Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Heart of You

"Through and through" by Neha

Show me the heart of you
Not the name they gave you
Not the name of toy you played with as a child of two
Not the name of playschool where you were bullied by few
Not the name of high school where you were a bully too
Not the name of exam you aced because of all you knew
Not the name of first place you worked at twenty two
Not the name of designer of your shiny silk suit

Show me the heart of you
Not the size of your bank after tax is cut
Not the size of your house
Not the size of your car
Not the size of your facebook friends list
Not the size of your twitter followers
Not the size of your phone book's who and who

Show me the heart of you
Show me what moves the very heart of you
Show me what silly games you played as a child
Show me what made your favorite toy the favorite despite the patches
Show me the scars from when they bullied you
Show me the regret you have for doing to others
what you wouldn't have them do unto you
Show me what you'd bank this present on
Show me your vision for life when you are old, wrinkled, by yourself and looking back at all the years, people and places that have passed through you as you through them
Show me the stitches as you unbroke your heart
when that first love of your young dreams said I don't

Show me the heart of you
Show me where you go to be weightless
when you close your heavy eyes
Show me the dreams in forgotten corners of your heart
Show me the windows, doors and cobwebs too
Show me the way out through the way through
Show me the skins you have shed to start afresh
Show me the equal part lover of full moons, black
nights and the golden sun
Show me the giver who graciously takes, the taker who tenderly gives
Show me the wings with which you fly
Show me blue skies where your shadow lies

Show me the heart of you
Show me the one who knows that questioning
takes a very special kind of faith too
Show me the one not afraid to say that
sometimes I am afraid of not having a clue
Show me the one tamed by the wild
Show me the one who has no regard for a second hand life
Show me the one who has returned from the edge of night
Show me the long distance runner no longer
running from the rear view mirror
Show me the survivor who says it
is not always about survival of the fittest
Show me the kind who has walked on pointed
ice and only learnt to be kind
Show me the one who cries and laughs all at once
Show me the heart of your being's
hearth when fuel for fire is gone

Show me what can not be seen
Show me freedom from the known
Show me the hero and the unhero in you
Show me you the sublime and you the maya
Show me the heart of you
And I will show you mine.

- Neha

This poem was born ( in that uncanny order spread over no more than 30 days in all ) :: one part as a deep reflection on our true essence as a human being when all that is known ( in a traditional bio data sense) about a person one wants to know is stripped, one part a frustration expressed by my trainer Sonia at being asked at parties "what do you do?!" ( and my response, just tell them with a smile and a gasp "I breathe!", followed by "aah! I should write a poem about that!") and in no small part to contemplation on ( and in response to) two serendipitous readings of "The Invitation" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer ( that I had never read/ heard about before and which you can read here) - within ten days of each other from two incredible women totally unrelated to each other, except that they both have touched my life ( the first reading by a dear friend close to my heart at a gathering where another friend had also intended to share it without the other being aware of it !!; and the second reading by a beautiful poet who biked across America and shared the poetic wisdom from her journey along with this piece at an open-mic night)

I loved "The Invitation" ( and still do) for it spoke so closely to what I had been trying to say. It gave me goosebumps that someone wrote what had been on my mind, another brought it to life with the most heartfelt reading and yet another gave a gentle reminder in exact 10 days ( of what in comparison is a long lifetime of more than 10,000 days). I couldn't be more happier with the Invitation's wisdom on our inner light. But then, as I pondered more and more on it, I realized that our light goes with darkness...each completes the other. So what I'd want to know about the essence of a human being is not just the greatness that makes him/her a hero that Oriah (which also means "light of god" in Hebrew) speaks so beautifully about but also the weaknesses that makes him/her the unhero, and the two combined that make us homo sapiens ( Latin for "Wise Man" or "Knowing Man") ..and hence this poem..for the hero and unhero in each one of us. The journey continues.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tiare Tahiti

