Gurdev Chauhan


Gurdev Chauhan is a poet to watch. He writes in Punjabi and English. His poetry makes the fusion of memory and emotion the heartbeat of his poetry. He has published several books of poetry, satire and literary criticism in Punjabi, Hindi and English. He resides in Canada. He is editor of South Asian Ensemble, a Canadian Quarterly of Literature, Art and Culture.

  The Soldier and the girl

The young girl
looked fondly at the soldier
newly back from the battle front.
she loved him
but she took way too much time
to profess her love to him
and he went without love back to the war.
But back at the battle front
the soldier could not wait
way too much for the girl’s love
before being hit by the enemy bullet
And he died
Girls take way too much time
to profess their love and lose.

A poem

Rain fell yesterday.
I was home
Someone shook me
I got up.
It was the old love
my childhood friend
It had come hurtling
through walls of time.
Rain is falling .
A small sparrow
has come for the shelter
through the window of time
shaking feathers
off the raindrops.
The wind from the window
has fluttered the papers
of my poems on my table
The sparrow,
my old love
hidden somewhere in you


Carrying two paper bags
the girl has come
out of McDonalds’s
She eats off one packet
She picks up her little dog
feeds him off the other bag
She plays with the dog
puts it down on the ground
lifts him again
the dog shows annoyance
then yields.
She puts the paper bags
in the garbage bin
and sits on the bench
She shakes her hands,
sets a wayward tress
that had pulled off her face.
The girl’s boyfriend arrives
she leaves the dog back on the bench
embraces the boy.
They sit on the bench
spend a way too much time
playing with the dog
as if they were
mocking at the time
They, then, walk to
and sit in their car
race the car and are gone.
Time sitting idle on the bench
doesn’t know what to do
except looking in vain at its clock
and at the speeding car.

That Girl of my Childhood

I look for that girl who had disappeared
in the cocoons of my childhood days.
My childhood stood here just now,
palpable and balanced
like a bowl of milk.
From here she flew like a ribbon
and was lost among the multitude
and could not be traced.
At the moment of the rape
of her time
she had screamed
with all her might
I heard her cry
from the grain market.
She had turned into
a grain of wheat.
The sky had forgotten its rainbow.
She could not be found anywhere.
I was in constant search of her.
Grief-stricken faces, angry heads
said so much :
gratuitous, dubious and loud.
Her hand called me again and again.
Now wherever I go,
I hear her shriek.
Nights and days are clue-less about her.
I think I’ll find out
that shriek-girl somehow.
She will emerge surely one day
all of a sudden, from some flourmill
or be seen falling down
from the third floor
of some office trying to save
herself as she plummets.
Or be sighted in some lonely lane
opening onto some bazaar
or in a nondescript room
with windows all shut.
I know she loved too much, the sunlight.
That girl waits for some sunny day
and looks towards
the hands of a young man
who could scoop
darkness out of her body
and coax back her lost volubility.

She and the train

The train had gone
She too had gone
riding in the train
Her bag too that dangled
from her shoulder.
How perfect she had become
with her going with the bag
that dangled from her shoulder,
perfect or fragile as
the next station of her life
or of mine
or of us.

© Author

(Published in Kafla Intercontinental - Summer 2015)