Author Archives: Madhumathy R

About Madhumathy R

Former Professor of English from Kochi, India. Holds doctoral degree in African literature; loves to read and write poems; has published poems in journals and would like to engage in discussions on literary themes.

Misery Unplugged

Rough, rustic and tell tale

their feet like arid land

exposed to sultry drought.

Their cracked lives sustained

by coarse labour; these gypsy

lives whose tomorrows stretch

along darkening asphalt roads…

They trudged on foot in mute

resilience; braving the crippling heat

a few dropped down in the middle

of nowhere; a journey along

rail tracks, they drifted to the land

of dreams; death arrived on

chugging wheels – like goods and

chattels scattered to pieces,

shepherded to a dreamless world.

Last week, their garden shears

pruned the plants taming

all wild growth. Today

the seeds of guilt left behind

fall on fallow conscience

and dog-eared history

jots down another

forgettable chapter.

Turbulence Let Loose

Don’t you realise how garrulous

I am inside? inside my head??

A lunatic’s prattle, thoughts race

to win no trophy, but to preoccupy.

It is a busy thoroughfare  

where there is too much traffic.

Fallen leaves litter cobbled paths

and lamp posts of memories

light up my way  through

forgotten past, regurgitating

words – spoken, heard and read.

I argue, contend and cry

inside my head….

Unperturbed outside, I

undertake adventurous trips

across perilous oceans, dense

forests and lose my way.

Sometimes I wear a motley inside

desperately trying to make you laugh.

My munificent thoughts shower

gold onto begging bowls.

Like nails struck on the

barks  of trees in Devi temples

I strike a nail on a ragdoll

To exorcise submerged turbulence

And wear a dispassionate visor.

The Final Lockdown

A scaly dinosaur

It stalked through the land

Breaking down walls

It paced the globe

Spreading dread in its wake.

People huddled inside

Setting work stations at home.

Your own hands became

A traitor to your well being

And trust became a breach.

Wash your hands inside out

Off all yesteryear sins.

The masks you wear

To protect inner secrets

Fall off, withered pale.

Distancing you and me

From its spiky touch

Not contaminated, an island unto

One’s own self – a no man’s land

Is fast looming….

Poem From A Hospital Bed

Wherein lies the horizontal comradeship

Of imaginary nationhood?

Arteries are clogged in seditious hearts.

Blazing red Satan’s eloquence…

A soul surgery – subverting scriptures and naïve history.

Misconstrued notions and divisive fragments

Make and mar a piecemeal nation.

Our earth, always a melee of shared memories…

Shifting identities – rooted and fluid.

Left or right, green or orange

Make it greener, make it fruitful

Juicy sweet, not salty-bitter.

Nuggets of pure iron imbibe rusty gold

Immersed in dregs of opiated ideology.

Polluted environs, asphyxiating politics

Millennials gasp for want of fresh air.

Oxygenate them dear mentors

Should they inherit a Lost Paradise???

Against Mosquito Nets

Be pragmatic!

We did.

We enmeshed daylight

Streaming through open windows

To trickle down as streaks of brightness

To dance on the floor in luminous spots.

Bulbuls chirped their clamour

The cat frowned, quivering whiskers

It purred aloud a plaintive protest

The neighbour’s dog watched demurely

Resting its forearms on the wall

Across the open gate.

Bloodsucking mosquitoes kept at bay

Buzzed in chorus its own dissent.

Scorching sun letting off steam

Scowled a ruddy complexion.

Timorous breeze slinked away.

Dreaming of further conquests,

April heat marched ahead its way

Trampling over a sweaty day.

Angel in the House

Angel In The House

She rings the doorbell

and walks in.

Rush hour begins…

In no time, kitchen sink crowded with dirty dishes,

charred pots and pans like in Exo Bar commercials

gleam, wink and twinkle.

The broom navigates its course

through the room, like the deft moves

of the mouse on the desktop

in the manicured hands of the mistress.

