The Wish Catcher

Photo cred: "dandelion fluuf" by Silvermist (2011), from fotocommunity

Photo cred: “dandelion fluff” by Silvermist (2011), from fotocommunity

In a silent call to each other, the flowers turn as one to face the rising sun. It’s time.

No ticking of the clock or ringing of the bell is needed to alert the petals. Each, in perfect unison, flutter a greeting as they twist, leaves bowing down in respect.

Like thunder clouds storming in to devour the sun, a torrent of white- seemingly one being- appears, floating, moving closer with every breath but stagnant, motionless.

They near, and we see thousands and millions of fuzzy umbrellas.

The air clears; a man appears on the horizon, hat in one hand, twirling straw with the other over and over and over.

The Wish Catcher.

Somewhere else, far from the man with the hat in his hand and barrel of wishes by his feet, three children frolic away in a field.

The youngest, angelic in face and manner, still learning to walk, plucks a dandelion on a whim known only to her.

Her chubby, childish hands caress the top only to release the snowy fluff that fall like buttons off a sweater.

The oldest, wise in face and manner, still learning the ways of the worlds, senses the barrage of tears and plucks yet another dandelion and presents it to the youngest.

“If you blow on it while making a wish, the umbrellas will fly to the wish catcher on the island of blue and green.”

A hopeful glance. A smile. A tentative blow.

There is only one kind of weather here in the island of blue and green; wish season, where the wishes fall like snow to the ground, coating the grounds with the hopes and childish dreams of so many for the Wish Catcher.

Somewhere in those clouds, there’s the wish of a little girl. A girl, angelic in face and manner, whose wish, blown from hesitant lips, wanders unseen in the crowd of wishes just like it. She waits by a window- one smooth and unblemished, the mirror to her soul- looking out into the moon, wondering about her wish.

Many years later, that little girl, though not so little anymore, still angelic in face and manner, sits by a window, a different one this time- more faded and chipped that the one from her childhood. She still looks outside, though the moon is nowhere in sight. Instead, it is the lights of a dozen other girls who sit like her, behind broken windows that reflect their broken souls.

She still waits for that wish of her to come true. That wish, from a time of innocence and happiness, is the only star that’s continued to shine for her, even when all the others turned their backs on her and sided with the cold darkness that surrounds her.

They too still search for their wishes. Some can still see it in lying on the horizon, as if waiting for them with patience not known to man. But there are those whose worlds have become entombed in darkness, who see not even a flicker of light until it is time for the white to encompass them. Their windows, far from chipped or dirty, lay broken by their feet, the shards piercing them at every turn.

In the island of blue and green, there is no darkness. Even when the set sets, the silvery moonlight and celestial fireworks fill the night, illuminating the skies. No black may enter, no shadow may linger.

Yet every so often, a dandelion wish will crumble, and the silver-gray ashes will fly away into the wind, as lost and forgotten as their wishers were. Those ashes- like sparkling dust, there for a moment, then nowhere in sight- are noticed only by the man with the hat in his hand and barrel of wishes by his feet. For every wish that crumbles, a single tear slips down his weathered cheek, splashing onto the umbrella-covered fields, landing so gently, so softly, and disappearing so quickly, as if it were never there.

He is the Wish Catcher. With the hat in one hand, twirling straw in the other, over and over and over, and barrel of wishes by his feet. So many wishes, so many dreams, so many hopeful faces sitting, waiting by the window. So many little girls and boys, but so little time.

A Work of Art

Just outside of the Musée

Just outside of the Musée

As a post-high school trip, two of my friends and I decided to travel to Paris. We are only here for 5 days, but even as this first day comes to a close, we are in love with the city. Sitting here in our rented apartment, the window open, listening to music from the accordion player on the streets stream through the large open window, a gentle breeze cooling the room, the rush I felt as we left the airport- the realization that we are truly in Paris- hits me again.

Our first visit was to the Musée de l’Orangerie to see the Monet’s Nymphéas- his cycle of water-lily paintings. After we left the museum, we stayed outside for a while, sitting in an upper level of le Jardin des Tuileries, overlooking the city, and this was where I wrote this poem.

A Work of Art

Past the looming arches, ‘neath
an oval ceiling with filtered
light, the colours
bleed into the other.
Where one starts
and the other begins
is indiscernible.

Away from the city’s prying
eyes, tucked away
like a secret refuge,
the water flows without flowing,
trees sway without moving,
and flowers bloom without even living.
Atop long canvases, framed
ornately to colour the white walls,
the Water Lilies
and Weeping Willows
come to life.

Outside these walls,
the alarms are blaring,
cars are honking,
and all sound
is simply noise- a part
of la vie parisienne
Here,
the muffled conversations
and hushed footsteps give
the illusion of silence:
all sound becomes music.

Fireworks

Photo Cred: Levent Erutku (Levent Erutku Photography)

Photo Cred: Levent Erutku (Levent Erutku Photography)

It’s a long weekend this weekend, as today was the last Monday before May 25, the day of Queen Victoria’s birthday. Yes, Victoria Day long weekend, a time of family get-togethers, picnics, and most of all, fireworks. From Friday onwards  every night becomes a light show for the residents. On the Monday night though, which is really night-before-school-starts, the sporadic bursts of sound and light can be somewhat irritating for some, especially as it gets later into the night. While I’m hardly an early sleeper (and personally love fireworks),  reading various Facebook posts first cursing the fireworks and then expressing relief when it stopped was quite amusing. Tonight was their lucky night though as even nature seemed to be on their side.

Fireworks

Popcorn exploding
into kernels of colour.
Some rocket upwards,
popping high above the cookie
cutter roofs,
while others just fizzle
out onto the grass.
Burst of red, green, blue,
appear in the sky
as I watch them from my window,
stories higher than some of them
could ever even
dream of reaching,
counting the minutes
until they stop.

The skies,
not to be intimidated,
call forth their own
light show,
thundering footsteps,
and just enough watery bullets
to scare away all the others,
bringing peace
to slumbering inhabitants
once more.

The Noise of Silence

Even the plants seem to lose their colour…

Being home alone isn’t a bad thing. It’s even something I like, every once in a while. It is only ever in the evenings, when sleepiness sets in, that the silence in the house becomes deafening. Though my house is never loud on a regular basis, the absence of day to day sounds creates a hollow feeling. Even with music playing through the big speakers, the air conditioner running, the fridge resetting, and the clock ticking, the house just feels strange and silent.

The Noise of Silence

I enter to
silence,
the same as always,
yet not.
The emptiness is deafening,
bouncing off the walls
in echoing waves.

The lights don’t shine
as brightly,
the air conditioner hums
just a little louder,
and inactivity latches
on to my skin
like a leech.

The clock on my mantle
counts down the seconds
till tomorrow,
when sound and life
will re-enter the house.
But tomorrow still awaits
the rising sun,
and the clock still ticks
away today.

In the dead of the night,
the floors creak their symphonies,
with accents of groaning doors
and howling winds,
for their audience
of darkness
and me.

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.

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.