Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Death of a Comet


Pretty, typical comet's end
NASA/CHANDRA/CASEY LISSE

Discovery news, July 16, 2014:  When the “Comet of the Century” died to a solar roasting last year, the world was sad. Hopes of a beautiful cometary display rapidly evaporated as space observatories relayed images of the once-proud dirty snowball become a pulverized cloud of sublimating ice and scattered dust.]

That we continue
to live, 
In the face of
now silent,
now brutal,
now boring,
death.
While
those 
in 
the 
realm 
of 
angels
continue to smile. 
While,
we, 
here,
in this in between
realm 
of cruel
tests 
of 
love,
wait to 
exhale. 

- Neha


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Agape Eyes

Tortoise who Kept His Mouth Shut and Eyes
Open by A Ramachandran
[Fact: Our eyes are the same size from birth.]

Oh! but for all
that
they
have
seen,
observed,
absorbed,
reflected,
deflected,
lived
and
relived,
these
<o>y<o>s
could
grow larger than
the largest
mountains.

- Neha

J(oin)

When (Jen's) prose
is poetry,
my heart breaks
(with Joy)
to
Join again.

- Neha, Tuesday porousness for Jen

How To Be a Poet (to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

- Wendell Berry

Slip Dip

When warm greetings,
become war greetings.
slip dip,
dip slip.

A travel memo was sent: Hang on, while the world hangs upside down.

- Neha

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Embody

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.
Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.

-- Rilke - Book of Hours, I 59

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Travel mystery

"I look how I feel",  overheard
in the train station ladies room,
Didn't get a glimpse of the face.
So a mystery now lingers till the end of time -

Did she feel great or horrible?

A travel memo was sent: Leave room for imagination.

Versions

[ ver·sion /vərZHən/ noun 1.a particular form of something differing in certain respects from an earlier form or other forms of the same type of thing.] 

What is life, but versions?
Each being in error, but thinking 
her's a case of plain facts, 
his a spicy delusion. 

- Neha 

Night in Dar

The night with its tropical sounds
and calls of distant ships,
not so distant any more.
Her remark earlier in the evening
about user friendly people
a reality on some shores.
And then your recurring dream,
as heart of the ocean beat on,
on the other side of the salty old door.

A travel memo was sent: Salty sign languages scream. 

- Neha

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Threshold

Passage by Neha
[We know that we must at last forsake the world, and we are accustomed in moments of weariness or exaltation to consider a voluntary forsaking; but how can we, who have read so much poetry, seen so many paintings, listened to so much music, where the cry of the flesh and the cry of the soul seems one, forsake it harshly and rudely? - W.B. Yeats, September 1912, Introduction to Gitanjali]

I was not aware of the moment when I first crossed the threshold of this life. What was the power that made me open out into this vast mystery like a bud in the forest at midnight? When in the morning I looked upon the light I felt in a moment that I was no stranger in this world, that the inscrutable without name and form had taken me in its arms in the form of my own mother. Even so, in death the same unknown will appear as ever known to me. And because I love this life, I know I shall love death as well. The child cries out when from the right breast the mother takes it away to find in the very next moment its consolation in the left one.

- Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali

One

We are all the more one because we are many,
For we have made ample room for love in the gap where we are sundered.
Our unlikeness reveals its breadth of beauty radiant with one common life,
Like mountain peaks in the morning sun.

- Rabindranath Tagore

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Illusions

Last night I dreamed - blessed illusion -
that I had a beehive here
in my heart
and that
the golden bees were making
white combs and sweet honey
from my old failures.

- Antonio Machado ( Thanks C)

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Peace of Wild Things

The Passage by Neha

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

- Wendell Berry

The Impossible Dream

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star.

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far.

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march
Into hell for a heavenly cause.

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
when I'm laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this
that one man scorned and covered with scars
still strove with his last ounce of courage
To fight the unbeatable foe
To reach the unreachable star.

Joe Darion

Thursday, September 24, 2015

There will be time enough

The child bride by Amrita Sher-Gil

There will be time enough,
To plan to meet,
And to meet, or not.
Life is short, but also so long.
( theory of relativity smiles)

So don't miss me,
In knowing
that this sky will still be here
when we meet.

