Sunday, 5 November 2017

2 Poems by Sunil Sharma

​A Poet Remembers

I have travelled places with
Other poets.
I was with Wordsworth
In the Lake District,
Wandering as a cloud,
Watching the dancing daffodils
And a singing Solitary Reaper,

Heard and taught in an English class
By a devoted teacher,
In a South-Asian country
Obsessed with English,
And---
Where the master's tongue makes you above the others;
I was with Shelley and Keats,
Liked the British landscapes varied,
In my PG class in the university
Where professors were more British than the British;
Then I had to wander,
Not as a poet but as a teacher of
English,
From one private school to another,
Paying us poor, those high-schools;
During the long rains,
Under a leaking roof shared by others,
I remembered my own little city,
Near Delhi,
Where I was raised middle-class
And taught to love poetry,
Encountering many hardships, growing up there,
But the Great Poets, the Romantics,
Kept me constant company,
Cheered me up on wintry nights,
Never deserting me for a minute,
For a raise, I had to hop from city to country,
Then, country to city, like a round trip,
The worries and my constant cough made me forget,
My own little city,
Or, the Lake District,
The fountain-head of immortal poetry.
The Romantics were lucky,
They did have their District,
These days, in the greedy 21st-century,
Nothing remains---
Neither the lakes nor the green districts,
In my own developing country.
Every city looks identical, here,
You end up watching trees on wall-papers,
Wall-hangings or mounted photographs only.
During such sordid moments,
I revisit the Romantic poetry,
And feel revived,
As their spectral presence still
Haunts me.


A Leaf Unseen

A leaf gets detached
From a dust-laden tree,
In a corner street full of
Egg shells and residues of
Some hotel dinner;
The yellow veined leave,
Flying in the hot air
For some distance,
Then dropping down on the
Dusty ground of the gasping city,
Covered with thick smog;
The tender leave,
Uprooted,
Settles down on the uneven street,
Slowly being trampled by the
Hurried feet, on way to offices/schools,
Unseen on this melancholy morning;
Like---
The crying of a girl-child,
Standing solitary at the locked gate,
Calling for an absent mother,
Or,
An old man trying repeatedly
The long-distance number
Of a son who never responds,
Having erased all the memories of
A loving parent and Indian childhood/youth,
In his Florida home.

The leaf that once fluttered,
Gave shade, part of tree green,
Has outlived its value,
For some in the commercial city,
And---
Now fallen and flattened,
Is mourned by none.
A Poet Remembers
I have travelled places with
Other poets.
I was with Wordsworth
In the Lake District,
Wandering as a cloud,
Watching the dancing daffodils
And a singing Solitary Reaper,

Heard and taught in an English class
By a devoted teacher,
In a South-Asian country
Obsessed with English,
And---
Where the master's tongue makes you above the others;
I was with Shelley and Keats,
Liked the British landscapes varied,
In my PG class in the university
Where professors were more British than the British;
Then I had to wander,
Not as a poet but as a teacher of
English,
From one private school to another,
Paying us poor, those high-schools;
During the long rains,
Under a leaking roof shared by others,
I remembered my own little city,
Near Delhi,
Where I was raised middle-class
And taught to love poetry,
Encountering many hardships, growing up there,
But the Great Poets, the Romantics,
Kept me constant company,
Cheered me up on wintry nights,
Never deserting me for a minute,
For a raise, I had to hop from city to country,
Then, country to city, like a round trip,
The worries and my constant cough made me forget,
My own little city,
Or, the Lake District,
The fountain-head of immortal poetry.
The Romantics were lucky,
They did have their District,
These days, in the greedy 21st-century,
Nothing remains---
Neither the lakes nor the green districts,
In my own developing country.
Every city looks identical, here,
You end up watching trees on wall-papers,
Wall-hangings or mounted photographs only.
During such sordid moments,
I revisit the Romantic poetry,
And feel revived,
As their spectral presence still
Haunts me.

Bionote

Mumbai-based, Sunil Sharma has published five collections of poetry, two collection of short fiction, one novel and co-edited five books of poetry, short fiction and literary criticism. Recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award---2012.  Another notable achievement is his select poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree-2015. He edits English section of the monthly Setu, a bilingual journal from Pittsburgh, USA:
http://www.setumag.com/p/setu-home.html

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