Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Storming off


 
 
Shut the door gently behind you
as you leave, I shall keep
wicks and eyebrows trimmed
and let them speak
for themselves.  The year froths
sour and green,
it has nowhere to go
except where it’s been.
Except where it’s been.

 

Pluck me a few of my minds
with your own handsome hook
out of carefully thinned air
come back to a thickened loving
smoked into my hair.
Love is still tart and green
and it’s got everywhere to go
except where it’s been.
Except where it’s been.



Shared at dVerse, with wishes for all those who are braving storms tonight to come through them safe.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Looking over my shoulder and... there's no-one there!


Ramya, one of my blogger friends who blogs over at Chittrana, has tagged me for the Kreativ award.  And it totally floors me when anyone does that.  Thank you, Ramya!  I am so flattered and awed.  I keep looking over my shoulder to check if there’s anyone behind me, but nope, it’s me and my blog she’s waving at and that just feels so great.  She has such a passionate yet humorous voice, she deals with serious issues like gender discrimination and the environment with such a light, fresh but sincere and thought-provoking touch that it‘s just amazing. 

The only problem is that most bloggers I know are so far ahead of me on the blogging experience curve that they already have all the awards, and even if they don’t have this particular one, I can’t get up nerve enough to tag them.  Their blogs are so technically perfect, let alone their writing skills, that I feel too awkward and clueless to leave a comment sometimes. So I am just going to complete the task she has set me for the time being. 
 
 

 

 I.

solitaire games
alone in the top branch
of the afternoon
poets, people, give them names
of flowers: here a daisy, there an amaranth
and right over there? may be a cardoon

 

and you my love, a complex hybrid
sometimes poppy, sometimes orchid
the seeds of addiction held close
within your petals
you unaffected, me the addict
but when the shadows
of your shoots are still
after the breeze is through
ruffling tendrils
they are enigmatic, and I can’t tell
their exact shapes, I don’t know
what I should call you.

 

II.
 
 

don’t look now
don’t look for sense
in everything
trickling top down
wild-eyed, wide-open, intense
meanings

 

 

This is all that we leave behind –
you and I - lost nuances of voices, the hard rinds
of existence, an old daisy chain
dried up discards
shut faces in doorways that resigned
fingers open and inside
there are just boxes, marbles, a few
pressed flowers, a bit of outdated fabric
too pretty to throw away
too frayed to use, pickled tamarind of acid
sweetness, smooth glass jars, the cook long gone.
And all preserves are exhausted soon
just the scraped out jars remain.

 

Now it only remains to devise a technique to pass on the award.  Which is for me to ask you, if you are reading this and know someone who should be tagged, then please leave me a  comment with the relevant links here, and it will be my pleasure to do the needful.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


The morning comes in with
its melancholy mist
wrapped tight about it
a slightly misshapen pea in its pod

 

someone’s going early, the others late
a word, phrase, a flake
lodged under my nail
a sunsliver flung up and caught

 

between the teeth
of time, someone leaves
nothing’s spoken, the door creaks
closed but can’t fully shut, the frame’s warped.

 

a quote ‘s been left, a line
from a verse, snagged outside
the wall, it’s not a good sign
and true enough, the one who first wrote it, is lost.




Yesterday was the death anniversary of one of the great Bengali poets, Jibanananda Das. 

And this morning I woke up to the news of Sunil Gangopadhyay's death, an iconic personality of Bengali contemporary literature, revered in India and Bangladesh.  A favourite line from his poetry roughly translates - only for poetry have I sneered at immortality.  I grew up reading his poetry and fiction, and I know there is much to celebrate, he has left behind a huge body of work, but right now all I can be is sad.








Shared @ dVerse 

 

 

 

Friday, 19 October 2012

RFW Halloween House of Horrors : Finding Ngozi






I.

 

I’ve come back to the childhood town
the hills and streams much the same
but all roads wider, homes pulled down
a landmark known by a different name

 

the school gone now, swank and swell
swallowing up the wide tag field
the ravenous maw of a starred hotel
where high once dark falcons wheeled

 

my old home razed and in its stead
a concrete chrome monstrous block
rears up on its haunch, its angry head
with red glass eyes scares passing folk

 

and  I know it’s an absurd wish
that wants to keep them standing still;
things move on, beyond foolish
to step back over an old doorsill.

 

But even so  I trudge new lanes
raw and red, to find old friends
and a love lost, but for all my pains
each road leads to the emptiest end.

 

I come back at the close of day
hopes rise and fall, and my heart grieves
moving on is moving away
no trace remains of the one who leaves.

 

Oh, I know it’s a risky wish
that wants to keep things standing still;
the world goes on, beyond foolish
to yearn for youthful stream and hill.

 

II.

