Madhu Sriwastav, INDIA


From womb to tomb
Woman you are wisp of air
Stifled in the womb unwanted
Born into a prison home
Your every move is restricted
Cut and clipped before you grow
Made into a bonsai so
To show off in the drawing room shelf
You may be muse of art and learning
Your name may bestow wealth on man
You may destroy all at will
You may equal a weaponed army
All this but on a pedestal
Break off your cast and behold!
You are in chains on mind and skin
You want to fly and go across
You are air, so be there
Fit in all, everywhere
You can’t move but can be trapped
Light your spark and then expand
Blow off all that holds you down
Shoot up with your force within
Woman you are air, life breath!


Thank you for all and everything
A constricted childhood
Fending for myself, learning to serve others.
Only respite in sisterhood
Books, music and drawing.
State of womankind around repulsed
The fire within raged strong.
Was scolded for studying
Not doing enough chores
Dusting, cleaning, cooking.
Scored more than my brother
No big deal indeed
Went on to study further.
Was dissuaded to score
Misguided, delayed by own
But managed to go further.
Studied with my heart in mouth
Chased by marriage monster
Flipped government job to all’s envy
Was trapped in marriage coop.
Situational schizophrenia seized me
Cooking, serving, working my way
Risking a tight rope life
Heart torn between child and mind
My creative self, buried alive.
My boat tossed to and fro
Broke off shore, found motion
Raging ahead on high low tide
My life touched new shores often
Through rain and sunshine it surged ahead
Making all kinds of adventures
A Ulysses reborn, now on my own
I hold the sails in the ocean of life
Thank you again for everything
You helped me find myself
Become what I am!


The smell of your body tantalizes me
Makes me look back on those lanes
Have long traversed
When you held me in your arms
The warmth of your hands secured my heart of its beat
Like a child I snuggled
Cosy and reclining
In a home and hearth
Which was not mine
Yet so endearing
As the horizon
Always afar, yet approaching
Keeping up ones quest,
Compelling to give up rest
To reach, to explore
Yet never to achieve
To know all and achieve all
Destroys the charm of a thing
Like an orange squeezed out
Leaving bitterness to the rind.

Loving embrace, leads to embracing anger, abuse, cruelty
Human nature is strange
Difficult to comprehend
The one that loves
The one that embraces
The one that hurts
The one that makes you cry
All are one, like the
Sky which holds the
Bright sun, the dark night
The glittering stars
And the pale moon
Nature thou art a reflection of thy self
Take me in thy embrace
And teach me to be
One with the sky, the seas
The rivers, mountains and the vales
In your embrace!

Madhu Sriwastav is an Assistant Professor in English at Bamanpukur Humayun Kabir Mahavidyalaya, Bamanpukur under West Bengal State University. She has written and published several academic papers. She has written and published short stories, poems; translated and published short stories from Bengali and Hindi into English. She has also written short plays, directed and also performed in them. Her students have also been awarded for outstanding performance in her plays. She also takes part in poetry and storytelling performances. Woman issues are close to her heart and she responds to their cause creatively and academically.


  1. Wow l loved your poetry thank you I found myself reflecting and visualising that everything has been said and done we are all nothing but Nature's breed.

    1. Thanks for your appreciation and observations


We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।