Award-winning Author Murzban F. Shroff Pens Pandemic Poetry Series
Mumbai-based author Murzban F. Shroff, known for his award-winning books, Breathless in Bombay, Waiting for Jonathan Koshy, and Fasttrack Fiction, has now penned a series of poems on the Covid-19 pandemic, tracking its causes and consequences. Shroff, a Commonwealth Prize-shortlisted author and a 6-times Pushcart Prize nominee, says he turned to poetry in order to capture the intensely emotional and psychological states created by these extraordinary circumstances. “The purpose of literature is to bring man in closer contact with nature, to expand our understanding of the universal laws that govern us, and which we are bound to obey by mere virtue of having taken birth on this planet. I found poetry to be a liberating and powerful medium to convey this,” adds Shroff. “The Lockdown Blues” (below) is part of a series of poems that will feature in Shroff’s debut collection of poetry. Shroff’s stories have appeared in over 65 literary journals in the U.S., UK, and Australia. He has been invited to speak about his work at universities like UC Berkeley, UCLA, and USC, and at literary festivals like the London Short Story Festival, the Emirates Literature Festival, and the Irrawaddy Literary Festival in Myanmar. Shroff can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lockdown Blues
This is the winter of our confinement
This is the spring of our unease
This is the summer of our expectations
The fall of our species
This is the weakness of our senses
This is the outcome of our greed
This is the collapse of our intellect
The negation of our needs
This is the night of our darkness
This is the prison of our morrows
This is the cumulus of our burden
The song of our sorrows
This is what we brought our world to
Conquering land and sea and sky
Not for a moment did we pause
Thinking where our limits lie
We robbed the earth of its beauty
And we drained the soil of its strength
We blew off the tops of mountains
We were so hellbent
We did not spare the rocks
And we did not spare the trees
We even dammed our rivers
Before they could reach the seas
We did not spare the seabed
And we did not spare the air
We did not think of the species
With whom our planet we share
And now we live in solitary caves
Nothing to show for our wealth
Worrying about our future
Uncertain about our health
Do I have the virus?
Do I show the signs?
Will I make it safely
Make it through these times?
Will we live like humans?
And will we roam at will?
Or will we experience life
Standing at our window sill?
Will we live off our phones
And our flat-faced computer screens?
Will we know once more
What real freedom means?
Will we rub shoulders?
And will we feel the same?
Will we ever hug
And learn to trust again?
— Murzban F. Shroff
As published in the Parsi Times E-Paper Dated 4 July 2020.