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When the apocalypse came
it was not raining fire from the skies
no schism in the ***** of the earth,
the seas are not swirling over, nor
the rivers welling up in grief;
Quiet as tears of the early sky
we mourn - how many more
do we count lost and begone?
Shovels and pick axes say ‘no more’-
a touch and hug and a word of cheer,
who knew death comes in garbs
so dear ? there burn the pyres
endless in their dirge, painting
distant the Sun in hues of the dark
and we hope and we pray,
let this be it, Lord, if we must suffer
let this your coming be then -
for we can’t take this anymore
How many more do we lose ?
How many the logs that weary
feed the fires of the infernal?
Jan 20 · 90
Prabhu Iyer Jan 20
This is the burden hammered into my palms
now hoisted dug into the heart of the vault,
stabbed, where throbs life - as the sky weeps
in pain, is this the way of the promised land?
Orgiastic masochism of the spectator-voice
that dictates to lunatics, verses we hold high.
Distant pierced by the chasm I laboured forth,
heavy on my shoulders weary, whipped on,
scorned pride crowned of thorns; Or dark
the recompense, in this world of transaction,
razor-line between heaven and mammon?
So transfigured must rise from the dead, parched
famished thirsting for redemption, firmament
carrying the cross of your love, beyond life
Nov 2020 · 183
Diwali 2005
Prabhu Iyer Nov 2020
When the sky greys, memories: the first blush
of a joy unknown sprouting in the vases
sparklers, Catherine wheels on the front yards
of the homes of others; We possessed nothing
but our hearts of gold that leapt in waves;
Diwali like no other, on the streets, under the sky;
Away far over the seas among our kind who
in such distance are kin in a moment: home is
just the company of friends, memories lighted
in silver streaks of crackers past the shadows
of gardens retired for the night, and we, carefree,
in Southall where it was allowed to be merry;
It was the November of dreams, a night
like no other, now comes rushing in flashes
dawning nimble across time in the hues of blue.
Prabhu Iyer Nov 2020
Beyond this our world of shadows -
where bloom flowers of peace
and grow trees called love;
There, no disease
that snatches our dear,
nor death that leveller;
No trudge to the slum
to work and live far from home
that need bringing us back
alive or dead at night;
No high-rises from where
to look down upon the hovels in fear;
No kings that having slept
through the low-tide,
ask to sings peans to the high;
No borders nor thieves
that eye our lives,
Beyond this our world of shadows​ -
is a land called Hope
Originally written: 9 May 2020
Nov 2020 · 50
The Day
Prabhu Iyer Nov 2020
Voices, broken in the boughs
sleepwalking on nulled roads
echoing in the rain, and
the swings, empty rocking in the winds:
dry withering to budding, scenes
we never saw, until now
the everyday season;
Long since time stopped and
vanished behind the screens;
Then, can I call you, 'The Day'?
Echoes in the alleyways and
the dreary skies all the same;
But I must mark The Day: now
I chore, then endlessly refocussing
juggle as broomed go we muggles;
Know who's lasered on next?
Worry not, as big realms have
no pockets but ours;
For the ledgers must roll on;
Unmarked, we may go, like this
The Day, BUT: now work galore
(a noir reflection on our times: originally written on 25 July 2020
Nov 2020 · 64
SM: where I don't lie
Prabhu Iyer Nov 2020
Find me on this page, here
I don’t lie - here I’m what
I want to be:
When it is over and when
you flip these pages
find me here
where I am always light
always loving
beating heart and burning
bush and the 'I am' ness
no not in the other book
but here where I write
the story of life
in the ink of blood;
Don’t you worry wearied
carrying my cross
on your shoulder -
you will find me here
on this page where
I don’t lie and I am what
I want to be
written originally on 26 July 2020
Prabhu Iyer Nov 2020
Thorn and flower though of the same stalk -
I'm the earth and you are the sky, vast;
Together, yet so far apart,
You hold in yourself numberless stars
and the cold of the night they shiver in,
the radiance of the moon
and the searing heat of the distant sun;
In my ***** dwell endless tears
that well up in tides every
sultry night when you arrive,
decked in your shimmer;
We are, since reckoning
together, yet so far apart,
thorn and flower though of the same stalk;
I'm dancing in ecstasy spinning topsy
lost holding you in my reverie
I'm a mendicant ambling on
among the sparkling lights
that adorn your visage
We are together, yet so far apart
I'm the earth, you are the sky, vast.
originally written on 23 July 2020
Nov 2020 · 38
Gone morning
Prabhu Iyer Nov 2020
the morning comes to me endearingly,
like a severed kite topped in warm hues
the joy of netting a wandering kite,
strong in the wind and a string to bite!
Now the string, a song so lost -
to the left, the flame tree is in bloom;
to the right, and wild cherries rain;
and all the birds sing a refrain;
as the kite aflame in the faint light
distant whizzes in the sky,
blue smiling and jet waving back -
**** this hurried morning truck that
intrudes: before I see, now
she's gone, gone, now gone
flying far far away as her wont,
this lovely morning kite -
that I am now lying mourning
originally written: 1 August 2020
Nov 2020 · 47
The Second Wave
Prabhu Iyer Nov 2020
Is it the wind that is wistful, or is it the mist,
slow suffusing the air tinged in the scent of longing?
The leaves, they are mourning the coming days,
the earth all flowers in their teary grief, and
the birds, calling for you, in a hundred voices:
the lamp was lit here of long, but lives bygone yet
when comes the tidal wave - the affliction,
that phantoms they can never be caught
all forms in the ken of my sight, and it is you
that I truly am? there is yet an alluring song
that the siren has in her bag and though warned,
that we cannot tell apart, you from the shadow,
it is the ever-peace and not of the moment
one unseverable not islanded thousandly,
here founded on the essence yet ever unseen
originally written on 9 August 2020
Nov 2020 · 122
Prabhu Iyer Nov 2020
Nowhere to go, no place to reach, no
path to take, nobody to please; No
journey to make, no pilgrims to seek;

