POETRY: Adil Hasan’s poems use concrete steadfast images

POETRY EDITOR Ananya Guha’s note:  Adil Hasan’s poems use concrete steadfast images of life and times. Sometimes arcane they are a heady pull towards life’s movements and an inner mysticism. They are lyrical poems and the music of life draws the best from him.

Two Poems for W. S. Graham

Poem I

Long is the room

Padlocked and kept

Away from the night

She left me. Feared

Is the time of the broken

Bone come from the

Father’s axe the blows

Felling the oak that

Once stood unbroken

Like vast pictures

In dreams. The room

She slept in the pool

Our oceans made

Come stand and fill

For once long ago

Jade me with

Fierceness, let the fierce

Love reside touching the

Inside of caves cast

Aside, the hollowness of

Heart not you that knew

But only I breeding

Took fast for another

Life and preserved the

Dust, the bone struck

Again and again

I summoned the

Rage in its room

Taking for blessing

The cutting past, its

Ale of pain for a

Sip, you for an

Artefact hung from

Walls stoned with

Red, violet, red

The storm showed

Ghastly through windows

Washing out your sob

Threat to me, life to

The past and to me

Joined before in

The unruly weather

Fluttering in that

Soft shroud your

Hands spoke of.

Speak now maiden

Sprout new hatred

Or history, tell all

And go not back to

The candied cunning

Or rub with sand

The lilac or the

Petalled grave or

Make for worms

The playing fields

Saying the words

Finally. Finally

The words drip.

In the room the

Vastness of time

Pales.

Poem II

What is this fantastic

Clue from the first

Parts of my life

That I still love.

A few still

Words from the poem

Burn from the un-lived

Past. The fruit is divided

Sweet and won with

Spears, you breed for

Days to come and far

Goes the house that is

Bled. Remember his

Refusal of a brother’s

Share when the nights

On wing descend to

The Oak and broke

The oar of the ocean

Jets, each rock is

Parched and parched and

The last but listen

Not to flickering from

Land the rain splaying

Night catching on

Come and go. Go fall

To her sounds, she is

Here, tumultuous in the

Sea, you have paid

All and all to each

The mast crumbles

Here take bread

And cast the ship

A fiery eye, sharpen

Your hands, believe

The mind is cast

From the shadow of

The burn that rots. All

Is froth from the sea down

Below turns the quickening

Sound of sand flowing

Straight casting us below

The age of cutting each

Horse from its hold to

Follow the lamp to the

Shore.

* * * * *

The Day of Judgement

As the muezzin calls for prayer, and church

And temple bells toll,

Five hundred larks rise, as if commanded

By some unforeseen power.

Unknown to those whose heads are bowed

In silence and in prayer.

As the muezzin calls for prayer, and church

And temple bells toll,

Fifty helicopters take-off, as if propelled

By some invisible force.

Unknown to those whose hands are clasped

In silence and in prayer.

As the muezzin calls for prayer, and church

And temple bells toll,

Five masses of earth ascend, as if drawn

By the power of the Heavens.

Unknown to those whose bodies kneel

In silence and in prayer.

As the muezzin calls for prayer, and church

And temple bells toll,

Half the “Self” springs and jumps,

As if summoned by God Himself.

Unknown to those who exist

In silence and in prayer.

(1988).

*********

Airmen, Lost at Sea

For now let’s start with silence.

Wrap silence around. Make no sound, act no life.

Make those moments pass.

Make him lay there dead like, make no sound.

So leave those runway lights on.

Leave the rest to the crosswinds.

Heave to. Fuselage soaring, hands caught in lightning.

But leave those runway lights on.

As Jay comes to, sense a man rowing in.

So fix it, make him escape.

Run from channels of salt, flee from creek of shadows.

Swiftly make Ray make good escape.

Distant cries. Muffled dry but tethered outcry.

One shouts, two scuffle. Now open your eyes.

See ghouls, see ghouls. Gas lanterns wheeling wildly.

Hands on the runway, lightning.

Pass from his lips, the gritty salt.

Spray to his skin, the stinging rain.

Airman Jay. Airman Ray.

How far out to sea did we let the boys be?

Prepare for the last dim shout from the shore.

End the mainland chase.

For now let’s have all the buoys, all the buoys.

Far in the singing sea, all the buoys.

Boys all down, then up again…

Then down. Then down.

**********

Framed

Rise before dawn. Read a poem, and dress for the day, a glorious day. Breathe. Frame the function of this day – I think, I am. Thus, eudaemonia.

The contemplation of forms from above. Each a painted sign, good art or fine words. Perform. Grace. Enlighten. Get quizzical. Frame the function of this day – supreme Platonic Eide.

Learn patience. How to sit, stand, how to stare. Be sightless, be proud. Frame the function of this day – Bios or Zoe?

The means. Some kind of work. Shoot arrows to the west. Straight, you’ll need no directions. Frame the function of this day – Whole body ergasia.

The eastern line brings you back. Home. Work wood for leisure. Wag tongues. Spill wages in the mug. Or dance for good cheer. Frame the function of this day – anhedonia.

Frame the function of each day. And shallow dip into Greek.

********

Wayside Prayer

Is the sense of a solitary sojourn brought on by the illusion of the third black rail, a path cut from the stone above, yet a line of my own device?

And the thickening downward stance, how does that pin motion to the frame – an entire inner world, yet trembling in its grasp?

Must I behold you frozen and amorous, and must I not expect the daily molten crowd?

If you must ask, I stand pondering a single sinister word:

“Static”

Signifying always two contradictory states:

One – of the ephemeral electric dynamo.

Two – of the cessation of all motion.

Dispute me, gentlemen.

*****

Adil Hasan was born in 1971 in Shillong, north-east India and has made Bangalore his home for the past eighteen years. He is a visual artist and freelance writer, having previously worked in banking and the IT industry. Escape The Dark, an exhibition of his digital art was held in 2014. He is presently working on a mixed media project titled Great Industrial Dreams which pairs artwork with speculative prose and poetry.