Day 30: May Morning

The last day! I can’t believe the month flew by so quickly – it truly feels as if I was just starting on the seemingly daunting task of writing and posting a poem everyday. The prompts given were all different, many of them pushing me away from my comfort zone in poetry. I hope I can maintain writing and posting at least on a weekly basis, if not more after today.

The prompt for day 30 was to “find a shortish poem that you like, and rewrite each line, replacing each word (or as many words as you can) with words that mean the opposite”. The poem that I chose – “November Night” by Adelaide Crapsey is a beautiful poem with wonderful imagery, and is coincidentally a cinquain (day 5, anyone?). In fact, Crapsey was the one who created the modern form of the cinquain which is known as the American cinquain.

November Night

Listen.
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
And fall.

By: Adelaide Crapsey

My attempt at ‘rewriting it’– I wasn’t able to write the second line iambic feet as Crapsey did though the other four should be fine.

May Morning

Observe.
In near silence,
like breaths of sleeping bees,
the flow’rs, warm red, burst from the ground
and bloom.

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Day 29: Caged Birds

Photo Cred: Ciara D'Anella

Photo Cred: Ciara D’Anella

Almost done! The prompt for day 29 was to write a poem that had at least 5 words from another language(s). The two languages I decided to use were Hindi, which I can speak somewhat decently, and Bengali, which, while I can understand a few words here and there, I cannot speak. For this reason, the Bengali words (the first three) are spelt the way it was given on Google Translate, where as the Hindi words are spelt the way they are normally seen (and said). I found this a bit difficult to write mostly because I wanted to keep the flow while switching languages, though I’m not sure whether I really succeeded or not. As opposed to defining each word separately, I simply put a “translated” version of the poem underneath. Like in any language, words can have several different meanings and connotations but do let me know if you think I used any of the words incorrectly.

Caged Birds

Along the patha outside
the jonaki and the prajapati
flutter, flitting
from branch to branch,
illuminating the akash
with roshni and rang– free.

Inside the cage
the parindey that know
not how to fly,
can never know
azaadi,
even if udaasi
is just as much an
ajanabi as
khushi.

TRANSLATION:

Along the path outside
the firelies and the butterflies
flutter, flitting
from branch to branch,
illuminating the sky
with light and colour– free.

Inside the cage
the birds that know
not how to fly,
can never know
freedom,
even if sadness
is just as much an
stranger as
joy.

Day 28: Red Tinted Memories

The prompt for day 28 was to write a poem using a “color as a guide”.

Red Tinted Memories

Gentle twists of yarn
weaving in and out
in an endless stream of colour;
roan red to baby pink.
Though highly contrasted,
they blend together
as the threads mingle with
each other to form
a sweater
which, though seemingly
soft, is rough
to the touch.
Laden with frayed memories,
the twists of yarn
and the love
that gave them form
are forever preserved in my mind
even as the colours continue
to fade with time.

Inside my mind,
I can see her hands
fly with the needles
in a criss-cross
chaos of choreographed motions.
Balls of tightly wound
yarn at either side slowly
dwindle to add to the ever
growing bundle atop her lap.
A vision- not a memory,
though very plausible
all the same,
that makes smile
nonetheless.

Day 27: A Rolling Stone

The Old Traveler- Piotr Paczkowski

The Old Traveler- Piotr Paczkowski

The prompt for day 27 was to plug in the first three words of a common proverb or phrase into a search engine and “collect” words or phrases that are of interest from the first few pages of results. The collection then serves as an inspiration for the poem.

The proverb I chose was: “A rolling stone gathers no moss”. My poem highlights one of the multiple interpretations of this proverb.

Photo Cred: I was surprised I managed to find the perfect picture to go along with this poem! This particular one is a piece of digital artwork by Piotr Paczkowski titled “The Old Traveler”. To see more of Paczkowski’s work, go here.

A Rolling Stone

Though old and weathered,
he lacks the languid motions
that characterize others
of his kind.
With agility unheard of,
unseen,
he rushes along,
passing new towns,
new people,
everyday.
No rust hinders
his travels,
both mind and body
clear of obstacles.
He moves without hesitation,
as steadily as
a rolling stone
that gathers no moss
as it spirals down
a hill.

The City Life

Men in the 1950s

Men in the 1950s

It feels weird not to have really “written” anything for the day 26 NaPoWriMo prompt since it was all about erasure poetry. Therefore, I decided to write something else as well, just for fun!

The City Life

The night was heavy
with smoke
and the scent of beer.
Chaos everywhere.
People
walking, running, sprinting
every they wanted
to go,
no time to stop and say
hello here.
Everyone had a job to do,
money to make,
a life to establish.
There wasn’t time for inane
babbling with random
strangers on the road.
People had a purpose
here, and nothing could change that.
Shiny,
glittering dresses
flounced behind
groups of ladies
as they strut down
the street.
Brown and black hats sat
resolutely on men’s
heads,
as determined
to fight the wind
as the men
were to fight
for their rights.

