Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth Poems

All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right
And emptiness above -

After a long and wretched flight
That stretched from daylight into night,
Where babies wept and tempers shattered
And the plane lurched and whiskey splattered

Once upon a time a frog
Croaked away in Bingle Bog
Every night from dusk to dawn
He croaked awn and awn and awn

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

To make love with a stranger is the best.
There is no riddle and there is no test. --

To lie and love, not aching to make sense

Let me now sleep, let me not think, let me
Not ache with inconsistent tenderness.
It was untenable delight; we are free--
Separate, equal--and if loverless,

Since for me now you have no warmth to spare
I sense I must adopt a sane and spare

Philosophy to ease a restless state

With no companion to my mood,
Against the wind as it should be

I will be easy company; the blur
Of what I longed for once will fade to space.

What can I say to you? How can I retract
All that that fool my voice has spoken -
Now that the facts are plain, the placid surface cracked,
The protocols of friendship broken?

My need has frayed with time; you said it would.
It has; I can walk again across the flood
Of gold sil popples on the straw-gold hills
Under a deep Californian sky that expels

Last night your faded memory came to me
As in the wilderness spring comes quietly,
As, slowly, in the desert moves thew breeze,
As to a sick man, without cause, comes peace

Awake for hours and staring at the ceiling
Through the unsettled stillness of the night
He grows possessed of the obsessive feeling
That dawn has come and gone and brought no light.

I smiled at you because I thought that you
Were someone else; you smiled back;


Across these miles I wish you well.
May nothing haunt your heart but sleep.
May you not sense what I don't tell.
May you not dream, or doubt, or weep.

Light now restricts itself
To the top half of trees;
The angled sun
Slants honey-coloured rays

How rarely all these few years, as work keeps us aloof,
Or fares, or one thing or another,


You don't love me at all? O God. O Shit.
You still 'respect me.' Thanks. I value it
About as much as one who's asked to use
A second hat when he's in need of shoes.