P.S: Later in the day, news came in that S has stage 2 cancer.
(silence. silence. silence)
I don't know if there will be time enough, always.
So forgive me for inaccuracies,
and know that you are loved
very very much, here and hereafter.

- Neha

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sitarey Kee Neend

Lotus pond & light flies by A. Ramachandran
Dopahar kee tarah,
Ye garmee bhee chalee gayee.

Usee dopahar kee aad mein,
Jeevan kee shaam aa gayee.

Humein laga kee jaisey ek yug beeta
Magar ek sitarey ne kaha:

"Abhee thehro! abhee to meree aadhee
aankh hee hai khulee".

- Neha

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Tell me not here

Tell me not here, it needs not saying,
  What tune the enchantress plays
In aftermaths of soft September
  Or under blanching mays,
For she and I were long acquainted
  And I knew all her ways.

On russet floors, by waters idle,
  The pine lets fall its cone;
The cuckoo shouts all day at nothing
  In leafy dells alone;
And traveller's joy beguiles in autumn
  Hearts that have lost their own.

On acres of the seeded grasses
  The changing burnish heaves;
Or marshalled under moons of harvest
  Stand still all night the sheaves;
Or beeches strip in storms for winter
  And stain the wind with leaves.

Possess, as I possessed a season,
  The countries I resign,
Where over elmy plains the highway
  Would mount the hills and shine,
And full of shade the pillared forest
  Would murmur and be mine.

For nature, heartless, witless nature,
  Will neither care nor know
What stranger's feet may find the meadow
  And trespass there and go,
Nor ask amid the dews of morning
  If they are mine or no.

- A.E. Housman

Persist

Light persists -
through the cracks,
this stubborn lover.

- Neha

Spirited

He is in great spirits,
Consuming, as consumed by, spirits

- Neha

Aasman

Chidiya bolee,
"Hum kitney chotey hain,
Aur ye aasaman kitna bada".

- Neha

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sabbaths - 1993, I

No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And you have become a sort of tree
standing over a grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.

- Wendell Berry

Monday, August 24, 2015

Rivers Run Through Me

Rivers run through me
mountains bore into my body
and the geography of this country
begins forming in me
turning me into lakes, chasms, ravines,
earth for sowing love
opening like a furrow
filling me with a longing to live
to see it full, beautiful,
full of smiles.

I want to explode with love...

-Gioconda Belli, Nicaraguan poet

The Jaguar Smile

There was a young girl of Nic’ragua
Who smiled as she rode on a jaguar
They returned from the ride
with the young girl inside
And the smile on the face of the jaguar

-Anon [The Jaguar Smile, Salman Rushdie]

Saturday, August 22, 2015

This, I perceptronium: A quantum poem for Jen


Physicists are slow beings,
says
a
reincarnated
one
from
many
beings
ago:
Consciousness
IS
a
matter
of state
of mind
of matter!
: : And
 this,
is eternaltronium!

- Neha

Ministry of Silly

His sillineSSincreases
left 
to 
          right.

(If you say

nothing is left now,
then, chances are,
that you are right!)

You

may
enter
(t)his
ministry
if
you
take
a
silly
wow
too!

- Neha

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dispossession

Eyeliner,
time:
lost.
I:
redeemed.

A travel memo was sent: Enter the dis.

- Neha

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

B

Stolen time and red peppers
are secrets of Plan B.

A travel memo was sent: Embrace yourself for B, C, D till Z, and repeat.

- Neha

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Love Calls Us to the Things of This World

The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple
As false dawn.
                     Outside the open window
The morning air is all awash with angels.

    Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,
Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.
Now they are rising together in calm swells
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;

    Now they are flying in place, conveying
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.
                                             The soul shrinks

    From all that it is about to remember,
From the punctual rape of every blessèd day,
And cries,
               “Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,  
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.”

    Yet, as the sun acknowledges
With a warm look the world’s hunks and colors,  
The soul descends once more in bitter love  
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,  
    “Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;  
Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,  
And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating  
Of dark habits,  
                   keeping their difficult balance."

