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
The Soldier and the girl
The young girl
Rain fell yesterday.
Carrying two paper bags
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.
(Published in Kafla Intercontinental - Summer 2015)