Poems dedicated to Sam Noumoff

“Water Cuts Stone” (cyanotype on archival paper, 6" x 4") © Divya Singh, 2018


“Water Cuts Stone” (cyanotype on archival paper, 6″ x 4″) © Divya Singh, 2018



I was born to watch the morphing
of a sorrow to another.

Once an alchemist, I knew at birth
and at once, the taste of despair’s chemical.

I also knew a girl
who later grew up to write poems
and was named Suheir Hammad.

I once was that rising tide upon the sea
that dropped, and that continues to swell
and collapse within its foam and flavour
of salt, roiling in its sensation of homelessness.

I was a country
whose being was that desert expanse
whose body was butchered up into shards
to match the number of its sadnesses

one of them is Palestine.

These days, I stand to gather the bones
of children scattered across this country
to which they once belonged.



As of now, as ever, all the water
trembling, the oceans quiver
no masquerade of boiling over,
truly, it all roils – there
is a premonition, of all
that’s about to occur
in a while, the globe could be in ruins.
As could every democracy, on it.

He, too, who lost all that love
is awoken, in a bid to fulfill
the void of its absence.

Together, together all water
shakes. Who knows how
it appears to its own fish.
How does it salvage anything
as it moves, it’s – important,
no – necessary to mull over.

Actually, it was a slug’s
speech, under the soles
of my feet, that leaped
at me, and said it’s the entirety
of the water on earth
that shakes within, without
as if it were a country
in the belly of its own


Note on the artist:

Divya Singh is a visual artist. Her practice is primarily rooted in painting and explores themes such as isolation, experience, and memory – emanating largely from a poetic engagement with Time. Mediums such as photography, writing, cinema and painting are at the centre of her language as a practitioner and have featured as important categories of both work and interest. These varied elements come together within the work and can be seen most distinctly in the artist books made by her, as well as found imagery which accompany the paintings and other media during exhibitions. She is currently working with instant film/polaroid, paintings and text.

Divya has done her BFA from College of Art, New Delhi and her MFA from Shiv Nadar University. For more on her work, please visit the Shrine Empire Gallery’s website.


References to Sam Noumoff and Suheir Hammad


Savita Singh is a distinguished feminist poet and political theorist.  She studied at Delhi University and McGill University in Montréal, and is now Professor and Director at the School of Gender and Development, Indira Gandhi National Open University in Delhi. She has three collections of poetry in Hindi, one in French and one in Odia. Her work is translated in many languages of the world, including German, Spanish, English and French. Savita Singh has won various awards for poetry, including the Raza Award (2006), the Hindi Academy Award (2016), and the Eunice de Souza Award (2020).

These poems in Serai were translated from Hindi by Medha Singh, a poet and editor from New Delhi who has written on poetry, feminism and rock music, and whose poems and interviews have appeared extensively in US and international journals. She has authored two books, Ecdysis (Poetrywala, 2017) and I Will Bring My Time: Love Letters by S.H. Raza (Art Vadehra, Raza Foundation, 2020). Medha Singh has been twice nominated for the TFA award.