Monday, 19 February 2018

Poetry 2017 Longlist Anshuman Gaur

An Anthem for the Fallen
Anshuman Gaur

Once the storm has passed
Once the dust has settled down
Who remembers the blood-sworn vow?
The cloud serpent
Again, steals the water-womb.
The sacrifices made
At the altar of trade
An uneasy head wears the broken crown.

On the banks of Yamuna
A little girl writes feverishly.
Red lines on blank sheets drawn
We can’t hear what she says
We can’t read what she writes
Her unseeing eyes hold
The panic of a closing gate.
We act bold
But the weight,
Of not knowing what she meant
Strangles our hope.

We know how urgent this is.
We know how urgent.
We know how.
We know.

Why won’t she tell?
On the land is cast an imperious spell.
The old covenant has since been torn,
Slow-moving, tortured every thought
A python engorged on its kill
As it crawls-off, to spawn.
No light we see, though it is dawn.
Was this the blessed, signaled morn?

I dreamt of snakes
In a dance of love
On the floor of our terraced gardens.
Desquamated
Born again
Fangs bared
She rushes in
Her hot thighs beckon
The promise of instant nirvana.
Her bosom hints
The lusciousness of enduring youth.

Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu…
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu…
Why does her indulgence scare you?

We all must now conform
With an old, aphoristic norm.
For obeying your commandments,
What have we to show?
We exchange,
Old fears for terrors new
Some keep searching for their garnets blue.

The eulogies we wrote
To those ordained chaste,
The songs we sang were born in hate.
We must assign our myths a date
History will make those murderers great.

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