Archive for category Poems

Yesterday and Today: A #poem after #MichiganSchoolShooting


When a child is suddenly murdered, life changes for the parents in an instant. I am sharing my #poem – Yesterday & Today. I wrote a poem after #SandyHook shooting http://bit.ly/QZOh2a and re-wrote one today as we weep again with fresh scars. Sandyhook happened right before X’mas in 2012 and #MichiganSchoolShooting today, right before X’mas 2021. It is heartbreakingly sad & speaks to #ExtremeSelfishness of our society that because older ones among us want to be safer in our homes, our young people pay the price of becoming targets of mindless #GunViolence. My heart weeps with the parents who have to bear this loss.

Teen Wearing Canvas Shoes on Asphalt With # Enough Word Cloud — Stock Photo, Image

Yesterday and Today…… a #poem
Poem – on Michigan School Shooting – November 30, 2021

Yesterday, you’d come home from school and my world would light up
Today it seems, my world will always remain darker…..
Yesterday, I chided you for playing video games full of violence
Today violence of my world stole your dreams forever….

Yesterday, your focus was the college of your reach
Today, you became pawn in someone’s war
Yesterday your biggest worry was to score a B
Today trivial seems that fear

Yesterday, we prayed that you’d drive safe
Today, seeing your blood streaked bodies, we weep
Yesterday, we needed you to place angel, high up on the X’mas tree
Today, angel weeps beside us, scars are so deep 

Yesterday, I was late and with scarcely a hug, I bid you goodbye 
Today, it’s too late and I will never see you go
Yesterday, sleep engulfed me though I wanted to write a gratitude post
Today, it’s too late for my gratitude and you’ll never know

Yesterday, snowflakes and rainbows were your favorite things
Today, OUR favorite things got you, that’s how much we love guns
Yesterday, you were the future
Today we wiped out the very future, that’s how much we love guns

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Lost in Many Faces of Gods – #Poem


My neighbor comes out every morning to cut beautiful roses and other flowers growing outside her house and she collects them to offer them to God. After seeing this scene again and again, this poem is written.

I don’t know O God, your wishes
Based on my understanding, I thee worships

I cut beautiful flowers from your creation
And offer them to photo frames of my vision

In many faces, I have imagined you
To please you, many rituals I do

Sometimes in scary image of Goddess Kali
I’ve feared your wrath and offered havana nightly

Krishna, Murti, God, Hindu, Indian

Or I fast for nine days in honor of demon-slayer Maa Durga
And begin my days with prayers to kind and portly Lord Ganesha

I have sought you in neutral face of Lord Mahavira
Or in wise verses of Lord Buddha

Sometimes I seek you in a mosque without an image or fuss
And sometimes your love bleeds from an object, a cross

In many rituals, fasts, prayers and customs I have tied you
And bound myself in fortified walls of bigotry, all for you

Which of you is real, I am lost in your many faces,
All of my own making, I’m lost in rituals and customs

But I forget the face that is in front on me everyday
When snakes slither, cows moo, when goats bray

When peacock puts on an amazing display
To win his beloved, when I see chimps tease and dolphins play

When autumn showers gold, in awe I say, it’s not the doom
Hope is rekindled when spring flowers bloom

And yet spring is no more a start than autumn an end
I find summer glow of my soul in desolate winter or barren desert sand

I don’t know of many Gods, or of A God or A Goddess
And yet I see everyday how the divine reveals

There is presence of the divine all around
On this wondrous earth and in the galaxy beyond

I looked in temples, churches and mosques….
In the end, I found divine within my heart, Rumi says

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ईश्वर के कई चहेरे मेरी फोटो फ्रेम में – #Hindi #Poem


I have written this poem in English, Hindi and Gujarati and am posting in all three languages. Each time the words are slightly altered.

