The house

Photo Credits: Internet Click Pic for link
Photo Credits: Internet Click Pic for link
The house

The street was a riot of pink
heavy with bougainvillea everywhere
sighing over creamy yellow walls
their dead strewn on lawns and over a grey Lambretta
heavy in my memories with a bulge in its metal tummy
containing an oil skin packet behind a tiny door
On week days, it would come to life
after a few well directed kicks
and carry away the last of the talking doors

Sitting on the green gate
I would wait
until the dust settled back on the road
and the roar turned the corner
and then turn back
to watch a bird soar
unfurling its wings till it
gathered the house into its shadows

©Reena Prasad

Summer in me



The cement floor was cool
when you lay prone on it, palms down
letting the coolness seep in
yet it smelt of summer
Sunrays streamed down through banyan leaves
across the road, the half-ajar door became a frame
for the parijatham tree
with  clusters of pink madhumalti blooms
nodding into the picture
An invisible click by my heart
for I have a fading snapshot of a June afternoon
in my treasure box along with the fragrance of a scratched tree bark
a memory of a last page in an autograph pad
and of the sun smiling at me through a pair of dark eyes
a stubborn ring of a cycle bell
and the feel of love blushing in umpteen spots all at once
warming my winter- nipped toes now
and the only thing that binds two seasons together
is the feeling of being the most happy when alone
which I could never shake off
then or now.
 ©Reena Prasad 8th Jan 2013

To a lone Kalavoor duck

Lone duck in the pond
playing amidst the rippling shadows
White sandy soil and gravel have poured in
causing the last of the mushi and the varaal
to jump out and be eaten
along with two, unclean tumbler- fulls of
of milky- white frothing toddy.

There is a wind in the coconut palms
Whispering to some wandering spirits
Little else moves
Sitting on the moss green stones that pass off as steps
Sending thought rays into the dense foliage
underneath your green waters
as if a kindred spirit would surface
but there is only a neerkoli
peering innocently through the fern borders
Sans any intention
of depriving me of the dinner
which the old woman would soon make.

Limping over the dry, crackling palm fronds
Her sharp eyes never missing any fallen ones
-A coconut this time
To scrape and grind with some tongue -searing,
tiny kanthari chilies and a few slivers of a green mango
that fell in the night gale rattling the red clay roof tiles
to eat off those stainless steel- rimmed plates
which her daughter had brought back
from her days at a steel plant.

Scooping up the earthly comfort of kanji with a jackfruit leaf
curved and pinned into a conical scoop
Fastened with a piece of eerkili,
the slurps continue till bellies proclaim peace
then she spreads a straw mat
turning over her wrinkled thoughts
to the natural stillness of the afternoon
only interrupted by
occasional involuntary sighing invocations
of the goddess’s names in tune
with the groaning of her joints.

While she who sleeps fitfully in the nearby temple Srikovil
after the morning stream of
complaining, confessing, entreating, bribing
occasionally angry or thankful ones have retreated
and the doors closed till the evening batch begins their racket,
has her divine snores interjected by the raucous singing
emanating from the toddy shack
that passed off as the village reading room.
Sleep conquers the Devis
while I loiter around your waters again.

What do you think of such afternoons
Companion of my absent thoughts?
Your water lilies have stagnated within me
I carry the cool waters upon my head
to cascade upon me when the desert sears.

Our silence broken
by the metallic jangle of the Kaadi bucket
overturned by the bored cow again
The tapioca leaves wave their seven fingers
Their long , bare knotted stems sway
Beyond the unseen fence far away
A bicycle bell tinkles as rubber tyres shudder
over the graveled path…..
Earth starts to tear around the sun
And the panorama subtly changes.

I wonder if I am good company
or too loud by my very active absence
perhaps you prefer watching
a younger, long- legged girl in a short frock
discover the fleshy base notes of youthful guiles
and write raw poems upon the absent green surface
under you as you peck and preen
in anatine leisure land
catching your worms like the rest of us do
in our little time by some ponds.

©Reena Prasad


For a better idea, read on..

Kalavoor… place in Kerala(Alapuzha)
Mushi and Varaal…types of fish

Neerkoli….water snake
Kanthari… type of bird’s eye chilly, small but explosive
Kanji….rice gruel
srikovil…sanctum sanctorum …
Kaadi..cow feed
Eerkili… stiff mid ribs of coconut leaves

Still on a swing

Falling leaves keep changing colour
The sunlight evaporates time
Album pages flutter rapidly and stop
at a tyre swing
Four little hands clasp the iron rope
seated on either side of a rubber tyre
Their giggles rock the air-borne boat
under the purple-black  jamos

In that world of pails and sand
time moved swiftly as though envious
little black shoes kicked squeaky yellow ones
The school bell clanged –
the moment burst and all were gone

 Her eyes followed, she watched them go
tugging hurriedly at her  tyre-wedged shoe
Tears welled up till she saw him
come running back for her 

Worried they both were till he pulled
her foot out of the narrow wedge
Then she hopped on one foot 
And he followed with her shoe

He came back for her then
to remain the lone star in her cosmos
She rocks her memories gently on the swing
of two berry-stained knees sharing one spring
©Reena Prasad

*Jamo= Java Plum

A winter’s tale

A winter’s tale

Oh! The breeze is playful today
Ruffling the feathers of the tiny sparrows
hopping busily in the wan sunlight
Their tweets chiding the naughty breeze gently
and a warm smile hovers on Winter’s fair face.

On such days, time stops yet thoughts dance
The wayward heart crosses certain invisible lines
to flow out in red glory onto the pavements of passion
driving out dutiful doubts that tremble in anticipation
within the folded petals of abandoned reason.

The breeze brings a lost fragrance, it has been too long
those still streets wait in silence but uncertain feet no longer stop
The shadows lengthen every hour, fading into the familiar dust
A stone kicked from school to home, now complains of apathy
The shade of the banyan still welcomes, but the map no longer exists