Tag Archives: Poetry

Chain Links Chain

Light

Falls down,

Yellow blanket cover.

Green leaves rise up.

Bliss.

*

Bliss

Could last.

Or, it could

Let me breathe new.

Kindness.

*

Kindness

Isn’t needed

When you must

Look at me so.

Waste.

*

Waste

Your words

On me and

My alarmed, surprised mind.

Go.

*

Go

And fly.

Or stay here.

Choose me, do. Please.

Sacrifice.

*

Sacrifice

Is nonsense.

A tool unkind.

Why give with greed?

Pah.

*

Pah!

There goes

Our dratted chutzpah.

Bring it back now.

Party!

*

Party

Animals sing.

And dance, too.

See them pluck bacchanalia.

Ignorance.

*

Ignorance

Was your

Erring gift then.

Ignorance it is now.

Ennui.

*

Ennui.

Say it.

Again, and again.

And then laugh loud.

Release.

*

*

*

From Flickr - fa73
From Flickr – fa73

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?

Note: To know more about Elfchen, visit an old post of mine. Or, if you are a seeker of new places, visit this very interesting post here.

Be well, stay well.

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Nonsense

Mind

Your head.

It might shake

At the sight strange.

Big egos lugging us,

Showing TV to snare.

And us skipping tea we made.

Shake your head all you want, dear you.

The war’s on in here, you’re invited.

Just tweet me when you’re ready, I’ll tweet back.

image0052.jpg

Note: This form of poetry is called Etheree, and it moves me like no other form, I’ve realised. If you’d like to know what it is about, visit here.

Intoxicated.

Bela’s been very generous today. As well as Bhartan. She is lying here next to me after having stayed with Bhartan for most of this Sunday. I miss her when she’s not around, but also feel like a little kid wanting to quickly do things she normally doesn’t get to — take a long shower, paint toenails, make a nice cup of tea, put eye-drops in my aching eyes, write. Write.

Here’s another etheree. I wrote a couple a few weeks back — about the ocean and about my daughter.  I am going to try to write for them both today. I do not know how it’ll turn out. Let’s see.

*

*

Stop

My heart

For a bit.

Yes, you do that.

And then, you take it.

Your touch lifts it right up,

And then, ’tis eternity.

Forever intoxicating;

Your rush, and then your peace, your warm soul.

Take my heart, now. And keep it there, in you.

Images: Mogra/Bela flower from merinews.com, sea mist from macwallpapers.in. Pictures joined in a collage on picmonkey.com

Only disappointment

It is only disappointment. Alas, it dessicates the life in your spirit. If you let it, that is.

Thankfully, like many frustrating things, disappointment comes with a choice. You either let it devour you, or force it to lift you up on its shoulder and let you climb on to the other side of the seemingly insurmountable wall. Easy? Hardly. Continue reading Only disappointment

Only disappointment

It is only disappointment. Alas, it dessicates the life in your spirit. If you let it, that is.

Thankfully, like many frustrating things, disappointments come with a choice. You either let it devour you, or force it to lift you up on its shoulder and let you climb on to the other side of the seemingly insurmountable wall. Easy? Hardly.  Continue reading Only disappointment

Dreams come true

When work becomes drudgery, run.

Accepting this singular piece of advice from my own crazy intelligence, I’ve run away for a bit to take a refuge in poetry. (Never thought I’d say that). Here’s an etheree after a long time, dear reader.

*

*

*

*

Fill

My cup.

Sepia it be.

Make your soft folds

Colour me like light.

What is it you say now?

The light does fill that wrinkle?

And this little crevice here, too?

Ah so! I see, unblinded. You’ve worked.

My dear love, you’ve lightened my wrinkles so.

Nostalgia

This evening, when I found an old CD with photographs that got hidden in the cobwebs of time, I found nostalgia. The joys it brings, the memories it rummages are precious, don’t you think? The times in these pictures are all gone, the moments but a frail memory. Some people in them are gone, too. Just like that, with the next grain in the hourglass…

Allow me to indulge a little in nostalgia today with this etheree.

Continue reading Nostalgia

Winter’s Thaw

This post is the fruit of our combined efforts, my friend Charles’ and mine. The only two things we’d decided were — a rough plot, and that I would begin the story, whereas he’d finish it. The rest came and evolved on its own. His writing is in blue, while mine is in black. You can find the story here on his blog Mostly Bright Ideas as well.

I hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as we did writing it. And that you will let us know, too.

—————————————————————

The list seemed determined to disappear beyond where Jade’s fingers could reach, or her eyes could see.Where had she put it now? The heat and fatigue had been taking their toll on her, and the weary fan above, dripping air like it was doing the room a favor, was no help. She needed that slip of paper because it identified the things that were finished. And those that were still pending.

