Author Archives: Reena

About Reena

Reena R is a poet/writer from India, currently living in Sharjah (United Arab Emirates). Her poems have been published in several anthologies and journals. She is the Destiny Poets UK's Poet of the year for 2014 and one of the editors of The Significant Anthology released in July 2015. She won awards at ‘World Union Of Poet’s’ poetry competition, 2016 and at "As You Like It International Poetry Contest’. She won the Reuel International Prize for poetry, 2018.

Kintsukuroi

Kintsukuroi they call it
 The art of mending with gold
 It works on people too-
 too fragile to be recycled
 and too human to be sewed

 An aranjanam and a radiant nettichutti
 to offset the paleness that unslept nights
 had bestowed
 Bangles to hush up the name
 she whispered sometimes
 to the breeze
 Zari edges of her sari to cover up the
 unsteady trip of her feet
 The gilt to light up her husband’s house
 to thaw the strangeness
 and make her feel at ease


 She entered, right foot first
 and was swallowed by obscurity
 Her golden padasarams kept beat
 to the fading music of her subdued ankles
 though an image of a broken silver one
 on a bare chest
 caused cracks in the mirror
 when she looked

Author’s note:
aranjanam = waist chain
nettichutti = a head jewel
padasaram = anklets

Of Death and Illusions

There is nothing to fear
when I float, nailed to a watery cross
blue clouds sponging my heart,
the sleepy sun locked in my eyes
my body featherweighted by sandy palms
and a wave comes to play.
It rolls me over,
flips me onto its warm chest
and caresses me breathless
I know death will be
a familiar wave, saltier perhaps than this Arabian one

but I fear the death that lurks in a hushed thought
upon the onslaught of a salvaged memory
that ripples the placid face of an afternoon
while the breeze fans the golden mango tree’s leaves
and sends impish gusts
to ruffle the tail feathers of the mating pigeons
on the parapet
They coo, my death throes echo

and the bleakness that advances
to grip the afternoon’s shadows leading it to
the edge of an ocean where life teems
under every mossy stone
and tries to push me into a whirlpool
where no sane thoughts swirl
A suicide point
where I come to rescue me
to drown some killer illusions
and take home to bed
what is left
of me and the day
(c) Reena R

Exchange of Sorrows

Why do I write
of flowers that bloom outside imaginary windows
of leaves cried by absent trees
of the stream that stays poised at the hilltop
in the wall painting
real to me as much as it might once have been
when it flowed into the artist’s veins
These don’t exist except in me
and I don’t want to
without them in me
It is not easy to breathe in the odour of living
and to pump out life
though the punished potted plant does it all its life
The rooted ones want to chop off their lower selves
and imagine they will float upwards
The floating clouds drop rain seeds
hoping to latch on to a steady hearth
and clutch a gnarled claw worth of brown dirt
The homeless and the trapped
always in a troubled quest to be the other
not seeing that it would be just an
exchange of sorrows

©Reena Prasad

Celebrating real women

Selvam from Kanthalloor , Idukki, India

Selvam from Kanthalloor , Idukki, India

Celebrating the women
who go about their daily business
irrespective of the day, or the month or year,
who have not known about a life
apart from the one they lead,
who have never been to a place
other than the one in which they were born and they live
Never even a small respite/getaway/breather
in the form of a movie or a book

The ones who keep their families together
by tearing apart  their dreams
The ones who survive
content or otherwise
so that their dear ones
can thrive
©Reena Prasad

This is for Selvam ( in the photograph) from Kanthalloor, Idukki. Salute!

A Song and Dance about an Absence

The Music

A note slipped out
from the violin strings trying to tame it
from the hands caressing its cambers
Wings brushed past knees and fingers of players in the room
causing a momentary unease
in the ears of the master

Bowed heads, soft tapping feet
and a chorus of notes left behind,
it embraced the still trees
flicking at their slumber with the song it had drunk
and moved with the speed of unstoppable hope
bounding over an unkempt lawn
coming to a stop
at a lighted door
Impatient to drizzle, its music dripped
down the window bars
till it pooled
at the feet of the occupant
of the window seat

————————-
Your feet tangled briefly, you couldn’t get up or let go
You wrote to me right then
Yet you never enclosed my truant note

The Dance.

No one is at the shore
The lone dancer sways
her waist, a curving wave
the roar of the sea in her beat
a dance on mossy rocks
on the surf
on crushed shells
on sand
her bare toe sketching,
embedding him in earth
her fingers stretching
plucking all that was n/ever hers

She created deer, flowers, hills, lakes and spring
around an echo of a footfall
that never fell on her shores

The dance exists untamed
in places you never thought to look
perfected in solitude

—————–
Neither the music nor the dance
could create a home for themselves
Every note, every move
follows the only tune I know

one that you played upon my last string
before the gale carried away the bow.

©Reena Prasad

Solo

And I danced as if a wild thing
had entered the forest of my beats
A soundless ballet through dark halls
while brooding chairs sat on haunches
like sad ogres about to weep
I served up all my lonely nights
the love that stabbed in the guise of moonlight
twirling like a smile over un-kissed lips
fading like a flower in summer’s grip
the rain-drenched roses near the fence
killed by the heaviness of tears unwept
the joy that parting could never ease
With the feet of thunder hurtling down hills,
the feral spirit when it found the gaps
turned into a storm and wrecked the peace
A shoe hangs from a dusty fan
The curtain has eloped with the breeze
© Reena Prasad

Progress report

A ring of curious flames surrounds me 
inquisitive fingers that prod and provoke 
A molten river under the skin
moaning with subtle hints
leaping at familiar nuances
of strangers
waving from the vestiges
of a fading sunup dream 

A lick to know the mud of your frame 
the salt of your breath, the grass of your soul 
A frisson of sorrow, kindred shells
feeling the vacuum of punched holes

Will it be the smile widening beyond the eyes
dark moth wings; the touch of skin on skin
a voice that will steady undulations 
or should I trust mere words
to unearth their loud twins? 

The wind tries to calm my froth of doubts 
sloshing within a restless rigid form
-an inglenook that swallows its own ashes
and wonders where the fire started from 

I walk on glad that I am completely lost 
for you will be found when you are too
©Reena Prasad

He said we have time

He said we have time
He should have said a ‘no’ before time stepped in

I wanted him to break my heart
while it was whole and lissome
and not save it till the warranty expired

(he doesn’t know
I love the thrum of broken strings
that aimless fingers make)

and sunder the pieces so far apart
that between us there would be a river
slow at first
then leaping past

and others would follow
and align themselves on either side
trying to make a map
but the frayed pieces alone would have
shored up a bank

and in that lively gush between
would be the best rush we ever had
watching a robust love go/flow free

©Reena Prasad

 

My last leaf


The heron is back. Drops quiver at the edge of a wing

I am transfixed watching the last leaf fall yet again
I am the drop easily latching on to a strange feather
yet there is life in the depths for me even if I let go

I am swept by random waves into sandy cups of sea water.
Shells mark the grave where my last desire is buried yet there I will never lie.
I am the liquid surge of the unknown bursting into bloom on a temple tree
My wilderness burbling with distilled essences dances bough and root within me

I belong to the tender rain, the rogue sea, the ephemeral mist and the blossom-kissed tree
yet I am not destroyed by what holds me
unlike the big fish thrashing at the curve of a stabbing bill
My last leaf will never remember me
©Reena Prasad
Striated heron (1)