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

I DO NOT QUESTION and Other Poems: 1990-1994

1

I do not question the sun

adding wings to wounded giants

or depressing them to crouch down

the memories lanes or erect

new walls with odours of hate

and love cagily crumping

the shade between earth and sky

I do not question the moon

skirting the cherished wishes

on dreamy edges of winter

unforcing climax with sticky

fingers splintering sensations

or skittish little riddles

frosting the heart at fifty

I love light without ashes

of wood or fuming desires

in the morass of frustration

I sing psalms people understand

through lines on palms or relics

of private rains lunch

I live time shaking sun and moon

2

I don’t fear death

nor do I worry about

life-after-death

but I fear I know

what life has been and could be

without fortuity

of birth and continuance

of our failure to

undo what we do ourselves.

3

We do not know the weeds

that grow in bed with flowers

staring like weary cops

unmindful of birds at dusk

the more they know legends

the worse it becomes to live:

let’s clean the sky of tales

of covenants and prophets

and be at peace with earth’s

bushes and weeds and flowers

4

Moon-bleached ashes of ages

riot in the night

there is no smoke

my diffidence rises as snake

in dream meanders

the dragon’s tail

my teeth nibble at the garbage

near the mango tree

I stand like the tin

on rusted roots morning

flares up will to live

beyond breedy space

5

Strayed far from the nest

I’m fedup living with dust

for years fleeting shade

bereft

of melody

of spirit I sink to

the hades of utter loss

I can’t

recon hidden mysteries

I have lost the sea

for a mere cupful

void of patience and

peace now as I touch the breasts

of the field I crave

for a pure breath

native to

my being I search

sweet savours

of love

6

I seek the roots that shape

my desperate cries, my bones

that ache in bed I image

the snakes in forgotten heritage

I weave delight with Baha’i mind

and prayers in English before Kali

standing alone with psalms

or Tablet of Ahmad, perhaps

I cross-breed in soul

but, who hears or sees

the ancient hands that signed

the first poems for man?

I sound strange, and strange I am

rooting about among vehicles

for my antimony with names

7

The rain-soothed walls of Shivalay

shine in sun like the gravelled path

now slick with wet mud and cow-dung

obscure footmarks of Monday-worshippers:

I forget the sutras today and feel

the damp incense inside like I did

standing in the empty sentry-box

compromising with the rusted letterbox

not opened for years at the left turn

the mime of hope and worship and slow effacement

of illegible signatures on deity’s back

don’t help me flesh my verses or mitigate

pounding rains, rituals and repetitions

8

It’s too much to live

amid the lies made to keep

the wheel moving:

now knee deep it’s better

we seek shelter in the hush

of sky or the charred

ocean floor leaping

to still the cries of ghosts

that were children once

death is no wound nor

cracks inside any solace:

lies of living lock

the footprints in drifts

in wildness fossilise

word and connections

9

One may or may not justify

one’s romance with lethargy:

to understand what lies beyond

rainbow or under the tree shade

one must leave much for another

day or season, or mood or dream

and leisurely sketch happiness

with dapple of light and darkness

10

It’s a slow awakening

of winter like my drugged eyes

--coalfield’s gift for bread

no use making up myths—

and searching for fire eastward

silent burst of orange

and mynahs in twos and threes

hopping to catch their preys

--all a drama of exile

and no thrill—I live out

my life on the edge, denounce

and metamorphose into a moon

under cloud-cover, rising

sliding ritually in bed swallow

humiliations, arrogance and ridicule

to escape whores in the street

and AC rooms while days

wheel by in their polished world

I negotiate a price for the next day’s sun

11

If you see light

after the day’s end

you can hope here

life is still left

glow-worms still fly

to greet the evening star

in open sky

behind the fighter planes

there’s still a Cross

ready to shower love

12

Living their smallness

in a small world they have ceased

to grow and be human

life has lost meaning:

I can’t be comfortable

with their bragging ego

corrupt to the core

they eat into our fabric:

I must search my own way

through empty cups and alleys

in body rain love

or plant new peonies

13

They close their eyes

or shut them with rupees

matters little

but I worry

when with sight in their hands

they free shadows

of legless men

who denude files in sun

and smell a beast

freedom to act

means freedom to harm as

silence stinks louder

than protest noises

lumped in chaos or monologue

quickened for a quid?

