Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla: Poetry (Voices Within 2021)

Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla is a poet, translator and French teacher from Mumbai. Her poems are featured in the anthology ‘Modern English Poetry by Younger Indians’ by Sahitya Akademi, Red River Book of Haibun and ‘Open Your Eyes’. Her poem 'Anagram' won the 2013 Commendation Prize at 'The All India Poetry Competition'(New Delhi). She is the author of two poetry collections, ‘Invisible Eye’ and ‘The Empress’. ‘The Empress’ was Winner –II of the 2018 US National Poetry Contest by Ræd Leaf Foundation for Poetry & Allied Arts. Her poem won a special mention award by Architectural Journalism and Criticism 2020.

Astral encounters 
The sun devoured the Vatican sky relishing each bite of the luminous afternoon, in the waves two shadows embrace. ‘I bid you farewell, as I hold you in my soft womb, all beginnings have an end’ she said. The grief in death is salty like the choppy waters of the Tiber river. The eye of the storm spins its presence in an agitated cosmic dance, if only the Gods would favour them like a string of pearls they would live
‘Pick a card’ cajoles the tarot lady ‘It’s the lovers’ they part to meet again in another life.

In lieu of

‘Cut me your right thumb Ekalavya’ said the intelligent guru, Dronacharya he was quick to forecast what lay ahead for Prince Arjuna. The art of archery was rare and fit for the noble, could a simple hunter’s son learn this skill, how to raise the longbow and pull the arrow shooting at the desired aim? Like a lover’s first kiss uncertain, wet eager for more, a rainfall of dew on the petals of a saffron hibiscus flower that adorns the feet of the Elephant God, a dozen arrows holding up the mouth of a barking dog. For days the simple task of prayer before his Guru’s statue made of dust and devotion camouflages his mind with trust. The mind is human it can be fooled. Placebo effect is a walk in the rain on a bright sunny day. The archer is blind to the things around his arena deaf to the noises in his head, seeking only the eye of the fish. Focus on the lips my dear says a stubborn mind he’s determined to master the art of kissing. Maybe if he hadn’t idolized her, she would have stayed longer, how does one find someone who does not want to be found. Mourn your emptiness your mind purple, angst, hungry with anticipation as she walks away with your bleeding heart in her fist.


Sometimes I wait to stop and think of how it all started, staring at the Chinese red roses that break my thread of thinking. How does one bring closure to something that is so translucent something so sweet that you wonder when it turned to poison? Would the poison then taste of you, killing me softly? How often have we sensed the absence of a loved one, in the presence of our lives, is this what they call self-realization? Winter comes to me like the void I grow in the deepest corner of my soul seeping into our hands intertwined on that cold night you decided to leave. If I had known it would take two full moons to seek you, I would have walked the journey first and become the Bodhi Tree.
Winter is coming
the end of the beginning of the end
cycles of life

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