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 Pashupati Jha


A Ph.D. on the poetry of Sylvia Plath from I.I.T. Delhi, Pashupati Jha is a senior Professor of English at I.I.T. Roorkee. Besides numerous academic publications which include a book, Sylvia Plath, co-edited anthology, Reflections on English Studies, and over sixty research papers and book chapters, he has also published five widely read and reviewed poetry collections: Cross and Creation (2003), Mother and Other Poems (2005), All in One  (2011)  Awaiting Eden Again (2015) and Taking on Tough Times (2016). He has received Michael Madhusudan Academy Award (Kolkata) for poetry. He can be contacted at pashupatijha@yahoo.co.in.



1. Waiting for the Lotus

 

It is not easy at all

to speak the unspeakable

and express the ugly essence

of oneself. Shame is all right

only when it is silent or hidden

from the prying eyes of others. But alas!

I have to expose my own wounds,

not for the exhibition of any sort,

but to tell you, o brute

that wound always hurts,

and it hurts all the more when

inflicted from unexpected quarters.

 

It is not easy at all

to write the unwritten

and weave a poem.

I am not a child

to weep out my heart;

I would wait for the day

when the lotus rises—

if it rises at all—

from my murky waters.

 

2. Idea-Obsessed

 

When an idea

does not remain an ideal

but becomes an obsession

winning a thousand impulsive mind;

militancy of myriad hues

spreads its roots

in the soft tissues of the heart,

hurtling ahead with mad rush

hurting insanely all around

in a grand illusion of gallantry.

 

But bravery

needs something quite different--

a calm mind and cool courage

to rise above the intoxication,

above the scarlet perversion

and to descend down

to something very mundane--

to the level of the lowly earth

of solid action.

 

Not the spilling of sporadic blood

but the constant sweating

for the cause of one and all.

 

A difficult task indeed,

as arranging everything afresh

after a smashing storm.

 

3. Muse Protests

 

Feelings generated in the heart

are both intense and authentic;

when shaped in apt words

they assume the power of blessings

bestowed by parents and preceptors

and become true in the life of the blessed.

 

Now feelings as such are half-dead;

they originate feebly in the mind

and are worded, filtered,

reworded many a time.

They are born as invalid and weak offsprings

and have no impact on those, who are blessed.

 

Prayer attuned to the material gains

is no prayer at all;

it looks like a bargain

between the god and the follower.

His grace is exchanged for gifts and offerings;

people have turned worship too into business item.

In the world today, everything is commerce

or useless like old ideals and values.

 

Used to living at the wind-tossed hilltop

I am now housed in a designer home--

beautiful from outside but breathless within;

I have to spend uneasy sleepless nights in it

till some pious soul rescues me from there.

 

4. Cast of the Dice

 

The die was already cast

that a time would come

when the fox would lord over the lamb

and the crow would confidently perch

on the back of the white cow

to proclaim croakingly that its voice is

 sweeter than those of the cuckoo and the nightingale.

That it looks more graceful

than the swan floating on the lake;

that the swarming sycophants would nod slavishly

before the lordly fox and the crow in unison

to ditto what  the fox and the crow have felt and said.

 

But the time would come again

for another die to be cast.

Then the lamb would grow

sharp teeth and tough horns

to pierce the flesh of the fox. The nightingale

too would have a longer and  harsher beak

to pin the crow down to the dust.

 

In that second age, the good would not

be indifferent and ignore the evil

but would certainly gore it to death

with all its stems, branches and roots

making its resurrection well nigh impossible.

 

5. Passing Passion

 

‘I love you,’

‘I love you too.’

Two young souls

in the dark and damp library corridor

were cooing these sweet words to each other.

 

I heard them by chance

while passing through the same corridor

my arms and mind loaded with books.

Yet I felt their passion on my pulse;

nothing is more electrifying

than love-words sweetly spoken.

I turned behind and treasured

their young faces, pink-red with passion.

 

Months later

I passed by the same corridor

and saw the same young boy

his face a little aged with experience

cooing the same words

with the same intensity

but in the ears of another girl.

 

How do modern souls shift their love

so effortlessly, as the snake

sloughs off its skin?

Carry I the scar of my first passion

even today, when many years have gone by.

For, it was told to me since childhood

that love was meant for seven births.