Sunday, 30 October 2016

Happy Diwali 2016!


My Goddess will not stoop to count
the flames in a courtyard,
Her footprints are more likely found
where lives are dark and hard.

She’ll care nothing for creed and caste,
for spotless floors and plates,
She’ll find the orphaned child, unwashed,
far from the temple gates.

She’ll spurn the white of rice designs,
the richness of symbols,
She’ll be with the refugees crying
in dismantled jungles.


I’m ready now – I’ve rebelled often,
to light my lamps in clay,
to roll my wicks from old cotton,
put ceremony away.

I’m standing here to welcome in
the dark as well as light,
the protocols and discipline
accepting moonless nights.

Whatever walks in at my door
will find a home in mine -
the silver fruits of moonlight, or
the darkness of starshine.

Double helpings today because today is Diwali!  Or Deepavali to give it its full name, the autumn festival of lights in India, where we celebrate the victory of good over evil as symbolised by light and dark. As a poet though, I vaguely resent the equating of dark with evil and ignorance and ungodly, heck, I like darkness, it's restful, it's usually a good contrast, and it does a way better job hiding the wrinkles! Actually, too much light blinds as effectively as darkness.

I also feel absurdly pleased when festivals coincide with the weekly blogging schedule, is that crazy or what?! 

A very happy Diwali to you if you are celebrating, and happy autumn/ spring/transitions if you are not!


  1. A very happy Diwali to you. Love your goddess. And wish all deities were as compassionate.
    And yes, to the cosiness of the dark. A necessary contrast.

    1. Thank you, EC! I probably like it because it's an excuse to be idle :) Have a lovely Sunday!

  2. Happy Diwali or Deepavali, Nila! Please be as idle as you like--sounds dreamy!

    Enjoy Sunday!

    Denise :-)

    1. Thanks Denise! Pure idleness is the stuff of dreams... :)

  3. Hi Nila - Happy Diwali or Deepavali ... I love the idea of candles in courtyards ... taking us to the peace of darkness, or lighting us towards the new day ...

    Light v Dark - is just that ... nothing to be added to ... no creepy thoughts ... cheers and enjoy your rest day - and then the transition ... Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary and many thanks. Candles and oil lamps are amazing, beat electric lights any day imo. This time Diwali kind of coincides with Halloween - some amount of fun creepiness permitted :)

  4. God always seeks out those in need, no matter where they are.
    Happy Diwali! Must be beautiful with all of those lights.

  5. Happy Diwali and I like your collision or collusion of dark and light. Your poems always light a candle.

  6. Happy Diwali
    This is so clever and well thought out.

  7. Happy Diwali, Nilanjana.

    I love India and hope to visit one day. At my age, that hope is quite far away. We have a lot of people from India that come to live in the United States.

    Your poem is oh so good. I also like your attitude about the dark. I live in the country and I turn all the lights out at night. Of course moonlight can be quite bright.

    1. Thank you! Indeed US has a huge diasporic Indian population, I have close family members and many friends settled there :)
      I too turn out all lights at night, Diwali or no :) Leaving naked flames on while no-one is attending is an invitation to disaster...sadly Diwali is also a rather accident-prone festival due to the oil lamps and fireworks...

  8. Happy Diwali to you too! I loved this poem and your fierce goddess.

    1. Thanks Susan! Indeed the deity worshipped on Diwali in my hometown is the fiercest of them all.

  9. Happy Diwali, Nilanjana. Loved the poem.


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