“I will not sing today” (Bagyavana Az) by Dinanath Nadim

I will not sing today,

I will not sing

of roses and of bulbuls

of irises and hyacinths.

I will not sing

Those drunken and ravishing

Dulcet and sleepy-eyed songs.

No more such songs for me!

I will not sing those songs today.

Dust clouds of war have robbed the iris of her hue,

The bulbul lies silenced by the thunderous roar of


Chains are all a-jingle in the haunts of hyacinths.

A haze has blinded lightning’s eyes,

Hill and mountain lie crouched in fear,

And black death

Holds all cloud tops in its embrace.

I will not sing today

For the wily warmonger lies in ambush for my land.


Visitations of the past in dreams
and visits to the past in daydreams –
most mornings idly bear witness
to these and other shelved imaginings.

Lying down,
this vast land from an eleventh storey window,
low clouds encircling a nearby mountain,
or grey birds taking flight,
fill no absence.
Only the shell of the ceiling remains
to greet four walls.

Unbound on that ceiling,
that which is imagined
asks so suddenly to be:
shoulders, arms, and torsos,
which warm shadows of touch
might fasten
to other living fragments.

Hours pass by with their audible seconds
and the many,
measured rhythms of the body,
breathe and pulse with liquid repetition.
But a body never armoured against its longing,
wasp stings,
or any earthly prickling
must learn to also forsake such dispatches.

Retrieved and invited
they would light up –
like paper lanterns above a timid flame –
hollowly flutter and then ascend,
like the great night receiving them
and the solemn dawn they will not see.

One cannot humour them
and paint life into inanimate companions,
moved by nothing
but the will of fire
and the mind unknown to itself.

Excerpt from “The Heights of Macchu Picchu” (Pablo Neruda)

I come to speak through your dead mouth
Join together across the earth
all the silent scattered lips
and speak to me from below, all this long night
as if I were anchored among you,
tell me everything, chain by chain,
link by link, and step by step
sharpen the knives that you kept
place them in my breast, my hand,
like a river of yellow beams,
like a river of buried tigers,
and let me weep, hours, days, years,
blind ages, stellar centuries.

Give me silence, water, hope.

Give me struggle, iron, volcanoes.

Cling to me, bodies, like magnets.

Resort to my veins and my mouth.

Speak through my words and my blood.

Mists and Rain

O ends of autumn, winters, springtimes drenched with mud,
Seasons that lull to sleep! I love you, I praise you
For enfolding my heart and mind thus
In a misty shroud and a filmy tomb.

On that vast plain where the cold south wind plays,
Where in the long, dark nights the weather-cock grows hoarse,
My soul spreads wide its raven wings
More easily than in the warm springtide.

Nothing is sweeter to a gloomy heart
On which the hoar-frost has long been falling,
Than the permanent aspect of your pale shadows,

O wan seasons, queens of our clime
— Unless it be to deaden suffering, side by side
In a casual bed, on a moonless night.

“Mists and Rain,” Charles Baudelaire