Ishan Sadwelkar

Sing mute till you find a voice
Sing without your chords, only imagining the verse flower
At the tip of your mouth where your lips open to the rain
Imagine your future voice waiting there
Till it finds you and enters you as incense
Settling in your soul, growing into forms
Later coming out into the air
Like vapour rising from saffron tea

Loudly Soft Dancing Part 1

Nandini Varma

And to say the least, I’m still –
A canvas floating in the air, as a city is pushed
Into the hungry mouth of a burning river.
They say, beauty is in the air around you,
And I forget breathing.
Bones like fish compete to swim,
And a mother becomes a body finishing the race.
And to say the least,
I’m still – a breeze stuck between falling leaves,
A shadow caught beneath a wish,
A dance sometimes forgotten,
By a blade.


Goirick Brahmachari

(For U Srinivas and John Mclaughlin)

A turn, a curve
A body bitten by a Gamaka
A slide, a deep swipe
of a fret-less life
Lovers stung by a Gamaka
A sloth, a murky sun
Bleeding fingers of a Gamaka
A wood of warmth,
that rubs your heart
A body aches in Gamaka.
A night dies between two notes
measures its distances through a Gamaka
The morning is drunk
The workers are out
Sleep has come to the old city in Gamaka

A New Tune

Shikha Singh Malaviya

After Kanhaiya Kumar

Oh Kanhaiya, who
smashed your flute?
Who slayed all the cows
while you were away?
Who stole the clothes
from your gopis
and made a bonfire of them
as they bathed?

All this azaadi
no good they say
All this bhukmaari
just another day

This holi, Kanha,
ghar jaoon kaise?
See how they etch
your name in red?
Kaisi pichkari maari
into a startled sky

Chupaoon kaise?
Our veils grow stains
the blood of new
ideas spreading
Laaga chunari mein daag
Nazrein milaoon kaise

In our eyes, revolution
and in our hands, flutes
mouths & hearts poised
to play a new tune

(First published in TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics, January 2017 and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.)


Karthika Naïr

* Samhära is inspired by the eponymous dance piece from Nrityagram

**excerpted from Merce Cunningham’s definition of dance

This selection is curated by Rohini Kejriwal. She also curates The Alipore Post, a daily newsletter stemming from a love of​ art, poetry, music, and all things beautiful.