Manu Dash: Poet of objects

POETRY COLUMN

 

POETRY EDITOR ANANYA S GUHA writes:

 

Manu Dash is a prominent Oriya poet.  These poems speak about day to day living, the ‘ordinary’ day to day living. Yet the images are distilled and vivid. The poems are sensuous, and catch fleeting moments of  life. The immediacy of the poems capture transitory moments of life.  Manu Dash responds to his surroundings sensitively and explores moments of human transience. He is a poet of objects: animate and inanimate but within this is an exploratory urge, to explore the what  of life and lives.
 

OVER A CUP OF GREEN TEA

 

A city of gossip grows fast

on the hills of tongue

day in day out.

 

 

Womb of deep sea nurturing

fetus of the Tsunami

aborts without giving any notification.

 

 

World observes prolonged silence

when poetry courts to the poet

in a crowd.

 

 

The birder’s gaze overlooks

when the mobile phone beeps

without let-up at dawn.

 

 

Crocodile’s tear dissolves in the water

before it touches the jaws

in the darkness of the night.

 

 

Politics has no business with poetry,

but poetry deals politically

with words and their hidden agenda.

 

 

Let the cat bark,

the dog mew, lion snort

to expand its kingdom

and escape ancient grammar.

 

 

God keeps wandering

in the blind alley of inhumanity

soon after the passport of faithfulness

expires its validity.

 

 

The laminated citation plate

nailing on the wall

mocks at its receiver

replaying secret stories

he had scribbled for.

 

 

Morning’s recalcitrant rain

left poke-marks

on the face of the sand dunes

for no reasons.

 

 

I’m harried in setting

the nurses of words free,

when they are trapped

by hostile militants of hullaballoo.

 

 

NO RAIN IN JULY

 

Summer has overstayed

as an unneeded guest,

Taciturn frogs would have been

at their mellifluous best.

 

Grasses are slowing for

more green and dark,

Rivers keening for pregnancy

andnight dogs hopelessly bark.

 

 

Nature plays its truant

through a mysterious game,

Rise of prices put stakesat

new government’s fame.

 

 

Poets are soaking gallingly

with coercing sweat,

old astrologer smiles on TV screen

advising to watch and wait.

 

 

RAIN

A long onset was overdue.

Last night it arrived unannounced

and left covertly before the dawn breaks,

only faint traces of cold wind

trespassed through unfastened window

and a soaking courtyard.

 

Crows in a distant corner were busy

performing their morning raag,

the loose electric wires by the lane

were engaged in a duet with the breeze.

 

No hymns, no morning bell ringing

overheard from the dingy chalet,

where God is dwelling as a refugee

since a decade or so.

 

No magic worked to save poor

from sunstroke and hike in consumables.

 

Body demands awfully a brisk walk

discontinued since few months.

 

 

ALPHABET OF SILENCE

 

In a cultural meeting

number of speakers

were half of the listeners,

speakers were clapping

while the listeners were

observing stony silence.

 

 

In the market place

consumer asked

about the price of vegetables,

vender wobbled oversized belly

without making anyhum.

 

In the mountain curve,

a river was busy composing music,

a leaf suddenly fell on its ribcage

that made the river wordless.

 

In Parliament house,

new PM become emotional

that left other members of house weeping

tillarrival of next election.

.

 

 

Near  temple’s dark sanctorum

priest did not chant his hymns

that challenged audacity of the Lord

after a court’s verdict

went against personal interest.

 

Tradition was silently

aped and raped

without any hullabaloo.

 

 

TALE OF TWO PLANETS

 

Man keeps on meditating,

Woman yaks ceaselessly.

 

Man roams inside the room

Woman sits before the Facebook.

 

Man moves in market,

gulps coffee sans sugar,

smokesand returns home

with a packet of condom,

 

Woman rushes into malls

stacks the universe in the trolley

along with sanitary napkins.

 

Man receives calls from

readers, peer poets,

editors and critics.

 

Woman receives

often phone calls

fromthe boss in odd hour

from parents and fiancée.

 

Man reads Kafka,

listensKishoriAmonkar,

watches Kim-Ki-Duk.

 

 

 

 

Woman reads Vogue,

listensBeyonce Knowles,

and watches Henry Cavill.

 

 

Man looks at vacant sky.

Woman inspects her onlookers.

 

Man is not her husband,

Woman is not his wife,

They were seceded by

a hedging and thirty years.

 

ABOUT MANU DASH

 

Manu-DashManu Dash joined Anam in 1974 that gave a new face to Odia poetry. He writes in both English and in Odia. He has two collections of poems and short stories, four collections of essays and six works of translations. He is currently editing The Dhauli Review, a triquarterly of Indian writing. His latest anthology of poems ‘Wings over the Mahanadi’ is published by Poetrywalla.

 

 

Ananya S Guha

Ananya S Guha

Ananya S Guha works in the Indira Gandhi National Open University, Shillong (Meghalaya) as an Academic Administrator. He has over 30 years of teaching and administrative experience. He has six collections of poetry and his forms have been published world wide. Some of his poems are due to appear soon in an Anthology of Indian Poetry in English to be published by Harper Collins.