Spent with frustration, Jade looked around the room, now filled with strips of late evening light. The week had gone in a flash. She hadn’t given herself a chance to see the house, to allow its being to enter her weary heart and pluck at its strings. She didn’t have time for all that. But this room called to her as she plopped on the beige sofa. She looked at the yellowed wallpaper with the white roses. Her lips curled at the memory of her six-year-old fingers trying to pick them out, but never quite managing to. The net door was keen to sway with the elusive breeze; the mosquitoes were raring to come hunting with the setting sun. Her eyes moved to the painting hung next to her father’s antique binoculars. It was older than she was, a rushed watercolor impression of a distant sea, with words calligraphed on the left side of the canvas:

End
The winter
Before the birds
Hasten to distant skies
Hurry

Her mother had painted it long before she was born. She had never come to know whose words they were, but they had always reassured her. They seemed to be keen to make amends, to quickly heal wounds, to avoid losing some treasure.

The last month hadn’t been easy. Jade’s career as a graphic designer in a ruthlessly competitive city was promising to reach giddy heights, when it became clear that she couldn’t avoid going to her parents to help them move. They were both fifty by the time she, a child conceived as an afterthought, was born. Nancy and Blake were eighty-two now, and much as Jade liked to deny it, they needed her help in leaving this house, battered by time.

Jade spotted the list on top of the bookcase. She must have placed it there while trying to open the window, hoping to inject some spirit into the lifeless draft. She grabbed a chair and slid it across the room. It was a timid piece of furniture, made when people required less support. Not sure it would carry her weight, Jade put one foot into the center of the seat and pressed down with a gradual effort, rising into the warmer air near the ceiling. Careful to avoid the fan’s rotating blades, she reached for the list resting in a dusty nest on the top shelf of the bookcase. It was only then that she noticed the slim volume lying on its side, so nearly covered with forgotten years that its title was all but invisible. With the list in her left hand, she reached for the neglected book and turned it over, blowing the dust away.

If Only A Second Chance.”

It was an odd moment, an unseen push from the side that almost knocked Jade off the chair. She had read the book’s title in her head, but the words had been spoken by her mother’s voice. Turning to the right, she saw Nancy standing in the doorway, her tiny figure looking even smaller from the height of the chair.

Jade lowered herself to the floor.

“How did you know the title? It looks as though it’s been up there for years.”

“More than thirty,” said Nancy. “Look at the author’s name.”

Jade lowered herself to the floor.

 

Jade turned the book around to read its spine, because much of the cover had surrendered to mildew. She inhaled deeply to make up for the skipped heartbeat. And then, she read it again. This time slowly and out loud, “Sandra Kitchener.”

She placed the book on the tall side table, her anger evident only when she swatted at the palm fronds caressing the table top.

“Will she never go away?”

Jade really did want this question answered. It was high time. Sandra Kitchener had taken a lot away from her parents, and from her.

Nancy turned from Jade and chose to look at the lint on the sofa, picking at it with her trembling fingers. It wasn’t an easy question to answer.

“Well, I tried, didn’t I? Put the book up there, where we couldn’t see her name,” said Nancy, still unable to look at her daughter. “If only a second chance, indeed.”

“I suppose you did your best,” said Jade. “And he remembers nothing?”

“He didn’t. We don’t talk about it anymore. Haven’t. It’s been years.”

Jade sat on the old chair and stared at this collapsed core of a woman, this person who had given her life, and whose own life had once been so expansive. Almost all of her mother’s connections were severed, shriveled, lost, or forgotten. Her world had shrunk, so that it barely extended beyond the boundary of her tired body. She was like a stove, once pulsing with heat. These days, you had to put your hand almost right up to her skin in order to feel any warmth. She had told Jade the story, once, and answered a few questions on several occasions after that. But always, she cut the conversation short.

“He used to say that he never would have done it. That wasn’t him. Especially for a poet. He hated poetry. Always had.”

“Then where was he going that day?” asked Jade. “Where does he say he was going?”

“It was all erased. When he regained consciousness in the hospital, he had no idea where he was or how he’d gotten there.”

“What about the car? How did he explain that?”

“He didn’t explain it. He thought I’d been driving, that I was the one who’d hit the tree.”

“But he was going to find her. That’s what you said.”

“He read that book. Every page. He’d put it back on the shelf each time, but I’d check, and the slip of paper was always in a different place.”

“This hater of poetry.”

Nancy looked hard out the window. Even now, thirty years later, she seemed bewildered by the entire incident. “Turning fifty did something to him. Scared him. He said he was afraid he was running out of time. That he’d wasted his life.”

“But that isn’t the father I know.”

“No. In a funny way, the accident changed him. Made him more aware of himself. More sensitive. By the time you came along, he was a different person.”

“But the damage had been done.”

“He was going to leave me, Jade. He was going to find this woman he’d never met. A woman he said touched his soul with her words.”

