Book Two:
The Cargoes
of the Bleeding Hearts
Other Poems


The Sun’s gone,
the Moon wails,
meteors play funny tricks.

Tomorrow will be a cloudy
morning. Wolves are out
to devour the Earth and the sky.

I write to voice myself;
my tongue is cut. It’s how dumb
fight and try to unload
cargoes of bleeding hearts
in the dark sea of wild oppression.

2.      MOTH

A moth mad to kiss flame!
The flame, bright and beauteous,
Cruel; burns the moment
it approaches it.
A bee-spider episode!

An open world to roam and plunder.
Don’t give in for moment’s pleasure.
Most spurious and elusive the fays.

They enthrall and enchant
to sport; sport to kill
their sole delight.
Beware of trap!


Water flows, grass grows,
a milk-white lamb and a hind
creep into forest, mind.

Mountains crowned; lightning
and thunder; cold, rain
and snow harbinger.

Haunting mirage
slithers off
rootless rock.

A glacier
of thought
swims across.


Full of hope
yet hard nudities
set the rainbow afire.

Blood congeals in veins,
the sight of boisterous
brawl of cats and dogs.


What does the thunder say
seeing a pool of blood
where crabs, frogs,
foxes and jackals
bathe and drink
to their fill?

Dogs and pigs rub
noses and diligently
peck at bones and flesh.

Air smells stale, rotten;
fish scuttle across
at the bottom;
the wounded stones wail,
eyes suffused with water
snakes, from holes,
jeer at the spectacle.

Where are the words
that once echoed
in the wasteland?


What ails you palli’d ,
anaemic Moon? What canker
sits deep in your heart?

Is it the same that
once sat in the heart
of Savitri and banished Sita?

Once enthralled
by promises and kisses;
now, an episode gone by.

Come to rejoice
To a garden full of fragrant
Flowers to forget the past.


The sun pours down fire
on the gasping earth;
a falcon perches
beside a sinking river
on a rock; flies, gyres
and lands again.

I sink my feet in cold water
on a bed of sand and stones;
dreamed about past when
bacteria struggled in snow.

The land laughs,
blood congeals,
flood recedes,
my feet on quicksand,
blazing Sun takes a dip,
the falcon squeaks.

A boat dances on waves,
river sobs, clouds bleed,
hill turns blue.


Atrocious ghosts
make human soul
a Kurukshetra
for Mahabharata
to be fought.

Human heads fall
like autumnal leaves.
I have seen storms
come and go
over wasteland
where Ajneya condoles
and river washes
wounds of
marmorial hearts.

The ball of fire rains deep
 into the gasping Earth,
engender new Shavian men
to fight with the rising fog.


One after another
mile-stones are left behind
with the hope
of reaching some destination
and struggle hard
to reach the goal
on the sands of time
with chisels of hands,
hammer of mind
try to carve out
some flowery figures
on the canvas
drawn from the mist
of years gone by.

The straw has caught the fire,
ready to singe
the spirit of cats and rats.

Bleeding heart looks forward
toward unfathomed seas,
longs to march
into heart of woods ‘dark and deep,’
full of snares and pitfalls,
hissing serpents,
growling panthers,
to trace a line
on the paper of time
as a mark to leave behind
on the waves of time
for some rafters
to toe the line.


In this promising age
of silent springs
the crying cog
bleeds under the weight.

The wheel has turned
the body blue
lest the blood should
sprout into a fountain.

Suffused eyes
stare at the world
full of stuffed men
wanting in matutinal drops
from His Heaven.*


Dead are the slaves
and Masters too,
stand strong for space
to settle score
for atrocities heaped on you
in the sea of oppression.

How long
will you continue
to prove your worth for innocence?
You have passed the fire-test,
was also lost at dice.

Rise woman, rise!
It is time to come out
from the harem and the kitchen
into an open space.
The Shakti, the Savitri
slash the age old shackles.

Hold fast the reins
O Lakshmibai!
Let yor sabre slay your miseries.
Be Bhawani
to ring the knell of the ashuras
that did cast a foul eye
on your crane-white self.


O, the Shivalingam,
the Osiris, the Valphago, the Priyacess,
and the Phallus
adored and sacrificed for
from one to the other end.
The source of life,
fire, water, earth, and sky;
you put fire in the egg
and enjoin it with
all the rites, disciplines,
offerings to be attuned
to the eternal course of things
and be one
with the Shivalingam.

Fill the Earth
with satyam, shivam, sundram.
O, the Eternal Father!
execute who dare defy
and vitiate the flow of Bhagirathi.
Let none be deaf
To the sound of your Damroo
And fear the Tandava.
When the universe is attuned
and enamoured to embrace
let the peace of the leaves
and the hue of the petals
scatter end to end.

World is afire,
smoke rises to hold
in thrall the Sun.

