Posted in Life, Poetry

Stellar Dreams

This one was inspired by Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for Interstellar. And *ALRIGHT FINE* maybe twinke twinke little star, too…

 

The stars, oh, how they call to me!

Like petrichor to weary souls.

Oh how they tantalize and free-

Twinkle with secrets heaven holds.

 

The stars, so blessed, distanced from woe,

Nary, like men, to heed a knell.

No less, Terra’s glory below

Descried by night’s fiducial.

 

I wish to bask just like the stars,

In heaven’s far away recess,

To overcome distance that bars

My reach to dark velvet harness.

Posted in Life, Poetry

To Felicity

It has been a while, and though I’ve been lethargic when it came to posting stuff on here, I have been trying new techniques. Here’s some short archaic verse. Please do comment and provide feedback!

Fair one, of beauty all covet,
The charm thou brook no vapour be.
For all whom that thine laughter met,
Do swear ’tis more than fantasy.

Thy cherry blush that dost not fade
Beguiles our weary souls of woe.
Thy twinkling eyes in Zion made,
To dying Faith new Hope doth show.

O Damsel, jocund, be not coy!
I bid thy succor, seek thy glee,
Wherefrom cometh thy spirit’s joy?
Thy secret share, pray set me free!

Meredith Family
Fairy Garden and Lily
Posted in Fiction

THE RUNAWAY BRIDE

Since I’m trying new stuff, I thought about giving short stories a hand, and this time, I’ve gone for humor. Please do provide comments and feedback!

Being a prompter is a rather dull job. Especially if the play is unfolding well. I remember hoping something interesting would happen, even if it entailed Alberto saying Hanna’s dialogue instead of his own (that had been a hoot and a half during the rehearsal). Little did I know that I was about to have the refrain “be careful what you wish for” drilled into my skull rather brutally over the next couple of hours.

Just a minute after I’d finished stifling my thirty-third yawn, Mrs. Alexa, the teacher in charge of the school play, came huffing up to me in the aisle and whispered to me to follow. The look of panic on her face had me immediately abjure any qualms about leaving my position backstage.

Mrs. Alexa led me to the powder room from whence the sound of retching was rather too loud for comfort. She answered my flummoxed expression with, “That’s Rachael. She’s been vomiting with the vigor of an El Salvador bull, this past half hour.” I waited for subsequent instructions, my brain having eschewed all sleepiness. “Maddie, YOU have to play the part of the runaway bride.”

I became aware of having uttered a faint, non-committal sound, akin to that of a broken wind-up toy. “Good then. It’s settled. I’ll have the costume sent to you. You’re on in ten!” she cried flying out the room. Everyone knew I’d tried for and just lost out on the part of the runaway bride, but this was a rather ironical twist of fate. In the minutes that ensued, the powder room was thronging with harried looking stage hands and makeup artists who bustled around importantly as if they had a world to save. And they probably did. They stripped, clad, brushed and patted me with the desperation of a cathartic release. Just as a round of applause signaled the end of the first act, I found myself dressed in a flowing white gown, squinting through a gossamer veil and stumbling in heels tall enough to ride the scary roller coaster in six flags all on their own.  The dress was tighter than a corset with a vengeance, owing to the fact that Rachel was two sizes tinier than me, but it would have to do.

Being the prompter, I could have recited the entire play in my sleep (a phenomenon my kid sister alleged I had been doing the last couple of nights), which is to say the dialogues weren’t a problem. I spewed my lines onstage and had my hand kissed by fellow actors of varying attractiveness before being rescued by a prince charming of unsurpassed suavity. The runaway bride received all the squeals and sighs she was supposed to beget and as the curtains dropped, I hobbled backstage, aching to get my stilettos off. Alfredo, who’d also finished playing his part, came barreling into me and waved my cellular phone in my face. “Maddie! SOMEONE’S been trying to reach you desperately,” he said wryly. “Haven’t you had enough suitors for the day?”