“After fifteen years of being together with you, he decided that a faceless woman had touched his soul with poetry? Poetry, Mom?”

“It does have a way of getting inside the hardest of hearts. With time. And your father had a soft heart to begin with. You know that.”

Jade hadn’t come here to rake up old earth. She wanted her mother to know that she understood, but without trying too hard. The dam had burst, let out the emotions it had stored, and was ready to get back to work.

“I’m eighty-one now,” Nancy said. “Nothing much stays inside when you’re that age.” She had put her frail fingers on Jade’s arm, hoping that her daughter didn’t feel like she was out in the cold.

“I know,” said Jade. “Yet, a lot does. And you’re eighty-two.”

Jade looked her mother in the eye, and smiled. Then she said, “Come on, we have an old man to feed.”

They made cottage cheese pâtés and cherry tomato salad. Blake would be shuffling in any time now. He’d gone to the general store just across the road to get batteries for his flashlight, and some orange juice.

As if on cue, Blake stepped into the kitchen. “Hey, love,” he said, surprised, when Jade gave him a spontaneous hug. Nancy looked at the two of them and pretended not to see. She was setting the table. The blue-and-white striped tablecloth smelled of a distant sun. Blake poured juice for everyone. It had always been his little girl’s favorite with dinner. The glasses clinked, the cutlery felt safe and familiar. Everything was all right.

Jade rose earlier than usual the next morning to make sure she had done most of the work before Nancy woke up. She decided to begin with the huge tool wall Blake had maintained for years.

On a shelf nearest to the stairway, she found an old carton held together with twine. Inside was an envelope bearing their home address, and a postmark dated September 21, 1980. The sender was a J. Gilbert from Summer Wings Publishers.

“Dear Ms. Kitchener,” the letter began.

Later, while Blake fiddled with something in another room, Jade confronted her mother.

“I don’t even know where to start,” she said, holding the letter at arm’s length. “What’s this about?”

“It’s about poetry,” said Nancy. “That’s all. Something I once did. Something I was proud of, but at the same time, had to hide behind.”

“You never told anyone?”

“No one.”

“How could you stand it? That nobody knew?”

“I knew,” said Nancy.

“But this woman. Sandra Kitchener. You allowed me to despise her. And it was you all along?”

“I’ve accomplished three worthy goals in my life, Jade. I published a book of poetry. I raised a magnificent daughter. And I salvaged something that seemed intent on destroying itself. As far as I’m concerned, everything else is just details.”

Jade moved to put her arms around her mother, when Blake appeared in the doorway. He was holding the watercolor painting of the sea.

“Would you like to keep this, Jade?” he said. “It has that poem scrawled on it, which I’ve never quite understood. But the picture is nice. We picked it up many years ago, at a flea market, I think.”

Blake set the painting on the floor. Then he looked around for a vase in which to place the white roses he had just picked for his wife.

——————————————–

The poem in this story is called an Elfchen. It is a pedagogic trick to make learners of German practise using the words to make interesting poetry. The words in it are always eleven — hence the name (The Little Eleven), and are always written in this layout — 1-2-3-4-1. The first line is supposed to be the prompt from which the poetry will originate. The last word will sum the conclusion of the poetry.

Dismissed too soon

Years ago, I read a tale of an old man, who gave his sons a lesson of a lifetime — the lesson of the four seasons. He sent out his four sons to look at the same pear tree in different seasons. Needless to say, they all had a different report to give. One talked of the promise of spring, the other the devastation of winter, yet another the abundance of autumn and the youngest spoke of the newness of summer. “It is but vital for you to see, notice, acknowledge and appreciate a being in all its four seasons,” advised their wise father.

Recently, when I related this story to a friend — the context was the obvious, common difference in the ways deaths of people in their spring and that of people in their winter are treated. There is natural despair at an untimely death, the death of a young, blossoming person and then there is sometimes an almost eager, relieved goodbye to an old, ailing one — he asked me to write an etheree on it. I have written two. As if that suffices.

Courtesy http://www.oriontrail.deviantart.com

So

Leafless.

‘Twas my tree.

Winter iced it.

I forsake it, though.

For I smell nothingness.

~

‘Tis Spring. There, my blossom tree.

Life ate it to death with malice.

Tears are not enough for the loss.

For life’s departed into nothingness.

 ~ ~ ~ ~

Courtesy http://www.redbubble.com

~ ~ ~ ~

Leaves and blossoms gently nurse springtime fruits.

Life’s giving life — unsated, joyous.

Ah, the lovesome delights of spring!

Days perfume eternities.

~

White lights come in, laming

Eternity so!

Disown fruits now?

 No. Look, life

Outlives

Frost.

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An etheree comprises of 10 lines. It begins with a one syllable line, increasing one syllable per line until the last line of ten syllables. The syllable count of the entire poem is 55. The syllabic structure, therefore, is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, and is unmetered and unrhymed.