मेरी पड़ोस में रहती हुई महिला रोज बहार आकर अपने घर के पास उगते हुए सुंदर गुलाब और अन्य फूलों को काटकर अपनी पूजा की थाली में इकट्ठा करके घर ले जाती है। इस दृश्य को बार बार देखने के बाद  यह काव्य लिखा है 

मुझे नहीं पता हे ईश्वर आपकी क्या मर्जी है
आपको भजति हु जैसी मेरी समज होती है  

आप के ही सर्जन के सुंदर फूल चुनकर  
अपने  मातापिता सामान पौधों से अलग कर 

प्रस्तुत करती हूँ आप ही की सुन्दर छबि के सामने 
आपके कई चहेरे मैंने फोटो फ्रेम में उतारे है 

कभी सोचा आप को, डरावने माँ काली के रूप में
कभी अनुरागशील गणेशजी और कभी मां दुर्गा के स्वरूप में

कभी बुद्ध और महावीर के तटस्थ चेहरे में पाया 
कभी बिन चहेरे आपको मस्जिद में मेने पाया 

मेरे ठहराए गए रस्मो कस्मो से आपको बांध लिया  
कभी फल खाकर कभी रोजा रखकर आपको प्रसन्न किया  

कभी इशू के क्रॉस पर लहू में आपकी दया को देखकर
कभी कृष्ण की बांसुरी की ध्वनिमें आपकी भक्ति में रंगकर 

खोजने आपको मंदिर मस्जिद चर्च और कहाँ कहाँ भटकी  
अलग अलग नियमो और रस्मो से में परेशान हुई 

मैंने अपनी कल्पना से तुम्हारे कई चेहरे गढ़े हैं
पर भूल जाती हु वोही चेहरा जो मेरे सामने है

Various dance poses of an Indian Male Peacock stock photo

मोर की कला, तेंदुए की दौडान, मेंढक की छलांग
सिंह का गुर्राना कोयल के टहूके, पंखी का कलरव 

कोयल के टहूकने में, भमरे के भनभनानेमें, 
आप को पा लू में फुलोके खिलने और मुर्झानेमे  

मैं छवि में आपका चेहरा क्यों बनाऊ 
रस्मो रिवाजमे क्यों हैरान हो जाऊ 

अलौकिक, आपकी यह रचना अमृतमयी
मान क्यों न लें कि यही आपकी पुष्टि आपकी छवि

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Me & You – #poetry


There is a very old tradition of poetry in Afghanistan, before the arrival of the Taliban. Written as couplets, they were called landay. After the Taliban came, women began writing and sharing in small private groups. And yet when her family members or Taliban came to know about it, women were sometimes whipped and even killed for writing poetry. Eliza Griswold, a Guggenheim Fellow traveled with photographer Seamus Murphy on assignment with the New York Times Magazine to learn about one such young poetess who was killed by her family for writing poems. There she privately met small groups of women and collected landays or poems written by them. For more details and to read these couplets: See the URL below.

https://static.poetryfoundation.org/o/media/landays.html

In one of my literature groups, we had to say something on the topic of “Me and You” in Gujarati language. I selected a few lines from their couplets and took the liberty to slightly modify them to fit the theme and shared them after translating in Gujarati language. I am posting them here along with my own poem below..

You forced me into marriage with an old man 
May Allah burn down the house where I spent my childhood

Making love to you old man
Is like fucking a shriveled cornstalk blackened by mold.

When sisters gather, they admire their brothers
When you brothers meet, you sell your sisters, kill them, burn them.

My body is my own;
Yet you are its master

And finally sharing the poem below that I wrote………

I, me — are not just words to inflate my ego
You — you are not just your masculinity

You and I are not always separate
Sometimes, you and I are a relationship

Then I exist, so do you
For a woman may have come from a man’s rib but once

But a man is born from her womb everyday 
If you are the question, I am the answer


Don’t make my existence the focus of your dominance

If you close me inside a veil, I will not cease to be


Don’t spend your time erasing my nail polish
For when your life is erased, how will you prove your worth in heaven?