For wisdom and solace,
we turn to You
O the Seed—


Last month
she was weak and tender,
yet did not let me ford;
the boat ferried me
to the other shore.

Now, she is he
and I fear to ford;
the boat ferries me
to the other shore.

River chameleon
of self; boat engenders
faith and hope.

14.       TO MOTHER

Dear mother!
You left for heaven
soon after I was born
and did not come back
to tell me –
who I am.
I looked for balm,
the spring ran dry.

For nights
I sit outside in the cold 
and gaze at the pale Moon
and the twinkling stars.
I try hard to look beyond them
that by chance
I may have a glance
of the smiling face.

Smoke rises,
tears flood eyes,
I sit to fix the face
In my mind’s telescope.
Darkness prevails.
The night hisses and squeaks.
I, in my gloom, there sleep.

Rest Ma! Rest in peace!
When my course is run,
shouting I’ll come.
Will you ’cognize me?
How can I?


Give me strength
to fight the toil f the day,
to find the kernel out of hay.

Give me light to discern
satyam, shivam, sundram
in this life full of gloom.

Give me strength enough
to overcome
the untrue, the indolent.

Lead me, Lord!
On the righteous path
full of fragrant flowers.


One soft and noiseless night
I wriggle out of my room
and find her sighing.
Pollards vie to gore
one another and vermicides
cheat the plodding ants.

Trees full of fright
at the sight
of snake brawl.

In a plundered land
weak and virtuous
at the mercy of sycophants
wait in vain
for some salve
and melodic refrain.


Well nigh
as I lie
by the warbling river,
on the mossy stones
to refresh
from the day’s drab
in the breeze cool,
the fatigued Sun returns home.

I feel the body
flying in air
above the Himalayas,
flowing down
to the coolest oceans,
settling down
on the ground
blent in
the grains of sand,
transpiring to the hue of marigold,
the scent of rajanigandha,
leaves green
full of hope serene.
Being one with Nature,
drink deep from her store.

The soul
that did scuttle
from Earth to stars
like a shuttle,
ah! Falls feeble.

A lonely crane’s harrowing cry
shakes me down
from my trance.
Languidly my feet
I drag with heavy heart.


I found her conversing with the stars
Setting free the captives
In the fortress of the heart.

The angelic thoughts flew
To realms unknown
For decoding by the flaming heart.

She stared into the void
Sound and sentiments fused
Like the dark of the night.

Lost in her dreams, vitality
Hangs heavy, the earth cries
In Summer for wholesome rain.


With the thundering clouds
Over the mountains
Flowers bloom
Seeds sprout
Rivers thunder past …

I’ve seen in quivering cold
Supporting the lingering bones
An anaemic patient.
Sun rises
And sets.
The eternal wheel moves on.

Youth a varied-hued-juicy-spring
Leads to the ‘sun-burn’t mirth.’
Wail not the pensive past,
Nor hail the present might,
Meditate upon the unborn future.


Heard a sound:
saw the wheel
in the lane below:
men and women,
young and old
in sun and shower
vie with
the speed
of the wheel.

Tried the best of might
with computers,
genetic engineering
to domesticate the wheel
that moves alike
on low and high;
knows no walls
nor belongs to any
colour, caste or creed.

The crowd of mimics
left behind
like a wounded snake.

The wheel moves on tirelessly
creaking and preaching:
respect, tolerance and love
eternity to eternity.


The fire burns, smoke rises
to the sky, elements transpired
to their native stock;
allow home the parted self.

The crowded heads wail and
laugh at the crematorium
the eternal truth,
fire plays his tandava;
vain “I” turns to ashes:
awaits ablution
in the holy Ganga.

The soul is back home:
a long banishment ends.


The bird flutters wings, looks
for berth to perch upon.

Unknown galaxies hidden
in the womb of infinity.

The land is all aflame:
wolves, rats and cats enjoy
cake and ale, in a dark
corner sob hens and lambs.

The bird has no place to perch, 
keeps on flying then falls down
effete on the flames.


The spring air
lulled, cradled and foxed
the little, lovely bud
that in jubilation
courted the warm day
humming an amorous note.

Ignorant about the frosty Winter,
vultures, cats and rats.
How deceptive the joys!
How real the sorrows!

24. A WORM

Pressed down under
the load of cares and concerns:
back bends down.

Wriggle and try hard
in vain to carry cargo
to the yonder side of the river;
crows and hawks fly above
in the hope of a treat.

A feeble worm,
thin and lean, wriggles.
Would there were some
to balm the wounds, scare
the hawk and crow away!


“ O my Balia! O my son!
Where are You?
When will you come?”
Cries the couple:
eyes suffused, tears
roll down furrowed cheeks,
age has snowed on head.

Tears have rolled
for the last umpteen years.
With trembling voice
they search for one
who stops to hear and
essays to balm the wounds.

