2 Poems by Sunil Sharma

Memory Carver


Catch carefully

The cascading moments, fragile,

In the cupped palms,

Before they evaporate finally

Fast and furious,

Under a searing harsh sun


Please, preserve them forever, in the dark recesses of a hyper-active mind, encased in a bloated body, and, this, dross world---

Where unseen, pick them out

One by one by their individual scents and smells and varied textures,

Some like dry lilacs,

Some like skinny rose petals stretched and hung out on the white background of your textbook of medicine,


Like fossils bleached out and thin,

In the burning desert-sun,


Scattered and buried under the shifting dunes.

And, some fresh and dripping with the morning dew-drops

Of a bitter Siberian winter of long ago,

And revive them all,

One by one in your mind---

Where past is still present and lingering,

---Like an obstinate kid refusing to move to a foster home---


As it was three decades ago,

Where romping childhood still beckons

Like a ruddy Eskimo baby all wrapped up in woolens,


Memories pop out from mind,

As baked brown crisp toasts from a toaster,

Shrinking the temporal distances

And dissolving time barriers fast.


Carve them delicately,

With your soft tapering hands

These fleeting moments,

Streaming down upon you,

Hold them, the precious ones,

And render them


In tender

New words.







Between the complete oblivion

And wakefulness,

Lies the labyrinth of memories

Of dim days and long summer nights,

It is a twilight zone where the tender hope and

The bitter past collide.

Once we have met in Auschwitz

Against a grey somber sky,

It was raining in the trenches

Where young you have finally died,

Tears were streaming down my hollow cheeks,

Mixing freely with the cold rain,

While the steel-helmeted German guard ignored us---

One dead, another human about to die.

It was living hell, over for some,

But a reality for others---

In brutal Guantanamo prison or burning Sarajevo,


Folks were unable to fight.

During our stay,


We have talked of the Prague spring and raining flowers in Athens

And the warmth of our Frankfurt homes

And that chatting had kept us alive in the surrounding brutalities.


I still see that tear-stained face

In Gaza and Kabul,

Mourning the death of a young son

By a bitter remnant of a thin father

Crying soundlessly to silent gods,

Standing in the trenches

In cold knee-deep swirling waters,

Amid rotting corpses and burning chambers.

A bomb in Tel Aviv



Or, Mumbai

Wakes me up to the hungry wolf

I saw and stored in my labyrinth of mind,

That overtakes Goethe-reading and quoting

Men in uniform,

Decent liberal middle-class young men with families

In sun-kissed valleys


Makes them mass murderers of their own tribes.


The manufactured Other

Never is out of stock,

We talk of peace but

Stage wars,

We raise charities but---

Forget to hug the

Orphans of these

Small and big wars---

We, the navigators of hate-filled minds.

Sunil Sharma is a college principal, freelance journalist, author and editor. Mumbai-based, he has published 19 books---solo and joint. His prose and poetry have appeared in many places in the world.