- Richard Wilbur

Monday, June 29, 2015

Weaving

I want to live like that:
To gather the losses of my life,
the crashes...
bitter medicine in fragile bottles…
Then spin them into soft tender thread,
weave that thread into love,
to give away again.

- Rita Bresnahan

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Landscape

Moss of ages by Neha

Isn't it plain the sheets of moss, except that
they have no tongues, could lecture
all day if they wanted about

spiritual patience? Isn't it clear
the black oaks along the path are standing
as though they were the most fragile of flowers?

Every morning I walk like this around
the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart
ever close, I am as good as dead.

Every morning, so far, I'm alive. And now
the crows break off from the rest of the darkness
and burst up into the sky—as though

all night they had thought of what they would like
their lives to be, and imagined
their strong, thick wings.

- Mary Oliver

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Unicorn in Captivity

Here sits the Unicorn
In captivity;
His bright invulnerability
Captive at last;
The Chase long past,
Winded and spent,
By the king's spears rent;
Collared and tied
To a pomegranate tree--
Here sits the Unicorn
In captivity,
Yet free.

Here sits the Unicorn;
His over-takelessness
Bound by a circle small
As a maid's embrace;
Ringed by a round corral;
Pinioned in place
By a fence of scarlet rail,

Fragile as a king's crown,
Delicately laid down
Over horn, hoofs, and tail,
As a butterfly net
Is lightly set.

He could leap the corral,
If he rose
To his full height;
He could splinter the fencing light,
With three blows
Of his porcelain hoofs in flight--
If he chose.
He could shatter his prison wall,
Could escape them all--
If he rose,
If he chose.

Here sits the Unicorn;
The wounds in his side
Still bleed
From the huntsmen's spears,
Yet he takes no heed
Of the blood-red tears
On his milk-white hide,
That spring unsealed,
Like flowers that rise
From the velvet field
In which he lies.
Dream wounds, dream ties
Do not bind him there
In a kingdom where
He is unaware
Of his wounds, of his snare.

Here sits the Unicorn;
Head in collar cased,
Like a girdle laced
Round a maiden's waist,
Broidered and buckled wide,
Carelessly tied.
He could slip his head
From the jewelled noose
So lightly tied--
If he tried,
As a maid could loose
The belt from her side;
He could slip the bond
So lightly tied--
If he tried.

Here sits the Unicorn;
Leashed by a chain of gold
To the pomegranate tree.
So light a chain to hold
So fierce a beast;
Delicate as a cross at rest
On a maiden's breast.
He could snap the golden chain
With one toss of his mane,
If he chose to move,
If he chose to prove
His liberty.
But he does not choose
What choice would lose.
He stays, the Unicorn,
In captivity.

In captivity,
Flank, hoofs, and mane--
Yet look again--
His horn is free,
Rising above chain, fence, and tree,
Free hymn of love; His horn
Bursts from his tranquil brow
Like a comet born;
Cleaves like a galley's prow
Into seas untorn;
Springs like a lily, white
From the Earth below;
Spirals, a bird in flight
To a longed-for height;
Or a fountain bright,
Spurting to light
Of early morn--
O luminous horn!

Here sits the Unicorn--
In captivity?
In repose.
Forgotten now the blows
When the huntsmen rose
With their spears; dread sounds
Of the baying hounds,
With their cry for blood;
And the answering flood
In his veins for strife,
Of his rage for life,
In hoofs that plunged,
In horn that lunged.
Forgotten the strife;
Now the need to kill
Has died like fire,
And the need to love
Has replaced desire;
Forgotten now the pain
Of the wounds, the fence, the chain--
Where he sits so still,
Where he waits Thy will.

Quiet, the Unicorn,
In contemplation stilled,
With acceptance filled;
Quiet, save for his horn;
Alive in his horn;
Horizontally,
In captivity;
Perpendicularly,
Free.
As prisoners might,
Looking on a high at night,
From day-close discipline
Of walls and bars,
To night-free infinity
Of sky and stars
Find here felicity;
So is he free--
The Unicorn.
What is liberty?
Here lives the Unicorn,
In captivity,
Free.
The Unicorn in Captivity.

- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The World Is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

- William Wordsworth.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Little deaths

Paula Modersohn-Becker 
re·in·car·na·tion ˌrēənkärˈnāSH(ə)n/ noun
the rebirth of a soul in a new body.

I died a little, again.
Reincarnation circles in, again. 

Little deaths and all the birthing pain.
Broken water shall return to rain.

[ Note to dictionary: re·in·car·na·tion is an intimate v/verb.]

- Neha


Unnames

In the company of strangers,
I feel at home.

- Neha

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Vigil

Whom should I turn to, 
if not the one whose darkness 
is darker than night, the only one 
who keeps vigil with no candle, 
and is not afraid—
the deep one, whose being I trust, 
for it breaks through the earth into trees, 
and rises, when I bow my head, 
faint as a fragrance from the soil.

- Rainer Maria Rilke


Friday, May 29, 2015

Loving Stars

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

- W.H.Auden 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A thousand roses, a little water

“People where you live," the little prince said, "grow five thousand roses in one garden... yet they don't find what they're looking for...

They don't find it," I answered.

And yet what they're looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water..."

Of course," I answered.

And the little prince added, "But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fireflies

When death comes and whispers to me,
“Thy days are ended,”
let me say to him, “I have lived in love
and not in mere time.
…He will ask, “Will thy songs remain?”
I shall say, “I know not, but this I know
that often when I sang I found my eternity.

- Rabindranath Tagore

Monday, May 11, 2015

Many Roads

[The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization. -Sigmund Freud] 

She1 asked, "I haven't heard you cuss, why (not)?"
She2 answered, "I don't cuss, I write poetry."

- Neha

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Placebo Goblet


[ pla·ce·bo ( old definition) pləˈsēbō/ noun a harmless pill, medicine, or procedure prescribed more for the psychological benefit to the patient than for any physiological effect  ]

Scientists are saying -
injecting words
can heal a patient ( psychophysiologically )
Why then, not speak soft and sweet?
Instead of taking pride in
being a bitter pill?

( And then, where does this mind end, and body begin?)

A travel memo was sent: Think of Kabir and think of Kabir often. Aisee vani boliye, mann ka aapa khoye, apna tan sheetal kare, auran ko sukh hoye.  Speak such words, sans ego's ploy
Body remains composed, giving the listener joy. 

- Neha

ChoICE

Siesta by Joan Miró

The clown laughs
He knows :
Young ice is the worst ice -
Un
s  t
   a

b l e .
       
Un
s
   e
t
   t
l
   i
n
       g.

"If ice be your weapon of choice,
Go
    with the old one.
The more ancient,
   the better,"
he announces
before the dis
appearing
act.

- Neha

To Tea Cups

Petal by petal by Neha
The first cup moistens my lips and throat,
The second cup breaks my loneliness,
The third cup searches my barren entrails but to ,
find therein some five thousand volumes of odd ideographs.
The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration, - all
the wrong of life passes away through my pores.
At the fifth cup I am purified, the sixth cup calls me
to the realms of immortals.
The seventh cup-ah, but I could take no more! I only
feel the breath of cool wind that rises in my sleeves.
Where is Foraosan? Let me ride on this sweet breeze
and waft away thither.

- Lo Tung, Tang Dynasty

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Cinnamon Peeler

If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbor to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler’s wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
— your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers…

When we swam once
I touched you in water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
You climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grasscutter’s wife, the lime burner’s daughter.
And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume.
and knew
what good is it
to be the lime burner’s daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in an act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler’s wife. Smell me.

- Michael Ondaatje

Monday, April 13, 2015

Outlaw

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

Hey hey hey!
Shyam will wait,
Shyam always waits
Shyam did not wait.

A travel memo was sent: Nature is an outlaw!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Un-hate

Red Hill & White Shell by Georgia O'Keeffe

To you who prompt me for
poetry of hate, I say:

Hate is too strong a word,
And life too short,
For anything but love.

- Neha

Friday, April 10, 2015

Journey

Chasing the light by Neha
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

- Mary Oliver

Thursday, April 09, 2015

I am use

The Potato by Joan Miró 
Shadow puppet said,
"Use me!"
Wooden trumpet laughed,
"You a muse me!"

