Monday, December 31, 2012

Waking


I lived in the first century of world wars.
Most mornings I would be more or less insane,
The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,
The news would pour out of various devices
Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.
I would call my friends on other devices;
They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.
Slowly I would get to pen and paper,
Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.
In the day I would be reminded of those men and women,
Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,
Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.
As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,
We would try to imagine them, try to find each other,
To construct peace, to make love, to reconcile
Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,
Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means
To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,
To let go the means, to wake.

I lived in the first century of these wars.

- Muriel Rukeyser, Speed of Darkness

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Her blueness

Blue by Neha

Blue, the sky
Blue, her mood
Blue, the film too

Blue, the velvet in background
Blue, her shoes
Blue, the pants going to her helium waistland

Blue, the tinted hopes
Blue, her color
Blue, the blueness in depths of redness of this heart

Does blue do that to you too?

- Neha

More fleeting than wind

What is more fleeting than the wind? asked the Yaksha
and do tell me, what is more numerous than grass

Think only of a monster with a thousand eyes,
of festering refuse in the dark,
fodder for a million feeding flies,
seemingly somnolent, yet nurturing life's spark.

And of dancing flame, congealing as ice,
or a garden of solace, weeded with strife,
the fission of thought, imploding, imprecise,
myriad reflections in the barrenness of night.

Look, Yudhishtar, up into the empty sky
To the shadows of clouds, racing along.
Iridescent bubbles brilliant to the eye,
Blown apart by a cyclone, vicious and strong.

The mind, O Yaksha, is more fleeting than the wind.
Thoughts are like grass, fecund, undetermined.

************************************
And say, O Yudhishtar, who is the best friend
Of one whom death has just beckoned? 

When the moment comes, an end to life
And man takes hold of death's cold hand
Nothing matters then, not wealth nor wife
Just man, along in an unfamiliar land.

Come, be the leaf, a little above the earth,
fluttering lightly to its final rest.
A candle when it dies is at its widest girth.
Before it droops, a flower looks it best.

Saffron, O gods, is the burden of the pyre.
A life, like wood, floats on ripple of desire.
finds release only by merging with fire
Let it, at last, transcend the reflex to acquire.

A prayer beyond want, reaching the open sky.
Charity is the best friend of one about to die.

*************************************
O Kaunteya, I'd like you to tell me now,
what is that which sojourns alone? 

A memory rose, of a bird at dusk.
indifferently watching a column of light,
The day, empty, except for its visible husk,
swept easily away by the swirl of night.

A temple in the morning caressed by the sun;
shadowless at noon; then to darkness resigned.
Things of this earth are so easily undone.
And arc remains above, to its path aligned/

O Yaksha, often on the busiest trail,
silence persists, quietly, almost on the sly.
To be aloe is to burn inside a veil,
like fireflies against an opaque sky.

Shadows suspended from a glow that has grown.
The sun, O Yaksha, is that which sojourns alone.

****************************************
And what, Yudhishtar, is the highest refuge
of virtue, and then of exalted heaven?


Good and bad, and such like themes
are, in themselves, diffult to decree:
Like passing shadows reflected on streams
uncertain of their path to the sea.

Virtue, O Yaksha, is always exalted
When it can accept several points of view.
If unbending it will always be faulted
liberality is the highest refuge of virtue.

As to the heavens, this is my insight
A man, his destiny, death and release.
And along this path, the divine light,
dispelling gloom, guided only by caprice.

The illusion of choice is a deceptiove subterfuge
To be true to oneself is the only refuge

*****************************************

Like oars to a boat
seeking the bank across the river
a skill, not learnt by rote,
is the most laudable endeavor ..

Raindrops at rest after a storm is spent
The best kind of happiness is to be content

- From Yaksha Prashna, Yudhishtar & Draupadi by Pavan Varma

Thodee Lali Aur Kari

Branch of Almond Tree in Blossom Red - Vincent Van Gogh
Lali mere lal ki, jit dekhu titt lal.
Lali dekhan main gayi, main bhi ho gayi lal.

*****
Naino ki kari kothari,
putali palang bichhãi;
palako ki chik darike,
piya ko liyã rijhãi.

- Kabir

Lightness


Those who come by me passing
I will remember them,
and those who come heavy and overbearing
I will forget.

This is why
when air gushes between mountains
we describe the wind
and forget the rocks.

—Saadi Youssef, “Attention.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hope spring

"As for me, I'm wakerife and morne, but hope springs eternal. I don't know how she does it, what with those leg irons on, but spring she does."

