Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tanka today

Pamela A Babusci -(the well-known poet and editor of Moonbathing, for the benefit of my other readers) - has very sweetly sent me two tanka links to help me learn the form. I don't know how far I am getting ahead with the "learning" part, but these links turned out to be a virtual treasure trove of such wonderful tanka by practically all my favourites, that I could sit here all day reading them and even if I don't write anything ever, who cares because now I know that I could never write poetry even half as good!

for fifty years
through all the weathers
of the mind,
I have loved the world with my eye
...if nothing else, that

Larry Kimmel

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Haiku generator

Some people are born mad, some have madness thrust upon them.

I don’t know if I qualify for either of these categories, because I consider myself one of the most level-headed persons this side of the Indian Ocean; but obviously everybody doesn’t think so. I found out today that in Truth game, which is played on Facebook, as many as two people have answered in the positive when asked, “Is Sanjuktaa crazier than Ron Artest?”(and also, “do you think Sanjuktaa swears like a sailor?”). Now I couldn’t find out the identity of these persons , not having enough coins to unlock that, but I have some strong suspicions and one day, after I manage to gather enough coins, I am going to find you out! I also am pretty sure that the reason why they think like they do, lies in the fact that I love poetry!

And what I am going to write about today won't help matters any and would only reinforce their beliefs even more.Be that as it may...

Now, yesterday, the prompt by Terri Hale French at NaHaiwriMo was an evil one.We were asked to go to the Haiku Generator (a java script application) and write our own version or interpretation based upon whatever gibberish it threw at us.

Sample this, for example:

Crows drift feebly, friends

Darkening, rumbling dwarfs ride

Pigs wailing sailors

We were supposed to write a haiku on this! I almost fainted when I saw this!

And surprisingly, some people made quite a good job of it. For example, read this one by Cara Holman:

Marveling pebble

Clamoring, squelching mists slump

Forlornly, calm, pure

Cara’s version:

misty morning

the crunch of gravel

beneath my feet

And this one by Stevie Strang

insipid careworn

…massive immortals lying

corruption beckons

Stevie Strang's version:

one more chance

to get it right

election day

By then, I had started feeling I was in danger of losing my sanity. But luckily, this random one was thrown my way:

Knives mystify, knives

Snooze messily, orange moving

Gnarled, scornful, flustered

Based on this, I wrote:

the setting sun


by the gnarled oak

Emboldened by this success, I went on to try a few more and the results began to get more and more startling. But believe me, you won’t want to know that!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The rain today

The rain has started again today, after easing off for a few days and the woods opposite my house looked so lovely in the morning that perhaps only these words by Michael McClintock could do justice to that.

for a look at the world
I opened a window -
a blue morning wind
tossing rain around
the green ankles of spring

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Today's poem(tanka)

What does the reader do if the blog-writer herself goes away to read some other blog?
Why, he/she stares at an empty page or "no post", of course!

But no, even though i am off to read today's haikuverse at Red Dragonfly, i won't let my reader go away empty-handed. I'd leave you with at least one poem to read and savor.

So here is today's tanka:

never pity
the solitary bird -
what poetry
the owl must hear
in the wind, in the trees

---James Rohrer

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Published in Simply haiku,summer 2011, with the lines slightly tweaked.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Weekend ennui

Feeling lethargic since morning.

Skipped workouts/yoga and didn’t feel much guilty about it; it’s Saturday, after all!(Hope my daughter doesn’t read this though! Nah…she would be busy with her own stuff right now.)

Must, must, must write something if I am to meet the submission deadline for the Sketchbook kukai, the last day being today. But what with the exploits of Anna Hazare being aired/blared loudly over the TV all day, the husband trying to educate and update me about the current political scenario, the maids’ excited chatter about the imminent good times and my own weak efforts at running a household…it doesn’t seem likely at all.

Wait a minute, the deadline says, 20th midnight and it’s not yet 20th midday there, we in India being ahead of US. Ah, thank god, so I have time, after all!

