3 poems by Shelly Bhoil


Art by Nora Heysen

I dream of a poem

I dream of a poem

about words

without words

like a primitive thought

unborn

in the awareness

of language

then grammar

but a deciduous patois

at every step

on every tongue

dangling out

of aporia

once you step on

your God

your primitive thought

of the Universe—

a mega-poem

by the Creator

that fathoms deeper

than depth of a poet’s dreams

spread across the lengthy skies

beyond the bedlam breath

of our recurrent lives


I dream of a poem

about words

without words



Nude poem (2)


This poem right here

reminds me of another poem

lost in remembering nothing

about itself or the intervention


the scratches here and there

uncared into scars

recur in amnesic dreams

like the unfinished lines

neither erased nor delivered

squeeze and writhe about

in the manner of rain-washed

earthworms peppered

in semi-abandoned diaries


this poem here is

about that poem somewhere:

a nude poem perhaps that was

one without words for ornaments

one with feelings alone for flesh

a nude poem of yours

a nude one mine



The denial of words


It all happened thereafter


that the verse began to rip apart

from the skin

without the grace of falling stars


the metaphor betrayed

the imagination

unlike the divorce signatures reasoned to be


and poetry became a starless sky

not like the blank page that beholds

the promise to be inked


it all happened after the moment

words began to be served for meals

that the words

left at the logic’s end

neither knitted into a warm nest for return

nor opened into wings for flight



Shelly Bhoil is an Indian writer and scholar on Tibet. She has published two poetry books An Ember from Her Pyre (Writers Workshop, 2016) and Preposição de Entendimento (Urutau, Brazil, forthcoming); edited the reference book New Narratives of ExilTibet (Lexington Books, 2020), and co-edited Tibetan Subjectivities on the Global Stage (Lexington Books, 2018); and edited two journals Tibetan Writings in India for Muse India (2014) and Tibetan Exile Poetry in Brazilian-Portuguese translation for Cadernos (University of Sao Paulo, forthcoming). Shelly lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

Read an interview with her on Kitaab.