Title: Monsoon: A Poem of Love and Longing
Author: Abhay K
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi
I wake up with your thoughts
your fragrance reaching me 1
all the way from the Himalayas
to the island of Madagascar
brought by monsoon
from the blessed Himalayan valley 2
to the hills of Antananarivo
on its return journey
I dream of you every night, the shimmering dawn
snatches my dreams but the morning breeze comes 3
whispering your name, permeating my being
with your thoughts, only your thoughts, my love
I’m far away in this Indian Ocean island
yearning for your touch, gazing at the Moon, 4
Venus and myriad star constellations,
hoping you’re gazing at them too
I wait for the monsoon to be born
to send you sights, sounds and aroma 5
of this island, redolent of vanilla, cloves,
Ylang-ylang and herbs of various kinds
O’ Monsoon, wave-like mass of air,
the primeval traveller from the sea 6
to the land in summer, go to my love
in the paradisiacal Himalayan valley
for eons you’ve ferried traders across the Indian Ocean,
guided the legendary Sinbad and Vasco da Gama 7
and brought wealth and joy to millions,
your absence, alas, brings famine and death
the bounty of Indra offered through rains
at times just a spell of scattered showers, 8
at times unceasing torrents for days at a stretch
whetting passion of lovers with your thunder-drums
lovesick and far away from my beloved,
I beseech you to take my message to her 9
along with amorous squeals of Vasa parrots,
reverberating songs of Indri Indri
the sound of sea waves crashing on coral beaches
mating calls of the Golden Mantellas 10
mellifluous chirps of the Red fody
sonorous songs of the Malagasy Coucal
the sight of ayes-ayes conjoined blissfully
at midnight in Masoala rainforests 11
fierce fossas mating boisterously at Kirindy
colourful turtles frolicking in the Emerald Sea
yellow comet moths swarming Ranomafana
Radiated tortoises carrying galactic maps 12
Soumanga sunbirds sipping nectar
white Sifakas dancing in herd
ring-tailed lemurs feasting on Baobab flowers
Vasa parrots courting their mates 13
painted butterflies fluttering over fresh blossoms
blooming jacarandas painting the sky purple
Traveller’s palms stretching their arms in prayer
Baobabs meditating like ascetics turned upside down 14
Giraffe-necked red weevils necking their mates
fragrant Champa flowers—galaxies on the earth
colourful Mahafaly tombs dotting the countryside
erotic Sakalava sculptures arousing longings in mind, 15
innumerable sculpted rock-temples at Isalo —
each one a homage to Lord Pashupatinath
the rich dialect of the old Gujarati
still spoken here with great zeal, 16
O’ Monsoon, I urge you to carry these
to my love in the pristine Himalayan valley
as you glide over the Indian Ocean gently
caressing her curvaceous body, 17
the humpback whales will amuse you
with their mating songs
About the Book
Monsoon is a poem of love and longing that follows the path of monsoon which originates near Madagascar and traverses the Indian Ocean to reach the Himalavas and back to Madagascar. As monsoon travels, the rich sights and sounds, languages and traditions, costumes and cuisine, flora and fauna, festivals and monuments, and the beauty and splendour of the Indian Ocean islands and the Western Ghats, East and North India, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet are invoked. The poem weaves the Indian Ocean Islands and the Indian Subcontinent into one poetic thread connected by monsoon, offering an umparalleled sensuous experience through strikingly fresh verses which have the immense power to transport the readers to a magical world.
About the Author
Abhay K is the author of nine postry colfections including The Magic of Madagascar (1’Harmattan Paris, 202 I), The Alphabets of Latin America (Bloomsbury India, 2020), and the editor of The Book of Bihari Literature (Harper Collins, 2022), The Bloomsbury Anthology of Great Indian Poems, CAPITALS, New Brazilian Rems and The Bloomsbury Book of Great Indian Love Poems. His poems have appeared in over 100 literary journals. His “Earth Anthem” has been translated into over 150 languages. He received SAARC Literary Award 2013 and was invited to record his poems at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. in 2018. His translations of Kalidasa’s Meghaduta (Bloomsbury India, 2021) and Ritusamhara (Bloomsbury India, 2021) from Sanskrit have won KLF Poetry Book of the Year Award 2020-21.
 Antananarivo is the capital of Madagascar
 Monsoon is born in the Mascarene High near Madagascar.
 Ylang-ylang is a tropical tree valued for perfume extracted from its
 Indra is the rain god in Hindu mythology.
 Vasa parrots are grey-black parrots endemic to Madagascar notable for
their peculiar appearance and highly evolved mating life.
 Indri Indri is the largest species of surviving lemur. It is critically
 Mantellas are Madagascar’s golden or multi-coloured poison frogs.
 Aye-aye is a long-fingered species of lemur active at night.
 Fossas are the largest predators endemic to Madagascar.
 Ranomafana is a rainforest located to the southeast of Antananarivo in
 Sifaka is a critically endangered species of lemurs also known as the
 Baobab is a deciduous tree that grows in the arid regions of Madagascar.
Out of eight species of Baobab, six are endemic to Madagascar. They live
for thousands of years and are also known as the tree of life.
 Native to Madagascar, the Traveller’s Palm has enormous leaves which are
 Giraffe-necked red weevil is a bright-red-winged, long-necked rainforest
beetle that uses its extended neck to battle for a mate.
 The Mahafaly people of Madagascar honour their dead by creating
 Sakalava sculptures, usually wooden nude female and male figures, adorn
the tombs of Sakalava Chiefs.
 Isalo is a national park in south Madagascar known for its natural rock
 Pashupatinath is another name of Lord Shiva.
Click here to read Abhay K’s interview
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