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

FLIGHT OF PHOENIX

FLIGHT OF PHOENIX: A Short Collection

1987 – 1989

1

I make myself man

each time I create

setting, character, tone

in a poem

create poetic sense

disclose my natural being

playing five senses

my distortions and inversions

evolve in history and society

to save the man in me

through poetry of self

2

The seed of my song

lies deep in memory

like paddy in field

blooms ages when wind

blows inside out and grows

genes in womb, turns self

3

A poem is madness

unique fascination

liberating language

re-creates, re-symbolises

disfiguring the known

secured norms

inverting the safe

existence

4

When sleepless poetry

fails to negotiate night

I wait for white dreams

5

The halo of my vision

is the Mother’s gaze:

he whom I seek is

hidden in her eyes

shedding hope and love

all around her mercy

6

Love is my prison

and freedom both

in her presence

my wish her wish

to be everything

her shiva and

shakti a dual-single

me and she, one

7

Love leads to beauty

and vision with perfection

pillar of dust or

fleeting shadow can

turn into light revelling

pure songs wrought out of

the clay blending joys

in naked passion seek signs

of self-discovery

roving with delight

and perfume of fellowship

in valley of peace

8

Life limits between

whence the sun rises and where

it goes to relax:

joys of a fleeting moment

I see Aditi in her eyes

9

Love without clothes

without bone has

a joy within:

soft smooth and full

like the mind

creative and

erogenous

10

It hangs like a drop

any moment evaporate

love is gullible

11

When I inhale in

your mouth and exhale stroking

hairs or caressing

I ride you into joy and

make you hail the morning like earth

12

Rocked or burning within

poor performer

turns the hell inside out

can’t dance on a taut rope

with fragile legs

enjoy flames of passion

love is a high explosive

not charged by

induced sexuality

13

Frosted faces dissolve in

stale rain clutching

female body and

poached contexts dizzyingly slip

from a vineyard

who’ll treat them angels?

14

How can a poet

pierce through tamed passages

in the wolves’ psyche

too scared to peep:

in the walled academy

they lope with cold eyes

shielding some dumb myths

or haunted by empty hunts

parrying moments of truth

15

There’s nothing comfortable in the chilly gray wind and

what burns at the wintry end in Holi splash of colours

unglow what might have been left in ransacked ashes

they all witness the last shot of season in transition

like bare-branched trees unrelieving miseries of truth

in the unspirited campus and inscrutable shades

16

Winter is caught in

waves of narrow discussions

under the blanket

fingers move by nipples erect

without sensing consummation

17

I feel alone

like a wandering bird

without a nest:

empty without flame

the cave of the heart reeks of

forsaken island

18

Each day I construct

my self in new desires and

end in emptiness

a hollow shadow

I move in dust and rest in

stony webs of haze

19

In a grey morning

It’s a foggy silent world

The stink of darkness

when’ll the gulf open

stir the still horizons red

and swallow the wood

20

It needs heat

to eject a seed

and ripen to fruit:

mind makes its image

with imprints dumped in

forging rhymes

21

Bones of levity criss-cross

at the bottom of silence

there is no shape in the mind

22

As I did not earn my cross

they cheated me when

I bought it to pray

the satan sought my consent

to sin in silence

I was duped again

23

Memory fades

like her body

in dim light

I bury my head

in open hands

to escape noises

24

Is it the heat wave

or stupor that I see

shadows in the dark

and call it vision?

25

Summer turns prettier

after dust storm or rain

night alloys with cool colours

26

The colour of night is the same everywhere

what if my identity is not known

let’s fuck the moment and forget the place

27

Waking up from a drugged sleep

I remember I was a butterfly

or butterfly dreamt me?

a sun away the brown of the walls

seemed flying with her shawl

and I couldn’t overlook

I hunt a forgotten scene

outside the dusty road in summer

the flowers yellow and die

28

This morning autumn moves in the pool

I watch the deciduous trees and leaves’ decay

the air whirling with dust

the drains are choked and my forehead

smudged like the stained table:

the more I clean the more dirty

and the slow sun smiles in the backyard

over the bony back of a stray cow

I look for a bit of green at my door

but goats have jumped the fence

there’s just one papaya flower

and remains of ber parrots dropped

it’s the same old agony in changing hues:

should I steal colours from butterflies

or contract prayers in their little wings?

