RAM KRISHNA SINGH

Collects all of my published poetry books. Also provides an uptodate view of my poetry, especially haiku and tanka.

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Ram Krishna Singh is a university professor whose main fields of interest consist of Indian English writing, especially poetry, and English for Specific Purposes, especially for science and technology. He was born on 31 December 1950 in Varanasi, India. Apart from a BA earned in 1970, he gained his MA in English Literature from Banaras Hindu University in 1972 and Ph D from Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi, in 1981. He also obtained a Diploma in Russian in 1972. Dr Singh started his career in journalism, as a Compilation Officer in the District Gazetteers Department, Lucknow, 1973, and a Journalist with the Press Trust of India, New Delhi, 1973-74. Changing to teaching he became a Lecturer at the Royal Bhutan Polytechnic, Deothang, Bhutan, 1974-76. Joining the Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad as a Lecturer from 1976-83, he then rose to Assistant Professor in 1983 and full  Professor and Head of the Institute’s Department of Humanities and Social Sciences since 1993 to 2011. He is now Professor of English (HAG).

A reviewer, critic and contemporary poet who writes in Indian English, Dr. Singh is the author of more than 160 research articles and 175 book reviews. He has published 39 books, including:  Savitri : A Spiritual Epic (Criticism, 1984); My Silence (poems, 1985); Sound and Silence (edited articles on Krishna Srinivas, 1986); Indian English Writing : 1981-1985 : Experiments with Expression (ed., 1987, rept. 1991); Using English in Science and Technology (textbook, 1988, rev. and rept, 2000); Recent Indian English Poets : Expressions and Beliefs (ed. 1992); Two Poets: R.K. Singh (I DO NOT QUESTION) Ujjal Singh Bahri (THE GRAMMAR OF MY LIFE) (poems, 1994); General English Practice (textbook, 1995); Anger in Action : Explorations of Anger in Indian Writing in English (ed.,1997); My Silence and Other Selected Poems : 1974-1994 (poems, 1996); Above the Earth’s Green (poems, 1997); Psychic Knot : Search for Tolerance in Indian English Fiction (ed., 1998); New Zealand Literature : Some Recent Trends (ed.,1998); Every Stone Drop Pebble (haiku, 1999); Multiple-Choice General English for UPSC Competitive Exams (textbook, 2001); Cover to Cover (poems, 2002). Pacem in Terris ( haiku, English and Italian, 2003), Communication : Grammar and Composition ( textbook, 2003), Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri : Essays on Love, Life and Death ( Critical articles, 2005), Teaching English for Specific Purposes : An Evolving Experience ( Research articles and review essays, 2005), Voices of the Present: Critical Essays on Some Indian English Poets (2006), The River Returns (tanka and haiku collection, 2006), English as a Second Language: Experience into Essays (ed. research articles, 2007), English Language Teaching: Some Aspects Recollected (ed. research articles, 2008), Sexless Solitude and Other Poems (2009), Mechanics of Research Writing (2010), Sense and Silence: Collected Poems (2010),  New and Selected Poems Tanka and Haiku (2012), and I Am No Jesus and Other Selected Poems, Tanka and Haiku (2014). His works have been anthologized in about 160 publications, while his editorial activities extend to include guest-editing of Language Forum, 1986, 1995, and Creative Forum, 1991, 1997, 1998, besides being co-editor of the latter publication from 1987-90, General Editor of Creative Forum New Poets Series, and service on the editorial boards of Canopy, Indian Book Chronicle, Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Reflections, Titiksha, International Journal of Translation, Poetcrit, Impressions of Eternity (ie), and SlugFest. He has evaluated about 50 PhD theses from various universities. He has also edited the ISM Newsletter for about five years.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

THE BEST POETRY IS A WOMAN

MY SILENCE: A SHORT EPIC

1

She is the tree

green and wide

abundantly dressed

overflowing

spreading her sleeves

blesses all

in her cool shade

solitude teems

with breezy songs

I feel

nearer God

2

That autumn tree

from this window

looks like a young woman

naked

exciting birds

to come

kiss and play

tomorrow

when spring will return

she will be too lovely

to touch

3

I feel her hyaline influx

in my deep love leaps

from the soul with subtle glows

her breath runs through my veins:

this vassal of the flesh blushes

as I drink the infinite in her

4

I clasp your hands

and feel the blood

running savagely

through your arteries

in tulip silence

5

Is it the perfume

or your body

that makes the night

drunken?

your lush lips

ripple fire

in beautiful silence

your fragrance radiates

flowers and water

can I seek

my voice

in your breasts?

