Fewer words

the downright gall of minimalist poetry –
the universe stripped down to an
aberrant nakedness: one misplaced
mole, one tired breast, one painful navel
becoming an epic, becoming the side of a
square, the thud after the gunshot,
the apocalypse, the horizon of silence –

fewer words than the moon spoke last
night, looking down at the space between
us from its vantage point. Surely a poem
should see more than that, should say
more than that? But four audacious
lines stare at me from your page –

like tenuous shadows
evidence of light:
gods manifest by absence –
a leap of faith.

Poetry Tuesday #3 – Borrowed

When French Violinist Philippe Honoré performed in Bangalore last month, I learnt he had inspired Vikram Seth to write his splendid little book ‘An Equal Music’. I brought the book home from the library and found that Seth’s dedication was an acrostic poem, intriguing and elegant. Perhaps, the symbiosis of poetry and love is so successful only because it works despite love and despite poetry!

But here is Vikram Seth’s poem.

And here is what it led me to write:

Eden Unclaimed

What of love that falls like a tree in the deep
forest? That falls like rain on the open sea?
Is it still love if no one knows? That night,
the deluge came to Eden. Promises sank,
the apple orchard was left kneeling in bare-
boughed prayer, the rain, like unconsummated
sin, was swallowed in aching gulps by the
disconsolate dark. That night we lay unmoving,

skin against skin, dream against dream,
breath against breath. Was that not love? Can
love not let paradise fall? Can love not bear
the wound of exile? What will you call love that
has misplaced its word? That night, in Eden, I lost
a love that didn’t know how to become a poem.

 

 

The prompt today is “Borrowed” and it asks you to borrow some magic from a poem that inspires you. Share your poems using the Mister Linky widget and tell us about the poem that became your muse!

 

Poetry Tuesday #2 – New

When you parse the science, it seems crazy that we’re carrying on like everything is fine, while life, as we know it, is hurtling towards an unceremonious end, Eliotesque, not with a bang, but with a whimper. It seems crazy that we’re reading Eliot. It seems crazy that we’re writing poetry.

trees and rhinos, bees and
kelp, waves and puffins –
how do they describe us to their young?

The prompt today is “New” – whatever strikes you as timely, relevant, in your face, here and now. Share your poems, old or new,  using the Mister Linky widget. Or just stop by and say hello in the comments section.

 

Mousetrap

And when nature became a vengeful beast, a
monster unleashed, and every love poem became
a nostalgic ache for a time when the sea was a
troubadour on the street corner, crooning soft
ballads, the sky was the cloth around his hips,
and the moon was a pin on her shoulder, holding
the edge of her saree –

I remember when we caught the first mouse at
home, my mother setting an ugly wooden trap, a
piece of stale copra, the lure for some wretched
creature that would in the morning, half-crazed 
with fear, its tail twitching outside its cage, realize
primal hunger had turned into modern sin. I don’t
know what happened to that first mouse –

She didn’t tell me. I never thought to ask. I was
seven. Now the earth shudders and I wonder 
what will kill me first – the congenital desire, the 
rotting coconut, the rusty hook, the proud woman, 
the indifferent man, the interminable morning or
inveterate hunger –

In the distance, cold clouds find new syntax for a 
familiar dirge.

Is it the light?

The earth hums late at night. You feel her
uneven sounds rise through your spine.
The lone string of an ektara moves under
her finger – a horizon vibrating, sky spilling
into charcoal ocean. Is it the light that takes
the music out of our ordinary days? In the
dark, love becomes truth. Of what use is
certainty that does not have your lips? Aren’t
the patterns of stars made by intervening
shadows. See, ambiguity is the prerogative
of the broken heart. I want to sing with words
I have never heard. I want to remember
things that never happened. Let me steal
a silver melody from the devious moon.
Tomorrow, I promise to lie about this moment.

A poem for Susan’s prompt at PU – “Authenticity”.

 

 

Am hosting Poetry Tuesday all through November – be sure to join in! . Prompts (open through the month) are posted here.

Poetry Tuesday #1 – Old

The subject today is “Old” – an eventuality I considered at length in my chapbook “On Turning Fifty” – there’s something about a milestone birthday that makes you want to stop, look right, left and right again, before going forward. Today’s poem, however, comes from a divergent thought about reality, about time and by extension, all things existential.

One more bean

The line from me to myself arches across the southern
sky, plummeting through a cloud of stardust, or maybe it

scours the bottom of the ocean, dragged up, wet and
heavy: either way, both lines pause at the threshold of

this argument? On one side, worn, wrinkled fingers shell
hyacinth beans, dropping them into a wire basket —

79, 80, 81… the toothless smile is capitulation and
resigned acceptance. The beans will be skinned and

cooked in powdered spices at dawn. On the other side
is the moon, watching with one eye. Languishing. She

too will be peeled and colourless once the kitchen fires
are lit. See how both parties offer their transience in self-

defence. One more bean. One more hour. One more
meaningless night. As if time is just a farcical construct, a

peg on which to hang our last excuse for being here. As
if every clock face is a pulsing confession of age old guilt.

 

Do share your poems, exploring any aspect of the prompt(age, history, evolution, geology, childhood, yesterday, nostalgia, rust, wisdom – whatever it means to you), using the Mister Linky widget, or leave the link in the comments section below. Even if you don’t have a poem to share, stop and say hello! Next Tuesday’s prompt (12th November) will be “New“!

 

 

Poetry Tuesday in November

On all four Tuesdays this November, I invite you to share you poems, meet other poets and discuss all things poetry.

These are the broad themes you can explore each week:

 

05 Nov Old Age, history, evolution, geology, childhood, yesterday, nostalgia, rust, wisdom – whichever direction you want to take this!
12 Nov New Something current – something in the news – local or global – that matters – to you, to all of us! Include a link to the actual news item, if you think it necessary.
19 Nov Borrowed Share a poem that speaks to you, say why you honour that poet/poem– let any aspect of the poem (form or theme, title or phrase) inspire you.
26 Nov Blue The sky, the sea, the mood, sapphires, ink – blue is where poems begin.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Share a link to your poem (Text, video, audio) at the ‘Poetry Tuesday’ link each week
  • Discuss, comment, add value!
  • Poems shared in November will be compiled into a PDF at the end of the month and be available for free download on this blog (you should have shared at least 2 poems here during the month)
  • Include these hashtags when you share your work on Instagram or twitter: #PoetryTuesday #thotpurge

 

See you here for the first #PoetryTuesday on Nov 5th!