Saturday, November 10, 2007

1Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13

“I have hymns you haven’t heard.”
From The Book Of Hours
Love Poems To God
Rilke 1,40

My Loving
Is not ordered
By the definition
I give to the act
In words
But by the thesaurus
Of meaning
I make
For every act
Of my living.

Sunday, November 04, 2007



“God, give us each our own death,
The dying that proceeds
From each of our lives.”
From The Book Of Hours,
Love Poems To God, Rilke III 6

God, give me three deaths.

The golden-calf-I-can-milk image
Of you.

The impulse to shout before
The cock crows thrice and thereafter
A rock silence.

The colt love that carries
A neighbor’s load only on convenient
Palm Sundays.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Easter Song

Well, it’s in poetry that I find that that sense of the mystery of creation is at its most intense and most immediately palpable. It’s like I wrote it, but it wasn’t all of me that wrote it either. It is like something in me wrote it, which I don’t consciously control 100 percent.” Lee Tzu PhengI want to write a poem
where butterflies play hide and seek
in the garden. Where Lepidoptera words
flitting from flower scent to sunshine
sheen of tousled leaves coquettishly lead
you to a mandala of the mind.
Where winged images peep from behind
leaves to surprise you with more
than colors. Where wings beating
in the air is a metaphor
for chrysalis silence. Where the caterpillar’s
wriggling is a native samba.
Where the sunlight combing the shadows
discovers the newborn, poised to break
free from the cocoon, meditative antennae
catching for the first time the music
that has metamorphosed from silence.
Where winged creatures are not formalin-
preserved specimens in museums of natural
history but are framed by the mind, exhibited
in a gallery and viewed each time memory
walks through the door. Where I’m butterfly
feasting on a King’s supper, sleeping
the Sabbath quiet and waking each day
to a Easter Morning Song, which although
inaudible to others, is to me an anthem
that will last for eternity

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Translation of a Father

Once, a long time ago, when poets met to read their poems to each, mostly the only way to get it to the public, I as a teen went to one in Bombay. Awed by the presence such figures like Nissim Ezekiel, Keki Daruwalla, Imtiaz Dharkar, Adil Jussawalla, Dom Moraes, I did what young poets must not do. Keep silent. Your ware may be flawed, your meter may be crooked, the thought tangential, but a poet ought never to be silent.

This particular gathering has remained in the memory for a remark. Someone just before reading a poem said he wanted say a few words before he started. Adil's voice, his sardonic style ever present - in poetry and his talk - boomed: "A preface to a poem, that's a new one."

Poems do not require preface: this one does. I never really knew my father, he died when I was five. He left a legacy though that was invaluable. A cupboard full of Urdu poetry, a wall full of books, as diverse as they come: from Essays of Francis Bacon to Mysteries of Occult. What I know of him is from his collection of books, from his poems.

Here is one, and then a translation, not really true to the meter and rhyme but to the essence of what is said.

Nayi nayi jab kompal phooti
Bhoode bargat ke seene se,
patjhad ka gham door hua;
Jaise qiza ki masti tooti
Dukh sara kafoor hua.

Sharm ki moon par laali chooti
Jaise duhalhan chalte chalte
khadam khadam pe sharmaye
Aangan mein mehtabi chooti
Aage jaane kya kya aaye.

Pal bhar ka ijyaz na janoon
Dekho ke woh chand hain aaj
Patta patta booti vooti
Kis darjah khusand hain aaj

Gulshan ki yeh saari raunaq,
Koshish Paiham zindabad.
Aasha ho nahi sakti hooti
Mansoobe paaindabad
By Shor Abedi, written somewhere in 1956

* * *

With the coming
Of the Spring, A weight
Was lifted from the Aging Tree.

Autumn inducted sadness
Faded; with blooming
Of the buds, the garden smiled.
With daintiness of
A blushing bride.

Spring is fleeting,
Momentary; still:
Joy has its significance,
With every bob and flutter
Of the leaf, a promise
Of things to come.

Hope has stamped
A lasting mark.
By Shakeel Abedi, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


A friend reminded of Yeats

And Yeats reminds one of chaos.

The verse in italics are from a different age, saved from a bonfire by a memory that clings on to them, as I heard somewhere recently: "They are yet to invent a drug to erase the memory."I wish they did, we need it more than the Viagras and Levitras, more than statins and mycins ( a weird phonetic relation to 'my sins'). Was it Frost? ‘Many have died of cancer, yes / But more have died of broken heart.’ And souls.

It is not the impunity
Of Destiny, but
It's infallibility
That we met...

The world was a chaotic place,
Giants clashed with giants, crushing
The little men, women and lovers
Children, small people
And two,
Whose hearts beat in a single beat.
The world crashed around them,
Chasms opened,
And they were divided, each
On the other side of a widening, gaping
And still their hearts beat in unison,
till the dying, fading beat.
The eyes closed,
And restful peace engulfed the world.
The world is what we see it as, and
Since they were dead,
Their world had died with them.

Sound of Melanchoic Dreams

Listen to the
Footfalls of Melancholic dreams.
Adjust the treble,
base and balance of
your ears, their sound
is faint. Like sound
of the tear drop
Falling, from eyelid to the cheek.
Untrained eyes might mistake
them for Silence
They are different,
the Silent dreams.
Their treble’s dead,
their base’s killed
The balance awry.
Look out too,
They come in colors;
Purples - from light to deep,
Blues - darker shades mostly,
Never in Pinks and Reds,
Of any shades or hues.
They come,Wrapped:
In the Obituary section
Of the newspaper, with words
that invariably
show up on top,
"Dearly Loved" and "Sadly Missed"
In lonely nights,
Or sad afternoons, when the light
Peeks through the darkened cloud,
Like from a half eclipsed sun.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Poem For Father's Day

Remembering Father

Father, I remember
when you were the pattering feet
of sunlight stealing across the bedroom
inviting me to a new morn,
when you were the circle
of warmth that my Teddy's
two armed embrace could not be,
when you stooped low enough
to enter the tent I played in,
when your Kodak froze my smile
& instead of exhibiting it in a gallery
you hid it in your purse
for a private viewing,
when I failed, you did not
cloud the panes of my window
and dirtied the frame of my heaven
with the breath of angry words.

Tonight I am gazing at the sky
seeing not the dark velvet of your absence
but the embroidered stars, delighted
that you are still threading light
into my life.

Posted by Plus Ultra in memory
of his father Ng Yeh Chiu

Monday, May 29, 2006


Yesterday I couldn’t tell the time
The big hand was on nine,
The small one on the floor.

Yesterday I couldn’t cry
And loved all those tears
That did not come.

Yesterday I couldn’t smile
Some smiles did flicker,
In sepia tinted memories and died.