Kamala Das' THE RAIN

The Rain

We left that old ungainly house
When my dog died there, after
The burial, after the rose
Flowered twice, pulling it by its
Roots and carting it with our books,
Clothes and chairs in a hurry.
We live in a new house now,
And, the roofs do not leak, but, when
It rains here, I see the rain drench
That empty house, I hear it fall
Where my puppy now lies,
(From ‘Only The Soul Knows How To Sing’)

The famous poet Kamala Das’ first death anniversary falls on 31 May. She died at the age of 75. Here I am presenting one of her poems as a tribute to this legendary Indian English writer. I found this poem very thoughtful and full of emotions. That is why I am sharing it here.

The last word of the poem ‘Alone...’ says it all. This is the most brilliant aspect of poetry...one word is so powerful that it alone says more than a complete sentence. Let's all enjoy the beauty of this verse as a tribute to the poetess.

Food for Thought

I have often been asked as to what my source of writing is. My spontaneous answer is, “I write whatever enters into the realm of my silly little mind and heart.” Having been confronted with question once again, I glanced within myself to look for a more satisfactory answer.
Life has been called a huge canvas. This statement could be interpreted in two ways. In one sense, life is a blank canvas onto which we are to splash colours according to our ideas, thoughts and aspirations. In another sense of the term, life is a canvas that presents before us a host of hues to ponder upon. It is a chain reaction actually – picking up one colour from life’s broad canvas and creating one’s picture with it.
Experiences are also a major source of creations. But we need not experience all the things ourselves. What is required is a heart that can feel what a human might feel in a particular situation, may be a painful or a joyful experience. Instead of a thinking head, it is the thinking heart that is likely to result in a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranquility”, as Wordsworth rightly remarked about poetry.
A common complaint that all parents must be having with their kids these days is that they waste so much time over ‘SMSing’. True! Time is spent but I feel it is not totally wasted – now you might consider it as an attempt to save myself :) But many a times it has happened that an SMS has proved to be food for thought for my ideas starved mind. On this note I would like to share a few thoughtful messages:
“People say they love rain,
But when it rains, they use an umbrella.
People say they love the sun but when it shines they search for the shade.
People say they love the wind but when it is windy, they close their windows.
That is why I get scared when people say ‘They love me’. “

“When we care for a person, their mistakes never change our feelings because it’s the mind that is angry while the heart still loves them.”

“There are times I find my hands full of friends. I want to hold them hard as I fear that I’ll lose them. But then I tend to laugh when I realize that they are the ones holding me.”

So the essence is to keep looking for inspiration from wherever you can…and keep going! Keep writing!

Before the beginning of years....(Swinburne)

A.C. Swinburne (1837-1909), a famous English poet, was known for his works like: ‘Atalanta in Claydon’ (1865), Poems and Ballads I (1866), Songs Before Sunrise (1871), ‘Poems and Ballads II (1878), ‘Tristram of Lyonesse’ (1882), ‘Poems and Ballads III’ (1889) and the novel ‘Lesbia Brandon (published posthumously). But my purpose is not to quote his biographical details. I wished to share an extract from Swinburne’s famous ‘Atalanta in Claydon’. The following are the lines mouthed by the Chorus:
“BEFORE the beginning of years
There came to the making of man
Time, with a gift of tears;
Grief, with a glass that ran;
Pleasure, with pain for leaven;
Summer, with flowers that fell;
Remembrance fallen from heaven,
And madness risen from hell;
Strength without hands to smite;
Love that endures for a breath;
Night, the shadow of light,
And life, the shadow of death.
And the high gods took in hand
Fire, and the falling of tears,
And a measure of sliding sand
From under the feet of the years;
And froth and drift of the sea;
And dust of the labouring earth;
And bodies of things to be
In the houses of death and of birth...”

Wonderful!!! Loved every word of it! How truly the poet has depicted the philosophy of life, the short-lived nature of all goodies of life. We are here on this Earth for a while – and to balance and counter-balance all the pleasant things and bounties that life offers us. The poet mentions time and tears, pleasure and pain, summer with falling flowers, life with the shadow of death…and so on.
The depth of thought makes the lines all the more beautiful. It is the profoundness of thought and emotions that endeared me to this verse. I do hope you enjoy going through these lines and let us all attempt to interpret in a better way.

The Lessons of Life

We all try to learn new lessons from our experiences – whether good or bad, each day teaches a new lesson. Each moment the life is new. But we try to keep on holding the reins of our past, even when the horse is gone. In the meanwhile, we miss hiring a new horse. This is to say, while we are too busy holding on to our past, we miss the opportunities that future offers us. The first thing we need to keep in mind is that whatever we do leaves an indelible mark in our lives. No matter how much we believe in the policy of forgive and forget, at some point of time we can find some obscure traces in our mind that flash before our eyes unannounced. But at the same time our focus should be in conditioning our mind in such a way that we write off the memories of bad deeds that someone has done towards us. Not only this, we should also delete from our memory the good deeds that we have done for others. This would mean we are not troubling ourselves by bothering for the returns. “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die tomorrow”, said James Dean.
Pic src: Dream

Some readers might feel this was an abrupt end to this post...but my mind stopped with this thought...so let me cherish this dream forever...while you move on...

