There are Snakes in Dhenkanal

by Bibhu Padhi (December 2014)

for Anjana Basu


There’re colours I fail to describe,

movements that suddenly instill

the old, inherited fears in me.


I wish you had showed yourself

more frequently, so that

I could have related you to the sky,


the trees, the sea, the flowers

and fruits, the bushy undergrowth

under my bare feet.


It seems, my fear of you

holds me back. There’re times

when I’ve seen you, your


colours and movements,

suppressed under an indifferent

machine, by errant children.


I think I know where beauty is,

though I hardly know from where

this old fear comes.


Perhaps, there will be a time when your beauty

and my fear shall coincide, stay on,

and I shall fall in love with you, honestly.


From inside the large glass chamber,

you will look at me and recall

your earlier death, and I shall touch you.


Please, do not leave me among

the earth’s poisonous rounds.

I well understand the fear in you.




Bibhu Padhi’s eighth and ninth books of poetry, Magic Ritual and Brief Seasons: 60 Love Songs, appeared almost back to back earlier this year. He lives with his family in Bhubaneswar, India.


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