- Neha

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Her Tea Ceremony

1794-1804c Supplies for the Tea Ceremony
color woodblock print Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

She poured tea, as she opened gifts.

She 1: Ecstatic mad mystery quest
( no wonder her tea spill'th with a childlike love, gift covers frantically torn apart)
She 2: Careful discovery of the hidden
( no wonder her tea is beautifuly contained, gift papers delicately unwrapped and saved)

[ A rose bud tea ceremony memo was sent to welcome the spring: 
As she shall live, thus shall she open her gifts, 
As she shall open her gifts, thus shall she pour. 
And how would you like to pour?]

- Neha ( For Lu, with love)

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Burning Waves

Wheatfield with Crows by Vincent Van Gogh
Yogi tea fortune
announces:
a relaxed mind is 
a creative mind.

then what, of
this turbulence,
and the poetry it
churns with the turning
w   i   n   d   m       i      l           l       s
  of our burning minds,
on fire,
on fire,
on fire.

- Neha

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Laughter goes down the drain!

Most by Joan Miró

And the drain laughed,
(his knowing gurgle of a laugh of course),
to announce:
"Under no circumstance,
Absolutely under noooo circumstance,
Under no circumstance,
Should you mix
toothpaste and shampoo!"
(bubbles burst rolling over the floor
laughing,
the knowing laugh of course!)

- Neha

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Poem for Jen

Women and Bird in the Night by Joan Miró
They are saying
that Jen is a myth,
An urban legend.

Typed on the fringes of gchat,
felt, but seldom seen ,
(and then, only with magic glasses,
while being resigned to the fate of red pedicure chairs.)

While not so far far away:
There are whispers in a
lotus belle tent
with stars for roof.

Gypsies. They know.
Because 'we' are 'they'!

- Neha

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sign language

Sumair by Amrita Sher-Gil (1936)
The once freshly painted walls
now stand scratched,
Like scratches on my body, and yours :
these signs of living

- Neha

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Online Ordering

Woman, Bird and Star by Joan Miró 
I ordered a rubber ball.
I got a boulder.

The postman left a memo: You think too small. Expand your imagination.

- Neha

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Borrowed Conundrums

Bird with two fish by Jamini Roy 
Light and shadow,
Light and shadow,
Which of you am I,
which did I borrow?

You lift an eyebrow, and say,
Oh, come on! now don't be so narrow,
you are both, and this plain fact is known
even by your courtyard baby sparrow!

- Neha

Hamsa Smiles

Mid Summer Day-Dream by A. Ramachandran 
[Hamsa is a mythical bird found in Indian folklore. It is said to represent perfect union, balance and life. A constant repetition of the word "hamso" changes it to "Soaham", which means "That I am". The flight of the Hamsa also symbolizes the escape from the cycle of samsara.] 

Like hamsa living in water,
yet untouched by water,

They continued to strive
in the unstriving,

Hamsa did what hamsa does,
Experiments in pearls, milk, water and dust.

And after all this while,
hamsa still smiles.
while trying to be still a while.

- Neha

Spektrəm

Femmes dans la nuit. Ref: 1072 by Joan Miro

Black, black the night,
Misty corner of wondering weightless eye.

Grey, grey the height,
Falling followed by the deep sigh.

White, white the kite,
Heady halo holding bewitched bewildered sky.

- Neha

Waterlily Fire

Flowers of Fire by Georgia O'Keeffe

….Whatever can happen to anyone can happen to me.

Fire striking its word among us, waterlilies
Reaching from darkness upward to a sun
Of rebirth, the implacable. And in our myth
The Changing Woman who is still and who offers.

Eyes drinking light, transforming light, this day
That struggles with itself, brings itself to birth.
In ways of being, through silence, sources of light
Arriving behind my eye, a dialogue of light.

And everything a witness of the buried life.
This moment flowing across the sun, this force
Of flowers and voices body in body through space.
The city of endless cycles of the sun.

I speak to you You speak to me

- Muriel Rukeyser

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Symbols

“The craft or art of writing is the clumsy attempt to find symbols for the wordlessness.”

