How to read a Poem

you read,
head inclined,
like a heliotropic sunflower bud,
closed lips moving as softly as
new born butterfly wings,
light and air rearranging themselves
into a radiant stage for your thoughts,
does that poem, that tongue-tied page,
don a damask gown and ballerina shoes,
declaiming slowly, animated and free,

or do you imagine yourself reading aloud,
covered in the russet tears of weeping chinars,
one outstretched limb at an incongruous angle
to the listening sky,
perhaps there are characters,
like you, like me,
strange faces with familiar eyes,
whose lips do you see,
whose voice do you hear,
laughing, despairing, in love,
is that Faiz walking out through the mist,
or Hafiz, the beloved’s wine still purple wet on his lips,
or the unparalleled Noor Jahan
wooing Jahangir in her Sheesh Mahal,
her hennaed hands the colour
of Agra’s sandstone fort;

you hold your breath,
between the lines, beside the words,
like a raindrop that pauses midstream
to adore the ground that will
break his heart,
like the shore that listens alone
for a single wave,
that never returns,
that never departs,

you hear,
you see,
and everything i ever felt,
everything we ever were,
free-falling through speechless time,
converges at the tip of your forefinger,
motionless,
waiting for the rain to stop, for the waves to end,
for the music to die, for the curtains to fall,
for the sound, the colours, the henna to fade,
before you turn the page.

Forever Kind of Love

A great new prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie introducing a form called Monotetra, which has four lines of 8 syllables each that need to rhyme. Also, the fourth line is actually 4 syllables, repeated.For inspiration, I chose man’s most beautiful monument to love, the Taj Mahal.


In the queen’s name, this splendour raised,
By an Emperor’s grief so crazed,
Such love never this earth had graced,
Forever praised! Forever praised!

Sometimes, on a warm full moon night,
The marble caressed by the light,
You see her wait, veiled in white,
For one last sight! For one last sight!

Hennaed feet on the milk white floor,
Knocking on a bejewelled door,
Her lips and eyes and tears implore,
Open once more! Open once more!

Then the wind from the river blows
Like mother-of-pearl, the Taj glows,
Every heart fills and overflows,
Time weeps and slows! Time weeps and slows!

28/6/15: Linked to Poets United.