Poetry

Dr. Amitabh Mitra’s poetry is extensively published on the internet and in print, and he is acclaimed as one of the most popular Indian poets writing in English today [Skyline Literary Review, New York ]. His love poems are set against the background of the historical cities of Gwalior and New Delhi, places he captures with intense imagery.

His first book of poems Ritual Silences was published in 1980. Ten of his most admired love poems are available, with a background of indigenous African music, on CD: A Slow Train to Gwalior, from Harp Records, South Africa.

Gwalior 2

I had driven a jeep to the ravines With you sitting next to me The sun got stuck in the muddy undergrowth Eyes that refused to leave you On a...

Gwalior 3

I have loved you My nose had drawn borders On your cheek Waging a quiet battle To stop for long Threats of an exile in quietude Of a solemn river...

Gwalior 1

Isn’t it enough that we had met And left The train had not grown As the whitewashed sky and the ravines That dared to touch it sometimes There...

Gwalior

I always believed in this train That stole our thoughts And traded them with Hopes And I wondered if only The train had such windows Where the sky...

I knew him

I knew him The black man playing a recorder At a Boksburg street junction. Every day He played the tale of sun set blood Of the fear of white rain...

Firdaus

the pigeons flew off today with a piece of sky the rains washed down the mosque tomb its untoward gaze somebody hastily patched with red and orange...

Sometimes

your long unruly hair had grown on me always and on a sunny afternoon like this stretched to a breeze i had known its sheen rustle gentle on your...

Seeing you

i had gone to see you again a desolate road had once tied the heart the wind and dust hid the palace a lone watchman told me you have left doors and...

Waiting

today the evening has come back in its finery streets coil back in languor i smell an aroma like distant footsteps lying on a divan behind curtains...

Loving you

my nose had touched you as i uttered i love you lips that would never leave the crypt of a season strangely looking for another reason i let the...

Leaving

let me go i had told you then your smile unleashed a sea in the ravines palaces were swept off to a distant sky and a painted afternoon burnt the...

Another Day

another day I came to see you after many deserts had cut into many a season and an insanity as old as the tamarind tree had redrawn its borders as...

Running away

i had told you again and again that we must run far away where will that be, you had smiled mischievously sandstorms that might hide us to a...

New Delhi love

We had once walked around Connaught place for hours Trying to solve a puzzle Of a day in its stately columns Holding aloft the far shores Of an...

Us

It was difficult to place your home Green foliage hung around the majestic gates Loudly protesting as I pushed it open A child in rags looked...

Kool Kats of Calcutta

The cats struggled to sleep last night They screeched and screamed Squirmed and dreamed Of cool desperation In catatonic inspiration Of the raj and...

My Ma

My mother died today I was with her till she gave the last gasp And broke all changes in a single swipe that struggled to keep her It was a...

Mirror

The mirror told me a different story I had frequently asked about you Since the summer we met and lost each other again We had made love on a sky...

On a day like this

Speeding down the highway On a day like this The rain pelting as ghosts of Afteryears forced its way against Closed nebulae of adamant years I had...

And you?

And you? Is the African sun shining? Yes it has been shining Burning all of us underneath it It always reminded us of our skin That had burned black...

Loving U

Where did the members of your tribe go To happiness they thought they would suddenly find Didnt we find our happiness after travelling strange lands...

Kolkata

those were Calcutta days red was the colour of love as it is still that of the communist government there and the colour of trams that just stops in...

December in Johannesburg

december in johannesburg brought the heat wave so familiar to an anger torn again in a brittle feeling of windswept leaves high pitched laughter in...

An Evening

this is an evening of hurts in a collage of elusive colours on a body stained with a distant dark. i had called your name yesterday as the moon rode...

Thimphu – French Translation

Les montagnes dévalaient aujourd’hui tout autour de moi qui chevauchais les dragons dans le soleil et son armure de brouillard : je...