“My Balia, my son
went to serve the nation
on brawny breast of waters
hasn’t returned since then.

Mother’s heart believes,
Father’s hopes …
“Our son’ll come back!
Our Balia will come back
to light the pyre
of his father,
of his mother!

B - a - b – u
Is our Balia dead?”

(This poems was written after seeing the tears of the parents of a sailor who perished in the sea in the 1965 war with Pakistan.)


Standing on the door,
stare at the bald hills;
the vultures fly in gyres.
Wide expanse of the sand,
Busy wind erases
Worn out foot-prints;
The water whispers in dumb December river.

I feel the gravitational pull
and am drawn to share
the experience,
endeavour to plank
yesterdays and tomorrows
with the constellation
of the Earth and heaven.


To live successfully
at the present hour
one must have two faces—
one of the angel,
other of the devil
bedecked with
synthetic perfumes and creams
to hide the rotten smell
of blood bedaubed nails and teeth.

Always walk masks on to
keep up appearances
lest one should be strip-teased.

We must live by two
or lag behind
in the race to knock
our rivals down
on the ground
to prove the prowess
and succeed in the struggle.


Once I stood at a cross
In the hot month of May
Happy and gay.
She came to me
Ogling and goggling.

Now in December
Detached and dismayed.

The road is barren,
An armless stalk
At the cross
Awaits an ablution.

I listlessly drag my feet
And beg from above
A draught from Lethe.


The guardians of our civilization
Fight in Iran, Kampuchea, Zimbabwe,
Rhodesia and on the sands of Gaza.
The inventors of various comforts
Vainly try to subjugate time and space.
We want peace! Give us peace!

Those who brag to have subjugated
The Nature with leaping aspirations
Send satellites into space.
Despite meticulous skill
They tumble down a house of cards.
We want peace! Give us peace!

Ask no organization,
Summon no conference
To mock at our peeping rags,
Rattling bones scare no more.
We’re show-pieces to your philosophy.
We want peace! Give us peace!

The owners of the Atom bombs!
We dread the brightest fire,
The melting heat in sea,
We’re hapless Fukuru Marus;
Save us! Save us, we cry hoarse.
We want peace! Give us peace!

Let’s lie starved and naked.
Tell us – where are our brothers,
Fathers, sons and husbands
You sent to Vietnam and Bangladesh?
Act not Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
We want peace! Give us peace!

No men strangers, no land foreign;
Everywhere shine the same Sun and Moon;
The spring brings buds and flowers forth;
The clouds rain, the birds sing; rivers flow,
Air blows. Meddle not with their course.
We want peace! Give us peace!

*Fukuru Maru: Japanese Boat that became the victim of first American Hydrogen bomb test explosion.


Today is real
Tomorrow imagined.
What the hitch?

Let’s heave and sigh,
Moan and groan
And feel the warm breath.

Think not of succumbing
To the animal within
Than a purpose without.

Rain deeper and deeper
And help to catch
Image brewing in brain.


From the chirping birds
On the trees in bloom,
Warbling springs by the hillside,
She has learnt her songs.

Welcome to one
Rich in seeds potent.
Open the bowl of the Earth.
Songs, sighs and tears
Tell the agony of an arid heart.
Strikes, in fury, at the walls
Of propriety to placate the fire.

She is branded a flirt!


me in my voyage
in the forest
infested with howling beasts,
hissing serpents, hoot owls.
The night dark, storm rages.

Vainly I try to march
on the untrodden path.
Tired and panting, I seek
The faint ray atop
The hill, beyond the river …

I sink down the bog, tempests
Becalm as thou come
 To cheer and sit beside me.


When I see a burning tree
branches falling down
warriors in demonic wars.
Heart bleeds as though
lanced through.
The roots flow in sands,
stars come down to condole.
Vultures and crows
enjoy a treat.

The pooped Sun after the day done
returns home pale and listless.
Here owls are the celebrities.

The poor pigeons stare puzzled
at the horizon in the hope
of a bright new Sun. Will it dawn?


The sun rains down cinders,
the land flooded;
panic stalks the soul.

A bird flutters wings
in the air over muddy
water on a tree.

Some boys under the Banyan
on the yonder bank
try to angle fish.

Souls in the boat wail
and weep the burning boat
and the brown river.

What will they do?
What can they do?


How long have I
To sit alone
And wait in vain?

Time and again
My eyes search for
My impatience.

Solitude and desolation
Prolong into kalpas.
Thoughts bud like cacti.

In this cruel hour, time
Hence, cease moments; to my
Icon let me run.


The dust is up in the air
and conspires with
clouds to blind the sun.

Birds fly in panic
fearing nests be blown.
Eagle poised between

the Earth and the sky. Fish
jump out of water. Men,
as hostages, curse their lot.

The storm to shake and jolt
isle of faith on which is
built the castle of cats.