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The Comet (ottava rima)

courage, james sant
I have been following a falling star,
Observing how it cuts into the night
And as it falls, it leaves a burning scar.
We two together, doomed but bright,
Flew close to the sun, for too far
From danger, we would blaze no light.
Why share the ending of our story?
For a while we shed a trail of glory.


Half a Duet

courage, james sant
I would you sang. You have too oft of late
Lain silent, like keys that know no touch,
Though you are the virtuoso you await.
I would you recognized yourself as such.

Still you are mute. I have no counterpoint.
I play denatured music without you.
I press on but the sound is out of joint.
Nothing I say alone can I say true.

You do not laugh. Nor do you ever cry.
You make yourself an absence; am I right
In thinking you would teach yourself to die
If without noise you could escape your plight?

And you say naught. If you have lost your voice,
I’ll join you where you are— silent by choice.


An Apology, for Ignoring the Birdsong

courage, james sant
I cannot make you hear the linnet sing
(Nor indeed tell you that it has a cry).
I’ve read in books of such a thing as spring
But never cast my eyes up to its sky.

I cannot relate the whispers of the breeze
While whistling past, obstructed and yet free.
I’m told the wind has murmurs such as these,
But if it does, it shares them not with me.

They tell me that to write, I must observe.
To ignore the world around me is a sin.
Details culled second-hand will never serve,
Nor can I find all that I need within.

I wait and watch and never have replied--
The nature I examine lies inside.

Maya Chhabra, August 2014


Despair (sonnet)

courage, james sant
If only the well of feeling emptied out,
And left us parched, like summer without rain,
And in that thirst we found relief from pain,
And learned to bless the unrelenting drought.

If only these never-ceasing thoughts would cease,
These bearers of confusion, hooks that tighten,
Piercing my brain, never to enlighten,
Only to rend my few moments of ease.

And if humanity had never risen
Had ne’er surpassed four-legged beasts in thought
I fail to see the loss; what did we gain
In trading our mute state for the mind’s prison?
Did we lose then the peace I long have sought,
For want of which I have become insane?


Commitment (villanelle)

courage, james sant
I am afraid that I will walk away.
I do not know if I can play this part.
I think I could be happy if I stay.

None of your just fears can I defray.
I never seem to finish what I start.
I am afraid that I will walk away.

Of course I do not want to go astray.
I can’t stand the idea of being apart.
I think I could be happy if I stay.

What if our love should soften and decay
Grow putrid till the rot can reach the heart?
I am afraid that I will walk away.

But more afraid of what I will not say
Except in whispers marred by stop and start:
I think I could be happy if I stay.

Do not give me the chance to you betray.
For one day while you sleep, I may depart.
I am afraid that I will walk away.
I think I could be happy if I stay.

Maya Chhabra, August 2014


Little Ways (rondeau)

courage, james sant
In little ways I came to fall from grace.
I noticed something lacking in your face.
I began to drift away when you would speak,
And to descend from our love’s lofty peak,
Not realizing that I had left that place.

Off and away, to win the race,
At first we with the best kept pace.
But our boat sank. We let it leak
In little ways.

I could with you each step retrace,
Find when indifference did replace
Rapture, when ardor grew weak.
It would not return me what I seek,
What bound us from our first embrace,
In little ways.

Maya Chhabra, August 2014


Bad Boy Blues (a rondeau)

courage, james sant
Go to hell. I’m done with you
And everything you ever claimed was true,
That we had something really cool,
When really you just saw me as a tool,
When really I was just an easy screw.

Wrecked hearts and promises forgotten strew
Your path, and yet I thought alone I knew
Your heart; I am a fool.
Go to hell.

Yet if one day out of the blue,
You came to me, began anew,
For you I’d break my every rule,
And on that fire throw more fuel.
I’d follow my heart’s path askew,
And go to hell.

Maya Chhabra, August 2014


The Observer Effect: a sonnet

courage, james sant
Ask me where I do go when you are not
When to reality I am not pinned.
Do I become as formless as the wind,
Body dissolving, spirit soon unwrought?

And ask me who I am when I’m not yours.
Perhaps I am monster of the deep
Who stalks the little children fast asleep
Or else a blithe young sprite who dips and soars.

I would you asked and yet I cannot give
You reassurance; touch me while you can
And feel that I am solid flesh; delight
In what we have, but let me while I live
Preserve my mystery; tis not my plan
To tell my being to one made of light.

Maya Chhabra, August 2014


a villanelle

courage, james sant
I think I would the stars of heaven break
(At least, so tend my dreams when it is dark)
And to old chaos all the world unmake

So far away they might as well be fake,
I’d douse them all, if only for a lark,
I think I would the stars of heaven break.

I think creation was a great mistake.
I’d undo every atom down to quark
And to old chaos all the world unmake.

So what if it’s the universe at stake,
If all that is or was comes from this spark?
I think I would the stars of heaven break.

I’d like to make the God who made me quake
So this time he’ll preserve none in an ark
And to old chaos all the world unmake.

Humanity does naught but smash and take.
At least this way I’m sure to leave my mark.
I think I would the stars of heaven break
And to old chaos all the world unmake.

Maya Chhabra, August 2014


Sonnet on a Life Apart

courage, james sant
That mind of yours fits into mine the way

The continents, once one, still fit together

Sans you, my wings are bones without a feather,

Left flightless when I most am loath to stay

Aloft aloft and I a grounded thing

Waiting for you to bear me to the skies

And tell me it’s not you but me that flies

For where would feathers drift without a wing?

O come not quickly—linger far a while

To let me learn the boundaries of my being

To memorize this earthbound, stagnant state

Before with you mile disappears on mile

Before I pardon, thrilled and rapt, unseeing,

The hollow in my bones while I did wait.

Maya Chhabra, August 2014


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August 2014