for ho ping

what can words say to your heart
that it does not already know?
your sadness engraved on the evening,
a sitar wailing, your song is redundant—
you float on borrowed nuances.
waves of sitar-music threaten destruction,
washing strongly the fragile mask
your emotions wear against the world.
when the sitar stops you can return,
touch the firm shore, become cynical
assert that all east winds blow west
or perhaps you will pull your scarf tighter
and hope to choke upon an unwritten poem.

by Chandran Nair
from after the hard hours this rain (1975)


SELECTED POEMS: "reaching for stones" >