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

MEMORIES UNMEMORIED:1986-1987


1

Oasis in memories

of desert rhythm of wilderness

sand is the poetry

2

Man turns a shadow

under tree arches rainbow

is the moonlight fog

3

My restlessness blooms

not thought but ulcer in the

stomach the flux of

shadows shape loss of

my son in the picture hall

I ‘wait interval

4

Do you hear pulses

of memory in graveyard

she groans in her dream

I search my voice in

echoes that break silences

of the soul in space

5

The mirror is so small

I can’t see the ocean

beyond my own look

6

Is it her quietus

that she roars

in herself

like a sea

waves upon waves

leaps upon herself?

7

He unpetals a rose

searching seeds through

tangled fingers

in thorny womb

it’s bleeding hopes

8

She picks out black seeds

of some flowers and says: “Papa,

these are souls, let’s sow them here

tomorrow they’ll grow as ghosts.”

9

As I curled ‘long her

we became a small rainbow

playing earth and sky

in half-dream weaving

legends of love in moments

unmemoried years

10

I leave my memories

in prayerful trance

float above my body

till rapping her fingers

at my soul she breaks

the silence: “I’ve come

with my dreams promised

years ago. Won’t you

once kiss and melt in me?

11

Blessed is

the bedroom

the bathroom

the kitchen

the drawing room

the terrace

the lawn

and every little

place and spot

where we prayed

or sexed together

we glorified our house

and declared His mysteries

12

Love is efflux

from her body spreading

all round the parabolic hue

enlightens the self

my being I merge

in her glowing presence

13

Dancing shades devour

waking tensions for a moment

closed eyes dissolve

years of clog

within the four walls

the flame is freed

from cloying dalliance

for a moment

it’s all calm

in her presence

14

When I wanted

to change seats

my friend said

she can, only if

the door’s locked

the lights out

and her mommy in

another city

15

She slams the door

to powder herself

or spray Eau de Toilette

in bed strange

I hear only

the kettle sing

16

While I sweat

in mosquito-net

waiting for a kiss

she goes to sleep

loosening her breasts and

removing her feet and eyes

and covers them under the sheet

for safe-keeping

17

If passion breeds beads of sweat

in winter night the plateau is reached

too much love can run one out

18

Down the corridors of night

I see love dying

for a chance vegetation

in sleepless dreams

19

Among the white hairs

a solitary black one

keeps her hope alive

20

Layers of dust thicken

on the mirror water

makes the smuts prominent:

I wipe and wipe and yet

the stains stay like sin

21

My wife laughs when I say

man seldom loves beauty:

when he sees a woman

he only sees her busts and bottoms

and length of bone in mouth

intelletualising his itches

he yearns to sink in mud

by the fig-leaf hue of hair

22

When the oleander was drying

I peed at its roots

three times a day

she laughed at me

but the shrub survived

and bloomed all red

“How beautiful” she said

when I plucked them for puja

this morning she shouted

“Don’t defile my goddess

these flowers smell pee”

23

Their nude dance

is no mean art

to rouse passion:

with apple flowers

they race

to find match

for upstanding nipples

under transparent blouse

24

Charm is the

spirit of beauty

divine

mysterious

honest

expression of the self

not seen

but felt

25

Away from myself

I need a little breathing

with my back straight

for a spell of privacy

in my happier deep

the womb of December

and hear the first cries

I cried with the sun

in a pure moment

26

The quietest moment

when one is ones own

is in toilet or bath

reflecting inside out

through daily deeds

listening to whispers that rip

cosmetic simplicity or

split the landscape in hands

when elusive strength

blasts in silent search

in hollowness leaving

a dazed mind in crypt

27

The gates that clang

won’t still with poems

between their jaws

I must stop winds

to prevent them tossing

into the empty void

28

With the passage of time the sun’s become dull and unrefreshing

like my dreams turned weaker than weariness now

in the desert of desires no cactus blooms

nor a hand beckons me back to a world of hope

here breathing fossils and watching snaky waves

let me grab a moment for poetry and live:

I pity the mind that harbours ages of anguish

and crawls consciousness through knots in wrinkles

29

Poetry is not

just functional

like brief-case

it is personal—

an extension

of my self

30

I live with

ailments like

fretful years

creating gospels that

support the world

and sting my days

with cold fictions

31

They say Jupiter

reveals the inner man

the invisible hidden within

and my horoscope spotlights

the direction of my destiny

the sanskar of my soul

well-placed as benefactor

but what is the spiritual progress

with a strong drink in hand

the visible heaven in the present

the pitch that directs the runs

the battles I fight for existence

in Saturn world without

energy, life or joy?