Virgins don’t need nail polish scrubbers
But surely, gates of hell will remain open for your arrival

Afghan Women Fight for Their Identity | Voice of America - English

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Poem: 101 things to do as we wait #election2020 outcome


On nail-biting ride of #election2020🤞🤞when patience befitting year 2020 is required, I’m sharing a poem I wrote when I was waiting for a young man to call me ❤️❤️. It’s tweaked slightly. See below🙏🙏

101 things to do as we wait for #election2020 outcome

Read a book, go for a walk, or a swim
Hike, jog, do it for fun or just on a whim
Call an old foe for that divide to mend
Or share a good laugh with a friend
Listen to the music and drink ice tea,
Or lemonade or just relax and be
Mop the floor, and do the dishes
Like Cinderella, hum and make wishes
Think of all the bills to pay
Or just let them be for another day
Wear lingerie that is cute and lacy
Or baggy pajamas that caught your fancy
Maybe it is Friday and you have that fish to fry
Or on Wednesday, shout and sigh and sigh and have a good cry
This is only a partial list of things to do
Perhaps now you can wait patiently, can you?

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સાથ વિષે….. (on togetherness in #Gujarati)


 

સાથ વિષે………

Michelangelo, Abstract, Boy, Child, Adult

કોઈકનો સાથ જીવન માં થોડી ક્ષણોનો હોય છે પણ આખું જીવન મહેકતું કરીને જાય. કોઈકનો સાથ આખી જિંદગી હોય પણ ન હોવા બરોબર અને વ્યક્તિ ક્યારેક રસમો રિવાજ ને સમાજ ને લીધે આખી જિંદગી કોઈકનો નગુણો સાથ નિભાવી લ્યે છે. કોઈકનો સાથ એક આદત બની જાય છે. અને મીરા સાથે કૃષ્ણનો સાથ હતો તેમ ક્યારેક સાથ શ્રદ્ધા ની અનુભૂતિ છે.  મીરાં ને કૃષ્ણ નો સાથ શ્રદ્ધા માં હતો તેથીજ મીરા ના શબ્દો માં સંવેદના થી તરબોળ એવા સાથ ના ઘણા રૂપ મળે છે. 

ક્યારેક મીરા શ્રી કૃષ્ણ ના સાથ ને ઝંખે છે
मीरा कहै प्रभु कब रे मिलोगे
तुम बिन नैण दुखारा॥
म्हारे घर आ प्रीतम प्यारा॥ 

ક્યારેક તે સાથ ની અમૂલ્યતા ને અનુભવે છે
जनम जनम की पूंजी पाई
जग में सभी खोवायो
पायो जी मैंने राम रतन धन पायो

ને ક્યારેક તે વિરહ ની વેદના માં જુરે છે.
प्रभु जी तुम दर्शन बिन
मोय घड़ी चैन नहीं आवड़े॥
अन्न नहीं भावे, नींद न आवे
विरह सतावे मोय।
घायल ज्यूं घूमूं खड़ी रे
म्हारो दर्द न जाने कोय॥

ને ક્યારેક તેમના સંગાથ માં જ જીવન જતું હોય તેમ સહજતાથી કહે છે
साजि सिंगार बांधि पग घुंघरू,
लोक-लाज तजि नाची॥
मैं तो सांवरे के रंग राची।

સાથ માં આ બધા રૂપ સમાય જાય છે.

Friends, Cat And Dog, Cats And Dogs, Pet, Domestic

મારા શબ્દોમાં…… 

સાથ લાગણી છે, સંવેદના છે, પ્રેમ છે
સાથે હોય તે જ પૂછે ને તું હેમખેમ છે?

સાથ માં સંગાથ હોવો જરૂરી નથી
ક્યારેક સાથ માત્ર આદત જેમ છે

સાથ માં મતભેદ છે સાથે ફરિયાદ છે
વિરહ ને વેદના ને ફરી થતું મિલન છે

સાથ માં વર્તાય વ્યક્તિનું વ્યક્તિત્વ
તેને બીજા પ્રત્યે કેવો રહેમ છે

સાથ માં હિસાબ કિતાબ પણ હોય
સમર્પણ, તો ક્યારેક સાથ લેણદેણ છે

જન્મતાંજ શ્વાસ સાથે સંકળાયેલ સાથ છે
તો જ મિલન વગર પણ આજે સૌ હેમખેમ છે 

 

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ઈશ્વર નો ચહેરો – Face of God


મારી પાડોશણ રોજ બહાર આવે અને તેના ઘર પાસે ઉગતા સુંદર ગુલાબ અને બીજા ફૂલોને કાપી ને તેની પૂજાની થાળી માં ભેગા કરીને ઘર માં લઇ જાય. આ દ્રશ્ય જોઈને વિચાર આવ્યા પછીનું એક અછાન્દસ કાવ્ય. 

