Kalpna Singh-Chitnis , Your poetry is a refined discord of nostalgia, a collage of warped dreams suffering from racial disparity and cultural torment. Your versifications are teeth gritting plea and heart-rending yearn of a migrant with her spirits dipped in soul draining loneliness, heart-pricking isolation and mind-tilting exclusion. A voice . A wonderful and powerful voice crying out loud to be heard by all climes and also by those within. Your poetry pricks , raves and rattles the heart of the reader. Your usual/actual audience are communities that experienced /experiencing the pain of migration , pangs of refuge-living , grinding lifestyles of exiles ,politically induced migrations , the plight economic exiles, victims of xenophobia and those racially/culturally whipped by winds of discrimination and whirlwinds of social exclusion. Your linguistic presentation is marked by verbal simplicity and as well decorated with depth in meaning . The rhythm is engaging and the reason is involving .You are a poetic voice qualified to be read , heard and learnt. TIME OF THE POET REPUBLIC remains persistent, resilient and prolific in archiving , featuring and publishing extraordinary voices in the name of Kalpna Singh-Chitnis
THE LANGUAGE WE SPEAK
How possibly you could have heard me
I barely knew your language before.
But let my heart wear out with one last remorse –
should you ever want to know
why I had traveled so far from the land
I belonged to and did not belong.
I couldn’t speak sooner, I know,
I know. My words were inadequate,
lumped in my throat,
and one day, I emptied
all the letters of my tongue in a chest
locked them, and went silent.
I did not starve, but I felt deprived.
I wasn’t abandoned, but I felt alone.
I wasn’t lost, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for
and one day, I died.
I was buried in your bosom
like a Pharaoh
with all my grains and gold,
with all my silk and songs,
with all my love and loss,
and now, I’m one with you.
I’m your mountains and prairies,
I’m your oceans and deserts,
I’m your air and sunshine.
I’m your glory and prayers,
I’m your shame and guilt,
I’m your pride and prejudice,
I’m the language we speak.
Once existed from the mother’s womb
is it possible to return to it?
Once departed from the homeland
is it possible to go back to it?
Everyone remained silent,
coping with the answers.
America held my hand.
Paws Healing The Earth
It all comes back like a cascade flowing.
No one forgets the way back home.
The beauty of the wild isn’t just the flowers and trees,
it is the scent of the forest.
Walking from the trails to the cliffs,
from the den to the river
I find my footprints everywhere,
on the rocks, in the mud and dusty trails.
My handprints stamped on the trees
wave me from a distance.
The vision blurs, but the time does not fade anything.
How many times I have climbed to the top and fallen to perish.
The memories form like the fragments of white clouds
in the turquoise blue sky.
The moon rises on a pale dune, and my spirit howls.
Welcome back! The animals weep in joy.
O eternal me, I have returned home.
My feet are paws healing the earth.
If I were to trust my intuition
you were the hunter cougar
I fed my flesh to as a novice monk.
On a dark night, we both went on the same track
one looking for food, and the other for water
on the edge of Siam and Myanmar,
in a perennial forest, our home.
It had been a century. I had almost forgotten,
but you remembered to return for redemption,
healing my parched self with the touch of your gentle paws.
Your eyes burning with compassion,
like lanterns lit in the darkest of night
keeping me warm; until the day
you melted away in my tears.
In a deep-sea that no one can fathom but you and me
I see you lying on the bed like a luminous pearl
in blue light, sleeping, in the shell of my memories.
Kalpna Singh-Chitnis is an Indian American poet, writer, and Editor-in-Chief of Life and Legends. Her works have appeared in notable journals like World Literature Today, California Quarterly, Indian Literature, Pirene’s Fountain, etc. She has authored four full-length books, and her poems have been translated into many languages. Her poetry collection Bare Soul was awarded the 2017 Naji Naaman Literary Prize for creativity. Her poems and translations have been included in several anthologies. A former lecturer of Political Science, Kalpna Singh-Chitnis holds a degree in Film Directing from the New York Film Academy and works as an independent filmmaker in Hollywood. Her forthcoming full length poetry collection Trespassing My Ancestral Lands is in the making. Website: www.kalpnasinghchitnis.com
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