Sullen rain simmers, pretends to slalom and surrenders,
recoils in the clouds of sodden discontent.
Arid thoughts smother the sapless jelly of life.
It is the month of August, the fat middle of
an unrelenting virus, spinning off the spores
of a shivering November,
it’s nowhere as dead as it is nowhere as living.

People mask fragile streaks of breath, leaden lungs
laced with streptococcus pneumoniae. Iced, strung.
Limbs calloused by blisters. Senses culled, stunned.
Streets barren like rooftops under a burning sun.
Breathless homes stuffed with straw, ready to
ignite. Quartered wings fulminate and fail to fly.

Aimless pages rasp in the gust, the discarded citizens
of a vanquished state, buzzards of a caged sky.
Such a cruel end, such a smothering death by lullaby;
Month of August, the sad middle of a brutal shanghai.

24 comments

  1. Down here at the bottom of the world August is my favourite time. It is six am and outside my morning window the birds sing a welcome to this time of the year. I wish I could send the joyfulness of their joyfulness.

  2. Your imagery is beautiful but I feel the heaviness of your words, the ennui and the breathless waiting. As though this poem is on the edge of something, ready to tip over into something else.

    1. It’s amazing how deeply you have understood the state of my mind, wriggling to break free from the heaviness, poised to ‘tip over into something else.’ Thank you.

  3. Such a powerful poem that speaks directly to our times. It does feel as if we are stuck in the middle of something that is no where near over, and you poem captures our feelings perfectly!

      1. Sometimes our voice isn’t want we had anticipated, but it can still impart a very strong message. And you managed that just fine. You’re a very good writer, even when you’re not satisfied with your own work, I think.

  4. Uma, it’s wonderful to have you writing again. Wonderful imagery and powerful words. What I sense as I read is anger, frustration, darkness … a coiled spring. August 2020 in India: a dark challenge. Take good care. May the light reach those dark corners very soon

  5. Oh Uma, your poetic voice cries for your country once again. Meanwhile here in Ireland, thousands of people are marching in protest against wearing masks. Is it the middle, or the top? Or is it a rehearsal for the worse times to come?

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