Night fears (a haibun)

(From Pexel)

My tired eyes refuse sleep with reluctance, like an alcoholic refuses that last drink. Fear keeps my eyelids pinned open. Somewhere, drifting between extreme sleepiness and the need to be awake, I doze off. Only to wake up with a jerk. Groggy and disoriented, I walk up to his room. His CGM* reads 53. In panic I search hurriedly for the glucometer and the testing kit, fear making me butter-fingered. The commotion makes him stir. He looks up, gives me a lopsided smile and goes back to sleep. With trembling hands I take another reading…it reads 78. I sink to the floor shaking with relief.
It is 3.00 am and sleep has bid me goodbye. I sit in the balcony waiting for dawn. Most nights are uneventful, some cause this drama. But fear has become a part of the night routine. The threat of hypoglycemia can do that.

Moon my namesake** smiles
as I give her company
I hide my heartache

Written for dVerse. Today’s host Frank says: Let’s feel the spooky sensation of this coming Halloween/Samhain! Let’s celebrate that emotion of dread. Let’s write our haibun that states or references fear.

*CGM: contant glucose monitor. Used to monitor glucose levels of diabetics, especially type 1. ( My fourteen year old son is Type 1 diabetic.)

**namesake: Punam in hindi language means the full moon.

Lost and found

 by an exact spot in the sky,
I witness a shift of light,
breaking where no sun shines

Why am I traveling
where really there is no road
the forest road was shut many moons ago

in gangrene hues, over a pyramid
in the desert, life is distilled;
I fear water

It’s so easy to get lost and disappear,
into the  nothingness of despair
I feel relief at the abandonment

where the wind and dust travel easily along my skin,
leaving trails of of the journey thus far
I am ready for something called home.

Written for dVerse. Today’s host Laura says: Select ONE of the above ‘lost poems’ (or one of your own finding where something or someone is lost ) and re-write is as a ‘Found poem’. It does not have to be as rigid as an erasure poem for you can add in some of your own words or even reorder it.

I have used the following poem. The phrases/lines used by me are in bold.

(Lost By Way of Tchin-Tabarden by Susan Rich

Republic of Niger

Nomads are said to know their way by an exact spot in the sky,

the touch of sand to their fingers, granules on the tongue.

But sometimes a system breaks down. I witness a shift of light,

study the irregular shadings of dunes. Why am I traveling

this road to Zinder, where really there is no road? No service station

at this check point, just one commercant hawking Fanta

in gangrene hues. C’est formidable! he gestures — staring ahead

over a pyramid of foreign orange juice.

In the desert life is distilled to an angle of wind, camel droppings,

salted food. How long has this man been here, how long

can I stay contemplating a route home?

It’s so easy to get lost and disappear, die of thirst and longing

as the Sultan’s three wives did last year. Found in their Mercedes,

the chauffeur at the wheel, how did they fail to return home

to Ágadez, retrace a landscape they’d always believed?

No cross-streets, no broken yellow lines; I feel relief at the abandonment

of my own geography. I know there’s no surveyor but want to imagine

the aerial map that will send me above flame trees, snaking

through knots of basalt. I’ll mark the exact site for a lean-to

where the wind and dust travel easily along my skin,

and I’m no longer satiated by the scent of gasoline. I’ll arrive there

out of balance, untaught; ready for something called home.)

After they left (OctPoWriMo & dVerse)

(From Pexel)

Day 22

Prompt: Thinking of bygone era

Form: Compound word verse

Tracing steps back into the past
Wandering through relics on path
afterlife

History holds many lessons
do we ever heed or reckon
aftermath

With curiosity regard
that knowledge. But also discard
afterbirth

Differences bridgeable miles
Similarities oft bring smiles
afterglow

Haunting images come alive
as I peep into past, in life’s
afternoon

Written for dVerse. Today’s host Grace says: write a compound word verse.

The Compound Word Verse is a poetry form invented by Margaret R. Smith that consists of five 3-line stanzas, for a total of 15 lines. The last line of each stanza ends in a compound word and these compound words share a common stem word which is taken from the title. (In the first example below the stem word is “moon” from the title “Moonlighting”; the compound words related to the title are moondust, moonbeams, moonsongs, etc.)

The Compound Word Verse (3 lines) has a set rhyme scheme and meter as follows:

Rhyme Scheme: a,a,b
Syllable/Meter: 8, 8, 3

Mother (OctPoWriMo & dVerse)

Day 19

Prompt: Story telling

Form: Quadrille

Her petite frame
and steely resolve
nurtured and
protected him
loneliness not withstanding

Then he grew up

Waiting for him
she died alone;
the funeral pyre
lit by a stranger

He hugs the urn
containing her ashes
for immersion in the Ganges*

too late…

Written for dVerse. Today’s host Sarah says: So tonight let’s write some ash quadrilles – 44 words, including the word ash.

*Hindus believe that the soul of the deceased stays attached to its body even after its demise, and by cremating the body, it can be set free. 

To fully liberate the soul of its mortal attachments, the ashes and remaining bone fragments of the deceased are then dispersed in a river or ocean, usually at a historically holy place, like the banks of the River Ganges.

And the leaves come down (OctPoWriMo)

(From Pexel)

Day 15

Prompt: Leaves

Form: Enclosed Tercet

You wander lonely in the soft breeze
Pretty red leaves and yellow leaves
Leaving bare the lofty trees.

Floating gently through the air;
Falling noiselessly on the ground
Pale sun peeps from everywhere.

Scurry and scamper and run leaves run!
The wind is chasing you with all his might
He laughs at you in the autumn sun.

