How Much Of Our Poetry Is About Us?

How much Life in poetry
When I published my debut book, ‘Sublime Shadows of Life’ my excitement was at  cloud nine and I got some copies printed for friends and family and sent them, even to those friends whom I met occasionally or had not met since school days.

One of my friends who had not been in touch with me for a long time rang me up and asked: ‘Are you okay?’

I replied in affirmative and asked why was she asking.

She had a grim tone and said: ‘Is everything going well in your life?’

I laughed loudly at the tone of my fun-loving friend and asked her what was wrong with her.

She told me that she got alarmed at some of my poems, which talked about oppression and dark moments.

Though I had mentioned in the blurb “I, you, he, we and they are universal symbols, which highlight the fact that happiness is not a destination…” but who reads the introduction!

Authors draw inspiration from life and people around them and many of them agree that they do creep into their stories.

Some of my poems do give a peep into my life. I have written about an incident that moved me deeply. Some of my poems are an emotional outburst; some are inspired from the life of my friends but all of them are not about me.

This one is. I hope you would understand who this pearl is.

                                MY PEARL

Time has stood still
The storm is yet to pass
The descent of night seems eternal
Perplexed, petrified, I wait.

Wait for a new dawn
Wait for a smooth tide
Wait for that lovely flight
Which brings hope!

There was a time
When your hands held mine
The fingers so ensconced
It was hard to distinguish.

Now I hold an empty oyster
The pearl I nurtured is gone
Slipped away, leaving marks
Hard to erase, hard to forget

The purity of my pearl,
The glory of her glow,
Now brightens another world
That mitigates my woe.
© Balroop Singh, 2003

Wendy, a spiritual poet, has shared her thoughts about this topic “I have written poems about defining moments in my life. Although at that time, I may not be aware that I am writing about a moment that I would consider life defining. There have certainly been life defining moments that I did not write about at the time, but a reference to the event came much later in life as a line or stanza in a poem, as with my father’s death when I was 19.

Ritu too has written about life defining moments: “I think one of my most poignant poems about my life was the one I wrote one morning, in 10 minutes, about my journey to become a mother…” She has shared that poem with us:

FROM TWINKLE TO REALITY

Let me take you down that road,
Much travelled through eternity
The journey to become a mum,
From twinkle to reality.

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Ritu Bhathal

The plans you make at a young age,
Full of gurgles and laughter,
The horror as you realise,
What really does come after!

The fun of trying,
The monthly wait.
The disappointment,
That feeling, you hate…

The years of trying,
Full of hospitals and checks,
The medication taking you over,
You feel like total wrecks…

Then finally, the day comes
That positive is clear
The goal that you were aiming for,
Has suddenly come near.

The months of fascination,
Your changing body grows
The feeling of satisfaction
That only you can know.

Those pain-filled days, or hours
To reach the prize you sought
The feeling of satisfaction
That this little bundle brought.

I gaze at you in wonder
Are you really here?
I’m overwhelmed with happiness
And a tiny bit of fear.

Will I be able to give to you
All you want and need?
As you look at me, wide eyed
Snuggled close while you feed.

Little blessing, sent from God
My heart is filled with joy
I will do all I can for you,
My darling baby boy.

And so the cycle continues
The waits and checks again
We’re gifted with a gorgeous girl
After a little more pain.

My life is here with me right now
Some twinkles from my eyes.
But I’ll never forget those twinkles
That now, do grace the skies…

Dedicated to my wonderful children, recognising the struggles to have them, and remembering my 2 angels lighting the sky at night.
©Ritu Bhathal

Lisa has shared a poignant poem that she wrote during the difficult moments of her divorce.

PRAIRIE PRISON

Here I sit in my Prairie prison
I have known
Great joy and worse sorrow
Here I sit in my home
Longing for more…

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Lisa Thomson

The ocean
And mountain peaks calling
I make this prison home
I look out of my window
While the prairie winds blow
Dust in my eye, pebbles in my soul

Here in my prairie prison
I long for my Ocean boy
The one and only
Yet some ties bind and clasp me
Fastening me to a make believe home
Among wheat fields

Can you blame me?
I bore my children in a prairie home
A landscape so flat
It cannot compare
To my wild, sea salt air

Maybe I’ll get there
But now
I gaze out of my prairie window
Where I found great joy
And worse sorrow.
© Lisa Thomson, Aug ‘06

I would be gifting two ebooks of Sublime Shadows Of Life, my debut book to those two readers who write the most poetic answer to all the posts I publish this month – #NationalPoetryMonth. Happy writing!

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

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Transient Beauty

Snow on mountains
Image: ©Alok Singhal

Draped in pristine white robes
I watched the adventurers
Gathering to admire my attire
And feel the fetish of my fire

Some stood frozen in awe
Angelic messages showering through
Blue, gray and silvery gear
Momentous moments to cheer!

