Sunday, 11 September 2016

Shades of Orange As They Came Apart



I didn’t notice things – the colours of lipstick
for instance - she wore a shade between peach and brick;
dotted in her scarves too, the whole range of  orange
woven in her skirts and art, and in her magic.

She wore the deepest henna, that burnt tangerine
between her fingers, on her knuckles; dark, crushed green
staining her palms pumpkin-warm, climbing vines, blossoms
on her pulse in light apricot, and nectarine.

She fed me ripe oranges, taking them apart
tenderly in her palms, like segments of my heart;
she prised my world, eternity and each minute
wide open with her hands. The taste of that tart

sweetness remained, each segment a sunrise transferred
from her lifeline to mine. The fragrance remembered
as first sunlight flames on water.  The formless gains
shape as darkness ebbs. Undying preciousness, coloured.

In her rooms the walls are orange blossom, rugs gray
rainclouds, an ancient magazine and the doorway
fall open like her hands.  I shut my eyes, notice
the shades of orange in rust and dust, mild decay.




This is the final version of a poem I created for one of the prompts during the MOOC I did over July-August.  (Did I tell you there's talk of an anthology being compiled with some of the works that were created there? Watch this space)

The assignment was themed on Elegy and Memorial.  I thought I'd post it here today with thoughts for the families who have lost loved ones to terrorism in all the places that touch my heart, and life. 


The season's changing out here where I am, though the temperatures remain high, they are slowly softening. Much of this region of course has two seasons - hot and less hot, but my brain and body are still attuned to the Indian six. There's a cleaning up of the skies back home about now, lots of fluffy clouds chasing off the heavy dark monsoon ones, the festival season starts in less than a month.  It's a particularly beautiful time of the year.  'Sharat' we call it in Bengali, there is no English counterpart available, it's not autumn yet, a pre- or proto-autumn is more like it.

Here too, the plants which had been singed to cinders during the summer, are greening back to normal.  Flowers have their happy faces on, the leaves are plumping up.  I have been writing more, learning more, blogging a little less than usual, but the blog's going to green itself back to normal as well. Things are changing outside and inside. My year so far feels like an adventure and a gigantic blessing, which I suppose are synonyms really. 

I hope your year, and month, is going well too.





30 comments:

  1. Sad but beautiful.
    I think we call that an Indian Summer.

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    1. I like that! :) Wonder what the etymology for Indian summer is?

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  2. Haunting poem with an orange tang. Very nice

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    1. Pangs are no good without a tang :) thanks

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  3. What a journey. Elegance in sadness

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  4. Beautiful. So very beautiful. Memories to hug to oneself.
    Thank you.

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    1. There are so many little things one remembers once a person has moved out of one's life (not necessarily through death) that one never noticed when they were around...thanks EC

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  5. Lovely writing, Nila. It tugged at my heart strings. Look forward to hearing about the anthology. Wishing you a lovely week.

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    1. You have a lovely week too..Thanks for reading

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  6. Nila, this is hauntingly beautiful. I hope it turns up in that anthology! 'Hot and less hot.' Ha. Sounds like Australia. I think winter came, but I don't remember it. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Denise. This isn't part of the anthology, a couple others, probably as melancholy as this one :) Australia sounds like a place I'd feel right at home in :)

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  7. You have an amazing way with words.

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    1. Does that apply to the poetry or prose? :) Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. I was referring to the poetry, but both would apply!

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    3. Thank you! That totally makes my day!

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  8. This is incredibly beautiful and well crafted Nilanjana. It was very touching. I could visualize my grandmother with it.

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    1. That is really the best praise you could give a poem, I am so moved, and glad it reminded you of a loved one. Thank you!

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  9. Beautiful poem, I could feel the change as I read. 9/11 was a day that affected so many.

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    1. Yes, indeed, far too many. It was one of those days that slices history into before and after..

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  10. Beautiful words that traverse a range of orange shades/flavors/moments...
    Haunting too.

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  11. I would love to see this one published in an anthology. It's absolutely beautiful!

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  12. Hi Nila - I did love this ... so descriptive - full of fire, hot spicy colours and thoughts ... but those dark days when life just grabs us - the shadow times.

    An anthology sounds a brilliant idea ... let's hope so ... cheers Hilary

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  13. Somehow this was so sad and yet so beautiful. You brought alive the fragrance of orange blossoms and tangy tarts! A confused weather we are having right now, rains still hanging around, heat begun....but who cares, the festival season has begun!

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  14. Always worth keeping aside some spicy colours for the shadow times! @Hilary

    Happy festivals to you Kala! Thanks for coming over...

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  15. This was an interesting way to convey your sentiments. Things have cooled down for a couple of days in L.A., but I'm sure we'll see a warming return.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  16. Just beautiful, Nilanjana, just so beautifully written. You have a gift!

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  17. Thank you for stopping by @ Lee n Cyrus

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