Ships of Yesterday

What do they do here
in black and white
and in diminishing shades of grey,
the lost beauty queens of yesterday?
There is a mirage of the well built echo-men calling,
past the slip-push of dry keel thirsting into water,
ecstatic as spitting orgasm, before the tranquil float.
Upon them, the tall masts lock to a side
where breast-sails hang quiet poltergeists to dry.
What Waldgeist , the tugs of wet ropes have seen
After that emptying torrent upon the ocean
past, the blood-welts upon the cranking slaves,
the rise of the buccaneers and frogmen in the high seas,
the ghosts of dark men and women, chain’d two by two,
Right leg and left, right hand and left, turn’d to living meat,
or thrown alive overboard, as from The Zong?

On board, wafts of royal toast, and aged wine
the glitter of gold-lined crockery shattering in slow tilt
among the dark shades of wings swooping down for flesh,
for all that’s left of a seas’ final love making
Sometimes, before fade away,
the lost men and women of enveloping mist,
lidless, staring from over deck
their hands over their foreheads in outreach
of darkening twilight, searching for land,
for the touch of a raised hand,
for a ship to turn in, amid ‘Nearer my God to Thee’
drowning the centuries in one little ocean calm.

The Zong : The Infamous slave ship

A December Night's Train, and poems

Gopikrishnan Kottoor's picture

Born (1956), Trivandrum, Kerala, India., Winner, All India Poetry Prizes, Poetry Society, India-British Council Awards (96, 97, 98), and other leading poetry prizes. Poetry published in Ariel (Canada), Orbis (UK), Nth Position (UK), Bluefifth Review (UK), Toronto Review (Canada), The Illustrated Weekly of India, Kavya Bharati (India), Fulcrum (USA), Verse, Seattle, (USA), Indian Literature, Arabesque Review, Plaza (Japan), Chandrabhaga (India), and others. Founder editor, Poetry Chain. Participant, MFA, Texas state University, (2000) Poet in Residence, Augsburg University, Germany (2004). Important works : Poetry : Father, Wake Us In Passing, (German Translation, Wolfgang Heyder) A Buchenwald Diary, Mother Sonata, Victoria Terminus, Poems Selected and New (2010). The Coloured Yolk of Love (2012). Drama: Fire In The Soul The Mask of Death. Novel : A Bridge Over Karma (Novel). Poetry included in The Bloodaxe book of Contemporary Indian Poetry In English, The Golden Jubilee Anthology of Post Independence Indian poetry In English, and Poetry Society, India anthologies.

Last updated April 02, 2012