That thingamajig

The time is upon us of those hot, long days

everything moving at such a slow pace

I think I can hear the footsteps of my mind

though it seems to find itself in a bind

that thingamajig which kept it ticking and going

has vamoosed completely and gone into hiding

playing peekaboo with precipitous peeks and glimpses

like a novice I fail when within a few inches

is it roaming like a nomad in search of greener pastures

am I no longer a good, clever master

has it has been lured by someone else

for I can see in the vicinity a jealous elf

all these years of practice at writing

gone to waste with that thing flying!

I enveigle it, as one would an errant young one

with treats of likes and comments well spun

I chew quills, tear empty page after page

raging at being so unfairly caged

if you see my thingamajig lurking somewhere

just show it the path to my aboutwhere.

An old poem reworked for dVerse OLN being hosted by Sanaa.

Profusion of prolixity

Ostentatious, opulence of words
outrageously overdressed metaphors
masquerading as surreal images
paraded with swinging tassels
obfuscating the lack of ideas
preening on pages after pages in crafty curlicues
strutting saucily as if on a catwalk
shining gaudily sometimes in profanity
bizzarely thinking it would sanctify
the blasphemous thoughts they were harbouring
believing fervently in this carefully constructed chimera
the urge to be in the limelight so strong
ignoring common sense tapping at the elbow
the fear of simplicity, of ordinary, of seeming trite
the urge to be considered better than the rest
clouding the truth in layers of balderdash
the staleness whitewashed in tongue-twisters
the repetitive theme camouflaged by fancy terms
a heap of garish, bauble-like words
that leaves the reader in me utterly cold.

Today’s challenge is to write a poem about something you have absolutely no interest in. This isn’t quite the same, I think, as something you’re indifferent to. For example, I have absolutely no interest in investment strategy. Anytime anyone tries to tell me about it, I want to put my fingers in my ears and go “lalalalalala.” My brain tries to shut down! This is honestly kind of funny, and I think this prompt has value precisely because it invites you to investigate some of the “why” behind resolutely not giving two hoots about something.

Sharing at dVerse OLN.

Spell (NaPoWriMo) Early-bird prompt

I tighten the muffler of your memories around my neck
warmth seeps sweetly into my sluggish sinews
As your gurgling laughter cascades gently over me
I live another day, so close yet so far from you
My enchantress, the spell you cast on me
won’t let me die, but pray, how do I live without you!

For those of you who want to get a jump on things (either because it’s already April 1 where you are or, who knows, maybe you’re just a glutton for poetry!), we’ve got a special early-bird prompt, based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Dickinson is known for her elliptical style, unusual word choices, and mordant sense of humor. Over the past year, I’ve experimented with writing poems based on, or responding to, various lines from her poems. Today, I’d like to challenge you to do the same! Here are a few lines of Dickinson’s that might appeal to you (the slashes indicate line breaks):

  • “Forever might be short”
  • The absence of the Witch does not / Invalidate the spell”
  • “If to be ‘Elder’ – mean most pain – / I’m old enough, today”
  • “The second half of joy / Is shorter than the first”
  • “To be a Flower, is profound / Responsibilty

Also sharing with dVerse OLN.

Colours of love

Flame-of-the-forest or butea monosperma also moduga or tesu

When spring springs a surprise
and disappears before one can
say hello to the soft begonia sky
sprinkled with cotton candy clouds

no dewy dawns or dreamy dusks
flame-of-the-forest blazes across
heralding the festival of colours/love
earth carpeted with fiery blooms

but this time reminiscent of
a faraway bloodied land under the pall
of gloomy granite-grey skies
with determined eyes devoid of tears

as I smear blue and yellow on beloved faces
the bitter aftertaste of sweets lingers
a reminder of truths we dare not face
my heart prays for the elusive peace.

In India we celebrate Holi today.

Written for dVerse OLN.

