Poems for a pandemic

Sunil Rajagopal | Updated on June 09, 2021

Prayer: ‘I heard them cry/ and saw their tears…’   -  PTI

A poet gives voice to the five stages of the second wave of Covid-19






Were you with me when

a slow darkness gathered


and then rest came

upon us like a silent rain?

Did you see me at noon?

The time when all things rest,

all things old and all things dead

and the dust upon them,

a time when they sleep

upon the earth like stones

polished by rivers.



High in the north of a city choking,

far from the halls of kings who are blind;

a red glow dancing with ashes blown

of those who had lost and those all alone,

and those that the city did not care for;

those who had gone away and come back,

so far from home that their names are lost;

the summer breeze dances with them

in the red-hot air that smells now of death,

they will just dance till tears run dry,

till all of the pain is just a memory;

they were not dead when they couldn’t breathe,

but soon they will be when the city awakes,

and forgets that they ever lived;

here where they came and will always return,

will always return

will always return.



It’s another April’s end

when the breeze is warm

at the six of dawn,

but you are still asleep;

I thought to write to you

just to see if you’re better,

I hope you are

but even if you’re not

there’s still today

and all our life,

the breeze will wait

he has nowhere to go,

there’s at least

this song to sing.



It began as a whisper

among sleepless crows

and I watched it rain

all through the night

on stars in their dust;

I heard them cry

and saw their tears

running down window panes,

they write their names

in the falling veil;

It rained all night

and it’s been a while,

a wall of colour melting

in the trembling streets

and the world a softer place.



It is but a brief romance

between the bee and its flower,

a few days at best

before the centre dries

and the petals die;

but the bee comes still

every hopeful day

and dances her dance,

she wiggles and she waggles

and waits till another blooms

and loves that one

just as much;

as though they were the same,

as though they smell the same;

maybe they all tell her

the same stories

of how their leaves

ate the sun and drunk its tears,

the secret to waiting in the mud

till the time is right,

the alchemy of how to make

nectar from nothing more;

And so, she comes everyday

in hope of an everyday love,

and as long as the bee believes

and her wings don’t drop,

there will ways be

flowers to love.

Sunil Rajagopal is an amateur birder and photographer based in Delhi

Published on June 09, 2021

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