"The View" by Neha

Mamua, when our laughter ends,
And hearts and bodies, brown as white,
Are dust about the doors of friends,
Or scent ablowing down the night,
Then, oh! then, the wise agree,
Comes our immortality.
Mamua, there waits a land
Hard for us to understand.
Out of time, beyond the sun,
All are one in Paradise,
You and Pupure are one,
And Tau, and the ungainly wise.
There the Eternals are, and there
The Good, the Lovely, and the True,
And Types, whose earthly copies were
The foolish broken things we knew;
There is the Face, whose ghosts we are;
The real, the never-setting Star;
And the Flower, of which we love
Faint and fading shadows here;
Never a tear, but only Grief;
Dance, but not the limbs that move;
Songs in Song shall disappear;
Instead of lovers, Love shall be;
For hearts, Immutability;
And there, on the Ideal Reef,
Thunders the Everlasting Sea!

And my laughter, and my pain,
Shall home to the Eternal Brain.
And all lovely things, they say,
Meet in Loveliness again;
Miri's laugh, Teipo's feet,
And the hands of Matua,
Stars and sunlight there shall meet,
Coral's hues and rainbows there,
And Teura's braided hair;
And with the starred 'tiare's' white,
And white birds in the dark ravine,
And 'flamboyants' ablaze at night,
And jewels, and evening's after-green,
And dawns of pearl and gold and red,
Mamua, your lovelier head!
And there'll no more be one who dreams
Under the ferns, of crumbling stuff,
Eyes of illusion, mouth that seems,
All time-entangled human love.
And you'll no longer swing and sway
Divinely down the scented shade,
Where feet to Ambulation fade,
And moons are lost in endless Day.
How shall we wind these wreaths of ours,
Where there are neither heads nor flowers?
Oh, Heaven's Heaven! -- but we'll be missing
The palms, and sunlight, and the south;
And there's an end, I think, of kissing,
When our mouths are one with Mouth...

Tau here, Mamua,
Crown the hair, and come away!
Hear the calling of the moon,
And the whispering scents that stray
About the idle warm lagoon.
Hasten, hand in human hand,
Down the dark, the flowered way,
Along the whiteness of the sand,
And in the water's soft caress,
Wash the mind of foolishness,
Mamua, until the day.
Spend the glittering moonlight there
Pursuing down the soundless deep
Limbs that gleam and shadowy hair,
Or floating lazy, half-asleep.
Dive and double and follow after,
Snare in flowers, and kiss, and call,
With lips that fade, and human laughter
And faces individual,
Well this side of Paradise!...
There's little comfort in the wise.

- Rupert Brooke, Papeete, February 1914

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saudade

"Rust" by Neha

tenho saudades tuas


To love that remains
Remains after the silent storm passed
Passed through her east, west, north and south
South of golden youth and north of silver hair
Hair that shone in sunshine as he gazed
Gazed at her black hair but beyond in a way
Way that led to a world beyond stars
Stars where lives the love that remains
Remains after the remains are gone

tenho saudades tuas

- Neha

To be savored with Cesaria Evora's Saudade

Monday, March 19, 2012

American Smooth

"Our dance" by Neha

We were dancing—it must have
been a foxtrot or a waltz,
something romantic but
requiring restraint,
rise and fall, precise
execution as we moved
into the next song without
stopping, two chests heaving
above a seven-league
stride—such perfect agony,
one learns to smile through,
ecstatic mimicry
being the sine qua non
of American Smooth.
And because I was distracted
by the effort of
keeping my frame
(the leftward lean, head turned
just enough to gaze out
past your ear and always
smiling, smiling),
I didn’t notice
how still you’d become until
we had done it
(for two measures?
four?)—achieved flight,
that swift and serene
magnificence,
before the earth
remembered who we were
and brought us down.

