Do You See?

>One Place To Go

>There was no place to go

When winter dimmed
There was this all that came to light
When sacred fires skimmed our faces over fences of memory
I waited for the unfed Santa-man on my school’s sidewalk
He didn’t give, but begged for coins
For him there was no sweet crumbs baking
Warm dishes squealing in the little arc of holiday lights
Also there was this fat nun-teacher in our section who did a jig for us
She tall and big, sang throaty carols in the name of deserts, donkey and a child
We saw that kid everyday near the pale woman by the shops
She wore rags like royal attire and a smile to light the brightest
Candles lit by my Catholic neighbor that competed
With my grandma’s heathen oil lamp flames chasing the Sun-god
Running askew at solstice behind the sky
To flicker till the rays fell straighter on her dew-soaked Tulsi
Grandma would scatter puja grains and chant her Uttarayana mantras
And tell me about a path that leads to a garden
Of ceremonies where we apparently could share
Sugardrop laughs with my classmate Maria Joseph — also Humeira and Maya
There, where incense sticks burned around ravishing firepits,
There was no place for lines or walls
There was no place to go other than
Longings for prim days that opened their doors wearing festive shades.
Picture from Internet: Surya, the sun-god
(This poem has been written for this holiday season on a special prompt by the very helpful blogspot poetswhoblog’s “Twelve Days of Poetry”)

7 comments on “>One Place To Go

  1. Joy Leftow
    December 19, 2008

    >Amazing the images that come to mind here, traditional & old India mixed with modernity – the unfed Santa mixed with puja grains & burning incense sticks around ravishing firepits.

  2. fleuve-souterrain
    December 19, 2008

    >I sent off the poem to poetswhoblog.blogspotcom after reading about their 12 Days of poetry project… lovely pieces there one must check out. This is what Sara of poetswhoblog wrote back to me:”I really like it. I like how it explores a culture different than my own. It makes me think of what this time of year means for people all around the world, and not just in my backyard.Thanks for taking part in our Twelve Days of Christmas project. You will be Day Nine. Sara”I’m waiting with baited breath. Nice holiday touch for me.

  3. fleuve-souterrain
    December 20, 2008

    >Thanks Joy! That’s how it has always been for me, an india mixed up in its new mores and old values and somehow it continues… and therefore, writing this poem came very natural to me… I kind of sat down and did a 15 min job, not usual of my work!

  4. Ritu
    December 20, 2008

    >Funny, I did a prose bit today itself on a similar subject – urban vs rural India. Loved the poem. The play of imagery is fascinating

  5. fleuve-souterrain
    December 21, 2008

    >Ritua must read for me… visit your blog soon sweetie! Thanks for the encouragement…

  6. Abhinav
    December 26, 2008

    >It smells of light nostalgia… nostalgia like the breath of a serpent close to one’s heart… loved yet dangerous…How do you do it?

  7. fleuve-souterrain
    December 26, 2008

    >Abhi dear, you have such an interesting way of expressing yourself. really like it! a serpent close to one’s heart must be a very dangerous game :-)… For me it’s probably as close as a pet lizard… or a wound i want to have healed and yet keep scrtaching and bleeding! Do let me know what you ahve new on your blog.

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This entry was posted on December 19, 2008 by in carols, Christmas, festivals, Holiday, Nabina Das, poetry, Solstice, vedic.
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