CURATOR’S BRIEF -This Poet is from India .She is Superb and her lyrical dexterity is crème –dela crème. Her poems are gorgeous like the moon winking behind the veils of fluffy, smoky white drizzle clouds. Her versification is extraordinaire. Brave Voices , Solidarity Voices ,Poets , Supporters and all Literary Activists meet SMEETHA BHOUMIK, a versatile words linger and amazing versifier from India . Aluta Continua !
BLURB FOR T IN HER OWN WORDS
“I am a poet, artist, dreamer, wanderer who has found a lasting home in poetry, because it is the inner sanctum sanctotum where all answers reside. If you’ve come to it the right way, been happy to lose much that you held dear, also lost much of your fears, then poetry opens up like an ocean giving up its secrets to you. I have been happily lost and stumbling for long, and poetry now holds me close. (Touch wood , knock on my forehead 😊).
To a woman in a patriarchal society, poetry is especially relevant, because it gives voice. It’s a very empowering feeling to have, and nothing comes close to it. Women Empowered-India (WE) is founded on this belief – the transcendental magical powers of poetry to bring about change in creative ways. It believes in the inherent sense of empowerment and justice that resides in every person.
I have grown up with poetry as a background motif in an environment of science and engineering in a Bengali household. So its aesthetics have been with me all along, though I took up writing much later. It was as if I had written it all my life, it just flowed.
Platforms like the Global Poetry Writing Month (GloPoWriMo) and NaPoWriMo are very precious to a poet, because of the sense of community and writing in unison that they offer. Writing to daily new prompts is a challenge in itself, and a very exciting one; I say this because I have seen absolutely unexpected beautiful verse emerge out of my pen (or mouse), ones I never considered myself capable of writing ! New forms, new themes, new expression. …There’s a whole new world opening up out there, with all the things left unsaid in your heart, now pouring in verse…. the feeling is one of ecstasy.
These platforms open up new ways of thinking. Also, one is writing everyday, so one has lots of beautiful new work within a short period and the opportunity to learn new forms of poetry. My favourite now is the difficult, complex ‘Sestina’ form and I just love it.
I have presented here poems written in response to prompts received at the GloPoWriMo 2017, 2018. (Except one). You’ll be happy to know that I have consistently been the first to post the poem for the day and also the only one to have responded to all prompts. (‘Words, Gods’ in response to a prompt asking for twenty very difficult words in the poem is the only one written that day in both parts)”.
Day 24. Poem on the Scent of a Place. #GloPoWriMo 2017
Sounds are concentric circles of light that expand
upwards through the sky, forming worlds – one’s
own, set in the seven heavens, set in musical notes,
set in a magical place – called home. Sounds have
fragrance too. And home is not really home forever,
but a paradise you pass briefly through. But sounds,
sounds stay on forever, sounds can truly be home!
Their fragrance is effervescent, euphoric spilling forth
the scent of lokaat, leechi, amrood, pine and a swiftly
flowing river carrying the hills in their embrace, the
trees in their arms! Do you see hazy distant hills in
a trance around a beautiful valley, its white sky turning
pink at dawn? A slow sweep of soft blush that is
visible across decades, carrying the scent of impossible
dreams! The fragrance of innocence, wild flowers, roses,
distinct Dehradoon caresses – akele akele kahan ja rahe ho..
Do you see the love birds playing with the breeze, nary
a care, nor form? dil tera, deewana hai sanam… Jante
ho tum, kuchh na kahenge hum…
Sounds are eccentric circles of flour becoming enticing
cake with hilly springtime treks – vanilla, strawberry,
rose, mountain dew, mother’s love…
Akele akele… Kahan Jaa rahe ho…? Mujhe saath le lo
Jahan ja rahe ho…
Slowly shut….your e y e s ….. Silence…. Descends….
Quiet… a hush….
The valley returns, as if on cue, returning through the
long absence, its fruit laden roads shy as ever, though
the streets have changed. New names, new homes,
the mind does not register the recent , but strolls
back all the way to the beginning, smelling the rice, the
cupboard of spice that only grandmother handled, not
even mother, though she could pick up the porcelain
donkey filled with cardomom, and the jars of achaar,
mango dried and preserved in oil with fragrant saunf,
spices that lasted a lifetime….
