A Poem on Writing a Poem

Today is World Poetry Day. Writing poetry, for me (as I’m sure it is for many others), is cathartic. At times, however, it has just the opposite effect. I want to express an idea, but the idea refuses to get expressed! I break into a sweat, I palpitate, I gasp for breath as though I were being drowned in my own words   . . . . . I hope you get the drift. This is precisely what  Ink  is all about.

Ink

©Priya Narayanan 2017, All rights reserved

I sit down to write a poem; the poem eludes me.

I grope in the shadows of my bag

to pull her out- a la a magician’s rabbit;

in vain. She has gnawed her way

through that fantastic realm, into reality.

 

I look for her in the nooks of a dilapidated house-

a house that engulfed its residents

to douse its own hunger.

I smell her in the clichés that pervade

before she slinks out the back door, a thief.

 

I seek her in the foliage of the pregnant trees-

trees in the throes of exploding

into a thousand more. A master at stealth,

I hear, but do not see her-

just as I hear, but do not see the koel.

 

The koel- his call, a disyllabic monotone

[you wouldn’t know when he sings a ballad

and when a dirge] -does he hide my poem

in his precious voice-box? Will he spit her out

when I strangle him? Or will he merely spit out his life?

 

The poem is sly. Leaving me

to engage with the koel, she glides

to the mountains. She would be safe there,

she deems, behind the mist that veils

a valley of flowers

a sparkling stream

a herd of antelopes

a silent prayer. She is wrong.

 

I gear up for the chase,

marking my way

with the unsung songs of the koel.

 

Trampling the flowers

muddying the stream

scattering the herd

shattering the prayer

I find her huddled behind a rock. I ensnare her,

drop her into a bottle of India Ink

and return home triumphant.

 

When I sit down to write the poem now,

all I can write is ink.


Have you ever had a similar feeling? What do you when you’re going down that abyss? How do you pull yourself back?

 

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Secret Secrets

S-E-C-R-E-T.

What image does that six letter word conjure in your mind?

A whisper?

A conspiracy . . . Secret Society?

Rumour mongering? Gossiping?

I remember the nursery rhyme that went ‘Seven for a Secret never to be told’. It does have a sinister, hush-hush aura about it, doesn’t it? On the other hand, it’s also funny how much stress a single word can thrust upon you, sending you into an emotional whirlwind if you are the melodramatic kind. If you’ve not been made privy to a secret, you feel betrayed, your very faithfulness is under the scanner. If someone has indeed deemed you worthy of sharing a secret, you feel elated, proud and trusted although that’s no guarantee that you’ll not, in turn, share the secret with someone else, making the whole thing redundant.

Which begs the question -How many people need to be involved in this verbal transaction for it to qualify as a secret? A quote by Benjamin Franklin goes:

‘Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.’

Does that mean a secret is a one-person thing? Is it possible for a person to successfully hide it from the world without choking? And do secrets really die with a person or do they assume a life of their own even after the person bearing it is dead? Well, I truly don’t know. But I do know what you can do to try and wriggle out that secret from me! Here’s  a poem by yours truly enunciating just that:

Secret

©Priya Narayanan 2016, All rights reserved

Pour me a drink.

My stories are in the bubbles
that rush past. Fleeting, floating,
rapturous, rumbustious –
my stories are the ones
that kiss your lips
and tingle your senses
before common sense prevails
and strangles each story
lest you gulp them down
and become one with them.

Pour me a drink.

My stories are in the ice cubes
that float like fish
in the koi pond
where you come to feast your eyes
on the streaks of golden orange,
your passionate gaze
causing them to sink to the bottom
from where only a coin diver
can collect them again –
if he has faith that they do indeed exist.

Pour me a drink.

My stories are in the numbness
of my tongue –
my otherwise wagging tongue
that is now paralyzed into silence.
Can you hear the stories
in my silence? Can you see
the stories in my eyes,
where the pupils
have been replaced
by the moon and his darker twin?

How long does it take for a story
to travel from the eyes and the ears
to the tongue?

Pour me a drink
and I might let you into my little secret.

Winner of the OWAQ poetry contest held by anoshoflife.com

Do you have a secret? Have you shared it with anybody? If so, what has your experience been? Do drop in a note in the comments below.
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