She hangs wet clothes on the line

as political scams are laundered for next day’s sound byte

by her bossy counterpart.

Aerobic lessons and fitness programmes,

no match for her figure and stamina.

Academic conferences and seminars

on equal wages for women

fall short of the ‘home maker’

who makes many a home on a single day.

The sweat of her labour squares gender polarity

in her own home and elsewhere.

Another Day

The leaves of darkness swept away

to a corner in the East,

the sky sets fire to morning glory.

Every leaf and bud yawns open

their sleepy eyes and another day

takes strides with you on a morning walk.

The vertical gardens on metro pillars

look green with envy at the

wild growing plants on the sidewalk.

Tarmac roads licking old wounds,

take a deep breath before traffic gains momentum.

Practised laughter in varying tones

from the laughter club rend the air.

Luminous now, the clouds float along…

Turning into polar bears, their

claws taunt the vanity of skyscrapers.

Satchels strapped on shoulders

children wait for their school van.

Mothers wave them to a bright future.

Spreading life on a frying pan,

flipping over customs,  you watch

traditions sticking to the bottom.

Along with coffee, morning news

Spills over into your living room.

The gory details of a carnage

happening on another side of the globe

make your day.

A Bangkok Reverie

In Bangkok people

emerge from their beehives

early enough to throng the roads.

Busy street vendors, their

voice a nasalized twang, lure you

to Thai food. A genial smile

and gracious bow. . .

Unknown people walk away

busy with their own lives.

Wide roads stretch endlessly

baring itself to heavy wheels and footfalls

The Grand Palace beckons tourists

Its gilt and glitter reflect

the sunlight and its glorious past.

Sentinels to preserve the bygones

stand steady simulating a statue.

Through the corridors of history

decorated with murals, I become

a Thai princess; shedding years,

ugliness and the present.

I walk with majesty.

My skin assumes a bright golden glow,

eyes narrow down to a line,

lips like cherry sing a Thai melody.

Dragons come alive,

swing their tails to the tune.

Golden Buddha reposing in Wat Pho

slowly fall asleep….

Genuflecting Thepphanoms

With their pointed headgear

shower blessings – love, peace, ahimsa

The abandoned sleeping child and wife

of Siddhartha enter my soul.

Without an adieu why did you leave?

The words take wings, flit through the air

and pierce the Spiritual from the Material.


The Death Dance

The poetry of rain on small screen…

The cascading water, white and foamy,

sinuous grey locks of an aging beauty.

The watching crowd speculated…

Overnight frenzied panic spread.

Inundated rivers trespassed boundaries

like thousand reptiles, water crawled

and crept, toppled down concrete edifices.

Chasms yawned, caving in land beneath the feet,

swallowing roads.

Reverberating cries filled the air

mixed with the stench of carcasses.

Whirring helicopters above

fathomless water beneath

floating away caste and creed

Unity anchored in;

A crouching back – a stepping stone

fisher folk – a demigod

At the last slow steps

of a death dance….

Sun peeped through the clouds

a tear stained face.

Residual memories bundled up

in rags, battered lives

scraped away silt from the river

and a nightmare.

Other Side of the Fence

There’s no rush…

I feel the relief of days

tumbling over nights

from a dreamless slumber.

Collecting packets of milk

left by the milkman,

pacing carefully, stepping over

Moss-grown outdoor tiles

I pick up the threads of racing

thoughts; the veil of sleep

still holding on to early wakeful

moments, I light up the stove.

Milk boils over, pouring strong

muddy tea into cups

I muse, there’s no hurry….

No punching machines to thumb.

The whorls will never speak of

the mad hurry, when attendance

registers mark your presence.

Smiling young faces, their

vigour and cheer will no longer remind you

the anachronism of your existence.

Axed like a withered tree,

busy hours rendered redundant

hanker for supremacy.