Three Poems

    By Smitha Sehgal

    1. UNCHAPERONED

    Unchaperoned Woman
    Rhythm of her Earth in her steps
    Smell of Rain in Breath
    An unleashed River

    Unchaperoned Woman
    Flows through deep forest as leaves speak
    In hushed tones, Descends blue mountain,
    To dip soul in waters of Silence
    Stars reincarnate as Indigo flowers
    By the fence of horizon, she picks one, only one

    Unchaperoned Woman
    Wanders in yellow misty dawns along blurred path
    Melts into gold of rising sun
    A hot desert wind shall blow, for her
    To stop by the deciduous leaves and Breathe

    Unchaperoned Woman
    Becomes a ripple is the Lake,
    By the emerald fields, a lightening blue arc
    Across the sky, She pauses by the tamarind tree
    To infuse raw green into depths of mindeye

    Unchaperoned Woman
    Sculpts a sandcastle by seashore
    Walks inwards, Sea retreats, she holds sand grains
    In cupped palms,
    Letting the little elephant pass through fingers

    Unchaperoned Woman
    Dies numerous Deaths
    To be reborn Every Day
    Blisters of her shame crusts
    Around mouth of Volcano

    Unchaperoned Women
    Seed a New Earth in the soil of freedom
    They shall raise girls
    Unafraid of two-legged beasts

    2. KABUL 2021

    Forty-five year old
    Najila
    My childhood playmate
    Beyond Hindu Kush walls
    Flames of sun licked summer days
    Crouched in the cellar
    We halved mangoes between us
    Pulse of autumn
    Strummed a tune
    On skies of Kabul
    She brought out poems
    Smelling of apricots
    Nejila, the bright eyed one
    Who twisted colourful candy papers
    To Skirt dolls
    Painting lips
    With stain of ripe sour cherries
    Her laugh tinkle of glass bangles
    Forty-five year old
    Najila
    My childhood playmate
    Beyond Hindu Kush walls
    A blizzard crossed the Khyber Pass
    Waiting by gates of Kabul
    Sunken footprints
    Draining blood from air
    That was when she slammed shut
    Windows and doors
    And hung upside down
    On the ceiling
    Like a bat, or a Star
    Aloft an upturned world
    Sea roared in her breath
    Crimson fountains spouted across the street
    Where children once played marbles
    Heart of moon burnt hollow by wild fire
    Across unnamed tombs
    A black sea of ashes and sighs
    Praise be to Merciful God
    For locked doors and windows
    She hung Upside down
    Forty-five year old
    Najila
    My childhood playmate
    Beyond Hindu Kush walls
    She hung Upside down
    Venus on the night sky
    Awaiting dawn

    3. WORD

    Word was the first born
    Of a Universe spinning in bedlam
    The rhythm of rain
    And symphony of rivers

    Word was the first to ripen on the
    Wrinkled skin of a half naked monk
    His core ablaze
    In the quest of freedom

    Word was the first to erase Sun
    To evaporate sea, reveal crystals of salt
    Word did not know black and white,
    Nor grey

    Word was the first to draw a question mark
    On the painted walls of pretensions
    And draw the cracks
    That grew with time

    Word was also the first to be shot at,
    It fluttered frail wings
    Made a croaking noise
    Collapsed onto Earth, yet Indefatigable

    From beginning to end
    Immortal is the fiery word
    The tip of word tongue blooms
    With flowers of revolution

    Smitha Sehgal (India) is a corporate legal professional and a bilingual poet who writes in English and Malayalam. Her poems, fiction and book reviews have been featured with literary publications including Kritya, Reading Hour, Brown Critique, Muse India, The Wagon Magazine, Kalakaumudi and Samakalika Malayalam. She is recipient of the Reading Hour Short Story Prize, 2015. Her poems have appeared in several anthologies of English Poetry including ‘Dance of the Peacock- an anthology of English Poetry from India’, ‘Suvarnarekha- an anthology of Women Poets of India’, “40 Under 40: An Anthology of Post-Globalisation Poetry” , “Witness -Red River Book of Poetry of Dissent” and Silk Road Anthology from Egypt.

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