6

Blind

I see her beauty

deaf

I hear her melody

ignorant

I partake of her knowledge

poor

I share her wealth

in-drawn

her vision reigns my heart

yet the darkness of dust

veils my being

I don’t understand

the hidden words

though I sit

under her tree of love

she’s still away from me

just one pace

if I could take

I enter

the pavilion of eternity

7

The best poetry

is a woman

concrete, personal, delightful

greater than all

8

What is

this light

without rays

shining

in your eyes?

9

She is declared a mental case

her legs are shackled tight

in the street she snails up and down

naked without food

she freezes in December

near the drain curls up

unnoticed by pavement dwellers

building a bonfire of twigs, papers

cast-off shoes and rags

under the bridge sipping tea

I hear the bell tolling at Rajghat

pilgrims make haste to catch train

10

She stands between two parched trees like a sea of beauty

and looks at passing fishermen in the afternoon

her eyes are fish yet no one cares

the riotous leaves drop down and rest

before the flame cools she sees

against the hilly ups and downs her broken bangles

and hides a weeping rose in her white saree

11

The little heifer eats in

landscape of violence lies

on grass that is a grave

wild beats and bulls surround

who’ll hear her agony when

gods are begotten from their sperms

12

To express sex

a crowd is convenient in the bus

during the Puja he rubs hard

his cock against the ladies’ bottoms

before turning wild gets down

at Sabuj Samaj to search

a new outlet in the Pandal

Durga’s eyes are too hazed to see

the dark desires of youth

crowding in the name of religion

puja, culture, and tradition

--all a national wastage—

while the cowards fear the coming

closer of boys and girls

in freedom

the government deploys

criminals actively

pushing and pressing

to keep the law and order, who bothers

their rape and adultery in the crowd?

13

He hands coins

just to look at

the tanned fronts

behind the little holes

of her only saree perhaps

the urge is to tear

the wrap that hides

the little thing but

he’s too timid to uncoop

his heart trapped

in her sandal arcs

14

While I was petting and necking

lying over her body

she was calculating whether

she could afford a new saree

from what I would pay her

tonight

15

Spring’s full youth

he unbuttons

her printed skirt

on red cushion

feels autumn

dropping down

the leaves of year

at the centre incline

like a twisted stem

at the end

wind dries up

a few more prints

16

Squatted in sun

she was cleaning

white and yellow germs

festering her womb

still she thanked

she was alive

17

She mysteriously conceals

all her passions

looking straight pretends

she hasn’t seen me

18

In the forest of her body

and steeps of her breasts

is the highwayman

I saw escaping

the moon

over stream last night

19

Each night in the island

of my little bed I enter

sensing sex like octopus

squeeze her with all my fingers

to bridge the gap

between dream and vision

set sail, and shipwrecked

unfree the tensions

in monsoony mist

search door in the wall or

gather diaspora of continents

in a hidden landscape

as a wild mystic explore

her privates with handgun

and land on fresh islands

each night in my little bed

20

When I asked

to open her secret

she showed me thumb

I thought

she would return

love for love

21

Looking like reality this life

is nothing but show

don’t fall in its traps

22

Sometimes in winter

in the snow of your body

there simmered a heat

in a vivacious spring

fell a sweet calamity

as love began to jell

don’t you remember

my dream’s river stirred

and the nemesis in summer?

wedged between me and you

was jinx that rains

to remind of age and passion

the growing jungles and the blues

empaling warmth and vigour

an end we always detest

23

The rising smoke

is mysterious

like woman:

I see

the shade

of a snake

24

Like an autumn tree

curving, leaning

waving, drooping

nude, mysterious

bites into consciousness

through dark odyssey

her love-hate is

the primal snake

25

Every sleeping guy

gets up

at the last kick

of a waking tart

26

Melting chrysanthemum

silent chromosomes

restless energy

stones in wood

where is the release?