The Wisdom

Pic src: Serenity
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”

(‘The Serenity Prayer’ by Reinhold Niebuhr)

If someone asked me whether it is Reinhold Niebuhr praying or I am, I would have definitely replied, “I am praying using Niebuhr’s words.” Actually these lines are one of the most wonderful prayers I have ever come across (and this is totally my personal experience, you might disagree).
I can very well imagine the situation if God grants me that prayer – wisdom to differentiate between things that I cannot change and those that I can. Life would be all the more easier and smoother. But then why would God do that!!! This complexity of life is what gives life its mysterious character.
We often are entangled in trying to change the things that are not under our control. And at times we simply give in to our fate when we could modify it. We simply lack the courage to do that.
Life often presents such situation before us that is not very easy to comprehend. And we are simply lost in trying to make out what life has in store for us. But then as they say, life is like an onion, you peel off layer by layer to find that there’s nothing remaining in it.
Sometimes the onion might cause tears in your eyes. But then onions are meant to do that, isn’t it??? Fighting back the tear and hiding them behind your smile is the essence of life. This is what gives us the courage to move ahead...life goes on!

“If God answers all your prayers he is increasing you faith,
if He delays, he is increasing your patience,
if He doesn’t answer, He knows you can handle it perfectly.”     (anonymous)

Still there...

Pic modified by: Amritbir Kaur
Original source: Are you still there?

This is not a regular post. It is just to remind my readers that I am still alive!!! Not to be seen very often on my blog these days but still there...with words stuck somewhere in my heart, sometimes refusing to come out and at times playing hide and seek. There have been times when I felt words tossing and turning inside. But they refused to come out. Then there was a time when I wanted to pen down something but the thoughts refused to be bound into words. But I would be posting very soon... and also try to maintain my regularity, not only because of the readers who wait for my posts (I do hope that there are some!!!) but also because I write for myself. I need to express myself and what could be a better way than using the ever-uncomplaining and patiently listening words.
I still have a long way to, I have to fulfill the promises I made to myself:

But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep.

A Pledge on this Mother's day

Pic src: Mother

Mother is one such person who can understand our silence and our thoughts even when we cannot speak as toddlers. But when we grow up we start grumbling, “You don’t know anything, you don’t understand me...” Do we mean that???
And if we really mean that...shame on us! We must think twice when we utter these words again.
Tenneva Jordan rightly said, “A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” How often have I seen that happen I know!!! We all have had such experiences, after all, there are certain universal traits of a mother.
One more pertinent question that I would like to raise on mother’s day is: Why do we need to have old age homes? I think they are a blot on our society. Let’s pledge today to make our hearts more spacious even if our homes are not. Amen!

The Music goes on... (a poem)

Life is beautiful
I say, lost in thought
my dreams vibrant
my paths green:
the flowers blooming
each day glowing.
Soon winds change
sea turns stormy;
and decaying flowers:
telling tales of lost spring
it was the last lesson I learnt
of truths hitherto untold.
Mysteries stood unraveled
the realities revealed…
Joy and pain swapped places
destination did a vanishing act,
Does life go on then? I ask.
May be when
tune turns awry
the music goes on…
But oh the difference!

© Amritbir Kaur

A Genius says Goodbye! (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

Gabriel GarcĂ­a Marquez, the great Latin American writer, said goodbye to the public life in 2008 due to complications in his health: lymphatic cancer. He sent a letter to his friends.
Here are the wonderful thoughts:

“If for an instant God forgot that
I am just a puppet, and He gave me one more piece of life,
I would take advantage of that time, the best I could.”

I would probably not say everything I think,
but definitely think all I say.

I would value things not for what they are worth,
but for what they represent.

I would sleep less and dream more.
For every minute we close our eyes we lose sixty seconds of light.

I would continue where others have stopped
and I would rise when others sleep.

If God allowed me one more piece of life, I would dress simpler,
would wallow in the sunlight, leaving uncovered,
not only my body but also my soul.

I would prove to men how wrong they are to think that
they stop falling in love as they get older,
since they actually start getting older as soon as they stop falling in love.

I would give wings to the children,
but I would leave the child alone
so that he could learn how to fly on his own.

To the old, I would show them
how death comes not with the ageing process but with forgetting.

So many things I have learned from you….
I have learned that everybody wants to live at the top of the mountain,
forgetting that is how we climb is all that matters.

I have learned that when a newborn grabs his father’s thumb,
he takes a hold on him forever.

I have learned that a man has the right to look down on somebody,
only when he is helping him to get up.

So many things I have learned from all of you.

Always tell, what you feel and do what you think.

If I knew that today it would be the last time that I will see you,
I will embrace you strongly to be the guardian of your soul.

If I would know that these would be the last minutes
that I will see you, I would say to you
“I love you” and wouldn´t assume that you would know it.

There is always morning where life gives us
another opportunity to make things good.

Keep always close to you, your dear ones, and tell them
how much you need them and love and take care of them.
Take time to say, “I am sorry”, “forgive me”, “please,”
“ thank you” and all the nice and lovely words you know.

Nobody would remember you if you keep your thoughts secret.
Force yourself to express them.

Show your friends and dear ones how much you care about them.

P.S. Most of you must have already read this inpiring piece but I couldn't control myself from sharing it here..the inspiration that we can get from these wonderful lines is soemthing we cannot ignore no matter how hard we try. The lines seem to carry the essence of human life. The lines also reminded me of the famous poem 'If' by Rudyard Kipling.
I do hope that you enjoyed the presentation just as a short journey of life....good luck