Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Stages, by Herman Hesse

October 24, 2017

Stages
As every flower fades and as all youth
Departs, so life at every stage,
So every virtue, so our grasp of truth,
Blooms in its day and may not last forever.
Since life may summon us at every age
Be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavor,
Be ready bravely and without remorse
To find new light that old ties cannot give.
In all beginnings dwells a magic force
For guarding us and helping us to live.
Serenely let us move to distant places
And let no sentiments of home detain us.
The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us
But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces.
If we accept a home of our own making,
Familiar habit makes for indolence.
We must prepare for parting and leave-taking
Or else remain the slaves of permanence.
Even the hour of our death may send
Us speeding on to fresh and newer spaces,
And life may summon us to newer races.
So be it, heart: bid farewell without end.
–Hermann Hesse
(translated by Richard and Clara Winston)

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For life to begin

August 31, 2017

In an empty, silent house
I wait for life to begin.
Life will arrive
With the first young child
Bubbling over with tales from her school.
I make sure she eats the rest of her lunch.
While listening to her,
I make preparations
For the evening meal.
More noise, more tumult
When the little boy comes in.
“Dwag me to the bathwoom!” he yells
Glowing with the dirt of the day
Spent in playschool.
Soon, other children come in to play.
The house wakes up, is full of life.
Homework, Hindi, settling squabbles:
Bath, dinner, and a game or two.
I cuddle up to one, or both
As we say a prayer, or read a story.
The little, reassuring rituals of bedtime
Are done. Darkness prevails.
Peace reigns again as they lie asleep,
Hair tumbled over pillows, arms askew.
Life sleeps now, but will be up tomorrow,
Getting ready for the day, again.
Awake and asleep by turns, this house
Is the home of the future.

What should I do?

August 23, 2017

Should I feel happy for what I had?
Should I feel sad for what I’ve lost?
Should I take the value of what I still have?
Or should I count the loss and its cost?

Both my daughter and I are taking inventory and finding things missing around our homes…..Neither of us knows quite what to do about it.

But I think my words apply to both tangible and intangible things.

June 8, 2017

IMG_4600

When the sky boils over
In shades of scudding grey
When the clouds talk loudly to each other
I wonder what they say?

Do they like to light up the place
Where they are around?
Do they decide upon the spot and then
Zap electricity to the ground?

Do they peal out with such loud thunder
To give us folks a jolt?
Perhaps they feel quite gleeful
When we jump at lightning bolts!

It’s quite easy to feel happiness
When it’s a fleecy, blue-sky cloud.
We feel much more overawed and quiet
When the cloud lights up, and cracks aloud.

The title refers to

an eponymous movie by Satyajit Ray

Half the year is gone..

May 31, 2017

It seems as if I was welcoming
The new year only yesterday…
Here I am, at the beginning
Of the sixth month.
Time seems to seep past me
Like a silent, wet flow
From a leaking tap
Rather than elapse
In clearly marked segments.
Time slowly settles
In deepening wrinkles on my face
In accumulated dust
In babies whom I cannot recognize
From my last visit.
It peeps at me from obituary columns.
It winks at me from old photographs.
It bewilders me and fogs my brain
When I stop thinking of what was,
And try to think of what will be.
The dim veil of the past,
The curtained future..
As I contemplate them,
Each second of the present
Slips away, forever, from me.

Thirst

May 15, 2017

I thirst…
Not for love, money or
Even happiness.
I thirst for water
To quench the parched earth
To bring green to the brown
To bring fresh hope to those
Who raise crops and food for us.
I need water
To fill the pots
Of each slum-dweller
Who puts her (it’s never a he)
Vessel in a long line of colours,
Waiting to drink, wash and live.
I have had enough of grishma ritu.
I want varsha…not just the odd shower
Or thunderstorm, but a steady,
Cloudy, drumming season
That will replenish the depleted
Plateau,that we live on
And call home.

The river

May 1, 2017

Rush,rush, rush…
Around me, the seconds flow past
The minutes fly
The hours march,
The months creep slowly.
I hardly feel the year’s progress
Into the lap of what-has-been.
I live in the present…
That’s a conondrum
As with every ticking second
My present becomes the past.
As I sit here, writing,
My heart starts the next beat.
I take my next breath.
I am not what I was
When I first thought of writing this.
What a relentless river Time is.

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Govind

April 22, 2017

Should I wait
For it to be exactly six months
Since you decided
To change the plane of your existence?
Do I not remember you
Very often, never mind what date
Or day, or time it is?
When two of my friends
Had surgery recently
To remove growths
You come to mind
Whenever I lift a camera
I often see you,
Before I see the scene in front of me.
When I see good planning
And crisp execution
You slip into my thoughts.
When I laugh at jokes
I recollect how you used humour to heal yourself.
The determination that got you through so much,
The travels all over the world
The staunch affection…
You are there in every thought I have
About such things.
Time will flow past:
Six months may turn into years.
My friend, you are always here
Where it matters.
In my heart, and in my memories.

Raindrops

March 12, 2017

Inside her little box of an apartment
Lies the elderly woman,
While I tell her about the rain
That is wetting the roads
Outside. Confined to her bed,
She cannot even move
To the window, without help,
To look at the few drops
Falling from the sky.
The plants she has in pots
Cannot feel the rain, either.
All they can get
Is the “filtered water”
Whenever the sullen maid
Remembers them.
The woman is able
To have a roof over her head…
But some simple joys,
Like savouring the raindrops
Which wet that roof,
Are beyond her,
Small deprivations
Can sometimes be big ones.

Raindrops

March 7, 2017

Inside her little box of an apartment
Lies the elderly woman,
While I tell her about the rain
That is wetting the roads
Outside. Confined to her bed,
She cannot even move
To the window, without help,
To look at the few drops
Falling from the sky.
The plants she has in pots
Cannot feel the rain, either.
All they can get
Is the “filtered water”
Whenever the sullen maid
Remembers them.
The woman is able
To have a roof over her head…
But some simple joys,
Like savouring the raindrops
Which wet that roof,
Are beyond her,
Small deprivations
Can sometimes be big ones.