Dida used to say the sky is performing deyala.
The clouds formed up in the corner of the sky, and the wind breath like last breathe,
Naturally unnaturally the darkness descend bringing the night in early,
when there should be sun on the crescendo at the city summer sky (or)
when the sun is getting ready to bid the day coloring the sky with hazed blue.
The calling of the sky is the call for the housewives and maids to be on their heels.
If it’s noon,
dragging and hauling the washed clothes from the cloth lines.
If it’s evening,
the doors and windows are shut with loud bangs and thuds;
screaming and shouting to other members in the home
to participate in this bangs and thuds.
On the streets and roads; on the glasses of the corporate universe
it is storm is coming…there will be a rain.
When all are set in most of them though, not all
Kalbaisakhi ascend; sometimes harsh, sometimes soft
Everyone is jogger; running the marathon to home or some shelters–
or somewhere they are supposed to be.
The cab drivers smiled. It going to be their early peak time for the extra fare;
the hawkers pull and push tarpaulin or plastic covers over their goods.
The sky raises its voice, the flash starts lighting with loud claps of thunder.
These days though it doesn’t occur, but, in my childhood
I remember elder women, aunts and grandmothers and mothers used to–
blow conches saying it would calm the god of the sky, Varun Dev.
The rain falls sometimes jhir jhir, sometimes jhom jhom.
The sound is melancholy whatever the rain took form, as–
most of us miss our childhoods, when there were raincoats and kagojer nouka,–
and the mango showers. Followed by the scoldings by Ma.
The words in italic are terms that I free-translate to English from Bengali. They are very much colloquial to Kolkata, my city.
Dida is Bengali for grandmother.
Deyala is whimsical movements of a kid while sleeping, the smiling and laughing or weeping. Sometimes it is referred to the movement of the mouth on their face, opening up to catch breath or rubbing hands over eyes.
In the context of the poem, before a rain spell the sky sometimes sunny sometimes cloudy, and sometimes both,
Kalbaisakhi is the pre-monsoon storm followed by spell of rain happening mostly in April in Bengal. It is also known as Nor’westers.
Jhir jhir and jhom, jhom are respectively drizzling and torrential rain.
Kagojer nouka is paper boat.
Image procured from Google Search Engine.
Written for Day 10 of National/Global Poem Writing Month 2019.
Our prompt for the day (optional, as always), is also rooted in dialect and regional phrasing. In her poem “Sunshower,” Natalie Shapero finds inspiration in a rather colorful phrase used in Mississippi and Alabama to describe the situation in which it rains while the sun is shining.
Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that starts from a regional phrase, particularly one to describe a weather phenomenon.