Patel's preoccupation is with the human body, which he views with objectivity, bemusement, and, at times, exasperation. ‘I am continuum with the century's skin’, he writes, and his poems explore both the body's and the world's vulnerability and resilience. Like Daruwalla and Jussawalla , Gieve Patel is a Parsi. This fact, together with the wryness and detachment of much of his work, is reflected in the title of one of his best-known poems, ‘The Ambiguous Fate of Gieve Patel, He Being Neither Muslim Nor Hindu in India’.
Patel's second collection of poems, How Do You Withstand, Body (Bombay, 1976 ), was followed by Mirrored, Mirroring (Madras, 1991 ).