Poetry by my betters

by Aki Schilz

On April 15th Eastside will be hosting Jeet Thayil, internationally published, award-winning Indian poet, songwriter and musician, who has graciously offered to lead us in a workshop. Jeet is in London for the International Pen festival, so this is an exciting opportunity for us to listen to, talk with and learn from an international writer writing from a different perspective, a different culture, with a different voice, a different language.

“Thayil’s poetry leaves the reader with a sense of danger, of language teetering wildly on the edge of some precipice, between centuries, between continents, between fleetingly improvised realms, suspended somewhere between history and invention, reality and nowhereness.”
(Arundhathi Subramaniam)

But enough of other voices. Here, is his:

The New Island

Once, carried by the rains of September,
a boat lifted free of its mooring place,
of a shed become part of the river,
and floated past
the porch, where I caught her.

Somehow the house kept itself clear of the
river that had made it a new island,
but everything around us was water.
I made the stern
seesaw with every step.

You were lining up the prow with a tree
I thought too far upstream in the blurred tides
of current to be trusted. Now I’m sorry
I held the sides
as we climbed the water.

Your hands, as you moved us forward, were sure
in their shaping of water, your eye true,
and our few feet of hammered wood, our floor,
took us in to
lamplight, voices, the shore.