April, 2007

Sentinel Poetry (Online)


ISSN 1479-425X





Poems by

Srikanth Reddy



Srikanth Reddy*


Monsoon Eclogue


Some years ago a procession

of men calling themselves

the sky-clad came

to this district to build

a hospital for birds that had been 

damaged by the rains.


The landholders here

My grandfather among them

decided against it Ė

it not being our way

to intervene with monsoons


which is why to this day

the birds grow

so damaged & wise,


or so our tutor said gravely


before stepping out into the sun-

washed coriander patch to watch

droplets work down

stems one by one, small

storms suspended, while over

the rooftiles came

breakers of mist making

our whole house to him

drift back like the high prow

of viceroyís steamship

he watched sail off with his youth.


Inside I still could not find

the main verb the chariot

wheel performed. I thought


it was silver. It bore


the king with 100 heads

across a battlefield red

with his wounded

up to the end of the

beginnerís workbook


then blue-skinned Rama bent his bow then his

raiderís arrow met

the axle & then


I could not stop laughing


as through the doorway  my mother scolded

the aphasic houseboy


who peed into our

green watertank

(black putti, untouchable)

arcing the thin golden

stream & singing

ooo-ee-ooo-ee at our ruin.



Burial Practice


Then the pulse.

Then a pause.

Then twilight in a box.

Dusk underfoot.

Then Generations.



Then the same war by a different name.

Wine splashing in a bucket.

The erection, the era.

Then exit Reason.

Then sadness without reason.

Then the removal of the ceiling by hand.



Then pages & pages of numbers.

Then the page with the faint green stain.

Then the page on which Prince Theodore, gravely wounded,

       is thrown onto a wagon

Then the page on which Masha weds somebody else.

Then the page that turns to the story of somebody else.

Then the page scribbled in dactyls.

Then the page which begins Exit Angels.

Then the page wrapped around a dead fish.

Then the page where the serfs reach the ocean.

Then a nap.

Then a peg.

Then the page with the curious helmet.



Then the page on which millet is ground.

Then the death of Ursula.

Then the stone page they raised over her head.

Then the page made of grass which goes on.



Exit Beauty


Then the page someone folded to mark her place.

Then the page on which nothing happens.

The page after this page.


Then the transcript.

Knocking within


Interpretation, then harvest.



Exit Want

Then a love story.


Then a trip to the ruins.

Then & only then the violet agenda.


Then hope without reasons.

Then the construction of an underground passage between us.





She was watching the solar eclipse

through a piece of broken bottle


when he left home.

He found a blue kite in the forest


on the day she lay down

with a sailor. When his name changed,


she stitched a cloud to a quilt

made of rags. They did not meet,


so they never be parted.

So she finished her prayer,


& folded his map of the sea.



*Poems excerpted from Facts from Visitors by Authorís permission.


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Srikanth Reddy