The number was unlisted. Back in the powder room, I returned the missed calls on my phone, and was met with an unfamiliar voice. Feminine, might I add. “Am I speaking to Ms. Maddie? I’m calling from St Augustine’s Medical Centre. Your grandmother had a nasty fall on the pavement outside Wal-Mart. Come immedi–GET THE CRASH CART STAT!” and the line went dead. After yelling enough ‘hellos’ in vain to rival a Call-Centre worker, I ran for my backpack. It was just like grandma to wander off to Wal-Mart alone on a lazy Saturday afternoon to shop for crackers or cookies (yes, I owe my voluptuous figure to her). And of course, Mr. Murphy saw to it that presently, my clothes and shoes were nowhere to be seen. I half wished my heart, which was as jittery as a turkey on thanksgiving, would tear through my gown and let me breathe again. But there was no time to go treasure hunting for clothes just then, no matter how appealing the thought of my baggy denims and tee seemed to me. Grandma needed me.

I abandoned the killer heels and grabbed a pair of sneakers that was lying unclaimed by the dresser. On my way out the local theater the school had rent for the annual day, I rattled off my deplorable predicament to Ms. Alexa, whose sympathetic words were quite wasted on me, seeing as how I didn’t stand around long enough to hear them.

Throwing my dignity to the wind, clad in an ill-fitting wedding gown and sneakers, I waved for a taxi. Alas, the suburbs don’t see very many of those when it’s not rush hour, and all I managed to have coming my way were incredulous stares from passersby. St. Augustine was almost on the other side of our little town (obviously; Murphy’s influence was all-pervading) and getting there on foot was impossible. Unless….

And so I found myself sprinting through the shortcut through the woods- yes, like all sleepy towns, ours has one too- my dress, now fifty shades of grey, seemed to develop an obsessive attachment to every bramble and nettle along the path and cling to it in petulant obstinacy. I had never been on the track team and my lungs were unknown to the trials of running for any reason other than to catch the school bus I so often missed. Hyperventilating a few minutes into my marathon, I slowed down to a reasonable pace, which is to say I’d just about provide good competition to a sloth. The fates deemed my lassitude a significant show of disrespect to my ailing grandmother, and decided to smite me with all three pairs of hands, for just then, I fell flat on my chest as I felt my left foot slide into a depression in the ground. I groveled clownishly, begging some invisible entity for mercy, as I tried to wrench my foot out of a very convenient-sized hole in the ground. I jerked backward suddenly – and I finally understood Newton’s second law of motion–as my foot came sliding out of the sneaker that insisted on staying inside the hole. Quite predictably, when I tried to force the shoe out of the hole, I only managed to push it further inside, probably to the dismay of some ill-fated animal. No amount of stabbing and skewering with fallen sticks did the trick, either. Finally, I just limped onward with one sneaker on and tried not to cuss every time I stepped on a particularly pointy rock (which was every second step of the way).

After what seemed like eternity running through the fields of punishment, I emerged, bedraggled, in the south west part of town. The condition of my hair exemplified the predicament of someone who’d had to use their tresses as a mop, and my makeup was smeared all over my face on account of my sweat gland having worked overtime. I turned the corner and trudged forth into the tiny nursing home.

A paramedic jogged up to me pushing a wheelchair. “Have you sustained any significant injuries ma’am?” he inquired, his eyes skirting the grazes on my arms. Internally reassuring myself that I couldn’t have been looking THAT bad, I said, “No, I’m here for a Mrs. Landry? May I know which room she’s been taken to?”

I was guided to the reception, where I was gently informed there was no one by the name of Landry in the cottage hospital. I explained, indignantly, that I had received a call about an hour ago from the hospital, telling me my grandma had had a fall outside Wal-Mart. “Oh, yes, we did have an elderly lady brought in this afternoon with multiple fractures in her tibia, but she didn’t go by the name of Landry. She’s in room thirteen if you must know,” said the receptionist, probably pitying the panicked underage bride.

There was a woman waiting outside the room. On inquiry, I learned that she was Maddie and her mother had broken her leg jaywalking unaccompanied. “A Good Samaritan brought her in, but it took ages for the hospital to contact me,” she related, wearily. “See, they said they dialed the incorrect number the first time and spoke to the wrong Maddie. I just hope those nincompoops have informed the other Maddie that she needn’t come rushing to the hospital.”

