Poetry from Rajnish Mishra

Recipe for happiness


I realized it late, but not so late as not

to feel it in real time. I knew it. I was

happy that afternoon. I was happy

after a long time indeed. What made it happen?


Nearly one hundred gram of groundnuts,

roasted and whole. Shelling to get the nut

is an important ingredient of happiness. Guava,

medium sliced pieces, say, ten to twelve


pieces per guava, the core eaten by my

two and half year old. The winter sun shining mildly

and warmly, rays falling over me and over

my folding cot, and a thin red shawl, as I

lounged, as the cover against sun burn, the shawl

from my past that my mother gave to my wife.





Thou shalt…
I have managed to stay alive; yes,
till now.
So, I should know.
I’ve lied a thousand times,
and one.
Not liking it sometimes.
Done it well every time.
That gives me the right to preach,
to pontificate, even.
What do I tell my child?
Should I ask her never to tell lies?
Then how will she survive in this world?
Should I command her to tell lies then?
It increases the chances of survival,
It’s settled. I’ll train her in the science,
or arts,
of hypocrisy, corruption, lies and deceit.






Define ‘friend’


Definitions are often inadequate, sometimes misleading;

necessary too. I tried to define “friend”.


I miss you my friend.

To you I never needed to explain

the stupid puzzle I sometimes am.


You knew the streets and alleys of my mind.

You proved it many a time, telling me of many

a secret passage, and many a dream I dared not dream.


There hasn’t been any after you,

none with whom I talked about my darkest,

deepest fears and brightest hopes.


I’ve managed well without you.

I am not alone, and mostly

am not lonely, but sometimes, like this evening,


I feel like I could use a pair of ears, set into a head

that understood what I spoke,

and did not need explanations.


Wistful thinking! You’re gone.

Not dead, just gone.

You changed, I changed; we changed.


“A friend is one who you cannot forget or flush out of mind.

He is as much your part as your past is”.







How time flies!


Today I plucked the first grey hair from my nose.

It surprised me:

one more step

towards old age.


It threw my mind back

to the day

I’d seen the first gray hair on my head,

the grey hair that remained the only one

for many years as it stood as the end of a phase.

It affirmed life.


This one confirms death.


How time flies!






Silent house


Return when there’s no one there.

Go home, when it’s empty of sounds.


It’s strange.

I’d never imagined how silence stings, stinks.


Whether it’s felt for a moment,

or life.


Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India and now in exile from his city. His work originates at the point of intersection between his psyche and his city. He edits PPP Ezine. 


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