Day 14 and 15: Poetry Challenge

Day 14 – a poem that no one would expect you to love

Sri Sri is a relatively new find. His poetry isn’t typical of the usual stuff I’m drawn to, but I’m really, really liking the surrealistic elements in his work.


Some People Laugh, Some People Cry

A man investigates holes. They differ in size.

A man offers anarchy for sale. He appears to be wading in space, searching for something with his long arms. He eats nothing but the giant lemon found in the lakes of blood in the hearts of the young. That too, only once a day.

A man spends time singing Raga Khamboji. It is not unnecessary to remind you that he has a flute with him. He has fingers only to legislate the ragas sung at appropriate times. At their touch stars catch fire. Lakes on the moon come to a boil. Winter begins to bud and my heart begins to offer marriage to the butterfly.

A man puts camphor in his eyes and red lead on his cheeks. He is a poet. He interprets the messages he receives in secret code and works for the air force. He is the one big reason for the fall of prices in the market.

A man meditates with a string of rudraksha beads around his neck. What’s the use of your knowing that there’s no use in my pleading with people not to break coconuts in front of him?

A man loves only one woman. She dies. Follow the rest of the story on the silver screen.

A man gets hanged. Society buys peace with his death. The law sighs with relief. Every evening a blind dog visits the spot where his blood was spilled and barks piteously. This man was so proud he refused to say he was unjustly hanged.

A man becomes great by making speeches. Another becomes poor by drinking too much. One takes a copper from his maternal aunt and buys a kite. Another grabs it from him.

A man runs away. Another screws up his life. Another gets married. One man sleeps. Another dozes. Another talks and talks away time. One man’s crying makes you laugh; another’s laugh makes you cry. I can prove this with examples

And on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

Sir, when will this end?

Son, this is endless.

Sri Sri


Day 15 – A poem that describes you

I’m not as bad as the woman in the poem, but I’m a compulsive worrier.  I obsess over little things I have no control over and torment myself with it. Attractive, I know.

I’m a lot better now though (I think)

The Woman who Worries Herself to Death

She wasn’t robbed or raped or made a scapegoat of,

she didn’t take ill-fated flights on shaky planes and

no one splashed her house in paint. Kids with hoods

and sovereign rings and hates left her alone. That twinge

she sometimes felt was just a twinge. Her fillings didn’t

leak. At office dos she danced and no one laughed.

Her children didn’t have disorders, fail exams,

take smack. Her husband didn’t love his secretary

or get the sack. But, if you saw her fidgeting

towards the dawn, her breathing playing tricks,

a thousand what ifs snaking in a queue, you’d feel for her,

you’d wish she had something to pin her torment to.

Kathryn Simmonds


Day 11 and 12: Poetry Challenge

Day 11 – a poem from your favourite poet

I don’t have a favourite poet, but Atwood is definitely high on the list.


A Sad Child

You’re sad because you’re sad.
It’s psychic. It’s the age. It’s chemical.
Go see a shrink or take a pill,
or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll
you need to sleep.

Well, all children are sad
but some get over it.
Count your blessing. Better than that,
buy a hat. But a coat or pet.
Take up dancing to forget.

Forget what?
Your sadness, your shadow,
whatever it was that was done to you
the day of the lawn party
when you came inside flushed with the sun,
your mouth sulky with sugar,
in your new dress with the ribbon
and the ice-cream smear,
and said to yourself in the bathroom,

I am not the favourite child.

My darling, when it comes
right down to it
and the light fails and the fog rolls in
and you’re trapped in your overturned body
under a blanket or burning car,

and the red flame is seeping out of you
and igniting the tarmac beside your head
or else the floor, or else the pillow,
none of us is;
or else we all are.

Margaret Atwood


Day 12 – a poem you don’t understand a word of


I have no idea what this means. After a point, I think it’s safer not to try and decode Stevie Smith’s poetry.


Tenuous and Precarious


Tenuous and Precarious
Were my guardians,
Precarious and Tenuous,
Two Romans.

My father was Hazardous,
Dear old man,
Three Romans.

There was my brother Spurious,
Spurious Posthumous,
Spurious was Spurious,
Was four Romans.

My husband was Perfidious,
He was Perfidious
Five Romans.
Surreptitious, our son,
Was Surreptitious,
He was six Romans.

Our cat Tedious
Still lives,
Count not Tedious

My name is Finis,
Finis, Finis,
I am Finis,
Six, five, four, three, two,
One Roman,

Stevie Smith


Day 09 and 10: A poem that you want to read in bed to your lover and a poem that you wished your mother/father read to you

Day 9

Like everyone else, my first impulse was to run towards Neruda or Cummings, but this one’s so simple and well, somehow very apt. It’s not very sensual, there’s actually something wonderfully pure about it, which I love.