મને શી ખબર કે શું મરજી છે ઈશ્વર તારી
ભજું તને મારી સમજ ને જેવી ઈચ્છા મારી                 

Brass-colored Lord Ganesha Figurine

તારી સૃષ્ટિના સુંદર ફૂલોને તેમના મા બાપ સમા
ઝાડપાનથી અળગા કરીને ધરું તારી છબી સમા           

 

તારો ચહેરો ઉતારું મેં બનાવેલ સુંદર છબીમાં
કેવી ફોટોફ્રેમમાં શોભશે ચહેરો એ વિચારોમાં

ક્યારેક તું દેખાય બિહામણી મા કાલી ના રૂપે
ક્યારેક મા દુર્ગાના હેતાળ સ્વરૂપે                        

Person Doing Handcraft Face Mask

ક્યારેક મહાવીર ને બુદ્ધ ના તટસ્થ ચહેરામાં
ને ક્યારેક છબી વિના મસ્જિદ ને અપાસરામાં 

તને યાદ કરું મેં બનાવેલ રીતિ રિવાજોમાં
મેં જાતે ઠરાવેલ કસમો અને રસમોમાં 

દિવસે ખાવાનું નહિ નમાજ કરું ને રોજા પાળું
ફરાળ તો ક્યારેક નકોરડા ઉપવાસ રાખું  

હે મારી કલ્પનાના ઈશ્વર અનેક રંગો મેં ભાળ્યા
તારા અનોખા ચહેરા માં ઉભરતા નિયમો નિભાવ્યા 

ક્યારેક ક્રોસ માં ઈશુના લોહી માં તારી દયાને જોઈ
ક્યારેક વાંસળી ના સાદ માં તારી ભક્તિમાં રંગાઈ                 

Crucifix Illustration

નાતી જાતિ ના ભેદભાવ માં માનવતા ખોવાઈ
તારા વિવિધ ચહેરાઓ માં હું ઘણી ગૂંચવાઈ 

ઘડ્યા મેં તારા અનેક ચહેરા મારી કલ્પના થકી
એક માત્ર ચહેરો જે મારી સમક્ષ છે તે ભૂલી 

મોરની કળા, ચીત્તા ની છલાંગ, દેડકાના કૂદકામાં
નીતરતી અજાયબી આ કોયલ ના ટહુકામાં

અમૃતમયી, અલૌકિક, અનેરી તારી આ સૃષ્ટિ
માની લઉ કે આ જ છે તારી છબી, તારી પુષ્ટિ 

દરેક માનવ ના અનોખા હાવભાવ માં
પશુ પક્ષીઓના ગુંજતા કલરવ માં                                     

Red Leaf Trees Near the Road

નીલા ગગન ને લીલા ઝડપાનમાં
શા માટે જોઉં તારો ચહેરો હું છબીમાં 

નિહાળી લઉ તારો ચહેરો હાલતા ચાલતા આ બધામાં   

 

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Poem: Ode to my hands


Ode to my hands – on my birthday…….

