I celebrate Women’s Day with a few of my previous poems plus some recent thoughts.
at the point where night bids farewell
she raises her head, crowned
by a pallu of sizzling red, gold
a slender mangalsutra enhances
her slightly inverted neck
the strongest of henna
the darkest of kohl
the boldest of kumkum
a piercing flame from the nath
as ittar fades into memories of
a thousand jasmine buds
crushed in vain
with the gentlest demeanor
she did but bide her time
sweet were her tears
what could she do?
he swindled even the salt from her life
pallu – the trailing end of a sari, red and gold are bridal colours
mangalsutra – auspicious necklace of black beads and gold worn by a Hindu woman after her wedding
kumkum – red/vermilion powder used for bindi on the forehead and/or applied in the parting of a married woman’s hair
nath – referring to the nose ring worn by a bride
ittar – perfume made from flower petals
It is International Women’s Day and this poem is a (spontaneous) dedication to all the women who understand the crushing of hopes, but never in vain.
Though we identify light as revealing
The Divine’s noor acts as a veil, to protect her
Adorned by surahs, expressions of the revelation
Only she could counter humiliation with even more dignity
The confluence for defined and unperceived truths
Her presence was a mere tip of a mystical iceberg
A mother, an exceptional lineage
Would I be granted
Just the dust of patience she possessed
And a flicker of her fortitude toward injustice
She remains a name unfamiliar, yet sanctioned
She remains the Lady of Light, az-Zahra
Respectfully dedicated to Lady Fatima, the beloved daughter
of Prophet Muhammad and the adored wife of Imam Ali
This poem was created upon request and I felt it fitting to share it on Women’s Day.
Lady Fatima set an example to the women of the world to stand up against injustice and fight for what is rightfully theirs.
* Noor – Light
** Surah – chapter of the Quran
woman created as
a symbol of fertility
an inspiration for architecture
a cradle for divinity
a source of poetry
and a mother’s blessing
at her feet lies
your paradise *
a sister’s tenderness
with a fragile thread
a bond declared **
a daughter’s adoration
a lover’s seduction
and a wife’s devotion
from pheras to the pyre ***
… and beyond
but she is turned into
a goddess or
an unwanted burden
to hurriedly marry off
a pariah blamed for
the death of her consort
a caste of her own
and the pedestal cracks…
This poem was inspired by the stunning photography and the heartwrenching story about abandoned widows in India. Please read more in this article Glimpsing Durga Among India’s Abandoned Widows
Photo Credits: Sharmistha Dutta
I celebrate Kathini on Womens Day She was a victim of a recent matatu (minibus) accident with severe injuries. She almost lost three of her fingers, and has not yet removed all the glass splinters in her hand. Regardless, two weeks later she returned to work, supplying us fresh vegetables and fruits.
Photo Credit: Sonya Kassam
I celebrate my mother, I celebrate her grace and charm, her faith, her generosity and her attention to detail.
I celebrate my sisters, I celebrate our friendship, their guidance and their support. One of them keeps me level-headed and on track, the other one encourages my zany side.
I celebrate my daughters, they are my teachers for life, they are slivers of my soul.
And finally, I celebrate me. I celebrate swimming against the tide and keeping my head above water (just about!)
All I had to do was wait
If only I knew how…
Even though I never knew how, I realise now that I do wait. I celebrate!