Creation and Criticism

ISSN: 2455-9687  

(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal

Devoted to English Language and Literature)

Jan 2017

Five Poems of C L Khatri


L. Khatri, editor of Cyber Literature and of several anthologies of criticism, is an emerging voice in Indian English poetry. He is a bilingual poet writing in English and Hindi. His three poetry collections in English are Kargil (2000), Ripples in the Lake (2006) and Two- Minute Silence (2014). He edited an anthology of poems on world peace Millennium Mood in 2001. He was awarded Michael Madhusudan Acadmay Award for his poetry collection Kargil in 2002. Currently he is University Professor, Dept. of English, T.P.S. College, Patna. He can be contacted at drclkhatri@rediffmail.com.



1. For You To Decide

 

Sometimes I wonder

if Vamana’s legs are

what men need to measure

the infinite space and time?

Sometimes I wonder

can’t we run slow, stand and stare at ease

kiss the sky and lie on the land

like birds return to their nests?

Sometimes I wonder

is history completing a circle

from nomad to nomad?

Can I get the patent of my ancestral home?

Sometimes I wonder

if I stroll like a sleepy river

I would be left behind where?

Can I see the world from there?

 

Sometimes I wonder

if granny’s tales are to be archived

if trailing tongues are to be mummified.

Can we condone this genocide?

 

Sometimes I wonder

if Bharata’s nine rasas would be programmed

if babies would be sold in shops.

You want umbilical cord or warranty card?

This is for you to decide.

For me it’s time to retire.

 

2. Religion

 

Religion—

dawn of a new sun

morning shining face of a baby.

Religion—

warm breath of a beloved

song of a rich harvest.

Religion—

ecstasy of cricket

journey to Mount Everest

Religion—

the Fire of Ahura Mazda

the Holy water of the Ganga, Abe Jamjam…

Religion—

sweat of peasants

blood of soldiers

Religion—

empathy with suffering

sacrifice of possessions

Religion—

knowledge of Buddha

the Cross of Christ, Ayah to Mohammad

Religion—

samadhi of a Yogi

dance of a dancer

Religion—

a trekking in an unknown terrain

a sea voyage to discover the voyage

 

Religion—

an act of peeling off onion skins of ignorance

a journey from being to Being

through love, action, knowledge or Raja yoga

or whatever leads you to You in you.

 

3. Rickety Ride Of Life

 

Gasping on the smoking mountain

muffled moon looking for fountain

smudgy smog clenched its octopus claws

nude trees clatter in gray wintry night.

Solitary bird in a cast away castle

swollen memories surf in moist eyes

pricking pain and sweet strain

both tears and smile flicker on the wrinkled face.

Vagaries of vintage snaps splurge

in the thick air. Neither fangs of fire

nor flirting flame arise in burnt wick.

The frail frame awaits silent sunny steps.

A callous call, casual chat or regular mail

can’t dispel the empty web of dear desires.

A lingering hope against the tide

survives the rickety ride of life.

 

4. E God

 

One fine morning I opened my tab

dumbfound I was to see a new alphabet

consisting of only one letter—‘e’

common for all languages

‘e’ opened e-mouth like krishna

to show all letters in it

the realization dawned on me

i prostrated before e-god chanting

om ‘e’ invocation, meditation, salutation

om e-guruveh namah!

om e-birth namah!

om e-class namah!

om e—text namah!

om e-marriage namah!

om e-honeymoon namah!

om e-shopping namah!

om e-sex namah!

om e-healthcare namah!

om e-governance namah!

om e-banking namah!

om e-Swiss, e-Panama namah!

om e-crime namah!

om e-cremation namah!

om e swahaaaaaa…!

om e all pervasive power namo namah!

hail ‘e’ invisible, omniscient, omnipotent power!

my tail started wagging

my mouth shouting like muezzin

eAllah eAkbar Rahmani Rahim…

 

5. Two-Minute Silence 

 

Sisters and brothers of India

Let’s observe two-minute silence

On the uprooted microphone

On the broken chair in the parliament

On the torn pages of the constitution.

 

Mothers and Fathers of India

Let’s observe two-minute silence

On your death, on the death

Of your fear and deference

To your vows and values.

 

Ladies and gentlemen of India

Let’s observe two-minute silence

On the death of dhoti and pugadi

Oxen and coolies replaced by wheels

Chopped up hands and lame legs.

 

Friends, stand with me

To observe two-minute silence

On this great grand culture

On this glorious century

On its great promises.

 

Let’s observe two-minute silence

On the shrinking space, shrinking sun

Stinking water of the sacred rivers

Sleeping birds, falling leaves

Watermelon being sliced for quarreling cousins.

 

Someone whispered in my ear

Can’t we do with one minute…?