Six Poems by Abhay K.

* Author of the Month *
Abhay K.
Abhay K. (b.1980) is a poet and editor. He has published six collections of poems including The Seduction of Delhi and The Eight-Eyed Lord of Kathmandu and edited CAPITALS (Bloomsbury), 100 Great Indian Poems (Bloomsbury & The Onslaught Press, UK) & 100 More Great Indian Poems (The Onslaught Press, UK). He received the SAARC Literature Award 2013. His poems have been translated into a dozen languages and published in leading literary journals including Poetry Salzburg Review, Asia Literary Review among others. His Earth Anthem has been translated into 30 langauges.

San Marino

Go to San Marino, someone told me in Torino. A country
carved out of a mountain. The largest castle is still a prison.
They say San Marino has the oldest constitution and has more
vehicles than men.

Bandar Seri Begawan: The City of the God

The blessed city wrapped in a green blanket
on the banks of Sungai Brunei
welcomes first rays of the Sun
on its marble minarets and golden domes

across the lagoon children jump into the river
to swim to their schools, to welcome tourists
to Kampong Ayer—the Venice of the East
in Antonio Pigafetta’s legendary chronicles

the palace of light and faith shines radiant
as faces of the shoppers at the Gandong Central
long noses of the proboscis monkeys
brighten up Brunei mornings in Pulau Ranggu.

Sungai is a river.
Kampong Ayer is the village constructed on stilts over the Brunei river.
Antonio Pigafetta was a traveller who accompanied the explorer Magellan.
Gandong Central is the largest shopping complex in Bandar Seri Begawan.
Pulau Ranggu is an island, which is home to long nosed proboscis monkeys.


Alonso, Juan, Amerigo — the voyagers rushed
to the Wild Coast in search of an Inca El Dorado

instead they discovered Parmurbo—
a village inhabited by  Indians

and when the tobacco and sugar plantations declined
a mighty city arose on the banks of the river Suriname

now, Wilhelmina— the displaced Dutch queen
looks at Goslar— a sunken ghost ship, from a rusty island.


A reddish Martian flatland in the middle of the desert
haunted by winds, shifting sand dunes and droughts

a caravan stop from the sea port of Atlantic
strange, sleepy, unassuming, laid-back, idiosyncratic,

somewhat urban, somewhat nomadic
intricate streets, one-storeyed buildings

the grand mosque rises like the full moon over the city
scores of tourists treasure hunt for Saharan meteorites

fishermen arrive in brightly painted sea canoes
donkey carts ply on the road loaded with fish

passing through overflowing Kebbes, frantic markets
nomads relocate—a city migrates within a city.

Kebbes concrete shanty towns

Iguashu Falls, Brazil

Sky is filled with birds
a butterfly lands on my hands

water vapour rises high
instantly turning into clouds

I am silent
letting the moment seep into me

a quatis comes close with curious eyes
speaks to me in a strange voice

I walk on the trail dumbfounded
getting drenched wet

as Nature cries
for a dying Earth

I stand in silence
listening to Iguashu falls

watching a thousand rainbows
rise and fall

I walk into the devil's throat
I am in the lap of eternity

I try to see her face
it is blinding white.


To Hhohho
to Mbabane, to Lobamba
along the river Polinjane
and the mountains of Mdzimba
through cool high veld Ezulwini
to the Royal Kraal
bow to the queen mother Ntombi
dance Incwala and Umhlanga.

Kraal enclosure
Umhlanga Reed Dance

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