- Rita Dove

Hear a beautiful recital of "American Smooth" by Rita Dove here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Loving Forgiveness

New light by Neha

Forgive me first love for I never forgave you
Forgive me short love for I forgot you too soon
Forgive me unlove for I couldn't love you as you loved me
Forgive me mystery love for the veil that never lifted
Forgive me unsaid love for what lingered between silence and words
Forgive me loud love for the stillness that we never tasted
Forgive me burning love for I was burnt out
Forgive me plain love for I was a wild bird
Forgive me crazy love for I was looking for center of the universe
Forgive me love if I haven't loved enough or bit too much
Forgive me my love for I am perfectly imperfect

- Neha

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sunbird


Sunbird by Ian Junor

Under the golden red sun
Like a sudden flash turn
Flying you come

In this heat
Most would run
But you are a bird of sun

So like a candle
You burn, burn, burn
A magical fire urn
Mysterious ring of Saturn
Forever a bird of sun

- Neha

A Yearning

Water Serpents by Gustave Klimt

Desert waiting for rain
Winter waiting for spring
Night waiting for day
River waiting for ocean
Dream waiting for sleep
Forest fire waiting for wild water
Somewhere all this waiting waits for you.

- Neha

For strong women


Dancing Women by Henri Matisse


A strong woman is a woman who is straining.
A strong woman is a woman standing
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing Boris Godunov.
A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
and while she shovels, she talks about
how she doesn't mind crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
develops the stomach muscles, and
she goes on shoveling with tears
in her nose.

A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren't you feminine, why aren't
you soft, why aren't you quiet, why
aren't you dead?

A strong woman is a woman determined
to do something others are determined
not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way through a steel wall.
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you're so strong.

A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.

A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.

What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other. Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.

- Marge Piercy

Monday, March 12, 2012

Other side of dream pillow

Float by Neha

On the other side of dream pillow
Us and them are gone, only we remain
Your wrong and my right are gone, only we understand
Hate and revenge are gone, only forgiveness and wide open arms remain

On the other side of dream pillow
My past pain and imperfections are gone
My future happiness and perfections are also gone
Only now remains

On the other side of dream pillow
Nothing needs to change
Because life is perfect as it is
Only I was imperfect to see the perfection of the grand design

On the other side of dream pillow
There is no heaviness
Only a light wind blows
And I am a butterfly that flaps her wings and smiles at the sunflower.

- Neha

Loss and Find

Path by Neha

how do I define you?
how do I write about you?
how do I talk about you?
how do I say that I too suffered from loss?

a loss so deep that it came
like a million arrows piercing through my heart,
a loss so fast that it felt
like a ten thousand pound truck hitting me without a horn,
a loss so not called for it was
like the earth suddenly shifting under my feet

a loss is a loss is a loss

but I can talk about you now
because you taught me that nothing is lost in the end
that a loss can be a gain
if only we learn that that’s life:
high tide and low tide,
a bright day and a darker than dark night

so my heart beats so fast ..not to think what I lost
but what I found when I was lost in the heart of loss
this poem is about my find

- Neha

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A million colors

Wind-ow-s by Neha

A million colors..
Of a childhood spent in a pink rose garden
Of a girl running in her purple polka dot frock
Of a brother learning to fly a yellow kite
Of a dreamer dreaming under a makeshift black umbrella tent
Of a friend saying tippy tippy tap what color you want

A million colors..
Of a young girl dreaming rainbow dreams
Of a certain ms.princess going red in the cheeks
Of a born of fire rebel saying dirty mud brown corruption will not do
Of a secret ballerina dancing her sky blue room

A million colors..
Of many colored dreams
Of a woman with green bangles
Of a certain ms.wiser-than-before
in a two shade maroon golden silk saree

Of a sorrow that makes all colors
a bit hazy through those tears


A million colors..
Of open arms – white, black and brown
Of wild waters – white and blue
Of red sea, dead sea, atlantic and pacific
Of present ..the colorless yet colorful present
depending how you see it


A million colors..
Written in this black ink from the green pen with white trademark
There is no black or white she found, only the grey of life

A million colors..
Of love and acceptance
Of your light and your night

A million colors
Of rainbow dreams in my brown eyes.

-Neha

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Blue Blanket

"Feeling blue" by Neha

Under you,
stars unfold
rainbows curl
a little girl stretches her wings to swirl
and fly high in a cotton cloud world
under you,
my blue blanket

- Neha