Figure Looking Out of a Cave at Rain*
Sharp torrents of rain, brief splashes of light
Lash against the edge of a gaping crack:
Seen from behind against a blaze of white,
A single faceless figure wrapped in black.
Sometimes I see a woman standing there,
At home in what descends to greet the eye;
Sometimes a man, who looks up from despair,
Yet lives in fear of rain and light and sky.
Here in the dark he cannot step out of,
The hardness of rock below and above
Reverberates with wrongs he never forgave.
A realm of white light reserved for the brave,
Sprawls beyond the open mouth of his cave,
Where water pours down a rock face like love.
*Based on a photograph by Madhu Kapparath
Nocturne Composed in a Swimming Pool
Afloat on my back on a moonless night,
I marvel at how—against the heft and pull
Of all that holds it down and wants it to sink—
The flesh buoys up and grows curiously light.
You who bestow on the sinews such ease
As the heart unblessed may not rise to know—
Water, seeping in silence through my pores,
Tinged with lamplight and cerulean blue,
You do not suffer the estrangement of those
Who sink interred within, yet strive against
The shroud-like outer boundaries of the skin.
Reaching for what’s right here, my arms outstretched,
I float at odds with all I am immersed in.
My suffering ends where these blues begin.
Anand Thakore grew up in India and in the United Kingdom. His published collections of poetry include In Praise of Bone (2023), Waking in December (2001), Elephant Bathing (2012), Mughal Sequence (2012), and Seven Deaths and Four Scrolls (2017). A Hindustani classical vocalist by training, he has devoted much of his life to the study, performance, composition and teaching of Hindustani vocal music. He is the founder of Harbour Line, a publishing collective, and of Kshitij, an interactive forum for musicians. He has received grants from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Charles Wallace India Trust.