Two Poems

by Ankur Betageri (June 2018)

View from Heidelberg Castle, Wilhelm Trübner, 1873

Adoration of an Eikon
If his love has become a torment
it’s ’cause he lacks faith in the illumination of the face
and, he wavers, the light persuading him to trust
while he distrusts—
Out of the photograph her eyes seem to peer
through the mask of his face, at who he is.
She had only looked at the camera-eye
but that look, whose eyes did it seek?
It meets his, and though neither knows the other
the taut muscle of her neck tightens his.
Spring trees blossom and swell his mind’s streets
he walks along their edge nervous in the feet.
By not knowing her he can be her better
look out of her eyes—into a mirror.
Moth-like he hovers over the flame of her face
an icon whose adoration has made her his image.

Notre Dame au Soleil, Albert Marquet, 1904
A Deep Calm as of Another Time . . .[1]
In the shaded space between trees and buildings
on the road stretched between parked cars
in the lassitude of leaves and cawing of crows
in my shadow cast by morning sun on a faraway window
in the shawl draped on a woman walking
in the cheep-cheep & twittering & cries of birds
in the flapping of eagle-wings, in the hovering of a buzzing bee
in the casual sniffing and ambling of a dog
in the dispersal over roofs of grey pigeons
in the stillness of nameless berries hanging serenely in light
there is a deep calm as of another time
lost in my memory, in the flavour of other mornings,
there is the sensation of another eye kissed by this air
a strange moment it is lobbed into the day
that evokes the childhood memory of timelessness.
[1] The original Kantian title of this poem is: A Moment of Deep Calm Evokes a Memory That Has Become an Idea of Reason.

Ankur Betageri is a poet, short fiction writer and visual artist based in New Delhi. He is the author of The Bliss and Madness of Being Human (poetry, 2013) and Bhog and Other Stories (short fiction, 2010). He teaches English at Bharati College, University of Delhi. His poetry has appeared in Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Mascara Literary Review and London Review of Books.

More by Ankur Betageri.

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