Poetry: Rachna Joshi

Rachna Joshi
Kumaoni Women


Three generations of Kumaoni women,

Nani, Amma and I,

Our tragedies and our triumphs.

From feudal grandmother

Deseeding melons and laying them in the sun to dry.

To modern mother

To our bindaas generation.


Education, marriage and career

Earlier was decided by the parents.

Now we make our choices.


I will make Chinese food for all of you.

Amma going as I kissed her on the cheek,

Baby’s breath.


Harsringar, tree of sadness

Followed by Mimosa, tree of happiness.






Wildcatters hunt for oil

In Calgary, Alberta.

Hobos line the streets

on the far side of town.

Amoco, Mobil and Shell

Converge in Downtown.


Processing and Interpretation

And Research.

Exploration and Geophysics.

Oil boom and bust.


While students protest

To divest in South Africa

On behalf of the disempowered.




Life in Corona


Not a bird in the trees

Not a soul in sight.

We walk covered with masks

And stoles

To the provision stores

And the gate.


Life in the time of Corona

Life in the time of the virus,

Death and disease

Domestic issues and joblessness.

Above the ordering of food and counting of bills

And stocking of provisions

There has to be something higher.

Still the human spirit

Rises above the mundane.




Bio: Rachna Joshi is a poet and reviewer who has lived in North America and India. She has written four collections of poems: Configurations (Rupa & Co., 1993); Crossing the Vaitarani (Writer’s Workshop, 2008); Travel Tapestry (Yatra Books, 2013); and Monsoon and Other Poems (Tethys, 2020). She works as Senior Assistant Editor at the India International Centre, New Delhi.

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