Wednesday, May 1, 2019




It is because of Death,
I live.

A seed I was when I began my first song,
Snuggled in a protective watery bed,
The first few words I wrote with webbed fingers,
Slight, undistinguished and hardly spread.

But as I felt my mother’s tender caress,
My song grew into perceptible roundedness,
The wrinkly tissues delicately smoothed out
And trepidation grew to wonderfulness.

But when I stretched myself to sing lustily,
The waterbed broke, my mother laboured with pain.
The song then had to end, I had to die a little
And with lyrics new upon my lips, I was born again.

My song this time an exuberant rhythm,
Girlish giggles and childlike chatter,
Swirling skirts a melody around dainty feet,
And eyes expressing the delight of pigtails splatter.

The outré versed a romantic refrain
A bejeweled bride in blushing blooms,
My eyes aglow with love’s fantasies
As cheeks a crimson kiss consumes.

But the sunny script was soon fading out
The scroll ended, and so did the brightness,
A snuffed out candle I was, a-dying
There was no more singing, only slightness.

Struggling tones of mature lyrics
From heart to hearth, themes of womanhood,
Shallow in pith, lines of survival instincts,
No more dances, only livelihood.

The song, it came out in a rasp
A suffocation of stagnant tale,
As day moved on into another day,
Yet sang I my song of patient travail.

Till Death suddenly one day came a knocking
And bade me abandon the raucous organ.
Glad was I to die with this wheezy song
So I could rise again for a brand new edition.

Finally I have begun this verse anew
That the Motherly Muse fondly dictates,
The simple verses flourishing into grand octaves,
A progressive crescendo happiness pulsates.

This joyous melody has no death,
Only life to tell a grateful epic tale,
An everlasting one, eternal as the soul,
Omnipresent, the ballad of the Divine nightingale.


I looked at the void ahead
A wrinkled brow contorting my pretty face.
I pulled myself together, tried to gauge the darkness,
And prayed for the Sun to show up.
There wasn't darkness yet around where I stood,
But there... up ahead,
Was nothing but gloom.

I moved on,
Had to, with Time.

There wasn't darkness yet around where I stood,
But I could still see, up ahead,
Only gloom.

What if Night engulfed me?
Should I stop, turn away, or turn around?
What would I need as talisman to keep me safe
in my journey through the ominous darkness?
And so the questions surged.
Oh, Govinda!* Where are you?
Why don't you show up?

There wasn't darkness yet around where I stood,
But there... up ahead,
was nothing but Gloom.
Govinda never came.
Bracing myself to face Fear of the Unknown,
I took a deep breath and willed my mind
to Silence.
Not a moment too soon,
For in that Quiet I heard assuring notes...
Krishnamurari!** The Flautist!
Comforted, I paused, and inhaled deeply again.

Hey, wasn't this where I had thought
The impending dark Fear was?
But there was no darkness around where I stood...
Only light!
I saw Light. Light smiled down at me...
Ghanashyama!*** Sundara!****

So, hadn't I moved at all?
I had, with Time, jostled along
But always in dread of an adversity I feared
Would snatch my Happiness away.
I had moved on a great way with Time,
And not once had I faced night around wherever I stood!
So, what was that dark cloud hovering around me
Time through Time?
Meghashyama***** smiled...
And I felt foolish for not having perceived Him.
But He took me into the fold
Of His strong arms in a tight embrace,
Placed His warm lips upon my quivering ones,
And merged me unto Himself.

I had prayed for Govinda to show up
But I had failed to perceive Vibhavasu's****** light and warmth
Around me!
This beautiful, soft, comforting Luminescence that brought gladness
To all who came into its enfold was surely

I saw Sunshine now...
I felt Sunshine, I was in Sunshine...
The source of all Love...
The source of all Love?
I looked around, then I looked within me... Sunshine!
I am... Sunshine!
Parasmai Jyotish!*******

*Govinda: (here) a name that one can call out to for succour in times of distress
Krishnamurari**: the dark-complexioned Lord (Krishna) who pleases all with His flute (murari)
Ghanashyama*** : dark (Shyama) heaven or sky (ghan)
Sundara****: the beautiful one
Meghashyama*****: Krishna whose complexion is as dark as a cloud (megha) heavy with rain
Vibhavasu******: One in whom radiance (vibha) dwells; (vasu) sun
Parasmai Jyotish*******: The Supreme (Parasmai) Light (Jyotish)


She sent me a pink flower,
And I sent her a blue heart
In reply.
Will you, she texted me, write
A poem on my pink flower?
Lost for words, I sent her,
Not one, but three flowers, pink.
Who said pink flowers have no fragrance?
And blue hearts beat not with love?


Ms VIDYA SHANKAR, Indian poet, writer, blogger, motivational speaker, mindfulness practitioner, and yoga enthusiast, has been into English language teaching, instructional designing, and content development for more than two decades. An active member of poetry circles, her poetry has appeared in literary magazines and platforms such as GloMag, Setu, Storizen, StoryMirror, Spillwords and WRITE (Sri Lanka). She had been a regular contributor for the column 'Short Take'  published in 'The Gulf Today', a Sharjah-based newspaper, an engagement that lasted for more than five years. Her first book, 'The Flautist of Brindaranyam', an anthology of 12 poems published in December 2017, was a collaborative effort with her photographer husband, Shankar Ramakrishnan. She also maintains a blog 'The Quintessential Word'.

1 comment :

  1. Lovely Vidya. Die To Live is an annotation on life. Get going ahead.