A few poems


Nandini Sahu

Delhi, 10 a.m. Winter

Did you hear it right?
 It’s 10 a.m. January, Delhi.
 Hitherto, no light.
 The sun is earnest and quiet.
 The mist hangs heavy overhead.
 Chandni Chowk is fighting
 with seclusion; a man with
 hands in his heavy coat pockets
 whistles a tune to battle the chill.
 No listeners out there.
 
Vaishnava jan to tene kahiye…
An old man, a freedom fighter, may be,
 takes a proud walk in Rajghat
 his teenage grand-daughter prefers
 Lady Gaga on her i-pod
 waiting for grandpa in the car.
Vaishnava jan to…in Rajghat.
 No listeners out there.
 
 Delhi, the city of mosques and minarets,
 the city of war and peace, stands still
 at 10 a.m. It’s still a little dark.
 Did you hear it right?
 January, Delhi, 10 a.m. a tender delight.


Puri Beach


Lured by silky sheets of sunlight clouds
after days of heat
nights of humid meandering climate
she flaunted her cold waves, the sapphire Bay of Bengal,
throwing tantrums of a woman.
Overwhelmed, enamored
I relaxed awhile, in October Puri beach,
where darkness died, white prevailed.


Here cold wind rebuffs the clutter
wind and air hum with
the consummation of love, that
here we are equal,  coloured  and fair,
neutrally in words and spirit.
Here history creates chapters new
and He smiles all the while
with wide open eyes.


He is the Lord of humanity
Lord Jagannath
our steering  principle, our vision
to see each day a rollicking fresh century.
The groan of the unfortunate, the poor suffering soul,
rend the skies with the reverberation of waves,
pull down the pillars of the paradise
in the chanting of mantras in
His temple in the midst of music of drum
of dhol. The Lord of man
cannot afford to sleep, round eyes
large and open. He goes through birth after birth,
is reborn in you, me, him, her,
we all glide in the ocean of
love, pious adoration, aspiring  to lull in
 His open arms forever,
resting in Puri beach
where love  and compassion
glow, reflect, refract
turn into a multitude of rainbow worlds.

Here the sea and the sand
invite. Sun beams descend like day dreams.
Ripping the spaced out canvas of sky
life breaths.
Pretty damsels, dance and music,
food, chat, gupchup, colours, merry-go-rounds,
honey-mooners, balloon kids,
lovely men and women
white Mems ,dazzling smiles,
their  dresses bright, viewer’s delight,
the snake-charmers, puppet shows
the full-bodied fisher-woman
drying salted-fish
eyes fixed in the horizon
her man seems a dot fishing
afar, singing a love song,
invite.
Even the bubbles, adult lusty foam
 invite.


Life breaths.
In October Puri  beach
darkness dies, white prevails
amid
silky sheets of sunlight clouds.

Hand-in-Hand
A man was sitting sad
I did not know him.
I only knew the masquerading sorrow.

I smiled at him.
He did not know my smiles.
Only knew the sharing .

I extended my hands.
We did not know each other’s hands.
Only knew walking hand-in-hand.

I picked a handful of salt water.
I did not know his tears.
Only knew thirst quenched, hearts drenched.



Draupadi
Why is it that they tell me
I do look dignified
after such humiliations.
My life full of such trivialities.
I know this much,
I am in Arjuna, and he in me,
I am seeking release in the love of my lord—
Krishna;
And Karna—in a strange corner of my heart!
One after another shock
ensnaring me, like a China doll.
I am not myself.
I am not alone Arjuna’s love,
nor Krishna’s
nor even Karna’s  lone victim
nor the diadem-studded queen
none of these I am.
I embrace ‘all’ ,  I bleed in ‘all’ .
In the  Kurusabha
in my long clothes, my shame I armour,  spread-
eagling in all.
This body I wear is not mine.
Like the expansive earth, it encompasses ‘all’.
My five sons—
particles of my blood
I know not their roots. Yet I call them mine.
I bleed infinitely in the lost identity of ‘all’.
I wish if I could distance myself
from my own  self and be lost in one.
In Krishna, in Arjuna, or in Karna (?)
in one,
honestly I like to know
what it feels
to be absorbed wholesomely in ‘one’ .
This is  Kurukshetra—
the land of half-humans, demi-gods
on this  blood-torn land
I cannot wail, nor can I sob.
So my heart,
like fire I play with you.
Oh, fire!
I am fire,
I am born of fire, my life is fire,
I know not, if my death be fire too !!
Sycophants, one and all, encircle me
sway and swindle me, sweltering my bones
as if tickling me
by putting one after another tiara on my head
trying to heal my unlocked hairs—the
Kurukshetra
of the Pandavas.
An illusion I am
I suffer, I am the symbol of suffering.
Even when I laugh with the cruel, hot  blood
of Dusshasana,  I suffer.
And in the city of the dead
I die hundred times in delusion.
I seek release, I know not where—
may be in all !!!


Monsoon in Puri Beach

Rain-drenched, deer-eyed
monsoon Puri beach.

The sky opens its petals
to her lotus face
hedged in waves and tides.

Wind infiltrates  deeper
into the tidal labyrinth.
In the monsoon.

The present belongs to us--
the new generation
less cynical; wealthier in ideals
perhaps
less selfish too. It’s a bee
from the same hive
that tingled  me
to sweeten  the pills of memory.
Now I am a habitual nomadic.
A keystone species of the biomass
I am
in the tangle of streams.
In monsoon Puri beach.

The sea is silent
before the monsoon.
Silence is a groundwork
as absorbed as memory,
a caged fiend.

To exist is to communicate.
Above the tides
above
 walls of water.
The pied kingfisher plunges
down – down – down.
Birds fly the nests.

In the Puri beach the tides
touch  the feet of Lord Jagannath;
incessantly the rains
sing His glory.
Lord Jagannath, the timeless lover,
smiles. Smile melts
as the rain drops.
And  teaches us
to escape from the demons within
orbiting the deep corners of psyche
in a precipitous collision course
a blue utopia.

In the mist behind the rains
the wind gets annoyed
with a snoring sea,
the blue turns to slate dark
and is submerged.
Lost stories, lost memories
rise from their graves
howl from the cliff tops
for their vanished earthly loves.

The waves, in a hurry, like
fleeing refugees
pursed by the invading onrush of the sea,
carry their foam babes in their arms
rush, pant, collapse on the shore.
The sea’s surface distrusts
the dialect of its depths
that are haunted by the ruins of human destiny.
A poem is written on behalf of a
bewildered humankind
the poem for the monsoon Puri beach
a language made flesh.





In the Operation Theatre
I’ve wrapped that moment
within my naked memory
when the doctor, the angelic doctor,
put the scissor on me.
The moment when my blood sprinkled
 in  the operation theatre
and I cried out my age-old wails.
My blood, my innermost parts
gripped me to hang between life and death
and I was nailed to the cross,
the cross of all my sins,
desires, sufferings.
My soul was naked, body nude,
my eyes were vacuum
as my heart was.
I could  then  feel him.
To welcome him I moaned   aloud
as if   it were  the moment of my death.
The sombre room, the sharpened instruments
the green clothes,  multiple
hands  hovering  over  me
the photograph of the Mother and
the stillness of the silence
all, all entered into me
and I fainted.
After so many memories
after so many dreams
I woke up,
to find my  ‘reason’  to live, at last,
in the operation  theatre.
The bird from my heart’s nest was free,  the
pretty little fair bird.
I became the proud mother of my Parth
in the operation theatre.











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