Three Poems by Prabhsharandeep Singh
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
Born in Punjab, Prabhsharandeep Singh is currently a DPhil candidate in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford. He is fluent in Punjabi, English, Urdu, Braj, Hindi, and familiar with Farsi. While in Punjab, he lived through an intense religio-political conflict between the Sikhs and the Indian State, which included multiple cycles of genocide of the Sikhs. Later on, he moved to California where he lived for eleven years before he started his studies in the UK. His poems explore traumatic memories of violence and displacement. He is interested in (re)creating the images of violence in order to deconstruct the narratives that not only legitimize and perpetuate the acts of violence, but also coerce the victims of violence to vindicate it. His poems reveal what is beneath the violent inscriptions over the memory of a suppressed and dehumanized community.
The village outskirts
the convoy-crushed highway,
unending body of the snake
creeping along my green hands,
which saluted the snake into my nerves.
Now, with a burning forehead-edge,
in the dirt under my feet,
I wash my hands.
My hands, the flying rocks, the firm feet.
Your eyes —
That irked the lofty wafts.
Calls for annihilation
Sputtering tanks in the empty streets
Silence of the locked doors.
Obliterated in the heartbeat
of the gun-cluttered streets
My voice rests in your eyes
The life to come
Brightening the silhouettes of death
A life-affirming extinction
Over the living forgiveness
Pardoning every gaze
Obscured azure in the sky,
The blood-ridden land, vermillion sunset
Hankering to gush it all out in a hug;
Hope swings out of lush leaves in my heart.
Bull-carts, buffaloes, farmers —
Works that never stop
Days that hold the rhythm.
Warrior hermit declaimed:
And keep your eyes
Where they belong.”
The Breathing Space
Compassionate shadows burnt to ashes,
covering the yogi’s body,
blocking the desirous pores,
lead-filled ears refusing to burn,
the ongoing smoldering,
rekindled sacrificial fire,
residual from the centuries.
My neck, the tyre, the thick smoke ⎯
India breathes out of my throat.