POETRY: ISSUE #17

"The Last Caveman" by Gina Williams, Infrared Photograph, 2010, Mud Season Review
*Image: “The Last Caveman” by Gina Williams, Infrared Photograph, 2010

 

Abhay K

Featured Poet

 

1. Siddhartha

I must have been cruel
to turn my face from my young wife
my newborn
longing for my lullabies.

I secretly fled at night
without goodbyes
riding my beloved horse the night through
who died exhausted at dawn.

When I look back
at the forlorn fort of Tilorakot,
and the desolate gardens of Lumbini
I wonder: what have I done?

 

2. Bhanubhakta

I wrote verses in quest of immortality
like the grass-cutter who built a well
so that his life would not fade
like shadows after sunset

In prison, I danced to the tunes of mosquitoes and ticks
to be freed I composed verses
in praise of the Prime Minister
I died ignominious, my works unpublished

I stand at the central square
looking on as the marchers pass by
holding torches in their hands
chanting slogans for a new land.

 

3. Prithivi Narayan Shah

After losing the war of Nuwakot
my father mostly prayed at home

while I walked the streets of Gorkha
rubbing shoulders with the brave

one day I conquered Nuwakot
reversing my father’s defeat

my victory turned into a vision
One king – one kingdom

after long wait and many defeats
I finally conquered Kirtipur

Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur
fell as a pack of cards

kings fled from palace to palace
and an age ended forever

from Mechi to Mahakali
my sword wove a new garland

the air is still fresh
with its fragrance.

 

4. Laxmi Prasad Devkota

My parents would tell me
I was a boon from Laxmi, the goddess of wealth
yet all my life
I served Sarswati, the goddess of poetry
I left for Patna to study literature
but returned with a B.A. in law
Death claimed my parents first
then my young daughter
Deranged I found myself in Ranchi
in a mental asylum enduring electric shock
I never believed in miracles
One day it happened
I recovered
and returned to Kathmandu
to lose myself in literature
Freedom eluded me here
I left the banks of Bagmati for Benares
Cancer like a scorpion stung me hard
and I died like Muna
without meeting her Madan.

 

Abhay K

Abhay K is an Indian poet-diplomat and author of two memoirs and six poetry collections including The Seduction of Delhi. His poems have appeared in several literary journals across the world. He received the SAARC Literary Award 2013 and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2013. He has also featured in Forbes India‘s Celebrity Authors list 2014. His Earth Anthem has been translated into twenty-six languages. He has a certificate in poetry writing from International Writing Programme, the University of Iowa. He is the editor of the poetry anthology Capitals and has just edited an anthology of contemporary Indian poetry in English.

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