Sunday, 6 June 2021

Nesting and de-nesting


A pair of doves has come to nest across

my window as I uproot my home here;

they’re building up theirs twig by twig by twig

as I find ways to optimise my loss.

Not just me though who’s moving out this year –

so many are – for reasons small or big.

As I move out, the doves are moving in.


As we move out, the birds, the beasts, the bugs

can breathe a little easy, find some room;

reclaim a bit of space for themselves

as we wrap up the picture frames and rugs.

The world, I believe, abhors a vacuum

on every level - floors and ledges and shelves,

and as we end our stint, the doves begin.


I will not see those fledgelings grow and fly –

these are my last few weekends behind these walls

these windows looking out on raffia palms

their spikes tethering a truncated sky

flailing between new towers and nightfalls.

I’ve wished myself elsewhere often, for the charms

of the sunset splashed vastness of a river.


But now the certain knowledge of leave taking

crumbs the whole with a patina, a glaze

of yearning for a few days beyond the date -

just to catch the doves finish what they’re making

to witness the mother raise what she lays.

But we always leave too early or too late -

our timings always off by a sliver.



We witness neither the new life come in nor

can hold the hands of dear ones that depart,

we’re pinned to our places in the world

by pathways, pandemics or proxy war,

mere spectators as nests empty or start - 

some lives undone as new ones are unfurled

somewhere behind us helpless, beyond our range.


The doves meanwhile - she sits quiet through the days,

her nest on the ledge is not too impressive -

just a loose mass, a crude bed of twigs and straw;

her partner comes and goes, he rarely stays;

they too are pinned in place, made as submissive

as we are but without our perverse flaw

of constantly chafing at, yet wishing, change.

Thank you for your patience if you've read till the end. I don't normally put up three part poems, stick to one part here, but this felt incomplete after I put in just part one.  Appreciate your feedback on the effectiveness of keeping to one or the whole, what works better for you? 

And a special thanks to Ramblin' with AM who shared last week's poem. Always great to get that endorsement and a leg up! Especially since I am not on Twitter. 

Have a peaceful and fun week. 


  1. Hari OM
    I love the whole, Nila - yes each stands alone, but the entire gives the complete view. Greater than sum of the parts, shall we say? YAM xx

    1. Nice way of putting it :) glad you enjoyed reading.

  2. I love the three parts, all together ;)
    Lovely poem

  3. The whole. Definitely greater than the parts. And thank you.

    1. Thank you always EC - for the feedback, support and encouragement.

  4. You express yourself so well. It was a pleasure to read. I love your work. I get lost in your writing. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You totally brightened my day with that compliment! Thank you.

  5. Pinned to our places in the world - sadly that is so true.

    1. Yeah, sometimes we end up pinning ourselves in place and sometimes the circumstances do.. either way, it's not a good thing..

  6. This was so beautiful. If I didn't know some of what inspired this poem, I might have suggested just the first part. Knowing some of what inspired this, I'd say the whole works also. In other words, either way works in its own way.

    1. Agree that a knowledge of the context always deepens the reading perspective. Appreciate your view. Thanks, Alana.

  7. I didn't think it was too long. It all went together and flowed.

    1. Thank you, Kristin. I do prefer to keep the poems brief, but sometimes they get out of control... :)

  8. the whole absolutely works. And yes - a foot on both sides - yearn to move on and change, and yet, stick with the familiar - that's comforting too.
    I hate to say it, but dove nests are a mess - with your longer poem, I kept waiting for the full collapse of the dove nest and to learn that they moved on. Almost a signal for you to go ahead and fly the coop. A blessing of sorts.
    Take care, my friend

    1. Doves and pigeons make a right mess, my mum used to get really upset cleaning up after them. They had their skylights sealed off with mesh to help with that...

      This one here is not really much of a nest :) The mother started on a Tuesday and I watched her from my kitchen window (the glass is filmed so she can't see in) but the next day she wasn't there in the morning, so I thought gosh she's abandoned the nest! because of me! such hubris :) Thankfully, she's back there and probably has eggs because she's not budging at all... every year there is a nest somewhere in the smaller windows of the building as their lower panes are fixed. But this year it feels imbued with a special significance somehow. Too much happening to take nesting for granted I guess...doves nesting are considered a good omen by some communities.
      I'm glad the whole worked for you - thank you for the detailed feedback. Take care, stay well and have a great week.

  9. I know sometimes less is more, and writers tend to show such a prowess where the whole story is narrated without even mentioning the direct related words. And the world goes gaga over it that how in the most'unsaid' part, there are hundreds of thoughts and snippets of the story embedded deep inside the layers. But honestly, nothing can beat free verses and long long poem. The chain of thoughts can create beauty out of blankness. And I loved, how efficiently you've done that.
    You talked about leaving..I don't know if it's figurative or you're actually shifting to new place but whatever it is, I wish you do it happily. Leaving is an emotional process, from home to hostel, hostel to home,or home to a new city. The doves too are frequent travellers

    1. Thanks, Bhavana. I do move frequently, though not as often as the doves :)
      I'm fine with reading long poems, who doesn't love the Ancient Mariner? I write long ones too, sometimes...but mostly don't put them up here in their entirety as I feel too long poems in a blog tend to put people off. Poetry itself is a niche readership and on top of that online reading is very different from print reading. Most readers don't have the time to read through a 3000 word blogpost, so it makes sense for me to keep it a manageable length.

  10. Dear Nila - so late to the party ... I expect the doves will have fledged and the nest area will almost be ready for next year. It seems amazing that you too have shed the shores and moved back to earlier days. I can hear the longing in your words to have been able to stay a little longer ...

    I know it's been tough and must still be ... it doesn't seem at all easy in your homeland. With thoughts - but I too enjoyed all three verses ... they complete a picture ... take care - Hilary