 

She was a girl of a hundred braids
skin the satin of savannah nights
her onyx brows curved sharp blades
her fingers frisky firefly lights,

 

her lips the perfume of a vineyard
where purple grapes press heavy and low;
and I was a lad, handsome and hard
but soft enough to love her so.

 

We met where the secret twilight wanes,
we laughed and loved down the sunlit stream,
we wept the tears of the ancient rains,
then kissed to life a splintered dream.

 

All dreams go back from where they hail
and she too one day said goodbye;
but she carved us both in perfect detail,
with her in my arms to remember love by;

 

she said her gift was for me alone,
I could not take it back with me,
our secret love must not be shown,
and there was no way but to agree.

 

We walked back up the hardstone hill
the hollow fig tree stooped grey and wept
and took the dolls; the doves went still;
the sun spat blood; and then we left.

 

Oh I know it’s a reckless wish
to keep all things from moving on;
the world must spin, beyond foolish
to yearn for a lost love now long gone.

 

III.

 

So my quest ends? no path or park
no town lane will lead me clear?
where will I find my princess dark?
and I have just one more night here.

 

If I can’t find her then my goal
has to be the stooped grey fig
and the dolls, if I find them whole -
a small keepsake and nothing big.

 

Heart-sore, forlorn, never more alone
I start for the place where we dreamt
that small stream, hill of hardstone
the old fig tree with its hair unkempt.

 

The light fades as I slowly walk
the sky wears the merest wash
the track narrows, birds roost in flocks
their song stilled to a complete hush;

 

and it’s dark before too long,
no moon comes out to light the road;
the cicadas fine tune their song
disturbed sometimes by a courting toad.

 

The shapes of distant hill and woods
seem the same, but the stars are strange
and thin their light and not so good
the air, it's full of wings and change.

 

Oh I know it’s an unwise wish
that wants to keep the same outlines;
all hills erode, beyond foolish
to go on a quest for old love signs.

 


IV

 

The dog in the sky bays and sends
a scream of wind that flays me cold;
the cicada song abruptly ends
and toad tunes too are quickly recalled.

 

Something like sap warm as blood
drip-drips soft menacing in the dark
and is sucked down by the silky mud
a firefly lights an eerie spark

 

and puts it out as soon as it’s lit
as if its fearful of its own light
moth wings brush past, quietly flit
away into an endless night.

 

A rustle of leaves brings me up short
and a feline cry torn into a cough
make me rethink if I ought
to stop this quest for a fig and love.

 

The tree looms up dark grey and grim
even more stooped with its years
and I am running, my heart brims
with a strange mix of love and fear -

 

the hole yawns wide like a door to death
and its deep darkness strikes me blind
I lift my torch and hold my breath,
hope I’ll get what I’ve come to find.

 

Oh I know it’s a foolhardy wish
that thrusts its hand into the dark;
all trees wither, beyond foolish
to look for signs in the hollows of bark.

 

V.

 

A child can stand it’s that big
and wide enough to swivel round
the torchlight shows heaped leaves and twigs
layered decay on the ground.

 

I look long into the abyss
then dig frenzied into the hole
and some time later the trowel hits
something solid and I know it’s a doll.

 

I fling the tool away from me
and kneel and claw at the soft muck
and soon enough the face is free
but the rest of the carving’s firmly stuck,

 

and the figure is still as perfect
as the day she gave it to me;
the years have had no effect
on the head that’s plain to see.

 

It comes free with a final pull
the man is me, and in his palm
is a scaled down white human skull!
the rest of the skeleton’s in his arms!

 

Outside in the night a raven calls
as I reel back shocked and helpless,
then I and tree and doll all fall
headlong into deepest darkness.

 

Oh I know it’s a risky wish
to want an end to every quest;
all things wither, and tales finish
love and yearning’s laid to rest.

 

 

WC – 1000
FCA



This work is wholly imaginary, any resemblance to any persons living, or...dead....is purely a coincidence...



Read about the HoH challenge, and do join in.  Wishing everyone a spooky Halloween!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Self-azured




The loudest and largest key
represents only a tiny blank
a pindroplet of silence between
words, I noticed that of course
but that’s not what I wanted to write
I wanted to look up at the sky
and write the words floating up
on double-felixed balloons to the edge
and brought to your attention
sky-word self-azured bleautiful, less shrill
than electrisse and turquoid
much more tranquil than cobolt

 

Don’t you look at my nails
which could turn nymphatic half-moons
at any given moment,
but I use them badly, hammering
at small black keys which sometimes
opens locks and at others clicks them closed

 

I thought when you incise
my skin there’d be words
and little blanks flowing out
in some dashed Morseful code
rising to the occasional edge
scrabbling tiles of ivory yinyang
but you showed me that,
pffft stupid, it’s only blood
and after it's stopped
a small cheeky tongue,
a see-through ooze of sline;
and that too is fine.



