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Thriving Mindfully

Category: Poetry (Page 1 of 6)

Smiles in the sky

There are times when I have got nothing to say,
And nobody to share that nothingness with.

The sun hides behind the clouds.
The rain falls, pitter-patter.
There sits a lonely dove on the cable
Awaiting someone.

I fly to that brooding bird
And proclaim,
All the truths she knows already

Again and again,
I speak
Of that feeling,
Of silently sauntering in the shimmering summer sun,
Of a restless retreat over raging rivers on a run
Of tumbling like a torpedo towards the tarmac turf
Of soaring in the sky on a slow, shy surf
Of the festive fervor in foraging for fruit
Of loving lentil left on lentils to loot

Of picking the perfect twig for a nest
Of the relief in repose, of relishing rest

Of being in love yet being lonely
Of being lonely yet being in love

The curvy cable eavesdrops
On our candid confessions
Coated in collegial camaraderie

The wire weighs down with
the weight of two birds
It hangs low between posts,
As if smiling

The sun shines,
The rainbow smiles back
At the smiling cable
Upside down.

We,
two birds
Fly away,
alone still,
Lifted in spirit
Melded in meaning

Buoyed by
Fleeting flirtations
Of those two
silent,
sinuous
symbolic
smiles.

नारी

किलकारी से आज मन का भर गया है झोला
देखो आज पालना भी झूम कर है डोला
आंगन में अब तो गूंजे है मद्धम सी लोरी
जो जन्मी है घर में अपने प्यारी सी छोरी

समय की करवट के साथ जन्मा भाई छोटा
नानी बन बिटिया झूमी जैसे हुआ हो उसका पोता
दूध के दांत भले टूटे नही हो पांच
रक्षा करे ऐसी भाई को आने ना दे आंच

थी उसके साये में कुछ ऐसी निर्मल छाया
पापा की डांट से मानो हर रोज़ ही बचाया
जो माँ की ममता अगर कभी पड गयी अधूरी
अम्मा बन हरदम की हर कसर है उसने पूरी

और भाई की मुठ्ठी में ताक़त कुछ ऐसी समाई
जो बहन की राखी से सज गयी उसकी कलाई
फ़िर भाई के रुतबे में लग जाता ऐसा तड़का
कि आंख उठाने से डरे मोहल्ले का हर लड़का

पर पलक झपकते ही देखो बड़ी हो गयी लाड़की
दुल्हन बन बैठी है आज, सज गयी है देखो पालकी
पीछे छोड़े अपने कई आँसुओं के अम्बार
ससुराल चली बन्नो बसाने अपना संसार

पापा बोले जा बिटिया रखना सबको हरदम ही ख़ुश
तू जन्मी थी तो ही उभरा था मेरे भीतर का पौरुष
तेरी ज़िद्द न होती ऐ बहना तो मैं पैदा न हुआ होता
बोला भाई, अब सूना हो गया देख तेरा नन्हा पोता

नारी की महिमा हैं यह, उसकी कोमल सी ममता
हर नर में परिवर्तन लाने की अद्भुत सी ये क्षमता
अगर ना होता नारी का वो निर्मल पावन प्यार
मानो ओझल हो जाता इस संसार का ही सार

हो धागों के ये रिश्ते या हो ममता के अटूट तार
इस प्रेम की पतवार से ही होती है नैया पार
नारी का अस्तित्व ही है मानो देवी का अवतार
आओ मिलकर इस शक्ति का करें हम जयजयकार

Fearless Poetry

In an intimate moment
To a poem
I asked,

Tell me dear, of your solemn sanity
your grace, your poise and equanimity

Why nothing ever makes you dread
What makes you ever so unafraid.

The poem, ever silent,
she sipped on some ink
And revealed gently,
In a lettered link

I am the psalm of life, thus she said,
I’m worth that testing pursuance
I am artless art, born
At the confluence of all influence

And until every word, every influence
Has come together in an effortless stride
I have witnessed my laboured making
Without that senseless shred of pride

And what do I tell you
Of the incubation inside
A young poet’s doubting mind
That imaginary prison
For an imagined work of love
How needlessly does that cage bind!

How testing were all those years
I’ve waited as a footprint on paper
In the suffocating darkness where
the sublime sublimates, into a withering vapor

But in all those moments
Spent without any clout
I’ve never let inside
A flicker of doubt

I’ve believed in myself
To the heights of delusion
When nobody knew of
My spirited resolution

At times when nobody was ready
To pull me out of the shelf,
I have spent those nights quietly
Reading myself to myself
In the voices of all those
who might find some consonance
With faith in all words
That might find some resonance

I have heard voices that
have exalted me to the heavens
I have endured the voices
That have relegated me to hell

In all those pageants
Of my own imagined discovery
I have felt
anguish and agony
beauty and belittlement
curses and caresses
doubt and desparation
exasperation and emancipation…

In those murmuring moments
I have heard
Every possible reaction
Of a possible reader
From myself
In those lonely nights
Spent memorizing myself

And hence
Having been through
The game of long waiting
The test of self-hating
That dry run of delusional self-love
I’ve earned the freedom of a fluttering dove

And so,

When a poem
Finally reaches you
It has
Absolutely
No fear.


