Category Archives: Poetry

Favourite Poems: January 2018

(It’s still January, in my head).

This year, I’ve decided to read a poem a day. It gets difficult to quantify, sometimes, mainly because a) I’m exploring what’s poetry supposed to mean, and b) I like reading poetry collections.

But, since I am doing this for myself, and I am too lazy to think of things to blog about (unless you read my poetry blog where I post more often) I thought hey, why not combine the two, and compile a list of great poems I’ve read every month!

The idea for this series is for me to post at least four poems (one poem/week) that I thought were great every month. This way I can keep a check on myself (with respect to reading) and have something to blog about. (Please expect a nostalgic/sentimental post soon about blogging soon (that could mean months)).

For now, here’s a list for January:

1) Walking with Eliza, by Jeffrey Harrison

What I loved about this poem is that it’s about the love between a father and a daughter. It’s full of the kind of nostalgia that makes you yearn. For what? I don’t know. The poem is an invitation to Harrison’s mind. It’s as if he says, Look what I’ve discovered. Isn’t it so strange, so beautiful?

Here’s an excerpt from the poem:

I comment on how strange the weather is,
as if the day can’t decide whether it wants
to rain or be sunny—and then on how funny
it is that we say things like that, as if the day
had feelings. I ask her if they’ve talked about this
in English class, and she says, “You mean
personification?” and I say yeah, deciding
to spare her the term “pathetic fallacy,”
another rule about how we’re supposed to think,
a censoring of the imagination.

Here’s a link to the poem, if you want to read it: http://www.versedaily.org/2014/walkingwitheliza.shtml

2) Ode to Patrick Swayze, by Tishani Doshi

Everyone who’s watched Dirty Dancing probably has had a little crush on Patrick Swayze. It seems like Doshi’s “sexual awakening” (cringing at this phrase), and probably her first crush was him. But can you complain?

She writes:

At fourteen I wanted to devour you, the twang, the strut, the perfect proletarian butt in the black pants of you. I wanted a man like you to sashay into town and teach me how to be an aeroplane in water. I didn’t want to be a baby. I wanted to be your baby. I wanted revenge. I wanted to sue my breasts for not living up to potential. I wanted Jennifer Grey to meet with an unfortunate end and not have a love affair with a ghost

This poem makes you miss having your first crush- the magic of wanting to be with someone like Johnny Castle- of wanting to be taught how to be an aeroplane in water

Read Tishani’s amazing collection Girls are Coming out of the Woods here.

3) Unnamed poem by Gulzar.

Sometimes I read translated works, and wish I could understand the language in its entirety to appreciate its literature. This poem made me wish I paid more attention in my Hindi classes. The translation (Translator unknown) reads:

A poem
entangled in my chest,
lines
fastened on my lips,
words
like butterflies
won’t sit still on paper.
I sit
for so long
with your name
on this blank paper.
Your name
just your name exists;
could there be
a better poem?

Read the original and the translation here

4)The Aliens by Charles Bukowski

The seemingly “normal” is so the opposite of normal sometimes, no? This poem gripped me and then let me go so abruptly, that I had to re-read it a few times to feel better (and worse, because I wish I could write like that).

you may not believe it
but there are people
who go through life with
very little
friction or
distress.
they dress well, eat
well, sleep well.
they are contented with
their family
life.
they have moments of
grief
but all in all
they are undisturbed
and often feel
very good.
and when they die
it is an easy
death, usually in their
sleep.
you may not believe
it
but such people do
exist.
but I am not one of
them.
oh no, I am not one
of them,
I am not even near
to being
one of
them
but they are
there
and I am
here.

Read it here

Which of these did you like the most? Which is your favorite poem of all time? Let me know.

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Waiting.

Time slows. Tic-one-two-three-four-five-toc. Tic-six-seven-eight-nine-ten-toc. She sits at the coffee shop, waiting. Waiting for everything in her life to change. Today’s outcome would make or break everything she’s worked for in her life. 

She’s waiting for her to put everything into the next five hours. Her life is at line. Every late night, every early morning, every push of the line, every second of every minute of every hour of every day of the last three months. The hundred times in the passport office, the hundreds of essays, seminars, presentations, statistical analysis, killing, and rejuvenating each comfort zone. It’s all adding up to this. 

A test in reasoning. But more importantly, in keeping calm. When every cell in your body wants you to run, it kills you to stay. To calm down. What’s a cup coffee, when all you want to do- to really do is cocoon up in your bed with your sweet smelling blanket? To jump start your car, and just drive away?

Breathe in. Breathe out. Make a to do list for when everything goes well. Because it will. It will, won’t it? Everyone says it will. But will it? What if it doesn’t? What if everything she’s worked for is farcical? What if it’s not what people like her are supposed to dream? People like her don’t go to Yale. People like her live in her parents’ house till they’re married. 

They say that when you want something, the entire universe conspires for you to get it. But how would you explain your dad’s retirement, and your mum’s sickness, and your sister’s self esteem issues, and your panic attacks? How do you explain why everything that had to go wrong, did in fact go wrong? How do you explain the sobering consequences of hard work that went wrong? 

They say that if there’s a brick wall in front of you, you know how hard you want what’s on the other side. But she knew how hard she wanted it, without the brick wall. She knew it because she could taste it in the air, and she could see it through the glass window of her house. She could see a foreigner’s god, without losing her faith. She could see the place where she could cry, and those tears would still be worth it. She could see the place where she’d laugh, and miss something, but missing that little something would be a small price to pay for the amazing thing happening to her. She could see, almost touch the place she wanted to be. And it all depends on the thing that she’s waiting for today. 

The clock slows. Tic-one-two-three-four-five-toc. Tic-six-seven-eight-nine-ten-toc. And she waits. Because this wait is worth it, too. Somehow. She doesn’t know it yet, but it is. It has to be.

Back from sabbatical. Yay.


Rock.

I want to be your rock,
The one you turn to when everything goes downhill.
I want to take you in my arms
And cradle you till sunrise.

I want to be your rock,
Your constant and your pride,
Your northern star on a moonless night
And guide you through the darkness you fear will encompass you.

I want to be your rock
And give you my hand when you’re hanging by a thread
Your beautiful soul being stitched back to new
Your angelic face smiling in peace

I want to be your rock
And hold you while you’re thrown ashore
Keep your feet in the sand
Till you are ready to fly away.

I want to be your rock
As you try to find solace
In the arms of multiple others
And give your heart away easily

I want to be your rock
As you come back to me
Just a little more shattered
Just a smudge more bleeding

I want to be your rock
When you realise that
In the end, we’re each alone
Hoping to make a great team one day.

I want to be your rock
When you break your heart again
And lose your soul to the one you trusted the most
And feel like giving up on everything.

I want to be your rock
When I’m old and grey
And have no memory of myself
But you, I’ll remember as the one I loved the most.