Since I'm reading Ayodhya Canto sright now, here's Rukmini Bhaya Nair's poem from it.
my son, not quite seven, said
It was a bad day at school
Six children cried
Why? Were they sick? Did teacher scold?
Ishita – two times Ishita!
Actually, three times Ishita!
I can’t tell you about it
Neha started it
Rahul and I ran away
It was a madhouse!
A madhouse? Viraj, tell Amma, please.
You’ll scold me. It was in the break
Teacher wasn’t there
Okay, don’t tell me! You don’t have to tell me.
They were talking about
My not-quite-seven son looks sheepish, then mulish
But why did everyone cry? Love is nothing
To cry about! Love’s a happy thing
Viraj, you know that
dear god, how we lie to our children
my son, named for procreation
amalgam of wild Aryan rituals
my son, the first Vedic man
stares at me
his glowing rhesus eyes
full of candour, of trust
my son says
Neha said Trinanjan loves Lori
And then Trinanjan started crying
Ishita loves Subir. Everybody says she loves Subir
Even Devika loves Subir
And Ishita cried
Actually, Trinanjan loves Lori, but Lori
Doesn’t love Trinanjan
So Trinanjan cried
And you, Viraj, whom do you love?
No, I don’t. Who?
And Neha? Does anyone else love Neha?
She loves me.
That’s lucky. How do you love Neha, Viraj?
Do you play with her? Is she your special friend?
No, I just love her.
Viraj, why didn’t you cry?
I was brave
yes you were brave, Viraj
you don’t know just how brave
you’ll have to be
it’s a lonely business – this love
you were the first man, you ought to know
and then I think how primitive
this thing is, how old
what fires have burned for it
what fantailed dances it inspires
neatly segmented into periods, subjects
Hindi, Maths, English
and something mysterious called E.V.S.
but all that method, that learning
those iterated aisles of desks
rows of little chairs
then come to this –
a break at high noon
Love breaks into that gap in the day
it holds its own classes
Erich Segal, sentimentaliser of a generation
you knew love was about crying, Ryan O’Neal
had to love Ali McGraw, if it was really
you knew about the accusations, the guilt
but you had no inkling that all the schmaltz
the romance, begins with this instinct
with recitations, incantations
Neha began it. It was a madhouse.
Trinanjan and Lori, Viraj and Neha, Ishita
and Subir, Subir and Devika, have they all
entered the madhouse?
is not never having to says things
it is to say things, show things
over and over and over again
with all the desperate jazz at your disposal
see, that’s Romeo on his bum guitar
and that’s the moon, shameless mauve
riding the tide – and Neha
you can make out Neha
stirring her amateur brew
O Viraj, step back, step back
from the red-bottomed langur turn-ups
from the aggrieved jackal cries
from the kingfisher’s Dionysiac blue
you are too young for a tragic hero
too young to die of natural causes
O Viraj – you are just too young for words!
words, even words
can tear you apart –
if those are all you have
but today my son Viraj, not quite seven
is indifferent to danger
he is brave
merged with the brilliant sky, the earth’s
dark quilted bracken
he has become his first self –
three thousand, twelve thousand
a billion years old . . .
More poems and essays and so forth here.