poetry

Distance
- M Mohan Kumar

Sometimes I used to wonder whether
we're speaking the same language,

the language that had no words
grating on our ears.

You from the East and I from the West;
between us one common language.

Neither of us tried enough
to learn the language of the other.

Suddenly familiar words took on
new meanings, ominous overtones.

And your body language!
(Oh, it was so graceful, once.)

*

I have now put behind several seas,
a vast ocean and two continents.

Between you and me
thousands of miles of land and water.

It is evening here, dark and cold.
A winter storm is gathering strength.

It will be colder still in days to come,
but not as cold as a cold heart.

Now you have your private space.
And all the time to think and act.

Absence should lend perspective.

M Mohan Kumar is a post-graduate in English Literature. He worked as a lecturer of English for some years, and then joined the Indian Administrative Service. He has published seven books of poems in English, the latest being Slant of Light (2011). His poetry has appeared in all the leading literary journals in India. His first book of short stories, The Turning Point and Other Stories, will be released later this year. After more than thirty-five years, he retired as chief secretary to Government of Kerala.