Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another Sky

From Earth to Sky by Joan Miro

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields -
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!

- Emily Dickinson

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Dream of a Politically Incorrect Artist by A. Ramchandran 
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
     flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
     went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy
     bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

- Langston Hughes

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The flowering of the rod

Frida Kahlo (self portrait)
I go where I love and where I am loved,
into the snow;

I go to the things I love
with no thought of duty or pity;

I go where I belong, inexorably,
as the rain that has lain long

in the furrow; I have given
or would have given

life to the grain;
but if it will not grow or ripen

with the rain of beauty,
the rain will return to the cloud;

the harvester sharpens his steel on the stone;
but this is not our field,

we have not sown this;
pitiless, pitiless, let us leave

The-place-of-a-skull
to those who have fashioned it.

-  The Flowering of the Rod, H.D.

Quantum Recovery

Algue blanche by Henri Matisse 

[ quantum - Pronunciation: (KWAHN-tuhm), Meaning-  adjective: 1. Large. 2. Relating to the quantum theory. Noun. 1. A quantity or amount. 2. A portion. 3. A large amount. 4. The smallest amount of something that can exist independently; Etymology: From Latin quantus (how much or how great).

The quantum harmonic oscillator is one of the foundation problems of quantum mechanics. It can be applied rather directly to the explanation of the vibration spectra of diatomic molecules, but has implications far beyond such simple systems. It is the foundation for the understanding of complex modes of vibration in larger molecules…..

 - Quantum Harmonic Oscillator: Schrodinger Equation]

And so it reverberated through ages:
They remained in a perpetual state of recovery -
Recovery from too much sadness
or from too much happiness,

An oscillating quantum recovery:
Rebel roses amidst captive concrete cracks
Concrete deposits amidst red rosy rose beds.

And to think of this quantum of a recovery
while Schrödinger's cat chases her too much tail.

- Neha

Monday, December 15, 2014

To be a cloud

[I believe that life can go on forever. It takes a million years to evolve a new species, ten million for a new genus, one hundred million for a class, a billion for a phylum -- and that's usually as far as your imagination goes. In a billion years, it seems, intelligent life might be as different from humans as humans are from insects. But what would happen in another ten billion years? It's utterly impossible to conceive of ourselves changing as drastically as that, over and over again. All you can say is, on that kind of time scale the material form that life would take is completely open. To change from a human being to a cloud may seem a big order, but it's the kind of change you'd expect over billions of years. -Freeman Dyson, physicist (b. 1923) ]

To be a cloud

    to float, 
to rain,
    to light and thunder
Is an evolution I'd like.

But oh dear universe, 
why wait a billion years? 

- Neha

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Movement

Squirrels on Amaltas Tree by A. Ramachandran 
Empty boxes
  Red carpet gone too
         And where are the squirrels now?

- Neha

Friday, December 12, 2014

Train Signs & Sighs

Meditation by Henri Matisse 

Sign on the train ride shouted in an urgent font,
'STOP the war!"
She sighed equally urgently,
 "WHICH one? Inside or out?"

- Neha

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

What the living do

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won't work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven't called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It's winter again: the sky's a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat's on too high in here and I can't turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,

I've been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss--we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I'm gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I'm speechless:
I am living. I remember you.

- Marie Howe

Source: The Atlantic, Learn more at: NPR 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Our Making

Portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya by Henri Matisse 
Light and shade,
Light and shade,
This is how you and I were made.

- Neha

Now I Become Myself

Amrita Shergill at Bonhams
Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"Hurry, you will be dead before--"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

-  May Sarton ( Thanks Luzette!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Marte hain aarzoo mein

Ahalya by A.Ramachandran 
koi umeed bar nahin aati
koi soorat nazar nahin aati

maut ka ek din mu'ayyan hai
neend kyun raat bhar nahi aati

aage aati thi haal-e-dil pe hasee
aab kisi baat par nahi aati

jaanta hoon sawaab-e-taa'at-o-zahad
par tabiyat idhar nahin aati

hai kuch aisee hi baat jo chup hoon
warna kya baat kar nahin aati?

kyon na cheekhon ki yaad karate hain
mere awaaz gar nahin aati

daag-e-dil gar nazar nahin aata
boo bhi aye chaaraagar! nahin aati

hum wahan hain jahaan se humko bhi
kuch humari khabar nahin aati

marte hain aarzoo mein marne ki
maut aati hai par nahin aati

kaaba'a kis munh se jaaoge 'ghalib'
sharm tumko magar nahin aati 

- Mirza Ghalib 

Ishq mastana

Rituals of lal dhaga by A. Ramachandran 
Haman hai ishq mastana,
Haman ko hoshiyari kya?
Rahe azad ya jag mein,
Haman duniya se yaari kya?