When you eventually tire of flaunting around
Howling old wind will drop you underfoot
Rapid moving feet will crush you to the ground.

Tenderly someone may pick up thee
Tuck you within the leaves of a book
To send to a beloved sometime, maybe!

Gliding gracefully you fall on earth
Clothing her bare skin in many hues
Year after year taking leave of your hearth.

Sharing at dVerse OLN.

I have made peace with pain

(From Pexel)

Pain visited me occasionally
like a migratory bird;
it was seasonal.
I never liked her visits but
she threw joy in sharp relief.

Then her visits became more frequent
she liked to perch on my soul
trilling her melancholy song
the deep ache in my heart burgeoned taking roots there.

These days pain and I are inseparable
she lurks behind my smiles
she tinges my happiness with grey
she stays awake with me on moonless nights.

I have learnt to savour
each single slivers of happiness more
no longer immersing myself
completely in exultation
I live on the periphery of jubilation
with pain shining a light on
little pleasures to be lived to the fullest.

Written for dVerse. Today’s host Ingrid says: What I would like you to do for this challenge is a kind of therapeutic exercise. I do NOT want you to open any old wounds which are too painful to approach, or torment yourself by reliving painful moments. Let’s always keep in mind Wordsworth’s definition of poetry as ’emotion recollected in tranquillity.’ If you are able to, I want you to revisit a time in your life when you have felt pain (emotional or physical, acute or chronic) and come out on the other side stronger. As hard as it is to go through, we learn from our pain and grow as a result of it. So let’s examine the personal and artistic growth which can be achieved by finding the silver lining behind the cloud of suffering.

Finding equilibrium (OctPoWriMo) (dVerse)

(From Pexel)

Day 7

Prompt: Finding balance

Form: Cadralor

1.Your calloused hand in my soft one
the give and the take, not discernable
life flowing
from my hand to yours. And vice versa.
But the give sometimes more than the take.

2. I waltz with my shadow, my darkness
it lets me revel in my light that
shines as bright can be
fiery flame fights ghostly gloominess
teetering on the edge of an abyss

3. As the vegetables sizzle and simmer in the pan
the laundry is folded methodically and mechanically
my tea sits neglected and undrunk
regret is the bitter pill I refuse to swallow
but today some random thoughts make me feel antsy

4. The moon sighs at the signal for her to fade away
the lord of the day is about to ascend
she longs to stay and shout her love for
the giver of light, in whose
reflection she glows and basks

5.Juggling, balancing on the seesaw, ropewalking
seemed like stunts performed for applause
never interested me as a kid
swinging between sanity and insanity
I wish I had learnt a few of those tricks.

Written for MTB at dVerse. Today’s host Björn has asked us to write a Cadralor inspired by Jane Dougherty’s verse a few days ago.

To my readers

(From Pexel)

All humans desire fame
I too want to make my name
frenetically I write verses everyday
to become famous one fine day
finally I have found an audience
who do not consider me a nuisance
who applaud each verse I post
to every poem they raise a toast
they effusively praise and warmly support
don’t ever stop writing, they exhort
magnanimously they overlook grammatical errors
the wrong syntax and occasional spelling terrors
benevolently attributing it to auto check
they allow my mistakes to flourish unchecked
let me extend heartfelt thanks to one and all
who very kindly and patiently read and don’t bawl
Very sweetly they have bitten their tongue or stubbed their finger
never do they on my shallow thoughts linger
now ain’t that the mark of great hallowed saints!
I bow my head in reverence to this practice quaint
mutual respect is the name of the game
and we have all excelled at it for a few minutes’ fame
let publishers turn down my work at will
they know not what gives me thrills
I am an uncut gem they cannot recognise
only if like my readers they were wise
to be published and famous is the ultimate goal
I will self publish, I sure can play that role!

Written for dVerse. Today’s host Sanaa says: let’s have fun while writing a Panegyric poem. It doesn’t necessarily have to be very long. For purposes of the prompt as well as everybody’s ease, I am leaving the length up to the discretion of the Poet.

The theme can be anything, as it’s a poem of “effusive praise,” go ahead and explore where the idea takes you. Feel free to write about nature or perhaps a favorite author, artist or poet. The possibilities are endless.

(I took inspiration from Dryden’s Mac Flecknoe and Henry Carey’s Namby Pamby which are satirical.)

Self expression or oppression (a quadrille)

(From Indian Express)

He is young; barely into his teens
fair, flashing narrowed eyes
and scraggy beard
his mind is made up and there’s no going back
he watches the armed personnel warily but unwaveringly
a slight movement and up goes his arm
He is a stone-pelter*.

Written for dVerse.Today’s host De Jackson aka WhimsyGizmo says: Leave no stone unturned. Stonewall us. Take us back to the Stone Age. Visit Stonehenge. Get stoned, and then write your poem (no judgement here). Stony. Stoning. A stone’s throw away. Listen to the Rolling Stones, and make sure your poem gathers no moss as you roll it our way. There are a million ways to play, so long as you set your poem in stone, and use only 44 words in total. 

*You can read more about stone-pelting here.

Nothing but the truth

A commodity considered archaic in the present times
relegated to being rarest of rare
truth these days is an experimental drug.

As dazzling artifice and pretence become lucrative
plain truth is no longer regarded attractive
a commodity considered archaic in the present times.

Lies need no passport, traversing the world
truth plods on, barefoot and sore
relegated to being rarest of rare.

Deception artfully camouflages flaws
honesty almost always gives you a spine
truth these days is an experimental drug.

For OLN at dVerse being hosted by Lisa.