At clearing in the wood and all of a sudden:
nothing to discover, nothing to unlearn; No
secret to uncover and no night to unveil;

Nameless junction where all paths meet,
and all of a sudden we know
the truth, was there all along: with us, it is us

season of renewal, when the leaves
drop baring the soul of the woods,
the night casts her cloak and the skies wink

Nowhere to go, no place to reach, no
path to take, nobody to please; No
journey to make, no pilgrims to seek;
Nov 2020 · 44
Smell of you
Prabhu Iyer Nov 2020
The butterflies, they’re all over, painted
in the colours of autumns distant
falling leaves rain a little and a lot of grey sky:
rain in my soul, and now, I smell of you;
Before the night of dissolution,
I came to your shore and sat silent,
mulling on the meaning of me;
And it was all you - I was you before,
die scatter and be you again -
and the me in between was
all bluster and no rain;
but - it is raining now and
I smell of you;
this is how it must seem before
the night of separation;
Don’t go tonight! I say clutching
the edge of your garment -
I need to learn more of me that is you;
Harsh nights of terrible cold are upon us,
and I want to sit by your side
as it rains in my soul and I must be
smelling like you:
long this night of desolation,
comes foreboding
distant moon frostbiting my feet of clay;
Don’t go tonight!
Rain in my soul, and now, I smell of you;
Prabhu Iyer Nov 2020
Sullen leaves forlorn now at the edges -
dripping tips say the story of the night:
the thunder - is all over the road, scattered
in the branches fallen; it is the mud and slush
that tell how the sky wept in the hour;
Eyes still moist and still welling up -  
must be a field abounding in blades
of tall them leaves of grass flowering, and
the rain drenching the soul; Now the sky
invisible behind the veil of tear-clouds;
The mind longs for the warmth of home
heart longs to stay there half-sunk knee-high.
Only one night that matters in the journey:
life but a gathering of memories plucked
from the fleeting world; Only one night
when fireworks light the sky and a lonely
heart beats as one with another, though apart
distant in the milling Guy Fawkes' night
Aug 2020 · 122
Gone, like a Helicopter
Prabhu Iyer Aug 2020
Here where pits line the roads,
loss, we are so inured to in life:
wild-haired hero, when did you
go from warrior to zen master?

Breathing into the night,
the tricolour high:
we rose as one with you;
at the crest, now a vacuum
too hard to fill;

Now no artist the same,
that toils by sultry nights
in our backyard;
Who are you to us?

Lifting our spirits soaring
helicopter goes the sixer -
bouncing our sorrows off the park,
winning from death, the joy!

You are a memory
of the silvery night of hope
the miracle of faith
the tidal wave of belief
that engulfs adversity.

Go but you will never be gone
and a hundred such be born
in this your name, that in the stands
will yet never ring the same;
Dedicated to MS Dhoni, the legendary former India cricket captain, who just announced his retirement
Prabhu Iyer Jul 2020
Starting to erase the complaints,
spotless this morning, spotless this morning,
that is thawing the snow: surely,
there is fire somewhere, fire somewhere! *

Resolved not to fly, now
even the birds have learned fidelity,
and taking darkness in her arms,
light has set up home
repaying what was stolen!

