Tuesday, April 30, 2019

NaPoWriMo Day 30: Completion Poem

Instructions for Day 30
Rejoice for all the words that have been poured,
That found a way to leave the insides of your mangled brain,
And made it onto the blank page.

Heave a loud sigh of relief
For not giving up on yourself,
Nor giving in to postpartum blues.
Be grateful for the passing of time,
For letting the poems breathe,
And take their time to come out when they did.

Say thank you, goodbye,
April came and went,
There’s much work to be done,
More poems to be written.

And the most important of all,
The final task,
Look at yourself in the mirror and remember:
Be happy.
Be happy.
Be happy.

NaPoWriMo Day 30

this was where my grandparents lived,
tucked away in alipore park road,
stands a testament of my past,
a childhood of warmth and jars of pickles -
meetha nimbu, lal mirchi, kairi, et all -
of Sanskrit chants and Ghalib’s poetry,
of taash parties and evening rummy.

a charming home, the epitome of family life,
full of the most memorable dwellers,
with uniquest eccentricities and anecdotes,
impossible to imagine yet believable to me.

with wide eyes, I grew up learning the names of plants,
the verses of the hanuman chalisa,
the Ramayan and Mahabharata stories,
no books were used, just my Nani’s voice
telling me story after story,
like of the great kamrak tree.

to say goodbye to this palace of memories,
was one of the hardest moments of life
yes, life goes on, theoretically,
but what of the hole in my heart,
where you had planted my fondest tree?

NaPoWriMo Day 29

Of late, I've been obsessed with how animals mate
Like how the female proboscis monkeys, (Whom I saw in action last week)
Fancy the male with the longest nose,
The bigger the nose, the higher its sex appeal.

Or how emperor penguins are all for body positivity and monogamy,
Picking their one true love
Based on who's got the most excess weight.
So there's more to love and cuddle with!

Blue sharks, on the other hand -
Nature's living example of violent love.
The teethy mate bite their love interests,
And the love bites win them the thick-skinned females.

Hermaphroditic land snails and slugs
Pierce their partners with sharp love darts,
Tentacles touching, the path of tough love begins
In the animal kingdom, all's fair in love and war.

The Birds of Paradise are of a different league,
They make loving fun and throw dance parties,
The male manages to woo their female partner quite easily,
Flaunting his colourful plume, and busting his best moves.

Then there's the asexuals, the Immaculate Conceptionists,
The sawfish, komodo dragon, goblin spiders of the world -
All self sufficient and self pleasers,
Birthing whenever they feel the need.

There's much to be learnt from the creatures of the skies, lands and seas,
This poem was one such bizarre opportunity.

NaPoWriMo Day 28

A poem for Michael Groom

A good traveller leaves no tracks
But stays on the chosen path
Until he reaches the final destination.

You climbed and you climbed,
Walked more miles in a day than any living being could, or should,
Despite the avalanches that knocked you out,
The frostbite that made you lose your toes,
Neither the broken nose and bones,
Nor the temporary loss of sight,
From the sheer height of where you stood,
Could hold you back.

Every step, every strained breath,
Getting you a little closer to the summit
Of which you dream night after night,
Towards which you spend your waking life,

When you finally crossed the Hilary Step,
And ascended onto the highest point on Earth,
What did you see, Michael?
Was it heaven, or something prettier?
Do words exist that describe the feeling?
Did you know you’d live to tell the tale?

Know more about Michael here: http://michaelgroom.com/

NaPoWriMo Day 27

How to make a poem
Start with the basics -
Heavy doses of imagination, sprinkled with delicately balanced wordplay
A few ounces of wit, wherever possible,
Creativity found in the insides of your very being,
Rhyming schemes, if one were so inclined.

If you are a natural,
The recipe for the magic combination will be as easy as making the perfect pesto.

If you are not,
As is most often the case,
Prepare for the trials and tribulations,
The stream of self loathing and disappointment,
The digging and digging and digging
Until someday,
When you barely expect it,
You strike gold,
Liquid gold flowing from pen to page,
Perfect in every way.

