EBONY HUES

This is a short poem on the cult of appearances and looks.

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My ebony hues and sun kissed skin,
Their square jaws and languid smiles
My touch of unconventional presence
Their alabaster glow
Those pair of green eyes and cold stares
A mark of wordly snare

They compliment my sharp features
and even then dangle strings of vulnerability all around me.
I look good,they say
Then a whimper and sigh pass,
unquestionably their statement of superiority.

They do not mutter a word
yet their silent nags disapprove
They feel beauty lies at their feet,
and I have nothing to prove.

I feel laws of attraction lunging at my throat,
and the mirror holds fort
as they lecture on my inner glow.

I smell of charcoal,
a mug of tar
for them even a shade of twilight is
at war with their flush of sunshine.

Surely, men need no validation
But I would not fall for that clap trap.
The cult of appearance is not what I mean to address here.

Do I walk with imbalance,
have my hair all scattered,
do I mumble rather than speak
or nervously confront your cardinal egos?
Then why do I have to measure up to your lofty peaks and penchants
to hold just pendants of good looks and empty din?

Contours of my whims and fancies of perfection have been stilled.
Beauty and impressions are not what I address here
But in how I make a difference,
and charm my creative specks to come to fruition.

You measure my inches
Try to polish my loose ends.
If only you could have honed my craft and not belittled my gift..

I have changed my location now after all that spectacle,
away from crowds
and residential facilities sponsored by structures of appearance alone.

I wish to stay here,
with clouds under my eyes
and ebony hues stretching my silver linings,
linings that produce a hum and melody,
the ultimate refuge of poetry.

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NOTE : This poem too graces my poetry collection WHISTLING CHIMES on Wattpad and was originally published in 2015.

STANDSTILL

It was a hum,
then Poseidon’s orchestra was let loose.
I was the virgin villa on the seashore,
ravaged by brute force of the waves.

January’s drooping eyes saw my clandestine sorrow,
the word was spread from shore to shore.
Poseidon was the capital ,
receding tides here clawed at my veins and foamed.

My hymen knot lay ruptured there,
my pillars bloodied by the night wind’s prowl.
I was a derelict pawn in nature’s cruel chessboard,
waves of memories had shunned me.

That December,
the lighthouse was a beacon no more.
Erect in his diffident indifference,
he was gendered by a testament of howling ego.

I am stripped of all my glory now,
the private rattle of croaking walls is my sigh.
oh, how I stand as a broken body drying my bloodstains,
as the sun shields me from daytime intruders.

…….

NOTE : This poem appears on my Wattpad poetry collection WHISTLING CHIMES, published in 2015.

HENRY LOVEJOY HAS A FIELD DAY

My new poem’s title may suggest a light touch but in essence it’s a meditation on life, dotage and mortality.
I hope my effort at versatility makes the grade and engages you all.

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I’m an old man,
entitled to cracks of time.
My body is a stilt over my former mass,
my spirit a rap on the very sprightly colours of my glory days.
My eyes are mere empty circles,
My mouth sealed with questions too many.

This is one of those days,
I stroll down the map of my age,
the ground is much too harsh to put aside thorns.

The morning gives me hope.
trickle of sunlight from up north
silver skies’ forecast of drizzle
bluebirds pitching their best melodies against a cackling of ravens.
Solitary branches rustling,
of paper thin leaves blowing,
to the tempestuous music of the wind
The wind revealing itself with its invisible tresses.

Then the alchemy of dust sweeps away its cloak on my tombstone,
carrying it to the lap of my supine cemetery.

I turn to my grave.
The letters etched within this mute bedlam

HENRY LOVEJOY

1898-1955

The sole dedication that decorates its crest below -AMOUR
Love was just too impertinent a word to find place here.

***

I wave in the direction of my neighbours,
nestled within their beds,
as I look at the tent to which I would withdraw, moments from now.
My dear grave, so neat and ghostly.

This is one of my precious days,
an upstanding spirit allowed to inhale the essence of life.
This is not exactly a floral playground
But now I have nothing much to spare.
Not the silver tongue to launch commands
Or the mutiny in my veins which chased love and affection away.
The desire to retire with pride,
tending my station of grand motives, now laughs at me,
with barely concealed sarcasm.

The master,defiant and hot blooded once, is an outline,
an incarnation among elements who lies among broken ribs of his graveyard.
The compass of my humility, earned in deathly exile,
sits pretty over my chest cast of stone.

The cemetery is my kingdom of stillness
It hosts a carnival of sleep
A bouquet of longing
The seat of mortality
Embrace of wild flowers and bushes, sending kisses of consolation my way.

***********

I shudder to watch two lovers consummate their passion in pitch dark.
For they are phantoms in the pale moonlight.
Taking me back to the ballroom in 1926,
when Mary waltzed like the breeze into my arms,
whispering her sincere protestations.
I called her primrose
but hardly let her innocent flush hurt my ego.

