Prose Poetry by Anita Nahal (Life, Cognition and Creativity)

One with Nature?

I can paint you in stupendous words, verses and libretti. I can bestow lavish strokes on your surrealism. I can recreate your etherealism better in my imagination. But I can’t be you. Or be one with you. I can only seek you. Seek you in all your avatars. Seek you in cascading weeping elms veiling from a world that can be callous. Seek you in the subtlest of baby blues clutching close my innocence even in my silver years. Seek you in ardent scarlet hues still desiring passion till I am breathing.

I peek through angled branches of trees, curved stone boulders, through narrow or wide ridges between mountains and the round or imperfect hollows of tree trunks. These are your voluminous windows, doors, cracks, holes, paths, and flights carved by nature’s sculpturer. The one who resides in our beliefs. My beliefs are resilient and tenacious though I also trust atoms and science. I won’t question you. I won’t question you from where I came. I have my own opinions already pretty much formed like you have yours which you display ever so floutingly sitting cross legged on white feathery flying carpets having fresh grapes with angels serenading you. At least that is what the cinescreen propels. And since we haven’t been properly introduced, I’ll keep my distance gamboling and springing with the flora and fauna in tropical landscapes, or snowy picture perfects, or monsoon fresh mood lifters.

I mark my sojourns beyond your comforting arms with anticipation and trepidation. And like an inquisitive child I often seek trysts with destiny, hoping you’ll be an agreeable companion. They call you Mother Earth, but we are the mothers and fathers of you. You are our child to raise, to nurture, to mentor, to protect, to grow, to save so that in our rough times, you may see us through. Yet, our pettiness, small mindedness, gluttonous, insatiable need to destroy, alter and hoard your organisms, rages you, and you lash back with tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, mighty icebergs and hot winds. They say we are one with you. Close your eyes, take a deep pranic breath, meditate, and slide slowly into a lulling trance with you. It’s possible yet, it’s also a delusion. A delusion conjured by those who don’t even care for their own next generation. Sadly, we feel you, become one with you, intrinsically, when least expected or wanted…when you are burning, drowning, and gasping.

Avatars: Descendants of Gods in various forms
Pranic: From the word, Prana, which means life

Image: Converted f=to pencil drawing at, from a picture from the author’s personal collection


There’s a hole in my heart but my heart is not a hole… its whole


My head is lowered in prayer. I’m not defeated. Nor sad. Nor empty. There is a hole in my heart, but my heart is not a hole. It’s always whole like a warm, freshly made roti by my mom, just off the tava, in which she folded a spoon of solidified pure ghee which when melted she’d pour into the hot lentil curry in the stainless steel katori in my thali. Eat, she’d say, lovingly looking in to my eyes. That is what a whole is regardless of losses.

My heart is a whole like the bear hug of my son. He makes sure to pat my head as he remembers my telling him that I’d never had a grown up pat my head like that of a child’s. It will be okay he whispers looking protectively into my eyes. That is what a whole is regardless of losses.

Yes, my shoulders are slumped. What do you expect after years of hustling? And yes, my eyes are enervated. What do you expect after decades of  seeing life in all its vicissitudes? Still, they look and wait for the nascent dreams of youth skipping down the bend of neighborhood and faraway pardesi streets. And, still despite childhood scars and youth’s shattered hopes that encase like impenetrable armors, you can see straight, through and beyond into the clear skies. The clouds lifting like frothing, boiling milk letting tea leaves below be detectible.

If you put one finger on your happy ear you can still hear the birds flying, the rustling of the shrubberies, the gentle swaying of the twigs and boughs. You can still witness the rising of the bleak clouds and the ebbing of the pounding rains, or the gushes of dense winds walking away empty and grumpy after lashing against window panes or me, or you, or them.

The hole is empty, but my heart is filled by tiny nuances, gestures, winks, kisses, hugs, patting, and spoonfuls of sweet, sweet love from those who will always love me. Rest walk away with concentrated sadness sticking to their wagging, admonishing fingertips and pursed lips. Yes, my heart has a hole as wide as my entire torso with my stomach almost mushed up, crunched and forgotten, yet my heart is not a hole that you can pass through anytime. My heart is whole.


Roti: A flattened round bread made out of whole wheat flour, like a tortilla
Tava: A flat smooth griddle generally made of cast iron on which roti is made
Ghee: Pure butter, used for cooking or heated and put in food as a last minute taste enhancer
Katoris: A small stainless steel or glass/pottery serving bowl
Thali: A stainless steel plate
Pardesi: One who lives in a different city or country

Image: Pencil drawing of Melancolie, by Romanian artist Albert Gyorgy and displayed in a park alongside Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Converted at;



Anita Nahal, Ph.D., CDP is a poet, professor, short story writer, flash fictionist, children’s books author, and D&I consultant. Currently she teaches at the University of the District of Columbia, Washington DC. Besides academic publications, her creative books include, two volumes of poetry, a collection of flash fictions, three children’s books and an edited anthology of poetry. Her poems and stories can be found in national and international journals in the US, Uk, Asia and Australia. Nahal’s poems are also housed at Stanford University’s Digital Humanities initiative. She is also a columnist and guest contributing editor for New York based aaduna journal and is co-host of the monthly online creative series, Tan Doori Gup Shup. Nahal is the daughter of Indian novelist and professor, Late Dr. Chaman Nahal, and her mother, Late Dr. Sudarshna Nahal was also an educationist. Originally from New Delhi, India, Anita Nahal resides in the US. Her family include her son, daughter-in-law and their golden doodle. For more on Anita: 


No comments :

Post a Comment

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।