27

Swelled by humidity

the mountain is a green cemetery

hiding men and ages

people may not believe in the valley

everyone is walking I hear

death echoing in tunnels

dark or grey, black or green

itching like a whore

whose hand has clutched everything

every song is a lament

conspiring with rains, winter, summer

autumn, storm, wind, sun, moon

it’s hardened , cruel, a green stone

nourishing the dirge

we crown death

28

The limy layers on their faces

and the fidgeting fingers in ashes

not far from the kitchen yard

they pick out the used up coal

to burn against their poverty

cook tomorrow’s food

29

I sweat my hours in the burrows

dust cloud the still days

roasting their calligraphy

I burn in the deadly gorge

what if the stains pursue

I drink sulphur on the road

30

Banares

seems holier at night

mating dogs and bitches

join pundits

in the name of religion

their meditation

adds noise

no one will admit

I am no god

if it doesn’t nettle

the divine rest

it kills my peace

31

The river flows through woods

in Banares for centuries

down this terrace

washes ills and hides sins

in her ripples reflects

the eternity they love

the myth of heaven and salvation

each morning my father repeats

celestial history while his son

breaks off the golden bough

and acts Rex Nemorensis

without fighting the priest

32

Policemen roam about the roads

at night goblins terrify

the poor cart-driver

with long claws

rob the travelers

detect in every man

a thief or pickpocket

arrest the innocent

beat recklessly

turn criminal

in uniform

enslave law and liberty

while the watch-dogs sleep

in two houses

they hum around

chewing tobacco

33

God alone knows

what clay they are made of

but I have seen

travelling in Lucknow

bus drivers are annoyed

by conductors’ whim

34

There’s no penalty

when dogs foul

side-walks, parks

and streets, but if

a man pisses or spits

in a corner

they fine 100 pounds

35

They wanted to write

slogans to transform

their follies into autumn

banners at the gate

flutter between leaves

scratching winter eruptions

they monitor the dead woods

and overlook what goes on

right under their nose

in the name of liberty

take greater liberties

to improve posture of their days

36

The consort of the Earth-Mother

without buttocks our little primate

weeping for others and never for himself

kills with kindness his own children

very few worshippers would realize

whether he wears purple robes or golden sandals

the vermillion-daubed god hides simia dei

that mounts on a goat and carries an owl

sucking the monkey with his antics

of love and justice he plays

the lamb, the lion, the pig, and the ape

and proves his virility in the politics

of monkey, cow, and snake

37

Because he was intelligent

and his talent wrecked his life

he wants his son to grow

ignorant and stupid

that he enjoys a quiet life

by becoming a cabinet minister

38

They repeat the blunders

out of ignorance

or kindness

to prove wisdom

bureaucrats

join hands with

politicians and journalists

who appear

in mating season

like dogs in

0ctober and November

and perpetuate the blur

around the hole

to stand in the queue

of decaying ancestors

39

The watery weather

continues to shatter

the mortal shell

one by one

washes the paints

that hide the face

40

Shadows spring from night

whispering darkness fog the streetlight

and I walk alone against the wind

unseen and unheard strangers glide

into dreams mind creates lightless circles

one after another longings

spin their wheels outside me

miracles blind faith inside drugged genes

create human ghouls droning out

psalms in tenebrous void

my lulling spirit looks or Shamash

to light the woodening house

41

Icy winds howl at the Ganges

cold stars cover the winter sky

at the alao they shed silence of agonies

hiding hands in sleeves I walk

my shadows circling back to the beginning

now lost in the drain that was river

42

The works and days’ weariness

prolong inside, turn out a smile

rescind the stitches in the sky

half-asleep hysterical night

hoses down the gutters without fuss

I collapse on the open-thighed creek

and feel the whole city in the glen

peel off the illusory flesh-warmth until

the rosy-fingered dawn messes around

43

I wanted to touch a sun

vanished before my hands

became titan to reach

the horizon

44

I see boats sinking and life

bewitched by sufferings, here

is M in both palms

still I am no Picasso

45

The snake has slipped out

leaving a dark paint over the ground

shade lingers to remind

the slant moon I held in dark

46

Draped in white the night

embraces ripples

down the terrace the course

defies my gaze

the moon falls into pieces

down my son’s cheeks

47

Tonight the icy wind blows

and a huge log (of an uprooted tree)

barely smoulders to warm up

the nameless children of footpaths

I am born in freezing December

and I know well what warmth means

to a ferryman rowing across the river

in the silence of twilight

48

Watching the waves

up and down

I stand

like an island

shielding chaos

I hear the serenade

and live my joy

49

There is altar and fire

but what is this rite

spirits tope and announce

the burial of heaven?

