Tag Archives: poetry

Widowed Souls


There is a piece of land between the railway tracks and the main road which takes me home. Its unkempt, stark and strewn with weeds. Although a pathway runs below the tracks leading to the other side of the road, the barrenness of this no man’s land, meant that it was not used by pedestrians. This week I noticed the widowed and utterly ignored space been adopted by vegetables vendors, adding vibrancy and attracting those heading home just like me.

It led to me think how uninhabited spaces get adopted into ghettos, slums, bazaars and markets, that we eventually forget how cold and unwanted that place was in the first place.

In the colorful montage of life as it surrounds us today, the white veil of widowed spaces and souls surrounds us, paradoxically wrapped in the most vibrant colors. Look past the garb and her eyes tell you of the story of betrayal. The tale of her first love, made companion, who no longer is the person she loved when she was 19, yet married to him now, the father of her child.

The hurt of abandonment emerges and lays bare the pain caused sometimes by a trusted parent or loyal friend now a stranger or a sibling now estranged.

The late Leonard Cohen who through his music soothingly embraced all of humanity’s corruption, in one of his songs says that a crack in everything is how the light gets in.

paige
Paige O’hara Sculpture

But if not all humanity is created equally (in terms of mental strength at least), then what is the price we pay for the cracks we endure?

No matter how much we take hurdles in our stride, cracks show up and create a shadow of souls widowed, and tugs at my heart to see it unable to trust too quickly, love unabashedly or give another chance to friendships that beckon.

We are never the same at the other bank of the river. Fighting the river that we thought would carry us ashore but unexpectedly tried to drown us leaves gasping with disbelief.

But Oh widowed soul
Do you know that love pleads for another chance?
Do you not feel the strings of intimacy playing your tune?
Does the beating drum not fire your loins with passion?

Why not let the wind shatter the wall of disillusionment
Give the chimes of hope a chance to dance in the rain
Allow chirping giggles to overcome the deafening silence you endure
Or simply try giving your widowed soul a chance to bloom again…

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There is an amazing illustration by Zen Pencils on Love….sharing it here:2013-02-12-lewis.jpg

This week’s poem by Parveen Shakir named Barish hui to phoolon ke tan chak ho gaye.

Transliteration

Barish hui to phoolon ke tan chak ho gaye
mausam ke hath bhig ke saffak ho gaye

baadal ko kya khabar ki barish ke chah mein
kitne buland-o-bala shajar khak ho gaye

Juganu ko din ke vaqt pakadne ki zid karen
bache hamare ahad ke chalak ho gaye

jab bhi garib-e-shahar se kuch guftagu hui
lahaje hava-e-sham ke namnaak ho gaye

lahara rahi hai barf ke chadar hata ke ghas
suraj ke shah pe tinake bhi bebak ho gaye

sahil pe jitne aab-gazeeda the sab ke sab
dariya ke rukh badalate hi tairak ho gaye

Translation

As it rained the flowers had holes in their bodies made
The weather now drenched became a tyrant

How would the clouds know that while waiting for rain
So many tall and mighty trees had turned to ashes

They insist on testing the firefly in the daylight
Children of today have become so bright

Whenever a conversation with those away from home rose
The evening breeze with their words grew moist

Unveiling the cover of snow, the grass now sways
Egged by the sun the straws are now fearless

All those who would out of fear the water shunned
Became swimmers as the river changed its course.

Ending with Mr. Cohen and his amazing voice.

 

Frozen in Time


One more dawn
A pot brimful of the sun
emerged in the distant water
while you
holding the dawn’s finger
walked across the water
returning to yet another horizon.

Like some comet hidden behind in the mystery of time,
You came from the cosmos and returned to it.

(From the poem ‘Like A pot Brimful the Sun Upturned’ by Gulzar)

As the earth continues to spin and revolve around the sun, the circle of life and death also continues to spin. Death come to all. And as the saying goes, “the tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside us when we live”.

But what if early death is looked at romantically? Poets lament about the death of love, the end of romance in the eyes of their lover and the demise of emotions in their hearts.

Some of the most talented and brilliant artists, like Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, Paul Walker, Janis Joplin, James Dean, Mozart, Smita Patil and the romantic poet John Keats died very young, with most of them never reaching 30 years of age.

Is there something romantic about their deaths?

smita

Each one of them were a power house of talent, leaving a legacy of either iconic music, marvelous movies, heart stirring poetry or magical music. In the short span of time that they resided among us, they experienced fame and adulation that most of us may never experience even if we live to be septuagenarians.

They will forever be etched in our memories in their youthful versions, remembered for their accomplishments and their glory. We will never see them grow old or decay.

amy

Do their early deaths not make them more iconic?

In between the Oscar or Emmy award ceremonies we see a set of images of people who left the earth that year. In there are numerous faces of individuals in their 70-80’s. Do I recognize them? No. I am sure they were iconic stars of their time, but relatively unknown to us today.

But somehow James Dean is a name I recognize among so many of his contemporaries. Did his early death not immortalize him?

And does not an iconic death seem fitting for a life as illustrious as theirs ?

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All of them were also creators. And as with every creative pursuit, it demanded a piece of their soul as is evident in their creations. Their work also laid bare the pain, the despair and the sadness that might have been housed inside of them and ultimately pushed them towards early deaths. In many ways as this poem by Gulzar says, they selected the cages they wanted to enter, choosing them by will and voluntarily seeking captivity.

Kayi Pinjaraon ka Kedi hun,
Kayi Pinjaraon mein basta hun,
Mujhe Bhaata hai kenden katana
Aur apni marzi se chunaav karte rehna
Apne Pinjaraon ka
Miyaadein teh nahi karta main rishtaon ki
Asiri dhundhata hun main
Asiri acchi lagti hai.

I am a Prisoner of many cages
I live in many cages
I like to be incarcerated
And to keep on choosing, by my own sweet will
My various prisons
I do not fix the length of my relationships
I seek imprisonment
I like to be a captive.

Maybe  each one of them was a shooting star, bright and powerful, flying with gusto across the starry night, as we watched aghast at their rise and then just disappeared into the darkness of the universe, leaving behind a testament….

Dhup Ka Purza- Gulzar

Shaam ka suraj jate jate
Darwaze ke niche se
Dhup ka ek choota sa purza phek gaya hai
Kal aaoon nishisht toh nahi hai
Lekin is mamoore mein
Aaj ka din bhi ji paaye tum
Esi liye….
Yeh parchi rakh jata hoon
Ki Sanad rahe!

A Piece of the Sun- Pavan K Verma

The sun as it sets
Has flung from under the door
A small chit of sunshine;
Whether I return tomorrow is not certain
But if you have managed
In this waste-yard
To live for this one day more
I leave behind this chit
As a testament!