In all colours.
Happy shapes yawning.
Mussed fashions pliant, ready.
Dark depths pretend untouchable
Darkness. Pretensions diminish.
Light! Blinding, giving, revealing, whole.
Come, flow uncharacteristically.
Girl. Do it, then.
Target the sky, or
Dig deep trenches underneath.
No glory or depth comes
‘Ere your garbage bin is well cleared.
Let it then be in a corner for
When your skyfall or mud needs containing.
Note to the reader: I asked you a question in my previous post, but neglected to open comments. I apologise. The error is corrected.
Mr. G got up to lie,
Walking, forgetting by and by.
“Fie!” cried his self in the mirror.
“Let go, let go, let go until you’re clearer.”
Mrs. G couldn’t wait to shoot,
She sparred like some dry dry fruit.
“Damn!” mumbled she all the while.
“Don’t know what to do with all this bile.”
So carried things for years and years,
They never got rid of the underlying fears.
She wanted him to show love, you see.
He tried to get her to stop spreading debris.
Never once did they remember to stop and look.
They might even take back all they’d forsook.
Simple it was, their salvation.
All it took was forsaking negation.
Then one day she saw it, the magic.
Pitter patter, patter pitter magic.
It rained heavily on her, the alchemy.
She ran to the ever-waiting balcony.
“YooHoo!” cried she out loud.
He responded not a little less proud.
“”YooHoo, I have a solution,” said he.
“So have I, my dear,” bellowed she.
Together they ran, she down, he up.
Together they met nestling the brimming cup.
It was in the old living room they sat.
Hand in hand, not once thinking of combat.
“I could see more of you,” she said.
“I could help you clean better,” he gently led.
“You say less, but do more,” encouraged she.
“You love so, and fill me up,” whispered he.
Now they watch TV together.
Gardening days, too, are so much better.
He runs errands, unseething.
She hums gently a merry greeting.
Their cat is suddenly enlivened.
Also sways the old tree, wizened.
Love could be missing sometimes.
But never do they cross fine lines.
The missing key was simple, they knew.
You must meet I, and I you.
Magics happen of all kinds.
As three simple words “I do care” chime chimes.
This one’s for you, Momina.
In the mist they flowed like river never-ending,
Hollyhocks swayed with their dance,
All of it rather too eager for some tending.
Their river of love, their upright hollyhocks.
Now seemly, now threatening crosstalks.
Somewhere in the internet they met.
Was it Facebook or LinkedIn? We’ll never know.
They have moved past such little details so easy to forget.
They do remember every conversation,
And tell me they even recall each duration.
Bike rides and unlaboured activity,
Hot nights and gaily coloured days,
They displayed many a mutually agreeable proclivity.
Love was an understood companion untended.
Unbound excitement had all niggles fended.
Years piled on years,
Eclectic spirits transformed into beers.
“Love me just so, lover,” cooed she as always.
Never once attempting to paraphrase.
Soon things began to grow around their hollyhocks tender.
Thorny roses and grassy mounds.
Walking around was a trial for sniping anger.
I remember they dove insanely.
In the deep, blue angry sea.
“Love me just so,” blabbered she,
Remembering to put on a bright smile.
He nodded in shaky affirmation, “Regardless, love me”.
Fights, boredom, truth spreading like vines.
Guilty outbursts became lifelines.
Just when they decided it, it is difficult to say,
She left, he wept a little.
Forty years is a long time to be preyed and prey.
Off they went with their raggedy rides,
One out there, the other over there. Escaping emotional landslides.
It has either been raining or drizzling since the last 3 days. As I live through the happiness and dreariness of routine, I realise new leaflings and buds and the sprouting from the fragile, upward-looking tree that I have become. Roots remain the same, regardless.
Here’s a chain of sorts of Elfchen I normally think of when weather is the dominant stimulus in my ever-stimulated spirit.
(The draft of this post was first written almost three weeks back. It has been awfully humid since. Hence the change in tone in the Elfchen after the first one!)
Waiting to embrace.
Become your own self.
Perhaps new awakening.
Continuation, but with purpose.
