Today is World Poetry Day and I’ve been itching all day to come back home and read poetry – Swirl words in my mouth, say it aloud, marvel at the meaning and feel the beat in my blood. What should I read and what am I in the mood for? I could go back to one of my favourite poems – so simple you can memorise in a few minutes.
Or I could read some perfect verse from Ted Hughes – The Thought Fox.
Or I could read nonsense rhyme (and an alternate legend) from Roald Dahl.
Then I decided I should check out contemporary Indian poets who are writing amazing poetry in both their own language and in English – people who have had similar experiences to mine, poems that have arisen from the crowded streets of an Indian city.
Here is a little taste of the poems I’ve been discovering. So delicious, so full of meaning, like a layered cake full of your favourite flavours and some that are full of bitter truths like a little piece of ginger inside a plum cake.
Here read this by Anamika, translated into English.
Which is the place from where we fall,
become clipped nails,
fallen hair trapped in combs,
fit only to be swept away?
Read the rest here: http://bigbridge.org/BB17/poetry/indianpoetryanthology/Anamika.html#
And read this, my latest favourite poem by Jerry Pinto, who also writes wonderful children’s books.
I want a Poem
I want a poem like thick tropical rain
Dense green spatter of syllables
Drumbeat consonants, fertile with meaning.
Sudden. Short. Unforgettable.
Afterwards, jungle silence.
And it goes into more beautiful imagery… read the rest here.
And here is a scene from a crowded train in Mumbai – the poem Andheri Local by Arundhathi Subramaniam evokes emotional and physical proximity so well.
Like metal licked by relentless acetylene
we are welded –
flesh and organza,
odours and ovaries.
Find out how the narrator feels when she (or he) gets out of the carriage.
And finally I want to finish one of the greats of Indian poetry – Maharishi Rabindranath Tagore.
This snippet from verse 21 is one of my favourites from Gitanjali – the Nobel Prize winning collection of spiritual poems.
The spring has done its flowering and taken leave. And now with the burden of faded
futile flowers I wait and linger.
The waves have become clamorous, and upon the bank in the shady lane the yellow
leaves flutter and fall.
What emptiness do you gaze upon!
Do you not feel a thrill passing through the air with the notes of the far away song
floating from the other shore?
I can’t let WorldPoetryDay go past me without writing a little snippet myself. Here is my humble attempt
When My Grandmother Came…
When my grandmother came, as an immigrant bride
She brought with her, a box of bronze
Simple, plain and its edges chipped by grandmothers gone.
I opened it to find,
The coolness of cumin,
And the grace of fenugreek,
The confidence of coriander,
The passion of peppercorns.
When my grandmother came, naïve and wide-eyed,
The box she brought, the one of bronze
Fragrant and familiar of things left behind.
I opened it to find,
The sliver of joy,
And the reason for love,
The reason to belong,
The attar of HOPE!