Madhumathy R: Poetry (Voices Within 2021)

Madhumathy R is a former Professor of English with a doctoral degree in African Literature, I hail from the State of Kerala, India. I have a penchant for literature, both reading and writing. I have been publishing poems for the past few decades and my poems have appeared in Festschrift, journals and national dailies. Many of my poems have figured in the ‘Highly Commented Poems’ category at Destiny Poets, UK. I have been included in the ‘Hall of Honour’ list for the year 2020. Recently, my poem was adjudged as the ICOP ‘poem of the month’ for December 2020. 


Aham Brahmasmi

I could see them everyday.
Grey pigeons with stripes at the tail end,
sit in a row on the roof top of
the dilapidated temple gate house,
like grey socks drying out in the sun.
The dovecote is a relic of the past.
A forgotten tale it stokes memory
to the sepia world of princely states.
Carvings on the aged ceiling
flaunt lost glory of past heritage.
Ensconced inside the antique shrine
the deity sits silently, like dove
inside a snow white orchid.
I stand outside, hands folded.
Slowly, the quagmire of skepticism 
bogs me down, its lotus roots
pull me down to unfathomed depths.
Blowing wind chants devotional hymns.
The heart-shaped leaves of the banyan tree
sway in a trance, repeating mantras.
The woman in me asks: 
Why do Gods shun women when
biological clock ticks periodically?
The sacrosanct deity smiles….
I decipher the occult smile.
Gods live in pristine precincts,
away from dirt, spit and blood.
Did I hear a voice say - 
painfully bleeding doubts,
please stay away! 
***


Black and White Memory

From black and white photograph
through the peepholes of great-grandma’s
‘U’ shaped ear lobes, I take a U turn
to the native village, rich with green 
pastures, away from tarmac-laden cities.
Summer holidays came trotting
to our doorsteps, wafting fragrance
of ripe mangoes, to wean us away.
Grandma’s waiting arms wrapped
us round in a cocoon of warmth.
Running wild, the wind shook
the spreading foliage and many
leaves of city-bred inhibitions.
Great-grandmother’s wooden coat
hung on iron hinges and creaked.
Chanting under her breath,
with outstretched limbs,
she often opened her antique 
chest of untold stories.
A little squirrel with ashen lines
on arms and chest and all over
sagging boobs silky soft as downy fur.
Today she makes us touch 
the distant past, dipping ourselves
in a mickle of wet memory. 
***


Beginning 2021

Yesterday’s neatly distanced
from tomorrows, we begin
our journey afresh every
New Year.
Our knapsacks bulge with
broken resolutions.
A mother’s grief drenches all ‘isms’.
Her bereaved looks
assail my being.
Farmer’s grievances solidify
wintry nights in Delhi.
Campfires singe their
green thumbs, yet renewed
vigour kindles their spirit.
Vaccines arrive in
savior garbs, still
screeching horns of 
speeding ambulances
rend the air.
Theatres open and 
movie buffs throng
elbowing their way.
Vociferous anchors
on news channels,
skin alive masquerading 
corruption without masks.
Online greetings and 
virtual hugs shower
blessings for ‘Lohri’, ‘Pongal’
and ‘Makarajyothi’.
Decked for the occasion
New Year sports ever new looks
and stands akimbo.

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