Poem of the week: Week Four.

The last one under the theme ‘Beginnings and Ends’. This one is from Ruskin Bond’s Book of Verse, which was a gift. 

On Wings of Sleep
Ruskin Bond

On wings of sleep
I dreamt I flew
Across the valley drenched in dew
Over the rooftops
Into the forest
Swooping low
Where the Sambhur belled
And the peacocks flew.
And the dawn broke
Rose-pink behind the mountains
And the river ran silver and gold
As I glided over the trees
Drifting with the dawn breeze 
Across the river,
over fields of corn.
And the world awoke
To a new day, a new dawn. 

Time to fly home,
As the sun rose, red and angry,
Ready to singe my wings,
I returned to my sleeping form,
Creaking bed and dusty window-pane,
To dream of flying with the wind again.

***
Bond wasn’t a morning person, maybe. I like to think that in any case because neither am  I. I’m someone who never wakes up or goes to bed according to the clock, which is why I can relate to this poem. Bond, like me, probably doesn’t like to face the beginning of the end of dreams in the morning – since reality is just a “dusty window-pane”. 
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Poem of the week: Week Three.

Another one on the theme ‘Beginnings and Ends’. This one is from the Selected Poems of Fernando Pessoa, which I have borrowed from a friend.

It Begins to Be
– Fernando Pessoa

It begins to be going to be dawn –
The black sky is beginning,
In a still-dark slight
Unblackening of its night,
To have a chill tint,
There, where the black is thinning.

A black that is azure-ashen
Outwards, vaguely, drifts
From where the Orient sleeps
Its late sleep, shapeless,
And a windless chill keeps station,
Heard, scarcely perceived.  

And yet I, who have hardly
Slept, don’t feel night or chill
Or, coming in, dawntide
From the void solitude.
The indefinite of the heart,
Its void, is all I feel.

In vain the day is dawning
To one who can’t sleep, never
Was made o get things straight
Here inside the heart;
Who while he lives is denying
And, when he loves, does not have.

In vain, in vain, and the sky
Azures itself through green
Asheningly. What
Is it my soul feels? Not
That, no, nor even I,
In the night, which will soon be unseen.

(23.7.35)

***

Sometimes, one can only be thankful for the end of something inconceivable. Since the mind is not ready for the beginning yet.      

Wonder

One word, five stories.

Everyday Short Stories

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A sharp cry drowned every other sound, and continued until she opened her eyes. A blinding light entered her vision. It didn’t sting, but was soft, warm. Things slowly took shape, as if a painter gave finishing touches to every leaf on a tree. For a long time, she stared wide-eyed at the swaying leaf and smiled her first smile. – Tejaswini kale

He admired her composure in such a situation. He thought of all the moments they had shared, he was amazed why he was thinking about them at this point of time. Would she be mad at herself? Would she be angry? His mind was playing games, giving him information about his guilts and regrets. Could he turn back time? – Gaurav Raikar

He would often introduce himself as a wrestler, leaving most people a little dumbfounded. But that was his truest description – he would wrestle everyday. Each…

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Poem of the week: Week Two.

Second week of the theme ‘Beginnings and Ends’. I picked up Jane Bhandari’s Aquarius when I (finally) went to Kitab Khana opposite Flora Fountain. I had passed by that place numerous times and had absolutely no idea that it existed. Had I found it on an ordinary day, the experience wouldn’t have been anything short of finding Wonderland or something.

I have attended Jane’s Loquations meets, but had never really read any poetry of hers properly. Here’s one that fits the theme on many levels. 

New House
– 
Jane Bhandari 

In the beginning
The new house was void
Of all but light.
White walls 
Scooped light from the windows
And threw it into my eyes.
I was in a shell of light,
Echoing, bare and bright.

The breaking and the making
Are almost over.

At night I prowl
The silent rooms, littered
With the chaotic debris
Of a new-made home,
And look out
Over the sequinned city.

By day I watch the play
Of light on the walls,
Watch the house transform
Into something wholly mine,
My print on it as distinct 
As that of my hand.

Now
I shall enter my shell,
And then begin to grow.

***

I love the solitary feel this poem has. In it, there is a sense of patience and determination to start life anew. 

Hope

Everyday 60-word stories. Read on.

Everyday Short Stories

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He didn’t know. He was sleepy. Long forlorn by the pressures of his everyday life. His mind was in a stoned slumber.

Till he saw her, and saw the light. She had something that shone – a touch that awoke his mind and alerted his heart – this could be worth pursuing.

He could not stop, he just had to. Take the next step. And bit into the goodness. “Thank God for Hope, he said, her rainbow sprinkles doughnut is now MINE.” – Aakanksha Gupta

It had been three days since the sun shone through the cracks in the big wooden door. Being cooped up indoors wasn’t for Hope. She longed to race through the freshly drenched forests, soaking in large gulps of new crisp air. She knew the gloom would lift; once the rain stopped. Perhaps there might be a rainbow too. Perhaps. – Tejal Pandey

The day…

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Poem of the week: Week One.

So, this is a little project I thought of doing: I will post a poem a week from the poetry collections I have at home round the year. I have decided on themes for each month; each week of the month will have a poem based on the theme. January gets ‘Beginnings and ends’ for obvious reasons.

The following poem is from The Little Magazine’s India in Verse anthology of Contemporary Poetry from 20 Indian Languages.

Shall I open this day?
– Kedarnath Singh

Shall I open this day
which someone has left
at my doorstep?
The colour of turmeric
fresh
like an airmail letter.

In the shimmering light,
like other missives
this wandering message
must not go unread –
I think I’ll
open it.
This golden letter which holds the day
lying silent at my doorstep
I’ll open it.

But a small, laughing question
stays my hand,
who knows what is written there?
(who knows, perhaps it is for someone else
and left at my door in the dead of the night)
It does not bear my name
or my address
ah, how could I open it?

My hand which opened
the door
the horizon
the cardinal directions,
who knows why it trembles
at the thought of opening
this mute, fresh, turmeric-hued message
stamped by a ray of sunlight.

Translated from the Hindi poem ‘Khol doon yeh aaj ka din’ by Pratik Kanjilal.

***

At times, the little hesitation at the break of day is what I get from this delightful and simple poem. I can’t help but wonder, along with the poet, about this slight indecisiveness one feels at the beginning of the day.