I hear too the tolling of Church bells
The soft hisses of temple chants,
just like my mother’s rapt affections,
where she prayed for my heart to grow fonder,
for a life much too joyful to ignore.
Men’s voices, well,
they remind me of my nimble father’s sincere charms,
a poet’s heart showering rules of silent virtue on my being.

Alas! the thunderclap of my early prime put them to shame
whisked me to a lonely balcony,
of dreams that now lay like scattered bones.

***********

My mother cries at my grave,
with the same holy glint for my soul.
My father lets me honour every word of his poetry with silence,
prompting him to choke with regret and despair.

Mary, she’s a wilting flower
She never met another man,
or opened her heart to happiness again,
since the cold wintery dawn when I let her beauty get smashed.

Bodies flit and go,
cry hoarse over my neighbours’ departures.
But they never meet me.
For I am the sole wanderer

The man who did not live to bend too close to earth’s motherly stroke,
The one who chased butterflies and ambitions,
is nothing but dead,
alive in the broken memories of those who wished to receive his stare of affection once.

The crickets croak.
The wet mud shivers.
Snakes coil around my home.

The grave still owes me my last breaths.

****************

NOTE : Above is the picture of the Residency in Lucknow, my hometown, the site of inspiration behind this poem. This poem is also taken from my Wattpad poetry collection WHISTLING CHIMES.

GOODBYE AUTEUR

This is a special work, a tribute to the late great Indian painter Maqbool Fida Hussain. As such, I have poured my heart out about his influence on a whole generation, traversing pre independence and post Independent spectrum. As an admirer of his craft, I lay down my emotional connect with his unparalleled artistry in the form of words. This one celebrates the spirit of an auteur , an original voice echoing through the tunnels of time. I hope you appreciate this effort. The only regret lies in the fact that he met a tragic end , away from his homeland, driven away by his own. Here’s to the man on his 100th birth anniversary .

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Tis the civil disobedience of our times
Those who are raised from the dust
and elevated to the sky,
are sooner sacked to morgues of idealistic damnation.

It so happened
when barracks of filthy verbal mud slinging
and stone pelting broke and cracked open panes of an artist’s glass house.
There, in solitary splendour
a man’s deft strokes brought the easel to life,
made images fly in and out of the paint brush
and hues of minimalistic melody brokered tender rhythms
with the mind’s open eye.

A brooch of colourful drama
An anklet of dreamy similitude
A coquetry of feminine beauty
A burst of unbridled expression.

Dancing were the portraits that angled for our attention,
communicating with cadences of a generation’s sensory glide
singing a song of eternal spring,
nestled in the summer of imagination.

He was the God of small things,
a restless prince,
an exalted pauper in a land of open pageantry.

Rain, hail or storm
Thundering was the march of his creative stomp that rejuvenated youth.
Rained over a new era vital signs of renaissance,
held their hands and illuminated their shadows,
beautifying their stance.

**

Resplendent was his aura
They called him a visual Aurora,
whose sight beheld scenes of wonder and hailed his melody and mastery.
But for the contagion,
the world’s slow stain.
The log of frenzied hate cannibalised his potency,
even before he called it a day.
Vandalising his spirit,
exiled him to the gardens of a deathly halo.

All through, he smiled and walked barefeet,
like a decorated wreath in a castle of headless ghosts.
The fag end was now near,
the champions had held their sticks and stones.
The legend, Christ like,stood crucified.
Garlands of spite and fading imprints were his dowry at this hour
while his heart bled and his eyes cried tears of a dying conscience.

With a giant thud,he fell down,
turned to dust whilst his tears mellowed a sobbing humanity’s last call.

The end was near and he knew it.
The disowned auteur’s swansong was written.
devoid of a grand exit,
he travelled to the other end of the horizon.
The adieu, long lived, still awaits an echo.

**

The auteur paints in bold strokes,
caressing the far end of the spectrum with his magical fingers.

His bare hands etch a scenery of vital redemption,
waiting to be draped in the tricolour of recognised voices,
robbed from him in the final act.

***

NOTE : this poem, originally published in 2015, graces my poetry collection WHISTLING CHIMES on Wattpad and was the very first poetic work I attempted even before making it a part of the collection.

WISH UPON A STAR – A POEM OF MEMORIES

It is my pleasure to share a piece of my heart in the form of this poem which I had created during one free period in school amid chatter and din of classroom efficacy. Within that din, I vicariously entered the mind of a have not struggling with pangs of poverty and realised there is a flip side to all the privilege and support I had been lucky to be sorrounded by. This is about a child pining for a piece of hope, away from the din of her own lifestyle.

