A Bird’s Freedom

Written in 2018 during a flight, while watching the sky outside from the aircraft’s oval window next to my seat.

To stretch your wings
And fly away
Fly upwards –
Looking at the sun –
Enjoying the breeze on your body and wings

To watch the buildings and trees
Turn into toys;
To feel clouds
Brushing against you;
To watch a field of clouds –
Beneath you and at your side –
Out of the corner of your eye;

To watch the trees form a thick forest –
Lush green and pleasant;
To view cotton-capped mountain peaks –
Offering a beautiful sight
For your aesthetic eye;
To search for lovely sceneries
And add to your memory –
The picture album within you;

To see nothing but
White cottony stuff
All around you;
To feel downy softness
On your body;
To wonder at the sensation
And to marvel at the beauty;
And to realize —
That you are flying —
Through a layer of clouds. . . .

You rise higher
You are hungry for more beauties
And you are rewarded
For your courage –
You behold –
Downy white fields –
Fields of clouds;
Funny-looking white tops, ever so tall –
Hills of clouds;
On a bluey background. . . .

Oh, that blue. . . .
That lovely pretty blue –
Not sky blue
Nor light blue –
But a blue, a shade darker,
On which the clouds bed
And sleep and float –
Happy as birds. . . .

What a lovely feeling it is!
It is a sight worth seeing –!
Not to be missed. . . .

How fortunate one is
To behold such beauty
In one’s life. . . .

And to fly,
High up above the clouds
Looking at the beauties around you;
And without wings –
Like a pretty downy bird.

*****

The Hunt of The Hounds

I was inspired to write this poem after reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story The Hound of Baskervilles. I have used certain phrases directly from the book, since I felt that those add colour to the poem, but which may have disturbed the rhyming of the poem, yet cannot be better expressed than in Conan Doyle’s own words. Such phrases are marked within double quotes. I may have had to omit mentioning certain incidents in my poem due to length constraints.

An old legend of a massive hound,
breathing fire and
surrounded in flames,
Dormant for years,
Came back to life,
As suddenly as a misty veil
upon the hills.

A descendant of Baskervilles –
Loved, respected and patron to many poor souls,
Sturdy, hale and hearty,
Wise in age, yet – afraid
Of the family curse, the legend
of the hell-hound –
Mysteriously dies while waiting for a rendez-vous.
Footsteps showed he ran for his life,
and near his lifeless body,
a paw-mark, gigantic, impressive –
scary proof of the old legend.

“Some three months” later,
Holmes,
A keen-eyed falcon with a passion
for mystery and adventure,
intellect and justice
and his faithful bosom friend,
Watson,
A healing master,
Lover of adventure and justice,
an eager helper —
Was called to investigate
And unravel the mystery.

The new master of Baskerville hall
Nephew to the poor dead gentleman –
True, loyal, sturdy, and healthy
Forthright, intelligent, young and wise –
Familiar with, yet uncertain
as to the truth of the family curse,
Settles in his new British home
Squire to Devonshire,
Under the healing master’s watchful eye.

Dark gloomy surrounding,
Dull, listless ambiance,
Fear, mystery and possible death
hung in the air –
Detailed reports from Watson in Grimpen
to the falcon, Holmes in London –
New friends, few in number –
New mystery of the caretakers –
Additional worry,
With an escaped convict
in the immediate neighbourhood –

Too stressful and scary,
The life of the young squire in possible danger
Certain, instant death if one walks to the Grimpen Mire,
Night walks hold no allure, no pleasure
with the threat of the hell-hound,
And no privacy, no secrecy for a pair of lovers in Grimpen.

Yet, one night,
In “that hour of darkness in which the power of evil is exalted”,
Watson and the new squire
Walk out after dark,
In pursuit of the convict —
The baying cry of a hound –
Fresh proof of the family hound –
Chills the men to the bone,
and they stand, side by side,
armed, yet afraid of the hell-hound —
A minute or two later,
Continuing their pursuit,
Comes upon the convict,
and chases – but misses…
A strange apparition seen only by Dr. Watson:
A tall thin man,
Upon the Cleft Tor
Solid and straight, erect,
The moon rising behind him —
And then, vanishing in a moment –
Assumed to be a warder after the convict,
The night’s adventures concluded, they return home.