Ben Tripp; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Agenda; CounterPunch (Petrolia, California); May 30, 2003.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Writing


       A man who writes a story is forced to put into it the best of his knowledge and the best of his feeling. The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty. A writer lives in awe of words for they can be cruel or kind, and they can change their meanings right in front of you. They pick up flavors and odors like butter in a refrigerator. Of course, there are dishonest writers who go on for a little while, but not for long—not for long.

            A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn't telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say—and to feel—

            “Yes, that's the way it is, or at least that's the way I feel it. You're not as alone as you thought.”

            Of course a writer rearranges life, shortens time intervals, sharpens events, and devises beginnings, middles and ends. We do have curtains—in a day, morning, noon and night, in a man, birth, growth and death. These are curtain rise and curtain fall, but the story goes on and nothing finishes.

            To finish is sadness to a writer—a little death. He puts the last word down and it is done. But it isn't really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done.

-------

I hear via a couple of attractive grapevines, that you are having trouble writing. God! I know this feeling so well. I think it is never coming back—but it does—one morning, there it is again.

            About a year ago, Bob Anderson [the playwright] asked me for help in the same problem. I told him to write poetry—not for selling—not even for seeing—poetry to throw away. For poetry is the mathematics of writing and closely kin to music. And it is also the best therapy because sometimes the troubles come tumbling out.

            Well, he did. For six months he did. And I have three joyous letters from him saying it worked. Just poetry—anything and not designed for a reader. It's a great and valuable privacy.

            I only offer this if your dryness goes on too long and makes you too miserable. You may come out of it any day. I have. The words are fighting each other to get out.

- John Steinbeck 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Solo for Saturday Night Guitar


Suspended by Neha
Time was. Time is. Time shall be.
Man invented time to be used.
Love was. Love is. Love shall be.
Yet man never invented love
Nor is love to be used like time.
A clock wears numbers one to twelve
And you look and read its face
And tell the time pre-cise-ly ex-act - ly.
Yet who reads the face of love?
Who tells love numbers pre-cise-ly ex-act-ly?
Holding love in a tight hold for keeps,
Fastening love down and saying
“It's here now and here always.”
You don’t do this off hand, careless-like.
Love costs. Love is not so easy
Nor is the shimmering of star dust
Nor the smooth flow of new blossoms
Nor the drag of a heavy hungering for someone.

Love is a white horse you ride
or wheels and hammers leaving you lonely
or a rock in the moonlight for rest
or a sea where phantom ships cross always
or a tall shadow always whispering
or a circle of spray and prisms —
maybe a rainbow round your shoulder.

Heavy heavy is love to carry
and light as one rose petal,
light as a bubble, a blossom,
a remembering bar of music
or a finger or a wisp of hair
never forgotten.

~ Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

Birds with no names (P.S: I'll call you beautiful birds)

The Acanthus, paper cutout collage by Henri Matisse

I see beautiful birds
Birds with no names
And it makes me restless
This not knowing the names, the labels

And then I let go,
breathe deeply,
exhale fully
and look again

And there they are -
on nameless electric lines,
on nameless trees,
on nameless fences
heartbeats of nameless skys
These birds with no names

They are more beautiful that they ever could be with names
names that might not have been invented yet
names that I do not know yet
In this namelessness they seem more beautiful
for they are their essence
..a beautiful bundle of lightness
And that's what I want to become

- Nameless Lightness

Monday, December 03, 2012

Blue Moon

Blue Nude by Henri  Matisse 
Be around
In your once in a blue moon way

Come to me, once in a long long time
When stars of your indecisions align

Come to me, once in a long long time
(So long that four letters of the word long
don't do you justice )

Come to me
In your once in a blue moon way

Come to make the tide of my silent heart
rise to fall once again

Come to me and my blue moon orbit

Be around
In your once in a blue moon way

- Neha

To Arrive Where You Are


To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
 

- T.S.Eliot 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Flower In Ruins

she loved the yellow flowers,
not the least cognizant of the ruins
(or the cracks that their roots called home)
and why should they be
they bloom, as always! 

- Neha

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Turning World

Acrobatic Dancer by Henri Matisse

At the still point of the turning world.
Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards;
at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement.
And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered.
Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline.
Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance,
and there is only the dance.