Fighting darkness

Tyranny acquaints us with the deepest despair
deranged despots continue repeating their mistakes
trying to subjugate everyone to rank capitulation
using brute power and the machinery of state.

Hubris struts around, brazenly fear mongering
reason and righteousness seem to have lost their vision
in such a gloomy scenario they quietly retire
for the victory of the oppressor is taken as a given

In the darkest of darkness when nothing is visible
in the coldest of winter when frigid winds rejoice
in the furthest corner where ultimatum pushes
the timorous soul sings in a tremulous voice.

Gathering frail courage from note to note
then hesitant other voices join in, haltingly first
the song becomes a rallying cry for the oppressed
soaring up high and beating down walls with fists.

But the obstinate tyrant refuses to retreat
for drunk on absolute power, he is blind absolutely
bully pulpit misused by bumbling bedlamite
never expecting a fight back as a repercussion of tyranny.

Sharing it at OLN dVerse.

Lost love

As I catch glimpses of the dying sun

it reminds me of the fire that died in your eyes

your eyes that had danced the horizon with me

I had seen my dreams in your sea green gaze

but then the music faded away

like the crashing surf, your going away

left my heart shattered in its wake

now I am engaged in a futile attempt

to piece together the jagged pieces of my heart

like a fool I expect the silent phone to ring

straining to hear your voice, searching

for new meanings in a relationship grown weary

the crumpled void in my eyes refuses to be filled

the starkness of night now my sole companion

we sit together singing dirges to my future.

This was written for dVerse poetics but I am attending my niece’s wedding, I couldn’t post it in time. Now sharing it at OLN. Will catch up with reading soon.

Random musings

Sharing a few couplets which I originally wrote in Hindi then translated in English. I have also written the Hindi couplets in English for those blogger friends who can understand Hindi but can’t read the script.

When we drifted apart
you took with you, my my-ness

The eyes shed no tears
but my heart is experiencing dampness

Before you came into my life
my partner was loneliness

The trespassers of the past
drowned in the tears’ wetness

Every time after writing a new poem
I could only see in it staleness

Fingers trace patterns of love on the back
and the heart flips with happiness

Dew drenched buds were adorned with
red dawn’s prismatic-ness

Spring had graciously covered with its colours
winter’s barren nakedness.

तुम क्या दूर हुए मुझसे
तुम ले गए मुझसे मेरापन

आँखों में अश्क नही हैं
लेकिन दिल में है गीलापन

तुम्हारे आने से पहले
मेरा हमसाया था अकेलापन

अतीत के घुसपैठिये डूब गए
वहाँ था आँसुओं का पनीलापन

हर नई नज्म लिखने के बाद भी
नजर आया उसमें वही बासीपन

उँगलियाँ पीठ पर लिखें मोहब्बत
और दिल में हो इक थिरकन

ओस से नहाई कलियों में था
भोर की लाली का सतरंगापन

बसंत ने अपने रंगों से ढक दिया
जाड़ों का वह नंगापन।

Tum kya door huye mujhse
Tum le gaye mujhse merapan

Aankhon mein ashk nahi hai
Lekin dil mein hai gilapan

Tumhare aane se pehle
Mera humsaya tha akelapan

Atit ke ghuspathiye doob gaye
Wahan tha aansuon ka panilapan

Har nayi nazm likhne ke baad bhi
Nazar aaya uss mein wahi bassipan

Ungliyan peeth par likhen mohabbat
Aur dil mein ho ik thirkan

Oss se nahayi kaliyon mein tha
Bhor ki laali ka satrangapan

Basant ne apne rango se dhak diya
Jaadon ka wah nangapan

Sharing at dVerse OLN.


When we held hands
we believed our destinies were entwined
our paths were the same, so was our destination
our eyes set on our goals.

The dreamer that I am
was entranced by those I met on the way
I wanted to play with the butterflies
and sleep with the fireflies
run on the dew drenched green grass
and dance with the wildflowers
ready to lie low and not rush past time;
the journey and my follies were my guru.