29

From stony breaches

by roadside erupt

wild plants and creepers

through moss search their trellis

perhaps mime my attempts

at survival against

broken fences flinty knots

and shapeless shades in evening

30

The river walks without shoes

unsinging the night’s hooligans

that scamper across the city

unbreasted years ago for

hawks of peace now midgeted

to amuse mornings that gaol

all fire and thoughts smitten by stones

of figures-to-be hewing

new melodies by black grass

past my shadow overarching

all listening and light and cliff

that hang the tale or pain the legs

no matter I walk without

the rest of the ground I tread

like river droning day’s ashes

31

The frog in mirror

slips by damp towel

cold sets in slippy hands

rain flows on windows

black water crawls down

like diseased reptiles

why scrub the smelly

underbellies

there’s no paradise

32

With blurred landscape

painting dust all around

they become dust

fail to live life

hiding it from others

from themselves fail

33

The mask of man they paint

with so many fingers as brushes

man’s only colour now

34

They hide the mirrors

with rose and lipstick

and keep their fiction

35

Apple, snake and three-fifths of me

in bed manipulates man

inside selfish rubbles

36

Growing hair on soul

man longs for known grooves of death

safe in sterile womb:

loving, impotent

lost in vanity and self-

commiseration

37

How many defy

the space between

sleep and leap

I hear sounds

of cracked mirrors

and torn veils

38

Crazy these people

don’t know how to go

down with the swirl and

up with the whirl but

play in the raging water:

who can find the green dragon

lost in the yoni without?

39

Your black sunglasses

conceal the face that reveals

the real you in sun

40

Face lotus

tongue sandal

manners sweet

heart scissors

I know him

seasoned crook

41

We are a nation

of cowards worshipping dumb

images can’t stand

a full-fleshed person speaking

nude in god’s home like in bed

performing love with

wife or self in dark alone

ever ignorant

moralising

hell of fear

with legs tucked up

posing brave

42

Fear in the mind

runs us this way

and that reaching

nowhere spitting

anger against wind

singing threnodies

or cursing fate

43

Can’t you drop your saree

and all that conspires to conceal

your nudity, my love

forsake your modesty

and see the naked passion in

my eyes seeking freedom

to unite and transform

the night through body’s dark alleys

don’t you love your freedom?

44

Scratching between his legs

he creeped towards the fence

and said something to her

gawd, in a minute

I see her tending the blouse

half-hidden by roses

45

He presses her skin

or tastes the salty sweat

night singes genes in bed

love’s eunuch game turns in

dreams to feed ignorance

leaning on sticky backs

of dead orisons

46

She put him off each time

he caressed her or

tried to kiss or crossleg

even bought her presents

to make her agree

but she won’t care

till he raised the stick

and tamed her in bed

47

They make moments memorable

with quarrels over nothing

reduce relations to relic

48

A woman should complement

not complicate wanting love

and freedom both with sweetness

of the bone in mouth or

frenzied riding high or

grinding pubic regions

giving more and getting more

she must sound like a cologne

not sin or magic bullet

49

Woman is the flesh

and spirit of poetry

eternal love thirst

growing younger as

one grows older day by day

perfecting the body

50

An undressed woman

is a form to lay bare

the vulnerable

in myriad colours:

live sensuous delicious

like true sex exposing

naked truths through body

peep into ever

growing consciousness

51

Not with physical eyes

not in sleep or dream

nor in madness or in

hidden place or peace

but in imageless state

beyond human self

with eyes of the sipirit

when symbols one sees

visions are seen as grace

52

The split in cypress

is vulva I know the roots

purush-prakriti

call it Yin and Yang

our basic sex, lingam and

yoni harmonise

like lotus rising

from the depths of lake through mud

crossing existence

53

The fig of life with

roots above and branches below:

man and woman one

54

Dragons play whirlwind

among the clouds meet and rain

unite earth and sky

55

The mount of venus

rises above the mars

and unites on my palm

like a horse and elephant

56

Like a woman’s mind

resides between her thighs joy

and satisfaction

man’s love and hatred

concentrate on the crevice

though he watches face

she laughs when I say

love and beauty is nothing

but sabre and sheath

57

In the lake of your eyes

I saw him drowning

but, who was the fisher

that netted him out?