Thimphu

The mountains galloped down today all around me riding hard the dragons in the sun in an armor of mist seeking your runaway eyes at an edge of my...

It Rained

It rained and rained Tiny sundrops fell all over It fell over the hot tarred road And it fell over the fort wall It fell over you and me And then...

Nights

I slept on white sheets, The charpoi on our backyard Captured many a sun Many a kites, many a glances The cold has been a welcoming night Your eyes...

Peepul Tree

Summers were imprisoned Outside closed doors Nights are your shy eyelashes Left half open I had stood reckless Against the peepul tree Unveiling the...

Summers

Summers back home have always weaved Treading a scream, the wind bringing Bandit faces plundering Earthenware feelings At the end of a long...

You had told me

You had told me In a summer of stealth Of birds that sat on Electric poles who Left as evening approached I thought of the rain To whom I must...

Zubeida

Huzrat kothi, your home another minor minaret lost to history and Mughal nobility to a stampede of life, moments and memories. Days and nights in...

Your Garara Emblazoned

Your Garara emblazoned with fire-drops in a Gwalior street I found you treading nimbly on an afterthought of swept empires in the reign of a mortal...

you said something that day …

you said something that day whispers of a twilight river swirling in your eyes i could then only catch faint notes of a long forgotten song gently...

You

In the night, a dream creases you on me like the unfolding bird in a suspended storm on a bending tree. You brush beside me, the caress feathering...

Winter Nights in Gwalior Hiding

Winter nights in Gwalior hiding an unkempt solitude in a long drawn silence encompassing fort walls, cannons and promises behind gilded curtains....

When, Aavantika

When did I first see you, Aavantika I ask myself again and again even then when you touched me in that long night with a ripple of laughter and a...

Train To Gwalior

When you have traveled all the way over A thought on a flutter of an eye When you have traveled the sway of Wheatfield of my village in A solitude...

There Was A Rain Once

There was a rain once that broke the sky in two and strangely streets stepped by you lifted an old curtain beyond your knowing me Bus stops rode a...

There is a River

There is a river closing in on a night of shifting blues ascending the dark. a cluster sky clang closes the gates. paths and palaces hurtle merging...

there are swords …

there are swords in a palace of my dreams that glint each night behind faces of darkness searching smouldering till the dawn of realization and...

The Gwalior Fort

The Gwalior fort gaunt knobbly with arthritis stands.... This ancient sun touches his feet to the faint war cries of Maratha nobles dying a hundred...

Summers in Delhi

Summers in Delhi and walking with you in the Connaught Place arcade for hours was just a ruse hunting for bargains in lanes and by lanes of feelings...

Sometimes it Happens

Sometimes it happens that I feel the wind burn my cheek for a moment and a cluster thought gets tangled in the khus durrie and the cool darkness of...

Somewhere

Somewhere far off beyond the sand dunes and a ragged sky-piece pierced with the last of camel hooves tired in pursuit of a long day, the evening in...

Secrets

An elderly lady came to me From an Old Age Home She was white and dried Her blood sugar was up Her blood pressure was down Before she fainted She...

Ritual Silences

There are silences That grew up in the forest Encircling the fort The sun and seasons spoke of them The Marathas and Moghul rampaged Behind an...

Rain in Gwalior

Days blended into nights and then suddenly a raindrop quietly managed to touch your cheeks while you looked out through the fort windows drenched in...

Please Don’t Go Now

There is a closeness bequeathed to summer A shadow astride Your lips And I have held ever since A voice warrior stealth under a satin skin. Streets...

One Day

I wait for you each day with the changing of seasons, the smell in our mango orchard and the turbulence of your hair where I once basked the stealth...

Old Delhi Days

Another wintry day petals over petals of quiet wind hiding a warmth from these streets of old delhi where fables had once been strangled in the...

Not Even A Noon Street

Not even a noon street, not even Gwalior... The crisscross ropes on the bamboo charpoy threw down lucid shapes as I lay under it seeking respite...

