© Ajit Ghai


Landscape of Abandonment

Trees have abandoned
their hard-working leaves to the cruel
November winds. The winds pluck the leaves off

one by one. And cold nights let frost
descend upon the shore. The wild
flowers that thrived here

are here no more. And a layer of ice newly formed
on the lake shuts tight
the food cupboard’s door

upon the birds. Migrating birds stop
dropping by the lake when it closes
its heart and door.



Snow © Dinh Le Doan


Snow Is Falling

Snow is falling. The earth turns white.
Its new skin is as smooth as silk.
The sun hides behind a veil.

I stay confined inside my shelter
while the cedars run between the houses
and collect snowflakes outside.

Running past my window the cedars see
a bear-like creature inside a cave
immersed in dreams.

None sees me. I am the dreams.




The hectic day slows
to a stop.

Neighbours retreat
into their lairs.

The street breathes
a sigh of relief.

The burned out sky
closes its eye.

Darkness arrives
upon thousands

of shady steps.



Drops of water are returning to the lake in large numbers.
Armies of them on invisible parachutes.

Success for each drop means
falling back to the lake with a decent splash

creating enlarging circles of impact before dissolving.
And each drop has only one chance to do this well.


The complacent kayakers are caught surprised
by the thirty-per-cent-chance rain becoming real. They mutter
under their soured breaths, “Who voted for this?!”

And the ducks give up their dabbling at the lily patch
to shelter under a birch tree. “What?! What?! What?!”
—What’s good about this hard-hitting rain?!

The birch bends down as if to answer. But “What? What? What?”
—The ducks can’t make out the answer
under the heavy downpour.