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Poems to keep us going

‘Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.’

― Leonard Cohen


Time and again, in many known and unknown ways, poetry has saved the world. Singing in the Dark does the same. We want to share with you some poems that keep us going through the worst of days:


Dawn of Darkness – Ngugi wa Thiong’o

I know, I know,
It threatens the common gestures of human bonding
The handshake,
The hug
The shoulders we give each other to cry on
The neighborliness we take for granted
So much that we often beat our breasts
Crowing about rugged individualism,
Disdaining nature, pissing poison on it even, while
Claiming that property has all the legal rights of personhood

Murmuring gratitude for our shares in the gods of capital.
Oh how now I wish I could write poetry in English,
Or in any and every language you speak
So I can share with you, words that
Wanjikũ, my Gĩkũyũ mother, used to tell me:
Gũtirĩ ũtukũ ũtakĩa:
No night is so Dark that,
It will not end in Dawn,
Or simply put,
Every night ends with dawn.
Gũtirĩ ũtukũ ũtakĩa.
This darkness too will pass away
We shall meet again and again
And talk about Darkness and Dawn
Sing and laugh maybe even hug
Nature and nurture locked in a green embrace
Celebrating every pulsation of a common being
Rediscovered and cherished for real
In the light of the Darkness and the new Dawn.


Front cover singing in the dark
Singing in the Dark||Nishi Chawla, K. Satchidanandan


Apocalypse – Annie Zaidi

Waves do not come dashing against the noontide
They tiptoe in
and out with the smallest dose of pain
taken from the cabinet you left dusty
on purpose
so nobody guesses how much you hoard
The wretched manage to show up
across the shatterproof glass of time
to class office factory godown
boat ocean horizon end time
with a slouch and a glower of expectation
Your eyes are fleet
on nights when the tide rises
and rises and the rain quietly falls,
as promised, it comes
It sits
gleaming on the roof
with creature eyes
offering no sign
no pause for breath
no cause or rules
about arks: no ones or twos
it offers no map
A thing
squealing its lack of defence
mouse like, it comes to nibble
the cheese of your world

It arches
head and back
now signals: here
I am
Take me at this flood
or there I go


Bumblebees – Amanda Bell

There was no need to fret about the bees—
their fragile nest, unlidded
as I pulled weeds beneath the apple tree,
their squirming larvae naked
to my gaze and to the sun.
They watched me from the border
while I hastily replaced the roof,
before returning to rethread
the fibres of their grassy home.
In the cleared weeds I see
their entrance and their exit,
how their flightpaths sweep
the garden in an arc, stitching up
the canvas of this space, as if
they could remake the world
which lies in shreds around us.
The dome moves, as I watch it,
the stretching of an inchoate form—
when morning comes
it glistens with white dew.


Singing in the dark is a beautiful anthology of poetry that comes at a time when we need poetry more than ever.

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