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Poetry Month: SURPRISE


When Tara was pregnant for the first time

there was a lot of pressure on her

of having a boy who could carry family’s name.

But making Tara hated by everyone

her first girl was born.

Somehow they accepted her first child by saying:

‘It is just first child, try next time’. .


When Tara was pregnant for the second time

the pressure was double this time

of having a boy who could carry family’s name.

But by disappointing everyone’s expectations

and making Tara a bit more hated

her second girl was born.

This time things went differently from last time

and they sighed: ‘Now no excuses, it was your last chance!’ .


When Tara was pregnant for the third time

nobody cared about it.

In this occasion it was not them

but it was Tara,

who wanted to have a boy because

she wanted to be loved again.

She prayed day and night

and her baby boy was born.

This is how they, finally, exclaimed:

‘What a pleasant surprise!’ .


This is how,

under the glory of boy’s birth

two girls were forgotten.


We didn't speak the same language

She spoke Nemadi and I in Hindi

She appeared to be giddy

Frolicking around her cows

The pallu of the sari covering her head

With a small piece in her mouth

Or perhaps she was merely amused

To encounter someone fascinated with her and her beloved cows

We had a very funny conversation about cows and marriage

That involved wild gesticulating at the cows

She may or may not have cautioned me against turning into a cow

If I remained single for too long

I remember her laughing heartily

Not so much for my reasons for singlehood

But perhaps at the surprising sounds

Of the strange language coming from my mouth

Her mother-in-law then sat down and held her head

Making it very clear what she thought

Of the gibberish that we both had concocted


Perched on my slim wire swing

My claws clenched tight

My beak held high

I see not my usual sight

My street is like my grandma's home

I don't see those mammoth forms

Whose verandahs I perched on

Who gave me water lukewarm

I asked the Coalish Crow

And the minty myenah of suburbs

They asked Bobby Pigeon

And he asked his fellow birds

None knew the news

Why they chose the balcony more

Gave us more pulses and grains

Smiling and humming a lore

Patola peacock all decked in his couture

Swirled, hopped, jiggled and tapped

They didn't come clicking and pointing

From a distance they rejoiced and clapped

I stayed up late

To meet Wisey Owl

He said something about Wickedy Bat

About how he stung and followed the fouls

I spoke to Minty, Coalish and Patola today

The notoriety of Wickedy

Had put the beings in dismay

We called for an evening meet

Arranged rotis, grains and tattered meat

They said we are in this together and strong

we will chirp merrier

Swing by close

Perch on verandahs

Twerk our tails

Be caressed by them

The ship of doom

Will then soon sail


There will always be boats

The thin shards of light stop entering,

Shore is stretched, as if a line without segments,

Spine rests on a needle,

Water swells alternately and pretends to touch my feet,

And when it almost succeeds,

A coracle surfaces.


Things that still take me by surprise:

Toasty sunshine in winters

New and old bird songs

The summer burst of flowers and fragrant weeds

How nature doesn't give in

To humanity's self-destructive tendencies

And the fragile human heart

Birthing little hopes and penny-sized poems


the party

and when i wake

with no aches

on my unusually

comfortable mattress

watch the curtains

rustling in the wind

as if they’ve been

waiting impatiently

to give me a glimpse

of the plant that always

threatens to die

now standing upright

doing better than alright

the sun, kinder than it’s

been the whole week

the posters on my wall

looking their very best

clean dusted and bright

the floor concealing

strands of hair that

always make it seem like

i’m too easy to leave

i will act surprised

give them a warm hug

thank them profusely

for the presents, tell them

there was no need really

i’m just glad they

could all make it to

the birthday party


the professor is explaining the fundamentals of Marx,

as you think about your fridge,

about the small suction that eases into a hushed pull

when you visit it at 2am for some bread and jam,

the translucent crinkle of the cover as you remove a slice

from the dull bed of of the loaf.

he's talking about alienation

and you rewind to your trip to the bathroom,

after your late night snack,

about the creak at the hinges of the door as you close it shut

and the steadying clatter of the toilet seat as you sit down.

he's telling you to submit your response to the essay by the weekend

and you hear the small creak of your bed,

the release of the mattress when you settle into a position,

ready to face the silence of closed lids,

surprised at all the noise an empty house can make.


It can be good or bad

Just unexpected makes it count

And is you get over

It needs to be more extreme

As six month mummy playing boo

At two it might be a trip to the zoo

And five when a visitor brings you a gift

At eleven when I bad weather a friend offers a lift

As a teenager a surprise might be unexpected cash

Or when your mum buys you clothes you agree look flash

By your twenties it might come in the form of promotion

Or meeting someone who like no other invokes your emotion

At 30 it might be how fast your children can learn

Or a surprise trip to somewhere you yearn

But equally it could be your job just got chopped

And to make matters worse your share prices all dropped

By 40 you might have teens of your home

You might have a shock about who they bring home

Then will come the day that they tidy their room

You finally realise they can manoeuvre a broom

In your 50s their exam results bring pleasure or pain

Or when you step on the scales five more kilos you gain

Inheritances May start to come your way

And after 20 defeats on the road your team win away

I cannot go further as 50s where I’m at

Just hope I’ll make 60 and won’t get killed by a bat

Reckon surprises in retirement might be so much fun

I know someone who’ll be surprised if I live for one.


I pretend to understand brothers,

in vain,

I could never;

how their skin creates

islands of war

inside the peaceful

sea of flesh that they

were birthed into

by the mothers

who’ve survived battles

of bodies, both

their own and others’

with a conquering affection,

I won’t understand

how their mouths could play

a ruthless deception

against all the love

that they were fed

and to all the lullabies

that were endeavoured

to send an anxious boy to bed

when he couldn’t scowl or stare

an indifferent demeanour

into the distraught eyes

of a mother

who’s now too tried,

too tired to sail into the isles

of the forlorn heart

that she can not save anymore.

Every once in a while though

the sea is let ashore

the boy comes by

and manages

to let himself pour

into whatever he doesn’t despise

at that time

a hug, a help, a word

or even an unguarded smile.

The last one comes as a rarity

But it’s the mother’s

favourite surprise.


1 komentarz

16 lut 2021

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