To My Dida (Gran’ma)…
The plot is there but the house had been rebuilt. No one chant hundred
and eight names of Krishna rounding the house anymore in the morning;
and collect flowers for the morning puja. The plants are there maybe; last
time I saw them, I touched them was two years ago. They were weak that
time; they were growing old in rapid pace. No one now sing the Sanskrit
devotional songs in the evening. The incense sticks though get lightened;
the Gods are still get served by aunt. She never got a chance to be with you
and she didn’t know what she had not earned–your wisdom, your knowledge.
The house in the old form with tiled roof, blackened and sooted clay oven kitchen,
and the hibiscus trees and the trees of small flowers sometimes visit me in dream.
Sometimes your voice I could hear rounding me like it used to in the summers of my
childhood; the song used to get me disturbed for waking up but these days when
mechanical cock call or some soothing tune woke me up I feel that humming was the
best alarm to wake up to; while the smell of the flower trees and the mangoes is
I looked for to smelled when odor of nicotine or petroleum suffocate me.
For Day 18 of National/Global Poem Writing Month 2019.
Our optional prompt for the day takes its cue from how poetry can help us to make concrete the wild abstraction of a feeling like grief. “The Lost Pilot” does this, as does this poem by Victoria Chang, called “Obit.” In both poems, loss is made tangible. They take elusive, overwhelming feelings, and place them into the physical world, in part through their focus on things we can see and hear and touch. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail. This may not be a “fun” prompt, but loss is one of the most universal and human experiences, and some of the world’s most moving art is an effort to understand and deal with it.