IMG_20200114_163724610.jpgI look at my hands, old, withered, wrinkled
Nails unpainted on fingers that look crinckled
A few rings still adorn these weathered fingers
Absent some, on them, a while, my mind lingers

When did this happen, my hands grew so old
Or are my eyes to be faulted? Once fond
Of beauty, youth and smooth sexy skin
Even happiness is nothing but a wrinkled grin

But let me explain the story of my old hands

Sometimes thrown about by mighty waves
My fingers held on to piercing rocks, caves
I wasn’t going to give up my place in life
I fought, persisted, determined in strife 

And then the baggage that I carried
You’d say I was wrong, had me tarried
But nay, long I have lived and learned
Carrying baggage is much needed

On the Himalayan expedition
Raw and filled with imperfection
I was told to take stuff so nothing I lack
First lesson was to pick and pack

Things that’d keep us alive, the right baggage
Yes, indeed it weighed down the passage
Crampons, gloves, food, chapstick to wear
Ice axe, tent, carry mat, stove, all our gear

I now carry bravely my stuff, my baggage
Some friendships, some life lessons
Some values, to seek help, like lifelines
Journeying through life’s minefields and mines

I dare to assert, I carry gear in each of my old hand
Things to love, nurture, hug, care and mend
Go not by how my hands look, they’re stronger for the wear
Reliable, loving magic of these hands fills the air

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Happy Lohri/ Makar Sankranti


Today is the Indian festival of Lohri also known in parts of India as Makar Sankranti. For many reasons I love this festival, one of them being that it falls right around my birthday!! Makar Sankranti is celebrated with prayers to Surya or Sun God and it marks the first day of sun’s transit or winter solstice and the start of longer days. It is one of the few Indian festivals observed according to solar cycle, while most festivals are set my lunar cycle of the Hindu calendar.

It is celebrated as Lohri in North India to mark the end of peak winter season and also farmers in Punjab begin their financial year on this day.  Like most Hindu festivals, this one also is celebrated with delicious array of sweets that are different in different parts of India.

In Gujarat where I come from, we celebrate Makar Sankarnti by flying kites. It is the biggest kite flying day when everyone is on the terraces of their homes or apartments and flying kites and trying to bring down other kites. As preparation, for days vendors are busy selling colorful kites to the buyers who go home and soak the string with glass powder so they can cut the strings of other kites.
Image result for kite flying in barodaImage result for kite flying in baroda   Image result for kite flying in baroda

Here’s my little #Gujarati poem

સર સર સર સર ઉડે મારી પતંગ
એ ઊંચે ઊડતી જાય ને હરખાય
ઘડીક નીચે ડૂબકી મારે મારી પતંગ
ફરી ઉડે, જાણે હવામાં તરતી જાય
લીલા લાલ રંગે ચગતી મારી પતંગ
પાનખર આજે આભ ને મળવા જાય

Loosely translated in English as

Sir sir sir sir flies my kite
Higher it goes out of site
For a second, dives down my kite
And flies as if swimming in flight
In red green orange colors, my kite
As if autumn is falling upward to meet the Gods

 

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Nelda’s journey 4 – Mama deported, Nelda in foster care


Nelda’s mama is deported
Back to Venezuela
Nelda is with foster family
They’re caring and kind

At school Nelda learns
Days are full and fun
But nights bring terror
“Mama”, she sobs

Nights pour into days
Sleepless and scared
Nelda doesn’t care
I’m ok, she says

Nelda isn’t crying
Her tears have dried up
She’s ward in a system
And she’s quietly slipping

Meanwhile…….

Image result for woman deported by us border patrolNelda’s mama is back
She has spent it all
Just to stay alive
And to make the trek

How to pick up pieces
When piece of your heart
Is across impenetrable border
Mi Vida, my life, in air, she says

And then HHS declares
Nelda is to be united
But tragedy has struck
Just before Nelda flies

Uncle gets hold of mama
Remember Nelda’s uncle? (see part 1 of her journey)
Mama is gang raped and killed
What is to become of Nelda?

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If you have any difficulty imagining how incredibly dangerous the situation is in Latin America and how perilous the journey it is that people undertake so that they may live or what may happen to kids separated from their parents, then this Nelda’s story though fiction is what I have compiled from reading many actual stories and other reports.
Here are links to
Nelda’s journey 1: Live, I may – http://bit.ly/2ymlWQt
Nelda’s journey 2: I want to die – http://bit.ly/2M1Czmi
Nelda’s journey 3: Conversation with Nelda & her mama – http://bit.ly/2KarjH1

 

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