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.


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.


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.

Tangle of moons

Pic courtesy:

Perched precariously on a silver stepladder
she tosses the ice ball, all aglimmer
spiced and coated with magical realism

Silver faces of the blue skies
lie in an entangled heap in the grass
like incomplete, fantastical dreams

How many moons does it take
for the wandering spirits to be appeased
pining for that blue moon?

Slowly the darkness shifts allegiance
the suspended question but remains
who will finally moor the earth?

Written for dVerse poetics. Today’s host, Mish, asks us to take inspiration from Erik Johansson’s works and choose an image that sends a message, an idea, or a story.

The drunkard

Pic courtesy Daily Mail

He loves to drink
his eyes are sunk, his cheeks hollow
into a drunken stupor he everyday sinks
losing count of days, passage of time he cannot follow.

As weeks after weeks
pass without the use of razor’s edges
his bristly beard has yellow streaks
he is found often in ditches and hedges.

Why is there commotion about love
constantly, he wonders. One broke his heart, the other
left him for the heaven above
Oh, how he misses his mother!

He is bitter about the falling rain
he hates the sight of red flowers
he has vowed never to be fooled again
damn! these unseasonal showers!

He was not meant to be a single bird
he had planned to have five kids – tops
never a loner, he liked to be a part of a herd
now a caricature of himself, like a scarecrow amidst crops.

He lies on the footpath, watching the clouds white
he has lost the will to take life heads on
living sucks, realities bite
he now awaits, the death season

He is the stone that gathers no moss
staying in the filthiest places
passed out on the road, passed out on the grass
scarce noticing the ox-eyed daisies.

In the hourglass of his life, sand
stays still. No son nor daughter
to carry forward his legacy on land
or air, or fire or water!

Written for dVerse MTB. Today’s host, Laura, has asked us to write an alternate rhyme poem of at least 3 stanzas

the rhyme scheme is ABAB; CDCD; EFEF etc

We are going to borrow the end rhyme pairs from a published poem in the order they were written.

I have borrowed the end rhymes from the following poem.

Winter Rain
Christina Rossetti

Every valley drinks,
Every dell and hollow;
Where the kind rain sinks and sinks,
Green of Spring will follow.

Yet a lapse of weeks
Buds will burst their edges,
Strip their wool—coats, glue—coats, streaks,
In the woods and hedges;

Weave a bower of love
For birds to meet each other,
Weave a canopy above
Nest and egg and mother.

But for fattening rain
We should have no flowers,
Never a bud or leaf again
But for soaking showers;

Never a mated bird
In the rocking tree—tops,
Never indeed a flock or herd
To graze upon the lea—crops.

Lambs so woolly white,
Sheep the sun—bright leas on,
They could have no grass to bite
But for rain in season.

We should find no moss
In the shadiest places,
Find no waving meadow grass
Pied with broad—eyed daisies:

But miles of barren sand,
With never a son or daughter,
Not a lily on the land,
Or lily on the water.

Also joining in Eugi’s moonwashed weekly prompt.

The list (a quadrille)

Pic courtesy The Indian Express

The reading list for the impending summer-break;
the eclectic choices of kids
bring a subtle smile on the librarian’s face

dusty editions from the hoary archives
would be thumbed frequently
he was glad to see reading back
into the map of young ones’ consciousness.

Written for dVerse quadrille Monday. Today’s host, De, asks us to write a quadrille of exactly 44 words, including the word map in it. My quadrille is a nod to Björn and his librarian.

Also for Eugi’s moonwashed weekly prompt.

Music magic

Pic courtesy

It’s a sunny April afternoon
hanging around the closed school gate
the boys are all shooting the breeze
his eyes have a faraway look
being there yet not being there
his mind is in some kinda freeze

gone is his zest, he is feeling listless
he’s haunted by fruitloop daydream
his guitar weeps lying in a corner
he’s looking for fruitloop daydream

He’s having it rough, doesn’t know why
he tries so hard to be compliant
yet feeling like an outsider
he wants to yell and wants to shout-
am at the edge of your atmosphere
lost the steam to be a fighter-

gone is his zest, he is feeling listless
he’s haunted by fruitloop daydream
his guitar weeps lying in a corner
he’s looking for fruitloop daydream

Breaking the cycle ne’er easy
the pain in the eyes of loved ones
suffocates his poor tender heart
he’s trying  very hard to move past
the past that hurt him really bad
he’s ready to replay his part

He will regain his zest, not be listless
he’ll rekindle his fruitloop daydream
his guitar wil not weep any longer
he’ll rekindle his fruitloop daydream.

Written for dVerse poetics. Today I am the host. We are writing poems on music, incorporating any two following titles from Linda Perry’s albums.

1. Edge Of Your Atmosphere
2. Sunset Strip
3. Life Despite God
4. Sunny April Afternoon
5. Bang The Drum
6. Life in a Bottle
7. Fruitloop Daydream
8. Tiny Box Of Lies
9. Knock Me Out
10. I Am My Father’s Daughter
11. Don’t Touch Me While I Am Sleeping
12. Secret Lover

Do join us.

Thoughts on a window (NaPoWriMo)

Pic courtesy Bigstock

A tapping at my window, is it the
breeze or my baseless fears,
choristers in the dappled skies, perhaps
dare I open? will there be

exquisite words pleading to be penned
fluttering flowers nodding their heads
giddy clouds chasing each other
heart hip-hops with anticipation

if the window is opened, will
just the sun walk in? What about
kites that could be wheeling high
liquid sunshine riding on
morn’s wings! And suddenly I wonder

needn’t I throw out all cautions as I
open the window, finally. Maybe it is a
portal leading me to a place indescribable
queries crowd out from my mind
reason and sanity and I am
sick of solitude and my own company

thunderstorm in my tea cup why do I brew?
untying the sash should not necessarily
vitiate my morning, isn’t it!
why, oh why do I dilly-dally and dither
xenium is this world that from my window I should behold

yanking the handles, I throw it open
zinfandel hued light suffuses my being!

Today’s challenge was to write an abecedarian for NaPoWriMo.

For today’s dVerse Poetics, Merril, our host, has simply asked us to write on windows “as this is a busy month for many of us with daily poetry writing and holidays.”