Jo bichude hain piyare se,
Bhatakte dar badar phirte,
Hamara yaar hai humme,
Haman ko intazaari kya?

Na pal bichude piya hum se,
Na hum bichude piyare se
Unhi se neh laga hai,
Haman ko bekarari kya?

Kabira ishq ka mata,
Dui ko dur kar dil se.
Jo chalna rah nazuk hai,
Haman sar bojh bhari kya?

- Kabir 

जब यार देखा नैन भर

Lány by Amrita Sher-Gil (1936)
जब यार देखा नैन भर दिल की गई चिंता उतर
ऐसा नहीं कोई अजब राखे उसे समझाए कर।


तू तो हमारा यार है, तुझ पर हमारा प्यार है
तुझे दोस्ती बिसियार है एक शब मिलो तुम आय कर।


खुसरो कहै बातें ग़ज़ब, दिल में न लावे कुछ अजब
कुदरत  खुदा की है अजब, जब जिव दिया गुल लाय कर।


अमीर ख़ुसरौ 

Monday, October 06, 2014

Messenger

Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh 
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

- Mary Oliver (Thanks Margaux)

Friday, October 03, 2014

Ask nothing, refuse nothing

Whatever happens, whatever
What is is, is what
I want. Nothing else. But this.

- R.S. Thomas

The Double Realm

Only he who lifts his lyre
in the Underworld as well
may come back
to praising, endlessly.

Only he who has eaten
the food of the dead
will make music so clear
that even the softest tone is heard.

Though the reflection in the pool
often ripples away,
take the image within you.

Only in the double realm
do our voices carry
all they can say.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Gypsy Woman's Love Song

Vahine no te vi by Paul Gauguin 
I a part you
I apart you

You a part me
You apart me

Part you, part me
Apparition of partitions

Part parity
Part me, part you

Part spartans
Spartan parts

P art of you,
P art of me

Part paths
      Parallel
P
e
r
p
e
n
d
i
c
u
l
a
r
But no straight lines.
In this part                  apart,

- Neha

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Exclamation

Six Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh
[ ex·cla·ma·tion ˌ /ekskləˈmāSHən/ noun
a sudden cry or remark, especially expressing surprise, anger, or pain.]

He exclaimed,
"How do we fight this ugliness?!,
How do we fight this ugliness?!"

"With beauty!",
She exclaimed.

- Neha

Friday, September 12, 2014

Birches

Birch Forest by Gustave Klimt 

So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

- Robert Frost

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Infinite

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies; for vilest things
Become themselves in her: that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.

- From Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, 1606

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Ishrat-e-qatra




- Mirza Ghalib 

Still

Singing lines by K.K. Hebbar 

At the still point of the turning world.
Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards;
at the still point, there the dance is…

- T.S.Eliot

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Levels

Birth of poetry by K.K Hebbar 
You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed. People may not notice at the time, but that doesn't matter. The world has been changed nonetheless.

- Levels of Life, Julian Barnes

Friday, August 15, 2014

A fairytale

As Spring Passes By by A.Ramachandran 
Alas, mountains of imagination were nothing but a house.
And this grand life of mine was nothing but an excuse.
You've been hearing my story so patiently for a lifetime.
Now hear this … It was nothing but a fairytale.

- Rumi

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Leaning Into The Afternoons

Leaning into the afternoons I cast my sad nets
towards your oceanic eyes.

There in the highest blaze my solitude lengthens and flames,
its arms turning like a drowning man's.

I send out red signals across your absent eyes
that smell like the sea or the beach by a lighthouse.

You keep only darkness, my distant female,
from your regard sometimes the coast of dread emerges.