14

Why should I suffer

their smallness if they move in

carpeted corridors

and sit in AC rooms

to do the very things they

hate to follow themselves

with privileges

in the name of rules order

not to leave station

without prior permission:

it’s virtual house arrest

for the sin of bread

I must resurrect

symbols of authority

and take off afresh

to find new haven

and set the bait to scratch fact

beyond their fiction

15

Its no use testing blood

for asthmatic wheezing

dust of alienness

has thickened on my throat

patches in the x-ray

reveal I’m still foreign

I don’t expect kind words

in my own country

my heart lacerates:

I cough wordless plaints

16

The hot humid morning

like the night

constricts

breathing pipe:

clouds concentrate

but rains need time

to fall

we must wait

till the share scam

is smoked out

and resources

restored

17

I seek you

in the grammar of silence

I seek you

in the accent of love

stretch your living hand once

I’ll kiss death out of flesh

18

Moonlight lingers

on mango like the fruit

sweet yellow sun

in my courtyard

cool shade travels with thin cloud

I see love dance

in the sky silk

silence measures new cup

brimful of joy

19

When the sun is erotic

and the moon lyric

the winds turn tempestuous

in the orbit of love

legs slide by calls of pleasure

for life to continue

20

Time floated in our echoes

and love carved our destiny

day in and day out together

we’ve sailed to cross continents

of body fate and psyche

sleeping in the same bed, but

isn’t it disappointing we

haven’t seen the same dreams together?

21

The hospitality

of a brief transcendence

you lead me to

while at the top

I feel the imperious sway

is a memory:

I must wander into

your body’s forays

before I drift down

into the slums of sleep

22

Anxious about the next morning’s

soothing sun, security and peace

when I fail to sleep I seek

solace in her soft moist thighs

and pray to God to bless my passion

for a moment let me forget

the cares of a crazy world

23

Rains revive memories

shattering emotions

in solitude

I stick my neck out

but the oracle is immune

the shell no longer saves

24

How soon the rain loses exuberance

leaving the walls damp and faces sullen

aches of all sorts and onset of asthma

allergies that make moments miserable

in Sawan furious changes occur

each year I wonder it’s degeneration

or burial of warmth in watery smell?

25

She sees

many faults in me

points out all I shouldn’t do

even hates my hugs and kisses

in bed

yet life

rolls on mocking

compromise of living:

to keep home she conceals within

the angst

26

The original place

where the olive rested once

now stinks with dried blood

a famine of love

in menopausal silence:

erection can’t create

27

Ripe on the branches

mangoes fall one by one

end of the season

they pull the blind

to peel their image

in mirror it limps skyward

28

The rains

cry to meet earth

fall from sky day and night

remind love always yields to arms

open

29

Desert storm

by night

turns lusty:

close combats

canons, rockets

inflatable

tanks and dollies

mobile launchers

phallic missiles

go off

boys jog

in women’s tents

ejaculate

continue sorties

commanders promise

no penalties

30

She wonders why so much passion

and heat and intensity in bed

each night why so much love-making

why such blind delight in sex

even after fifteen years

why such urgency and excitement

at forty-three and two children

to sense spring between the thighs

as if I’ve nothing to prove

beyond maleness or neural itch

ever hungry for love and

its fulfilment in giving

I seek her spirit through body

rise to heaven together

and forget demeaning aloneness

31

The steep ways of love

grows eyes on palm rocked in

whirling melody.

In the fragrance of her breath

blooms the bud of joy

I gather the fruits.

Flickers of peace hide

god in heart like running brook

love in nudity.

She gives me of herself

each day and night fulfils in me

God smiles in her eyes.

Love waves rise and fall

between our shores of soul

we drink each other’s sea.

32

I seek new strides

in each of your moves

new dreams in your eyes and thighs

nude lyrics in lips

shape the night’s sway

set my heart afire

I seek the lingering fragrance

the rhythm that frenzies the soul

the timeless joy you conceal

I seek the hues that blaze being

and shade the nest I rest in:

your chains renew freedom

each time I look at you

I see natural woman

the fount of poetry

33

Exploring the self

lost in the mind and the world

to know the unknown

sex is a search for

joys of making in poetry

bliss in creation

performing on tip

of grass the dance of Shiva

finale of love

34

We had a pact

we’d drink together

after the children retire:

the night dawned we couldn’t

sit to make moments

memorable and condemned

love to argument

over nothing

35

While we were talking about

love, marriage and migraine

she kept fiddling with

her reticule—opening

putting her pen in and out

and shutting again

36

Standing at the edge

I long to float with waves and

wave with instant wind:

on the dreamwater’s breast

I read tomorrow’s wonder:

the secret waking

37

The leaves

fall and rust with

ashes heaped up by wind

in the lawn rises the pale earth

for breath

I hear trees

ticking and

April heat pass

leaf by leaf

38

(i)

Time stands still

in November chill

I fill emptiness

with words paint seasons

on your face

(ii)

In my impatience

I werdle or opup more

they take their own time

here waiting is more aweful

than meeting and going

(iii)

I thought I’d exchange

my anxieties for a bit

of peace but thinking

was easier than happening:

