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

MUSIC MUST SOUND:A SHORT EPIC

MUSIC MUST SOUND

1

A poem is

like life

sound

and silence

movement

and stillness

fragment

and wholeness

avibhiktam

vibhakteshu

like Shiva

and Shakti

lotus

and mud

2

I thought I knew her before and my heart bowed to her native virtues

each touch she offered stirred and drew me near

before entering her depths I felt how dark was the dance

I never liked to part with her but the tears in her eyes were saying: ‘no, no’

3

Your face lights up my dark chamber

the moon reclines on my bosom

this evening steals your fragrance

4

I want to rest in your lap

and drink your golden breasts

hide me in the curtain of your hair

shield me in the grove of your flesh

5

Won’t you share

my aloneness

tonight?

I need

female smell

in bed

let’s kiss

each other in our

strangeness

6

When Renoir or Cezanne or Matisse or Picasso

can play with body and capture the soul

why not poets draw on beauty in darkness

and speak in the language of Body, or write all

that animals do and men conceal in light

the aching peace must gets sway

good or bad what’s empty must be filled

if life vibrates music must sound

7

Call it spoof

or nirvana

if you like

hidden between thighs

is the spring music

beyond birth

8

A myth

like prejudice

is turned lovely

with rituals

when we search

faith

against ourselves

in ourselves

9

A flying horse perched

on the island of her flesh

without conquering the ocean:

whirlwinds galloped

his funeral parade

between the cracks

10

Singing the rituals of flesh

midst the sound of frogs

and owls by the window

I bury my sultry night

in the mosquito-net

11

Stooping over his gravid love

while he neared the coital bliss

the little child woke up

with erect penis cried

to spoil sex she slipped aside

and put out her breast to feed him

in semi-darkness virility foiled

the slough face down

12

In the blue space of mind

Winny plays her games

as in waking hours

weaving shapes in holy precincts

I recover my lost child

and the old priest calls me back

with a pearl to save my soul:

dulcet sounds ring again to celebrate

my move above the nights

13

The dress hides

undress

and you look beautiful

14

A stray sperm

grows in the ovum

blooms as a puffball

15

How hard we try to empty

the vessel that holds our seed

in her deep pleasure turns painful

causes depression after two children

we want non-creative sex:

now clean cobwebs that hold red flow

to release our post-lunch tension

16

Leaves fall

in a dust-ridden city

stars grin and body burns

vultures hover all round

passions breed in pigsty

she has shaved chromosomes

under a bloody roof

my tattered trousers remind

the bedsheets love stained

before light shone

in a sulphurous pond

I display

my naked person

to ghosts and witches

17

When I read the eyes of darkness

and loneliness in my room

I slip into my bed and unbutton

with a craving of the malpakara

knowing well when

it’s not a girl or wife

sexploitation is no sin

18

Every stain on the bed speaks

of offence done to

self, lover, sweetheart

I am reminded of acts

day and night

and pretend

hot tea from my cup

has scattered

19

Once your body was the sitar waiting for my touch

the sweet fragrance of your hair still lingers

but the cigarette that was mine is now ash

20

Islands grow like mounts

in the midst of the sea

my palm I full of circles and triangles

my fate I know too well

the crone ready to cast

a new Judgment of Paris

on the mount of Venus

is an apple

I wonder if my wife

too has sensed it

21

Giggling behind the hill

is the woman I knew

if you touch my finger

you shall know

what winter is

22

Naked

without ring

my finger

a widow

23

Darkness is a whore

I sleep with

cross-legged

without copulation

last night parted

with sinking acid

24

Road to VD through

Assembly of God over the bridge

flying cars of the State

on walls slogans of commercial gods

and the name of Gandhi shadowed

by the crossed trees near Hydel

DANGER board shifts

my gaze to veiled beauties

moving like thoughts

with the best of motives

manoeuvre to kill a poet

learning the secret of

the first menstrual flow

25

Dancing on the top of the tower

his religious fans plan to erect

Shiva’s phallus as token of love

turn kaned all men and women

before union the tower collapses

with their guru they fall into the forest

and rise again as apes the third day

26

The bearded swamy’s

vedantic discourse

goes over head

in empty solitude

he speaks

as a dying man

to dying men

27

Mute pavements

shelter meditators

in milky silence

passing beauties

denuded in water

skin shrinks

at the Ganges in Kartik

old gods leer at

their wet bare backs

in bleeding cold

‘aum’ is convenient

to soothe vasanas

no more Ashwapathys please

they’re hung up, racing in jet

to catch two white moons

28

What’s this sadhana

that he throws the bowl

at a man in the circle

and he dies instantly?