- T. S. Eliot

Friday, November 02, 2012

Why I Am Not a Painter

Sardines by Michael Goldberg

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,
for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
“Sit down and have a drink” he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. “You have SARDINES in it.”
“Yes, it needed something there.”
“Oh.” I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. “Where’s SARDINES?”
All that’s left is just
letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.

- Frank O’Hara

Much Love

This Is the Color of My Dreams by Joan Miró
Something was holding them back
To the naive eye, it was a fear of water
To the knowing eye, it was a love of water
Too much love at that (a silent tsunami kind of love)
Like a thunderstorm that opens up the mighty skys

For (maybe, just maybe) they (unknowingly) feared
that the waves will sweep them away
To an endless unseen sea of too much love
Too much love that goes twenty thousand leagues under the sea
(only to see that there is an enchanted sea under the sea)
Too much love where the brim is just the beginning

And how does one survive too much of anything,
leave alone too much of love?

So they left the greeting at that :
With much love,

- Neha

Thursday, November 01, 2012

An Accident


A look met a moment met an eternity
The moment met a crash met the time 
frozen in the precipice of her misty mind  

- Neha

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

(W)here

The Gold of the Azure by Joan Miró
Happy that she's almost there
Sad that she's almost there

For there means not here
As this here unfolds there somewhere

- Neha

Painting On A Stormy Evening

Bloombars 
When not staring out the window, we painted.
We painted, in half excitement and half fear
Half fear fully subsided ( painting does that to the nerves)
Half excitement rose to fill the cup of our evening
Colors of paint turned the chairs to pink, blue and purple
As the grey clouds of our hearts lifted

- Neha

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Different Kind of Rain

Chaorder by Neha

This rain
Its not that different
The pitter patter is the same

But this rain is not the same
The pitter patter is like a grandfather's clock
tick tock tick tock - someone is coming
The air is full of anxiety
Shallow breaths of what will we all become

This rain
Its different
Gas station is out of gas already
Whatmart is out of toilet paper
Water aisle is empty
Batteries are long gone too
(sales have hit a five year daily high,
the manager is smiling amidst the chaos,
his weekly forecast is that god is on his side)

Children are happy to have the day off at school
(they plan to play hide and seek)
Their mother is scared out of her wits
(she feels powerless without utility power)
The husband is following live weather reports on his computer
(he says they say the full moon will make it worse, and mid-sentence steals a moment to check the football scores from yesterday)
The neighbor in grey track pants is happy his tortuous office will remain closed
(he has lined up his favorite movies for reruns)
The 80 year old Mrs. Smith has got all her medicines
(she is not worried or happy. She has seen many storms.
This too shall pass, she knows )

The rain has stopped now
He is stretched out smartly with a phone in hand
Was that all?
Or is this the lull before the storm?

- Neha

The Storm

The Manneporte by Claude Monet 
1

Against the stone breakwater,
Only an ominous lapping,
While the wind whines overhead,
Coming down from the mountain,
Whistling between the arbors, the winding terraces;
A thin whine of wires, a rattling and flapping of leaves,
And the small street-lamp swinging and slamming against
the lamp pole.

Where have the people gone?
There is one light on the mountain.

2

Along the sea-wall, a steady sloshing of the swell,
The waves not yet high, but even,
Coming closer and closer upon each other;
A fine fume of rain driving in from the sea,
Riddling the sand, like a wide spray of buckshot,
The wind from the sea and the wind from the mountain contending,
Flicking the foam from the whitecaps straight upward into the darkness.

A time to go home!--
And a child's dirty shift billows upward out of an alley,
A cat runs from the wind as we do,
Between the whitening trees, up Santa Lucia,
Where the heavy door unlocks,
And our breath comes more easy,--
Then a crack of thunder, and the black rain runs over us, over
The flat-roofed houses, coming down in gusts, beating
The walls, the slatted windows, driving
The last watcher indoors, moving the cardplayers closer
To their cards, their anisette.

3

We creep to our bed, and its straw mattress.
We wait; we listen.
The storm lulls off, then redoubles,
Bending the trees half-way down to the ground,
Shaking loose the last wizened oranges in the orchard,
Flattening the limber carnations.

A spider eases himself down from a swaying light-bulb,
Running over the coverlet, down under the iron bedstead.
The bulb goes on and off, weakly.
Water roars into the cistern.

We lie closer on the gritty pillow,
Breathing heavily, hoping--
For the great last leap of the wave over the breakwater,
The flat boom on the beach of the towering sea-swell,
The sudden shudder as the jutting sea-cliff collapses,
And the hurricane drives the dead straw into the living pine-tree.

