Birth of a poem


I have always been fascinated by the process through which a poem is formed. Every time I have written a poem that I particularly like, I try to understand or repeat the process- but I just cannot recall how I did it. I find the process of writing a poem more difficult, unpredictable and therefore magical than even painting.

But of course, any attempt at conscious scrutiny at my process immediately makes it difficult for me to write. It’s slippery and either extremely wicked or painfully shy; it escapes any effort at looking at it.

But still I try.

During such an attempt, I wrote this poem below. It specifically looked at the painful process of waiting for the poem to arrive; or to put it another way, those days when you show up, but your muse does not.

The Trumpet’s Perpetual Call of your Possible Arrival

Last night, you didn’t show.

My streets stretched and stretched like the
arms of a mermaid calling you
and my ears threw entrapments, but you…

I opened doors-n-mouths
and dropped my shoulder my height ;
I oiled my thighs for easy conquest
and yet.

The hooves of your announcer galloped and galloped
Kneading my bones into femininity and you!

I had spent afternoons rolling my postal addresses to slip onto the tips of your remembrances, didn’t I?

Didn’t I?


Once upon a time, the 103rdconcubine kneeled behind the veil waiting for her turn, holding the lamp of certainty. They found her softened, by its slow combustion, into the ash of tranquil anticipation.


But you, my Darling Stampede, tell me…
did you plan on coming at all?


once again,
I’ll butter my breasts my fence
and light diyas on my threshold
of easy transgression.

But Oh will you


Yep, sorry. this poem ends without any resolution unfortunately, to replicate the days when I wait without the gift of receiving- so the reader can get a taste of this perplexing, painful and lonely process of being left hanging.

Yesterday, I was in a similar meta mood. I was reading and editing my old poems, and then was in the process of writing my first ghazal, when I couldn’t help this split in my attention, where a part of me was trying to understand how I was doing it. This painting/ drawing/ collage-of-sorts tries to grapple with this wondrous process. In the centre are torn pages from my poetry journals. 🙂

how are poems born?

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