What can I tell you of the scented lanes that lined
a childhood, lighting up a whole world of new beginnings…?
At dead-ends, you could always stroll into that dawn,
take the road flowing down to the river and start all over again!
- April 24. #GloPoWriMo 2018
Pebbles, flowers, dreams along that river bank, mountains
soaring behind; was it just the other day I came away
or another lifetime? I can stand there forever
inhaling a sweetness in the air; so what if I came away,
I did not leave it behind! Every breath of mine, each sweet
song : a tendril of its presence, a loved nuance. I came away
carrying its fragrance in atoms of my being, you are there
with me, O friend, as we stand hand in hand. I came away
to find you, to seek a paradise here and now, its essence
infused deep, wherever I go. Did you know I came away
carrying a mist in your name? Soft, gentle, its voice is
here to stay. Were we destined to meet as I came away
on its tide? The river gathers its arms around me and
says yes. Its burgeoning flow I’d seen as I came away
and then a mere shadow of its being, a disappearing
tide, saddened me, yes. I’ll remember her as I came away
Full fragrant flowing with all her beauty and might
Giving life, giving breath till this day, even as I came away
Into new worlds, new dreams. You by my side.
Day 19. 2017. Poem About An Object. #GloPoWriMo
Its surface striations, earth-marks, rivulets & tiny craters
speak of a million nights out in the open, talking to the
elements – an old eternal conversation between earth, sky,
wind, sea and storm…… It is a small uneven stone we had
picked up on our trip to the Himalayas, first stop Hardwar-
Rishikesh, where it lay on the river bank, full of beautiful
white boulders and stones. It was small, uneven, standing
sturdy on a strong base, tapering up to a top that made it
look like a tiny replica of the hills beyond, and a sudden
love, quite undefined, must have swelled up in his heart,
for my husband picked it up, gazed at it and gruffly handed
it to me. I solemnly bagged it and brought it home, with love.
(Tumsa nahin dekha
Dekh kasam se kasam se, kahte hain tumse haan…
Tumbhi chaloge, hath maloge, roothke humse haan!
Kya lagai tumne, ye kasam kasam se….?
Conversations that had stopped….resumed…lyrical)
It rests quietly now in a cosy nest at the head of the bed,
adjacent to a laughing Buddha, a revolving photo stand of
his triumphant participation in the Mumbai half marathon, my
husband’s timing perfect, and blessed by earthen idols of
Ganesh-Lakshmi above. I am wondering now what it makes
of this confinement, this restricted existence within four walls
after all those years of open porous osmotic interchange
with the whole of nature and all that breathes within it.
It must have seen a million moons change shape, a thousand
suns rise and fade away, rise and fade away, and sudden
storms gather and disappear……the river flowing by in full spate,
does it miss its swift flow now?
It has gathered in its pores footsteps, whispers, birdsong, rain,
dust smoke, haze and the vibrations of centuries of birth and
death….. birth and death…. In its small uneven frame, there is
more than any man-made article ever enfolds, it is unchanged
unchallenged, I suddenly see now that it is indestructible!
of all the things in the house now, this little stone will be the
only thing that remains…. ever after….everything else will perish.
#Day 5. Part 1 – #Poem using 20 difficult words #GloPoWriMo 2017
In the tender inner corners of the mind where God hides herself, where over-explanation, intrigue, idiotic interpretations do not disturb Her peace/His calm, there is an old almirah on which she hoists Herself, right on top; it is a haven literally, of all those words we don’t usually find as everyday norm. There He sits for hours looking at them, playing with them, throwing them down at passers-by in mirth, who are left scratching their heads, of them, there’s no dirth! Here are a few that fell off the high perch : fugacious, adumbrate coulrophobia, pogonophile, Eucatastrophea, absquatulate, luculent, sesquipedalion, amphisbaena,
Oh, there’s more where they came from! If you don’t beat a hasty retreat, they’ll soon come out and meet, albeit dragging their reluctant feet, being born in Greece. Some have roots in Sanskrit and most are born in England of course. To our subcontinental vibes, they hold a magnetic lure, we who do three four languages, with ease, a linguistic tour embedded in our lips, so yes, here’s some more : blatherskite, duende, frondeura, funambulista, amphibologya, eurhythmic, exequies, lollygag, lycanthropythe, exsanguine Anfractuous. Oh my God, how can one ever think of putting them all up in symmetric streams of poetic verse, these unknown, disparate words, so like the millions of us out there, calling different names to God, then calling names to each other because our names of Gods do differ, then calling Him/Her to descend the high perch and watch! Perhaps we begin with a deep silence in our hearts…. For the One
Still Moments, Song
Those rare still moments
strung like spun gold
when the mind craves nothing
all desires on hold,
A golden ray
streams in through the window,
falls on white walls,
lighting up the dwelling;
held in its embrace
Is lost in song…
A song draped in mist & memory this beautiful spring day,
It carries the scent of pine, the hills in every line, to this very day;
If you feel a speck of dust rise and ripple in your hair to play,
It is magic floating in the air, across the years each beautiful day;
Roses, tourmaline, deep sea aquamarine, dreams and paradise
nestle in you, glowing translucence so tranquil this beautiful day!