When did your name
change from a proper noun
to a charm?

Its three vowels
like jewels
on the thread of my breath.

Its consonants
brushing my mouth
like a kiss.

I love your name.
I say it again and again
in this summer rain.

I see it,
discreet in the alphabet,
like a wish.

I pray it
into the night
till its letters are light.

I hear your name
rhyming, rhyming,
rhyming with everything.

Carol Ann Duffy

Day 10

My parents never read any poetry to me and even if they did, I doubt I would have appreciated it as a kid. I came across multiple printouts of this in a desk in a random classroom at school and I’ve always wished I’d discovered this sooner. It’s considered hackneyed and is constantly quoted, but you can’t deny that Mr. Kipling gives some solid advice here.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

Rudyard Kipling 

Ps: Hands healing along nicely. Thank you for the comments, mails and well wishes. Totally feeling the love 🙂

Day 8: A poem that you know by heart

I’m horrible at memorizing stuff. I was every elocution teacher’s worst nightmare. I’d start off reciting a poem beautifully, then lose track a little before the end and then to top it all off, I’d make up my own lines as I went along.  My short-lived elocution stint even puts my brief fling with music lessons to shame (I still remember Mrs. N, my music teacher once groaning “Child! You’re playing the PIANO. You’re NOT thumping flour!” at me in abject despair)

So, there are very few poems I know, by heart. This is one of them. I really had no need to memorize it for academic purposes or anything. It’s one of those poems that grow on you over time, until you realize that you’ve committed it to memory unconsciously.

The best kind of poetry, really.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

Robert Frost

Ps: Also, this.  🙂

A Silly Poem

Said Hamlet to Ophelia,

I’ll draw a sketch of thee,

What kind of pencil shall I use?

2B or not 2B?

Spike Milligan

Day 6 and 7: A poem that reminds you of somewhere and a poem that reminds you of a certain event

I was a little stumped for this one. I waded through my collection and couldn’t come up with anything. Then I remembered that before I moved here, I stuffed a folder with certain poems and random scraps of paper in my suitcase and fished it out of my cupboard last night. I came across this poem by Connie Bensley and was immediately transported to school. Horrible white uniforms, hanging out by the canteen, lots of canteen food (we had the yummiest éclairs!), long telephone conversations and whispered discussions in class about our latest ‘infatuations’ (we called them ‘crushes’ back then. Tee hee. Do people still call it that?)

This was the stage where people our age had started going out and wow, there was enough drama in these relationships/crushes to fuel an 8 season long soap opera. Don’t judge us too harshly. We were ‘only teenagers’, after all. Plus, I think all of us go through this phase at some point of our lives.

To Those People I’ve Annoyed by My Infatuations

First there was the boy with the hamster
who blushed and became monosyllabic;

Then there was the music master
who ignored my notes;

was it the gynecologist next?
Such men cultivate deafness;

and what about the psephologist?
My predilections were strange in those days.

Finally, that Austrian with no chin and a bow tie
who moved out of the district

I’d like to apologize to you all
for the inconvenience caused

by my tears and sighs,
intrusion and lingering looks.

I am quite better now.

Connie Bensley


This one, I think is self-explanatory. The event it reminds me of is a little too personal to share and not my story to tell, but the poem in my opinion is one of Auden’s best. It’s simple but oh so very effective

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W. H. Auden

Ps: I’ve posted Connie Bensley’s poem once before as well. Her work is very, very readable.

Day 5: A poem which reminds you of someone

I’m going to cheat a bit on this one. I have two poems which remind me of two very different people and I couldn’t choose between both.


I want to be
so I can be
about being

What good is my
when I am
in this

– David Budbill


I’m Really Very Fond

I’m really very fond of you,

he said.

I don’t like fond.
It sounds like something
you would tell a dog.
Give me love,
or nothing.

Throw your fond in a pond,
I said.
But what I felt for him
was also warm, frisky,
and could swim away

if forced to do so.

— Alice Walker

Day 4: A poem that disturbs you

Had a tough time choosing this one. Maybe I don’t read enough dark poetry. Or maybe I’m just impervious to the underlying meanings and nuances in poems. Who knows? I think I tend to gravitate towards certain genres and as a result have a very one-sided collection of poetry.

This one.. unnerved me when I first read it. It still does sometimes. Also, am I the only one on this one?

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

— Philip Larkin