A poem from Madhuri’s newly-published book, The Poona Poems.


When i cried
after drinking the little sips
of Benedictine,
it was small crying.
The heart swelled though.

i walked in the dark
looking for you, the Benedictine
in a green pottery cup,
just a little, sloshing
in the bottom
like pond-water.

i knew i would likely
not find you
& the declarations of love
washed from my lips
so many years ago
would anyway have stuck
in my heart,
unable to move.
Some children shoved my hand
and spilled a bit
into the bushes.

i gave some more to Asheesh,
and a guarded sip to Satya.
But i was looking for you.

The outdoor diners wondered
why she walks by and again by
with that cup
looking so unhappy.

i wanted to be the cause
of that wood-cask hot burn
rush in you,
that mellowing
and ending of things,
uncovering of others –
the lovesick hearts of monks
distilled into burning
that takes the breath away.
i wanted to be the agent
of your heart’s uncovering,
and, thus impure,
i wandered,
until i gave it
all away.


(In Indira Gandhi’s India, imports were forbidden, so the illicit ones which made it through were very much savoured and prized.)

From the newly published book, The Poona Poems, available directly from the author: madhuritourmaline (at) or from

Read Prartho’s review: The Poona Poems

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