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.

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. 🙂


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)

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.

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.”

Shades of yellow

The edges of photographs are yellowed
the memories are a bright ochre
citrus reminiscences flood in
she had held the pale moon in her palms that night.

Her turmeric stained hands are blue veined
her sallow skin a whisper of what it was
life had flitted-fluttered to golden years
but a sliver of regret sometimes causes chartreuse pain.

In blinding yellow an elusive image lurks
the name hovers in the realm of forgetfulness
loving faces crowd out all doubts
with her hand in his calloused one, she knows all is well.

Written for Sadje’s wdys and dVerse poetics. Today’s host, Sarah, says… Let’s have fun with yellow. You can write about the colour itself, or just sneak something yellow into your poem. A yellow bucket, a daffodil, an autumn leaf floating in a puddle. Let’s get to the yolk of the egg and the heart of the daisy. Let’s pour custard, let’s sprinkle turmeric, let’s smear mustard! Let’s yellow. 

Pretty Perilla

Pic : my own

You arrived uninvited, rising from rot
peacefully poised in the prettiest pot
a serene squatter staking a claim
on homely basil, tomatoes and curry leaves’ terrain
rising defiantly, daring me to uproot and hoe

The wind, the rain and the sun wholeheartedly embrace
and are not unfair. I am no arbitrator of anyone’s fate
my four by eight balcony certainly has space
for anyone to grow n propagate
I salute your sassy salient strength.

Written for dVerse poetics. Today’s host, Sarah, invites us to write about weeds.

My dad

Pic courtesy Circle of Care

Daddy’s hands, blue veined and soft,
were in my hands when he slipped away
I detested my hands for many months
for their inability to hold on to him
my hands so unlike his in appearance and texture
yet both with the left being the dominant one.

My voice refuses to break into a song
for dad is no longer there by my side
covering up my flat, unmusical notes
with his sonorous and robust baritone
never the one to give up easily, my daddy,
lessons he gave me enthusiastically and undeterred.

Ever the restless, he sits still now 
there on the mantle, in a simple wooden frame
with nary a frown on his patient countenance
no film of dust can dim his deep smile
nor the love glinting in his garrulous grey eyes
as gulmohars herald the arrival of spring
I feel his warm presence all around me.

Gulmohar (delonix regia)

Written for dVerse poetics. Today I am the host. We are writing about fathers, incorporating at least three titles from those given below.

1. Dance with my father: Luther Vandross

2. Song for dad: Keith Urban

3. My father’s eyes: Eric Clapton

4. Papa don’t preach: Madonna

5. Daddy lessons: Beyonce and Dixie Chicks

6. Color him father: The Winstons

7. Daddy could swear, I declare: Gladys Knight and the Pips

8. Baby father: Sade

9. My old man: Mac Demarco

10. Father to son: Queen

11. Papa, can you hear me?: Barbara Streisand

12. Daddy’s hands: Holly Dunn

13. My father’s house: Bruce Springsteen

14. Papa don’t take no mess: James Brown

15. Your daddy loves you: Gil Scot-Heron