- Theodore Roethke

Storm In The Garden

The Large Plane Trees by Vincent Van Gogh
The good thing is that she is surrounded by trees
Shade. Beauty. Jumping Squirrels. Chirping birds.
A room with a view just as she likes.

A storm is coming.

The bad thing is that she is surrounded by trees.
Glass greenhouse. Droopy branches. Falling leaves.
Blue sky turning gray with hourly age (a mad rage)

A storm is coming.
Reflection. Attachment. Fury. Silence.
Circular circle of life makes a turn.
(as it always does)

- Neha

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mad Girl’s Love Song

Seated Odalisque by Henri Matisse 

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Half A Dream

Half figure of a young woman by Gustave Klimt 
You gave me your words 
Written in blue ink on the palm of your white hands 
A morning gift between half sleeping and half waking 

You gave me your words
I gave you one half of a broken green earring as a piece of me
You said it is beautiful despite being broken, 

maybe even because of it 

Just like half of you and half of me 
Like the taste of our mouths
Full of half longing and half belonging

Half a dream of you and me 

 - Neha

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rain of Leaves

Fallen again by Neha

This rain of leaves
Green. Brown. Yellow
Sway. Gravity. Pull. Fall
S e p a r  a  t    e     d. United. Again and again
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
Rebirth. This life
This rain of leaves

- Neha

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Love is more thicker than forget

The River Epte by Claude Monet
love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

- e. e. cummings

Boundless

Letter from Henri Matisse to Andre Rouveyre
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

- Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Easily amazing

L’Odalisque, Harmonie Blueue by Henri Matisse 
"If she's amazing, she won't be easy. If she's easy, she won't be amazing. If she's worth it, you won't give up. If you give up, you're not worthy. .. Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for."  - Bob Marley

But Bob, she could be easily amazing
or amazingly easy
if only you don't create a web amazingly difficult
or difficultly amazing
It really is that easy
Truth is, nobody is going to hurt you
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional

- Neha

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Dangerous Things

The Red Sun by Joan Miro

Said Myrtias (a Syrian student
in Alexandria; in the reign of
Augustus Constans and Augustus Constantius;
in part a pagan, and in part a christian);
"Fortified by theory and study,
I shall not fear my passions like a coward.
I shall give my body to sensual delights,
to enjoyments dreamt-of,
to the most daring amorous desires,
to the lustful impulses of my blood, without
any fear, for whenever I want --
and I shall have the will, fortified
as I shall be by theory and study --
at moments of crisis I shall find again
my spirit, as before, ascetic."

- C.P.Cavafy

Monday, September 24, 2012

An absence, a song


  Girl in Yellow and Blue with Guitar by Henri Matisse
Loss became a gain,
Your absence a song, 
How then can I complain, 
despite the pain?
For wouldn't it be cruel, 
to deprive the sunshine world,
of a season of soul stirring rain?

- Neha

The Night Has A Thousand Eyes

Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent Van Gogh
The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying of the sun.

The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.

- Francis William Bourdillon

Monday, September 17, 2012

Silence of Words

For whom the bell tolls by Neha

[ Now I come to you full of future. And from habit we begin to live our past - Rainer Maria Rilke ]

So you remained silent
Silent with a million words in your blue grey eyes
Silent - not because you had nothing to say
Silent - because you did not know where to start

- Neha

Since feeling is first


 Lorette a la tasse de cafe by Henri Matisse
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

- e. e. cummings

Sunday, September 16, 2012

One Request (to Half the Sky Movement and Amy Grant)

Only One World by Neha
You stand for her, me and for us
You stand for all that should be good
You stand for all that must be good
You stand for women who hold up half the sky

But you do one thing not quite right
You call us the women of third world
Don't you know there is only one world ?
This distinction of first, second, third
Is in itself a barrier to your dreams for our common world

So continue your work
Spread the word
Please work for "world women", just drop the third.

- Neha Misra

An Open Letter

I wrote this piece in a rather calm defiance of the word "third world", triggered (read inspired) by a Facebook post by Nick Kristof's Half the Sky movement with a message from Amy Grant:
"My contribution, 'Third World Women,' was written years ago with my dear friend Chris Eaton... I can't think of a better 'home' for this song than as part of this very important project. I hope and pray for a better, safer world to be a woman no matter what corner of the world you call home." 
         - Amy Grant 
I greatly admire Nick Kristof and Half the Sky movement, as also Amy Grant's voice ( that I grew up listening to on now antique cassettes that I used to play in loop as a teenage girl), and her support for this very important cause. But I have never been a fan of the term "third world" ( having my own roots in the developing world with hundreds of years of colonial history). First, we should have "one world" and not a world divided into classes of first, second, third. Two, it (third world) is a cold war term which should be shed away really in my view.

