Author Archives: Pancholi Nandlal Kanjibhai

Nostalgia

Idyllic memoirs of my boyhood days
I have lost into thorny hedges of my
native village where now
sprawl of concrete
jungle stands.

Hedgehogs, hares and squirrels
no longer scurry through the
fallow fields and the packs
of wolves which used to roam
unhindered on grassy lands
have been hounded into
extinction by rude rattle of trucks

I still grope for the herb with
which my father used to cure eczema
and I am at loss to spot the creepers
that purges toxins through dieresis
How can I revisit that lost pastoral
village which I left a decade
ago to settle in town?

My tryst with nature

Up I grew with nature wild
On a heath pure and undefiled
I saw near my house a mongoose Red Mouth
Running to and fro from north to south
And at a Fallow Retreat not far
I met a shy retiring jaguar
Often I accost at nearby Four Square
A ravenous grizzly bear
And a tortoise hurrying somewhere
Hearing my footsteps he draws his head inside
Leaving me stunned and petrified
And I came across a timid jackal once
Who kept from me a safe distance
Scanning me cunningly from top to toe
And considering me a perennial foe
And in winter, I behold a hedge-hog
Through fog
Who, at slightest rustle, hid behind a stile
Reducing itself to a thorn pile
Grey rabbits run amok seeing me in vicinity
Thinking that I chase them with impunity
Field Squirrels, however, are unperturbed
With my presence they are least concerned

William Shakespeare

He penned plays in verse with great ease
But just his rivals to displease
Greene called him upstart crow
And reading him, even Marlowe
Raised eyebrow

Playwright and actor in theatre
Shrewd observer of human nature
In shylock he portrays minority psyche
Callow youth’s indecision,
In Hamlet’s to be not to be

His songs as fresh as morning dew
Telling secrets of life in lines a few
‘Friends, Romans and countrymen’
Remains, till date, rhetoric’s rare specimen

It’s true, he had jealous rivals and adversaries
But, then he had equally great contemporaries
Eventually he surpassed established wits
And outsmarted even University Dramatists
It’s true,
Lear-Othello-Macbeth are pessimistic plays
But aren’t his sonnets sanguine as sunrays?

Newspapers

They are on the verge of extinction
Now in reading them there is no fun
Electronic media rendered them redundant
Yellow journalism made them defunct
Like a beggar they hanker after ad
Their glamour of late has begun to fade
Editors now grope for thrilling news
And fill-up columns with their own views
Letters to the editor lack vigour
There is dearth of good articles
For contributors are meagre
There are no incentives for columnists
So they have begun to opt for tv superhits
Print media is virtually on oxygen
Even by its erstwhile fans it has been shun
Its news are dull and stale
And it survives solely on blackmail

For posterity

I write my poems for posterity:
To be trapped and preserved
In the pages of moth-eaten books,
To be discussed at universities
Hundred years after my death,
To be selected in syllabus and taught in
Classrooms of schools in remote lands,
In schools and exams to be summarized,
Shrunk into precis or its lines
Taken out for RC, Figures of speech,
Thought expansion-
I know my countrymen will ignore me
For every poet is ignored by his times and his homeland.
Poetry, like rolling boulder, gathers
Momentum and velocity as it advances
Deep into dark valley of time
I do not write for my country for she
Considers poetry a pastime, not a profession.

Saddam’s Trial

Who brought me to this cage
Roars the dictator in rage
Then says in firm voice
I’m free and I have my choice
So I do not obey this court
As judicial norms it distorts

(Pointing at Mohammad Amin):
I hold this Kurd as my subject
And most vehemently I object
In this matter his right to adjudicate
For Kurds are naive and dunce
And what do they know about jurisprudence?
I crushed them, curbing their insurgence
And subjugated them at once
Now this Kurd has audacity
To ask me my identity
Who gave him such authority?
A subject asking his king his name
Such rude manners is matter utmost of shame
For this insubordination
Deeming it as act of treason
I can inflict punishment most dreaded
By getting him publicly beheaded

And how am I to be brought
Under the purview of Kurdish court
Where both the plaintiff and judge are Kurdish lot
In no way this is a fair trial
But mockery of justice
And its clear denial

Where is my Skud where is my Skud?
I wanna make these Kurds swim in their blood
These repulsive Kurds are shrewd Shylocks
Rude and revengeful folks!
They want from me pound of flesh
“Alas, by night armies ignorant clash”
Where art Thou O Great Matthew Arnold
To Mephistopheles my soul I have sold

I am Marlowe’s Faustus in Eternal exile
Who hath to Lucifer mortgaged his smile
Perpetual death awaits me on gallows
As the charges are being read by these fellows

Oh no never should I repent
My valour is not yet spent
I can still kill Bush in single combat
And in fencing Blair I can beat
As a sovereign ruler of a State
I am not free to experience feeling of guilt
But instead should have my hand on sword hilt
Why this world rewards me not for my bravery
Didn’t I fight a lone battle against allies
By punching hard in their bellies
Shall no one bestow upon me accolades
For my glorious victorious acts
Or confer upon me the title of knighthood
For Gulf war’s mauves and strategies shrewd

Instead of turning vindictive why my foes do not follow Christ
Who instead of revenge on mercy emphasized
Didn’t Jesus forgive his assassins
Saying: ‘Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do’
But my adversaries relish and enjoy my waterloo

To you all I earnestly urge
Appoint some Christian priest as a judge
To whom I can confess my sins and for mercy plead
The priest carrying Holy Bible in hand
Can at least my enigma understand

