portrait of the poet

Sketch

Remember, one day,
While sitting at my table
You sketched on a cigarette box
A tiny plant

Come and see,
That plant has bloomed!

— Gulzar, tr. Pavan K. Varma

the box stayed closed as if
hiding a lost thought
from another time, when
your words would settle
like sediment
at the bottom
of my breath,

as i read you out loud,
flicking ash from one wrist,
upending the goblet in
gesticulation
from another.

you draw words
like those vessels
bursting forth in the kitchen,
strung to a high note
of despair & hope,

your love speaks to me,
even though i have barely scratched
the skin of that mischievous marauder,
and yet i feel i know, as if
from another life, another rhyme.

you free my closed thoughts,
and water seeds of my silence
as i sing you and praise you
to myself.

.
© Anmol Arora

For A Tribute to Poets of Our Time at WTR. I am paying my tribute to one of my favourite poets and lyricists, Gulzar. Gulzar is 84 now. So, whenever I talk about him and his sprawling work with anyone, I only hope that we wring it out of him — his poetic brilliance, his sensibility, his love, and all he has offered to us for decades — in this lifetime.

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