Poetry Here & Now: Gautam Sachdev

The Price of a Book


The price printed on a book

Doesn’t belong to author

Nor should it go to him

Its price is not even that of his work

It’s the price at which

He agrees to sell his consciousness.






My mother smiles

Neither questions

Nor tells me off

Just stares



Nailed to a wall




Nothing bothers her now

Neither being targeted by a ball

Nor when a bird’s dropping festoon her

She looks on

She smiles

As she hangs from the wall

But, when the silent sunbeams visit her every morning

Through her eyes framed in glass

My mother caresses

The rooms in which our house is imprisioned

And she seems happy


Is this all true?

Was it after or before she was clamped in a frame that she grew happy?

What does she get from simply hanging from a wall?

She alone knows

Why she has turned into nothingness

Even when she is everything

Why she is not here

And yet is omnipresent.


We are all prisoners encased in frames

We all hang on walls

And like glass

we get shattered and scattered’

And pierce like thorns

Still how distinct are our respective frames, walls and glass!

Translation from Hindi by Lalit Mohan Joshi


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