Free verse poem

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Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash

I have seen the world
in the ways of its petulance
strip bare its skins of decency
to lay bloodied, a throbbing mass
of anger and envy, raw
with sorrow and suffering

reclaim the commons,
the reminiscent restraint
of the pastoral
lost in the madding,
the common sense
of common folks,
the middle holding
the terra firma, steadfast
in defiance against
the raucous fringe.

Hold the line! Hold the line! The waves of nonsense and violent ignorance beat harshly on the shores of the deathly past, attrition eroding balefully the ties that bind, as the children run…

A Villanelle

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Photo by Michal Balog on Unsplash

Lost in the moment, in that quietness of absence,
Where thoughts lay stilled, and souls are at peace,
Who dwells serene, in that calmness of silence?

An old man bequeaths his books and his lessons;
A child reads solemnly, crouched on her knees,
Lost in the moment, in that quietness of absence.

When I am done, and left of my presence,
And existence pauses, and comes to a cease,
Who dwells serene, in that calmness of silence?

The books on their shelves, who dwell in their essence, Alive and yet not, through words and their crease, Lost in the moment…

A meditation on living — tangentially inspired by Hannah Arendt

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Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

Inspired by an interview by Anand Giridharadas with Ann Heberlein

What is it
that makes us “want”
to live?

Is it just
a reflex reaction
that is
programmed into us
genetic code
makes us exist
in order
to propagate?

Or is there
a deeper purpose,
to our desire?

Is the purpose
of living,
to find a reason
to live?

To “love the world”
so much
that there is meaning
in living?

Or at least,
a hope
that there will be
in living?

Is it the quest
for meaning
that makes us
to live?

Or is…

An acrostic elegy in free verse

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Photo by Srusti Valakamadinni on Unsplash

Life enlightened now
In the hubris of modernity
Feigns ignorance wholly
Elevated, to a lying truth

Enlightened pasts, erased
Negated viciously
Littered willfully
Into the dumpster of history, the
Ghosts of enlightenment past
Haunt the forgotten lies
Thieved from cultures past, the
Early gods of passage silenced by
New gods of modernity lost, until
Every god is forever

Now let us make time for —
Old remembrance, and
Wistful restitution

© Unni Nambiar (January 10th 2021)

A metapoem on writer’s angst

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Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

What is it about reading
That so inspires writing
And writing that’s so frustrating
That I stagger back into reading
Till I’m either stilled motionless
In my own goop of indecision,
My false zen of distraction, frozen
In a maze of twisted mirrors,
Or endlessly scrambling
Between half-read writings
Of such beauty and rigor
That I just can’t —
And half-written ramblings
Full of faux intentions
And crafting so forced
That I just won’t —

© Unni Nambiar (August 11th 2020)

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Photo by Nashad Abdu on Unsplash

We speak of history

Of kings and citizens
And the times of their lives
Great discoveries and conquests
Of battles and pathos
And on and on

Yet how little we know, or care
For the legends of the proud Bulbuls
Or the gallant epics of Starlings?
Are the stories of the solitary Barbets
Any less worthy or exalted?

Or of the steadfast Kingfishers,
Perched high, darting radiantly
Majestic living harpoons, hunting
Are their tales any less heroic, than
The legends of Man, wantonly?

Are we not just
another animal, breeding
Our tales embellishing
Our value under this dawn?

Even plants…

Inspired by a story in Flights by Olga Tokarcszuk

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Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

After all,
what is a church,
a temple,
or a place of worship, but
big outstretched arms
trembling with life”

embracing you whole,
in a place where
you can surrender
and “finally cry”.

© Unni Nambiar (September 6th 2020)

A reflection on impermanence

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“Every stay in any place betrays the quiet ubiquitousness of the dead” — Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)

I have built a house
that has seen no deaths.
No past ghosts
to haunt the living
with the inexorable memory
of their past existence.

An unrelenting presence
that rises from the floor
in every step that
has been walked on before,
and every wall that has
been touched
or tainted.

Not my house. My house has
the fragrance of childhood
frolicking through time
uninformed by the impending
death and
the inescapable sorrow
it carries within.

Still one day, I too shall become that…


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Photo by Toni Cuenca on Unsplash

Angry bird!

“This is not a game!”
“I know it isn’t.”
“Let me help you.”
“I’m fine!!”

Angry bird!

“Why are you even here?”
“I can go.”
“Why won’t you tell us?”
“What do you want to know!!”

Angry bird!

“We’re only trying to help.”
“I don’t want any help.”
“But you NEED it!”
“I NEED to fly!!

… away.”

© Unni Nambiar (August 16th 2020)

Unni Nambiar

“I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.” ― Mary Oliver

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