Writing A Poem Through The Solar Eclipse

The solar eclipse observed in the sky over Chikmagalur, Karnataka
Photo courtesy: Rajesh Kosalram

When the slant of the sun is a lie of the lover
the copper tint on her skin is proportioned to his clouded gaze.

The scent in her hair is from the vettiver soaked in oil
like a mush of earth thick at the roots where the sun doesn’t reach.

When the moon mutes the sunlight, you are no different
from the oleander flowers and the gardenia paled dusty ivory.

The pallor on the banana leaf is the same shade as the darbah grass
in the copper dish where the ghee mutates into poison.

Who can summon the voice of the river weighed by slurry?
In my city even the crows have grown less clamorous.

It is left for someone to bring home what lies cold in unturned earth
that hasn’t known the warmth of a worm’s breath.

The Terrace Concert

When the breath drains between the two notes
of the song, his mind wanders to the terrace of the house.

The heap of rice glistened in the lazy slant of winter light,
her fingers flicked the stones, husked grains.

In the courtyard, the sparrows washed by the song
lapped against the wall marked with flecks of betel juice.

The house has long been gone, the map in his head
smudged as he looks at the disc of music – the rare one

from a terrace concert sung for the dancer. In the street
where Kaveri once danced along the backyard,

now sludge streaked with turmeric from the bath
of vidwan’s wife drains into the river.

He had longed to enter the threshold. His father had warned
only street dogs enter open doors.

Vidwan – Carnatic musician, in the context of the poem