An introduction to the poem by the poet

The poem presents a situation where all around the world people are doing one form or another of counting. Numbers have come into the foreground in our pandemic days. As I was becoming more and more aware of how random numbers began to affect our lives in unexpected ways, I decided to write a poem that would reflect both the despairing  and hopeful feelings oscillating within us with regards to these numbers.

While writing this poem I became very conscious of Tennyson’s melancholy and how his poems often moved from despair to that of faith and hope. I decided I would intersperse the stanzas in my poem with lines from various Tennyson poems to heighten the effect on the numbers and their connotations. I believe the intertextuality in the poems takes the poem to a new dimension.

Published by Kitaab, Quarantined Sonnets: Sex, money and Shakespeare by Tabish Khair is considered to be one of the finest works of literature to come out of the Covid 19 pandemic. This anthology of sonnets written by the noted poet, novelist and critic, contains powerfully original rewritings which combine humor and satire with acute social and political commentary.