But I look for the jackal

escaping his aim

29

Simulating mysticism

they fill the hollows

through jugglery

conceal their

fractured faith

30

The night died

for nobody trimmed

the wick of lamp

31

A monkey turned the coat

to let off snakes

hidden in velvet lining

32

One by one

when the lamps are put out

every floor is dark

in this house

33

Calculating fate

through zodiac maze

last night I discovered

a dotty god rising

out of a dead oyster

34

The night drips

from their faces

like the rains

assails my vision

I fail to distinguish

man from beast

35

When there’s no market for most speech

who’ll read my loose ramblings:

it’s silly to wander far off

to designs to dismiss reality

or configurations called poetry

36

In mind

his eyes fire

his images

nightmare

the poor soul

in scorpion cage

cannot brave

the dark combats

37

I dig my mind to

unmemory the past

and become voice and time

to redeem the icy sun

to wake up the hibernating wind

long blid to dust

swirling in shapes

under emergency light

coloured virtues on sale

reflecting the night of bodies

craving burial in the thicket

of cosmetic hair

in dull music about me

flesh-eaters starving for the soul

as I kill an arrogant

snake at my door

38

The golden orb

through pricking trails

from east to west

concentrates dark

in life love separates

to upset balance

waking and sleeping

I look up and purge

static madness

39

After these hot noons

the earth

mates with rainbow

I breathe my son’s smile

and forget the darkness growing

40

This evening’s smile

seems conspiring with floating shadows

swains rehearse in dark corners

with cigarettes

I simply gobble the scene

41

The webs that hide still time

I must clean and banish

Saul from my home:

His bait is subtle

I must work out my salvation

and find again the bread of life

through the maze of rootlessness

fragmented memories and finger prints

the faceless figures in the dark

mock with amputated legs

in the museum eternity is locked:

I must rise again before extinction

42

Smoke rises from the church

Christ burns gradually

the ultimate dust rests

in His hands

for recreation

of a new lamb

43

The race of life

with an awful shadow

anterior or posterior—to darkness:

I am only moving

in the crowd of roads

in search of a road

44

Across the brown woods

I climb the naked hills

where tempests can’t reach

nor waves rise to collapse

my being watches the evening star

hanging through heaven I lose

and find again the snowy light

transposing crimson arc in east

nobody sees the lotus smile

the calm behind the chaos

fleeting breaths commemorate

hopes of eden on earth

a mystic repose or agony

I don’t know blooms, flows

or overwhelms world’s soul

in me time weds eternity

45

I don’t know the little beauty

my son curiously chases

in the wild flowers

butterfly is angelic

fleeting each time

he reaches to catch

46

Stars on the earth these glow-worms

I want to clasp in hand and offer

God as flowers of

obeisance

47

The sun sheds its radiance

over the hills as if

they water the slope with blood

to keep the eternal green

the deciduous days near end

I see the sheol rising

upon the ocean of spring

many unmoor to sail

many draw in the womb of air

48

There is a road in the forest

I haven’t trampled yet

a light glows always

for a fresh touch in planet’s belly

I look out from my suspended window

and they say there is nothing

the hungry skin for an avalanche

and parabolic movement in space

don’t translate my existence

on paints their homage coeval

with icy expectations I stand

and feel the warmth Death brings

49

The blue hillocks look at the vegetation below

green forests, orchids, firs and pines smile

over the rocky slopes horses graze and

down below a river teems with fishes

in the Land of Dragon Paro is a bride

beautiful, angelic, loving

everyone cherishes her matutinal grace

I love her, and love the mastoid mountains

of Druk Yul, a greater heaven on earth

50

The road never runs

straight in mountains

life means hazards

my line of fate runs

straight and smooth yet

roses bloom with thorns

51

There is no tree

over the mountain

I rest in shade

of a wandering cloud

52

It is not the surf

by the sea I watch

the crashing waves

on the shore I hear

the music of the wind

that stirs my soul:

you shut your eyes

and feel at home

53

The rock stands midst the sea

bulls of Bashan beset me

with snares of death

floods rise and go:

dark waters turn bright

waves touch my feet

the shepherd washes me clean

midst the sea rock stands

54

Scooped in the belly

of a huge airbus

it’s only sunset

55

Locked in giant Chandragupta

I fly over snow stacked stones

and defy clouds in unseen sun

56

He walks through the high walled narrow lanes

where children play with dead or dying dogs

that eat their own stinking flesh

he sees them sitting over the running wheels

murdered innocence peep out from windows

but no one bothers the tragic turn

57

Connaught Place, Janpath and Parliament Street look

like a platform of some busy railway station here

night is the same as day people run after

the buses or wait with their burdens

pushing or kicking insidiously doing all

mischiefs in and out I see

attempts to hide something insignificant

and so important goes uncared

my messianic dream welters on the bleeding breasts of Delhi

Playboys and Penthouses cry “Mai? Mai?”

with hold-me-tight arguments of the saucy sweet

I hear the mosaic deafs and dumbs telling

whither goes my Sinai?

58

Rouged faces of working girls

in DTC buses give

frustration

black joys of life

taking turns

against red lights

on the road

59

They board and alight

like the birds flying

from trees in the morning

wander without signature

in the evening

get lost in dark

60

After a tortuous journey left alone

a homeless wanderer comes

to the land of mines following

the dream-chandan and –geru in can

rusted stones and square smile

pelicans pictured at Nalsarovar

against a blissful clime he sues

black dusts and pollution without

going down the earth on way

spots places and people secretly

appeared many a time crawling

on a minotaurs belly intumesced

he thinks the machine is overworked

in yawning hours he eats

goats’ testicles and omelette to green

his nocturnal craze invaginates

the blues of a road, it’s vugs and turns

deo volente he treks for better

61

I play that I’m happy

like a child secretly complain

waking before the sun

I feel my taste and warm myself

against a rain of smoke

it smells only foul

like the toilet near my room

62

Crushed heads of serpents coil along the road

green glitter of stream strikes my vision

I walk and fear the growing ripples in urinal

63

I don’t see crows

turn into cuckoos

or herons into swans

in this jungle

viruses haunt

air and water

no Agastya rises

from the pitcher

no holy man changes

the corrupt roots

ignorance feeds faith

all around

rahus eclipse moon

and gurus

like comets grow

to sink life

in wild ocean

64

Going down the dark corridor

I breathe smog in the morning

walking is a quick dose to death:

traffic roars though invisible now

black layers rest on leaves

where is fresh air?

I cough my allergies and swallow pills

To live in a safer tomb

65

The Thames tolerates

bridging so much

I fear one day

she’ll disappear

leaving behind

a nullah known

only to MPs

or intruders

in Queen’s bedroom

66

The Ganges condescended

to flow down from Shiva’s matted hair

with white laughter

from the Himalayas to Kashi

it shone so pure and bright

but failed to quench

the earthly thirst

or cleanse the human heart

their sinful mind

the goddess couldn’t change

I clearly see in its apparent grace

missing all turbulence

so necessary to wash out

the ilss of ages it seems

it’s lifeless now

impotent to set right

the rotten state of man

67

Young girls and women move up and down

in the boat standing on the river bank

they carry sand for their bread

and fling down the basket, sun smoulders

men sit on the terrace and smoke hashish at noon

crack private jokes, watch sullen grace

the drowsy river flows with the city’s garbage

68

Is there enough water to quench

my body burns within

the little liquid’s restless

and the black doctor awaits

a handful ashes

to propitiate Shiva

the red eyes deride

my passionate labour

and the scourge sears each bone

it seems I’m dumb rock

no Christ will call a church

yet the flames rise

high in sky burn

burn

what can I do

if there is no water?

