I have asked myself what insights and solace can poems offer us during this time of fear and contemplation, self-isolation and silence. Such thoughts pre-occupy me as I go for my daily ramble amongst the bramble and other such fauna. We are among the lucky ones who live in the leafy suburbs and picturesque South West with plenty of room for strolling around the neighbourhood, and within a few miles of the South West Coastal paths and the Moors and surrounded by so much natural beauty and an abundance of walkways. It will take more than a few lockdowns to explore them all.
Simon Armitage, the UK’s poet laureate has written about the consoling power of the art form in times of crisis because it “asks us just to focus, and think, and be contemplative”. His poem Lockdown recalls the outbreak of the bubonic plague in Eyam in the 17th century when a bale of cloth wrought havoc when it brought fleas carrying the plague to Derbyshire. He refers to the epic poem Meghadūta by the Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa, and captures how an exile sends reassuring words to his wife in the Himalayas via a passing cloud.
On a similar note, I am reminded of creative exuberance and skills revealed by budding writers-poets in our community who took part in the Talent Competition last year focusing on the Covid theme. We plan to share excerpts of shortlisted entries over the new few months with our members. We are sharing 3 such entries this month.
Charu Sharma in her evocative poem A Dazzling Piñata With a Ray of Hope used the Haiku style to great acumen
Corona, an invisible greedy eagle, swooping down to hurt its prey
A booming cannonball yearning to explode with illness
A shooting star that fails to grant people’s wishes
A balloon bursting everyone’s happiness
A rising sun, seeking to evaporate the dark clouds
A dazzling piñata to burst with a ray of hope
We shall all fight this together
Soon, the menacing dragon will vanish off the globe
We have to be patientCharu Sharma (U13)
Do your part and help in allowing this pandemic to end swiftly
Corona is just an infection and won’t last much longer
But certainly will create a story to remember forever
Anvi Purayil penned the Ghost Town, truly portraying fear and emotions of what is happening and has expressively and imaginatively used the epic format to her credit.
The bustling city streets are now quietened, the railways muted and now the loudest noises are the hushed whispering of the trees telling secrets to one another.Anvi Purayil (U16)
Families imprisoned in rows of the same houses. Even windows can’t show you what’s going on inside. Fear, loss and pain surrounding what used to be a city, region, nation – world.
Suppressed and silenced the world is a ghost town.
What a graphic and true exposition of the deep isolation and the many-hued silence that has come to prevail in our communities haunted by death and Covid 19. She goes on to express hope with new beginnings in sun and light-filled world.
After a cold harsh storm, the skies will clear the rain will stop to a drizzle and the sun will always come out stronger, better and, with a rainbow.Anvi Purayil
Adit Sobti penned down his A Ray of Hope! which goes through the gamut of emotions accompanying the pre-, during- and post-crisis phases. The poem strikes a poignant and sombre note with a child in a family who is caught up in the throes of the pandemic and with hope awaits its passing into joyful dawn.
The children had time with friends,
They loved lying in bed!
Mother and father don’t worry about things,
There was too much good everywhere!
Now, mother is ill,
Children try to manage dirty washing.
Strange things worries us tonight,
We believe soon its stop!
Wish medicine could do us good;Adit Sobti (U10)
Possibly, throwing enormous worry off soapy-water.
How pleased to see that night had finished,
Lovely faces shone with joy!
Dr Smita Tripathi