What do I call you?




We were young and grieving when we met.

Pain had sat on our smiles like wounded birds, afraid to fly. And shone from our eyes, like rough-cut diamonds. It must have emanated from our being, white-hot and searing, drawing us together like moths to a flame. Like little girls, we had giggled, eating candy floss, as though we could pluck joy out of the cool, night air with sticky fingers. Maybe we laughed because we wanted to cry. Maybe we realised that pain can be transmuted into joy. Our hearts cut open and the pain billowing out with our out-breaths allowing joy to flow in with our in-breaths.


That night, at the fair

Joy was sweet, light candy floss

You woke up smiling


I dare not think what I would be if you had not come into my life. It’s like imagining a rainbow with colours missing. Or music with holes in it, the heart searching, in vain, for the missing parts. Or spring without butterflies, afternoons heavy with torpor. I am grateful for the pain that brought you to me, bound us together and then set us free.


What do I call you?

for some things there are no words

just joyful silence



Over at dVerse Poets Pub, Bjorn and Hamish have set the challenge for Haibun Monday – to write a Haibun inspired by Khalil Gibran’s words. The edict is to write only one haiku, but I am a rule-breaker, and also, the second one just prostrated itself on the page. What to do? I couldn’t kill it. Sorry, Bjorn.

What do I say about Gibran? The heart swells up with joy just thinking about his words. The lyricism, the melody, the grace, the soulfulness and of course, the simple truth in them. I am eternally grateful to the person who introduced me to Gibran.

Remember the time

For the dVerse Poets challenge – Gender Bender. Kelly Letky set us the challenge to write a poem from the point of view of the opposite sex. Very difficult, I just found 🙂


There is grass growing
on your grave, little one.

Remember the time
when you had walked
on the grass and found
a wriggling worm. You
had run to me afraid and
I had lifted you in the air
and you had declared
you could touch the stars.
I don’t notice the stars anymore.

The tree beside your grave
is shedding leaves, little one.

Remember the times
when you had lain on
my chest, quiet and gently
breathing, and said it felt
like a tree. My arms
the branches. I suppose
you meant strong
and stable and rooted.
You had never seen an uprooted tree.

There are daisies
on your headstone, little one.

Remember the time
your mother and you
had made daisy chains
in the meadow not noticing
the birds that had snacked
on our picnic lunch.
How the two of you had
giggled until my belly
was full of your laughter.
She has not smiled in a long time.


In my family, my father was the gentle one, pouring his gentle affection on me unconditionally. Of course, the scenario described above didn’t happen in my case, but I can imagine my father would have been devastated, I being the only daughter and the apple of his eye. For any parent to lose their child while they are still alive would be devastating. In an Indian language, there is a word for it ‘teera dukham’ – unending sorrow.

Dawn breaking


She looked at herself in the mirror
and shimmied a little, smiling at her
wan face, saying, “you look lovely!”
As though in apology to her own
reflection that didn’t smile back.
But replied in her head, “you liar!”
Her heart dropped into her belly,
that sea of tremulousness. “I love you,”
she cried in desperate defiance.

“You sentimental fool!” Old, hazy
voices rose from forgotten graves.
“You are not real.” She railed at
their fuzzy persistence. “Who do
you think you are?” Old shame
surfaced like dirty foam. “You’re
lies I believed for far too long.”
“Don’t delude yourself.” “I am
truth. I am light. I am pure love.”

She leaned toward her reflection
blurred through the tears, kissed
it. Her lover, her eternal friend.
It glowed and grew. It smiled back
through the misty glass. The sun
rose from the sea of grey, lifted
her heart, gave it wings. Light
pulsated through her veins, “Hello
Sunshine!” Her eyes twinkled back.


dVerse Poets Pub hosted by Victoria this week asks us to write a poem in conversation style.


Watcher – haiku

a coiled tense spring
the cat watches its victim
eat its last meal


Watchman – haiku

you watch over me
like a lighthouse, always there
forever shining


Watchkeeper – tanka

third watch of the night
the clock stops still in mid gong
Death has come calling

“your time is up” gaily says
that relentless watch keeper


For dVerse Poets prompt What does the watchman see?

Ode to a birdcall

A single call it was –
four fluid notes falling
lucid and luminous
into the silence of the valley.

Maybe the bird was declaring
the departure of daylight now
crowning the edges of leaves
in brilliant swansong.

Or maybe it was light itself
tinkling out a farewell,
a limpid promise of returning
on the wings of dawn.

The silence was somehow sweeter
as though the call after falling
had burst into a million pieces
of joy. And spread across the valley.

Into which sparrows had chirped
and other birds chattered and
the winds that chased each other
had seemed somewhat raucous.

Alas! The bird had flown,
to fill some other valley
with its luminous song.
Or just that light had died.

But even though the night
had crept up sombre with
its shroud of darkness and
promise of shady secrets,

I sat wrapt in rapture, lit
with joy, changed forever by
the touch of a beauty so
ephemeral, yet eternal.




For dVerse Poets Pub Microworld Poetry