69

I fear the desert in sky

and hate clouds on hills

I doubt rain is potent

earth is wined by whores

70

When things were good and happy

I knew the lofe of all

now nobody knows me here

71

Love or friendship in this land

is a hoax

each morning and evening

my tent is set afire

and they say

night is illumined

72

It turns my lips blue

and fingers freeze in icy wave

I breathe frost and shiver

in the coldest ever Delhi

get up before every one and move out

for bread

73

They say

I’m a good person

plain and simple

a poet suffering

at the hands

of evil persons

like Christ

crucified with

thieves beside

and didn’t he cry

“Eloi! Eloi!

lama sabachthani?”

I cry at the 19th hour

of a sour day

“O God, O God”

74

Doctor Chakroverty

damned Mrs Gandhi

damned Nixon

damned politics

called them rogues

when I said

they’re fools

he said

no

75

An ideal minister

is a miracle of cunning

like the jackal in fables

who ate the heart

and ears of the ass

only to say

like the fox that ate

the deer’s heart

and declared later

it hadn’t any

76

Mr Dange lauds

action against smugglers

and accepts a purse of

4.5 lakhs from working people

on his birthday

I wonder how masses

subsisting on 36 paise

could collect such a dough

77

The best

of seven nations hanging

in her closet because

she’s the wife

of a senior bureaucrat

78

Splendid

these rats

enjoy favours

give nothing

receive all

79

The telephone receiver

like a hooded snake

pretty, but full of poison

80

The dance about light

humming mosquitoes

in the evening

griefs can’t be trimmed

if stings are deep:

night lurks on concerns

of the day between

surpluses and scarcities

I scratch tissues

of impairing events

or bite the curly language

to redeem hollow inside

dread of dying sun

and insects outside conspire

against wind that burrs the leaves

of years (or spiders’ net

in annually-cleaned corners?)

shacked up, in a shambles now

stamped with mosquitoes blood

my palms conceal failures

I can never erase

I can’t recover light

buried in a grave

it’s difficult

to keep form and flow

81

Sceptical yet innocent I look below the flyover

deserted landscape overrun by chained dogs and bitches while

parasites walk leisurely on the solitary road

I long to talk to someone

the sky is blind and mute

too are the directions hollow winds

blow over my head with frozen

fingers I negotiate budding leaves

images blister under yellow skins

I see cold shadows at dusk

read new myths and metaphors

in vain defy months old exile

82

Civilization

in a poor nation

is death by

methyl isocynate

hanging heavily

by multinational grace

in the cold night

each house turns a mortuary

mixing the dead and the dying

and the living turning blind

only fossils snivel

dreams dustmingle

broken visions lock

wide sky in ice-blue eyes

what have we left?

nothing remains

and none live to watch

the grand finale

of human achievement

83

The sun is indifferent there

the moon doesn’t weep

in Beirut butchered children

and bulldozed bodies testify

to man’s savage growth

from Moses to Mohammad

ideals and dreams breed slaughter

for existence barbarians

need cosmetic excuses?

84

We decry

discrimination

of the sort

we practice

at home:

in Calcutta

if lifts don’t carry

“Servants, dogs, and luggage”

why grudge

the South African notices

“dogs and natives

are not allowed”?

85

It’s outrageous

with headless heads

and paper tigers

roaring from the top

and cows resting in the porch

or listening to lectures

and dogs and goats roaming in the verandah

it’s a cattle’s paradise

humanities courtyard

is a litter of puppies and paper plates

after the seminar

they pretend to get mired in textbooks

who can stop the wheel

if it performs well

and the punctures stay unseen

86

Who will sing for you

in the street

when all your life

you ballooned words

in coffee houses

or the offices

to create epic

with scratchy jargon?

Now watch

your black mushrooms

grow wild

in the drawing room

do you fear

your shark teeth

in action?

87

I am a man

if you want to see

your image

you’ll see

your distortion only

88

What’s this

music of life

vibrating but

soundless?
_____________________________________________________________


copyright: R.K.SINGH. First published as ' Music Must Sound' in My Silence and Other Selected Poems:1974-1994. Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 1996
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