Words on the sill

A dear friend’s childhood friend told me a tale of how the two of them would talk to each other from their house windows although the windows stood skewed (i.e. weren’t facing each other). I thought there was something poetic & romantic about 2 little girls conversing without being able to see each other.

A day or two later, I was discussing shop with a colleague & listening to her challenges. When we were done, I still wanted to keep the conversation going & hence, asked her what she did in her evenings. She said she liked to read & write. Write? Write what? Poetry, she said. I was pleasantly surprised. I asked to read her poetry. She promised me her works & then proceeded to recite a verse from one of her poems (about how wind teaches the waves about the shore). I really liked it. I asked her if she published her poems online & she said she didn’t.

Later in the evening, we were chatting over digital media when I abruptly took the conversation like this:

There are these 2 girls
They live in houses with a little alley between them
Their windows don’t face each other
But they talk to each other
Without seeing each other’s face
No clue about their age
Or appearance
Or family backgrounds
Or anything
But they become very close friends
Then one of them vanishes
No idea why
And the other girl continues talking
Because she feels that it’s these conversations that will bring her friend back
And if she stops, her friend won’t return
— Would you like to compose a poem that this little girl writes for her friend?

She agreed to do it & wrote the following in about one sitting.

Woh Ajnabi Dost Meri — That unknown friend of mine

I don’t know whether I should translate it, but here is an English poem written to the same theme (with the title as this post):

Yet again, lightly perched
Squinting in the early sun
Worn filigree syllables
Of words spoken to none.

These weren’t unechoed;

Once, they held hands

With a trembling voice’s

Articulate strands.

She told me of worlds
Spoken in outlines, for me
To fill with hues I tore
From my mind’s chatoyant seas

On dark nights she shone

Faceless phaseless moon

Whose whispered stories

Eclipsed my fear’s tunes

We braided words & whims
To carve worlds neither saw
She painted me into a dream
And I, her, into a yearn raw

Now my words ‘twixt our windows

In a lone pirouette unheld

Her voice that clasped them in their fall

In my heart as an echo, dwells.

Yet today, lightly perched
Squinting in the early sun
Wishing her words would take mine
And into the forest, run

This too was written in one sitting & has been shared here merely to include the reader in the joy of composing poetry across languages, across souls.

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