by Dilip Mohapatra (September 2016)

When I was in class four

I got my first ever summon

from poetry

to appear before it and was

ordained to write my very first poem

for the school magazine

and in my innocence and ignorance

I searched for some wisdom

that perhaps was as chaste

and immaculate as a virgin.

As I ambled on the school lawn

I trampled on few grass flowers

crushing them to a pulp

but there was a sharp pain in my heart

as if a dagger has just sunk its blade into it

and off comes out my first ever poem

talking about the humility of

the grass flower

which perhaps was created to be trampled

and in its death

giving the soothing satin comfort to

the painful corns on the calloused feet.


Poetry continues to seek me out

and always finds me

wherever I may be

in whatsoever vocation

I may be engaged with

whether while walking aimlessly

on dilapidated streets

or sitting under a lone tree

on the river banks in the small hours

or jostling in an overcrowded local train

or going in circles on a carousel in a fair

for I am its chosen boy

from the day I succumbed to its wish

and charges me with tasks

that I so very willingly accomplish.


It eggs me on to take a walk

on the Milky Way on tight ropes

sanctified in celestial company

to dive into the craters of raging volcanoes

and burn out my dirts

to take holy dips and explore

the endless abyss of oceans

and come out cleansed

to be blown away by the winds both hot and cold

in resonance with my breaths.

It teaches me to see with my eyes blindfolded

to hear with my ears muffed

to touch and heal with the fingers of my heart

to decipher the spirits of my soul

and continues to summon me

off and on without respite

and in each of my surrender

I come out cleaner and purer

after repeated distillations

never seeking bail to be set free

returning to my dreary existence once a while

expectantly waiting to be summoned

again and again.




Dilip Mohapatra (b.1950), a decorated Navy Veteran started writing poems since the seventies . His poems have appeared in many literary journals of repute worldwide. Some of his poems are included in the World Poetry Yearbook, 2013 and 2014 Editions. He has four poetry collections to his credit published by Authorspress India, and one non-fiction, a book of wisdom titled Points to Ponder. He holds two masters degrees, in Physics and in Management Studies. He lives with his wife in Pune. His website may be accessed at dilipmohapatra.com.


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