It is just a word ( two actually), some may say, but then words are powerful. So here's my request - can we please stand for our shared world - one world?

What do you think?

One World Woman,
Neha Misra ( @LightSolar)

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Clenched Soul


San Giorgio Maggiore by Twilight by Claude Monet
We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world.

I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.

Sometimes a piece of sun
burned like a coin in my hand.

I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.

Where were you then?
Who else was there?
Saying what?
Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly
when I am sad and feel you are far away?

The book fell that always closed at twilight
and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet.

Always, always you recede through the evenings
toward the twilight erasing statues. 

- Pablo Neruda

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gasp



Opening heart by Neha
She lived for the gasp
The colorful gasp
The tiny gasp
The gravity defying gasp

The gasp that came as a stranger
looked at the colors she had splashed
( colors that came out of her
own eternal gasp )
The gasp that made a second seem
like a very v e r y  v   e   r   y long time
The gasp that made his eyes open
The gasp that made his heart expand,
The gasp that made him feel as if he
had found the secret of being ( to be)
If only for that fraction
of a timeless moment
The gasp as his mouth opened -
"Aah - the colors!", he said.

She lived for the gasp
Happiness in time capsule
of a colorful gasp

- Neha

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fire and Water

Abstract by Oskar Fischinger 
How do you burn this fire?
With water!

- Neha

Friday, August 24, 2012

Whoever you are

Whirling dervishes by Alison Wiklund

Come, come, whoever you are,
Wanderer, idolater, worshiper of fire,
Come even though you have broken your vows a thousand times,
Come, and come yet again.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.

- Rumi

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Greener Inside

Long grass with butterflies by Vincent Van Gogh 
Not on the fence
Not on the other side
Not on this side either
The grass is greener inside
And this inside is what needs
nurturing -
A little rain
A little sun
A little air
And a handful of earth
So don't look for sides
Look inside

- Neha

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waves

Perpetual Ocean by NASA

Wanting
Waiting
Waning
Breathing
           in the wanting
         g
       n
      i
    s
   i
R
  in the waning
 F
  a
   l
    l
     i
      n
        g
          in the waiting
This wave.
Wanting, waiting, waning

- Neha

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Revealed


La Tristesse du roi (Sorrows of the King) by Henri Matisse
ratio et prudentia curas, non locus effusi late maris arbiter, aufert.
[ It is reason and wisdom which take away cares, not places affording wide views over the sea ] 

- Horace, Epistles, I, xi, 25-6  

He ran all his life
 away,
   away,
      away,
        away from his deepest fear
The more he ran, the more it came closer
                                             closer
                                   closer
                          closer

Till he learnt that
   this chase was not the answer
       or perhaps it was,
only, in the opposite direction
- not away from his fear, but towards it

For running away makes the grey cloud
consume the whole sky,
It is in moving towards and embracing,
that the whole sky begins to shine,
no matter the time,
day or night

- Neha

Questionable

The Circus by Henri Matisse  

Your question to my question,
A nice answer,
Isn't it?

- Neha, For R

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Secrets

“I think books should have secrets, like people do. I think they should be there as a bonus for the sensitive reader or there as a kind of subliminal quavering. I don’t think that the duty of the twentieth-century fiction writer is to retell old stories only.”

—John Updike

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fingerprints

            Fingerprints by yoghaert

Everyone we meet in life
leaves their fingerprints on us
Some on our heart
Some on our mind
Some on our body
Some just about everywhere

Some fingerprints fade with time
Some become stronger
Some are marked in an invisible ink
that comes to life when a memory washes over
Some are as straight as a line gets
Some circular like the mother of all circles
Some like a drunken ecstasy -
one part lost, one part simply don't care for loss or lost

Some fingerprints are divine accidents
Some just scars from head on collisions
that should have never happened
Some are in between that bridge of
destiny and the audacity of living a
life on our own terms
Some a legacy from our past
Some just hand me downs with
hidden stories waiting to be found

Fingerprints.
She looks at all the fingerprints
as a faint memory washes over
And then another, and then another
Fingersprints of a strong current rising from the
bottom of an ocean bed as she roles over