Koiee Hai

Koiee hai, anyone there resounds the old haveli night after night and again tonight. the night outside is a Maratha chieftain galloping on marble...

Jacaranda Flowers

There are jacaranda flowers ablaze and the sidewalk mood to my home is violet again summer in south Africa is tinged with such jealousy of cloud...

It’s Here…

The theme of godfather is playing somewhere and my mind once again tries to open a long shuttered window on pall bearer of shadows and sadness of a...

It Was This Yet Another Train

It was this yet another train that lumbered back into Gwalior casting long shadows heavy with another day snaking into a deepening dusk by the fort...

it was this road

it was this road that once took me to your haveli a spiralling dirt road at the edge of madness that grew into a walled city of shadows hidden by a...

It Has Been Raining

It has been raining And raining Since days And I have been thinking of you again. Since then   I have closed the windows And let the rain write...

I Spoke to You Once

I spoke to you once of voices and streets snatches of sky between us and stone walls of your home that always muffled a conversation steady patter...

I Never Knew of Such Seasons

I never knew of such seasons in a crowded street off old Gwalior wayside nestling a pervading touch of your breath caught in nooks of sighs behind...

I Live For You

Yes, I lived for you all these years and all these summers that stalked fervently the streets looking for moments we lost so long back... Summers in...

I Have Watched

I have watched for long the sky scattering staccato of moss green walls overgrowing a distance musty corners of my home where clouds and ghosts have...

I Have Seen

I have seen a desolate river flowing in voices and memories always at sunset when stones sizzle cold and a hope in the tar, sticks to the feet I...

How Much Do You Miss Me?

How much do you miss me... the roads that I have shown you, would never take you to the lamp-post whose flickering lights had searched with me in...

Gwalior There …

....when you have crossed the long night fortress of a forlorn desire when you have reached the stolen palace of a long forgotten dream.... by Dr....

Gwalior Again

This night is an asthmatic wheezing its way on long years of treads and pauses long streets of loneliness usurped by vacant eyes of another dawn...

Far

Far, so far off in a far off land you think of me as always even while driving down to work or when you get caught up in a traffic jam or just...

Do You Remember Then, Avantika?

Sitting somewhere far from home thoughts are a nagging child in my village fair It's summertime now back home long summers of grumbling pigeons...

Darfur

Suddenly a baby cries Malnourished Maltreated And ravaged Men woman and children Hang by their Skin to Mirages the desert burns the skull of all...

Circus

I once went to see a circus It was the Boswell Wilkie In rags and rumpus Shouting and screaming Prancing and singing The clowns would not Let us...

Cannabis blues

My colored girlfriend In her one bed room house in a colored location Smoking dagga Her parents are smoking dagga I and her children float In dagga...

Can It Be You, Aavantika

Driving on a lower Manhattan evening Of changing shapes and darkness Between boxes of flats Climbing awkwardly One over another Against a silkscreen...

Avantika and Beyond

And then the rains came narrow streams pouring down the sultry heat by the fort side I remember the forest below humming to peacock strains. I look...

And, Then Again The Sun

And then again the sun broke brittle with a yesterdays laughter spread amidst a sparkle of resounding moments. Since then a voice tangled within the...

And, I Love You More

And, I love you more of scattered streets the rain on your tantrums a sky that had once clothed me and you who still wouldn't believe of the...

An Evening

On an evening like this in the midst of running streets and running rain I think of leaving you, taking with me a cache of words in a tin-trunk...

Aavantika There…

You live in the deeper recesses of the fort surrounded by villages in the mind of a dust-storm and in an air thick with voices of the heart. days...

A Poem

That was a such a long time back and the nights knew nothing of the kothi at the end of sand dunes. Even time whispered with the storm as it passed...

A Ghazal

I once loved a dark girl... I never knew her name She came one day in the eye of river dusk her dusky shadow prevailing the green fields and...