Saturday, April 27, 2019

Shaking Hands

- Sorry for your troubles, Pádraig Ó Tuama

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Things I am working on recently to remember, Part II

Reason for flowers by Neha
First words this time
around this world,
Last words to a human I loved,
Last words to another human I loved,
Last words to another human I loved,
Last words of a human who loved,
Last words of another human who loved,
Half words to a human I love,
Half words of a human I love,
Half words of a human I love,
Half words of a human I love,
How jasmine fragrance used to fill the night air,
making tropical passage a heaven on earth,
Number of stars I successfully counted
before giving up,
Old faces from before the yellow school bus,
Papa’s sweet whistling,
Ma’s too much love,
That that will not be named
The yellow blue dragon shirt
When body became embodied first
Pure pleasure of mother tongue words -
Sources of all the pains
that have softened my I,
overfilling the mouth
with gratitude,
Previous rounds I have been
through this beautiful
mysterious terrifying
mad ha(t)ter world that I love.

Remembrance is fog
but if you bring
your hands closer,
this fog will
give you the gifts of glimpses.
No scientists needed.

Simar simar sukh paa-i-aa
  Meditating, meditating in remembrance, I have found peace.

- Neha

Things I have been working years on to forget, Part 1

Dark knight of the soul by Neha 
A night
Another night
Another night
Another night
A human
Another human
Another human
Another human
Another human
A pea pod
Another pea pod
Another pea pod
A menacing pair of eyes with
machine gun in hand
A high commission mouth
later asking was it a toy
or a real gun?
Another pair of eyes
A touch
Another touch
Another touch
Another touch
Another touch
A foolishness my own
Another foolishness my own
Another foolishness my own
Another foolishness my own
Another foolishness my own
Another foolishness my own
Another foolishness my own
Another foolishness my own

It hasn’t worked clearly.
Forgetting to forget
is a severe condition
for which scientists
are working
on a solution, one hopes -
but maybe they forgot to
remember to help us forget?

- Neha

But Why?

Mouth of the Cave by Neha 
We are cruel to our planet
because we are cruel to each other,
We are cruel to each other
because we are cruel to ourselves,
We are cruel to ourselves
because we hunger for love
And hunger is dangerous
when not understood or fed or heard.

- Neha

Love After Love

The Lovejoy Columns by Neha
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

- Derek Walcott


Unknowable Pedestrian Birds by Neha 
I’ll never find out now
What A. thought of me.
If B. ever forgave me in the end.
Why C. pretended everything was fine.
What part D. played in E’s silence.
What F. had been expecting, if anything.
Why G. forgot when she knew perfectly well.
What H. had to hide.
What I. wanted to add.
If my being around
meant anything
to J. and K. and the rest of the alphabet.

- Wislawa Szymborska

एक मुलाकात

अब रात घिरने लगी - नेहा
मैं चुप शान्त और अडोल खड़ी थी
सिर्फ पास बहते समुन्द्र में तूफान था……फिर समुन्द्र को खुदा जाने
क्या ख्याल आया
उसने तूफान की एक पोटली सी बांधी
मेरे हाथों में थमाई
और हंस कर कुछ दूर हो गया

हैरान थी….
पर उसका चमत्कार ले लिया
पता था कि इस प्रकार की घटना
कभी सदियों में होती है…..

लाखों ख्याल आये
माथे में झिलमिलाये

पर खड़ी रह गयी कि उसको उठा कर
अब अपने शहर में कैसे जाऊंगी?

मेरे शहर की हर गली संकरी
मेरे शहर की हर छत नीची
मेरे शहर की हर दीवार चुगली

सोचा कि अगर तू कहीं मिले
तो समुन्द्र की तरह
इसे छाती पर रख कर
हम दो किनारों की तरह हंस सकते थे

और नीची छतों
और संकरी गलियों
के शहर में बस सकते थे….

पर सारी दोपहर तुझे ढूंढते बीती
और अपनी आग का मैंने
आप ही घूंट पिया

मैं अकेला किनारा
किनारे को गिरा दिया
और जब दिन ढलने को था
समुन्द्र का तूफान
समुन्द्र को लौटा दिया….

अब रात घिरने लगी तो तूं मिला है
तूं भी उदास, चुप, शान्त और अडोल
मैं भी उदास, चुप, शान्त और अडोल
सिर्फ- दूर बहते समुन्द्र में तूफान है…..

- अमृता प्रीतम

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Charāġhoñ ko

Dhoop by Neha 

Charāġhoñ ko āñkhoñ meñ mahfūz rakhnā 
baḌī duur tak raat hī raat hogī  

Musāfir haiñ ham bhī musāfir ho tum bhī 
kisī moḌ par phir mulāqāt hogī 

- Bashir Badr 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Affirmative Action

- Pádraig Ó Tuama, readings from the book of exile

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A n d i s n' t i t t r u e f o r a l l o f u s

-  Pádraig Ó Tuama, Sorry for your troubles 


Emergence by Neha 

What if spring is all
the people we have lost?
Rising from the dead
from memories
from the soils
of unforgotten
in new bodies,
by chirping
bird songs
at dawn.

- Neha


Held by Neha 
Of the gardens of Adonis, Lydia, I love
Most of all those fugitive roses
         That on the day they are born,
         That very day, must also die.
Eternal, for them, the light of day:
They're born when the sun is already high
         And die before Apollo's course

         Across the visible sky is run.
We too, of our lives, must make one day:
We never know, my Lydia, nor want
        To know of nights before or after
        The little while that we may last.
To be great, be whole: nothing that's you
         Should you exaggerate or exclude.
In each thing, be all. Give all you are
         In the least you ever do.
The whole moon, because it rides so high,
         Is reflected in each pool.

- Ricardo Reis ( Fernando Pessoa), Translated by Edouard Roditi


Signs by Neha
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is

- W.S.Merwin, Migration: New and Selected Poems, Copper Canyon Press, 2005