OK, let me then quickly tell you about this post--Dragonfly dreams in Melissa Allen’s blog “Red Dragonfly”which doesn’t need any introduction to anybody in the haiku community. But for my other readers, here’s the link:Dragonfly dreams. And this new post is really a dream. Superb poetry and why not, considering both Pamela. A.Babusci and Paul Smith, two of my all-time favourites are there, apart from beautiful haiga by Rick Daddario, Polona Oblak and lovely poetry by Margaret Dornaus, Kirsten Cliff, Angie Warren, and Susan Antolin among many others. I, too have a haiku there and am happy to share the space with these amazing poets! But it is the photography by Jay Otto which leaves me speechless. I don’t know how he managed to capture those shots. I’ve gone there like about 10 times just to gape at them. All in all, I’m going to look at dragonflies with new eyes after this amazing post.

And finally the poem, a tanka which matches my mood today.

I am going
the day passes

Not sure who is the author, most probably Michael McClintock. Or is it Tom Clausen?

My sincere apologies.I’ll find out and let you know.

And to compensate for this morning’s lassitude, I’ve decided I’d go for a long walk in the evening…! And come back with a carton of icecream , to reward myself for the walk.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Twenty20 and a haiku

Today’s prompt at NaHaiWriMo was “bad poetry”. So naturally I didn’t have to put in much effort there. Could offload quite a few from my collection and feeling considerably lighter as a result.(In fact,everybody has been outshining everybody else
there today.) Honestly, we needed a breather. Terri Hale French, the prompter for this month, has been really cracking the whip lately, coming up with the most unusual prompts and I at least, have been struggling to cope.

Anyway, that leaves me with some time to talk about this journal
I stumbled upon the other day on a friend’s profile in Facebook…Twenty20 journal( Featuring minimalist fiction as well as poetry, this is a quality journal. Crisp content,easily navigable and niftily edited by guest editor(for the current issue) Aju Mukhopadhyaye, this magazine only publishes prose or poetry that does not go beyond 20 words.And a story when limited to 20 words, could make for some really taut prose, giving it almost a haiku like quality and( making it as exciting as twenty20 cricket)! I particularly liked the one by Vinita Agrawal. The ones by Shubhankar Biswas,Rumjhum Biswas and Anindita Deo were good too.

And i liked this poem by Len Kuntz in the previous issue.

The New Boyfriend

The dog barks at me now.
The kitchen smells of new cologne.
I hear he’s tall, speaks French.

They also accept visual art and haiku and Japanese forms of poetry,too; though I couldn’t find any in the current issue which is India-centric. The next submission deadline is September 8, in case you are interested. Please do check out this journal if you haven't seen it already!

After bad poetry and good journal, the thing that remains to be talked about is good poetry. I read quite a lot of good haiku in the past few weeks, but the one that has remained with me (And by that i only mean the one i can remember now offhand, not that the others were inferior in any way)is this one:

yoshino cherry tree—
it was never a question
of if

—Johannes S. H. Bjerg
Tinywords Issue 11.2 | 3 August 2011

I am sure you'd agree with me that this was worth remembering.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Remembering the Yahoo man

I am not an Indian (moviegoer) worth my salt and i've never known what it is to be young, if I don't write about Shammi Kapoor today.For it was he who brought in ebullience and madness to romance in Indian cinema.

The original Yahoo man (we never knew any other kind of yahoo, besides who else could have hollered 'yahoooo' like him?) he yahooed into the hearts of Indians with 'junglee", one of his first films... and never left.
We were probably in the playpen when Shammi Kapoor was doing his early films and by the time we turned into serious moviegoers, he was already on the last legs of his career. We watched only the reruns, yet they would always draw full houses.
Because there was nobody quite like him before or after! Nobody who could fill his rather big shoes, literally and figuratively.

The boisterousness and joie de vivre he brought to his movies; the impromptu dance moves only he was capable of doing and probably, only he knew about;the inimitable style in which he emoted; the way he romanced his leading ladies...with melody and molten eyes, coupled with the totally unpredictable falls, be it falling/rolling down the grassy slopes or falling/stepping into the icy water of Dal lake or falling/jumping into the sea...(if you've seen a Shammi Kapoor movie. you'd know what i am talking about), it all left the audience a little breathless, but a thoroughly happy and entertained lot!
"Indian Elvis" as he was called sometimes,his acting ability might be questioned by many, but few could remain immune to his charm.And I think, in many ways, he was more loved than even his more illustrious brother, Raj Kapoor.

