Crossing The Threshold – A Poem


 

 

in the half light of dawn the breeze-

laden with the scent of mango blossom-

drifts in from the courtyard,

calling her thoughts to the waiting river;

quietly she leaves her bed,

gathers her unkempt hair in a loose bun

then pauses for a moment,

listens to her husband’s measured breathing,

then silently tiptoes out,

tucking in the corner of her sari at the waist

she hastily collects the fallen Parijatak in her pallu

placing a few in her hair at the same time,

the red from their stalks rising to her cheeks;

beside the well the empty pitchers wait,

nearby the battered clay stove

recalls her own scars,

for a split second she wavers, then crosses

the threshold, her heart frantic with haste,

leaving behind the walls

that had risen around her brick by brick;

the river hears her hurried footsteps 

with rapt attention, at its bend

under the shade of the mangroves,

a boat and a promise patiently wait

ready to carry her away.

 

Advertisements

New Poem – The Convergence


she stands among the ancient trees,

hair fluttering protestingly over her full breasts,

strings of beads resting around her neck,

draped in red cotton her dark skin glistening in sweat,

her kohl eyes like fiery embers,

a sliver of sun on her forehead,

behind her, smeared in symbolic vermilion,

the Goddess sits cross-legged,

leaning against the matted roots of a tree,

defiant, wise, independent,

the power stemming from her womb,

non-conformist, non-submissive.

from a quiet corner I watch them,

fierce, unapologetic; both born of the soil,

somewhere beyond the hills a river turns red,

an embodiment of the eternal truth –

sa’ham asmi

the Aashad clouds gather

beating their ancient drums

as the earth receives its first rain

New Poem


This poem was first published in Peacock Journal, an excellent journal edited by W.F.Lantry (award winning poet and writer) and his team.

Illusions

I read, I read and I read
until there is nothing more to read
except the newspapers
then I take to the windows
begin to fill my empty hours
gazing into time
that seldom seems to move
on either side of the frame
on the wall my calendar changes
seasons change… people change
but the stillness remains
the silence within me remains
untouched… unchanging

at night the walls become a
presence
and then become walls again
as they merge into each other
to leave only an expanse of black
and then the light
that always hides at the edges
rises swiftly and crumbles my illusion

New Poem – Home


This poem was first published in Peacock Journal   edited by W.F. Lantry and his team. Do browse the journal for some excellent work.

Home

the shadow of the Oak trees
lies heavy on the grass below
no life stirs in the green expanse
that stretches until it meets the sky
with its cargo of clouds

along the distant ridge of hills
dust rises from a winding road
that looks lazily down upon
the slowly moving river
that crosses the land

along that road is our house
the house we loved and shared
until the day we drifted apart
now that lonely house waits
hoping again to become a home

Travel Poem – Memory 2


This poem was first published in Cafe Dissensus blog as part of two travel memories.

 

the stone steps lead to a clearing

on the slope of the mountain
but today I’m taking a trail into the unknown,
I listen to the shifting silences of the trees,
the leaves spiral down and dance
to an imaginary music along the pathway,
they cling to my worn sneakers,
my gaze follows two pairs of wings
chasing each other in the clear blue sky
as I shift the weight of the backpack
onto the other shoulder, I pause
between Cedars and Oaks
taking in the shifting rhythms of the landscape,
the path gently passes through the forest, then dips,
the sound of falling water only makes the silence apparent,
here,  there is no such thing as time,
I inhale the hot fragrance of the day
and share my breath with you,
in your mind I may be only a memory,
in my mind, you are a pause between my thoughts

 

Poem – At The River Ganges


First published in Learning & Creativity magazine in August 2015.

 

Time stands still on the stone steps by the river;
a silhouette takes a dip and emerges from its waters,
hands folded in obeisance to the rising sun.
A moment of transition from mundane to divine.
A marigold garland drifts by with ash in a plastic bag.

With a conch’s cry, the temple city quivers to life,
a flower boy approaches and with him a frail form
in white, a prayer basket trembling in her hands.
Oblivious, she faces the river, chants mantras,
lights the flower lamp and sets it afloat.

A song comes as a boatman begins his day.
The sun rises from the saffron tinted waters,
lifting the veil from Shiva’s abode. The air thickens
with smoke from funeral pyres and cooking fires,
the skyline of soot-darkened temples their backdrop.

In the sacred city of Varanasi a union of opposites—
suffering and liberty, birth and death, sacred rituals
and the unfolding of daily life. I walk the ghats,
that are alive with rhythmic sounds of cleansing
as washer men thrash laundry against stone slabs.