—John Steinbeck

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Dim


   
Senecio by Paul Klee

   dim
i
nu
tiv
e this park is e
mpty(everyb
ody’s elsewher
e except me 6e 


nglish sparrow
s) au

tumn & t
he rai

n

th
e raintherain


- e e cummings 



Tuesday, March 03, 2015

To Soar

Melancholic Singer by Joan Miro 
Spring love and cool rain,
together drive you to
soar through their apparatus,
like you have a friend.

- Neha

Monday, March 02, 2015

Start Close In

Lavender Iris by Georgia O'Keeffe (1951)

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way to begin
the conversation.

Start with your own
question,
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something
simple.

To hear
another’s voice,
follow
your own voice,
wait until
that voice

becomes an
intimate
private ear
that can
really listen
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

- David Whyte

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Revolutionists Stop for Orangeade

Red Balloon by Paul Klee 

Capitan profundo, capitan geloso,
Ask us not to sing standing in the sun,
Hairy-backed and hump-armed,
Flat-ribbed and big-bagged.
There is no pith in music
Except in something false.

Bellissimo, pomposo,
Sing a song of serpent-kin,
Necks among the thousand leaves,
Tongues around the fruit.
Sing in clownish boots
Strapped and buckled bright.

Wear the breeches of a mask,
Coat half-flare and half galloon;
Wear a helmet without reason,
Tufted, tilted, twirled, and twisted.
Start the singing in a voice
Rougher than a grinding shale.

Hang a feather by your eye,
Nod and look a little sly.
This must be the vent of pity,
Deeper than a truer ditty
Of the real that wrenches,
Of the quick that's wry.

- Wallace Stevens 

Friday, February 06, 2015

Duino Elegies

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angelic
Orders? And even if one were to suddenly
take me to its heart, I would vanish into its
stronger existence. For beauty is nothing but
the beginning of terror, that we are still able to bear,
and we revere it so, because it calmly disdains
to destroy us. Every Angel is terror.
And so I hold myself back and swallow the cry
of a darkened sobbing. Ah, who then can
we make use of? Not Angels: not men,
and the resourceful creatures see clearly
that we are not really at home
in the interpreted world. Perhaps there remains
some tree on a slope, that we can see
again each day: there remains to us yesterday’s street,
and the thinned-out loyalty of a habit
that liked us, and so stayed, and never departed.
Oh, and the night, the night, when the wind full of space
wears out our faces – whom would she not stay for,
the longed-for, gentle, disappointing one, whom the solitary heart
with difficulty stands before. Is she less heavy for lovers?
Ah, they only hide their fate between themselves.
Do you not know yet? Throw the emptiness out of your arms
to add to the spaces we breathe; maybe the birds
will feel the expansion of air, in more intimate flight.

Yes, the Spring-times needed you deeply. Many a star
must have been there for you so you might feel it. A wave
lifted towards you out of the past, or, as you walked
past an open window, a violin
gave of itself. All this was their mission.
But could you handle it? Were you not always,
still, distracted by expectation, as if all you experienced,
like a Beloved, came near to you? (Where could you contain her,
with all the vast strange thoughts in you
going in and out, and often staying the night.)

- Duino Elegies, The First Elegy, Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Borderline

Flowing Woman by Rabindranath Tagore 
[The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border. -Pablo Casals, cellist, conductor, and composer (1876-1973)]

She couldn't stop at borders,
Who needs a straight long fence,
when the world is round?

A travel memo was sent: Let porous love pour over. 

- Neha

Cross Stitches

[Cross-stitch is a popular form of counted-thread embroidery in which x-shaped stitches in a tiled, raster-like pattern are used to form a picture... the stitcher counts the threads in each direction so that the stitches are of uniform size and appearance]

There is a new disaster in the news (there always is),
My carefully stitched heart is torn into hundred flying pieces (again),
I look at the shiny blue curtains with yellow flowers (across the blue green oceans),
And think if the news got you too (again).

A travel memo was sent: Let's learn cross stitches again. 

- Neha

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Lightly

A Pair of Leather Clogs by Vincent van Gogh
Lightly child, lightly. 
Learn to do everything lightly. 
Even though you're feeling deeply, 
lightly 
let things happen, and 
lightly 
cope with them on tiptoes 
and with no luggage, 
not even a sponge bag, 
completely 
unencumbered.
Lightly my darling...