Starting to erase the complaints,
spotless this morning, spotless this morning,
that is thawing the snow: surely,
there is fire somewhere, fire somewhere!

You are victory, and I, loss:
and the string that joins them both,
you are victory, and I, loss!

Reminding, then making one count mistakes,
whenever the stars sing,
setting thieves in charge,
it is a matter of fate, it is a matter of fate!

This is the story of the heart,
this is letting go, letting go!

Starting to erase the complaints...
Resolved not to fly, now
even the birds have learned fidelity,
and taking darkness in her arms,
light has set up home
repaying what was stolen!
Next in my series translating fantastic lyrics in Indian films, is this song 'Shikayatein' penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya for 'Lootera', catch the original at:
Jun 2020 · 251
light in the end
Prabhu Iyer Jun 2020
Sing, my friend, for there is light
wading through this marsh I called
all the names I knew, all but
nameless that fire in the bush,
shining smoggy at the edge
of this the endless tunnel of life
playing, pirouetting at the bristles
spilled oil slippery on the vinyl,
at the edge of the canopy a way out
of the labyrinthine mangrove,
on the dreary night a surly tinge
on the horizon gone cold dark blue
here is the edge of the thicket
here is the way of the ancients
now I call that: I am that I am,
Sing, my friend, for there is light
at the edge of this trudge called life
Apr 2020 · 236
Unceasing | Easter Poem
Prabhu Iyer Apr 2020
in the wilderness of the heart,
by parched vales and the haunting dunes,
here, by ancient wells, calling
miracle most unexpected

forth to the wearied, the prophet
at the head of the caravan
fire stilling storms walking
on the troubled water of  life

springing forth a joy unknown for
years unnumbered upon thousands
pouring open mulled a casket
haven for the lost and uncared

and speaking of the Presence with
authority in the temples
we now neglect and though condemned
a hundred times at the altar

compassion larger than treason
emblazoned on the wailing sky
this dirge of the soul for her mate
wisdom of the ages kindred

parted from us by the old time
rises unceasing back from the
horizon breaking on our shores,
love that passeth understanding
traditional - an easter poem at this most special and spiritual  time of the year
Apr 2020 · 283
Haikus - quanrantined; 1
Prabhu Iyer Apr 2020

On a precipice:
perseverant, undaunted
rises a prayer.


And we learned to live
to love, uphold, win, let go:
time starts after him/.


I emptied my mind
of fears and anxieties,
filled it with birdsong.


When the facade ends,
genies back in our head trunks,
the numb trudge back home

Go back home migrant,
time stops now and who knows when
it is unfrozen!

Mayfly season, now
death is in visitation:
and resurrection

Early morning calm,
feels like the eye of the storm:
yet, this too must pass.


shy smiling, deserted street -
social distancing


Some adorn the trees:
this withering hour, others
deck the mourning earth


Automobiles? no -
this morning, warbler and finch
sing where thoughts crowded


Not that You are not -
but this darkness is mine, Lord,
so must be the light


Vivid light painting
the leaves and wings swishing by
emotions buried;


Budding leaves season -
this pause brings to life, whispers
and colours we missed
been writing them 5-7-5's since being shut home by the virus - spirit is free!
Dec 2019 · 148
existence, a puzzle
Prabhu Iyer Dec 2019
Asked the family upstairs,
if they knew:

2. guard at the ATM
3. flower woman across street
4. elder who sits by the road
every evening
5. the corner shop guy too#
6. the books of my time and
7. papers and portals

8. Asked my mind at night:

nobody knows if I exist
nobody knows,

I don’t even exist

#he knew by my face but not name
Dec 2019 · 143
Black Rose
Prabhu Iyer Dec 2019
Part these waters, Lord: alien,
in this the land of our debts ,
long we wore our souls making
tombs for pharaohs of other men

Not a year that is passing
but another of our lives,
away from you;

Why wait for the crossing,
to show us you are that you are,
O word in flesh, raise us -
dead, worn of spirit;

Are you not the voice that
angles in the wilderness?
come part these waters,

that we may rush to you,
the light of our souls,
black rose, isn't that you exist
a miracle of our lives?
Aug 2019 · 265
late cab
Prabhu Iyer Aug 2019
late cab, where do you go
slicing through the silence
this damp hour?

