by Avishi Gupta
1. The Pearl Girl
You can find her along the Rocky perimeter of the seashore,
Her eyelashes glinting with silvery mud as she wreathes
Pale, white threads around the ivory pearls.
A heap a seashells of sundry shades and shapes
Rest in a sunken sanctuary of mud by her side.
Protecting her ethereal trade from frothing blue waves
That tickle her toes and sometimes divulge her
Red satin frock in a deafening cascade.
The night is falling, the bright orange - red orb
Glimmers against the horizon, sinking deeper and deeper
Into the ever-trembling waters of the ocean.
She squints and trembles as the thread slithers
Over the shiny circumference of the pearl instead of weaving through it,
Just like the wisps of ashen clouds in the reddening sky
Gently caressing the little bright stars growing
Against the ever deepening backdrop.
For just a moment she holds the universe in her hands,
Threading clouds between her fingers,
Caressing the moony white pearls with her muddy cuticles.
For just a moment; before the cold numbing embrace of the sea takes over,
Snatching away nature's possessions from her fragile grip.
2. Dedicated to Poetry
What's poetry to me?
It's a secret breathed in soft whispers
Draped in allegories and metaphors.
A method so subtle I use,
To reveal truths you stop to admire
Before you nonchalantly pass by,
The way travelers often admire the
Gold-orange mortal leaves before crushing them
Underneath their feet.
It's often a maniac passion to savour words
The way Van Gogh is rumored to have swallowed paints.
Often my poems have callused edges
A bleak roughness in a sea of tender emotions.
It's just a few frosted words that thaw
Into meanings and insights as you read.
An urge to personify the abstracts into an animated realm
The way handmaids often darn patches of golden Butterflies on those tattered clothes.
It's a sensation to me,
A respite from numbness.
3. The Hand Me Down
(This poem envisions a reader who comes across an old book covered in annotations and ink blotches from its previous owner).
I whisper my favourite passage to you from that old,
Battered Rooney novel against the backdrop of the pendulous cherry tree
Burgeoning in your secret garden.
The scent of inked pages mingled with that of cool,
Withering vernal grass wafts through the air,
And your fingers tremble as they thread through mine,
Afraid the scent might give us away.
A dazzling rainbow peeks through the afternoon mist
Only to dissolve into the auburn sky;
A reminder of your clandestine visit midst the downpour.
Your moist dew-scented fingers gently caress the inked corners of the book,
Wreathed in annotations as you scurry through the blue-yellow highlighted passages.
I dwell along those edges; in scribbles and blotches;
A summer rendezvous hidden in plain sight.
Your cherry blossom lips part involuntarily as you read and
In those naïve moments I exist.
4. An Unsolicited Love Poem
I shall refrain from calling
It a mere love,
When the essence outdid
The pain of death;
When the passion carved deeper
Into my soul
Than the knife that'd carve
An epitaph into my stone;
When the enormity of it alone
Condemned our lives to hell.
You tortured my soul
And now it has got wounds.
I treat them with the pretentious strength
That oozes from my stone cold heart
And dress them with the shreds of self love
Gathered from my shattered dignity.
I pat them gently one by one,
Trying to soothe the pain
But in turn they bleed
So I put my hands away
And cry out the pain,
My tears bleeding for my wounds instead.
But I do so in moments of solitude.
For if they know,
They'd try to pat my wounds too
Only they don't know I bleed.
What's left of me is a
Pile of smolders and ashes.
I sit by the cracked windowsill
Watching the relics of the apocalypse
I unleashed upon my world
Crumble down bit by bit.
I'm no queen of a dystopia
With a heart craving to
Rejuvenate my dying world.
I'm the phoenix who survived the fire
Only to die slowly, surrendering myself
Feather by feather to the oblivion
Scavenging on my ruins,
Delaying the inevitable.
5. The Lost River: an Ode to River Pollution
A glistening river of sundry shades once washed these banks,
What colour it is, I wonder now?
Is it blue as an idyllic soul or black as a December sky?
A river once foamed and cascaded down myriad slopes of North,
I wonder if it now dreads the fall?
They say "Water has memories. "
I wonder what memories this river carries now?
Are they stories of human civilizations thriving on it's muddy banks?
Are they memories of the swans that once waded these sweet waters
Or the lilies that once fringed it's extremities?
I stand fixated on this dilemma;
For the river overlooking these lands reeks of debris,
I stand amidst a war where nature and civilization
Bicker incoherently, trying to bend each other to its will.
Man forgets and nature forgives. But until when?
He forgets she nurtures his children with water and food,
Meanwhile she forgives him for stuffing her belly with
Bits of leather and chemicals that burn her throat.
Dear humanity, this river carries you in her womb,
Every inch of poison she devours will strangle you too.
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