Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Thy fingers make early flowers

Violet Robe and Anemone by Henri Matisse

Thy fingers make early flowers
of all things.
thy hair mostly the hours love:
a smoothness which
sings, saying
(though love be a day)
do not fear,we will go amaying.

thy whitest feet crisply are straying.
Always
thy moist eyes are at kisses playing,
whose strangeness much
says; singing
(though love be a day)
for which girl art thou flowers bringing?

To be thy lips is a sweet thing
and small.
Death, thee i call rich beyond wishing
if this thou catch,
else missing.
(though love be a day
and life be nothing, it shall not stop kissing).

- e e cummings

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Affordability

Agnipariksha by Jamini Roy
[ Af·ford·a·ble/ adjective/ inexpensive; reasonably priced.]

Good karma
can be
very cOstly:
do it. still.

- Neha

Bolt

Savita with Kurma Avatar by A.Ramachandran
[ Bolt-ing/ In Botany, bolting is the premature production of a flowering stem. Most plants bolt due to hot weather. When the ground temperature goes above a certain temperature, this flips a switch in the plant to produce flowers....to abandon leaf growth almost completely. Bolting is a survival mechanism in a plant....when a vegetable plant bolts, its harvestable days are over.

Bolt/ A flash of lightning; a thunderbolt/ A sudden movement toward or away. ]

That
flower
should
be
the
death
of it.

: to beautiful ends

- Neha

Monday, August 22, 2016

What Have I Ever Lost By Dying?

Portrait IV, 1938 by Joan Miro

I lived for hundreds of thousands of years as a mineral,
And then I died and was reborn as a plant.

I lived for hundreds of thousands of years as a plant,
And then I died and was reborn as an animal.

I lived for hundreds of thousands of years as an animal,
And then I died and was reborn as a human being.

What have I ever lost by dying?

- Rumi ( version by Robert Bly) 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mysteries, Yes

Umbilical Creeper Carpet by A.Ramachandran 

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

- Mary Oliver

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Dream Within a Dream

Haze by Neha

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

- Edgar Allan Poe

Monday, July 11, 2016

To Kechene Women Potters

To open muddy doors by Neha

Making
future
from
dust
and
fire:
your
magic
is
real.

A travel memo was sent: Earthy magic is real, always. 

- Neha

Monday, July 04, 2016

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

- Rumi

Thursday, June 30, 2016

It felt love

Universe by Neha

How
Did the rose
Ever open its heart

And give this world
All its
Beauty?

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
Being,

Otherwise,
We all remain

Too
Frightened

- Hafiz

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Jal gaya sara badan

My Mother (1912–13) by Abanindranath Tagore
Sochate aur jaagte saanson ka ek dariya hoon main,
Apne guldastha kinaro ke liye bahta hu main.

Jal gaya sara badan, in mausamo ki aag me,
Rooh ka mausam hai, jismein ab rehta hoon main.

Mere honton ka tabassum, de gaya dhoka tujhe,
Tumne mujhko baag jana, dekhle sahara hu main.

Dekhe meri pajirayi ko aab aata hai kaun,
Lamha bhar to waqt ki, dahliz par aaya hu main.

- Athar Nafees, Sung by Ghulam Ali, As remembered - Ma

Saturday, June 04, 2016

I am Vertical

Destination by Neha
But I would rather be horizontal.
I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one's longevity and the other's daring.

Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,
The trees and the flowers have been strewing their cool odors.
I walk among them, but none of them are noticing.
Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping
I must most perfectly resemble them --
Thoughts gone dim.
It is more natural to me, lying down.
Then the sky and I are in open conversation,
And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:
Then the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.

- Sylvia Plath

Friday, May 27, 2016

Itna na apne jame se

Abanindranath Tagore 
  - Bahadur Shah Zafar, Rekhta.org

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I rose — because He sank —

As We Sunk by Neha
I rose — because He sank —
I rose — because He sank —
I thought it would be opposite —
But when his power dropped —
My Soul grew straight.