it must be the night, for I'm
not worried-
though my phone's on

do you work late?

this is the worker's fate:
from father to son,
that we work to work ever harder ,
to break the tether
round our necks
invisible, but slavery -
when did it end?

it was the plantations then;
cabs and the keyboards now:
sugar grows on the brow
wet of the beaten man's sweat;

and oh we all want to rise,
far above from this shanty town
tither on that hill past the neon sea

so we dream, endlessly:
the reel
broken by the sound of rain
dripping on the roof

there are shadows that talk
very leaf is a witness
Prabhu Iyer Jul 2019
Streaking past, a momentary cloud,
there goes hope, a severed kite;

Rain-grateful the stream: but the dunes,
still menacing, forlorn all around;

Hanging over our world, the inevitable:
shivering among a hundred stars;

Will we go blighted, Chenrezig, without
the Polestar through the darkest night?

Crimson-crowned, the snow-peak, now,
the end we shudder to think past;
a poem written on the occasion of the Dalai Lama's birthday

Chenrezig is Tibetan for the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshwara, the great Buddha of mercy, and the Dalai Lama is considered the human manifestation of Chenrezig in our world
May 2019 · 1.0k
Borrowed splendour | Sati -2
Prabhu Iyer May 2019
For her sundered from space and time
at the dawn of phenomenon,

not the little pettinesses of our world:

a portal to the unknown beyond -

the sky flaming red at dusk,
still in the lake the late summer hill
little a bloom in the bush hidden,
even shy a smile devoid of guile,

little every joy here;

Thought they,
faint of heart she was:
but every swoon carried her across
the world of the river of lights

In Her presence dawned on this
forlorn our earth -

Beauty since the beginning of time
exuberant in the hills
in the plumes and vales
and in the cruel hearts of men;

And grandeur, of the kind
unbeknown before, as the king
her father sewed up an empire vast;

And perfection in works
unknown before -
in every weave and hew;

All that men ascribed to her
father the great.
Prabhu Iyer Apr 2019
Love that is pain, the unspeakable
joy of the heart, a transformation

and here in this world cruel of men,
it is to love that is to suffer;

And so when you love with all your heart
with all your soul,  with all your mind
with all your strength,

so is the suffering sweeter the water
deeper the well, dug into the earth
where walked the prophets;

But we can die a hundred times on the cross,
for there is no love that does not heal, and

blessed is this sky under which
such a thing as love blooms;

Risen, we live, when in suffering we die, loving
such is the gospel of love we contemplate tonight.
an Easter poem - its traditional for me, some of my meaningfully deepest poems are written at this time of the year...

There is a night to reflect on
as there is a day to celebrate it:

The reference is to Mark: 12:28-31,

edited: 9/4/20
Prabhu Iyer Apr 2019
After long the terrible night,

flaming as hope searing the eastern sky
one with the dawn, she rises:

Now quenched of aeons
a soul-thirst of the suffering world
for realms of unending light;

Sing now the Gods in the hymns
of a thousand cherubs
flying past,

dancing among the ripples
in a hundred lakes and petals
awoken to the victory of joy;

Born of the flesh here mortal
now a Goddess no less
miracle end of a love
birthing across cocoon lives,

adorning her beloved vast
like a vermilion dot
the gong of the syllable high,

humming in the wind breaking,

hair streaking clouds across the horizon,
and yet a human She is like us,
but for all the cells,
transformed in the alchemy of light:

The bridge for our plane
to the wisdom worlds across

ascending past ought and nought,
into the arms of her beloved
the ineffable base of all that is;

And thus went the first of us
a daughter of the mountains
that ascended from here,
uncovering for us the paths
to the realms of unending light
Feb 2019 · 197
How long?
Prabhu Iyer Feb 2019
By the bonfire in the winter night
warming hands, a shadow

Dying muffled in the mist,
What about
my languid soul?

A hundred shadows echoing
in the wind beating in the wood:

How long this slaughter?
How long this pallid war
that nobody wants to end?

Hit, skirmish, dew-blood,
death and night,
and the stench at dawn.
How long?