Posted in Introspection, Life

Of Comfort and its Perils

So I’m going to deviate from poetry to address a recurring concern that ails us all in varying degrees in various facets of life; the dynamics of our comfort zone. Everyone has a comfort zone- a behavioral space of low anxiety and stress, along with a stable rate of performance, triggered by a sense of safety that comes with the presence of the familiar and known. It exemplifies the paradox of duality the way this much needed and coveted state of being serves to encumber personal growth and thereby contributes to making one unhappy.

Our comfort zone is crucial in that we, as functional beings, need to experience environments of familiarity and comfort, characterized by friendly company and positive regard, to maintain mental stability. It also ensures reasonable levels of productivity by bolstering the cognitive processes that stimulate learning by providing a conducive atmosphere to assimilate new data.

But research shows that in order to achieve our highest level of productivity, we need to experience our “optimal sweet spot”. This is a state of moderate levels of anxiety where performance and alertness are optimized. Moderate levels of anxiety and stress stimulate one to perform better by providing necessary motivation and incentive to get work done. Statistically, performance improves with increase in stress upto a certain point, before plummeting again. This state of optimal anxiety can be achieved only outside our comfort zone. Thus, it becomes incumbent that we break out of our comfort zone intermittently and embrace productive discomfort. But like all useful tasks, it isn’t that easy. A comfort zone is a state we automatically trend towards. After all, it is an evolutionary mechanism developed to keep us out of harms way, by ensuring we always seek the safety of the familiar and the tried and tested.

Just yesterday, I attended my first day of college. It goes without saying that this new atmosphere had me dragged outside my comfort zone, away from the sheltered environs of predictable and relatively dull school life, and into the choppy waters of a sprawling campus, where I promptly got lost every 50 minutes (that’s the length of every lecture). The strength of every class, the introductions at the beginning of every lecture, the perilous task of having to talk to new people had me mentally squirming with discomfiture. Of course, college with all its new prospects didn’t fail to instill in me zeal that had me waiting to take on the world, but I can’t pretend I wasn’t still a trifle daunted by the…. newness of the situation. Thus, I found myself falling prey to the discomfort that inevitably comes creeping with new situations in life. This unease is negligible for many, and is felt in varying degrees. I have always had a very small and tight comfort zone that I have found very difficult to break out of, and the subsequent uneasiness felt is inversely proportional to the size of my comfort zone. It is comforting to know that each time one breaks out of his comfort zone, it gets easier to do it the next time. Also, one’s threshold to perform well regardless of persistent anxiety is improved, as he “becomes accustomed to optimal anxiety and productive discomfort becomes normal” to quote an anonymous writer.

I think I wrote this piece merely to acknowledge and thereby accept my discomfort and strive to transcend the fetters of its clutches. I love my comfort zone, but have decided to leave this treacherous territory to fray, as I find it encumbering my personal growth. In time, I will have broadened the boundaries of my comfort zone to accommodate even that which frightens me now. And until then, I shall embrace optimal anxiety.

Posted in Nature, Poetry

Windows

Often, the fear of venturing outside our comfort zone keeps us from enjoying beauty and observing personal growth. Our own minds fetter us, leaving us tethered to the mundane, and it takes a great amount of resolve to break out of this cognitive framework. “Windows” reflects on the joy of freedom that comes with “opening that window” of possibility.

[This is the first time I haven’t used quatrains. Rhyme scheme used: ABABBA….]

Every morn by the window reclining,
I gaze at nature’s tapestry.
Shimming boughs with tendrils curling,
Miniature spirals festoon the tree,
That for sheer proximity within can see.
Thus we bond over mutual gazing.

Day after day, at leisure, I stare
At a waterfall of red-studded green,
Epitome of nature’s bounty bare,
Separated by glass on which I lean.
Tantalizingly close, I always mean
To twist that latch, scorn my locked-up lair.

But I cave, alas, to the compelling force
Of the words “never have before” that ring
In my mind, and the brawl that thus follows
Is won by non-action that fear does bring.
Ergo, the copper pods that knock and swing
At this barrier clear I ignore, morose.

Then one day, comes a coppersmith barbet
And sits pretty on the sill without.
His hues enchanting- garnet green knit
With crimson and black. He hops about,
With a bobbing head questions my doubt,
Those soulful eyes with invitation lit.

