So there I was, looking for a photo of the girls and myself on the back of a camel in the Punjab and I came across some of my poetry. There is no connection between camels and my poetry (except that when I wrote poetry, I usually had the hump), but when you’re looking for things in this house, you’re never sure what you’ll actually find.

You didn’t know I wrote poetry, did you? Well, that’s because I don’t any more. I’m not sure why. I used to write several pieces a day when I was in my mid to late teens. Then I got married and stopped doing a lot of things I enjoyed! Anyway, seeing as I’m being all brave this week, I thought I’d share some of those scribblings with you.

This first one was written a few days after I left my first husband, in 1998.

The Portrait

It is you who are my Dorian Gray
My face on which your lines appear
My heart that holds your worries
Your disappointments and your fear

My countenance is etched
With the marks of all your woes
While your visage, obviously,
Ne’er a day older grows
My heart is growing heavy
With the tears you do not weep
And with all your little secrets
Ones that I’m supposed to keep

Looking, you can see the furrows
That have crept around mine eyes
I wear all the markings
Of your betrayal and your lies
You have coated your soul in debauchery
Quaffed at the fountain of youth
Bathed in the waters of villainy
And I, I wear your truth

’Twas mine own hand that held the tools
As this portrait was being sketched
Though as I daubed, I did not know
That it would e’er look so wretched
For simple fool that toiled that day
Was unaware her picture would
Be soon replaced by her master’s
And he’d painted his with blood
And now the oil begins to flake
And now the rose is wan
And now the lustre leaves the lips
And now the joy is gone
So good you look, dear Peter Pan

While I shall soon expire
Sinking deeper, deeper still
Into your dank quagmire
Daily hurtling on towards
Destruction and decay
I fight to leave your attic
My Master, Dorian Grey

This one was written when I’d been trying for about 8 years to have a baby. Finally, I realised that it had nothing to do with me. That no matter how much I wanted it, to whom I was married, what doctors I saw and what procedures I underwent, it wasn’t really up to me.

A Welcome Song

Reaching for you through the mists of time,
Holding my arms out wide
Waiting for you to make the leap
And welcome you inside.
I know I cannot force you
You will come when your time is here
When the world is finally ready for you
Then, only then, you’ll appear.
When all your whispered promises
Are ready to come true
Then you will come and join us
And I’ll be waiting here for you.

A few years later, in India, in 2002, I became a mother and my soul felt like it was blooming. When Ishthara was about 6 months old, I wrote this:

Soul Song

You are my soul singing
And you are the song of my soul
You took what was unfinished
And you, you made it whole.

You took the tune that I was humming
And you put words to the air
Taught me how to sing it loud –
Louder than I would dare.

We are singing the same song
We are singing it together
The sound soaring through the air
Light, pure, free, untethered.

You are the whispered promise
My life said that it was bringing
You are the song of my soul
You are my soul singing.

So once I’d read through a few bits and pieces, I found the picture of the three of us on the camel. I think I’m baring a bit too much leg in the photo; but I don’t think I’m baring too much soul in the poems.