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Poems: ‘The Sibilant Company’ and ‘Second Innings’

By: Srinivas S

The Sibilant Company

The rage of winds, the rustling grass,
A mourning sea, the mouth of fire,
The lap of land as rains arrive—
They speak the ending of our names
In beginning crescendos, faint:
They are, they seem to say of us,
A harmony of melodies,
A comradeship of silences:
The Sibilant Company!
Indeed, our songs are different, as
Our silences are, from where
They rise; but they produce(d), when synced,
A music of which will be glad
The grasslands chorusing on nights
Which scatter clouds of bygone years.

From glottal jokes begins the one,
Then limbers up to fever pitch
(Or waylays constant voice with thought)
And mellows to a twinkling smile,
Concluding on a subtle note
Near sibilance-bridge—does Harish!

The second starts with breathy nerves
But quickly sheds them for a voice
(Or for a word that’s come anew)
And saunters through his vocal gears
Becoming one with moods and thoughts
Near sibilance-bridge —does Ganesh!

The third in medias res begins,
No fillers his, nor fabled cough;
(Nor slips of tongue, nor second thoughts)
And reaching middle seamlessly,
He ends as he begins, with ease,
Near sibilance-bridge —does Ramesh!

The fourth, they say, begins like bombs;
Then strains to keep his tone intact
(Or thoughts when timbre loses shape)
And hollows out a tune from yore
Ere finishing with bleary eyes
Past sibilance-bridge—does Nivas!

Apart, they sing from different sheets;
Together, they converse like trees
From common roots, and crackle like
The fire from dampened logs on nights
When winter fears to tread the floor
Where sibilants drink to their name.

This poem was penned as a tribute to a quadrangular friendship featuring the names which figure in the poem.


Second Innings

The final bat once falls. The day,
Its veneer stripped, becomes now dark.
But hope in league with memories
And splintered rays of salvaged light
Rebounds as echoes from a mount
Too long since scaled, and shards of stars
In winds dispersed, and love undead—
And like a habit dying hard.

Thus it begins: another dawn
Of chance unveiled (as if) by choice;
Of Mercy’s choice attired as Chance—
A second innings, and a bout
Beloved of breaths that shall not cease
Until the Portly Lady sings
Of life to decorate this sport
Where verbs unite with valiant nouns
To birth and breed ad’jectives brave:

Here’bouts, a vet’ran stoops to stay
(Not slay) and venturesome becomes;
Here, too, a journeyman withstands
His rainy heart and wintry mind
To merge well with the western light;
And here the tyro shuts out noise
From demons, crowds and darkened walls,
And learns that style, of beauty’s bays,
Does swim just deep as skin (and drowns).

The nub is substance then: the fruits
Within a growing tree—the trees
Inside a seed; a moon that’s full
Within the outline new—a moon,
That’s new beyond its fullest glow;
The thrum of roots about the sight
Of peaks— the dreamy throb of peaks
In soot and day-lit sweat; the gong
Of death that’s sounded silently
At birth—the Muse of meetings new
Who parting tunes to songs of hope;
And hands which give in palms that take;
Accepting palms which give, with Grace.

For, be it writ by random choice
Or drafted by a willing star,
A Second Innings is a glimpse
Of god in efforts to refine
A first too human to the touch
Of senses set in stone, or sighs…

It is in the slipstreams of the dark
That carbon’s diamonds brightest burn;
And thence it is that mir’cles rise,
(Though Time forever shadows space)
By welding minutes into miles;
As pious smoke returns to fire,
Its princ’ple first, and not just air
That fills the fervid lungs of faith.

Still, Trust endures and from its troths
Issue the springs of second chance.


Srinivas S is Assistant Professor of English at the SSN College of Engineering in Chennai, India.

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