These Kurds build case against me brick by brick
Hearing the charge sheet I feel sick
We can never redeem the world of sins by hanging assassins
Mercy will herald the dawn of love
And will please the Lord Up Above

I

I
Wish to fly
In open sky
Beyond time
In cloudless clime
Where no birds frown
At my renown
Where everyone feels
Ok on the hills
Buds and tendril
Smile in April
Wind there sings
Wet air brings
Some familiar smell
No heaven or hell
Thoughts compel
On rooftop freedom sits
And you with smile greets
Every night gala
And days superhits

Schiavo

She fought heroic war
Lone and isolated
Wandered companionless on the dark
Sinister shores of Eternity
Hovering over the black ocean of death
Her neurons crawled like a soldier under camouflage
To avert the fatal blows of death
Her carnal body bathed by tears of near and dear
Remained encapsuled in timeless spheres
Where angels and devils have unfettered sway
And on each step avalanches preclude the way
Now She is away like a far off star
But still her memories
Float around
Like a gaudy butterfly

To the Sunflower

Enthralling smile of you
With flamboyant flash of yellowish hue
As if pure fire made of
Seeing you anyone would stop
And appreciate your beauty
Calling you Nature’s variety

Touched by your flagrant flame
Onlooker would simply exclaim:
“The Hand that designed this feat
Must indeed be a great artist!”

Thou art so reserved, reticent and coy
That as a schoolboy
I found you a constant source of joy
And you used to lift my mood
But in adulthood
Many flowers have withered on my eyebrow
And many still in my gardens grow
But none hath that power to overpower
Like you O Sunflower!

Amitabh Bachhan

A poet’s son-
Who entered the ring of filmdom
Like Mike Tyson
Acting unconventionally
Delivering dialogues like hot balls of fire from gun
He mingled fantasy with fun
His roles as orphan foresaken child heightened his rhetoric to the point of misanthropy
His dialogue often sounds like heretics’ comments on life
But never he smacks of cynicism
Upright, tall, invincible-
He stalks on Hindi Cinema Screen
Like a conqueror
After vanquishing an unknown island
Kids are fond of him
Because he is fantastic story teller
But I behold his life as poetry
Because he is the greatest poem
Written by Harivanshray Bachhan

Medical Prescriptions

To teach kids about hieroglyphs
We can show them doctor’s prescription slips
For this illegible version
Exactly tallies its description
Medicos scrawl letters with awkward curves
And to read you’ve to strain nerves
While reading the prescribed drugs
Often a dispenser sneers and shrugs
The prescription of ‘pheniramine’
Often gets misread as ‘amphetamine’
If they write ‘ethambutol’
It reads: ”Thy death toll”
And when they pen ‘dexamethasone’
It appears like ‘desist my son’
Many die of fatal reactions when dispensers
Misread doctor’s prescriptions
Handwritten prescription has become
A potential health-hazard
Which requires urgent and immediate safeguard

Post-War Poetry

Turn tyrant tradition topsy turvy
And rid the tooth ridden with scurvy
Muffle metre with monosyllabics
Trim words mortgage meaning
Call Shakescene full-fledged Freud, Pope,
Refined rhymester, yeats, a man of metaphysical
Mist, weird contrition has no place in poetry
It’s rootless tree quite carefree all agree
Forgive if you find these words riddled
Lineslimping for I want poetry to drag and
Screech like lame Iraqi tank
Postwar poetry just cant’ afford to be
Brisk and smart, I make it hop like Hopkins
And retard its pace with heavy Hawthornian
Diction, thus inserting into vapid verse
Fine element of fatigue and fiction and
Lament the loss: Alas! they clip wings of
White dove, murder myth of love, remove upper
Lip and lover teeth ridge surgically so that
None can order fire! fight! finish!

Chromosomes of Creeds

Chromosomes of creeds having been replete with
Seeds of retardation in turn breed more and
More mongoloids of ethnic obsessions, hence
Engineers of genetics may ponder over removal
Of pathogenic germs and the defective sperms
From the colloid of contemporaneity.

And after that an era of equanimity would dawn
Where science would have been made to dominate
Politics, eugenics meant to succeed restricted
Homogeneous breed, color hatred and racial
Discrimination dismissed as obsolete relics of
Primitive past, polygamy officially replacing
Monogamy, world government superseding
Neurotic nation states and the whole world
Becoming a family in this would be world
Nuclear arsenals will become irrelevant

Ode to Cuckoo

Utter not a word
O sweet sonorous bird
Lest thy lustful note
In spring amorous longing evoke
Or thy voluptuous voice awake
Eve’s cursed mortal taste
By this mellow melody
If you wish to invoke yearning in
Serene panorama of stoic wood
Or herald in green girls the dawn of
Womanhood
Then instead go to places
Where dame beautiful and her beau
Have been forced each other to bid adieu
And are compelled to live apart
Harbouring passion in their heart
They probably will value your song
Just to ease pangs and patience to prolong

Flashback

When I peep into past
And recall life’s early morn
Present life stings and pains
Like sting of cactus thorn
For a while I get lost
In sweet memories of playful days
Little playmates and their funny ways
Tops and marbles and kites
Petty squabbles and fist-fights
Eyes wonderous, colored objects
Burlap bags and fragile slates
But like brilliant night of fullmoon
This flashback too recedes soon
And again the cycle of life
Same domestic chores same
Familiar wife