Three Poems

1. After the Rain

A tiny bird is perching on a prickly bush.

It sings with all lust, displaying brilliant colours

And flies off. One tree moves slow in the evening’s dying eye

And the sea pauses as if to catch its breath.

All day the mountain had stood still and now at dusk

It basks under the full orange moon. I walk

Across the grass and sand.  All ways are new and newer, yet.

Unknown stars look down.

The flower-filled bough, now bereft of singing bird

Traces itself in the dark. Everything vanishes

Only to reappear through day then night then day,

A seemingly endless ritual, like relationships

That mold and seize the heart unaware

Only to vanish. Inversely proportional to the aging heart.

The final isolation is

Always never foreknown

Like the sapling is parted from the seed, the fruit from the stem,

The tree from its roots, the earth from the sky.

Like after the rain.

Why should one be tied to thinking at all?

Safe in a child’s brain the world would have slept better.

He who built sand, rain, sun, and dust in such plenty

Knew this and a little more—he sleeps yet with one eye open.

Even for him

The final isolation is

Always never foreknown.

Like after the rain

The traces of some passing

Vaguely etched in the sand—the sea heaves

Heavily like one in pain a slow ascension

Of life breath, no easing out, but a heavy sigh in the dying air.

What bird is there on the dangling prickly bush

That dances in the rain? Why is the sky so dark?

Why is there no one in the abandoned beach? Where is the monsoon moon?

The prickly bush is alive with the nameless bird once again.

The abandoned beach stretches till sky swallows the edge.

The sea is once again heavy with the scent of death.

Strange organisms glitter and vanish on the night’s curving edge.

A bat’s soft wing brushes across my shoulder.

A man’s life is measured merely in terms of relationships.

Inversely proportional to age– they dwindle

Until one day everything vanishes. Only one

Is left standing tall: the nagging abstraction of self,

A sheer bundle of contradictions.

The final isolation is

Always never foreknown.

Like the sapling is parted from the seed, the fruit from the stem,

The tree from its roots, the earth from the sky.

Like after the rain.

I was there when they brought down the tree

I was there when they butchered the people

I was there when the whole town burned

Tell me where you were when all the world

Was turning upside down? When people fled

When dogs barked when parrots screeched

When the rain came down in torrents. All that

Always already foreknown


The Quick, the Easy, and the Blue

A lot of stuff on earth is quick to deflect

Its own extinction—at least some are often doing so

With such frequency that we are able to live together

As a living community—do we end up with an evening

To spare to look up toward the blue, blue expanse,

Sometime?   Perhaps all living things

Are never quick enough not to be killed.

We make sure a lot of them do—so much so

For our space ensured safe on the globe.

Water and earth are easy to strangle

Under dams and rotting garbage—we can

Reinvent the plastic disorder to disrobe the living mantle

Of any left over star for that matter.  Air is

Snuffed out like a huge candle. Fire cannot

Prevent its own disaster. Only the deep, deep blue

Gasps for  survival.  We are reaching for you, we are reaching

For you.  Ah! That our greed should exceed our grasp

Or what is disaster for? We be quick, we be nimble.


The Two Boats

For long I stood astride on two boats

Balanced delicate lest they tilt

The river was quiet. No bird sang.

My feet arched on the edge of wooden tilt

The softness was round and empty

A few dragonflies danced round.

On one sheaves of dead leaves

The other held broken branches

The river paced silent, no wind stirred—yet.

The shore lay alive to the arch of the rainbow

The sun had not yet set.

Someday, I was unsure yet,

I might succeed in reaching the third shore

Where wind and flowers yield

To the soft touch of another spring.

Then will I have new shoots from old dead twigs

And to chronicle my past these dead leaves.

These ripples will not leave any mark

There is neither here nor there

Till I return and stand astraddle afresh

With broken mounts of leaves and twigs

Complete with ash and smoking ember–

In the distance, huge trees and history.

2 thoughts on “Three Poems

  1. Dear Dr.Murali,
    I don’t know whether you remember, we met briefly sometime back, in Chennai Poets Circle meet two years back. I went through the contents in the blog and enjoyed it.
    I am passing on your e-mail ID to a friend of mine, residing in Pondi, Dr. Pratapchandran, Principal, Achariya College of Engineering Technology. He ia also one interested in Environment, as you are.
    With best regards, Panicker

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