Leaning into the afternoons I fling my sad nets
to that sea that is thrashed by your oceanic eyes.

The birds of night peck at the first stars
that flash like my soul when I love you.

The night gallops on its shadowy mare
shedding blue tassels over the land.

- Pablo Neruda

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Carrots, Eggs and Life

Large composition with masks by Henri Matisse, 1953 
He read out thought of the day aloud, " The same boiling water that hardens the egg, will soften the carrot", so said one Dr. James Dobson.

She asked, "So are you an egg or a carrot?"
He said ( without batting an eye, as always), "but of course, a carrot!"
She smiled and said, "I think I am an egg"

( She became silent and thought,
 "maybe I am really a carrot egg salad made with boiling water experiment of life")

- Neha

Friday, July 11, 2014

Requiem of Mirrors & Flowers

"Tell me, must I travel ? Did you leave some Thing behind, some place, that cannot bear your absence? Must I set out for a country you never saw, although it was as vividly near to you as your own senses were ? I will sail its rivers, search its valleys, inquire about its oldest customs; I will stand for hours, talking with with women in their doorways and watching, while they call their children home. will see the way they wrap the land around them in their ancient work in field and meadow; will ask to be led before their king; will bribe the priests to take me to their temple, before the most powerful of the statues in their keeping, and to leave me there, shutting the gates behind them. And only then, when I have learned enough, I will go to watch the animals, and let something of their composure slowly glide into my limbs; will see my own existence deep in their eyes, which hold me for awhile and let me go, serenely, without judgment.

I will have the gardeners come to me and recite many flowers, and in their small melodious names I will bring back some remnant of the hundred fragrances. And fruits: I will buy fruits, and in their sweetness that country’s earth and sky will live, again. For that is what you understood: ripe fruits. You set them before the canvas, in white bowls, and weighed out each one’s heaviness with your colors. Women too, you saw, were fruits; and children, molded from inside, into the shapes of their existence. And at last you saw yourself as a fruit, you stepped out of your clothes and brought your naked body before the mirror, you let yourself inside down to your gaze; which stayed in front, immense, and didn’t say: I am that; no: this is. So free of curiosity your gaze had become, so unpossessive, of such true poverty, it had no desire even for yourself; it wanted nothing: holy.

And that is how I have cherished you -- deep inside the mirror, where you put yourself, far away from all the world. "

- From 'Requiem for a friend', Rainer Maria Rilke's

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Love Song


Blue III by Joan Miro
How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn't touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws *one* voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Glued

Te Faaturuma by  Paul Gauguin

For broken things and dreams:
One glue -
Multi-purpose stickiness

- Neha

As I furl from unfurl

Study for by Paul Gauguin

Days will become night,
Spring will suffer from a common cold
(as if after effects of a love at first sight)

Flowers will open and prepare for summer,
After cherry blossom snow will fall
(as if there was no such thing as a predictable weather)

My open heart will furl from unfurl,
Open doors will close with a quiver
(It will be peaceful and silent again,
as in sweet dreams of a little girl)

PS: I won't be able to save me or you.
PS to PS : "Savior is an overrated idea anyhow", I imagine you saying and laughing.

- Neha

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Into the Twilight

Found by Neha
OUT-WORN heart, in a time out-worn,  
Come clear of the nets of wrong and right;  
Laugh heart again in the gray twilight,  
Sigh, heart, again in the dew of the morn.  
  
Your mother Eire is always young,        
Dew ever shining and twilight gray;
Though hope fall from you and love decay,
Burning in fires of a slanderous tongue.

Come, heart, where hill is heaped upon hill:
For there the mystical brotherhood  
Of sun and moon and hollow and wood
And river and stream work out their will;

And God stands winding His lonely horn,
And time and the world are ever in flight;
And love is less kind than the gray twilight,
And hope is less dear than the dew of the morn.

