27 November, 2020

The Book Of Hours

Vikram Seth’s new book, a form-defying marvel, is shaped out of his life’s ephemera

Fotocorp (From Outlook, December 12, 2011)
The Book Of Hours
Last night a storm raged round the bare oak tree.
A cold, sharp rain fell; wild in pace
The ice-fed air swirled free.
Now in this place
I see
No trace
Of wind or lee,
No grass, no earth—the space
Is a clear lake, deep as my knee.
I reach its edge and view, far down, my face.

I wade out to the bench, set down my wine,
My bread and cheese, and like some sage
Of old, sit down to dine.
I do not rage
Or pine
At age,
For youth once mine.
This pool, this plate, this page,
This tree whose roots are branch and tine
Holds me in its still hour-glass, its free cage.




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