Next day,
the clue of L.L. –
a woman, who wanted
A rendez-vous with the late Squire,
on the fatal night of his death.
Watson, the eager helper
Investigates, meets, and converses,
but, no hint or clue to continue.

One blessed evening,
When Watson
Investigating the mystery
of the tall man,
stumbles upon his alter ego,
Holmes –
Oh joy! Oh delight! Oh, blessed sight!
The burdens he carried,
The worries he had,
The fears that shook him,
Can now be told
To his dearest bosom friend,
Who will settle matters
At his earliest.

Then, alas -!
In that same night,
Another death due to the hound
Occurred –
Oh Heavens! It is Sir Henry –!! His clothes –!!
Both friends, shocked and grieved,
Feeling very much guilty,
Bent down to “perform
the last offices” for the young Squire —
When —
Holmes felt a thick beard,
Which the young master of Baskerville Hall
Sported not.
The poor dead man in Sir Henry’s clothes
Turned out to be the escaped convict,
Selden.
What relief! –
What a heavenly happy find!!
Into the scene,
Walked a man, one neighbour in Grimpen,
Stapleton –
Whom Holmes said,
Earlier in the evening,
To be the cold-blooded murderer –
A light-hearted chat,
giving nothing away
But the presence of Holmes
in Grimpen.

Later, that night
A picture that resembled
Stapleton,
Convinces that he is a Baskerville
by blood lineage.
And Holmes to catch him
Red-handed,
Lays a plan which leaves Sir Henry
Alone in Baskerville Hall,
Engaged to dine at Stapletons’
And walk back home, in the dark,
Across the solitary moor,
Whence the hell-hound might appear –
Quite alone.

The moment came –
The climax –
When at long last –
The hound might be seen
By Holmes, Watson and Lestrade,
Who joined to help.
Watson sees Stapleton at an out-house,
From which curious noises came –
After reporting what he saw,
It was a long wait…
Nature turned traitor
And built a wall of fog
Close to the watchers,
Which gave little chance of success
For the impending mission.

The baronet came our,
And started to walk home –
Dejected, scared, ill-at-ease,
Afraid for his life –
Not knowing his friends are near —
A sudden far-away
patter of paws,
Quick to approach,
Tenses and alerts the watchers. . . .
It burst out of the wall of fog –
Hideous, “hellish”, covered in flames,
Spouting fire from the mouth,
“Savage”, “appalling”, and frightful –
Hunted and chased Sir Henry
Though wounded by a bullet wound,
Sprang at him and worried at his throat
Making the young Squire
Faint with fright –
Unhurt –
Shaken to the soul –
Weak and pallid,
Severely ill, in the care of Dr. Mortimer,
Scheduled to tour the world together.

Beryl Stapleton née Garçia,
Bruised, ill-used, deceived and duped
In love,
By her villainous husband
Gave Holmes, Watson and Lestrade
A clue to the cold murderer’s hiding place,
Once her fears for Sir Henry
Were set at rest;
Her heart reassured with relief
As to the safety of her lover.

Stapleton,
The unknown son of one of late Sir Charles’ brothers
Was sucked into the Grimpen Mire,
Punished by Nature,
For his evil, foul deeds.

Holmes and Watson,
Who “laid the family ghost once and for ever”,
Returned to London
Satisfied with their victory,
In scoring high
Against
“A foeman who is worthy of our steel”.

*****

A New Road; A New Way

Inspired to write this after Pathways was introduced by Toastmasters International.  #Pathways  #Toastmasters education  #Siyane TMC, Gampaha, Sri Lanka  

Having started the journey in Toastmasters
As a new Princess –
Crowned with nine other Princes and Princesses –
Welcomed warmly by all the club members,
It is a happy time.

Starting from a speech,
Which broke the ice between you and the audience,
You hop up to the stage
To do a few roles in meetings,
In front of fellow friendly Toastmasters;
You receive feedback and start loving playing roles,
You start loving leading, in a minimal sense;
You actually think it is better than speaking —
And you look forward to more of it –
You dream of being a Contest Chair and a DTM
And you start loving it.  

You start thinking about your long-postponed second speech,
When….
Suddenly….
Comes a bolt of lightning –
Startling you a lot….

A new educational method
Called “Pathways” —
Ten different paths and
Five levels in each path,
And each path starting
With an ice breaker speech –
It is quite a lot of work!!