If you neglect
Their enormity and size.
The blue balloon.
It bursts after flight.
“Go on, then,” murmured she,
Setting her tea things and a little muted glee.
He picked up his cup,
Trembling with emotion.
Together they danced, suddenly wild and free.
Not a limb moved, no breath amiss,
They hopped in unison, in imaginary bliss.
Things would now be all right.
“We’ll even rent a mansion,” mumbled he.
She tapped her cheap china cup at this.
Off he went, all aglow with practiced hope.
She looked from the window, looking for support to grope.
“Tonight he’ll be back,” rejoiced she, unaccustomed.
“Leaving his rail job of ages, finally.”
“Lucky he grabbed the lottery bag when Jim fell out at the slope.”
PS: I didn’t know how it’d end, and it gave me the creeps when I finished it. I hope you aren’t untouched either. Sorry about the awkward last stanza. Want to sleep before it is time to get up again. Love to you, reader!
A couple of years back, I wrote a set of Etherees to express my feelings about death in old age and death in young age. Almost a year later, I wrote another set, a part of which is about the elderly seeking appreciation as (they think) they come closer to their end. A little over a year later, I am set to write another couple of Etherees on something that has been playing on my mind for some time. It is the impatience with which the young treat the elderly. As you grow older, you become less adept mentally and physically. Almost like a child in reverse. As I struggle with my expectations from my parents, whom I still see from the eyes of the little girl who thought her parents could accomplish everything, I am beginning to see how I might be a little too demanding.
Old bones ‘n’ limbs!
The youth calls out.
Scraps ‘f unwritten paper,
Rudderless with this imp breeze
They call inevitable season
Stack’d in neat piles after years ‘f habit.
Fie, there’s a mutinous bit askew. But shh!
Try to remember time is a circle.
That every step you take fills it.
I like your tread — undemanding.
Just walk with me, hold hands tight.
You see strange qualms approach?
You taught me calm, love.
You now, do.
Closed doors say, “Come, do.”
But just sit there, and breathe.
In, and out. Out, then in. Life.
Talk to the breeze hugging your skin.
Listen to Time travelling for you.
Rejoice! Relax. Be very you. Now. Here.
Yellow blanket cover.
Green leaves rise up.
Or, it could
Let me breathe new.
When you must
Look at me so.
On me and
My alarmed, surprised mind.
Or stay here.
Choose me, do. Please.
A tool unkind.
Why give with greed?
Our dratted chutzpah.
Bring it back now.
And dance, too.
See them pluck bacchanalia.
Erring gift then.
Ignorance it is now.
Again, and again.
And then laugh loud.
Without meaning to, I wrote exactly 10 Elfchen. I like this form of poetry for many reasons — it was designed to teach a language, its simplicity, its depth, its brevity, its wordiness. This is a chain of Elfchen I learnt to make from a German site on poetry. There is an ongoing Elfchen chain open to all (who can write in German), where you pick up from the last word and make one poem and submit. Nice, na?
Be well, stay well.
The chocolate’s thick, the cream heavy.
The breeze tastes of summer and embraces.
I’d go to water my jasmine, if there’d be guts in my belly.
For now, I dangle here in my mind, until it this rush replaces.
Rush, rush, rush.
Things go get whirled in a slush.
Where’s the time to breathe?
Who to sit with while I the claws sheathe?
Alarms ring, bells sing. We could walk yonder though our hearts sting.
For now, though, I let our hearts beat heavy with rush.
And dream about that summer and those embraces.
You came while I was just leaving.
You touched, and back I came.
I love this trick we’re weaving.
I could love it with no shame.
The crisis in the middle of life of finding out that you haven’t really found what you were meant to do has a distinct fascination for me. The idea of a person spending their life doing what they are either not good at or don’t want to do or both is, to me, nothing less than living in a gilded cage – the existence fetches money, but there is always that tricky risk of the bird flying away, and getting lost.
An Elfchen to remind that it is, after all, love that makes you do things and not do things.