Shared with poets on OpenLinkNight @ dVerse

Friday, 12 October 2012

Meeting Englyn Milwr


Seven of them to each line?
that’s cutting it just too fine
not englyn, but I’m tryin’!
 
Not scared of rhymes, it’s the form
I know I’d write up a storm
if they waived that seven norm
 
All my lines turn six or eight!
not one will capitulate,
can neither pare nor inflate
 
All my lines are eight or six
Oh, why are the forms so strict?
do rules and poetry mix?
 
I’ve battled into the night
but it’s an unequal fight
and syllables have their rights
 
so this time I’m out, not in
but pleased to meet the englyn.

 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Seashell





Read the verse, a seashell
held close to the ear
the dim roar of a muffled ocean
and then it’s all here
on its shore, the doorbell
rings, recedes and disappears
and a foghorn trails its vessel
somewhere far over the horizon.








 

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Mary Jane, Narcissa, Jasmine and Chicken Liver


 
 
Our shoes identical mary janes
hers with a discreet trim around the sole
mine has nothing, just tan and plain
both crunching evenly on the sands
as she takes me home, a shared paper cone
of chickpeas passed between our hands

 

I’m a bit tired of Lady Macbeth
Be glad, by this time next year
we’ll be struggling with the context
and complexities of Raja Lear, best
not complain. I know, but I’ll still be happier
when I am finally done with that Friday test.

 

Ammi we’re home. Who’s with you?
Hello Aunt.  Oh I see, hello dear,  do
make yourself comfortable wafts
from the kitchen with blood and vinegar
freshly slaughtered chicken liver
cumin sizzling in oil, tossed

 

and served on a bed of sliced onion,
limes in small bowls, jasmine
white rice and singles of hot flatbread
cooked and immediately passed in
eat it warm, daughters, bread stiffens
if you let it cool.  We certainly break

 

more than bread together, we scoop rice grains
with our fingers, we scoop narrow paths in the sahel
hazed with the harmattan; we share the smells
of school mornings, both our mothers’ kitchens,
we are told not to be wasteful with food
we don’t think to apply the lesson to childhood.




Linked to Poetics @ dVerse where everyone is talking about food

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Romantic Friday Writers Challenge 46 : Birthday Madness


Warmest birthday wishes to the creators of RFW, Denise Covey and Donna Hole.  It’s time for the fun RFW Challenge, and this time it celebrates the joint October birthdays of the hosts.

The fortnightly challenge at RFW is held every alternate Friday. Membership is not mandatory for participation, so if you like writing, then do go over and see if you want to give it a try.  Go over anyway, because there are some amazing stories and poems linked there, and reading them always gives the day a little lift.

Here is my entry for the challenge:

The reams of formalities, the microbial security scanning, all the endless paraphernalia over finally, Tony walks briskly into the departure lounge.  It is already filling up with waiting passengers, empty seats are few.  It hits him again with fresh force, he really is on his way to meet Larissa!  This journey is a first for him in many ways.

He finds a seat and then texts her, “On my way!”

She instantly replies, ”Can’t wait!” 

He is amazed by this coincidence too, she awake across the vast distance that separates them, at precisely this hour.  He wonders how time plays out where she is.

The trip has come about randomly.  He has never been into social networking.  It was meant to be a light-hearted lark, he got into cPlanext solely to enter the contest, never thinking that he’ll actually win it.  He’d send off his answers; maybe make some new contacts; try this virtual social platform that’s become the rage.  That’s it. 

But it so happened that was not it.  He sent off the quiz and forgot it.  And then he got a request from Larissa.  From the first, he felt such a deep sense of connection.  Which he later learnt was mutual. 

She put it in her usual quaint way, “Like a clamshell finding its other half finally!” 

She always makes an effort to communicate in ways he can relate, in terms taken from his own seaside milieu. Unlike him, she has travelled widely, even been to his part of the planet.

She was the first person he spoke to when he learnt he’d won.   One unrestricted return trip, anywhere, within the year 3024.

She’d responded joyously, ”Come for my birthday.  It will be a grand celebration, the best gift. Please, please come.”

So here he is, a little nervous yet heady, indulging in a bit of birthday madness.  He’s made the gift himself, each glass bead swirled with a different colour at its centre, seventeen beads for the seventeen known planets, threaded into a sparkling bracelet.  He feels a little anxious now thinking of it.  Glass making is not a hobby she is likely familiar with, glass itself has died out centuries ago, he’s among the few trying to revive an ancient artform.

The PA system crackles,”Flight AS 9061 to Mars is now ready for boarding.  Passengers are requested....”

He walks out eagerly to the spacebridge.

WC-399
FCA