Are you done smouldering,
firebrand? That from the ash
must rise a conflagration,

raining a harvest of ghosts
on this highway to hell.
Prabhu Iyer Feb 2019
In a blank by the shroud of the night,
here by the mourning peaks,
here where the snow weeps,
I've lost my body
in the bus to nowhere

I am ever the other -
rice field by the river,
where flutter the kites of joy,
that dustbowl
where still a thing of pride
to stand up to the coward
in the bully's garb;

You of the black flag,
toting borrowed guns
pimped across them holy
the lands of the vile,

what cause do you soak in blood,
the frozen streams for?
Sullied pride
for some ****-highs
trinkets, those
grenades on your thighs;

Uncloaked those that speak for you
from the pedestals in our tongue
who confer with us, yet
whisper to the dark
alleys by the sullen hour,

faceless the name of the evil
that stalks your soul -
weep, Shakuhachi,
echoing in the wells
dug deep of the earth

Here on this moonless night,
here in the valley of pain,
here I came
to give you guard
from the evil in your heart
here I die,
on the bus to nowhere.
Sad tribute to some 50 policemen killed in a bus in the valley of death
Feb 2019 · 247
secret power
Prabhu Iyer Feb 2019
long that distant eve
when you bore the torch
into the horizon

every lonely hour,
weeps the sky
mourning your loss,

when the palms in the searing season
sway blown in your breath

our forlorn world:
anguished the ululations;

The hour when
the darkness lifts,
deep in the soul
when the moment comes,
rise rise,
secret power of the world,

knows not the demiurge -
Who lies curled in the cell and root
that rises up in the sprout,
long after the wildfires,
that the saw and axe cannot log
the sap of life,

scattered but not lost even in the
pits of the night, the light
that shines as the stars

now setting the eastern sky
on fire.
Feb 2019 · 328
Transcending time
Prabhu Iyer Feb 2019
Hold your palm to my *****
warmth of the stars
concealed under the tresses
this vast night, where my heart
will beat with yours;
In the stillness of the desert
lone song of the dune,
an arrow shot in the sky,
Here we erase the imprints
of jagged paths that led
us far from this haven;
Your dimpled smile,
ripples that rise slow
and commingle end to end
will settle - placid this
lake on the scale of love
that transcends time
Prabhu Iyer Jan 2019
If you love your land
then say ever,
"whether I live or not
this nation should live on"

If you love your land
then say ever,
"whether I live or not
this nation should live on"

And this after my time
shall live on,
"whether I live or not
this nation should live on"

Rip my veins open and
string them in a sitar,
and play the song of the nation
plucking again and again:

this love for the land
should well-over in the eyes,
"Whether I live or not
this nation should live on;"

Let the enemy be warned,
learn not to breach limits,
this my nation is eternal:
learn this truth be told!

Let the lustre of this devotion
shine vivified,

"whether I live or not
this nation should live on"

This be my pledge o nation,
pledge, o nation, this be mine:
may I forget thee not
for a moment even,

every drop that
courses in my veins
is yours this blood, and here
I offer what is ever yours;

This is a war for honour,
pride be high,

"whether I live or not
this nation should live on

whether I live or not
this nation should live on

whether I live or not
this nation should live on"
from the latest biopic of the patriotic Queen of Jhansi in central India, who died fighting British colonial atrocities in India's fist war of independence

the exceptional original lyrics are by acclaimed poet Prasoon Joshi:

to make the poem more general, I've changed 'Bharat' or 'India' in the original to 'nation' - without losing the sense of the poem; same as for Lute instead of Sitar!
Jan 2019 · 376
is and is not
Prabhu Iyer Jan 2019
take my hand, walk
with me to the lands beyond
the horizon,

tingling superposition of
pin-drops on the wet tile,
obelisks rising above the river bank,
shut temples to the god of love,
buried scabbard;
the nights of embraces,
red bus out of the mist,
the hymn to the autumn goddess;
curled serpent memories:
hiss-lurking behind -
and the bare bough
by the frost-bitten lake;

Saw me through and
I may flame out
like a flower ***,
hundred beads
of coloured smoke;

On the way, there can be a home
hooded go the nights
personalities, that seethe
worlds out of the keyhole

it is all the swaths
that people the in-betweens
of is and is not
Dec 2018 · 246
paraffin of toil
Prabhu Iyer Dec 2018
then at the toll of the festive feast
take a moment off for the
***** on the street;

Count the blessing that we are warm
when frost bites the feet
of those forlorn;

That birth here is death for many
beauty and gaiety come lighted
by the paraffin of toil:

There goes the chariot
of the sages, if you count your muscle
lend then a hand to the wheel -

for what there is, that lasts here?
For a moment the smile
that ravages the lands,

and by the loot of our fathers
that made urchins of princes
do we in mansions roam;