I cheered my fainting Prince —
I sang firm — even — Chants —
I helped his Film — with Hymn —

And when the Dews drew off
That held his Forehead stiff —
I met him —
Balm to Balm —

I told him Best — must pass
Through this low Arch of Flesh —
No Casque so brave
It spurn the Grave —

I told him Worlds I knew
Where Emperors grew —
Who recollected us
If we were true —

And so with Thews of Hymn —
And Sinew from within —
And ways I knew not that I knew — till then —
I lifted Him —

- Emily Dickinson

Friday, May 20, 2016

Palanquin Bearers

Lightly, O lightly we bear her along,
She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;
She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,
She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.
Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Softly, O softly we bear her along,
She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;
She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,
She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.
Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

- Sarojini Naidu

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Star gazing in asphalt

 People at Night, Guided by the Phosphorescent Tracks of Snails by Joan Miró
There are stars 
in the asphalt,
Pushing the resignations 
of the day away,
Pulling you back
to start again, again. 

- Neha

Such a fool

Self portrait by Amrita Sher-Gil 
April first is long       gone
But
I'm
still
such
a
fool
for
you.

- Neha

To melt

Coloured ink on paper by Rabindranath Tagore
 c.1929-30, Coll. Rabindra Bhavana, Acc. No. 00-2376-16

To melt all our burning
pride into a scented balm
to sooth the misery
of this strange wild world.

- Neha

Thursday, May 12, 2016

II Statement of Purpose II

Untitled by K K Hebbar 

Turn dinosaurs
into unicorns.

- Neha ( For T, to turn)

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Cloudestine Gypsies

Bacchanale au taureau -Pablo Picasso, 1959 

II Clouds are the patron goddesses of idle fellows floating keepers of beauty. .

Aristophanes    Neha
 446 – c. 386 BC The moment that has fled already II 

If I could name clouds, 
then there would be 
as many names
for each cloud, 
as there are 
clouds in the sky; 
( For each moment, there are countless 
clouds between countless 
births and deaths in the sky)

Each cloud's name 
would be: 
what of itself the cloud chooses
to reveal in any given moment, 
meeting with
what my soul's eye
is willing to see in any given moment.
( Each revealing one to another, if only in that beautiful passing moment)

For haven’t you seen the ever changing anatomy of clouds?
There! A cloud blossoming as a rose this moment 
Oh wait! Now it is only half a rose erased 
by a carefully careless hand! 
And there! A dinosaur cloud
chasing a carrot cloud!
Oh wait! Dinosaur cloud has become 
potato cloud now, and carrot cloud a bloating bubble gum! 
(Oh we could play this game forever, you and I!)

Losing our own limiting selves in the infinity of clouds!
We could even become the gypsy cloud readers at the old fair!
( as coffee readers, but clouds are better !)
 - We’d ask the curiosities to descend one by one,
to our open air tent and stare at the clouds, 
and we'd teach them to see their own cloudestiny
in this naming of clouds in any given moment! 

For we all have a cloudestiny- the ability to see what the 
floating clouds of sky and those of ourselves reveal!             

- As above, as within

Monday, May 02, 2016

Bewildered (बेसुध)

Dancing in Amavasi Night by A.Ramachandran 
[bəˈwildər/verb/ past tense: bewildered; past participle: bewildered
baffled, mystified, bemused, perplexed, puzzled, confused, nonplussed, dumbfounded, at sea, at a loss, disorientated, taken aback; //"she looked completely bewildered"]

You left me bewildered,
You left, me bewildered.

!! /विशेषण/ व्यग्  बेसुध  हक्का-बक्का किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़  !!

- Neha

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Less than hunger

Feast of Lamps by Abanindranath Tagore
Old yogi in a young body whispered :
Eat less than
your
hunger :
For lightness of
mind
and
this body
that carries
the mind
near
and
f  

        a





                    r.

- Neha <

Poetry of Garbage Disposer in Two Parts

Journey's End by Abanindranath Tagore (1913)

Part I.

The lighter it is, more
the noise it will make:
As with garbage disposer,
so with life.

Part II.

Sometimes it's not
the quality of the disposer itself,
But the garbage it churns -
Harsher it is, more the noise it makes.  

- Neha

Monday, April 18, 2016

II Immortal Justice of Housecleaning II

Sitting Woman by Jamini Roy 
That this dust that
we keep on cleaning: 
Is what we'd become, 
when all is said and done. 

- Neha

All that gold

 Trilogy of Colour by A. Ramachandran 
Golden rules: 
mythology of metals. 

- Neha

I give thee all

I give thee all—I can no more
Though poor the off'ring be;
My heart and lute are all the store
That I can bring to thee.
A lute whose gentle song reveals
the soul of love full well;
And, better far, a heart that feels
Much more than lute could tell.