And lo! My heart is overcome!
The suppressed urge comes bursting forth
Like a raging bull left free to run.
I throw open the windows I’d grown to loathe
And laugh with relief rather than mirth
And cry for no glass filters the sun.

The barbet flutters overhead.
In approval, treats me with a song
And perches on the window with tread
Triumphant, that declares the wrong
Conquered, after confining me so long.
My cheeks flush to match his bonnet red.

My acquaintance visits everyday,
Confers mellifluous delight
So apart from man-made noise, so gay.
Takes my heart with him as he takes flight
And soars to reach the heavens. The height
Of freedom takes my breath away.

Posted in Death, Poetry

At the close.

HealingHands
All of us are going to die. We know this, and use time as a buffer against fear, to distance ourselves from the inevitable end. People spend their last moments in varying degrees of fear and disbelief, despite knowing that all things die. I have often wondered as to how I’d feel, emotionally, as I left for my heavenly abode, to use the customary euphemism. This is a brief reflection of my thoughts.
.
What will you do when the reaper comes
And beckons with a skeletal hand?
That scythe to slice you out of life
The hourglass having drained its sand.
.
Will he catch you unawares too soon,
Have you flail and thrash with horror deep
Cling onto light in the spreading gloom
And clutch at kin who with grief weep?
.
Or will you depart with quiet resign
And follow him to the tunnel’s end
Sigh with sweet acceptance without
The desire of broken things to mend.
.
Sad will be if its you who calls
The hooded scythe-bearer to receive
Your soul, to escape the blasphemy,
The shadow of regret to deceive.
.
I wonder what will my bearing be
When quietus comes to claim my breath.
I pray for easy passing with
Strength to sail the ship of death.
Posted in Poetry

Captain Gone

We regard fear as a negative emotion that must be made to dissipate as quickly as possible, but often fear is the much-needed spur to action, without which we slacken to the point of becoming entirely unproductive. This poem is an extended metaphor for something I experienced during the board exams.

The Captain of this mighty vessel,
Seems to have up and gone.
The Captain, holy, and revered so
Left ere the light of morn

Caressed the world with a sigh of warmth.
I, at first, did rejoice.
For Captain’s resign so firm, unbending,
Without I’d find my voice.

Or so I thought, and delight I did
In master’s sudden leave,
And sauntered idle the fair decks where
Did freedom nothing cleave.

But I, being a novice to steering
Solo, felt relief wane,
As approached sudden a raging storm
And mocked my ease with rain.

O fear! Fear! My precious spur I lost,
Without dear captain’s force.
And I now covet Captain’s return,
To steer the ship a course.

O fear, return! Your governance, prized,
I crave, to guide me forth.
Your absence left me shiftless and wrong
I was to your ways loathe.

I ceased to fear and breathed easy,
Alas, too short a while,
The pseudo-comfort rendered me dull
When sea did churn and rile.

I wrecked my craft when I lost my fear,
In laxity I drowned.
Fear of failure can steer big ships
To harbor safe and sound.

Posted in On Love, Poetry

A Lover’s Farewell: Her Word

This poem is a follow-up to “A lover’s Farewell” and is the woman’s reply to her lover bidding her goodbye. Please read “A Lover’s Farewell” before this, if you haven’t already done so.

I see the light catch in your eyes,
Lamp shone of hope where ambition sighs
Restless within, your soul does seek
To fill for good the void bleak

In your heart- A thirst that can’t be quelled
With a woman’s love, or the love you felt
In return for her. I see now why
Togetherness adjourned, you must fly.

For, if you chose behind to stay
More would be left than your dream to fray.
Your zeal, the spark I hold so dear
Would die, and your buoyant spirit fracture.
You, who beauty sees in a world so dark,
Pray, let no fate ever steal that spark.

And if you stayed, score years from now,
When life lived, to old age we do bow,
Regret would poison your review of paths
Trodden, and resent love that touched our hearts.

So I fear! Ergo I chide
Myself, and attempt the pain to hide
In rational thought, and let you go
Gracefully, lest denial makes a show.

Ah, but through my mask you see, of course.
You read my eyes for better or worse.
You know my soul, you know my mind-
Understanding that only love can find.

But brook no guilt, let burn on bright
The rage. And let not cloud your sight
The knowledge that my heart will weep
Without you by my side to keep.