Behind the cruel curtain of a shrug
and a nod, lies our risen lord
Alone in the desert calling Lazarus forth
Xmas; Mindfulness; Lazarus; Risen; Redemption
Dec 2018 · 371
Sad our truth
Prabhu Iyer Dec 2018
There staring at us bare is this truth -
Don’t window-dress it, friend,
this world is indeed of suffering made:

Birth is suffering,
And growing up,
Friendship is suffering,
And love and loss,
Time an affliction and

There is a kernel of sorrow concealed in joy
Victory and defeat are two sides of a coin

We rise to fall and fall to weep

The rich man sleeps in his mansion on the hills
Because a urchin is awake empty stomached
Sweeping the street
A full belly here is a meal
Snatched from the hands of a child somewhere

We conscript and send to deaths young men and women
Ugly and blighted is ok as along as
we profit

And so we go seeking a moments joy
In this world of suffering

Face it bold don’t conceal it in hope
The sad truth of our suffering world

seek the roots of suffering deep
Dec 2018 · 691
rain and love
Prabhu Iyer Dec 2018
new depression in the ocean
coming our way, that's so uncertain
this rain -

it can pour down very heavily,
then I won't come and sit pining for you
here, by my window, lone in the storm;

it can blow mildly across the land,
losing its passion down the road
and then I won't come, there's one more
thing I can get drenched in, besides -

it can wheeze and whistle down in the wind
drizzling past like the waters of blessing
then I won't come, there's one more
thing I can bow my head to,

or it may not rain at all, all wind and no zest
and then I won't come, there's one more
agony to savour, besides,

your love
I've been reading Faiz and so...
Dec 2018 · 504
The lost years
Prabhu Iyer Dec 2018
there, the lone swan at night
at the edge of the lake
has a story to tell:

in the track-whisper of the
first morning train,
the bell ringing
in the apartment below,
in the whir of the bicycle

that flew past the channel
wetted by the tears
that well up within

those are the words
you have heard
and laughter
ebbing forth
from this echo chamber

Did you call for me?
Reach me then, as I
grasp my own hand,
past where the Lee bends:

I'm curving over
hollow the years
that life plays on
like the reed flute
Nov 2018 · 1.2k
Prabhu Iyer Nov 2018
Drenched in the tears of distant clouds
comes calling a name, echoing
in the dunes of the heart;

There is nothing in a name...

Announcing of itself to a seeker
knelt on a hilltop,
burning in a bush,
of an essence beyond names;
Beyond the before and after;

... but the word, is something else.

Long the season of withering,
but deep in the night,
a fear grips the heart racing
to the rhythm of the dew
dripping down the tile;
'In the Beginning There was the Word and the Word was one with God...' John I.1
Sep 2018 · 1.9k
The beginning | Sati - 1
Prabhu Iyer Sep 2018
A father who has conquered all
that is in space,
here and among the stars
and the higher worlds,
begot Her as his child,

She of an essence beyond time:
aeons of vaster joys,
sundered now from the world
so sorely imperfect,
must yet come down here
to lead us back to the wonder
beauty of the blank spirit
the basis of all;

We can bottle up fragrance
in choicest the vials of our whim:
but released, it must fill all space, no less.

So was She the freedom
shining in the stars
flowing in the rivers that raft through the hills
in the winds that beat down the vales;

Protected, She grew in his home
among others lustred lesser
shining forth as his darling
who would keep aflame
the glory of his name;
This is the first now of the Sati cycle....let's see how this grows!
Prabhu Iyer Sep 2018
Taking wings of paper, gone flying
to where it must not,
whetted by fancy, that (neither)
sensing, seeing, nor knowing
the limits -

lost, how silly this heart!

Crosses castles
and scales heights, yet,
feels like theft, this love:

Ifs and buts, and again and again
tossing about like a ball,

Applying of dust, like
sandalwood on the forehead;

Whetted by fancy, neither
sensing, seeing, nor knowing
the limits,

Lost, how silly this heart!

Soars high, the soul-bird,
yearning, leaping out of this frame -
oh a big flame, this love!
Next in my series translating fantastic lyrics in Indian films, is this song 'Monta Re' penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya for 'Lootera', catch the original at:
Prabhu Iyer Sep 2018
Golden, this nimble hour
when shy the sky-maiden
changes attire,

a thousand shades
come playing, painting
the courtyard of the night in grilles,

laying a bridge across to the dark,
while birdsong keeps count,
flowering, healing trees
unfurling in the wind:

the firmament is my bo-tree
bringing tidings afresh:
until a day when justice will prevail,
is sure to dawn,

these questions,
my offerings into the embers
of the sacrifice of life.
My project continues, this time one of my favourites in the Tamil language, this gorgeous debut song from 1980 (yes, that old but so fresh still) brought to the world the genius of Vairamuthu, the lyricist who went on to storm the world of Tamil cinema and literature with his soulful poems, enjoy the original here:
Prabhu Iyer Sep 2018
O Lord of the hosts!

