Portrait of the Day — Savita Singh


Portrait of the Day


It has rained all day

All day water has poured from the swollen eyes of universe

Little Shantu has asked more than once

If it is the tears of or grieving mother

He wonders if the still laments for the living

As living ones do for the dead


All day,

The branches of the tree in front of our house

Have stood amazingly quiet

While the water has dropped incessantly on the leaves

An owl has stood his ground the trunk hole

Once a while a car has passed by

It has rained all day

The earth is like a kerchief in the hands of a lost child


A man has taken shelter in our varandah

His bicycle stands infirmly under the tree

An old aunt has walked into the house asking for an umbrella

Has plunged herself nicely in the old spongy sofa

Also an old acquaintance

Has come in saying

Emptiness id the best thing to have

One can make anything of it

And live the life as one wants


Suddenly the day begins to ebb

Caving in the dark interior of its busy hours

It is still raining

The branches of the tree in front of our house still quiet, drenching

This day seems a an incomplete portrait of the day

Its secret longings

Into the twisted world of the forlorn



The Sacred Visitations

They have come back to the waves

Time turning on itself

To see its face in the mirror

Legends of dead souls

Checking its freckles


They have come back to hear the story

Woven into the waves-

Frayed and fraying

Of the child who never returned

Who got lost in the ocean

Of the second child

Who did not return after he went looking for his brother

And the mother and father one after the other

Looking for their children

Got lost in the ocean

They are still looking for each other in the ocean of time


They have come to see the waves’ eternal return

Bereavement woven into the coming and going

Mischief of fortune frothing

With each coming of waves

 Cries of lost soul checking upon each other

One after the other

This unending rhythm of life

Like time

Like waves

Like father and mother

Brother and sister.

Looking for each other

Without any clues


Things Getting Lost

The things we used to know

As our bodies

As its longings

Once solid, things

Like the wishes of our children

Their aspirations

are cautiously built by desires.

Like the revolution for which

Life had to take a detour

Where did it all disappear?


Just yesterday, it came to me:

when did the thorny rose creeper

with its luscious bunches

Which swayed slowly

In the breeze by the rear window

Dry up? Where 

did those butterflies disappear?

Who would pour their love on them?

And that scent which drew insects to them?


Translated by Medha Singh


Night, Woman

The night feels a woman’s touch

Hidden in sleep, cast over the earth

Under its shade, lemon blossoms flower,

jasmine buds are born.


Somewhere in this sleep is

the beauty of woman reviving death,

devouring man’s violent pursuits,

defeating the valiant and powerful,


with a single mind


At night, woman is sleep

In the day: beauty.

The night asleep in its waking life--

Tonight, woman sees the sensual

dreams of her being

dancing upon her primal passions.


Translated by Lucy Rosenstein