58

In the forest of your hair

my finger searches

the little pearl of blood

that stirs the hidden waters

and contains my restlessness

59

I smell my boneless

semen under the pillow

weaving legends in

half-dream along her

hips as I curl like rainbow

dying winds splash down blots

60

The remains of morning

like the remaining work stare:

my pen is cold to words

in bed I keep with her

wondering what I’d haul in our

burning, sleek, empty sex

now mind’s dried with dry hive

I can’t create with bald head:

sky showers ashes of rose

61

The highwayman lies

to rob a moon with skull

whipping up valour:

she unzips her skirt

like the silkworm undoing

its yellow cocoon

62

My hand

held out in the dark

remained empty:

none reached it

to give joy of

the meeting hands

63

I don’t know when or how cracks grew for love to fall through

but memory waves obstinately:

her thoughts recur even after the emptiness of

the sky blares and I can’t hide numbness of the year

before Bulli but her coming to me

just to revive those moments of togetherness

in lovely valley turns cold and apathetic

sun rushes in home and sudden silence

is all that echoes in new year’s handshake with me

64

She won’t understand

and force him yeah

always after hours

wishes of death and

shouts and blames

would ache his anger

in the testicles and

again she would tame

her man in bed

not knowing

what he has become

65

A meanest moment

of eternity it was

when I was conceived

after 40 years

I see same degeneration

my mother saw first

empty of poetry

stoic, dull and diffident:

always puny game

with triple fury

winds return and put out light

what use watching god?

66

Before it heals or

scars merge with time’s endlessness

morning brings new wounds

is there a release

from unloving life day by day

breathing heartless air?

67

Everything is falling apart

every wall is cracking

I too am breaking

to be someone and to belong

drink in love like many

secured sure happy

I too want to live and be loved

not piece by piece, friends

but, will they let me?

68

After the day’s blaring

hymns and mantras loudspeakers

and tribal drums and dance

to please the lion goddess

in roadside Puja pandals

there reigns frigid silence

69

No one sings these days

songs don’t come easily

life has lost music

70

Giant smoke from the factory

mates with perfumed dhoopam

rising from the trucks carrying Durga

in the afternoon Subarnarekha

is crowded with idols and people

absorb shocks with reverence

suffer dust, mud and stench

71

Who is a gentleman here

everyone speaks more

than one tongue in self-interest

ditch everyone or

turn disinterested

in excuse curse everyone

or say it’s bad luck

72

The glow of victory

is deceptive coming from

frail man’s needs and tears

midnight sighing of poor

deprived of the tree of wealth

bare body, dry land

where is light and grace

in ravished image of struggle

midst mute mass and doubts?

73

Death in silence speaks

moonlight cleaves to the body

peace gropes for poems

74

In flames rise voices

of futility and dreams

in dust fear and love

75

Time is running out

cracks in walls develop fast

but I stay static

shrouded in cobweb

as if in dusk denying death

brooding slipped chances

76

Can’t I grab a little

warmth, fresh air and love

simple, sound and innocent?

I’m fed up playing

life across the net

shuttling nightmare in cold

77

The moon rises with

million stars in sky

but none worship

the dying sun says

how alone one is

sinking in glory

78

What good will happen

waiting to leach through old layers

no use stay put here:

the leaves have turned moth

we cross-leg with crabbed wishes

erase one more year

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copyright: R.K.SINGH. First published as Flight of Phoenix. Berhampur: Poetry Time Publication, 1990. Also included in My Silence and Other Selected Poems: 1974-1994.
Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 1996.

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