To Emily Dickinson: An epistle


Poetry editor ANANYA S GUHA’s note:

Sunil Sharma‘s poems have a direct appeal, the statements cut and dry and there is a lot of emotive content from social realities to social absurdities. Having been formally grounded in English Literature there are literary allusions, reference to some of the greats to reinvent their lives and make these plausible. The poverty ridden country is a concern, but there is no maudlin effect, he writes as he responds to such social and economic realities. The city of Mumbai is another effective motif.



To Emily Dickinson: An epistle

Your words comfort

Across the divide of

Time- space and race;

You lived in isolation,


I am Nobody! Who are you?

Are you- Nobody- too?

Then there is a pair of us!


That is what you said in

One of your famous poems

That might shock today’s narcissists

Poets and all others that revere

Their self-image;

Yet, living and dying un-loved,

 Your poetic soul was incredibly rich,

And included the whole universe in it

Like that other distinguished voice,

Walt Whitman, your peer,

And both of you

Spoke about us,

And still speak to us,

Although the world hardly listens

To its own great masters!




At the barred window

The girl child stands


Like the trees standing

Completely still

On an airless summer morning,

Along a winding highway,

Outside the teeming metro—

The hot and humid Mumbai.





That constantly I take

In order to live,

In a brutal world

Is not polluted air

But pristine


My precious,

‘cause I always

Breathe  you.



Gentle touch

Standing under the tree,

On a humid summer afternoon,

With the asphalt burning under the

Angry and merciless sun,

The shade and the frolicking wind

Playing with your hair and skin,

Reminds the homeless old man

Of a long-dead mother in a remote

Indian village who, on such days

Or nights, would fan her limping child

With a soiled daily newspaper and

Sing hoarsely a lullaby that would send him

The buck-toothed kid to instant sleep.



The Abandoned coach

She once travelled miles

Across undulating plains,

On gleaming tracks,

Carrying kids, adults,

Males, females,

Old, young,

Healthy, sick,

Depressed, delighted,

Alike, sans any murmuring or protest,

And never

Making any difference;

The cute bogie long and wide,

A temporary home for the commuters

Eager for mobile sights;

Arrivals brought tears of joy,

Departures, tears of pain,

The humanity was one under

That sloping roof, sharing same space,

Then they abandoned the painted car in the siding,

Where she sat for long, very sad, often sighing in nights,

Feeling disabled, unable to serve simple and honest folks,

Until the day, when goaded by the kids,

She was reinstated in the public life, this time on pop appeal,

Reinvented as a dainty bridge in her second life,

Although stripped and skeletal,

She managed to add colour to the dull scene,

Becoming a real toy for lonely kids,

Dreaming of motion, distant destinations and a running train,


Providing roof, comfort, cheer and connectivity

To the ones separated by the selfish river,

On both its gurgling sides in that desolate landscape.



Mumbai-based, Sunil Sharma, a college principal, is also widely-published Indian critic, poet, literary interviewer, editor, translator, essayist and fiction writer. He has already published three collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, one novel and co-edited six books so far. His six short stories and the novel Minotaur were recently prescribed for the undergraduate classes under the Post-colonial Studies, Clayton University, Georgia, USA. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012. Recently his poems were published in the UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree.

He edits online journal Episteme (   He can reached at



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.