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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