What a butterfly says

I’ve lived up to witness the charming story
Sitting on a bloom of morning glory
The world, they say, slows down its pace
To watch me with a smile, on their face


When I prance around among fragrant things
With the bright symmetry of powder wings,
The traces of pollen in my flight
Bring one and all a supreme delight


Half my life was spent in a cellar
As the ravenous reeling caterpillar
Camouflaged in weeds in isolation
Unaware I’d be worth a celebration


But it isn’t just praise I’ve pandered to
My wings are often slandered too
When the ocean churns with climatic defect
They blame it on me as the butterfly effect


Do tornadoes turn, from the flap of my wings?
I’m too small to know of all these things
But in quiet moments of contemplation
I wonder if I can stir such a revolution


To you, I say, my patient friend
Life is but an enchanting blend
Of duality of oblivion and discovery
Of flying high and chewing mulberry


As children of creation, there are traits we share
Of longing to thrive in the hours to spare
Should you embrace the world with a loving might
You’ll know the beauty of a wingless flight


So let each little act, each tiny motion
Be an act of the deepest devotion
And you’ll taste dear life’s potent potion
And your awakening will usher
A revolution.

The Mother Asks

The air that the Buddha exhaled
When he realised enlightenment

The molecules that plankton infused
In the air since genesis

The final gush of breath of hunted gazelle

Is the air that you and I breathe
At this moment.


The bead of sweat on a farmer’s brow
The ever-dancing droplet on a lotus leaf

The wayward clans of vapour
that ride on the wind

Have reached our glass as water,
at some point in time


Each grain, each sediment,
Each fossil, each stone,
Every discovered gem
Was born
Out of degrees of temprament
Of Magma,
That Mother earth shelters in her womb

The water,
the earth,
the wind,
the fire
the sky

Have been the same
On Earth
Across ages

Humans have only tainted them
With the rationale of a greater good
Across generations

The water tastes of humankind’s
Cluttered chemistry
The sky coughs from the gathering haze
The Earth chokes under concrete
The wind and fire
Have gone haywire

Our collective derangement
Our spirited defilement
Is perhaps
A fleeting moment of discomfort
To the wholesome, ever-complete Earth

She can cure herself
She’s been through worse

The question she asks is,

Do we want to be the generation
Of hostile antigens
That she must fight against

Or are we ready
To be a remedy?

The Mother will do just fine

She asks us still,
Witholding a teardrop with patience,

Can we be worthy children
And aspire to live another
sliver of a sliver
of time
To dwell on the miracle
Life is.

A quiet fire

Two bees
Suckle
A spout of nectar

The lavender flower
Blushes
In a tender surrender

And I watch
And wonder

Have I ever been a bee
And droned my arrival
To the elixir of life

Have I ever been
the lavender bloom
That summons the buzzers,
That surrenders
with a silent passion

The wind whispers
With its motion,
An emotion
Of being comfortable being invisible
As long as it makes itself felt
As long as it is in motion

There is a world
Right in front of our eyes
That informs us
Of a quiet fire
A resilience
Untouched by aggression
Unblemished of pride
That works silently
Solemnly
Each moment
Forever

That I can witness this
In rare moments
Of reflection
Is enough to kindle
A fire within.

Sreenath Uncle

My cute little friends, for my sweet sake
All chipped in and brought me a cake
And that birthday song caught me blissfully unaware
All these years have passed, I wonder where

I see that chubby kid, who wishes I rumble
Whenever he teases me and calls me Uncle
But I forgive the boy, I choose not to mind
For I used to be a kid, much of his kind.

It’s divine to forgive, and human to err
Reflects truthfully the shiny silver mirror
And I wonder if I am really past my prime
With my flowing hair on the crosshair of time

My little friends and I, to the playground we run
We dig in the stumps and thus begins the fun
Like a child still, I ask for balls trail
I take guard and bat away to sweet denial

The little girl says

Uncle, Uncle, never mind that odd wrinkle
So long as your loving eyes shine and twinkle
And she brings me a slice of cake to eat
And I’m glad to me it tastes, just as sweet!

Starlight

By a warm bonfire
Through a tube of lenses
I watch in wonder
The tinsel in the sky

A speck of salt on fading indigo
A lighthouse lost in time and space
There winks that ageing star

They say it could be my grandmother
Speaking in blips of a cosmic Morse code
Do I have the heart to listen and decipher?

I wonder

She was a bundle of love, granny
Would always tell me
You are an ocean of light my child
You are a bundle of bliss

Her voice still lingers
Even if she she hangs out in the sky these days
Having herself become an ocean of light
Locked Light years away.

She says, look…look my child
You are the same light as I am
You remember how I always told so
Don’t you?

I look at her
In awe,
She holds me
Rapt

And I wonder,

Do I burn brightly enough
For her to see me dazzle
From afar?

Do I enliven the hour
With the poetry of life
With the essence, the truth

There are days when I do
Many days when I don’t
Regardless, I still come to watch her every night
Thought the telescope, a gift from her when I turned 10

But she treats me alike either way
In failure and triumph
As if she believes in every atom of my being
In the stardust I am made of

The constant in the flux of my life
My guardian, my cheerleader
In the play of every day
She’s by the ringside, eternally,
Offering a sip of hope

She whispers

Brighter my child,
I am too far away,
And I left my glasses back at home
She says

You’re the infinite within a body
You’re the blueprint of the divine
Receive, Perceive, Believe
With all your soul

And at times when I lose faith in myself
It’s her faith that lights up my eyes
And I receive, perceive, and believe again
In the light she saw in me

A bonfire keeps me company every night
As I pore at the galactic canvas through the lenses

I hope
When the bonfire dies out
And I put my telescope away

I still shine bright
Holding the candle of curiosity
In love with the prospect of discovery

Still alive, and yearning to decode the secret of the stars
The geometry in the cosmos
The pulse of the flow of time

And that beloved star at a distance
Can still see me blink
From afar.


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© 2020 Sreenath Sreenivasan

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