Tuesday, March 22, 2005

In Love With Vikram

... Seth's poetry.

Found this thin hardbound book in the library called Mappings,clad in a beautiful jacket, Vikram Seth's poems during his twenties when he was studying in England, and later California.

A rather cute one :) :


I willed my love to dream of me last night
That we might lie
At peace, if not beneath a single sheet,
Under one sky.

I dreamed of her but she could not alas
Humour my will;
It struck me suddenly that where she was
Was daylight still.


Wake up! The smudge of dawn
Low on the hills has shot
The bay with light. Don't miss
These minutes. This is not

Pure altruism, though
I grant I want to see
Your face against the dawn.
Wake up, therefore, for me.

Night Watch

Awake for hours and staring at the ceiling
Through the unsettled stillness of the night
He grows possessed of the obsessive feeling
That dawn has come and gone and brought no light.


Somewhere within your loving look I sense,
Without the least intention to deceive,
Without suspicion, without evidence,
Somewhere within your heart the heart to leave.

A Morning Walk

A web hung from the avocado tree;
The spider rested in the dew and sun
And looked about the grove contentedly
Awaiting visitors and I was one;
Neither a Californian nor a fly,
And humming to myself in Bhairavi.

Foreigner, hence! he may have thought, but hcose
Instead to squat immobile as I came
Further into his district. Did I pose
An unpredictability? The same
was true of him -- bloated, yellow, with some
Sepia blotches not like those at home.

Our spiders are much blacker and much thinner
Patrol their webs with greater frequency
And seem perpetually anxious about dinner;
Thin ... spindly ... Nirala suddenly
Came to me -- Shyambazaar, Chowringhee, Strand --
His 'Bhikshuk' poem -- all blurred in this new land.

My very turn of phrase -- Foreigner, hence! --
Betrayed the web of jocularity
I had spun around me here; nor could I sense
The pain I felt at home where I could see
The hunger, half resigned, half desperate
Of those like me but for a break of fate.

To wander through the streets of Calcutta is
To force the whole world's misery on the heart --
Children on broken stumps, staring with eyes
White and opaque, begging with hardened art.
Far from those eyes, blind in my stead, I wander
Among those affluent trees, and stop and ponder

How fine it is to share the world and not
Its need when there are those who weep for food.
Their children's limbs will atrophy, brains rot
Swollen for lack of it, while 'all things good',
Food, shelter, health, are mine; interests; loves;
The time to walk through avocado groves.

Living abroad, I have lost sight of home.
Locked in my web I have grown happily blind
And blindly happy, and few images come
To jar the fine strands of my peace of mind.
A clod is washed away; the world is less;
But why disturb my quest for happiness?

For me there is this bitter questioning.
For others life is bitter through and through.
It may be short but it is everything.
No Compassionate Beingg leans down to view
And balance things; there is no justice after
For those deprived this life of food or laughter.

I draw my easy non-consumptive breath,
Think life sweet, spin rhymes, eat my daily fly
And neither shrink nor welcome death
But others, even those who fear to die,
Suffer with quietude, with spent relief
The final amnesty from want and grief.

Progress Report

My need has frayed with time; you said it would.
It has; I can walk again across the flood
Of gold sil popples on the straw-gold hills
Under a deep Californian sky that expels
All truant clouds; watch squads of cattle graze
By the radio-telescope; blue-battered jays
Flash raucous squaking by my swivelling head
While squirrels sine-wave past over the dead
Oak-leaves, and not miss you - although I may
Admit that near the telescope yesterday
By a small bushcovered gully I blundered on
Five golden fox-cubs playing in the sun
And wished you had been there to see them play;
But that I only mention by the way.


mythalez said...

awesome... esp the cute ones.
Btw, any reason for the large blank space in the end? Planning to fill it up with your own creations?? :P

manuscrypts said...

second blog with vs poetry... is that 'in' now?? :)

The Reporter said...

dodo, thank you ... the space was just a mistake :P

oh manu, where is the other one? i dont know :)

Braveheart said...

I liked the first one...
Time Zones :D

-- Akshaya