Ankur Betageri (b.1983) is a bilingual writer and poet, writing in
English and Kannada, based in New Delhi. He has two collections of
poetry in Kannada (Hidida Usiru, 2004 and Idara Hesaru, 2006) and
in English (The Sea of Silence, 2000). He holds a Masters in Clinical
Psychology and is presently the Assistant Editor of Indian Literature,
the literary journal published by Sahitya Akademi.


Q is a pumpkin
who has grown a tail

R is a lover
whose legs are strained

C is a cave
which has rolled to the left

And U is its brother
standing on its head

D is a door
swinging in the space

And F is its key
whose handle has disappeared

S is a stream
between mountains curved

And M is the mountain
this stream surrounds

O is a vowel
and a vowel it shall be

Resembling your little mouth
as you cry out for ghee.

Picnic in the Graveyard

This place of the time
is empty of convictions
of common air between trees
and between forests and cities
everything is lonely, rooted
in a past hazy and contrived
whose days in a hurry
run past your heart
whose hunger grips you on empty roads
and shakes you fiercely
with the restless chatter of the lost

I pity you, you who occupy
this place of the time
and call it your home—
I pity you, you who dismiss
your longing for those days
which glint like diamonds
through the running film of delusion

This place of the time
which you endure with sedatives
painkillers and balms
you have to escape it, flee to someplace else
where the talk of people
still stir the life in your gut
where words are not rehearsed, faith not false
and feeling not polished by age
to the point of oblivion

This place of the time will soon
see its end
but you should first end
your picnic in the graveyard
enough of your worship, the dead are pleased
and their ghosts are tired
of stalking you in your dreams,
rest and relax
build new homes away from the ruins
cast off the borrowed shields
heavy with hatred and wars
come now and kiss the seed
waiting to be born.

'Compare it to a pineapple hole'

Compare it to a pineapple hole
with the yellow pulp kissing your face and sucking you into its depths

Compare it to a shattered watermelon
with its million atomic droplets of juice dancing in the magnanimity of sun

Compare it to the black ocean of your mother's pupils
when you floated on it for the first time as a speck of smiling light

You have seen it shimmering under the wings of pigeons at sunset
you have seen it in the tranquil cheekbones of dying men
you have seen it in the blue flowers which grow on the corpses of wise men
you have seen it in the way seasons inhabit the trees and the air and the earth

Be touched by it,
may it wrap around your shoulders like the warmth of your lovers' lean arms
may it enter your blood and make your being immoderate
may it enter your gaze and make your vision untrammeled
may it well in your lips, your entrails and shoes
like a flood of living light

Be touched by it
be touched by it
let the unknown measure itself by being in you
let who you are take in the immensity that it can become

Fall, fall if you aren't touched, and
let your falling plummet you
into that perfect consciousness.

Contained in Her

Contained in her, the Spirit stays.
No paltry excitement hers. The hysteria
of our race. Frown-browed, wrinkled.
Clears off. A sun-painted sky, her face.
Her silence is alive with birds. Hovering
near horizon.

Her quiet echoes the unsaid. Her sight
reminds unseen. What she might
her footsteps hint. But her change astonishes
like spring. Her exuberance, still unexpected.
Like jacaranda blooms. Sunbeam injected.

Back to Front.