Shine in radiance, his eyes -
in whose heart is your name;
Who fathoms your ends?
The earth, sky and stars
pay homage to him
and fear fears him,
whom your shadow protects:

O Lord of the hosts!

Wealth finds him in whatever he does
who earns the blessing of your love,
and a shoreless boat is he who
has not found you whose
benevolent eyes keep watch over all
shattering the storms of sins,
whose glory never ebbs;
Becomes a master of destiny,
even forgetting the world, who has
found your grace,
come riding the mouse -

O Lord of the hosts!

Anointed of the dust of your foot
on his forehead, who lives mortal here,
immortal nectars cannot tempt him -
he can drink venom smiling;
Just by the shadow of your grace
the wheel of the chariot of time moves
and by a spark of your ire
abodes of demons burn;

The minions of enemies stand defeated,
miraculous, boon become into this world,
comes your name:

O Lord of the hosts!

Glory, glory to the dear one adorned of peacock-feathers!
Prabhu Iyer Aug 2018
Can daybreak ever
bring darkness home?
The dried kohl is witness:
Aeons old, such a story
has been left behind,
unsaid, unsaid;

Does spring ever bring notice
of the coming fall?
Oh the rains sometimes
bring rumblings
of miffed skies -

Shoots that drop off stalks,
have not all
fallen for nothing,

Was the little window of dreams
Laying my head down,
stealing my sleep?

Aeons old, is such a story
that has been left behind,
unsaid, unsaid;
Easily one of the best songs in a Hindi language film of the last decade, 'Ankahee' (Unsaid) is a masterpiece by lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya:

Notes: Kohl is a dark powder used as eye makeup in the East. Masterful use to describe the kohl-lined eye of a female protagonist viewing the pathos-laden dawn.
Prabhu Iyer Aug 2018
Healing like the moon, you,
and jilted like the night am I:
paired in the heavens,
my darkness to your dream;

A cloud-patch of the downpour, you,
and I, a moment of the wait:
our meeting was written for this year;

The only passway:
your name,
the beat I live by.

Dressed in a bandhni pair,
leaving my father's lane will I come,
for you bringing,
sixteen monsoons together:
hold soft, for the string is sharp
for now starts the journey of seven lives;

I, at this end of the string
and you the other:
many the agonies before they come together!

The only passway:
your name,
the beat I live by.
Continuing on from my old project translating the lyrics of some of the finest songs from Indian films, here's the translation of the gorgeous title song from the 2018 superhit Hindi language film 'Dhadak' -