Silvery sky soaked me entirely
With his wondrous frescoes
Painted with natural hues
To match my ensemble cues

I smile as they ski down the slopes
Once a year such fun ensues
Only when I change my dress
To gaze at some signs of progress

I blessed those who just stood there
To commemorate my transient beauty
Along with digital trophies they depart
And carry exquisite memories in their heart.
© Balroop Singh

Many thanks to Alok Singhal, my blogger cum photographer friend whose breathtaking picture inspired this poem. You can visit his blog to see many more amazing shots of Mother Nature.

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Click here to read more such poetry.

Love You When You Move Slowly

Dear time, I love you when you move slowly

Dear old vagabond…
I love you when you move slowly
And let me listen to my heart
To count moments of bliss
To sit by the brook for hours
Savoring soft sounds

I love you when you choose to sit down
Weaving priceless webs with me
Watching my fingers trying to hold you
And trust your magic
Of erasing emotional hurts
Of creating memories

Not that I didn’t appreciate
When you ran ahead
And taught me to compete with you
Without any rules
Offering me the best benchmarks
Smiling at my whirlpools

Not that I detested your game
Of turning tables on me
Changing at will, ticking away
Robbing me of my dreams
Stealing my momentous moments
Impelling me to follow your schemes

Dear drifter…now I understand you
You are just a wave that gushes forth
Just a whiff of wind that passes by
Just a moment that slips away
Just a powerful tyrant
Obliterating all… whenever you want!
© Balroop Singh

Read more such poems here.

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Sunrise – At The Top Of Burj Khalifa

Sunrise from the top of Burj Khalifa

Some moments of joy come uninvited.
Some moments become memorable
Just because we let them be,
Without any expectations.
They never disappoint!

I have never made an effort to watch sunrise except once, which I had shared in an earlier post but watching it from the top of world’s tallest tower seemed special. It was spectacular and exhilarating!

Sunrise from the top of Burj Khalifa

A visit to Burj Khalifa (Dubai) was never on my bucket list. It just got planned at the last moment of our annual visit to India as we were flying Emirates. We thought that a hotel just opposite this Burj would be an ideal place to stay and we chose a room with a view.

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

Then I stumbled across a promotional offer of watching sunrise from the 124th floor of this iconic tallest structure in the world. I booked the tickets a week before we started our trip, keeping in view the long queues that you have to deal with.

We woke up very early to keep our rendezvous with the sun.  Jet lag helped us too! Since we were staying in a hotel opposite Burj Khalifa, we could just walk across the road to reach the entry point, which is through The Dubai Mall and you have to walk almost a mile to reach the ticket counter from where the online voucher is converted into a ticket.

A musical climb up the elevator within seconds was a memorable experience worth mentioning. This is the best time to watch the city from the top of Burj Khalifa as a beautiful skyline greets you from the terrace.

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We spent almost an hour, waiting for the splendor of the sun to spread across the sky…an experience of a life time! Each moment has gone down the memory lane, glowing gorgeously orange. I was elated at the choice I had made.

Most of the reviews suggested that the evening time is more appropriate to go up but it gets very crowded at that time.

View from the room
View from our room during the day

I didn’t expect another thrill, which I could watch from the window of my room – the sunset! Just look at the image that I clicked:

Sunset view from my room
Sunset view from our room!

Could I ask for more in a single day? I heart was overflowing with gratitude for my daughter who had suggested the hotel to us.

Thank you for reading one of the memorable experiences I had recently. I have many more to share.

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Balroop Singh.

How Fragile Is Life!

California fires
Image from ABC News

Today my heart goes out to those
Who look up, beady-eyed, at the skyline
Ferociously licking the infernos
Which were once their homes
Ensconcing all their dreams!

When you have moments to decide
To leave behind precious possessions
When you see
Everything going up in smoke
In moments of melancholy,

When you watch helplessly
Mother Nature wreaking havoc
Holding your heart in smithereens
You think of those who couldn’t make it
Reduced to bones and ashes within seconds.

Is it the wrath of Mother Nature?
Is it man made catastrophe?
Questions blaze with the flames
Answers would never calm down
The turbulence within their hearts.
© Balroop Singh (Oct. 2017)

This poem tries to capture the emotions and grim reality of last week’s wildfires in Northern California.

About 3,500 homes and businesses have been completely destroyed…reduced to ashes in the wildfires that broke out mainly north of San Francisco on last Sunday. The biggest blaze, called the Tubbs Fire, grew overnight in Napa County (famous for its wines) by 6,000 acres to 34,270 acres. It was only 10% contained on Thursday.

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