Poetry Corner: Volume 5

There are so many memories wrapped up in the month of May – the summer vacations, hometown visits, adventures and misadventures, the youthful follies, pain, loss and more. The retrospective, however, is also an exercise in knowing how far you have come and the path that lays ahead. This month’s edition dives into the past and holds the door open for the future.

All Days Lost Days – Carol Ann Duffy

in and out of the past,
so many things have died
in me.

In and out like a tide,
each tear
holds a tiny hologram.
Even this early
I am full of years.

Here are the little gravestones
where memory
stands in the wild grass,
watching the future
arrive in a line of big black cars.

All days
lost days, in and out of themselves
between dreaming
and dreaming again and half-

Been There – Arundhati Subramaniam

With every step ahead
I’ve always left something behind.

again and again,
the heart,
wetter than the Konkan coast in July.

It’s easier now,
the heart’s more my own,
the windscreen less blurry.

But some part of the self
still trails behind –

a disconsolate schoolboy
kicking a stone
along an evening road
not shipwrecked
by pain or fury,

just accustomed
to being told

he must be patient
he must wait,

to being told that one day,

but not for a long time yet,

he’ll be grown up,
he’ll understand.

Why I Can’t Finish this Book – A. K. Ramanujan

Letting go
Of fairytales
Is letting go
Of what will not
Let go:

Mother, grandmother
The fat cook
In the window’s white
Who fed me
Rice and ogres.

The Door – Miroslav Holub

Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
a garden,
or a magic city.

Go and open the door.
Maybe a dog’s rummaging.
Maybe you’ll see a face,
or an eye,
or the picture
of a picture.

Go and open the door.
If there’s a fog
it will clear.

Go and open the door.
Even if there’s only
the darkness ticking,
even if there’s only
the hollow wind,
even if
is there,
go and open the door.

At least
there’ll be
a draught.

Walk slowly – Danna Faulds

It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in me settles, softens, makes
space for imperfection. The harsh voice
of judgment drops to a whisper and I
remember again that life isn’t a relay
race; that we will all cross the finish
line; that waking up to life is what we
were born for. As many times as I forget,
catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I’m going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk
slowly into the mystery.

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