Though love and song may fail, alas!
To keep life's clouds away,
At least 'twill make them lighter pass
Or gild them if they stay.
And ev'n if care, at moments, flings
A discord o'er life's happy strain,
Let love but gently touch the strings,
'Twill all be sweet again!

 - Thomas Moore

In Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, Alice recognizes the tune used in the song called Ways and Means sung by the White Knight.

Tell me how you live

I'll tell thee everything I can:
    There's little to relate.
I saw an aged aged man,
    A-sitting on a gate.
"Who are you, aged man?" I said,
    "And how is it you live?"
And his answer trickled through my head,
    Like water through a sieve.
   
He said "I look for butterflies
    That sleep among the wheat:
I make them into mutton-pies,
    And sell them in the street.
I sell them unto men," he said,
    "Who sail on stormy seas;
And that's the way I get my bread –
    A trifle, if you please."
   
But I was thinking of a plan
    To dye one's whiskers green,
And always use so large a fan
    That they could not be seen.
So, having no reply to give
    To what the old man said,
I cried "Come, tell me how you live!"
    And thumped him on the head.  

His accents mild took up the tale:
    He said "I go my ways,
And when I find a mountain-rill,
    I set it in a blaze;
And thence they make a stuff they call
    Rowlands' Macassar-Oil –
Yet twopence-halfpenny is all
    They give me for my toil."
   
But I was thinking of a way
    To feed oneself on batter,
And so go on from day to day
    Getting a little fatter.
I shook him well from side to side,
    Until his face was blue:
"Come, tell me how you live," I cried,
    "And what it is you do!"
   
He said "I hunt for haddocks' eyes
    Among the heather bright,
And work them into waistcoat-buttons
    In the silent night.
And these I do not sell for gold
    Or coin of silvery shine,
But for a copper halfpenny,
    And that will purchase nine.
   
"I sometimes dig for buttered rolls,
    Or set limed twigs for crabs:
I sometimes search the grassy knolls
    For wheels of Hansom-cabs.
And that's the way" (he gave a wink)
    "By which I get my wealth--
And very gladly will I drink
    Your Honour's noble health."
   
I heard him then, for I had just
    Completed my design
To keep the Menai bridge from rust
    By boiling it in wine.
I thanked him much for telling me
    The way he got his wealth,
But chiefly for his wish that he
    Might drink my noble health.
   
And now, if e'er by chance I put
    My fingers into glue,
Or madly squeeze a right-hand foot
    Into a left-hand shoe,

Or if I drop upon my toe
    A very heavy weight,
I weep, for it reminds me so
Of that old man I used to know--
Whose look was mild, whose speech was slow
Whose hair was whiter than the snow,
Whose face was very like a crow,
With eyes, like cinders, all aglow,
Who seemed distracted with his woe,
Who rocked his body to and fro,
And muttered mumblingly and low,
As if his mouth were full of dough,
Who snorted like a buffalo--
That summer evening long ago,
    A-sitting on a gate.

- Ways and Means sung by the White Knight, Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Caroll

Saturday, April 02, 2016

To live

Dust Storm Before the Rain by A.Ramachandran 
I am dead because I lack desire,
I lack desire because I think I possess.
I think I possess because I do not try to give.
In trying to give, you see that you have nothing;
Seeing that you have nothing, you try to give of yourself;
Trying to give of yourself, you see that you are nothing:
Seeing that you are nothing, you desire to become;
In desiring to become, you begin to live.

- René Daumal

Friday, March 25, 2016

Canto LXXXI

What thou lovest well remains,
                                                  the rest is dross
What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage
Whose world, or mine or theirs
                                            or is it of none?

- Ezra Pound

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Give it Time

1.8, Wonder by Janet Echelman 

The river is of the earth
and it is free. It is rigorously
embanked and bound,
and yet it is free. "To hell
with restraint," it says.
"I have got to be going."
It will grind out its dams.
It will go over or around them.
They will become pieces.

- Wendell Berry, Leavings

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Plumbing Poetry

Tork by Neha

I pulled for an hour:
It needed to be twisted for a second.

- Neha

Let us hear from you

1.8, Wonder by Janet Echelman 
Over and over again
I have been thrown
to the ground.
Over and over again
I have risen up.
One of these days, thrown.
I will stay down.
Antaeus, write home!

