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Shruti Sareen


Shruti Sareen



Wave with fish. Copper and Patina gate. Courtesy - santafecustomwelding.com




The Legend of the Pot

On a rocky ledge in a cliff by a river
Fasola heard a magic pot quiver
with the sound of wind, or water
or perhaps, the sound was laughter.
Go to the stream, what do the waves say
They whisper the legend of the pot, the lay.

This pot was shaped long ago by a potter
who took it home to his wife and young daughter
the pot was so perfect, so exceptionally round
all who looked at it, by it were bound
The daughter and her friends trotted down one day
with the pot to the river, all happy and gay.

Busy in their play, they forgot the pot
Left it behind on the bank to rot
Whisked into the river by a sudden wave
it bobbed and floated past the mermaids' cave
The magic pot embodied all that came its way
the waves, the breeze, the laughter of the fairy fays.

But floating was the pot's destiny
even mermaids cannot engage in mutiny
It landed in a circle of smooth, round stones
a lotus in the centre, and a few pine cones
A fisherman saw it, tying his boat to the pole
picked it and looked, admiring the whole

A storm brew up and swept it away
Jigglesqueak is all he had time to say
Battered and wasted, it lay there, half broken
Is this what I came to, it could have spoken
Till rich folks decided to make a cottage by the river
the workmen found it, put it aside for later.

On a rocky ledge in a cliff by a river
Fasola heard a magic pot quiver
with the sound of wind, or water
or perhaps, the sound was laughter.
The magic pot embodied all that came its way
the waves, the breeze, the laughter of the fairy fays

Go to Fasola, feel the perfection and charm
of this little round pot, unharmed by harm
Go to Fasola, you will, won't you?
The pot may embody some part of you too! 


Of Poetry, Dreams and Reveries

Poetry, dreams and reveries
create oyster pearls
and fertile lands
from grains of desert sand.
Impregnate
black monsoon clouds with rain
Moons, stars and comets
wanderers in the night.

A blank notebook page
or a digital word file
tabula-rasa of my mind
like the ovary in the receptacle
for the stamen's pollen.
mine to write, edit, delete
cross over and write again
I the solipsist, creator, god.

Spaces that are truly "mine"
Cottages, nests and homes
Through them, I cautiously put out
feelers, tentacles
sticky threads of spider webs
connecting links
with myself,
with the world. 


Being Belindas
(a response to Pope’s Rape of the Lock)

The mirror hangs before me
My long face stares back at me
a pointed chin
whose rounding I dread
A tiny forehead
gleaned from the thick mass
of black hair surrounding it.
At the black hair
now streaked with red
I oscillate between
fascination and nostalgia
The hair, mostly helter-skelter
sometimes, precise in a bun
A glazed eyeball
with its bit of plastic-glass lens
A newly pierced nose--
a shade too large
showing off that li'l bit of green
My ears trying to seek attention
with their multiple studs and rings
which I regard as pets
And a moody mouth.
but on the whole, a face    
I can live with.
My skin the colour 
of burnt caramel
a thin, supple body
I am unashamedly
in love with.

Bottles and vials lined
in an array on the slab beside me
the daily ritual
of cleansing, toning, conditioning
the creams and the perfumes
the chief kohl that lines my eyes
the earrings in their silver box
the cupboard with its
greater assortment of clothes
than i could ever wear
the occupational hazards
of being a young girl.

Oh Pope, and other misogynists!
We love being Belindas
and Belindas we shall remain
with our bottles and our vials
our bibles and our billet doux
and we rebel against rapes
of our locks and otherwise.
our bodies and their vagaries
and tricks we play with them
are ours.
And not playthings or objects
for your phallus
or that inglorious phallic symbol
your pen. 

Homeless Home-makers
 
A dhoti, a vest
is that a man
precariously balanced
on the wooden ladder
on the third floor
in a sea of mortar?
Saris tied to be gotten
out of the way
women carrying
head loads of brick and cement
Kids of all sizes
playing in the mud
sleeping on the ground
crying, sniffling, happy, gay
in scanty, dirty clothes
they turn into cement
sand and mortar themselves.
Make shift houses
and make shift meals
defy the name
having become the only
way of life.
eaten by mosquitoes
sun, wind and rain
living in shacks
of jute sacks and tarpaulin
they build multi storeyed
buildings with turrets, pillars
fancy woodwork
and exquisite grandeur.

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