50

Evening’s slow pace

against leafless trees

is within me

a whale grows

against dull sea

stars fall mute

dark fingers harpoon

my name through tunnel

night chimes shallow

51

The bones

with curves

kinks and hollow

the true

physicalness

we love

worm-eaten reality

now floats

on river’s breast

wrapped in white

moving toward

emptiness

52

Waiting for the light to go out

the night peeps in

through the window

and time passes

poem by poem

53

The withered leaves

blown away in autumn

come again with the tired rains

the season confers

through the soft grey clouds

the growing freshness on naked trees

54

Your vacant eyes

reveal this city:

dim, absent-minded, humid

orchestrating bronchial noises

by night ‘quakes in the face

swash my deep peace

in cells naked gods nudge

borrowed girls with wealth

uncreate their seeds

for hurried happiness

boats toss about on

prostituting men and women

55

There is something in the air

the tree tops announce

but I walk in sleep

candied ideas

shine like light

and the third day ends

56

Walking along the waterfront

I’ve watched the dark waves

with rope in thousand hands

to bind the dragon

my smoke-drenched spirit

and black patches remind

my eating yams raw

and the dragon fleeting

57

It rises like a flame

burns in silence

straight, without wavering

light in peace

radiates love:

I fish I in me

the stream and ocean merge

58

The expanding rings of the sun

cobweb my being and things

all around cluster from dawn to dusk

the myth repeats itself

the leaping light from my depths

is the halo round the paper-god’s head

stirring the radiance and soul and all

it’s the equation of live, die and be

but the confounding solitude at this hour

conspires to hallow its sombre sight

my feelings mirror in the absolute

of blind prayers and short visions

59

Death comes from the south

like cool pleasant wind

and cheats the guard with spear

lest the heat burn the universe

the mare is hidden in water

and flames rise in flood

what if my hair falls

Shiva is planted deep

and the serpent is eternal

60

There is no rest

even after death

body is cut open

to detect

the cause of death

then burnt to ashes

to crown formality

61

Rooted in twilight, dreaming

pruning spring thoughts

a partitioned façade

this empty cell of time

is me weaving heat

in unholy solitude

climbing rickety heights

booze or castor oil sex

to suspend creation

62

I dance the magic

and ritual of the moon

with darkness like rock

on the island in me

Uhuru stands like lingam

pink mood turn violet

63

Love is

to wash your hand

before touching the penis

in obeisance to lingam

the climax of creation

love is

to gather molecules

of happiness in flesh

and merge in rapture

to propitiate Shiva

64

The sangam of Ganga and Yamuna

is a homosexual union

charming but sterile

my friend knows well

the road to heaven doesn’t go

through snaky waters

65

From the sea of days and years

I gather white sand

drifted on the beach

in the shells waves bring

I search my name

like a timeless thought

from first to last it remains

revolving like the earth

the sun in me rises and sets

and I dance my silence on the ocean floor

66

I wake in the morning to the tiring screams

then out of the bed and away from wife

get lost in the sickening routine

in Dhanbad the dark worries

--no light, no water

no sugar, no oil

his notes and bickerings

and tensions and allergies

and threats and coercions

and academic conspiracies—

create nightmares between 6 and 10

the fears are real with curses on lips

I fight with the devils desiring

to procreate christians

--fill the pits they dig all day

or stamp on evils till evil ends—

while others watch from behind the curtain

maybe, laugh at my massacring the time

or the sold-out dons despise

my odd politics or opposite look

at ISM they feed on snakes

and shrink and shrivel everyday

the self-waste and wars and cries

reduce man to nought I see

every moment they muck in mocks

and my own shoes pinch when I walk

67

It is the same house

the same alcove

I shed my loneliness in

reading prayers and psalms

chanting mantras in fumes

it is the same room

the same cement rack

crowded with earthen idols

of Ganesh and Lakshmi

worshipped last Diwali

it is the same altar

the same paper-Kali

framed in glass and

dusted with sindoor

my wife puts each day

it is the same floor

the same four walls

god watched us sweeping

and purifying with dhoopam

each evening before bed

it is the same prayers

the same pleasures

we rejoice with impulse

they savour with sacrilege

our rituals of lust and labour

it is the same incommunicado

the same swearing by coal

in the dark alley

nothing had changed

and nothing changes

68

In the eyes of my little son

I saw Kali dancing that day

without words moving flames

built the cross I loved

and his falling tears drove me

to the little psalms

I read long long ago

he wanted me to go back

to the yearning loneliness

and cried: “Papa, dua, pray”

