Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Anything hollow

Flames are rarely flame-shaped; winds put them out
or stretch them into long licks of tongues, rude
and pert; squash them with fear; force them to brood
crouched low, trembling under stars. Slap them about,
make them gulp. Fluttering hearts against mouths
of open darkness. Coerce servitude
as they want – wilful, arbitrary.  Skewed
and sharp gusts brushing past from north to south.


So, I never see the tents come alight
with the right tear-drop flames, row after row;
there is nothing to see, hardly a spark
to my festivity; sit content, quiet;
my lamp too is no lamp, but anything hollow
filled with oil and a wick burns in the dark.

It is Diwali night.  Back in India, my hometown and every home would be draped in lights, sparkling with fireworks and noisy with loud crackers and hissing rockets, quite deafening.  I am in a different place, and here it's impossible to light the traditional oil-lamps, even if I had them as it is too windy for unprotected flames.  So my Diwali consists of a single brass lamp lit inside my room, and silence, and peace and poetry. And that feels uncommonly good and right. Happy Diwali to you if you're celebrating.

Shared at OpenLinkNight@dVerse


  1. coerced servitude...i think it a mistake to think we ever really control the flame...cool play in the first....the second though takes it for me...i think there a nice allusion in 'anything hollow'

    1. no indeed we don't! but endless aspirations of control freakery :) thanks for reading and the feedback

  2. fixed your link...it was going to your post from last week....

    1. Thank you! didn't realise my link was malfunctioning..

  3. I absolutely love this - Happy Diwali!

  4. i too like the allusion to anything hollow that can serve as a lamp...goes so much beyond the physical as well.. Happy Diwali to you nilanjana

  5. Love how you have described the flame, especially enjoyed that first stanza...wonderfully done.


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