- Neha

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Fresh Laundry

A Pork-Butchers Shop Seen from a Window by Vincent Van Gogh
Sometimes you don't even realize
how much the room stinks
till you open the windows
and let fresh air in
or if someone smelling
good, I mean real real good -
like fresh laundry, walks in
or if someone simply puts the
room freshener because
he or she is too polite to say it basically stinks
Its as if you were living with
a white noise and someone came
and just put the white noise switch off
and then there is the joy of pure silence.
Pure silence that has been here all along

There is fragrance now
Life is the sweet smell of morning grass
and you wonder
how you ever lived
without this fragrance in your life,
you wonder if that before counts

Its a new time now
time to throw the garbage
and open the windows
time for fresh laundry

- Neha

Requiem for a Friend

La Gerbe by Henri Matisee

For this is wrong, if anything is wrong:
not to enlarge the freedom of a love
with all the inner freedom one can summon.
We need, in love, to practice only this:
letting each other go. For holding on
comes easily; we do not need to learn it.

-from Requiem for a Friend, Rainer Maria Rilke

Restrain

Two Dancers by Henri Matisse
He extended his right hand
She showed her back

He sang a gentle song
She thought it was a time for silence

till silence became a whispered song

and

She extended her right hand
He showed his back

She sang the song of a morning bird
He pretended he could listen nothing

He showed his back
She turned back

Two backs facing each other
Two faces looking east and west
Two songs and a shared silence
Amber fossil for her
Lost time for him

- Neha

The Coming Of Wisdom With Time

Paysage by Joan Miro

THOUGH leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.

- W. B. Yeats

Monday, August 06, 2012

Still

Icarus by Henri Matisse
Light
Smoke
Ash
 And still -
    We burn

- Neha

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Life before death

The Garden by Joan Miro 
She asked if he believed in life after death
He said he believed in life. Life before death
"Before is all we have", he said 
"No one has come back from after, ever "

So then that's what she chose
Reincarnating herself in this life 
Choosing life before death
Choosing life

- Neha

Friday, August 03, 2012

चलो फिर से मुस्कुराएँ


Engraved by Neha
चलो फिर से मुस्कुराएँ 
चलो फिर से दिल जलाएं 

जो गुज़र गयी हैं रातें 
उन्हें फिर जगा के लायें 
जो बिसर गयीं हैं बातें 
उन्हें याद से बुलाएं 
चलो फिर से दिल जलाएं 
चलो फिर से मुस्कुराएँ 

किसी शह-नशी पे झलकी 
वो धनक किसी कबा की 
किसी रग की कसमसाई 
वो कसक किसी अदा की 
कोई हर्फे-बे-मुरब्बत 
किसी कुंजे-लब से फूटा 
वो झनक के शीशा-ए-दिल 
तहे-बाम फिर से टूटा 

ये मिलन की, नामिलन की 
ये लगन की और जलन की 
जो सही हैं वारदातें 
जो गुज़र गयी हैं रातें 

जो बिसर गई हैं बातें 
कोई उनकी धुन बनाएं 
कोई इनका गीत गाएँ
चलो फिर से मुस्कुराएँ 
चलो फिर से दिल जलाएं 

फैज़  अहमद  फैज़  

Word Key - शह-नशी : a higher place to sit, कबा : vest, हर्फे-बे-मुरब्बत : heartless, तहे-बाम : under the high tower 

Thursday, August 02, 2012

A Private Miracle

Ubu Roi VI by Joan Miro
Everything was right.
By design, of this they were sure.
It always had been (right).
It seemed like the fruit of an 
eternally compounded good karma,
While others struggled with empty
hands and wistful eyes looking at sky.
So they did the least could -
They lived a life praying endlessly
for a continued private miracle.

- Neha

Waiting for a Miracle

Hand Catching a Bird by Joan Miro
Nothing was right.
Not by design atleast.
It never had been (right).
So when it did (become right)
It seemed like a miracle -
Like a pigeon appearing 
from a magician's hat
So they did the best they could -
They waited for a miracle

- Neha

Failing and Flying

Bird in Space by Constantin Brancusi

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was 
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars 
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say 
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

- Jack Gilbert



Notes: In Greek mythology, Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus. The main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. He ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and the melting wax caused him to fall into the sea where he drowned. Read more here.

To His Coy Mistress

Resting Woman Wearing Tiara by Henri Matisse


Had we but world enough, and time,

This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
        
But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.
       
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run. 

- Andrew Marvell