(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.