I couldn’t even sleep

39

In the art of living

let’s not look for perfection

but give wildness a chance

for the garden to be:

colours of error reflect

depths of desire that seed

the thought before action

40

Is it the love of ritual

or the ritual waste:

every year they steal light

to illumine puja pandals

and blare non-stop nasty songs

the whole night disturb peace

show power at its lowest

but the goddess keeps mum

perhaps self-loathingly

sleeps for demons to write histories

not fit for the light of the day

or for me. Self-pity

is no wisdom when I yield

to pressure and visit

places I hate

I’m sorry my goddess and I

stare in two directions:

who cares for the burning

in my heart now

night frustrates like day

with the ashes of insight

I create verses

and learn to rest restlessly

coughing, sitting or

sniffing her crotch like a dog

but nothing ceases

in the air only wounded

senses and high decibel

noise nobody feels

I touch her and yet

she doesn’t respond to my need

41

They are not so much

schemers as blunderers

blinded by politics

of convenience

religiously guard

against encroachment

on their privileges

as leaders create

a new elitism

a new tyranny

of mid-term poll when

prostatectomy

at sixty frightens

them to favour anyone

as in sex giving away

balancing oppositions

despite impulses

for equality

they are trapped by gains

from oneness with top

no use prying secrets

or imprecating

them sotto voce

in public houses

money buys the girls displayed

inside or vicarious

pleasures outside bouncers

panders and husky men

gyrate when they retreat

with straight pecker

they mar the future

and bury the nation

42

So much is lost

between the day break

and rise of the evening star

and not a soul screams

in this zoo man

is worse in wild nakedness

43

Dusty colonies

recount in grammar of cough

new tales of hazards

near opencast pits

they move with graves on shoulders

mark my white shirt black

44

I am pocked with grief I think

I have buried all my angst in

the halfdry halfwet midden

in my backyard for mice and moles

to frisk and buzz and doze when down

in the mouth someone throws

empty cans to rip off moments

of freedom I think about smell

of ripe decay and discards

by wall mottled with pee

as they unscrew betrayal and

smile ingratitude my son shows

the smuts on my trousers and

says I must keep the distance

to feel safe among devils

45

In the chilly deep of this winter

the shifting clouds wave hands

will the day keep all the promises of the dawn?

I see milky blood dripping down their nails

there is nothing save the spirals of smoke

midst the swelling dreams rocked by waltzing sun

my thirst for sleep and rest is reduced

to orgiastic pain melting down

into the sea of barren academics

I search the red tears shed on the Cross

and face a mirage of abject helplessness

as truth carved out of myths between dream and day

46

How long shall I seek freedom in the myths we unmake

licking hairy darkness or feeling sweetness of hips

through untamable wildness of the heart chase images

that abide circles of paroxysm ascending from

the mist and raw voices starting spume in the faces

as each star twinkles uncertainty crossing the moon

what is left to slice out of the passage through red light

except old sorrows ready to leap to the bone?

now there’s nothing to hold on to against lies that shade

bondage of nearness and the horizon I couldn’t touch

47

I’m not all in mind

body and soul but broken

I look beyond to find

the fire that rages and makes

the whole in me burning:

I seek the ancient hands

that shape eternity

in new forms and renew

the ever alive in me

48

We would be better beings

if we could understand

the worst in us

not to evade

or hide ourselves

from others’ gaze

but to remake

words to probe reality

get close to others and know

roots don’t grow in cosmetic

void or cries in melody

they need nursing

clear contact like

child and mother

communing reason

and vision like

dream and action

49

Is it the fear

of dying penting up, don’t know

I can’t resist

restlessness of moth

at light is me:

stains of non-being

I can’t relocate

despite dreams and

life dragging on

with quaint wings of

fleshless flies and strange echoes

wincing and cringing

day and night haunt

conceal shy tears

survive surprises

50

Coal grows golden

each moment in quiet corners

raw wind singes.

Truant from spirit

in coal culture hollow mind

I turn dying ember.

Is there a release

from unliving life day by day

breathing heartless air?

Sounds turn fainter each day

with graying geometry of hope

I stand a rusted sign.

There’s something that sustains

us all in a world so perverse

it could be even worse.

I’ve passes one more year

not knowing the song next year

goodbye is too real.

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Copyright: R.K.SINGH. The collection first appeared in Two Poets. New Delhi: Bahri Publications, 1994.


4 Comments:

Blogger empyrius said...

Barely readable due to this stuff, "supportEmptyParas] [endif] 2 [if !"; if you cleaned up some of these posts it would be much more legible and enjoyable b/c there is some good stuff in there.

Peace

10:00 AM  
Blogger Robyne said...

I thiink you need to reformat this poem....it made it difficult to read

I am defintely linking to your sites.....they are very moving

Robyne
www.seekingtheblueprint.blogspot.com

3:11 AM  
Blogger R.K.SINGH said...

Hi, empyrius: I am sorry for the html code that spoilt the reading of my verses. But now they have removed it and the page is readable. Please do visit my blogs again and share your views. Let's stay intouch.
R K

9:52 PM  
Blogger R.K.SINGH said...

Hi, robyne: I am sorry for the html code that made it difficult to read my poems. Now it is perfectly fine and you can visit my blogs again to share your views about my verses.
R K

9:53 PM  

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