The Maharani's New Wall

Poems written in India
Wesleyan University Press

         "David Ray's depictions and evaluations of Indian life are enthralling...a full-scale poetic achievement."                            

—Richard Eberhart  

        "David Ray's book of poems chronicling his year in India is first-rate—a a trip across the landscape and into the psychic heart of that most mysterious of continents."                           

--Patricia Cleary Miller, New Letters Review of Books

A Statue of Gandhiji

From our window
on the second floor
we can look out level
at the statue
of Gandhi,
a silhouette in dusk
raised high
on a marble plinth.
He steps out
with a staff
as into the bustle
of the modern mob,
high above
rickshaws, camels,
strolling cows.
As it grows dark
he looks
like a peacock,
his shawl the folded
feathers he never
unfurled in pride.
Nor would he,
I think, have raised
himself so high.
To honor men
we make them truly
shadows of themselves,
their small,
their fragile selves.

The Rickshaw Wallah Told Us

we should see the Taj in moonlight,
and full moon was out that night.
Thousands jammed the streets. We knew
they scanned long polls
to catch that moon and love's
monument, orgasm captured once
and for all time in white stone (except
for refinery air, not visible at night).
And many trudged, no doubt, into
that tomb—of love remembered well—
to see by candle flame
where Mumtaz, queen much adored,
still lay beneath
her inlaid stone, carnation-red
carnelian, green stems of emeralds.
But we stayed behind in that cheap hotel
and later swore we saw it, Taj
in moonlit splendor.

Contents of this website © David Ray 2011