Love as a Maxim

Some treat love as a geometrical maxim
that withholds acknowledgment
of its growth into a bloom,
without consummation.

Intact hair is frowned upon
as the husk untouched by a storm;
dry lips as a raw cherry,
which awaits carnal warmth.

Just as a hairstyle
would be encouraged to be copied
from a fashion book
and diversion would be antithetical
to a perfect look,

coquetry, a cart, follows as its application;
the kiss, a horse, as a compass.


(Published in Munyori Literary Journal, 2013)

Love as a Maxim

The Quagmire of Quickness

So persnickety about management of time,
we need fresh research into a normal heart rate.

We need to determine if the earth is slowing down
and has incentive to rotate, when we happen to treat
days and nights alike.

A dear I asked for her mailing address for my handwritten letter.
She preferred an email, saying: “That would be instant!”

The verbena with which I had embossed
the periphery of the fragrant paper
and the hand-drawn smiley circumscribed by stars
must have felt inferior to the efficient e-mail text,
which I spruced up with a couple of emoticons.
The soul of the letter I couldn’t replicate
as I set down regretting
the wastage of time over careful calligraphy.

And in the early morning, the grandma’s portrait fell down,
as if she had her own complaint:
“I have been grappling with understanding RIP!”


(Published in The Tower Journal, Fall 2013)

The Quagmire of Quickness

Writing is Akin to Flying a Kite

Writing to me is like flying a kite. The beauty of the kite must not be blurred, which requires that while it may soar high like an eagle, it must be visible. Thus, the beauty of language, no matter how ornate it is, must not tamper with its clarity. The kite must not be too low to suggest its earthy status. Similarly, the height of words reflect from its distance from prosaic style. Further, just as the string of the kite must be held firmly to prevent it from falling, the sentence must be firmly prevented from falling apart, reflecting the tightness of diamonds in a lovely necklace.

Writing is Akin to Flying a Kite

A Maze by A Shrewd Poet

A shrewd poet creates a maze for others:

Shrewdness that runs parallel to creativity
as a slender streak–
meek and submissive
when creative forces are at peak
which when subside,
it rears its head cautiously,
like a lady running away from the home
at night clandestinely.

The maze defines the movements in direction
the shrewdness designed:
reinforcement of the belief
in the poet’s confines in imagination,
her laughable eccentricities, her stark emotions
as unrestrained as a careless pouring of soda
in brimming liquid.

And the readers make silly judgments,
and get erroneous impressions.
The poet smiles and rubs salt into her own
conjectured wounds

What’s the way out?
The poet led them inside
the poet would take them out;
the exit awaits creation of a magnificent palace
stimulating utterances of “wow” or silent envious murmurings
once they step out!

A Maze by A Shrewd Poet

When Poets Surprise the World

I know what whims are–the undiplomatic ones–
the wax that knows its course once the fire is drawn close,
the dry, fragile leaves–idiots– in the wind
that drift aimlessly into a room with an open window;
the unrestrained mouth of a child provoked into uttering nonsense
and something that makes sense
to clever, spying neighbors.

And there are whims that carry pretense–
the orchestrated eccentricity covering
surreptitious preparations to take the
world by surprise,
like a dull bag hiding gold:

the secret delight to shrewd poets
capitalizing on the privilege to appear bizarre
to use the famed weirdness and notorious emotionality
when there’s an exact moment to show
unseen greatness, hidden tastes, concealed worldly competence.

What would you call them?
The sinking boat that is sailing,
the unambitious ass that’s a soaring eagle,
the vanquished ruler who’s ready to launch an assault;

To them, poetry is the wind that makes
the mind drift into imagination,
digging out the verses of gold.
But they’re aware of their conventional privileges
and smartly play the clandestine game.

When Poets Surprise the World

I bid goodbye

I bid goodbye and join my communion
where I’m awaited with enlightened calmness.

Rising higher and higher
I would see from a distance the illuminating gate–
bright gold. The individual beads would focus on me
and my self will be shining in their celestial rays

The home on earth would be exposed as a dream.
Consoled by fellow selves after arousal from the dreary slumber
I would pray for a complete erasing of earthy trace

“Obtain the grace of the supreme self!” (the injunction from the messenger)
Complete solitude–my self and the shining round periphery, the uncrossable hedge against matter.

A struggle will ensue as I will shield myself from recurring memories
without craving affection and attention;
the sturdier contemplation on the Goddess be my defense–my solemn prayer would issue.

Passing through numerous stages, escaping each assault,
may I clear hurdles and be worthy of supreme blessing.

Protected against earthy contact, I would reach the higher stage—
unison with fellow selves in collective meditation on Almighty:
environ of order, peace, harmony.

We will be softly pulled inside the supreme core–
individuality and collectivity shall be perfectly intact—
merged with the complete bliss that
we on earth can’t imagine!

I bid goodbye

Preface to Voices of Rocks in the Dusk

The longing to open up my heart to reveal bruised and resilient emotions prompted me to write this preface which, I hope, would serve as a message to mankind, since the agony, anguish, and yearning for affection implicit in these poems are universal.

Voices of Rocks in the Dusk primarily deals with the theme of love in light of depiction of deception and tenacious moral convictions. Adherence to principles may result in bitter loneliness, as symbolized by the loneness of rocks in the dusk. Unmindful of the unpleasant outcomes, however, a person of moral integrity would refuse to compromise, as “Restraint”, one of the poems, says: “My passions flowed like a slender stream, sieved by conviction. Your charm certainly shook me as a quake shakes a house: too feeble to bring it down!”

I would like to make a special mention of “A Virgin’s Pain” that is
a deeply misunderstood poem; it does not depict lovemaking scenes, though it might suggest it does. I leave it to the reader to unravel it. Echoing almost a similar theme, “The Bird with Her Own Sky” represents the moral boundaries erected by a woman around herself.

While some of the poems carry an acerbic tone, others, to me, are
nectarous with the ingredient of love, as the following lines exemplify:
“…I bow to you, sir! To you I offer myself in complete submission
….O’ my lord- my vanity, my pride, my proclivity to argue, my reason, my ambition —that make me unacceptable to the world and of which I haven’t had the slightest regret—melt down and vanish in your rays, for you, the brightest sun, penetrate my stony passions and crumble them!”

Feminists who might detect condescension would be failing to discern the egoless love (the hallmark of real love) in such verses. Poems such as “Not for You”, however, caution the undeserving men: “Trespass not on her territory, her fragrance is not for you; she has blossomed for someone special—not for you!”

The later portion of the book contains my reflections on different aspects of life, and poems related to God.

I would conclude this preface with a message for men:
Don’t downplay a woman’s moral discipline, her chastity, and her
innocence by terming her “traditional”! Refrain from taking the refuge of liberalism to hide your own moral lapses! And remember: access to the body is not access to the heart, just as sailing in waters is not enough to reach the treasure lying at the bottom.

-Romi Jain
Note: This book will be out this year.

Preface to Voices of Rocks in the Dusk