Maths was never my strong point, so I do not know anything much about the Fibonacci series, except that nature has magically created this world, using it as a delectable condiment. Regardless, I am quite interested in trying out the Fibonacci poetry form, affectionately called the Fib. A Fib takes its form from the Fibonacci. To quote Shaping Words, from where I occasionally sift out my poetry inspirations: “The six line form is: 1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 – 8. The seven line form is 1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 – 8 – 13. It is an opended form, but the six line and seven line forms are the most frequent.”
November 23 was the Fibonacci day. I missed it, but anyhow, I am going to attempt a Fib today — with the seven line form. Before I begin, though, let me tell you that the numbers can be syllables, or words in your poem. I am choosing to include them as words today.
Wherefore its anticipation?
Time has ridden on slumber.
And on lead-legged bull of crafty defiance, too.
Each sinew is waking, memorising bygones, before an embrace makes amends. Onward, lover!
Though I had thought of not posting any poetry or literary material here, I am making an exception today for this double Etheree.
We fight with words.
We wilt with them.
You smile a wan smile,
I return it, pale.
You give me defences.
I give you more reasons.
Fight progresses everyday,
You kill, I kill more, more, more!
Our eyes smile with nothing at all.
Our lips speak with meaninglessness.
We are a showpiece out there, smiling.
Our hands meet to touch, they do nothing.
My mind reels with abuses I could’ve said.
You look away, and I know yours does, too.
The day was milky-white with all the fog.
Dia woke up, rubbing her eyes, shrugging off the mists around her wheel’s cog.
D.J. was still asleep next to her,
He had had one too many, and would wake up with head on a whir.
Oh, what a joyous day it promised to be, thought she.
The deodars were astir outside,
Each jostling with breezes unseen; each unwilling to shed pride.
She waddled to the pine-lined kitchen,
He’d like the coffee hot, it was a rule unwritten.
She put the water on the burner and looked at the list on the fridge door.
“To do,” it read, and rightly so, because to do was what she needed to do.
The first to do was the attic box blue.
It lay there since almost forever,
Forgotten, and, she was sure, in need of an organiser clever.
But first she must let out Constance, the family tortoise, for she enjoyed a waddle on the gravelly outside.
Constance was hiding ‘neath her shell, waiting to be picked because leading would be too slow.
Dia picked up the thirty-year old, and inspired her with early-morning coos to go, go, go.
D.J. was sleeping still. He woke up when the smell of coffee wafted out of the mug-cozy.
The coffee would be ready in two, Dia knew, and then she would go with hers to attic, feeling a little nosy.
She poured the coffees, more for him and less for her, and went to his bedside with his to keep it in waiting.
It wasn’t difficult to climb the attic stairs, they’d made sure.
Even though she was nearing seventy, she could even tackle the iron door.
The attic was one of her favourite places at home; such height, such recesses.
It was painted beige to her liking; he liked white — the colour of beige when it undresses.
There was no dust, no cobweb around, she got it cleaned every now and then.
The topmost thing in the box she’d painted blue was a bar of soap.
Lavender its smell, lavender its colour, lavender its foam must have been, as she tried to grope.
She looked for something to hold on to, to settle down and perhaps finally breathe.
For years had gone by, she realised, and she hadn’t been able to anything much inside, but seethe.
Memories hidden under routine came crashing, crushing her.
The day he’d told her nasty things — figments of his frustrated youth,
She’d told him she would never trust him again, the boorish uncouth.
His crime wasn’t much, he had just taken her for a ride on disrespect,
But she could not forgive him, not bear to let him think things were now perfect.
She couldn’t bear to exchange intimacy of a shared cleansing, even.
She had packed the dried lavender soap in a large envelop,
Put it up above, over their heads, waiting for some intimacy to develop.
Soon, they had begun to use shower gels fragrant,
And later, the mists had overtaken pleasure on bed, too, completely arrant.
Years packed each other, they had forgotten, but now she remembered she had never forgiven.
D.J. hadn’t been too guilt-ridden,
It all just happened, and was best away-bidden.
She, however, remembered feeling disillusioned,
And had promised him a parting of ways, for he was delusioned.
