Malice of Zinfandel


Silver grey on temple peaks is the fern of the New Year.
The sun has grown wrinkles at the turn of the New Year.

Candlelit stilettos turned sherry red in a nightclub,
Istanbul is freshly dug cavern of the New Year.

Pack of wolves is mauling girls and women in squares,
Honour is a bubble in the tavern of the New Year.

Sandals of the paupers will be polished for the suffrage,
Leaders will mushroom in the churn of the New Year.

Breeze of life has turned into a scorching sirocco,
A zillion are the holes in the cistern of the New Year.

Uma do not blog with the malice of Zinfandel,
The chalice of delusion will be the urn of the New Year.


  1. Vintage U.S. Pandey. And I take it that this ghazal is in some ways too a further tribute to Cynthia, and a form that I would like to have the courage one day to try. These beads of ghazal left me fearful and insecure. The final line is quite frightening. Congratulations on such mastery.

    1. A tribute to Cynthia, it is! Without her, I wouldn’t have dared to write ghazals in English. I will keenly await your ghazals to surface on your blog: you are more than capable. Thanks for the encouragement, Bruce.

  2. Wow! What a picture of different cities of the world. Kaifi Azmi would be proud of you Uma Shankar. As would Cynthia. But please keep blogging in your inimitable style in the New Year.

    1. Thank you for boosting my confidence, Shubha. Those are big names you have invoked. I promise I will try not to stop blogging, even though it’s getting harder each month.

  3. One can only hope that soon enough we can weave words that transform these grim happenings into something more palatable.

    Beautifully put, Umashankar. 👍

    1. I hope your trust in the word ‘soon’ is not misplaced. Is any of our politicians even bothered other than those who would rather impose hijab on women 24 X 7?

      1. Sadly, their mentality cannot keep even women under the hijabs safe, or so it seems. From politicians who are polygamous, father illegitimate children and enjoy child pornography we can expect little. Men cannot always be men. For once, they need to grow up into gentlemen.

        1. Why do we see more vermin than gentlemen out there? What is this hypocrisy about eliminating rapists, murderers and even terrorists? I am sure the State has failed its saner denizens.

          1. True. No one is born with a bunch of hormones that jump amock at the sight of naked legs or innocent faces and victims. These are very much a product of unrestricted and irresponsible conduct that needs to be nipped in the bud. Juveniles are let off scotfree only to let others know that age works in their favour.

            1. True. The Arch-rapist-murderer of ‘Nirbhaya’ has been absolved of his heinous deeds and will probably go for an encore not too far in future. Anyway, let us leave it that Varsh. Thanks a ton!

  4. wow Umashankar….what a piece…should I in shame bow my head for the state of affairs or appreciate the beauty of words you penned…awesome is an underword.

    1. Shweta, the heads that should hang in shame are sailing in the stratosphere somewhere. I may sound presumptuous here but I do suffer from incontinence of conscience as a unit of manhood. Thank you, my friend.

  5. I was blindly looking forward to 2017 with some hope. The moment I open my eyes, the reality sinks in. When you write Sun has grown wrinkles, I am reminded of King Dhritarashtra from Mahabharata in the autumn of his life.

    Sun is the king of light. With king growing old, the forces of the dark start becoming more powerful…The modern day kings ruling from Delhi durbar can put on Olay wrinkle removing cream (or is it patanjali?) to show youthful look. However, who will remove the wrinkles of their souls? Will the darkness truly takeover?

    1. Your poetic, nay, prophetic, comment is thought-provoking. The Juggernaut of decadence has been set into motion by ruthlessly corrupt governments of the past hell-bent on staying in power at all costs, appeasing criminals, minorities, terrorists and even enemy states to corner votes. The takeover by the forces of darkness appears imminent unless mafiocracy as a form of government is chucked away soon.

  6. Beautiful words woven together by the mastery of a sorcerer into a breathtaking ghazal depicting the harsh reality of an increasingly hostile world! I don’t have enough words to admire your poetry. And words are not enough to describe my grief over the current state of humanity either.

    1. Raju, I have just made passing references to the current state of humanity but as you have said, words are not enough. I am overwhelmed by your compliment, my friend.

  7. Another Ghazal from you Umashankar ji —-I tried it the last time I read one by you but found it very difficult –will try it once again —-and yes you have brought out the present scenario perfectly —thanks once again

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