Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Poems in touch by Dileep Jhaveri


From The Verses On Poetry


I am amused:

Nobody has even the haziest memory

Of my father's Grandpa.

And yet his sword is still preserved.


And even now on its hilt

A delicate pattern of leaves and flowers

Is faintly visible.

There are stains

Hidden behind the tattered loyalty

Of the scabbard's silk and leather.

Are they marks of rust or blood?

Who Knows?


Anybody would be embarrassed of the rusty sword.

And who would not be ashamed of a bloody one!

I am abashed by the sword itself

That too still retained!


Those who will address my son as Grandpa

Perhaps will discover

A pen belonging to his father preserved still

When forest or ponds or squirrels or migratory birds

Must have become dried stains

On the rusted surface of barren paper.

Nobody would have even dimmest memory


Poems were written with that pen.

Nobody would ask what poetry is.


And yet, picking that pen

Someone would draw a petal of Peony flower

And write P for the first time

And proclaim perhaps

I am ashamed of my ancestors


Translated by The Poet



Conversation With Trees


Trees converse with each other

One tree bends a branch trembling with nascent leaflets to other

The other steadily holds up a nest

One shows green lichen spreading on its brown bark

Other has caterpillars crawling over its trunk

One turns its foliage from the other to share sunlight

Under the earth the other tugs its roots to where dampness is

Trees write also, on the sheets of winds

One has to know the script of fragrances

and dew, raindrops and snow as well

They paint on moonbeams and lake waters

As a child how often you kept awake

and left for solitary wanderings!

True, the squirrels do not scurry over our tables

nor do the birds perch on the chairs

But we rejoice making wooden toys

of birds flapping their stringed wings

Dig up clumsily carved bull-carts from ancient ruins

We have played with boats, cars, trains and aeroplanes of wood

And of course, the wooden soldiers with wooden swords

And prayed to saints fashioned from logs

and cut a cross from a tree

And now we beg forgiveness from this paper



Making a Chair


Making a chair is a most natural thing

and very easy


You can wait for autumn

for every leaf to fall

or you can pluck out leaves one by one

like a crow picking on mouse flesh

Pull down the tree like an elephant uprooting forests

and remove the twigs like a wolf tearing at the tendons

Split it apart like a crocodile the bones

Bore in holes like a woodpecker

Fixing staves in crosses and hammering nails is an ancient art

Make smooth the surface with putty provided by the pulp

Obtain paints from the ancestors of the trees

buried for billions of years to re-emerge through oil wells

Resins from the freshly peeled bark will provide the sheen


Now sit back on the chair set in veranda

and contemplate over the sprouting green of a grass blade

from a crack in the asphalted pavement

Patiently awaiting a forest




Fear grips me

And then

My tongue gets tied throat turns dry

A stone swings over the heart and sweat breaks out from armpits.

Eyes screw shut and piss and shit turn loose


Cattle bellow in fear

Centipedes coil up porcupines spread their quills

Feathers of birds get stuck

Aquatic animals shove to cling to each other


When the land gets scared

There is earthquake

What if an ant is afraid ?

When a mountain panics where does it hide?

On the spot it spews lava


Sensing danger the sand pulls storm over it

Shedding leaves in the wind the tree bares its frame

Then what would the forest do?


When pursued by randy floods rushing to rape

the jittery river runs wild

and like a child seeking shelter of mother's bosom

merges in the sea


Occasionally even the language is terrified

Then the grammar like a gown is ripped from her tattered blouse

and the spellings are yanked above the knees

Underneath them

the honour of

Life force – love – humanity – universal consciousness

is mangled, rent and violated


to cast out the evil eye

by flinging out

some sinister malevolent ill omened object from the house
the language, swaying like one possessed,

would throw

Poetry out



Regarding the Unsalvable

When asked about the trees

One chanted hymns from the ancient scriptures

One recited a poem

One brought a painting

One dragged a large tome of nomenclature, chronicled geographical data,
One dumped pigments resins planks shavings sawdust cord hessian cloth paper.

One scrawled down faggots coal tar diesel petrol and struck a matchstick.

One babbled woods woods woods

One sobbed

One carefully set with a smile a bonsai flower pot.


One dug a pit entered it and planted himself

Then on his branches the birds built nests, clamoured, smeared shit

in his cavities entered rats and snakes and such animals

earthworms, caterpillars, locusts, scorpians stung

ants and termites sieged

lichen spread

frost, sun, rains, winds, relentlessly harassed every day and night


Several years passed

before he realised that

to become a tree after being a man is very difficult


And meaningless

Translated by the Poet



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