For a moment,
I turned to my CC and CL manuals
And longed to continue them
Doing CC and CL is also, by no means, easy
But still, as a fresher,
Who completed just one CC project,
I immediately longed for my two manuals….

Paths to take per our need and wish,
Achievements to be gained,
Taught with lessons –
Hard work needed –
Way ahead is not easy; but beautiful ,
A lot of courage and determination must be surged –
Your future and your life to be moulded
Successfully with PATHWAYS

Imagine a human
Trudging up a mountain,
With slow and weary step,
Beads of perspiration on the forehead,
Back bent double with the weight of the backpack,
A hike in the mountain
Is not a piece of cake….

Similarly, Pathways
Is not a piece of cake,
Nor a ride in the highways –
It is a hike in the mountain
Meant to be so,
To make your achievement more valuable —
With your
Slow and weary steps,
Perspiration beads,
Bent back,
And most importantly,
Your SUCCESS.

*****

Summons From The Sea

Written while coming back from a Toastmasters meeting held at Negombo beach in 2018.  #Sea, Sand and Sunset  #Siyane TMC, Gampaha, Sri Lanka  

Travelling in a van
With friends around –
New and old –
Befriending and making them feel at ease
Getting ready for the educational meeting

Passing buildings and trees,
Boring cities and monotonous sceneries,
Moving onto new surroundings –
Fresh breezes splashing our faces –
Whipping our hair around –
Relaxing and soothing us;
Moving our hearts to love our summons….

Nearing our destination,
Bit by bit, metre by metre,
Realizing you are closer to the blue water –
‘Cause of the sea breezes,
Which embrace your face –
Makes your hair dance –
And pulls you out of the van,
Tugging at your heart and soul,
Reminding you of the summons
Making you long for the time
More and more….

Finally you reach the place
You get goose bumps,
With all the excitement
That you are feeling….
Out of doors,
Near sea, sand and sunset,
Sea breezes welcoming you;
Chances to enjoy time with friends,
Wearing shades and a flower hat,
Watching the blue sea –
And walking on the sand….

Finally answering the summons
Arriving at Grand Star Beach Hotel;
Going to the beach area
To get ready for the meeting

What joy!
What a chance!
Such delight….
And frolic….

Best of outdoor places
Near the horizon,
Near the sunset,
Your heart jumps to your mouth,
Thumping with pure happiness.

*****

Stream of Random Thoughts

Written back in 2015, but the stress and the need for freedom is still the same.  Academics also stress me even now, and with a full-time job, it is pretty crazy now.

It’s Saturday night
I am alone
Munching a biscuit
And thinking….

Pen a word and pause to think –
Sink in a dreamland only mine,
Where I have freedom to do
Whatever I like

Be it dance, be it sing,
Be it music or needlework –
I can do just what I love,
Just what I enjoy….

Homework on one side –
Troubling and quaking my little world,
Oh, I wish it is over!
It seems to take so long —
Homework, trouble me another time
I want to enjoy my time..!!

French and English
And Linguistics
Tamil and Korean
And a hope for German
All are so hard,
So very, very hard
That I feel like I’ll never see the end..!!

Assignments, researches,
New data and new info,
Lectures and tutorials,
Don’t we even get a break?

Someone who wants
To do nothing but what is loved
All day….
To be free to act
On your own will
To watch a movie
Enjoy a song
Check on the ‘net
And whoop for joy
Or howl and cry in pain

This is me as I am
I am only a little girl
Who wants to know a lot more things
Of this queer feeling
Which is so puzzling;
Because of which fact
I wrote this poem
To relieve my feelings
From myself

*****

Thoughts of A Little Girl

I have wished – I was a small bird,
With small wings to fly faraway
To reach for the sky,
And enjoy the beauty,
I have wished – I was a small bird.

To go on tours around the world
To eat delicious fruits over –
To perch on trees and chat and sing,
With my friends around me and crowding the tree,
I have wished – I was a small bird.

To enjoy the warmth of the sun,
And drink the coolest water,
To stretch my wings,
And start the day,
Greeting my friends I met on the way,
I have wished – I was a small bird.

I have wished – I was a small bird,
With small wings to fly faraway
To reach for the sky,
And enjoy the beauty,
I have wished – I was a small bird.

