Saturday, June 1, 2019




Though it be midnight,
When Poetry beckons me, what else can I do
But rise from the pretence
The sleepy hour of the day forces me to take
And heed the call?

Beneath the blanket of the dark silence,
The world around me lies, having put behind it
A day that was lived as it turned out to be, or not,
So it is well-rested to greet the emotions
Of yet another day
of laughter, love, pathos, pain,
Dutiful necessities, mundane gratifications,
Purposeful pathways, and soulful seconds,
Hoping that it is not much shaken
By the undulating evenness
Chiselled by the Sculptor.

I too must be lying beneath that blanket
But Poetry will not let me be.
Like a drone he hums in my ear
Cajoling and pleading passionately
Until I am forced to shake off
The loving arm of sleep
To meet Poetry for a nocturnal tryst.

Thus, unmindful of the graceful edging of night,
Poetry and I,
One delighted, the other sleepy-eyed yet love-stricken,
Sit nestled in embrace, eyes locked in a whisper
Of sweet nothings, lips mouthing together, words
Of endearing love, breathing the same breath,
Conceiving a love song.

Finally, when we are spent, Poetry lets me go
And I slide once again into the waiting arms of loving sleep
To rest a while before rising with the unsuspicious world,
My night-song a sweet memory to carry through the day.


Do you know what I love most about you?

Your compassion when things just don’t go right,
And the mind is the boss, ruling over the head,
You have exactly the very trick up your sleeve
To draw me away from the prattle and into your spread.

Your resoluteness when I have to be at the doctor’s
And the wait seems like forever,
You are there with me, telling me stories awhile
Patiently with the patient, whatsoever.

Your stoicism to keep me in balance
When my mood oscillates and changes —
Often leaving me wondering how you can take
With a composure that never ranges,

A bright sunny morning or a gloomy afternoon rain,
As you do cosy corners or busy crowded trains.
Unruffled you stay, unlike me, over life’s bumpiness,
Be it cacophonic bus rides, or discordant domestic pains.

You are the one who always helps me strike up
Conversations with philosophers intelligent,
And reveals to me the symbolic explorations
That poets take in the universe elegant.

It’s because of you that I have come to believe
I have magic inside of me, and like you, emanate
This magic to a longing world where
Age, gender, ability, prosperity stands no discriminate.

I’m not done, there’s more about you that I love,
Like how I can snuggle up tight into you without arousing
Anyone’s envy, and share your love too,
Though I may brew a possessiveness, a mine-ing.

For, you always include me in your world
And take me with you wherever you go,
Show me pastures near and afar,
Be it mountain highs or where rivers flow.

Oh you bundle of love, though small in stature,
Within you, you hold a heart so immense
That whatever the sort I am,
You love me with no pretense.


When thirst torments and people reach out
For those cute little transparent bottles off the shelves
That they can disassociate themselves with
Once the cool elixir is consumed,
A luxury that serves to make their bags weightless,
I reach into mine for the unglamorous heaviness —
My own bottle of water refilled at home.

This is me, the water bearer,
Not of the zodiac, though a green thinker
As an Aquarian,
So, notwithstanding the bulkiness of my bag,
And the jeering of the others,
I bear my own, a small bottle of the water
Tucked into my designer bag (after all, what are designer bags
for if not to accommodate a thirst-quencher?)
Or a larger flask slipped into a sleeve with a strap,
Sleek of design so it may fit and be carried with ease.

I bear this baggage wherever I go,
On rainy days or sunny,
So that Earth may be spared the oppression
Of carrying the can of my own misdeeds —
The thousands of those pet things
I would otherwise have thrown away
as insensitive garbage after having emptied it
of the sparkling liquid to quench my need,
Whence it would unite with
the ever-mounting pile of imperishables,
Monsters in the making
Waiting to one day drown us in their depravity.


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'.

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