- Wendell Berry, Leavings

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Thing Is

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

- Ellen Bass, Mules of Love

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Woman Speaks

Moon marked and touched by sun  
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.  
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love  
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus  
where the restless oceans pound.

I do not dwell
within my birth nor my divinities  
who am ageless and half-grown  
and still seeking
my sisters
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths  
as our mother did
mourning.

I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic  
and the noon's new fury
with all your wide futures  
promised
I am
woman
and not white.

- Audre Lorde

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

- Dylan Thomas

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunflower Sutra

Sunflowers by Van Gogh
"..You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower!  
And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not!
So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck it at my side like a scepter,
and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack’s soul too, and anyone who’ll listen,
—We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not dread bleak dusty imageless locomotives, we’re golden sunflowers inside, blessed by our own seed & hairy naked accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our own eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision."

- Allen Ginsberg

Flowers

Red Poppies and Daisies by Van Gogh 

I know someone who kisses the way
a flower opens, but more rapidly.
Flowers are sweet. They have
short, beatific lives. They offer
much pleasure. There is
nothing in the world that can be said
against them.
Sad, isn’t it, that all they can kiss
is the air.

Yes, yes! We are the lucky ones.

- Mary Oliver

Song

Untitled by A.Ramachandran
The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.

Who can deny?
In dreams
it touches
the body,
in thought
constructs
a miracle,
in imagination
anguishes
till born
in human--
looks out of the heart
burning with purity--
for the burden of life
is love,

but we carry the weight
wearily,
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last,
must rest in the arms
of love.

No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love--
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
--cannot be bitter,
cannot deny,
cannot withhold
if denied:

the weight is too heavy

--must give
for no return
as thought
is given
in solitude
in all the excellence
of its excess.

The warm bodies
shine together
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
in happiness
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye--

yes, yes,
that's what
I wanted,
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to return
to the body
where I was born.

- Allen Ginsberg:

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Self-Portrait

It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
abandoned,
if you can know despair or see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes,
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living,
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.

- David Whyte, From River Flow, New and Selected Poems,  Many Rivers Press

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hardness of Heart

Guernica by Picasso 
In the first watch no death but made us mourn;
Now tearless eyes run down the daily roll,
Whose names are written in the book of death;
For sealed are now the springs of tears, as when
The tropic sun makes dry the torrent's course
After the rains. They are too many now
For mortal eyes to weep, and none can see
But God alone the Thing itself and live.
We look to seaward, and behold a cry!
To skyward, and they fall as stricken birds
On autumn fields; and earth cries out its toll,
From the Great River to the world's end--toll
Of dead, and maimed and lost; we dare not stay;
Tears are not endless and we have no more.

- Edward Shillito

Decade

Self portrait by Amrita Sher-Gil 

When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
And the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.
Now you are like morning bread,
Smooth and pleasant.
I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour,
But I am completely nourished.

- Amy Lowell

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Silver

Untitled by Rabindranath Tagore

The voice said,
'You have to loose
what you deeply love.
For where will be
the life lesson
in losing what
you don't love with the
depth of the deepest valleys."

A travel memo was sent: Lessons, rain, so much.

- Neha

Monday, January 11, 2016

Prometheus Unbound

Dancing Woman by Rabindranath Tagore

     This is the day which down the void abysm
     At the Earth-born's spell yawns for Heaven's despotism,
       And Conquest is dragged captive through the deep;
     Love, from its awful throne of patient power
     In the wise heart, from the last giddy hour
       Of dread endurance, from the slippery, steep,
     And narrow verge of crag-like agony, springs
     And folds over the world its healing wings.

     Gentleness, Virtue, Wisdom, and Endurance--
     These are the seals of that most firm assurance
       Which bars the pit over Destruction's strength;
     And if, with infirm hand, Eternity,
     Mother of many acts and hours, should free
       The serpent that would clasp her with his length,
     These are the spells by which to reassume
     An empire o'er the disentangled doom.

     To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
     To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
       To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
     To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
     From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
       Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
     This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
     Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
     This is alone Life; Joy, Empire, and Victory!

      - From Prometheus Unbound, Percy Bysshe Shelley

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Beautiful Revolts

Agra Fort by Neha
It is time,
to make, and to become,
a mosaic again.

It is time,
to make all
the broken pieces
into beautiful revolts.

- Neha