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Bewildering Stories

Abha Iyengar, Yearnings


These are my poems. They hold the headiness of romance, the sensuality of desire, the heartache of loss and the vulnerability of being human. — Abha Iyengar
Author: Abha Iyengar
Vendor: Flipkart
Published: February, 2010
Length: 112 pp.
Price: $4.23

A Strange Stirring


There is a strange stirring
No, not in the palm trees.
Not in the cawing of crows.
Not in the way
The waters eddy and flow.
There is a strange stirring
Here where my palm lies
Waiting next to yours
Upturned in anticipation.
The air is hot over it
The sweating is under my armpits.

There is a strange stirring
No, not where the air is sweet
With the smell of coconuts.
Not where the sand is hot
Under the fisherman’s feet.
Not where the young woman bathes
Careless of hungry eyes.

There is a strange stirring
Here where my upturned palm
next to yours,
And the distance so small
The stirring is

And the waters are overflowing
Into the empty canoes
That rock on the sides.

My palm is wet.
Your eyes watch my lips.
I imagine you tracing
A line
There is a strange stirring
Where my legs want to part
And overflow.

My palm lies waiting.
The air is still.
You move your hand
To point at something
And then settle it quietly
On my palm.

There is a strange stirring
Where our palms touch
And pulse
Unsure, unsteady.
The river waters overflow.
The canoe rocks gently.
There is a strange stirring here.
Where we are with each other.

Side by Side, Not to Collide

Listen here.

We are lovers and we kiss
But our religions don’t mix
So when we stand in line for water
We cannot stand together.

Side by side, yes,
But we will drink from different cups,
From different clay-pots.

Tell me,
Does your water taste different from mine?

If I filled the same in my mouth
And poured it into yours
We would both be defiled.
We are lovers, but the world does not know it
Skin on skin
Sweat on sweat
Breath on breath
We stand in parallel paths
Which do not cross or touch
When we drink from different cups
So close we are
Together almost,
But see that thin dividing line
Drawn deftly on the clay pots
This is yours; this is mine.

The water that flows freely
Is now captured separately.

In the name of religion
This is how it has to be.
The road we walk is different
But see the irony,
We are lovers
Who drink from each other’s lips
Drink water separately.
Skin on skin
Sweat on sweat
Breath on breath
The world will keep us from it.
Fill us in clay pots like this water
That we drink.
Tell us our gods are different,
Our vessels, our thinking,
have no link.

I see you raise your arm
And dash it against the clay
Again and again you do it,
There is no stopping
you today.
Now the earthen pots
are broken.

The water gushes and flows,
It has no separate rows.


My eyes reach out to the horizon
The moments fleet by...
The aroma of dreams is in the air
Dreams that propel me forward.
Poems flow onto the page
They are my dreams for posterity.
The crackling fire burns with life
Carrying my dreams to greater heights.
There is a strange reassurance in the flames
They write my story.
My dreams take me to another shore
We are birds in flight, wondrous and rare.
My eyes reach out to the horizon
The moments fleet by...


Meri nigaahein ufaq par hain
Intezaar ki ghadiyaan gin rahi hoon...
Hai phail rahi fizaaon mein khwaabon ki mahek
Khwaab hii hotein hain jiine ki wajah.
Kabhi purzon pe utaara thaa in khwaabon ko
Soch kar mile gi inhein oonchi si jagah.
Bhadakte hue sholon mein zindagi ke lamhein hain
Roshan huey khwaab, dekho bhala kis tarah!
In aag ki lapton mein ajab ik dilaasa hai
Dastaan likhna hai lapak kar kuch iss tarah
Naye maqaam ka vaadaa detin hain yeh mujhe
Parwaaz bhartein hain asmaan ke parinde jis tarah
Meri nigaahein ufaq par hain
Intezaar ki ghadiyaan gin rahi hoon...

(in Urdu)

Copyright © 2012 by Abha Iyengar

Reviewed by Nabina Das at Pirene’s Fountain

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