*****

One Magic Wand From Ollivanders

To be honest, I made this small poem up while I was typing the one below this, surprising even myself…. I never thought such a thing will happen. 🙂
Inspiration: Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling

I went to a shop called Ollivanders
And tried to find a magic wand —

I searched for hours and hours and hours
But I couldn’t find my wand
Though it was filled with wands —

Then Mr. Ollivander gave me a wand
And told me to try it out;
It was made of willow,
With a phoenix feather for a heart,
And eleven inches long

I took it in my hand –
And you just can’t imagine
The sudden warmth
That spread through my body,
Just like an electric shock —
I raised it high above my head,
And brought it swishing down,
From its tip burst
A shower of red and gold sparks!!

Oh JOY….!!

Exhausted though I was,
I was really pleased
Because I finally found –
At long last –
My own magic wand.

*****

One Magical Day….

To dream about a lover
Handsome, macho, gorgeous,
Understanding, loving, caring and sweet –
A Very Dream Prince;
Your Prince Charming,
And to count time until
You meet him….

Then, one day, years later
To have him in your sight
To see him in flesh and blood
To feel your heart jump to your mouth
In sheer excitement –
In sheer joy –

To feel passion rise up
From your insides –
To want to be near him
Round the clock –
To desperately want a kiss
From him –
Passionate and ardent –
Sealing his love for you;
And the urge to return it
Sealing your love for him….

To feel all of these
And yet to hold it all back
Due to hesitation —
Unsure whether he will reciprocate
Or whether his heart is already claimed
By a beautiful soul….

What agony -!
What torture -!
To know that you will suffer –
Always….
You remember him always –
Every second –
Every minute –
Every hour –
Every day….

Yet with all of that,
Never dare to say a word to him
About your feelings —
And to always wonder
Whether, one magical day,
He will go down on one knee
Before you,
And ask for your love
And your heart….

*****

Firing The First Shot

My first Ice Breaker speech  #Toastmasters meeting  #Siyane TMC, Gampaha, Sri Lanka  

To make a speech on oneself
As the first project
But it is not a mere speech;
Not merely an introduction though –

It is a story
Written about you
By yourself

Making your life a fairy tale,
And telling it to others –
So that they will know
Who you are,
And about yourself

To start the speech
With a link you hold close
With your father;
And to pass through the time
When you were a baby
With a flash forward to the present time –
Just for a moment —
Then move on to childhood,
Things that you adore
And your hobbies;
Followed by your academic achievements
And your future goals
Then winding up your speech,
You mention just how much
You love winter time,
Though you are born in summer,
And finally reveal your name

On the day of your speech
Start off by displaying baby pictures and seasons
And then move on to your story,
The fairy tale you created….

When the audience laughs
At the humorous parts,
Finding yourself smiling
And enjoying those parts
And continue on, encouraged –
And finish your speech
Shake hands and walk back
Knowing you finished
Your first official speech project….
That you fired your first shot –
Marking the commencement of your battle

After sitting down,
You get a surprise present
In the shape of —
A standing ovation,
Celebrating the success of your first shot….

The evaluation supports you
Even further –
To improve yourself
And the quality of your speech projects

Overjoyed –
Overwhelmed –
You slowly start relaxing
And look forward to the next speech project….

*****

Prove It To Yourself

My first Table Topics speech  #Joint Toastmasters meetings  #Siyane TMC, Gampaha, Sri Lanka   

In Queen’s Café
Before an audience of forty
To stand and make a speech
For a minute….

Piece of cake, yes –
But if you have to prepare the speech
At a moment’s notice….

Hard as hell, yes –
You wanna dump it,
And keep out of trouble

But imagine you gotta do it
To prove to yourself
That you can speak
In front of an audience —

Yes, you have to do it
‘Cause you have to prove your confidence….

When you go in front of everyone
When you have no words on your tongue
A moment of confused silence –
Then –
You start speaking
With confidence —

You feel words
Bubbling in your mouth –
Tumbling over each other –
Fighting to be released –
Ideas coming thick and fast –
With pin-point precision to your topic

You feel your confidence growing –
With encouraging nods, smiles,
Chummy laughs at little jokes –
Motivational reinforcement –
It is a lovely feeling –
A positive feeling….

Then –
Then –
You finish your speech
You are applauded
You did succeed
Compliments are showered on you
Hands are shaken with you
Shoulder pats are given to you….

What a joy —
What a feeling —
To know you could speak
In front of an audience….
To have proven it to yourself
Of all the people —
Prove it to yourself.

*****