She hadn’t kept her promise, the feeling all forgotten with Constance’s speed.
Dia got up from her part-time rest on the attic floor.
She pulled herself down from the stairs ahead of the iron door.
The lavender bar of soap clutched in her hand, she entered the bedroom, suddenly able to stand.
She packed her bag with just few things, and a lot of emotions unplanned.
Later in the day, when D.J. got up to remove the mug-cozy, he saw a bar of soap next to the narcissus on his bedside.
Strange, he thought, Dia was never inappropriate with things.
His head was throbbing, though, he’d think about it later.
Picking up the just-right coffee, he walked to the room window.
Strange, he thought, the picket gate was open.
Maybe she’d gone for a rare walk. Or maybe she was picking the pine cone cores he so liked.
Still under illusion, he waddled along to the kitchen. It was noon. Perhaps she left a note somewhere.
No, she doesn’t do that — leave notes or leave. Where could she be? he thought as he looked at the now wilting narcissus.
And then he saw the soap. Memories hidden under routine came crashing, crushing him.
“I’ll leave one day, when I no longer have the strength to take in your bad memory,” she’d said.
She got up this morning, awash with broken dreams.
Letting her hair down was a choice she made yesterday.
Jabbing her mobile phone in the handbag, deliberating schemes.
“I must get over him now. Or, no! I must teach him a lesson.”
Six months ago was so fresh in her mind,
When she met him. And he met her eyes.
“They’re so beautiful, lady, they have mine twined,”
Said he with his brandy-warm lilt.
Waving down an auto, she smiled a wan smile.
How could she have not seen his snake-charm?
Getting all romantic and tipsy over lonely women was old style.
Much she had heard about this, much had she laughed.
Her marriage had lasted exactly six months, terrible.
It dissolved when her husband found it in him to hit;
To massacre love with a mere flower vase, and an ego unbearable.
That had been 5 years back; that was then, and this is pitiful now.
This man had swaggered to her everyday since he became her assistant.
Such finesse, such maturity he had on his tongue, in his eyes, and around his tush, too.
Many a night they had spent together in pubs, then he returned to his wife and kids – duty was persistent.
They never shared anything except mental stimulation, and titillation, of course.
And then came this fiend, this beautiful woman, but a bitch, too.
He swaggered to her everyday since she became his assistant.
“They’re so beautiful, lady, they have mine twined,” said he, looking at her eyes, and seeing a screw.
How pathetic is she to accept leftovers! How horrid her guile.
Maybe she’d ask him out for a drink tonight, she thought in the elevator.
For he was, after all, a ladies’ man.
He couldn’t possibly feel for this fiend the way he’d felt for her, he wasn’t a baiter!
She saw her reflection in the mirror, a pale copy of her youth.
Maybe she should get that nose fixed, or this butt.
“The coffee isn’t on the table, damn!” She muttered.
“Where’s this assistant of mine with his cheeky strut?”
“I’ll take Meryl’s offer and lunch with her after years, after all.”
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 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/
I’d been wanting to write a poem with my own rules, after Amy McLeod from Soul Dipper once suggested. I’d also been wanting to write something about the ocean, a being I miss more and more each day. Here’s an “aabb aabb cdcd” poem with crazy alliteration I wrote this afternoon as Bela slept.
The pictures are Rosie’s (from Wondering Rose) contribution — a little tweaked (sorry Rosie).
I feel like a self-proclaimed shayar (poet of the Urdu couplet, sher), who’s often laughed at, and dreaded, for insisting on showcasing his latest, often forgettable, creation. But, what the heck.
Found a tiny shell in your fringes, dear ocean.
If I shook it much, would it offer a loving potion?
Would it send me a faraway dream fulfilled,
On which I could this castle rebuild?
Lose us in your depths, dear sea.
Won’t you gather us — me and me — in harmony?
Pick us up, bit by bit in your bellows,
And blow your secret to us until the heart mellows.
Make me merry, I say oh dear cupful,
Were I to my own mutinous mind forsake.
Great giant, gracious counsel, give us a pull.
Let us, me and me, to our own selves awake.