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nether x The Alipore Post: Distant Prayers

Art by Pierre Roy

Inner eye by Siddhartha Menon (Issue 6)

obey the counsels

of the inner eye

Zbigniew Herbert ‘Another Look’

I cannot quite tell what you mean

by the inner eye

whose counsels must be obeyed.

Protected from dust from tears

and free of all expression:

is that what you have in mind?

I wouldn’t trade for it the outer ones

though I know they’re vulnerable short-sighted

in servitude to the naive heart

to redness and going blind.

The eye of imagination

only blends what it has seen

so I cannot imagine

an eye that sees so differently

that it surfs the rollers of death

and tides us over necessity.

If you mean the tenderness that stings

your eyes like a sea wind

let’s call it that.

Who knows why it stays impervious

as you make your way through briars

and traffic snarls to a vacancy

at the heart of a continent

but as you watch reflections

sky and overhanging stems

that ripple each other on this risen pond

strangely it is here

in a depth of possibilities

attentive and at your call compelling the lighthouse sweep of your attention.


Art by Jozef Israëls

For the Grandfathers by Saksham Khosla (Issue 5)

To peel them from their confusion

with newspapers, their stubborn politics,

is a crime akin to subtracting

the muezzin's call

slipped in black envelopes,

sealed with bone

from the blue bled dawns

that dismantle a baser God

for another.

Their tongues are ribbons?

slit open on wills,

knotted into wrinkled gasps.

I am split across their spectacles

swung askew from ears

and I will never know

the smoothness of minarets.

Art by Lyonel Feininger

The hole in the earth by Vijay Nambisan (Issue 6)

There is a hole through to the earth’s bowels,

I glimpsed it yesterday, outside the gate,

A view of voided ground yielding voiceless vowels,

Saying without speaking; and through what ways

Winding, through what beatitude, what hate,

What hope of sanctity I do not know

It goes because last night I knew my place

Was not to know. Then waking in my sleep

I felt by day my fate and I could go

Down unwalkable roads beyond all name

Of nothingness, discover what they keep

Below of us without knowledge of day.

So I prepared; but today the workmen came,

Replaced the manhole cover, and went away.

Art by Charles Sarka

Earth by Eunice de Souza (Issue 6)

The earth is restless tonight,

beyond our power to assuage.

Our knowledge comes too late.

She is victim, judge and jury.

She is the avenging angel.

Pray that our deaths

be quick and merciful.


Art by Edward Hopper

Untitled by Bharat Iyer (Issue 2)

Cast out into the night thus

remain hungry in the pale lights on the streets

the shadows of the buildings in narrow alleys

moving, head hunched, through the dreary damp

the eyes in their hollows searching

now closing with exhaustion

hearing the ballads of the evening

floating in the head, all together all around

and the river with its dark, silent course

underneath like a vicious beast biding its time

reach out to the prayers of dawn

fingers wrapped around their hollow glow

they slowly drip down in mute treachery

spurred on by the promise of a new song

in the end only old ballads

and the memory of a distant prayer


Nether is a non-profit literary collective of writers looking to spread out and build a plexus of more writers/ artists in India and across. It is a quarterly magazine focused on all the potential variations in the sphere of contemporary writings. These poems were curated by Rohini Kejriwal of The Alipore Post.


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