The movement

The clay in a pot
is the movement of desire through silence.
The winged seed travels
to the hand that kneads a fist of breath.

As the ground dips under moisture
at the limb of the river
the seed sprouts into a pale sapling.

The sharp October sun
pierces through the squint in the eye
to the undergrowth of memory.

The pearl diver dark and slick with oil 
      like the sinuous serpent of an eclipse
when it swallows the moon,
drops into the stillness of unbecoming.

no one can tell when the end comes

On quieter days
      the train can be heard from the terrace

the gong of the bell from the temple
travels to the after-life of the dead

when the machine is rested
certain gears function
                     for a while

no one can tell when the end comes

What is dear finds way to the brewing pot
odd leaves piled on the grass
the browned jasmines
rose petals still secreting the perfume

When you push open the door, angle the body
to the energy that inhabits a room

Do not coax the birds a minute longer
                                          to stay in the tree  
or a mollusk to lock the plasma in a shell

On an otherwise mundane afternoon, my son calls to say
his friend’s father died

Why, only yesterday he told me of the team lunch
the friend’s lactose intolerance
among other things

My mind makes the adjustment to accommodate
the new information of the young man I have not met
the father I will never meet

I touch the space of existence –
the space inside the shell where existence is a plasma of nothingness

no one can tell when the end comes

Meditations On A Pebble

pebbles copy

Eyes cast down
I watch the pebble
honed to its simple tone
Watermarks of story blur
in waves of desires deferred
Thoughts never rise out of the lake
bees unwinged in the circle of a full life
Who can map the path of the breeze
fence the clouds shifting over the hill
Logos is a headless tree
waving into the starless night
Silence spelled like the absence
counters it


It is believed in the town that the sun directs its light into the well
staining pearly radiance at the curvature where she aims the spittle

He mapped the channel of the dribbling  silver by holding her body
blue grey like the spent rivulet draining into the dry mouth of delta

A green snake taken in the mouth stirs under the tongue of moon
the cobra ascends from her groin fans out hood of desire in her breast

When pain colors like oleander she knows the blood flows in reverse
from the tip of the finger to the dying throat of the flower rasping for breath

The last time I saw him he was saluting the sun, his head a hive of memories
he did not know she was crouched over the fire as a last act of supplication

One hand on the slab of shoulder, the other cupped over her ear he called
into the empty house, primeval cry razed down the structures of language



The aromatic roots in a tangle,
tug deep through breasts to ochre

space between ribs. Is earth same as
soil? Time differentiates one from

other. Drum beats as sand decants
into crevices between molars to hairy

growths drawn tensile down jaw line
where Y of vocal cords silence at throat.


Time holds her like a hand at the throat
when brass pot goes into the mouth of a well.

Words hang to the rope, distended into sounds –
slurps and gurgles that surface through saliva

poured into a glass on the table. Clear water
decanted of desire, fire of longing. As the sun

slices her face in the shadows of warmed bricks
phlegm threads in the food she brings out

slowly, laboured like this poem- words chunking,
spasmodic, taking her breath away in the effort.


Silence cannot be shredded
by the noises of birds,
each picking through the forest
a life its own.

It’s an effort to sit on the bark,
draw signs in air,
watch vapour from river rise
in a breath.

Light in sharp slant slices water.
In between rocks
time drowns, day silences
in deliberate chants.

* Vana, in Indian languages, means forest.


The glass holds the sunlight
in that unchanging instant
when birds empty their chest of songs.

The shadow remains frozen
in that perfect minute
when not a slant of life breathes.

Loops of letters drown in the river
in that whirlpool
when algae of silence wraps my heart.

Poem A Day

flight of soul

I unfurl the leaf, serrated edges
are questions that fall limp like offerings.
Words sit in corners, their shadows lengthening
into startling ghosts. The tar at the bottom
sticky, holds my voice in total dumbness.
On the table I place pain polished with love;
allow me a prayer – sound flutters to the sky
leaving earth in a cave of quietness.
Then the orange noise of my soul sets flight
following an arc skewed from your axis.

aarakta-shyamArt by S H Raza