Vandita Dharni: Poetry (Voices Within 2021)

Vandita Dharni is an acclaimed poet, scholar and gold-medalist from the University of Allahabad. She has a Ph.D. degree in American Literature. She has authored three anthologies, Quintessential Outpourings, The Oyster of Love and Rippling Overtures. Her articles, poems and stories have been published in journals like Criterion, Setu, Borderless journal, Ruminations, GNOSIS, Hell Bound Publishing House and International magazines like Immagine and Poessia, Synchronised Chaos, Silver Birch Press, Inner Child Press, Raven Cage E-zine, Sipay, Fasihi and Guido Gozzano. She is also the proud recipient of the World Poetic Star Award 2019 and the Rabindranath Tagore Award 2020.



 The Clairvoyant’s Cigar


 In forbidding circles,

 night treads on clouds of smoke

 convulsively flickering in a candle’s flame.

 Hollow voices ricochet near fjords

 Life’s sojourn aching to a close

 in Cannabis moments vapourized.


 Lost in the crepuscule haze of solitude,

 a broken winged butterfly

 flutters its paper wings-

 life’s breath, one deceitful breath

 enshrouded by the hostile mist- dark

 on a suffocatingly treacherous night.



 the clairvoyant vapes

 predicting the highs and lows,

 now sunk in the residue of waxen stubs-

 false promises he spouts to himself,

 snuffed out by his voodoo chants-

 “Husshhh!” I see frail fingers resting

 replicating burnt out cigar ends

 imprinting crimson on jaded greenbacks.


 A night drunk in marijuana haze

 Life swims full circle. “Hush!”



 A New Identity


 I transcend binaries- real and acquired

 Clutching hemispheres of creeds

 in granular sediments ensconced.

 My apprehensions wrapped in an orhni

 reflect the myriad hues in my eyes,

 hope braided along the nape of my neck

 and tattooed in my veins.

 Fingers morph into numerals

 unconstrained by ethnocentrism

 nor sealed in equations of identity.

 Petals of my being burnished by an alien sun

 on a distant landscape. I introspect, ‘Is this me?’

 A myriad shlokas echo my unified sensibilities

 congregating into memories, both native and alien

 and as I assimilate the identities- they merge into one

 A sentinel lamppost squints

 blinding those numbers away

 Leaving me at the confluence

 of a new culture poised at the threshold.

 I scratch the parenthesis off the slate

 blurring my apprehensions etched beneath

 Those fated numbers dauntless again

 dew drops scratching my windowpane,

 hexagonal patterns of a hybrid consciousness

 blurred in the hologram of my mind.


 Those caterpillar lines on streets paved with snow

 carry me into backwaters of my past, I grow

 no longer constrained in a sufi’s chant

 nor complacent in the dust of my ancestral legacy

 A new identity stitches me into the folds of its skin,

 I feel the rush of humanity that comforts me

 in its warm embrace, divorced from the din.




 An Autumnal Night


 Cardamom lids dim their shutters

 as another day hems to a close- gently, purposefully

 in the echoing strains of a songbird.

 Its trill sits upon the twilight haze

 in the breath rasping in my chest

 or the warm mercurial drops of solitude

 that drench tarantula thoughts.

 Muddled, befuddled in an hourglass

 a fire dies in the throbbing

 of an autumnal night, still suckling

 on maple leaves with withered breasts

 Bleeding its woes red into gravitational allegiance

 Hastening infringements to retract

 the moon’s repressive act

 of waxing to a fulness

 or imprinting footsteps of a hostile winter

 that treads on dampened dreams,

 Stifled in nets of a forgotten tide-

 the tide that only returns its dead

 to a watery bedrock of algae,

 in dreadful bronze, coal and pewter grey.


 The sea is their abode for dreams,

 a womb birthing stillborn foetuses

 aborted in rivers – bleeding, breathing

 While the sun filters through lids

 rock cold in comatose, it glimmers

 covered in the shroud of a misnomer

 stretching, straining to resurface.



 The Weeds

 (In Memory of Edgar Allen Poe 1809-1849)


 Into corners, I entrust weeds entangled

 in what lies within and without

 in the sifting and incipient drifting-

 the debris of a withered life,

 Compressed in pages of poesy

 dog earing his past, blighted

 bursting open- a montage of images

 desecrating the lattice of his overgrown solace.


 Here, rests the shovel

 snipping Spear thistles unwarranted

 those that germinated into cycles of deceit

 glowering at their rival’s defeat.

 The fire of Prometheus seething in Rufus’ eyes

 blinking through dank tunnels

 where Oizys held sway

 Strife slithering through insalubrious pockets

 drenched in sweat and alcohol

 a containment zone of mortified fears.


 Whose life I contemplate?

 I look at the pauper’s grave-

 My nascent tears nestle there

 and in those dog-eared pages demystified

 I see myself, a part of me dead.


 Then and now, the time he lived

 I thrust the obituary ruthlessly bold

 thriving on Rufus’ weeds of acrimony

 as Edgar’s blue veins run ice cold.


  1. Vandita Dharni, your poems are fantastic as always. You are indeed a great poet and writer, I loved each poem, and cannot decide which is better. Hearty Congratulations



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