Original lyrics in Hindi by Amitabh Bhattacharya
Jul 2018 · 370
her name
Prabhu Iyer Jul 2018
Last bird, how cross you the distant
boundary beyond light?
In a circle of smoke I go
uttering her name the last of the words:
last splash of the high lake,
lisp of the winter wind,
words tail words, like water
emptied in the river and lake
retreating into the well
beyond them rocks deep
then into the heart of the earth
such is her name, buried deep
the unmarked borderland where
I must end and She must begin
incense-form fragrant her lips
that smell of nameless a love seeping in
across the vast, dark night;
it is the shadow of hooded fear
of being loved
that I wake up to in my nightmares
now I walk in the twilight
retreating, that upon us
the end of the day
kissed of her tresses
Mar 2018 · 626
Prabhu Iyer Mar 2018
Let us write together, the story of the night:
flow like the stars in the distant river,
hopping stalk to stalk, you of the same plume;
Here I part your hair, and plant a kiss, holy
emerges the passage to the promised land
and the miracle, that rises like
the song from the dunes, from your dimples
and twinkles in your eyes, moon-kissed
the road that forks: this is where we wrong
took the turn, going back to where we started
stuck, deep under, we will peer periscoped
into the wide sky, dark, studded diamonds
and my hands slide into the clouds that
gather gentle the rains behind your neck:
this is the recipe for a storm, monsoon tide;
my forefinger on your lips:  keep silent now,
oracle mage, for your words can land
like summer rain on the roof tiles, birthing
them worlds, that cascade the starlines;
which were as one in the beginning;
shoreless we go, transmigrating star to star
this is the miracle of life, transmigrating from life to life, ever in quest of the one supreme, which is love
Feb 2018 · 332
Prabhu Iyer Feb 2018
The morning when the waves recede,
the low tide, when all was gone
consumed in desire now emerging -
bare the wet sand that we walk on,
shells to your soft feet, a puddle there,
minnows scamper eager, gone
the wave that now tides at horizon;
Winds, playing with our clothes
fluttering hair, beating hearts,
we are here, in ****** land, that was
all water before, just before this hour
every mis-step drowns ankle sand,
but here we are hand in hand,
reclaiming life, walk waking back
Feb 2018 · 342
Blue-necked | Shiva - 3
Prabhu Iyer Feb 2018
Who smote the barriers at the gates of dawn
that the worlds roll out from the firmament of time
Who pierced the sky releasing the waters
that bring life to matter dead, egoless,
the simpleton who concedes all in love,
artist who fashions the arrow that rends
the delusion of separation, blue-
necked, the Yogi drunk of poison
darknesses that emerge in enquiry,
auspicious Lord, the terror to death
Third in the 5-part poem on Shiva, the great God of Hinduism: again set to blank verse in pentameter
Feb 2018 · 472
Clad of the ash |Shiva -2
Prabhu Iyer Feb 2018
The stillnesses of the aeons before
the world-times which stir in Him adorned of
skulls of all the forms that ever arose,
who knows of what age when first He walked here?
Staff in hand, for who walks His path is but
Him, garlanded in beads native to heights
of the times before time, clad of the ash
burned of tenses, master of dance, in whose
drunken steps rise, these universes vast:
auspicious, three-eyed the Lord of all.
Second of my 5-part poem on Shiva the great God of Hinduism; Set to Iambic pentameter!

Part - 1:
Feb 2018 · 897
Red Hued | Shiva -1
Prabhu Iyer Feb 2018
Conches and cymbals rend the air peering
into the mists of time vast like the snow-
clad peak, ancient that shines in the cells as
in the stars, matted whose locks gather the
sky-river in their folds, bearing the moon-
shell on his brow, merged in etherial that
datum where shine neither the moon nor stars
still like heavens that serpents slither lone
the one beyond all dual, red-hued like
the glacier anointed nigh at dusk
the 1st stanza of the 1st poem 'Shiva' in my now poetry project 'Sati' - this one is set to Iambic pentameter
Jan 2018 · 591
Kali the Mother
Prabhu Iyer Jan 2018
And darkest the night when all seems
lost, parts thick the blanket of fog;
Desiccated to the bone when
moonless in agony,
go emptied of Spirit the skies,

Broken in Her temples,
desecrated in the shrines
veiled, chained, burned at stake;
Scattered lays She,
as hope among the stars.

Among a thousand tribes risen,
to burst forth again,
Diana and Ishtar, Athena and Brigid,
crimson the rays that flood
regnal the horizon in waves;

Who casts time in the thrall of Her dice
fire cannot burn, nor weapons hurt,
who measures worlds in Her strides,
the black rose, Mistress of the night,

Garlanded in skulls of a thousand such
who know not Her might
whose hands sewn Her garment great
trampled death under Her thunder trail
Here She comes the ancient One:
Dec 2017 · 435
Losing Adhesion
Prabhu Iyer Dec 2017
That's how you break it
now you are alone
and I am alone
but that doesn't
make us of each other

the universe, starry night,
from the ringside view
of a puff rising;

let it rain, for
I must not get wet
out in the fury,
I've lost all adhesion

of nightbirds
rend the sky
this lonely hour
Dec 2017 · 813
Tiny little thing
Prabhu Iyer Dec 2017
The year that went by
was interesting:
very interesting,
and I did way many things,
and didnt
do many other things;
Among them,
this one little thing
that I know I should do,
do more, much more, I know,
this tiny little thing:
that like the blue blossom
little hides beneath the bush
mingling its fragrance
with the morning wind;
Who knows of it's existence?
Neither the sun, nor the moon
nor the stars, certainly not
even the birds and men that
move about there:
but it exists, this tiny little
bundle of delight
shining beneath the bush;
Yes, like that little blue blossom
this thing that I must do:
I blue-velvet know it:
saying I love you
yes, I'll do it more, more and more
now, this year that comes
pouring in the rains,
Now when I wade out
into the light.
Time for the mushy side :)
Season's greetings and a wonderful New Year 2018 all!
Dont forget the little things! Esp to those that matter to you!
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