One day, after an early morning walk by the river, I came back home with this photograph, and the unexpected urge to write a poem. I did write the poem, and today, it was published by Strands Publishers, making my grey and wet Sunday feel all bright and sunny. It’s incidentally my first publication in India, which makes it even more special.

The poem is called ‘Wildling’, and it’s there below the two feisty swans, and online at http://strandspublishers.weebly.com/lit-sphere/wildling
I hope you enjoy it, this piece of my river.
Morning has broken
open, bleeding into the river.

The streetlamps are still on.

Two swans float up in unhurried hunger

for bread I do not have.

Twenty-two huddle farther up the river

asleep, their necks wrung

into their wings. A lull

of white feathers on which water does not stick.

Their river is always dry.

It is land.

My river runs by me

reflecting runners, dreams and detritus.

A life of moorings and unmoorings,

a mirror of semi-truths –

where the light of a dog-pissed streetlamp

looks like flecks of real gold.

I stand still, very still. Watching

my body ripple and quiver like a wildling.

A swan passes by and I shatter into pixels.

But I can wait, I have nowhere I need to be.

The waters will calm, I will patch together again.

(Please feel free to share the link on social media, or just with the person sitting next to you – Strands is a wonderful independent publisher, and really deserves the support.)

The smell of old books

I wrote a short, short piece, which was published today on River Teeth, a US-based journal of narrative nonfiction. Only some of you will know the shops in Calcutta I talk about, but all of you will know the smell of old books.
I’d love to know what it makes you think of – leave me your thoughts here, or on the River Teeth website when you get there. I’ll give you a bunch of sunflowers and wild leaves in return.