- W.B.Yeats, Into the Twilight, The Wind Among the Reeds

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ek na ek shamma

Ek na ek shamma andhere mein jalaye rakhiye
Subah hone ko hai maahawl sajaaye rakhiye

Jinke haathon se hume zakm-e-neha pahunchi hai
Wo bhee kehte hain ke zakhmon ko chupaaye rakhiye

Kaun jaane ke wo kis raah-guzar se guzre
Har guzar raah ko phoolon se sajaaye rakhiye

Daaman-e-yaar ki zeenat na bane har ansoo 
Apni palkon ke liye kuch to bachaaye rakhiye 

- From the album "Unforgettable" by Chitra Singh & Jagjit Singh

Listen on YouTube here

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Poetry

Window by Henri Matisse
And it was at that age . . . poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, not silence,
but from a street it called me,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among raging fires
or returning alone,
there it was, without a face,
and it touched me.

I didn't know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind.
Something knocked in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first, faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing;
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
the darkness perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire, and flowers,
the overpowering night, the universe.

And I, tiny being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss.
I wheeled with the stars.
My heart broke loose with the wind.

-Pablo Neruda

And because Love battles

Resting Woman Wearing Tiara, 1936,
pen and ink drawing by Henri Matisse
And because love battles
not only in its burning agricultures
but also in the mouth of men and women,
I will finish off by taking the path away
to those who between my chest and your fragrance
want to interpose their obscure plant.

About me, nothing worse
they will tell you, my love,
than what I told you.

I lived in the prairies
before I got to know you
and I did not wait love but I was
laying in wait for and I jumped on the rose.

What more can they tell you?
I am neither good nor bad but a man,
and they will then associate the danger
of my life, which you know
and which with your passion you shared.

And good, this danger
is danger of love, of complete love
for all life,
for all lives,
and if this love brings us
the death and the prisons,
I am sure that your big eyes,
as when I kiss them,
will then close with pride,
into double pride, love,
with your pride and my pride.

But to my ears they will come before
to wear down the tour
of the sweet and hard love which binds us,
and they will say: “The one
you love,
is not a woman for you,
Why do you love her? I think
you could find one more beautiful,
more serious, more deep,
more other, you understand me, look how she’s light,
and what a head she has,
and look at how she dresses,
and etcetera and etcetera”.

And I in these lines say:
Like this I want you, love,
love, Like this I love you,
as you dress
and how your hair lifts up
and how your mouth smiles,
light as the water
of the spring upon the pure stones,
Like this I love you, beloved.

To bread I do not ask to teach me
but only not to lack during every day of life.
I don’t know anything about light, from where
it comes nor where it goes,
I only want the light to light up,
I do not ask to the night
explanations,
I wait for it and it envelops me,
And so you, bread and light
And shadow are.

You came to my life
with what you were bringing,
made
of light and bread and shadow I expected you,
and Like this I need you,
Like this I love you,
and to those who want to hear tomorrow
that which I will not tell them, let them read it here,
and let them back off today because it is early
for these arguments.

Tomorrow we will only give them
a leaf of the tree of our love, a leaf
which will fall on the earth
like if it had been made by our lips
like a kiss which falls
from our invincible heights
to show the fire and the tenderness
of a true love.

- Pablo Neruda

Always

Self Portrait by Amrita Sher-Gil 

I am not jealous
of what came before me.

Come with a man
on your shoulders,
come with a hundred men in your hair,
come with a thousand men between your breasts and your feet,
come like a river
full of drowned men
which flows down to the wild sea,
to the eternal surf, to Time!

Bring them all
to where I am waiting for you;
we shall always be alone,
we shall always be you and I
alone on earth,
to start our life!

- Pablo Neruda

Monday, February 24, 2014

One Art

Hill Women by Amrita Shergil

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Your Onion Love


The Snail by Henri Matisse
Your love :
Like an onion
  Layers
     Roots
        Tears
And still, we peel

- Neha

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Touch me not

[ touch-me-not (tŭch′mē-nŏt′) : n (Plants) any of several balsaminaceous plants of the genus Impatiens, esp I. noli-me-tangere, having yellow spurred flowers and seed pods that burst open at a touch when ripe. Also called: noli-me-tangere] 

I was a touch me not
You touched me 
Now I am not

- Neha

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Through love

Gopini by Jamini Roy
In the West intellect is the source of life,
In the East love is the basis of life.
Through love intellect gets acquainted with reality
And intellect gives stability to the work of love.
Arise and lay the foundations of a new world
By wedding intellect to love.

-Iqbal