01 January 1970

Lonesome Lockdowns, Bedtime Blues: Poems On Surviving Solitude

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Lonesome Lockdowns, Bedtime Blues: Poems On Surviving Solitude

'An empty whisky bottle', 'stale coffee mugs', and a 'blue veil of darkness' become metaphors for solitude in these poems that capture the foggy miasma of loneliness.

Poems to read on lonesome nights
Poems to read on lonesome nights Getty Images

"An empty whisky bottle", "stale coffee mugs", and a "blue veil of darkness" become metaphors for solitude in these poems by Srinjay Chakravarti that capture the foggy miasma of loneliness.

WHITE SAMPAN

A white sampan of
a full moon drifts
down the glassy river
with the slow hours,

loaded with a harvest
of pink jasmine.

The breeze is fragrant
with its floral cargo.

A grey wisp
of smoky cloud
shimmers, a transparent
blue veil of darkness
on the clock of the starry sky.

Garlands of glow-worms
festoon the leafless branches
of the frangipani tree.

The nightjar of the jacaranda
tucks its head into the pillow
of its cottonwool sleep.

Only the old widower
lies awake
at his bedroom window,

counting the rosary
of crickets, cicadas

and loneliness. 

LOCKDOWN DIARY

Halitosis in the foetid exhalation
Of the humming air-conditioner.
The shaving mirror, misted 
By a miasma of cigarette smoke.

The room is embargoed
With all the mustiness of time.
The unmade bed
Reeks of loneliness.

An empty whisky bottle,
Stained with puke,
Stands on the oblong glass table.

Stale coffee mugs stand
On the kitchen linoleum,
The arcs and chords
Of their circular stains

The residual geometry
Of morning’s cafeomancy.
Their detritus of predictions

Gathers in spirals and whorls,
Shapes and forms mantic
Of impending misfortune.

A solid glass paperweight, 
With its ikebana of meretricious blobs
Of coloured paint and spurious blossoms,

Holds down yesterday’s newspaper,
Rent receipts, and the unpaid invoices.

INTERCEPTIONS

The night departs into the garden
through the open balcony windows.

Fragrant frangipani,
amorous amaryllis,
jasmine joss-sticks.

Their perfume goes up in smoke:
the tables and chairs evaporate
into fog on the ceiling.

The nude strips the room
of all its furniture.

The lamps shed velvet darkness
instead of light 
on the furthest corners.

The flame licks the paint 
off the walls,
and their colours bleed into gravity.

The candle snuffs out the wind.