perforced I closed my eyes to escape

the thorns of stained hours but

never knew he had reached

the twilight ocean of love

it was a strange white sun

softly closing on me like an angel

my son stood on his little legs

by Christ and Mohammad, and Kali

kissed us with her bloody lips

and Shiva guided my way through silence

homeward I returned a changed man

69

Move your oars faster, o boatman

I must rush to the bank

before the sun dies

and search my son

lost from the sacred precincts

move your oars faster, o boatman

I must catch the bird

before it flees in the blue

and I hear the dusk

empty in monotone

move your oars faster, o boatman

I must reach my home

before the snakes of the river shroud my bed

and my being is questioned

by the silence of the watery night

70

After burning heat of May

I’d thought with rains

will come God’s grace

gentle like new grass

but before little leaves from

cracks of the walls smiled

goats trampled the flower-beds

and grazed away all our dreams

71

The little paper boats

drift on the surface

without concern

the wind blows

my little son plays

unconcerned with the world

of drifting waters

we live in day and night

72

It’s utter helplessness

true, but to survive

one must be tamed

73

This moment

visits the dark

alleys of my body

as a guest sleeps

like my son

in my lap

74

The waves in me rise

like thousand-hooded snakes

strike the shores:

the rock stands undisturbed

the shores don’t move

the sea returns

75

There is a wave

which never reached

the shore:

it only pushed

the waves ahead

and broke

76

I prune my thoughts

to write well

to be simply understood

I don’t want

to outwit my readers

I am no celebrity

but they don’t want me

to grow like a tree

spreading branches

they appoint a gardener

to prune my limits:

my shades are uncomfortable

77

A poem

elusive like a butterfly

is the dynamics

of a culture

a process of exchange

a cultural artifact

fascinating

stimulating

reshaping

reader and creator

it incorporates

multiplicity

of modern man

fluid, mobile

multicultural

manipulating

matrix of tongues

and patterns of languages

into a stable whole

of self awareness

78

Exploring its own limits

the form manipulates relationship

between consciousness and self-consciousness

as in film flickering shadows

turn traditional metaphors

into contemporary realities

(or, separate art from life

in its quest for modernity)

inviting audience to reflect

across cultures and countries

proffering society’s vision

of itself for itself

manifesting common humanity

79

What am I digging

in the graveyard

of memory?

a handful of images

to create a new myth?

or some space

to bury my being

with orisons

and burn every tomb?

or seal

the faint flame

that used to burn

within?

the long darkness

in the skull

is twice terrible

than life

I can’t weave

gaudy mess

of dreams any more

80

A poet’s simplicity

is misunderstood

so I keep quiet

but what if

my silence

is misunderstood?

____________________________________________________________________


Copyright: R.K.SINGH. First published as My Silence. Madras: Poets Press India, 1985

____________________________________________________________________

4 Comments:

Blogger Angelika Kolompar Renville Bygott said...

Dear Ram

Your poetry is wonderful. It fills me with joy.

Love is the grestest gift we can give and get in return.

Sometimes love is only in the eye of the beholder, does it make it anyless wonderful??

Your site has given me great pleasure!

I have a question for you. Can you e-mail please. akolompar@shaw.ca

Angelika Kolompar

5:33 AM  
Blogger R.K.SINGH said...

Thanks, Angelika, for visiting my blog and spending some time to read and appreciate my poems. I am sorry for the delayed response to your comments, but I would happy to stay in touch with you. Am also sending you an email, as desired.
All the best
R K

10:54 PM  
Blogger renee said...

this is awesome, just awesome...i want to ask how long it took for you to compose this? but, something tells me, this came quick...you speak many words, often, yet, i envision a man with wide eyes, big ears, and closed mouth, quite sage and handsome, respectfully...i know of you from the house of lit.chaos, no matter, very pleased to have found you once again.

1:58 PM  
Blogger R.K.SINGH said...

Thanks renee for stopping by my poems and envisioning me so well to make me jealous.
R K

3:10 AM  

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