Vikram Seth Biography

Vikram Seth is an Indian poet, novelist, travel writer, librettist, children's writer, biographer and memoirist. Born and Early Life Vikram Seth was born to Leila and Prem Seth in Calcutta (now Kolkata). His family lived in many cities including the Bata Shoe Company town of Batanagar, Danapur near Patna, and in London. His younger brother, Shantum, leads Buddhist meditational tours. His younger sister, Aradhana, is a film-maker married to an Austrian diplomat, and has worked on Deepa Mehta's movies Earth and Fire. (Compare the characters Haresh, Lata, Savita and two of the Chatterji siblings in A Suitable Boy: Seth has been candid in acknowledging that many of his fictional characters are drawn from life; he has said that only the dog Cuddles in A Suitable Boy has his real name — "Because he can't sue". Justice Leila Seth has said in her memoir On Balance that other characters in A Suitable Boy are composites but Haresh is a portrait of her husband Prem.) Seth spent part of his youth in London but returned to his homeland in 1957. After receiving primary and commencing secondary education at the Doon School in Dehradun in India, Seth returned to England to Tonbridge School. From there, Seth studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he developed an interest in poetry and learned Chinese. After leaving Oxford, Seth moved to California to work on a graduate degree in economics at Stanford University. Having lived in London for many years, Seth now maintains residences near Salisbury, England, where he is a participant in local literary and cultural events, having bought and renovated the house of the Anglican poet George Herbert in 1996, and in Delhi, where he lives with his parents and keeps his extensive library and papers. Seth self-identifies as bisexual. In 2006, he became a leader of the campaign against India's Section 377, a law against homosexuality. Work Themes A polyglot, Seth detailed in an interview (in the year 2005) in the Australian magazine Good Weekend that he has studied several languages, including Welsh, German and, later, French in addition to Mandarin, English (which he describes as "my instrument" in answer to Indians who query his not writing in his native Hindi), Urdu (which he reads and writes in Nasta’liq script), and Hindi, which he reads and writes in the Devanagari script. He plays the Indian flute and the cello and sings German lieder, especially Schubert. Business Acumen Seth's former literary agent Giles Gordon recalled being interviewed by Seth for the position: "Vikram sat at one end of a long table and he began to grill us. It was absolutely incredible. He wanted to know our literary tastes, our views on poetry, our views on plays, which novelists we liked." Seth later explained to Gordon that he had passed the interview not because of commercial considerations, but because unlike the others he was the only agent who seemed as interested in his poetry as in his other writing. Seth followed what he has described as "the ludicrous advance for that book" (£250,000 for A Suitable Boy) with £500,000 for An Equal Music and £1.4 million for Two Lives. He prepared an acrostic poem for his address at Gordon's 2005 memorial service: "Gone though you have, I heard your voice today. I tried to make out what the words might mean, Like something seen half-clearly on a screen: Each savoured reference, each laughing bark, Sage comment, bad pun, indiscreet remark. Gone since you have, grief too in time will go, Or share space with old joy; it must be so. Rest then in peace, but spare us some elation. Death cannot put down every conversation. Over and out, as you once used to say? Not on your life. You're on this line to stay." Writing Travel writing: From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet His travel book From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet (1983) was his first popular success and won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. It offers insight to Seth as a person, who is candid about the reality and effect of living abroad — though not in particular of being in diaspora — a theme which arises in his poetry but nowhere in his fiction: "Increasingly of late, and particularly when I drink, I find my thoughts drawn into the past rather than impelled into the future. I recall drinking sherry in California and dreaming of my earlier student days in England, where I ate dalmoth and dreamed of Delhi. What is the purpose, I wonder, of all this restlessness? I sometimes seem to myself to wander around the world merely accumulating material for future nostalgias." (p.35) Poetry Seth has published five volumes of poetry. His first, Mappings (1980), was originally privately published; it attracted little attention and indeed Philip Larkin, to whom he sent it for comment, referred to it scornfully among his intimates, though he offered Seth encouragement. In 2009 Seth contributed four poems to Oxfam which are used as introductions to each of the four collections of UK stories which form Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' book project. Novels in Prose The "novel in verse": The Golden Gate (Hybrid) The first of his novels, "The Golden Gate" (1986) is a novel in verse about the lives of a number of young professionals in San Francisco. The novel is written entirely in Onegin stanzas after the style Aleksandr Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. Seth had encountered Charles Johnston's 1977 translation of it in a Stanford second-hand bookstore and it changed the direction of his career, shifting his focus from academic to literary work. The likelihood of commercial success seemed highly doubtful — and the scepticism of friends as to the novel's viability is facetiously quoted within the novel; but the verse novel received wide acclaim (Gore Vidal dubbed it "The Great California Novel") and achieved healthy sales. The novel contains a strong element of affectionate satire, as with his subsequent novel, A Suitable Boy. "The Golden Gate, an opera in two acts with music by Conrad Cummings and libretto from the novel-in-verse by Vikram Seth adapted by the composer" is currently (2010) in development by LivelyWorks and American Opera Projects and receives a staged workshop production at the Rose Studio at Lincoln Center in New York City in January 2010.)

The Best Poem Of Vikram Seth

All You Who Sleep Tonight

All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right
And emptiness above -

Know that you aren't alone
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one,
And some for all their years.

Vikram Seth Comments

Vineet Chhikara 27 May 2013

poem lovers... check out my poems...

65 160 Reply
Smita John 14 February 2013


113 56 Reply
Vartika Raj 07 June 2013

most diligent and versatile poet of the century. I not only admire his poems, i feel the love the poet inside as well. Wish I could just meet him once. But the desire to desire the desired is usually undesirable

87 71 Reply
Sayeed Abubakar 30 May 2012

Dear poet, I translated some of your poems in Bangla and were published in Bangla Newspaper here. My e-mail is:

74 38 Reply
Charme Robarts 30 June 2012

how true this poem is.

68 41 Reply
Aubrey Lunn 03 June 2020

His poems are out of this world! His poems are mostly abstract in nature. He uses a lot of rhyming couplets; sadly I have not read any of his articles or books. My fault! ! ! On this very page is one of his best poems: All You Who Sleep Tonight. Merely, two verses, which brings out his in-depth thought processes! ! ! !

0 2 Reply
Aubrey Lunn 03 June 2020

Very sad that I can't find his Poem: Homeless.

0 0 Reply
SADIYABANU 06 January 2020

Vikram seth

0 2 Reply
hitanshi 16 February 2019

plz can u provide me summary of poem" the mouse and the snake"

2 0 Reply
Garima 21 October 2018

Explanation of the mouse and the snake

4 2 Reply

Vikram Seth Popularity

Vikram Seth Popularity

Error Success