32

What is this life

like the sun rising and dying

someone beginning and someone stopping

without presence being felt

without effect, striking, ending

long rituals of waste?

nothing saved except

years squandered in bed

feigning and unfeigning

the blood flows but doesn’t complain:

time seals the strife

born, married and dead?

33

Each one fears

each one is insecure

here each one doubts

with clouds in the mind

each house is a secret

silent arrogance bridges

distance between the hands

and what they need

they don’t speak out but search

their fate in circles of coffee

if bored of the drudgery

see terror in their own piss

or dig atoms of betrayal in walls

that make up the secret

and sleep their drugged nights

murmuring the bank balance

34

Their hands are sulphur

with butcher strength

above the pit they drift

like shadow against dying sun

longer than themselves

against the floodlight from dome

they create new ‘glyphs

to feed night to sunken world

35

The morning’s withered flesh

and swollen skin of the day

by bloody nullah in smoke

tears shade tomorrow

like today, everyday they cry

but nobody hears groans, or sees

dark eruptions on naked walls

that hide maps of bones

and skeins of dreams piled

beside broken hearth hate

is a luxury of helplessness

they won’t believe or accept

if there is a hell on earth

it’s here, it’s here. It’s here

36

Boneless shadows

empty lawns

moon through ribs

of the arbour and tumult

of the flesh crack

shells of pain:

whose are the hands

that weave nightmares

with ashes of rose

and face of a woman?

37

The old rats

in nature’s breach

design new rooms

to negotiate disgrace

and belief beyond election

with plastic sense

enrich their substance

drinking, voting, smiling

38

A horse-headed thief

bullied the bearded man

like the mythical demon

who disappeared with the Vedas

but no fish appeared

to rescue him

39

Every face

is a finger

peeling off

skin like banana

erect or twisted

40

Man

with head

twisted like a

manager’s tail in chair

before boss with

pen in

blood

41

My bones have holes for eyes

I search my teeth in the muck

leeches have sucked my blood

where’s the lout who ate my flesh?

42

Beard grows like fog

on their cheeks

in half-dead streets

night slides like yoke

to release them

in glass chambers

mummies need no sun

43

Sheep grazing the rainy green

after days of sunless day

crouching I stir from hibernation

seeking a handful belonging

in aloneness of wild growth

eluding the mossy gateway and

patterns of walls, sheep and sun

44

Suddenly through the spring

blows hot the wind

circulating colours of summer

shabby roads and houses

dust inside outside

melt silence like tar

or bleach skulls that thought

once, now fossil like rocks

in ageless hibernation

my quest ends or stirs

lewd rituals stomping

about fresh bit in thongs

I don’t know what it is

the cheek of terror or sweat of skin

or wind is grasping for breath?

45

They take away the day’s flower

husk I retain for tomorrow

nobody knows what the robbers may look for

46

What I write shows

my past even if frail

like leaves of years:

I love the wind if

it makes the city flutter

47

Harmony in duality

is unity of tongues

to sculpt new dreams

made of living rock.

we aren’t different

in our same land:

our poems are woven

from the same skein of language

weathered by time and nature

48

The solitary bird

like uninspiring tracks moves

alien homeward

49

The whispers of the forest

inside me

will be quiet tomorrow

and no tree will weap

no one knows

what was the weather like

in the heart

negotiating ideas and images

____________________________________________________________________
Copyright: R.K.SINGH. First published as Memories Unmemoried. Berhampur: Poetry Time Publications, 1988. Also included in My Silence and Other Selected Poems: 1974-1994. Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 1996.

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