30 September 2008

If you are a circle, you live in a square

Everything I've read for the past couple of years has brought me to back to two of my favourite poems, dramatic monologues: Ulysses by Tennyson and Journey of the Magi by Eliot. However, here is my attempt at verse writing, after a very long time.

Some Lives


Morning is awakened, by the pungent robes

Of rain, dropping dew and dancing clouds.

The empty window frame calls out

To his slit vision of words, thoughts, and pens.

The writer looks beyond the succulent

Red of bright extinct roses, through the beady rain,

A girl sits there with an umbrella.

There she sits, in a transparent and scary

Loneliness. One believes in her emptiness,

Lays a God, but even a lack of purpose.

Black cloth sewn on the cane matches her suit,

Perfect, elegant, and strangely alien to him.

Catch her with a purpose in those empty eyes!

Perhaps a new maid, the mistress of Mr. Timberland,

The mother of the abandoned twins in the dustbin,

Or a passerby lost in her passage. Why?

She is not a rhodora, rose, or cloud, but

A mere woman of a history, past, and hazy present.

Contemplations burnt to the buds,

Packets of Camel cigarettes lie done.

Alarm rang – alert, appointment, meeting, run!

The writer ran down the stairs,

Missing every second one in a forgotten question. Why?

Unprotected he ran into the dance of the clouds,

Into a slushy street, but did not get wet.

There she stood the girl with the umbrella,

With her eyes like water and her breath like the sea,

Protecting him and the rest under it -

Purpose is one of simplicity.


Rain clears to a sunny dome,

Fog opens a lattice window, through which

One’s watery eyes can watch.

A maiden rejoices in her reflection,

Her brush blushes her cheeks,

Shapes her eyebrows, and reddens her lips.

Luscious and barren, the day lies open.

She wears the silken dragon robe

And steps out in grace to struggle.

The divine waits feel her sinews

And feed her the bitter wine.

Why is she? Who is she?

She hangs onto the last warps and wefts

Of her robe, cutting her tender, fine fingers.

Her hips and loins hurt in the brutality

Of this struggle and the many to follow.

Speeches and resolutions, systems and papers,

Nothing saves her from this vulnerability.

She could be gay, coloured, transgender, lesbian,

Straight, mother, sister, wife, male or female. Or merely, she is that person,

Staring at a lucid mirror, showing her

Red translucent beauty.

She, the prostitute, mistress, courtesan

Of struggle, is us – you and me.

For all, life, a struggle,

Offers us threads and strings

To hang on to and cut,

But also eventually transcends,

Weaves into a fine dragon robe.

Here, struggle is one of beauty,

One of grandeur and of colours.

But it lies undone on a fragile loom

That bellows every time

The shaft heftily weaves.

Struggle is one of vulnerability.


From any struggle sprouts an overgrown potato,

Like the one that lies forgotten in your fridge.

Now, turn your heads swiftly, her feet are too dainty

For this meandering, sandy path.

Is she too young or already too wise?

Gilgamesh plays on her toes,

Pushing her to search for answers…immortality…peace -

But even to wish for peace

Is peaceful, and to look for an answer

Is satisfying.

But she does the mistake as any other,

She makes an ascetic of herself.

Productive, reproductive, political and social

Are abandoned. She is new,

But definitely not herself.

What could it be that she started?

Was washing dishes all she did,

That her past was so distant now.

As ascetic, she had to accept all,

In a pilgrimage, nothing becomes distant,

A residue of her past, she is

But from a struggle, she has bloomed.

She lives tiny and single on her rose bush.

No teacher, no answers, no definite

End or beginning.

Tougher than the worldly struggle,

The path is rugged and uncertain.

Will she reach? Will she let of herself?

Will she let go of every kind of herself?

After every struggle, she waits,

And that is the plain point of it.

Pilgrimage is one of stillness.


A life leads to a beautiful black hole

Of pondering ideologies, thoughts, and a life.

Questions seem to stream out

Of our eyes, ears, and all senses.

Withdrawing she becomes the ultimate,

The end of all, the beginning of the unknown.

Again, who is she?

Like every woman, she lays a mystery,

To be buried in a coffin.

But there her greyness covered in white,

The symphony of cries around her,

Young widow in her death.

Stark cruelty of life, to take all

And just keep taking.

Does not the divine know to give?

He gives the life, the struggle,

The brain to think of purpose, and

the heart to think of valour and Love.

We roll on the crust, and rip the leaves,

Then fall in a pit – Hell.

We take a pilgrimage of Sins,

The sweetest, the best, and most fruitful,

In some vain hope that we shall,

Yet again, be born to live this again.

Rather, in this purity of life and death,

One understands the story,

The pure feminine fable of the May fly.

Living for a day, to copulate,

Not to eat, digest, or excrete,

But simply born to recreate,

And then to die without an answer.

Where is the purpose, struggle?

Pilgrimage, thought or death?

Does not one have to start out

A life and then deal with that death?

Is that young widow’s life full?

Disappearance is one of inevitability.

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