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WISH UPON A STAR

Wish upon a star in the moonlight beam,
that enters from the window into the dour, grey walls of a hut.
Like a moment of the conscience’s sweet dream.

Wish for the moon to come and play with me,
in my filthy playground smeared with soot,
filled with smells and squalor .

Tell the wind to pass by my dark, lifeless avenue of rags and sadness pangs.
Tell it to flutter my torn skirt’s edges in the melancholy ‘s midnight hour.

The night has set,
my lonely eyes search for a world.
It lies beyond my slum,
From where the fumes like a dragon rise
and howl with an overarched brow over my grey locality .

That world is a dream too harsh to realise .

But you, Keeper of the World ,
the next time I look up at those twinkling stars in the sky,
Close my drooping eyes in the wish of a sweet dream,
The wish not realised and wake up,
I hope to find myself in your booming garden of toys ,gifts and love.

Even if its for a brief moment ,
a tiny moment ,
away from my downtrodden realm .

**

NOTE : this was originally published in 2015 on Wattpad as part of my poetry collection WHISTLING CHIMES.

THE MIRROR OF OUR PRIME

Crimson red is the sun
He appears to me as a vision
A portrait of such fervour and charm.

An unknown trickle of desire flushes my thoughts
That distant look
That unknown figure standing on his balcony,
With his quiet simplicity
Looking at me
Enquiring my silence,
My froth of hidden emotions.
A smile, a revelation.

I do not know his name
He never asked mine
Our bond is one of silence,
Of acknowledged stares and polite distance.

Twice he passed me by
But we hardly let our eyes meet
Even then a glance was enough,
As we turned our back to let our glistening shadows follow our trajectories.

We are strangers unknown
Yet in those august meetings of fate,
We implore our innermost secrets to settle on our eyes and looks.

Do we yearn to broker a friendship we never received?
Or do we invite stirrings of some passion unknown.

We are silent shadows crossing our thresholds,
one fine day that unknown gleam may transcend the distance.

**

NOTE : also from my Wattpad poetry collection WHISTLING CHIMES, published in 2015.

THE SAND DUNES

This poem is a tribute to the exemplary courage and worldviews of Malala Yousafzai.

…..

Thunder was his stride
In observing tact lay my pride.
With limbs outstretched, I wanted to fly
His shadow cut me short.
Father’s, brothers and guardian angels,where do I then take my flight?

I never was told to take my steps back,
but knew my way was in walking around silent fortresses.
A walled city fortified by roving eyes.

Yet I prevailed.
I raised my voice,
pipped their power.
Fathers, brothers and guardian angels told me
to maintain a dignified, shy, cool, feminine, womanly honour.

I defied their every word.

Armaments of hate,
instruments of rebuke aimed at me,
they hovered around.
Watched my every move with bloodshot eyes.

As if I knew my moon had stains on it.
My old man told me otherwise.
He said, “don’t let the desolate apex tear you down,
you were meant to break stereotypes.”
**
On most fine days,
eagles circled my sparse valley’s upper reaches,
looking for prey.
A muffled giggle passed my lips
Weren’t we too preys down here in our own sanctuaries?
Bombs and guns sheared our spirits
only if he could see it was not fear of death that held us captive.
It was the nightmare of disrobing veils of silence which outraged our modesties.

For a century, we bowed our heads in shame
Prostrated at the feet of our lords, masters and commanders
Bore them a generation to stake their manhood on.
A feudal twirl of the moustache informing the world of their invincibility.
then our doors were latched

That was it,our work was done, they said
“Dare to cross your thresholds, and you will know”.

I, with head held high,
with eyes sparkling bright,
led the doors ajar.
Caught on the wrong side of barbed fences and ripe age,
I read the psalm of enlightenment,
took the pen to be mightier than their rough edged swords.

Till one betokened day saw me bloodied,
half dead on sand dunes of time.

“Choke her last breath of resilience,
look down thy imperious comrades of God’s will,
at her trembling, wincing self”.
Wielding weapons of impotency,they sneered at me.

A cold shiver passed down my spine.
A few moments ago, my life flashed before my eyes,
Never for once did the hardships strain them.
But was it all for nothing?

***

I was dead till I awoke.
A new day embraced me in its bosom.
Taking me by my hands,
made me climb every stage where my voice trebled.

In the blink of an eye,I was the ambassador of faith.
Shadows of silence had crept out of my skin and stood bare,
before every crooked eye , vulgate mouth, pointing finger.

I was born to crusade.
I became the light that gives way to darkness.
I took the nobel token in my hands.

Don’t spare your rods the chance to hit me hard if I fall on your path.
But fear the light of my virtue.
Look at how my flame becomes our fireball.

See your serrated edges melt,
as I etch our names on the sand dunes of time.

**

NOTE : my first poem ever, published on WHISTLING CHIMES, my poetry collection on Wattpad in 2015.