The quality of dissent

Pic courtesy iPleaders

Dissent was, in most democracies,
fashionable once upon a time
bra-burning, banners-buntings
anti war sentiments and activism
were so common then
it was a matter of pride
to raise voice against the establishment
the establishment though trenchant
did agree to parleys and dialogue

Dissent was the voice of angry young people
defying traditions was considered dissent
so was underage driving, drinking and drugs
sex, smoking and rock and roll
you could still not talk back to your parents

Dissent is not seen in democracies now
we happily elect autocrats to decide our destiny
we lap up the drivel doled out daily
we fawn all over pint sized men with giant sized egos
questioning not their actions
nor protesting against rampant corruption
violation of human rights or pollution

Dissent is dying a slow death
we are busy swiping left or swiping right
sexting, graming, and tik-toking
we turn toxic trolls on twitter
and feel our activism is done for the day
binge-watching shows, we find politics too plebeian
posturing to be woke, we go to strange lengths (and depths too)

Dissent lengthens our spine
sadly we have exchanged it for lily-liver
dissent can be shown by not acquiescing
or by being silent
but sometimes dissent deserves drum rolls
and a vociferous voice
smearing bright colours on a dull canvas
is also dissent

dissent is not following rules
or following rules when not expected
being a round peg in a square hole
being cloyingly sweet instead of scathingly honest
holding on to your pen despite lack of ink
dissent is sometimes just being you.

Written for dVerse poetics. Today’s host, Kim, has asked us to emulate Australian poet, Les Murray’s excellent poem, The Quality of Sprawl.


Your love

The big wheel by Marc Chagall

You spin grandiose turmeric-indigo dreams
encompassing the eiffel and the eye

you paint the skies vivid lettuce green
cabbage clouds melt in the summer heat

you weave whimsical seasons of love
rescuing my heart from the cycles of highs and lows

Over the town by Marc Chagall

you sweep me off my high-heeled shoes
carrying me over the hills and the dingle

you build a magnificent castle of passion
leaving behind mundane grey and red dwellings

you make love soar, defy gravity
kite-like we float, not as two, but as one.

Written for David’s W3 for POW Melissa’s ekphrastic prompt based on the above two paintings. Also for Eugi’s moonwashed weekly prompt and Kerfe’s random word generator.

Grumbling gale

Pic courtesy Wallpaper Flare

The carping wind moaned on and on
badgering the beetle brown old bungalow
rattling its ratty-tatty rear bay windows
it whooshed then wailed then whined
scaring the decaying soffit into submission
danced like dervish amongst the debris
then losing steam, skulked
in a corner of the crumbling cellar.

Written for dVerse poetics. Today’s host, Sarah wants us to have fun with animal verbs.

Notes of sand (a quadrille)

The susurration of sea-waves on the shore
leaves the sand salty, sulphury and citrusy
the sun gilds the grains in glittering golden glow
moonlight; sapphire-silvery, sweet
imbues the beach with shimmery, pearlescence
but it is the stardust that imparts
that pepperiness to the sand.

Written for Sadje’s wdys and dVerse quadrille Monday. Today I am the host and we have to write a poem if exactly 44 words including the word pepper or any form of it.

Perfecting the drape

“Portrait of Mary Alice Eckbo” painted in 1914: artist Thorvald Hellesen (1888 – 1937)

Nimble fingers I watched with awe
pleating the saree expertly
with incredulity I saw
six yards draped so elegantly.

Mostly busy, never frazzled
nimble fingers I watched with awe
moving quickly they did dazzle
your draping always without flaw.

Trying to pleat, a blank I draw
was frustrated, then I recalled
how nimble fingers had me in awe
the movement that had me in thrall

I had practiced without a pause
now am at ease, no longer raw
saree is my first choice because
nimble fingers I’d watched with awe.

Written for dVerse poetics and poetry form. On Tuesday for poetics, Lillian our host had asked us to create a poem motivated by one of the five portraits she shared by artist Hellesen.

Today our host, Grace, is encouraging us to try the form quatern! I have combined both the prompts. If you look at the picture below, you would know why the painting above inspired me to write about pleating the saree. 🙂

I can’t take no more

I watch disinterestedly
as Miss ladybug wanders seeking attention
the nimble goldfish giddily flaps and rolls
feeding on the grass, the obese snail eyes the tomatoes
but the last straw is the sneaky cats trying to pat my head!

I am usually good-natured
but this shocking attempt
to usurp my place is galling!
I am off to the railway station
will you send the car to transport me there?

Written for Sadje’s wdys and Eugi’s moonwashed weekly prompt using words from Kerfe’s random word generator.


Pic courtesy Alamy

Turbid thoughts taint decisions
undermining clarity and cogent concepts
moot matters mar the mindscape
ululating notions create commotion
leaving the brain too befuddled to
tie all the unravelled loose ends.

Written for David’s W3 to yours truly’s prompt to write an acrostic poem on the following.

1. Discipline

2. Enthusiasm

3.  Meditation

4. Tumult

5. Trouble


Pic courtesy The News Minute

A scintilla of scimitar shaped moon sliced
by iron bars becomes a calendar
a sparrow’s chirruping announces
day break in the dark dungeon
when shadows deepen further
night silently creeps in

My ears strain to hear beloved voices
my eyes can’t see but my heart can feel
my shackles utter words that my tongue is denied
my blood is the ink that colours drab walls

hope wants to die but I cling to it desperately
can anyone see the kites I  fly from here?

Varvara Rao

I dedicate my poem to Indian poet-activist Varvara Rao, who was granted medical bail in August 2022. Many arrested along with him are still incarcerated.

Written for dVerse poetics. Today’s guest host, Paul, invites us to write a poem, using any form, that highlights the plight of those poets imprisoned for their craft.

*Amy Washburn in her essay The Pen of the Panther writes that Black Panther poet Ericka Huggins’ work was often seized by prison authorities under the premise that she was writing “kites” — messages to other prisoners in prison slang. If one might extend this metaphor, it is possible to imagine that poems written by incarcerated poets are like “kites” to the world outside, soaring into the un-imprisonable skies beyond the prison walls. This gives us hope. (Taken from The Wire)

Dear Mom (a quadrille)

I am me but also your reflection
forever your shadow
mimicking your actions

then one day, will come into my own

and be shadowed by my reflection
the same love mirrored
in two pairs of brown eyes

life is all about mirrors and shadows.

Written for dVerse quadrille Monday and Sadje’s wdys. Today’s host, Merril, asks us to write a quadrille of exactly 44 words and include the word mirror or its other forms in it.