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 Syed Ali Hamid


Syed Ali Hamid (b. 1954), has published four books of poems: Autumn Rainbow (1993), No Man’s Land (2003), Desire, Ultimately (2013) and The Ontology of Desire: New and Selected Poems (2015). His other publications include, in addition to research articles, a book on the short fiction of Ernest Hemingway, and translation of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea into Urdu which was awarded by the Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy in 1990. His translations of Urdu poetry into English and English poetry into Urdu/Hindi have appeared in various journals. He lives in Almora, the spiritual and cultural capital of Kumaun, where he is Professor of English at the Almora Campus of Kumaun University in Uttarakhand, India. He can be reached at hamidalmora@gmail.com.



1. Desire, Ultimately

 

It began with desire

stirrings

rainbow-like

originating from the middle

travelling upwards

later translated

into preferences

some particular

some holistic.

 

Then the concept

of communication through silence

the ecstasy of soul-union

divine love

dhyanam, third eye

the beyond.

 

But how long this illusion

this auto-suggestion?

The moment the eyes closed

for dhyanam

faces appeared

bodies, lips

breasts, cunts

groping hands

caressing feet

And the soul evaporated

into desire,

ultimately.

 

2. The Land in Monsoon

 

When the rains come

farmers rejoice,

the parched summer earth

drinking the first drops

with glee.

 

But in another land

the fury of the floods

carries away houses, people:

submerged cars

floating household things

no roads,

only muddy water.

 

I watch the clouds

descend the hills,

the many shades of green,

and the enchanting sound of rain on the roof

catalyzes desire

erotic fantasies.

 

Even the thought of the torrent

five years back

that moved the earth

exposed the foundation of my house

as I stood helpless,

cannot take away the yearning

for that dark woman

lying on the wet grass in the rain,

worship her writhing body

an electricity that kills,

a beauty that annihilates

everything but memory.

 

3. Growing Up

 

Growing up

is to grow wings

and learn to fly

with the desire

to touch the sky.

 

But the earth attracts

when rain falls

to kiss its moistness

inhale its fragrance

and slide in ecstasy.

 

But when the rain stops

the sky is far away.

With clipped wings

we await a storm,

but the clouds above

pass without a drop

and we crawl

slowly into stupor

and finally

into oblivion.

 

4. Dreamland

 

It is hidden within the hidden, what we think is manifest

They are in a dream, who have woken in a dream----Ghalib   

                                                        (Author’s translation)

                                                             

In their dreamland

poets reflect on reflections

trying to trap them

in the inverted bowl

of their minds.

 

In the half-light of drawn curtains

a place heavily populated

things, bodies jostle with each other

melting, re-forming

into shapes palpable

moon, sky, trees,

lips, cunts, thighs.

Noises transform into symphonies

and un-formed shapes into bodies.

 

I watch the moon

in a bowl of water.

Her tall, well-toned body

long toes, matter-of-fact words

deep-sea look

creates a storm

dissolving the moon into a sheen

that covers her body

inviting subjugation,

worship, surrender

words that form in a dream

from which we wake

into the dreamland

of drawn curtains, silent bodies.

 

5. The Ontology of Desire

 

It was desire

self-consuming

blended with the ideal,

the romantic:

Standing under a tree

on a hot May afternoon

waiting for a fleeting glimpse

as she passed by

on a rickshaw.

 

It transformed

into violent desire

naked lust;

the smell of sweat

groaning bodies

enacting fantasies

sometimes commonplace

sometimes dark.

 

But now

sublimated desire,

disciplined, ritualistic ,

Zen-like:

Carefully preparing her morning tea,

the leaves boiled just right

so that the aroma

the fumes

travel to the brain

and see her sleep-filled eyes

slowly regain their sharpness.

Evenings,

as she sips her whisky,

my hands relaxing her  body

neck to the toes,

the whispers of my heart

the commands of my brain

guiding my hands;

her eyes

intoxicated with whisky and desire

and her perfect lips

breaking into a smile

my only reward.