Until Thanatos calls, for you I’ll wait,
For threads so entwined cannot separate
Even when spun with Moirai’s might
Though time will dim youth and beauty’s light.

Go live your dream, go find your place
I’ll hold onto the memory of your face.
This ache I’ll savour; marks a tie so deep,
I know you will come, your word to keep.

Rhyme Scheme: AABB…

Posted in On Love, Poetry

A Lover’s Farewell

Many miles will be between us soon,
Much sand and sea after one more moon.
We, who’re little more than one,
Shall not together see the sun.

I await and dread alike the morrow
The weight of the choice to leave does harrow
Me now, but I don’t regret
This attempt to fly that a dream begets.

Ergo, it’s a dream that takes me from you
Must I then greet the fire with rue?
I cannot! It’s in our nature to want
More than can be had. It does haunt
Me – This need to pursue that which
My heart with stillness will enrich.

Shew selflessness your silence does-
My guilt to flay you hush the buzz
That wreaks havoc, in your mind, of pain.
Your effort does my conscience stain.

For, the unsaid gloom your eyes do speak,
A reprieve, as do mine, they seek
Your face to savour one last time,
Lest I forget the magic when your eyes meet mine.

Dear, no end this is. I pledge that no
Sylph or divine beauty shall sow
The seed of doubt that questions our love-
Beyond Venus, too, who smirks from above.

When that dream’s a dream no more, one day,
Into your heart anew I’ll find my way.
Until then, sometime, spare me a thought,
Grace my love, dearest, forget me not.

Continue reading “A Lover’s Farewell”

Posted in Introspection

Epiphany After a Brown Study

The title “Epiphany After a Brown Study” is erroneous, seeing as I haven’t really had an earth-shaking revelation, and is actually a product of wishful thinking.

I generally tend to ruminate a whole lot, and if no obsession is available for my mind to chew on, I start to get mentally restless, and the feeling that something’s missing- that nagging void in my mind- becomes more pronounced.

I’m typing this not because there has been a dire need for me to do so for a while now, but for the sheer lack of more frivolous and unfruitful activities to occupy me.

The product of my ruminations of the last few days have been slightly disturbing, because, I think, my board examinations are over and I’m not constantly plagued by the notion of having to deal with the interpersonal and interpersonal repercussions that come with faring badly in an important, life determining examination, such as the boards. Anyway, I realize I constantly harbour a feeling of free-floating inadequacy, as if I’m not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not smart enough. Not talented enough. TALENT. This one, in particular, kills me. The fact that I have nary an answer to the question,”what have I to offer to the world?” just flays my mind of any remnants of sunshine that may light up its dark corners.

Alright, alright. I’m being dramatic. But I’m just trying to deal with the fact that I’m an insignificant and unremarkable member of an insipid, primitive, self-destructive and redundant race. My belief in panspermia and advanced extraterrestrial life don’t fail to exacerbate the unpleasant feeling. I am reminded of Douglas Adams, a genius who dealt with the severely under-acknowledged fact of our insignificance so beautifully with the total perspective vortex (hitchhikers guide to the galaxy fans will know what i mean). Having talent, I can’t help feeling, will reduce, or at least temporarily mask this feeling, and grant me an ephemeral sense of self- worth. I seek to have a talent to rid myself of this feeling of being unselved.

I’ve been writing poetry since I was eight and the surreal satisfaction that comes with the rhythmic melancholy of stark and eloquent expression has acted as my spur for almost a decade. Poetry is the one form of catharsis that I regard as being as efficient as the infinitely satisfying process of lacrimation. But of late, I now realize, I have been writing only to sustain a sense of pseudo-satisfaction, one that comes with me feeling that I actually have something to offer through my poetry, something that makes me worthy as an individual, and not a “piece of furniture” as one of my friends put it. This is a sorry reason for me to engage in an activity that was once spurred by only passion and a love for the art.

Why must I deem myself “not good enough” and then bank on writing poetry to rid myself of the feeling? Not only is it an insult to the beautiful art that is writing verse, but it also reflects on my insecurity and the ineffective way in which I have been trying to deal with it.

Hereafter, I promise myself to write just for the joy of writing and not as a means of escape from the feeling of inadequacy.