For a Rainy Day: Six poets on looking at clouds from both sides

Monsoon Diaries: Creations of six contemporary poets to make your rainy day perfect!

Published: July 9, 2017 2:14 am
Monsoon, rain have always been an essential part of astistes imaginations and creations. (Source: Thinkstock images)

August, The Year After

I should be in Sri Lanka now
but I am not, caught instead
inside the throat of a rainstorm
in a large village to the north.

My grandfather sleeping in the
Colombo house with the second

to last fifth of my grandmother’s
ashes. The last house she walked in.

When the day breaks, he will leave
for Kathirgamam. Daylight in that

country shaped like a tear, origin of
love, resting place of serendipity.

I wake to the bed trembling. Tonight,
islands other than my heart are equally

seismic. The rain ceases; the fear of water
sets in. The coast puckers against it. And

my grandmother, she whose remains
will bless the flood of five rivers,

will continue to walk, the sound of her
bangles in the hallways of every building

I will lay my head in, waking me on
nights of rain as if to say, look.

The stars are for you. The lightning, for you.
Whatever the morning brings, know this,

See how much, how much we love you.

– Sharanya Manivannan

Sharanya Manivannan is the author of the award-winning short story collection, The High Priestess Never Marries. Her next book of poems will be out later this year.

No Rain, Junaid

No rain, Junaid, will fill
this empty cup of grief-thirst,
even though this is more June rain
than we want,
and elsewhere, boys like you,
with other names,
live and float paper boats,
and scavenge for fish
in unlikely, sudden street-pools,
food on their mind all the time.

– K. Srilata

K. Srilata is a poet, fiction writer and professor of English at IIT Madras.

A First Monsoon Again
(Mumbai, July 2016)

At first
it’s nostalgia —

a downpour of kisses
under a weeping umbrella,

a euphoria
of gulmohur,

an eternity
of adrak chai,

every moment
the memory of a previous one

when the skies were crazier,
love purer,
life simpler,

when the heart turned Malabar,
the spirit Arabian,

desire Coromandel,
laughter more Gene Kelly

and words like baarish
and mazhai

were headier,
truer.

The first rains
are always
this plagiarism of yearning,

every moment
an echo of another

and then another —

the thunder the roar
of an outlawed god

whose hair is a foaming green river
through which seahorse

and minnow dart deliriously
around a crescent moon,

and every dark cloud a courier
from a classical past,

and longing
a rising fever of loam

and thirst for a man whose voice
is blue ash and oatmeal

(with a twist
of Gulzar).

It takes
a long time

to arrive
at this Tuesday at elevenness

when we open our windows
to the outrage,
the impossible nowness,

the gasp,
the rawness,

the sock in the chest,
the newness,

the raving psychosis,
the brazen never beforeness

and say the word,

our voices alight
with unguarded wonder

and a kind
of ancient terror:

‘Monsoon.’

– Arundhathi Subramaniam

Arundhathi Subramaniam is the award-winning author of eleven books of poetry and prose.

(Source: Pinterest)

Tree Line

i. m. Stan Brakhage (1933-2003)
tree rings
an absent biography

litmus of lost events

a perch to gather
the rain’s drumbeats
to begin again

a sentence in dusty green
snow sutra of chained wheels

on the salt road

summer japa of crickets announcing

a delay in nightfall

song snagged in a flayed tree
its words rustling in a fugitive wind

marking the quay

from which the sun boat sails

to begin again
to lose your way

– Ranjit Hoskote

Ranjit Hoskote is the author of Central Time, Vanishing Acts, and I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded.

[This poem will appear in Ranjit Hoskote’s forthcoming book of poems, Jonahwhale, to be published by Penguin in 2018]

Celebrating Rain

We have gathered here today
to curate the rain,
record its falling. We have gathered
to hold the season
like a cool veil
over our scorching days.

But think also, for a moment
of those who stand below the gathering clouds.
History is nothing
if not the telling of it;
if nobody speaks of remarkable things
who will know

about torn lands where the rains
do not fall at this time,
where the skies only hurl
dark things
and where nothing quenches
the thirst of bones.

Who will know, if we do not speak,
that in the time when swings ought to be draped
with flowers and trees brought to life
by the touch of a foot,
the only thing that blooms fiercely
is the blood of those

who did not ask for the battle
to be brought into their homes
while they lay asleep,
moving imperceptibly
from sleep to death
in the way that the clouds

leach into the air and
make it heavy with the weight
of water, make it sharp
with pain.

Many things rain down upon us
but perhaps all things
cannot be celebrated, even in season.

– Sridala Swami

Hyderabad-based Sridala Swami has two poetry collections to her name: A Reluctant Survivor [Sahitya Akademi] and Escape Artist [Aleph Book Co.]

Rain

Wearing the rain
I want your hands to meander
over soused me: come stroke
this breath, those drops yet to fall

In an infinity loop your absent
beauty chars — fuelling craving
till each inch of skin is
scorch, dew, hymn to you

Soot petals shower in slow motion
Pores smolder through downpour

I crouch
waiting for your scent
to condense, your waltz on water
to end, waiting

for you to thrust
me into another
hunger lit by lightning
forked

Prayers string the heart to heaven
— in climbing gossamer glister —
soaking the thunder with whispers:
Claim me. Pour bliss in every orifice.

Make me a monk, make
my body a begging bowl that brims
over the horizon for you

Language evaporates here.

– Priya Sarukkai Chabria

Priya Sarukkai Chabria is a poet, writer and translator. She edits Poetry at Sangam.

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