A holy man—his body smeared with ash—
lifts his hands above his head in prayer,
another, with Shiva-like dreadlocks,
sits in deep meditation at the sunken temple.
The air echoes with the clamour of temple bells.

Pigeons take flight. I sit beneath a canopy
and watch the river of life gasp for breath
at the confluence of the city of light and death.

Delhi Poems – 1. Lodi Garden


The fringes of the day lingered
on the rampart of Sikander Lodhi’s tomb,
moving on to the walls
that spanned out in a series of arches and columns
that stood like trees of life
supporting what remained of that glorious past.
Patches of light played hide and seek
on the buildings as the sun sought its path
among the silhouettes frozen in time.
I took the nearest path, shaded by arched trees,
the crowd was sparse, but love was everywhere—
on the rocks, behind the trees,
on the steps of the mausoleums,
over the eight-pier bridge,
in quiet corners screened by bamboos,
it even sprawled across the sloppy lawns
oblivious to the scattered graves,
or the cacophonous roosting birds.
Love doesn’t care about the mundane,
nor does the dust of the ancient bones
of dynasties that shaped Delhi.
I passed laughing children as
they teased ducks by the pond
and sat, eyes half closed against the sun,
a blade of grass between my teeth
watching the empty sky
from the shade of a blossoming Kachnar tree,
The breeze stirred the leaves,
their shadows moved,
a pair of cooing doves paused to listen
to rustling whispers
from the parapets dark birds flew like fragments
of charred paper rising from the fire,
a kite watched from the lonely turret.
Leaving the comfort of shadow play
I take the familiar path to reality,
harsh headlights, groping hands,
catcalls and swearing,
dust and fumes choking the city lungs,
the green grass merging into concrete,
the dying river
and night, now creeping across the sky
hiding the many sins of a city
more ruinous than the ruins I left behind.

This poem is part of the series of poems about Delhi that I am doing. It was first published in The Criterion – An international Journal In English’s Vol 7 .  Check out the journal for literary essays, poetry, fiction etc from world over.

New Poem – Wraith


Every year when the veil thins

and the two worlds merge as one,

she tiptoes across the bare fields

under the cold gray skies

wearing a cloak of autumn leaves,

stops at an abandoned cemetery

at the riverside,

rushes past the creaky gate,

and the moonlit graves,

 kneels beside a nameless stone

 sweeps it clean with her gentle hands

and  lays a clumsy bouquet of

wayside beauties gathered on the way,

She then lights a votive candle and spreads

a feast for two; mulled wine, fruits, nuts, berries,

and a loaf of rye bread.

 

Shadowless like silence

she sits under the wiccan moon

clasping the little life that came too swiftly

and went too soon.

 

All through the Samhain night

you can hear her lament with a sorrowful heart

“Why O why they buried us

so far apart”

The Ghosts Of War – A Poem


Some days back  James had posted a wonderful “little piece” Ghost 1 on Facebook thanks to Edouard Beau, whose
photographs of Iraq gave  the words to two poems from two different perspectives. Here is my take on the Photograph.

I see him standing there,
a body trapped in soul,
watching the remnant of
what was our home.
They had found him slumped
near the ruins of a bombed
mosque, his spectacles propped
awkwardly to the bridge of his
broken nose, his forearms
shattered, his white robe mud
caked and ragged. They had
dumped him into a two-wheeled
cart and dragged to where he
now stands in the picture that
came today from a stranger
with a scribble at the back,
“your father.”
A reminder of the day the city
smoldered under clouds of dust
and smoke, deafened by the sirens
and the wails of women and children.
The day I and my mother, forced
by my father, braved the blood-stained
road to another land, never to return.

You and Me – The Unsigned Poem


CONCESSION

I painted myself

in a corner of your room

I painted myself in invisible ink

so you don’t know I am there

watching you secretly

sometimes you stop

whatever you are doing

and look in my direction

and I really have to keep my heart still

lest you recognize the familiar beat

That afternoon

when the sun was concentrated

in a shaft of light

that fell on the corner

where I stood

you, fresh from the shower,

had come and stood in the pool of light

that had gathered at my feet

looked at me with a strange light

in your eyes

and slowly traced your finger

over my invisible form

lingering over my lips

then

at the base of my throat

and further down

my heart beating wildly

under the tip of your finger

for a moment I had thought

the heat from your naked body

would end my little secret

and bring me to life

but

you turned got dressed

and went without a glance

since then I am trapped

in my own image

invisible to you

invisible to me

painted

in one corner of your life

starved for attention.

(First published on Memoirs Of A Homemaker)