Updated: April 19, 2020 12:12:47 pm
The diaspora of death is only partly visible –
the dialects of absence shrink and swell.
From the sky, where the traffic of Hindus
clogs into smoke, I see those
who’ve left their dead for me.
Air and its agents reach before me –
they begin mauling the flesh,
they’re catalysts, they’re thieves,
they steal the body’s vanity.
Death seems like a mountain that life must climb,
Air cannot chew bones,
and hence this pile, like logs,
waiting for time’s oxidation.
These are my only rivals –
this shrewd air,
always waiting first at the crossing
where death dignifies life by ending it;
and time, which has cast a spell on the living.
No one wants to die before tasting life,
as if it were marrow inside bone.
The face is tasteless,
I keep the eyes for the end –
they are cold, they taste of distance.
I am alone, perhaps unique:
death brings grief to man,
to me it brings food, without salt.
That might be the difference –
not between life and death,
but between residents of land and air,
between simile and metaphor.
— Sumana Roy
who would have thought, the world as we know it will end first with a bang and then a whimper.
but then there’s always hope that’s also a song and a whisper. pause and listen, man, this the
sound of the past on the mixer. we been too fast and got this mixed up. so what I’m asking is
where’s the next gig, huh? cz we gots to fix it before it fix us. just sticks and stones don’t do no
more, what we need is a good luck and a big hug. cz kindness is gangsta and nows its real time to
be street thugs.
— Aditi Angiras
Lockdown verse, as the name suggests, is a series consisting of poems introspecting, examining and reflecting on the times we are living in. The poets have very generously agreed to share their hitherto unpublished works. For this week, Sumana Roy, poet and writer of How I Became a Tree (2017) and Aditi Angiras, founder of Bring Back the Poets — a spoken word poetry initiative that explores politics, sexuality and activism through poems in public spaces — share their poems.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines