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Poems by Ashoke Viswanathan

National Award Winning Filmmaker, President, Poetry Paradigm and Dean, SRFTI


It was nearly evening 

And the rains threatened;

But there was no downpour. 

It was we who had sinned.

Time took its normal course. 

And still there was no rain. 

Coconuts cried out then. 

And we could feel their pain.

Some flowers did protest. 

As did some roving crows.

We who had sinned, kept mum. 

While the skies blinked in throes!

When the rains came, we slept. 

When it rained, we knew not. 

Dreams of what went before, 

Were all that slumber bought. 


Open Spaces

When the birds resume their chirping, it will be time to depart. There will be no time for farewells since there will be so few of us who know each other. 

Just a few crows and the two cats who had sound advice for politicians. The crows, on the other hand, were strident in their disapproval of patriarchy. 

If only Kalidasa had written some more, we would have no need of agoraphobia..


It was sudden, the blow. 

It was a knockout punch. 

He could not recover:

In fact, he blamed his lunch!

That fact remains true; 

Hence, a recovery.

But down and out, he was. 

Completely out of breath.

Then she came to see him, 

To comfort him with care. 

Before leaving, a stab! 

In the back, moist and bare..

The trees swayed, sorrowfully. 

The fishes prayed silently. 

He was still alive — just.. 

Praying violently!

Sounds of Darkness

One can hear drumbeats from afar, 

They signal uneasy currents; 

One knows this is a trying time. 

Yet, emotions flow in torrents..

The lakes are silent, fearing wrath; 

Are the boats motionless in fear?

Which human, pray, will bell the cat? 

Knowing full well, his life is dear..

The Inevitable

He realized it was too late; 

The champaks had disappeared. 

Abruptly and with all the scent. 

Heavens! It was just as he feared.

The lakes had beckoned, fleetingly; The skies had darkened, smilingly. 

The time is, indeed, tremulous. 

When words are effaced, joyously..


They left in the evening,

When champaks go to sleep.

They were losing themselves

Like lilies in the stream.

Can I work without them?

Can I stay without them?

The crows are now silent;

Which means my time has come.

Solace seems unearthly,

A decision is here.

This world is not for me,

So earth bids me adieu.

All that remains is smoke.

And drops of compassion..

The roads are full of dust;

The poems bereft of tropes.

Madness defeats meaning

As rubble shatters hopes..

It is time to reflect,

As agony binds rage.

Progress - the illusion

Identifies this age.

Music without the notes;

Hamlet without the prince..

Fractions and decimals:

Water that does not rinse.

Where do we go from here?

Drained and out of our minds?

Or full of grim resolve 

To fight the foe one finds?

Beneath the dark shadows

Amidst the smiling brook;

We need to recover 

Both the hook and the crook!

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Fighting the Pressure 

When the breeze increased, they sat still.

Knowing that it could be risky

To venture out and face censure.

Why not wait, nursing a whisky?

Shouting loudly behind their masks,

They trolled all who dared to object..

Unrealizing of their fate:

Cowardly, guilt-ridden and abject.


She was found by the state

To be opposed to fate:

An enquirer; therefore,

At best, an apostate.

She was not unhappy.

Nor beside with great joy.

The banyan tree was hers —

To treasure as her toy..

'Twas also her mentor

When assailed by deep doubt.

She bashed on regardless,

Unfearing of any rout.

She was victorius.

As proclaimed by the crows.

But she missed the gold crown, 

After several throws.

Now she was quite happy.

Having just missed the crown.

A pyrrhic victory, what?

Do you then need to frown?


To protest or not to?

To accept or not to?

To live or select death?

To be or not to be?

All of these seem the same.

If you believe in ghosts.

Or swear by the serpent

Who swallowed the blue moon.

And the fiery sun, besides.

In the resulting dark,

The myopic man reigns..

With whistles in the dark.

Tell me, what is his tune?

She makes him dance to it.

To be or not to be?

He's fully in the dark!


The dust seems comforting;

In this town full of lies.

The trees have all grown grave.

Because there are no ties.

Beware of the ashes, 

Their tales of betrayal..

Yet, lies are feared more,

For pinpoint portayal.

Add despair to all this,

And the crows will chorus.

Yes. A sinking feeling.

By us. Of us. For us!

Forest Fears


If only the birds sang, 

Regardless of off—days, 

And cats thought less of rules, 

The forest would, well, breathe.

Denouncing the dissent, 

Stifling the intellect.

Unsettling the forest —

Can the crows not cry out?

From Murmurs of Silence


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