Sunday, 15 August 2021

Jayant Kashyap, Poetry 2021 Shortlist

Bonfires

    “They make a desolation and call it peace.”

                Agha Shahid Ali



When we were nothing we loved

them so much our bodies broke, nothing


remained to love back even for once;

today we are four letters, uncanny and


still in love; we are shadows, quiet

and together, and when the sun’s lucky


we’re hardly visible; the nights observe

us burning, our lips trembling, silent


and yet nothing crackles. When we

stand to reason, they burn half a country


down, merely, for the sake of names;

when the bonfire spans storeys, they


gather in the streets and chant again. We

are still nothing, and we flicker like


dying flames; when they stand we’re not

heard, our words untrustworthy, our


bodies only soil and salt. We’re still

nothing, but always more than a lie,


always no less than truth.



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