No other website or publisher has got me as much love and admiration as a poet as Poemhunter.com. By frequently displaying my name as a ‘Popular Member’ and some of my poems as ‘Member Poem,’ PH continues to encourage me to submit more and more new poems to their site and acquire new admirers at a global level. All this without any expectations whatsoever, financially or otherwise.
See these pics below.
It has worked the other way round too. From a painfully shy, reclusive, highly introverted poet, I have transformed into a writer who loves to attend open Mike poetry sessions, thanks to PH. My very first invitation to an Open Mike came via PH from a fellow member poet Mr. R.K. Das who lives in Delhi and works in Rajya Sabha.
Once upon a time, there was a pigeon. He was a poet and his name was Shelley. One day, while gazing at the sky from the rooftop he was perched on, he called out to the retreating moon, “Don’t go away yet, dearest! You are immortal, but I may not be around tomorrow.”
“Oh, come on, Shelley! Don’t be ridiculous, “Said the Moon.
Her packing was done and she was just about to disappear for the day. But her love for the poet refused to follow her. Torn between Duty and Love, she decided to listen to her heart. From her heavenly abode, she descended towards earth for just one moment and came close enough for Shelley to look into her eyes…It was a beautiful moment…
I consider myself really fortunate to be able to capture that wonderful picture!
I had the honor of meeting Nahid Kaiser, a young, talented writer from Bangladesh, on 1 March 2016 at my friend Shampa Das’s place in Dwarka, Delhi.
While she recited her poems from ‘Eve Unbound,’ her latest anthology launched this year in the SAARC poetry festival, we listened to her, spell-bound, completely mesmerized by her sincerity. I could easily identify with them; they were so similar to what I had written myself in the past.
But what impressed me most was her completely uninhibited style of reciting poems on subjects that most women don’t feel very comfortable talking about in public. When you consider the fact that she comes from a country of imperiled bloggers and a society where women have a long way to go in matters of social liberty, it is, I think, quite a commendable achievement. She managed to make it look very innocent and not for once did I detect any kind of vulgarity.
Beginning with her first period, she went on to talk about “Qabool, Qabool, Qabool” when she was dressed as a bride, then about her life as a wife, a mother, and ended with her thoughts on her grandma. Sometimes she laughed, sometimes she cried, and sometimes her voice quivered and trembled in keeping with the different moods in the poems.
Most poets are introverts and it takes them several years to learn to express themselves aloud as eloquently as they do in their poems. When I started out myself, it felt like getting my teeth pulled out from my gums…
As the evening progressed, the poetry and play readings graduated to a Rabindra Sangeet session. Somewhere in the middle, the group mentioned that they were going to sing “Sonar Bangla” in her honor. With her characteristic smile, Nahid stood up and said, “Eta amader jatiyo gaan,” meaning “This is our national anthem.” We took the hint and we also stood up, tall and erect.
Suddenly the room with its makeshift auditorium resounded with the melodious voice of the singers singing this beautiful song accompanied by soft music playing in the background. It was a lovely moment!
It served as a gentle reminder that freedom and free speech are not free and come with certain responsibilities which are mandatory for everyone.
Inspired by Nahid’s recitation and my subsequent interaction with her, I wrote a poem of my own the following day, ‘My Shadow and I.’ It kind of matched with a photo I clicked recently. The photo is given below.
I wish you all the best, Nahid, and of course, a long, happy, poetic life ahead!
The poem, ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’ is 208 years old and so common that we don’t even bother to find out who the original author is. Jane Taylor wrote this poem in 1908 with the title ‘The Star.’ Most of us know the first stanza only, but the actual poem has a lot more to it. Here is the complete poem. For more details, click on the Poemhunter link below.