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Celebrating a world through good writing

Buttonwood Press is dedicated to publishing high-quality writing for the literate general public. We favor work that is wide-ranging in subject, individual in voice, and committed to social concerns. We believe that good literature, like all the arts, can make a difference in the world: healing, challenging, awakening, and bringing us closer together. Join us on a journey of language in books that are pleasurable to hold and worthwhile to read.

This month we are pleased to feature "Morning" by Ajay Rai,
who lives and works in Rajasthan, India. Enjoy!


The morning is well bathed.
The sweat and grime of
yesterday washed away,
Leaving a morning
Clean, honest, welcoming.

I extend my hand to touch it,

It shies away, giggles.
Extending its hands, holds mine

The smile of a promise taking

Our hands locked, I draw it
towards me.

It does not resist, comes to me,

We embrace, miracles happen -

Lightning strikes somewhere
As if in a primordial planet
A life originates,
A life that is clean, honest,

I embrace again,
Ask for the promise of many
more mornings like this.

Tightening of the embrace
conveys acceptance.
I am ecstatic,
I dance, I sing,
I explode in pleasures of many

I lift the morning,

spread it all over my life.

It spreads thin,
Which does not bother me.

This morning will
recreate/procreate itself,
There will be many more
mornings like this,
They will come, they will own,

They will complete me.

As the sphinx full of rarefied
I will explode yet again,
The world will have a feast of

And it will go on forever.

                    -- Ajay Rai

Sunken Lines
The Art & Soul of the Delaware Valley : Issue 5 Summer 2006

"The Dance of Upheaval"  by Ajay Rai

The act is over, the drama begins
All parts have changed their places
The roles, the dialogues, the dresses
They have all got themselves mixed
They are being churned out of shape
And are very still, waiting
For the dance of upheaval to begin

The acts of omission
The acts of commission
They are all making appearances
At formal intervals, making
Their existence known

There are some who see nothing
And sing the same horror songs
Letting the ghosts come, insisting
Them to the feast, serving their own selves
Not relishing, really
And hanging from the pendulum
They try to stop time
Not letting truth to mature
Not letting wisdom to prevail

The drama must go on, they say
And cover it up with words
Movements, resolutions, not realizing
The repetitions, the broken records
The needle stuck forever
Croaking the same song
Its music in disarray, and its words
Long dead, buried, without dignity
Even in their funeral

Somewhere, far away
Life recedes still deeper into oblivion
Deciding not to part
Keeping its treasures close to itself
Buried into its wombs, waiting for the real heir
Who would come some day, and claim
All as his, removing all the angularities
Making life live itself all over
The stream flowing
On its road to forever
And ever
                                                                         -- Ajay Rai

I was left alone very early in life and I have made the most of it. I was born in the city of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, a confluence of three very important rivers The Ganges, the Yamuna, and to others the unseen, mythical Saraswati that have ruled the soul of my country since ever. I have not been to the city of my birth for the last fifty years. But even now when I close my eyes I see the great, still waters in the evening, carrying for miles the music and rhythm of the boatman singing, the waters splashing on the high walls of the city fort. I graduated with honors in commerce and decided to explore life, ultimately finding an occupation I enjoyed hugely looking after orphans and destitute children.