We live in a place where summer melts into either more-summer or less-summer. In a place like this, when winter begins to approach, it is forgivable to want to celebrate your soul out. Especially when the gorgeous wintery mornings last only a few hours before melting into more, or less summer. The air is remarkably ‘clear’, there’s a very slight nip in the air. Hindi has a term for it, which will lose its beauty once translated — gulaabi thand. Terms like ‘rosy winter’ come close, but not quite.
Gulaabi thand steps into my routine gently; its footsteps are welcome because of the sehnsucht — yearning — it creates in me. I don’t know what the yearning is for, but it is there. Maybe it is for some more. Or some less? Just like the colours at this time of the year here — some are less, some more.
Typical of me to not talk of what I intend to talk of. This post was meant to be a collection of Elfchen, an interesting form of ‘poetry’, which comes to my mind only when there is a certain yearning. The brevity of it makes the less more, and yet leaves a certain longing for even more. Let me first explain what Elfchen are about.
The Little Eleven, or the Elevenkins
The poem has eleven words, as the German word Elfchen suggests. Elf means eleven, and the suffix ‘chen’ is rather like the ‘kins’ of English. For instance, if I found you really tiny and cuddly, I’d have called you dear readerkins. No? Hell, no! But my feeble example should at least tell you two things — Elfchen are short, and have eleven words.
Elfchen were designed to teach primary school children the art of using words. Adults may want to compose them to play around with words. What fun life offers at every age!
The format is:
where each vertical line represents a word. Every line has a ‘purpose’ designated to it, and may differ from teacher to teacher, eager poet to eager poet. I usually take the first line as a noun, verb or adjective, the second for what I think it does, the third for what or where it is, the fourth for my impression of it, and the last is always the same for everyone — the final summary of the entire noun — the feeling it evokes.
I’ve been wanting to write Elfchen ever since the gulaabi thand has been tinkling around me. Since it is quite easy to pick colours (the theme I often gave my students to write these with), and write about them, I am choosing five colours to sate my desire. And make my weekly post. Have a blissful time, if you will. Here, the duties assigned to the middle lines are different:
1 – Name of the colour
2 – The feeling it evokes
3 – What it reminds me of
4 – What it makes me want to do
5 – The sum of the entire process of feeling (phew)
Of forgotten loves,
Building now on it.
Breaking worthless shackles,
Bathe in my own light.
Place to rest,
And soar maturer skies.
Peace, mocking life.
Pick up a paintbrush!
Silly, naive beauty,
Living sunny side up.
Well, that’s it, then. Would you care to try a few of your own? Tell me, if you will.
Note: The featured image for this post’s been taken from http://kurungabaa.net/2009/08/23/call-for-submissions-on-longing/