Sunday, 27 October 2019

Diwali 2019

A lamp my son painted many years ago which is lit every Diwali since.

My moon is rising somewhere far from me.
All nights are moonless darkness over here
and not one lamp in brass or clay's ready
to take on its obligations this year.

Phases, waxing, waning, it's all the same -
the days weave into nights, nights into days,
the wicks are peeved and won't take on a flame
and neither be ordered into arrays.

Without my moon what do I celebrate, 
what occasions on the calendars to mark?
and how to observe rituals of this date
with lamps that are hellbent on being dark?

Teardrop shaped darkness instead of light;
empty clay; and rebel wicks in white.

Strange sort of Diwali this year. On the one hand, everyday  I celebrate the son who's gone off to uni. But on the other, there's no reason to celebrate Diwali with a gazillion lamps and the usual paraphernalia. A single lamp and a darkened house feels appropriate. And celebration enough. 

Happy Diwali to you! 

And happy autumn! to you, if you're not celebrating this specific festival.


  1. Happy Diwali!
    Such an unusual looking candle. Can you post a picture of it during the day?
    Sometimes, more is less - one candle sounds good.

    1. Thank you, Alex.

      It's a traditional Indian terracotta lamp, small bowl with the lip pulled into just a hint of a spout where the wick rests and burns. Called a 'deep' in most Indian languages, 'deep' + 'avali' which means rows= Deepavali. That's the formal name of the festival from which Diwali, the colloquial version, is condensed.

  2. A very happy Diwali to you.
    Love the light which shines (even in your empty nest). And ached with your poem.

  3. Hari OM
    Diwali is there to remove the darkness for us, Nila - defy that feeling, set all the diyas ablaze and show that you shine in your own right!!! Though I quite understand it feels a little empty for you... conversely, I am for the first time since returning to Scotland, celebrating by cooking a feast for family. They have no idea what's going on really, but it's fun to be preparing all these foods! Sending Love and Pranaams, YAM xx

    1. Thank you, Yamini. Hope you had a great time with family! I'm learning that the glass is always filled even when the nest is empty. It's a lesson that takes time to sink in. Love and namaskars to you too.

  4. Happy Diwali to you. And hopefully your son and friends at university have lit a lamp or two and reflect on past Diwalis. Boys are not sentimental creatures..but I bet he had a fleeting thought and maybe called home. Take care and bask in some autumn glow.

    1. Thanks Joanne!

      Yeah, boys don't do sentiment. But we are in touch, speak and text often. Thank goodness for technology!

      Autumn is really my absolute favourite season.

  5. Teardrop shaped it. Glad you had your Diwali celebrations, Nila. You must have missed your son. Probably the first time you've been parted for this celebration. Feel for you. Hope he's doing well in the US.

    1. Thanks Denise. He's doing okay, so am I, but ya, festival days are hard to get through without all the family members in the house. C'est la vie! :)

  6. Hi Nila - so glad to read your soon is happy and that you're all coping re the separation ... we need lots of Diwali thoughts now - I'm not really catching up - just having a break ... but life is troubling in so many way - guess must concentrate on the personal, which is fine - not staggering ... but alive and kicking and well - cheers Hilary