Kanwar Dinesh Singh: Poetry (Voices Within 2021)

Kanwar Dinesh Singh is a poet, storyteller, critic and translator based in Shimla. His publications include several volumes of poetry and short fiction, besides books in literary criticism. His poems, short stories, reviews, interviews, essays and papers have appeared in reputed newspapers, magazines, journals and anthologies in India and abroad. He is the recipient of the ‘Himachal Pradesh State Sahitya Akademi Award’ for poetry. He has also got the Associate Fellowship of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Currently, he is Associate Professor of English at a Government College affiliated to HP University, Shimla and Editor of Hyphen. Email: kanwardineshsingh@gmail.com

Shimla in Winter

The tepid fumes come out of the mouth 
And words seem to freeze up halfway;
The surrounding air turns too uncouth;
The winter in Shimla makes a heady sway.

The firmament remains in an impasse 
Tugging between sunshine and shade;
The dreary clouds everything surpass
The winterbegone Shimla does fade.

The balding trees await the snowcaps
All insects, rodents and serpents hide;
In covert grooves imperceptible on maps
Shimla by winter takes a sinister stride.

The March of Moths

Countless moths willingly sacrifice their lives
Around the lamps on the Mall Road:
Nameless heroes, mad martyrs, 
Silent lovers, special souls
Seeking sparks of light
Embracing death
Without any propaganda
About laying down their lives
For a certain secret mission,
Without any lust for recognition and fame,
Without any pomp, without any sound,
The mute March of the Moths!

I Am Not an Angel

The smiling and quick-handed present their gifts best;
Blarney yields a bright, personal reward of its own to harvest.

I wonder how to talk sweet with a venom-dripping tongue;
On balance I cannot admire the art of indirection in the slightest.

I know well I am not an angel shorn of varied, dark malevolence;
Yet rooting for my dreams I prepare myself for the litmus test.

Let them crow of whatsoever they do; in whatever way they act; 
Dinesh, one who is seemly and scrupulous finally gets the crest.

The Providence

The reminiscences of days bygone scrape my heart again and again;
I cannot do anything than acquiesce to the crawling, protean pain.

I try hard to forget my past, but maybe even God can’t repeal that;
All my efforts to disavow my indiscretions peter out in vain.

Who could ever itemize the excruciating impasse of existence?
Too many inhale and succumb to a spiritually impotent strain.

Combating against one’s Providence is not an undemanding task,
That’s why, Dinesh, everyone looks at one’s nakedness in disdain.

In This City

In this teeming city, I am ever the stranger;
Unmoored, unencumbered, I am happier.

Shedding the prickly crowd of acquaintances,
In tandem with my true self, I’m comfortable here.

Here, I have no fear of their lift and brunch chatter; 
I’m fully free from expectations and black-tie demeanour.

I could rebuke them smartly, that game I know;
I was only afraid of unseemly and uncouth behaviour. 

Let not people besiege you unreasonably any more,
Dinesh, you ought to take this preventative measure.


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