your hide& seek.
Sunlight slants- evening is here
Doors are open, I wait for thee.
Come, let the brilliance of light
Glow your hair and warm my heart.

31. Flowers Bloom in Autumn
Somewhere in the Himalayas
Evening golden, sunlight soft,
A bird chirps in the garden, a soft, sweet song.
A breeze wanders fluttering leaves,
In my heart, peace and calm.

Alone, I toast all the life,
Watching lives drifting away.
Flowers dance a forlorn waltz,
In my heart, peace and calm.

Far away, snow falls in the hills,
Autumn is here, winter at bay.
Down below, lights flicker in homes,
In my heart, peace and calm.

A boy plays a flute far away,
Mules pass by, bells tinkling in time.
Time, like a caress with love,
In my heart, peace and calm.

What has been life, what it’ll be,
All that matters is I am me.
I am, here, now, forever and ever,
In my heart, peace and calm.

Blanket of hills falls over the sun,
Darkness falls over the land.
Lotuses bloom in the chant of monks,
In my heart, peace and calm.
****************** Balachandran Kottayam 29/09/04

32. The Night Watchman.
Beneath the stairway
As it turns a laborious left
Space- enough for the man
To rest his weary limbs.
In the night he sits
On the foldable chair
Feet wrapped in old rags
For fear of the mosquitoes’ bite.
An apology for a moustache
The appendage droops as he snores
His head bent, but slaps
At flies in a semiconscious daze.
The old man, watcher of my lodgings
Jerks his head as my footsteps fall.
Behind, in the shack a dim light sheds
A hallow aglow on his hairless head.
God, I guess, must be somebody like this,
A weary old watchman, my guardian, my keeper,
Sentinel of my life, a helpless help,
Nonetheless a presence, a comfort, forever.
Kottayam 15-07-2005

33. The Wedding
In this chapel, ten by eight
A wedding.
Guests- ghosts from the past
Crowded – stood mute.
Before the alter of life
I stood
Wedding March played
In silence –
For all gathered
Were deaf.
Do thee, Bala, take her
For your wife?
Will you, Bala, care for her
Feed her, clothe her, cherish her
Till death sets thee apart?
I do, I said, I will
Till death sets us apart.
You may then kiss
The bride- and I kissed-
Solitude, I wed thee
To be with thee forever and ever
Till death sets us apart.
*************************** Kottayam 02/01/2005

34. Moonlight Sonata
Lata1 sings. My evenings, dull
In this drab little room, alone
While the music plays, light up
With Lata’s caress. Lata sings.
Lata sings. ‘This night, this time
Of the season, this laughter-
Forget me if so you wish, but
Forget not these and this night with me’.
My love! How can I forget
The light glimmering, the shadows
The moon reflecting on your moist lips
Your breasts, heaving, brushing mine!
My love! Remember? You spread
Your hair over my face, my hands
Moving gently over you, I kissed
Your ears, your neck and your breasts!
Then, as an owl hooted deep in the woods
Gently you lowered on to me, oh gently
Softly while the tree hid us from the moon
Together, that moment, etched forever in my heart.
In the garden, in the pale moonlight
The leaves giggled softly, the fireflies
Lit the sparkle in your eyes full of love
Sweat beads glistened on your face.
In this drab little room, alone, I recollect
Like a child collecting empty shells
In the sands of a deserted beach –
But how! They crumble and turn to dust
That the winds take to the skies over the sea!
Lata sings. ‘Burning, burning, the lamps
Die, along with me, with me…’
Kottayam 24-11-2005

35. A Tree blossoms at my grave
Blinding sun-
My shadow, pause awhile
As you pass my grave
And I will be content with thee.
One day, life will bloom
From my remains –
Then, in its shade-
Stay, forever.
Balachandran, Kottayam 14.02.2006

36. An Etymology of Emotions
Jilt, spurn, thwart or ditch
A tilt, a twist, a sense of falling overboard
A sense of the world turning upside down
A sense of hanging on a tree like a bat.
Stunned – a sense of impact
As if hit full on the face
Shattered- and you hear the crashing glass
The blast of the blowtorch – devastated.
In the lonely evenings all you can do
Is to bend down and look bewildered
At your world lying in smithereens
And listen to the silent screams
Of your heart.
*********** Balachandran, Kottayam 07.04.2006

37. Trees and Doves Don’t Wear Clothes
When was the last time
My privates pricked, playfully
By the teasing raindrops
Splattered by the wind?
When was the last time
I stood in the rain, nude?
As a child? No, mother would have
Frisked me away and gave
A slap on my bottom too!

Once I stripped on a beach
Blushing at my lesser size
Than that of the tourist by my side.
Played, all dangling,
Jumping and rolling,
Bewildering unfamiliar freedom.
It wasn’t raining then, though.

This summer evening
The sky darkened and
The wind blew.
Treetops swayed, frenzied,
And the doves and crows
Staggered drunk, in flight.
On the high terrace, hidden from eyes
I let the wind play with me.

The air-gun shot pellets of rain.
Then the gush, the rush and it thundered!
The deluge came in sheet after sheet
It rained, it rained, it rained!
As the drape of raindrops covered me
I let my lungi drop away.

Here, in this rain, beneath the sky
My friends the trees, dance with me
My friends the doves, giggle at me
As I stand bereft of clothes
My friend the wind, laughs with me.

At nearly fifty, maybe I should know better.
***************** Balachandran Kottayam, 02/04/2006

38. The Duellists
Let us walk away then
In steps, measured
In directions, opposite.
But, turn -
At paces twelve
For love is a duel -
And look at each other
For the very last time.
************** Balachandran Kottayam 02.05.2006

39. Night
Did you fall asleep?
Sitting up alone
Staring at the ceiling
Soft music wafting
Moonlight sifting–
And thinking, of me?

How I would like
To stand just outside your window
To watch your dress
Fluttering in the gentle breeze!
How I would love
To see your soft curls, mischievous,
Trying to hide your face from me!
I know, they love to tease me!

Did you fall asleep
Thinking of me?
Forgive me my fantasies –
I know.
********* Balachandran, Trivandrum 04.01.2007

1 comment:

  1. Referring to your poems like 'A traveller True',Hello green poet,go on.All green poets of the universe please unite.We have nothing to lose but our words.But the words are arrows which are shot at the eyes of the eyeless ie the timber lobbies and forest mafias.


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