- Aldous Huxley, Island 

Desynchronosis

Procession, Horse and Riders in a Tanga By Jamini Roy
To sleep for a few days, maybe even years
To wake up in another time, in another world.

A travel memo was sent: Let this circadian dysrhythmia be time travel to another universe.

- Neha

Hanging truths


The Hanging Gardens of Babylon - Assyrian interpretation, Wikimedia commons 
Have you heard the heresy?
They are now saying
that hanging gardens of Babylon
were not in Babylon!
Were there gardens? - Yes, they say!
Were they hanging? - Yes, they say!
Where were they, then? - Nobody knows, yet
(scholars are debating, as always!)

When hanging gardens of Babylon
are turned upside down,
Let everything turn so as well.

A travel memo was sent : Truth is hanging in an imaginary garden.

- Neha

Monday, February 02, 2015

What Survives

Blue III by Joan Miro
Who says that all must vanish?
Who knows, perhaps the flight
of the bird you wound remains,
and perhaps flowers survive
caresses in us, in their ground.

It isn't the gesture that lasts,
but it dresses you again in gold
armor --from breast to knees--
and the battle was so pure
an angel wears it after you.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Sun or Moon

Watercolour and pencil on paper by Sunayani Devi

Sun

Afflicted by affection,  
Run run 
into the 
   melting sun 

Moon 

Tied to tides 
and madness, 
  maybe it is the moon 
that calls.  

- Neha 

Pigeon's Dream

Portrait by Jamini Roy 
Living between drainage pipes,
the pigeon dreams
of a smog less sky.
To kiss his pigeon bride
under a golden light.
And tell her of a vision seen,
and in seeing realized.

- Neha

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Koi paar nadi ke gata


bhang nishaa ki neeravta kar
(Breaking the silence of the night)
is dehaati gaane ka swar
(this rural/folk song's notes)
kakdi ke kheto se uthkar, aata jamuna par leharaata
(rising from cucumber's field, wish it came in waves on the river Jamuna)
koi paar nadi ke gaata
(wish someone sang across the river)

honge bhai bandhu nikat hi
(there could be relatives/friends nearby)
kabhi sochte honge ye bhi
(who may also be thinking sometimes)
is tat par bhi koi, uski tano se sukh pata
(somebody on this river bank may also seek solace / happiness from his song/raaga )
koi paar nadi ke gaata
(wish someone sang across the river)

aaj na jaane kyun hota mann
(Don't know why today this mind )
sun kar ye ekaaki gaayan
(after listening to the lonesome song)
sadaa ise main sunta rehta, sadaa ise ye gaata jaata
(always wants to listen to it, always wants to sing it)
koi paar nadi ke gaata
(wish someone sang across the river)

- Harivansh Rai Bachchan

Monday, January 05, 2015

Creation of a Pot

Rabindranath Tagore, Untitled (Striding Bird), 1928.
Within this earthen vessel are
bowers and groves, and with
it is the creator:
Within this vessel are the seven oceans
and the unnumbered stars.
The touchstone and the jewel
appraiser
are within;
and within is the eternal soundeth, and
the spring wells up
Kabi says: "Listen to me, my friend!
My beloved lord is within."

- Songs of Kabir, translated by Rabindranath Tagore

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Sobremesa

Hesitantly, surrounded
by the mist that falls from days long gone,
we once more sit down to talk
and can't see each other.
Hesitantly, cut off in the depths of the mist.

On the table the breeze stirs slowly,
As we dream those who are absent draw close.
Leaves where bleak moss has passed long winters
now waken on the table-cloth.

Steam from the coffee cups drifts around us
and in the aroma we see old faces,
once more alive, float past
clouding the mirrors.

Empty chairs set straight
wait for those who, from far off,
will return later on.
We start talking
without seeing each other, without thought of time.

Hesitantly, in the mist
that grows and surrounds us,
we talk for hours without knowing
who is still alive and who is dead.

- Eugenio Montejo, Muerte y Memoria (1972), A Bright Moon For Fools