Lives you touch are sprinkled with gold-dust in mysterious ways,
O Verse, blessed is your touch, every moment, every single day!
In a lighted funnel of dust, a melody rises, slowly, decides to stay,
It is scented with wood-smoke, memory and mist this beautiful day.
DAY 30 .BROOM SONG #GloPoWriMo 2017
An ancient old old song that lay buried underground
came gushing out one day like storm water when I
dug at the opening in the sunlit balcony clogged and
watertight with debris of unknown origin, I dug deep
with a found object – a broomstick thick brown sturdy.
Tum jo mil gaye ho, toh ye lagta hai…ke jahan mil gaya….
The mist-enraptured car tottering dangerously close to
worlds of romance, vanishing almost, becoming mist
becoming cemented enclosures of approved addresses
In the midst of glittering citadels erect over hovels…Hutments. ..jhopris…
I sweep with a rare joy, the collected dust and debris
Swept aside, showing up red squares of shining floor,
Clean, free of clutter, awakened to new openings. The
Sun comes in with warm hues, and spotting it, Piano,
the musical cat, saunters up, meows and settles there;
I proceed with the broom, loving the way the dust
responds to its touch and comes up on the pan
when nicely invited with a helping hand. There’s nothing
quite like dusting a floor, ok maybe sweeping comes
close, with a long handled mop, but dusting is an old fav. .
At the cafe, when I am early and the all-in-one guy starts
Off with mopping, having put the coffee in the machine,
I look at his expert sweep and wonder if he’ll miss the spot
At the foot of the table, but can never be too sure. Partly
Because I’d have to stare hard, stare closely, and it’d be rude..
Looking at new ways of inobtrusive observation…
Songs on the floor
Songs on shells
Songs in the heart
Songs, more songs.
(Tum jo mil gaye ho, toh ye lagta hai…ke jahan mil gaya….
With you, it feels as if the whole world is mine…)
SMEETHA BHOUMIK is an artist, a poet, and she curates poetry at WE, as Founder of Women Empowered-India (WE). She is Chief Editor – ‘Equiverse Space – A Sound Home in Words’
THE JOURNAL CURATOR
MBIZO CHIRASHA is certified as a Global Literary Influencer by Directorio Mundial de Escritores through Academia Mundial de Literatura, Historia, Arte y Cultura. Recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017) Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York.2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. African Contributor to the Table of Words Demer Press International Poetry anthology edited by Hannie Rouweler in Netherlands. Solidarity Member of Global Alliance for Politics and Arts. African Participant to the 2014-2020 World Poetry Almanac Anthologies series in Mongolia edited by Hadaa Sendoo. Co-Editor of German Africa Bilingual Collection with German International Translator Andreas Weiland in 2016 (http://www.street-voice.de/SV7/SVissue7.html).2003 Zimbabwean Young literary Delegate to the Goteborg International Book Fair Sweden ( presented at Nordic Africa institute, Swedish Writers union , SIDA Diplomatic luncheon , Radio Dialogue , Swedish International library Association , Sweden National Education Summit).2009 Poet in residence of ICACD ,international Conference of Africa Culture and Development courtesy of African Culture Development Institute .Founder of the GIRLCHILDCREATIVITY PROJECT. Curator of MIOMBOPUBLISHING, miombopublishing.wordpress.com and PERSONALITIES OF INSPIRATION,personalitiesofinspiration.wordpress.com., http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbizo_Chirasha