The go-getter you are,
you remained single-minded and focussed;
not given to dawdling
ready to postpone joy
in favour of ambition
oozing confidence, you moved ahead
I fell back; our hands no longer entwined
our paths became different.

Today you stand precariously on the twin peaks
of success and loneliness
surveying all below with suspicion and unease
there is no room for happiness there
and contentment is the price you paid for the top spot.

We have the freedom to choose our destiny
but our choices define us;
my journey, as important as the destination
your destination more important than the journey
two destinies entwined
two hearts estranged.

Sharing at dVerse OLN.

Labour of love

Poetry is a labour of love, dare I say
it starts in the mind but then the heart holds sway
Words start stringing themselves prettily in the mind
lustrous they are, when with heart they are entwined
Words woven with the warm threads of emotions
myriad colours expressing all notions
Gradually through words heart begins to unravel
sometimes it snivels and sometimes it can dazzle
I hide behind the images that I create
but disrobing of soul is what I abominate
Poetry is a labour of love, dare I say
It starts in the mind but then the heart holds sway.

Words start stringing themselves prettily in the mind
lustrous they are, when with heart they are entwined
My words and I become one when through them I speak
whether I write of joys untold or of sorrows bleak
I lay bare my self all naked and vulnerable
sharing my pains and what makes me miserable
Anger finds release through sharp, stinging, staccato words
as my heart releases these tormented caged birds
Storm clouds darken my heart when atrocities it suffers
viscous black ink spills forth without any buffers
Poetry is a labour of love, dare I say
it starts in the mind but then the heart holds sway

Words woven with the warm threads of emotions
myriad colours expressing all notions
Mending, healing, becoming whole happens organically
through the pen, when words flow unchecked and free
My broken heart heals when sutured with verse
it is often a blessing but also a curse
The language of souls speaks in a common tongue
all hearts in a common thread are strung
I am filled with diffidence with every verse I write
though even the most nondescript one fills me with delight
Poetry is a labour of love, dare I say
It starts in the mind but then the heart holds sway.

Sharing at OLN dVerse.


Sometimes an idea flits across
like a butterfly
in my hurry to capture it
I end up damaging its ethereal wings

sometimes in the middle of a chore
the ubiquitous bulb lights up
I drop everything
as I grab my phone

sometimes during my walk
I hear a susurration,
a slight whisper
I chant it feverishly
afraid to lose it

sometimes a tune is
like an earworm
playing on and on
till I release it
on a clean sheet of paper

sometimes worry furrows my forehead
at such a time
writing is the balm
that can smoothen my brow

sometimes words gush out of my pen
as if a floodgate has been breached
refusing to be contained

sometimes I have to use
all my persuasive powers to plead
with the elusive expression
which wallows in wilderness

sometimes a thought
hits like a sledgehammer
leaving me dazed
with its forcefulness

sometimes a spoken word, a written phrase
triggers a barrage of outpouring
difficult to stem

sometimes injustice does not let me sleep
till bloodshot eyes have wept
crimson words of regret

sometimes blood and gore
leave me shaking and shivering
and the shaky handwriting
steadies my wobbly world

sometimes seething white hot anger
shapes each word with precision
picking correct expressions just so

sometimes a gurgle
of innocent laughter or a genuine smile
brightens my day
and it is there for all to see

sometimes a forgotten memory
nudges the fingers
to reclaim its place
to be recorded for posterity

sometimes a conversation
sparks creativity
which is so original
yet mundane

sometimes sitting still
in a pocket of peace
an idea takes birth
that has to be celebrated

sometimes a night of passion
seeps a bit into the open
despite my inept effort
to keep it under wraps

sometimes what could be
fills me with wistful longing
daydreaming that distant dream

oh well! each baby is different
and decides to be born in her own way!

Reworked an old poem for dVerse OLN.