When that day comes,
Remember to be humble,
Acknowledge the strife and joy alike,
And rejoice for the words!

NaPoWriMo Day 26

The summer grasses
All that remains
Of orangatuns’ dreams “Survival of the fittest”
Yet the game is set
For one specie’s demise.

How can you sleep at night
Knowing what you have done
To so many families?

They share 97% of their DNA with humans,
Yet the cruel tyranny continues.
Where is our humanity?

NaPoWriMo Day 25

Lessons from Borneo
Do not enter a virgin forest,
Shouting and talking and laughing,
Piercing the music of the jungle
With your pointless chatter.

Do not mock the laws of the jungle
By comparing sun bears to dogs
By plucking flowers as you like,
By leaving a gap where there was once beauty.

With the locals, be kind and grateful.
Do not exploit their niceness or naïveté,
By bad mouthing them in your language when they’re trying to tell you something.
Listen, and you might learn a new thing or two.

Listen to instructions.
When you’re in a unknown land, become a clean slate,
Do not think your old ways always apply,
Do not smoke and stub whenever you like.

Be worth remembering,
By the monkeys and plants and people You encounter along the way.
Observe, ask, absorb.

Appreciate what you have come to see,
Whether it’s one endemic species or three.
Learn to say Hello and Thank You in the local language,
And finally, always remember to smile.

NaPoWriMo Day 24

marine surrender 🐠

The ocean draws me towards her,
Tranquil and blue like the perfect dream.

I try and remember what the guide said,
But once I look down,
Into the great unknown,
I forget everything -
How to breathe with the apparatus,
How to look out for deadly box jellyfish,
How to stay afloat or swim.

A school of parrotfish appear,
Without a thought, I find myself swimming along,
In awe of every new hidden creature,
That makes it presence felt.

I discover the magic of coral reefs,
Alive and breathing on the ocean floor,
Pages of geography textbook coming to life,
In front of my unbelieving eyes.
The lack of experience or expertise be damned,
The art of snorkeling comes naturally,
And as I venture deeper,
Little by little,
The smile widens so much that surely,
The fish must think I’m crazy.

Every inch of the sea I see,
I surrender myself completely.
So when the white tip reef shark swims by to say hello,
As the guide said it does 73% of the time,
I greet it back with respect and a nod,
A secret admirer of its savage beauty.

Hours after we emerge from the sea -
I still see blue everywhere -
In the cloudy skies, before the drizzle begins,
In the shimmering waters, 50 shades of blue.
I have never been so alive.

NaPoWriMo Day 23

How today could have gone

A jellyfish could have stung me,
Or a sea snake bitten me,
As I confidently waded into the sea.

A humongous Sabah crocodile could have strayed onto my path,
Leaving me to scream helplessly before I became its delicious meal.

One of Borneo’s many carnivorous plants could have picked today to feel hungry,
As I stepped closer to get a better photograph.

Somebody at the local food market could have just cut open a durian, the forbidden smelly fruit, described by food writer Richard Sterling as “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock”. Or worst still, I could have slept last nigh,
And never woken up again.

As fate would have it,
I experienced a perfectly exciting day,
And wrote this silly poem.

NaPoWriMo Day 22

The Dream by Henri Rousseau

Prompt: write an ekphrastic poems (i.e., poems that are about a specific work of art)

In 1910, Yadwigha finds herself asleep
Lying naked in the forests of Rousseau’s dream
From the ethereal lush bushes
Comes the snake charmer’s lullaby
Do you hear the 22 shades of green?
Can you feel the curious tiger’s eyes upon you?

When I first encountered the enigma,
Nothing could save me
Like the werewolf created from moonshine,
I entered the landscape,
Treading softly on the leaves,
crunch crunch crunch
I could hear the snarls
Feel the lurking shadows
Emerging and receding
In the landscape of eternally haunting beauty.

A thousand moments spent
In awestruck silence,
I taught myself how to breathe again,
And stepped out of the scenery.

Artwork: The Dream by Henri Rousseau