Singer Mohammad Rafi whose voice became synonymous with Shammi Kapoor probably brought out the best in him and vice versa.Together the duo had given us so many unforgettable numbers that if I were asked to pick out one of them, I would never be able to. Yet this one from "teesri manzil" perhaps would rank as one of his best or one of the top 10 along with the duet I've posted on Facebook. Shammi Kapoor in a very uncharacteristic sober mood here!

During his last days, he had to go to hospital 3 days a week for dialysis, as he was suffering from a chronic renal failure. Yet he would look forward to the remaining four days of the week and make plans so that he could really live it up those four days!

Such was his lust for the age of 79!

Rest in peace, Mr. Shammi Kapoor, or rather, dance in heaven, as somebody has said. You are going to be missed...and how!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Daughter's day

It was Daughters' day on 11th August. Even on NaHaiWriMo page at Facebook, the day's prompt was:daughters or sons.And to think that I couldn't even speak to my daughter that day, busy as she was with making a presentation at college.One of the perils of sending your daughter abroad to never get to speak to her when you want!
This post, however, is for her...if she ever reads this!

A number of great haiku have been written on the subject of daughters.Offhand I do remember only a few and the first of them that really strikes a chord:

bare patch in the garden-
again my daughter doesn't
answer her phone

-Carolyn Hall

This one too:

on the phone
my daughter and I
watch different sunsets

-Anne LB Davidson

Another delightful one:

small talk
snap beans

-Peggy Willis Lyles

And this beautiful one:

breakup -
my daughter's voice cracks
across two continents

-Roberta Beary

Daughters are such that they inspire you to poetry. That's not to say sons do not...! I don't have one, but having friends who have grown-up or adolescent sons,I can guess that raising a son also perhaps could be as beautiful as bringing up a daughter.

spring shadows -
new razor
for the teenaged son

(The Heron's Nest, Vol 13, issue 2)

What I am trying to say here is this; set your children free by all means: but don't send them so far away that you cannot reach out to touch his cheek or give her a hug once in a while.

hummingbird -
this summer, too,
it keeps away

Friday, August 12, 2011

Breaking the ice

My opening blog! And what do i write about?

Let's for a moment assume there are a thousand people out there, waiting to latch on to my every word...
how do i introduce myself to them?

I chew my pen(or rather, drum the keyboard uncertainly) and scratch my head!

What about those famous lines..."I have nothing to declare except my genius"? Not good enough?

Well, then...I am just a typical Indian woman, (well, on second thoughts, maybe not so typical, because I am also lazy, laconic and a loner most of the time), a mother and a wife, who happened to stray onto the path of poetry, especially haiku and the Japanese forms of poetry, rather late in life; but has since enjoyed every moment of being there.

I have not yet thought it out as to which direction this blog is going to take, having been warned not to turn it into a poetry blog, as poetry seems to be a surefire way of killing all reader interest, of losing your audience( if there is any to begin with, that is)! But what the heck, it's my blog, isn't it?And a blog is the only space in the world where you could indulge yourself, write whatever you please.So if you hate poetry, please ignore this and move on to the next blog. Because poetry probably is going to be a major part of it!

But if on the other hand, you stick around for a while, I'll try not to make it too long-drawn for you, be as brief as possible,the poetry I feature will be good and not always mine, and what's more I might mix it up now and then with some other stuff, too.
Stuff that would catch your interest!

So please bear with me till I figure my way out through an enormous number of unfamiliar gadgets on this newly-acquired blogspace of mine.

And please do leave your comments sometimes, if you feel so inclined, to help me make it a better blog.

For the moment, I'll just leave you with these lines:

soft brown earth,
the rock-strewn mountains,
swirling storm
and the gentle rain.
sometimes the creeper,
sometimes the banyan,
I am free,
I am bonded,
I am every woman.

Will be seeing you soon.