Kunwar Narain is an eminent Hindi poet, short story writer and critic. He has published six collections of poetry, a short epic Atmajayee, a collection of short stories and three books of literary criticism. A sensitive poet and a versatile writer, his creative interests include film criticism, classical music, and other arts. He is recipient of many awards including Kabir Samman, Kumaran Asan Award, the Sahitya Akademi Award, and the Vyasa Samman. His poetry has been translated into several Indian and foreign languages

Off Centre

I don’t want to escape from life,
I want to be a part of it,
to jolt it,
at precisely that point
along its imaginary axis
where it is most susceptible to poetry,

with well-judged passess,
first to activate
the hidden source od vital energy
then to re-connect the axis,
at some distance from the original fixed orbit,
so a new course is embarked on,
not mechanical, like before,
but willed a tilt closer
to humanity.


Lying in a field of flowers,
I have often thought about the dew,
fluoroscent dots
dripped onto the petals
with nibs of light.
What astrologer designed this complex horoscope
of the gliterring firmament ?
And why do these luminous signd vanish,
from one to zero ?
Whose is this cynical, geometrical yawn ?

And then I thought
about the bedraggled leaves under the trees –
Who thought up this mathematical puzzle ?
The wind is counting:
it gathers leaves anywhere,
and deposits them anywhere.
At times, it snatches a few leaves from the tree,
crumples them and tosses them carelessly away.