Day 26: Flute Music

 
The prompt for day 26 was to perform an erasure on a poem. Erasure poetry is form of found poetry that is created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem. The poem I chose is one of my favorite poems, entitled "Flute Music" by Rabindranath Tagore.
Flute Music
Kinu, the milkman's alley
   ground              room in a                       valley
                                 window barred.
                  walls, windows                      to dust in places
      strained with damp.
Stuck on the floor,
                       Ganesha,                   Success,
From                     a              cloth.
Another                                           lives in my room
For the same rent;
A lizard.
               one difference
He doesn't go hungry.

        twenty five rupees a month
As junior clerk                             .
I'm fed  
For coaching                 .
At dusk I go  
Spend the evening  
      save the cost of light.
Engines
                  shrieking,
Passengers
               shouting.
            till                  ten,
Then back to       dark,silent,lonely            .

A village on the                     river,            
Her brother-in-law's daughter -
                       to marry my unfortunate self,                            fixed.
The moment                       auspicious for her, 
        I ran          .
The girl         saved              ,
And I                 .
               not            to this room, but            in and out of my mind                      :
Dacca sari, vermilion on her forehead.

Pouring rain.
                costs go up,
                                    pay gets cut                       .
Along the alley,
Mango skins        stones,                  pulp,
Fish-gills, dead kittens
                                       other rubbish
Pile up        rot.
My umbrella                 my                     pay -
Full of holes.

Monsoon darkness
sticks 
Like an animal                      dead          ,
Lifeless           numb
                                     strapped bodily
      to a half-dead world.

At the corner                  lives Kantababu -
          hair, carefully parted,
Large eyes.
Cultivated tastes.
    fancies                 the cornet:
The sound                           in gusts
On the foul breeze                        -
                    in the middle of the night,
                          the early morning twilight,
                           the afternoon
When sun and shadows glitter.
                    this evening
He              play runs in Sindhu-Baroya        ,
        the              sky rings
          eternal              separation.
                    alley is a lie,
False       vile as                            a drunkard,
                           nothing distinguishes                      the clerk
From the Emperor              .
        umbrella                      parasol merge,
         on the sad music of a flute
                         heaven.

The music     true,
                             everlasting twilight-hour                         ,
                      river flows,
     banks deeply shaded                               ,
        she who waits 
Is dressed in a dacca sari, vermillion on her forehead.

Day 25: Futile Endeavor

The prompt for day 25 was to write a ballad of any kind (sad, funny, silly, etc). A ballad is a narrative in verse form that is set to music. Though the ballad has evolved over time, the general composition of a ballad is made of “ballad stanzas” which are 4-line stanzas of alternating lines of iambic (an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable)tetrameter (eight syllables) and iambic trimeter (six syllables). There is also a rhyme scheme- while this can also differ, the most common one is ABCB.

Futile Endeavor

As stealthy as the waves that creep-
so passive in display-
towards the unsuspecting shore,
it leaped, devoured its prey.

Where calm waves once had lingered,
unrest had made its home,
the nights and days passed slowly by,
and ire began to roam.

The sands, incensed, fought for her life-
like branches in the sea.
She argued, screamed, unleashed her rage
still nothing came to be.

This irritating flu, always
appearing whenever-
attempt to overcome it- just
a futile endeavor.

Day 24: A Self-Portrait

The prompt for day 24 was to write a self-portrait using the words generated from your name (with the help of an anagram generator . This was insanely hard, both because I had some strange words come up in my name, as well as the fact that I’ve never been good at writing (or talking) about myself. The only way I could think of going about this was to follow a format similar to that of a self-portrait essay, and then manipulate it into a poem. I only managed to use a few words here and there, but its the thought that counts, I guess.

A Self-Portrait

Born in the city where the ashes
of loved ones past seek
liberation.

Not letting dust
sit in any one place,
new homes in new places
became as easy to slip into
as the purple sweater that hangs
behind my door.

Though seemingly staid
and hushed, 
they are mere acts-
hiding true natures 
in subconscious fear
of exclusion. 

Day 23: A Child

The prompt for day 23 was to write a triolet, which is an eight-line poem where the first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines. There is also a rhyme scheme of ABaAabAB- the capital letters represent the repetition of the line. This particular poem was inspired by a video called Chotu CEO created by Save the Children India “to make corporate employees notice child labour around them. The campaign had a great impact and it helped many children get into schools.”

A Child

A child, barely at the age of ten,
with tears streaking down his cheeks,
toiling away at the jobs of men.
A child. Barely at the age of ten.
He wakes, works, weeps, and works again,
deprived of the childhood he so desperately seeks.
A child, barely at the age of ten,
with tears streaking down his cheeks.

Day 22: Reflections

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

The prompt for day 22 was to write a poem that is inspired by the fact that today (April 22) is Earth Day.

Reflections

A mirror image,
reflecting every facet
of beauty, not hindered
by even a single ripple
on the surface.
Like a painter,
precise and meticulous
in each stroke,
every colour is defined,
the ridges of the mountains
that surround the lake
depicted perfectly.

But how long before
the water, now
crystal clear,
turns murky
with pollution,
like so many others
in the world?

How long will this reflection
last?