Vikram Seth

(20 June 1952 - / Kolkata / India)

From California

Poem by Vikram Seth

Sunday night in the house.
The blinds drawn, the phone dead.
The sound of the kettle, the rain.
Supper: cheese, celery, bread.

For company, old letters
In the same disjointed script.
Old love wells up again,
All that I thought had slipped

Through the sieve of long absence
Is here with me again:
The long stone walls, the green
Hillsides renewed with rain.

The way you would lick your finger
And touch your forehead, the way
You hummed a phrase from the flute
Sonatas, or turned to say,

"Larches--the only conifers
That honestly blend with Wales."
I walk with you again
Along these settled trails.

It seems I started this poem
So many years ago
I cannt follow its ending
And must begin anew.

Blame, some bitterness,
I recall there were these.
Yet what survives is Bach
And a few blackberries

Something of the "falling starlight",
In the phrase of Wang Wei,
Falls on my shadowed self.
I thank you that today

His words are open to me.
How much you have inspired
You cannot know. The end
Left much to be desired.

"There is a comfort in
The strength of love." I quote
Another favourite
You vouchsafed me. Please note

The lack of hope or faith:
Neither is justified.
I have closed out the night.
The random rain outside

Rejuvenates the parched
Foothills along the Bay.
Anaesthetised by years
I think of you today

Not with impassionedness
So much as half a smile
To see the weathered past
Still worth my present while.


Comments about From California by Vikram Seth

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  • Banamala SenBanamala Sen (9/11/2019 6:30:00 PM)

    Yet what survives is Bach
    And a few blackberries

    Extraordinary love - broken relationship, not gone!
    Dear Poet, Congratulations for portraying with a deft hand!(Report)Reply

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  • Malabika Ray ChoudhuryMalabika Ray Choudhury (9/11/2019 3:39:00 PM)

    Anaesthetised by years
    I think of you today...

    Remembering a relationship with tenderness and love! Depicted beautifully!

    Thanks for creating this lovely piece!(Report)Reply

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  • Julia Luber (9/11/2019 11:53:00 AM)

    Lovely poem with the power of music weaving through the generalized losses of a love filled with hope.(Report)Reply

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  • Subhas Chandra ChakraSubhas Chandra Chakra (9/11/2019 11:37:00 AM)

    One of the best poems in his collections..enjoyed reading it..
    Thanks for the sharing.
    10++++ for it.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Anil Kumar PandaAnil Kumar Panda (9/11/2019 11:15:00 AM)

    A great poem indeed.Thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

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  • Tamara Beryl LathamTamara Beryl Latham (9/11/2019 10:40:00 AM)

    Beautifully penned. Thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (9/11/2019 9:57:00 AM)

    " My present while" ! ! ! !

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (9/11/2019 4:43:00 AM)

    Blame, some bitterness,
    I recall there were these.
    Yet what survives is Bach
    And a few blackberries....................../// excellent poetic expression(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Aniruddha PathakAniruddha Pathak (9/11/2019 1:06:00 AM)

    What a simple and straightforward diction and still so effective,
    a style that reminds one with glimpses of Robert Frost.
    Lovely.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Ratnakar Mandlik (12/9/2016 4:54:00 AM)

    There is comfort
    In the strength of love.
    Great write and truth too. Thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (1/28/2016 3:41:00 PM)

    Even though the relationship is over, I like how this poet still can be tender about the love that was. Extraordinary heart in this awesome piece.(Report)Reply

    25 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Thakker BhupenThakker Bhupen (4/15/2010 12:26:00 AM)

    Charmed by this- the frayed letters- the new light yet to come and respect for the past(Report)Reply

    13 person liked.
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Read poems about / on: rain, today, poem, strength, faith, house, smile, green, hope, night, thanks, weather



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003