On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018, Different Truths Poets present an anthology of poems, celebrating the woman, in paroxysms of emotions, enigmatic and multilayered, like her persona. Thirty-eight poets, from around the world, contributed a poem each, as part of the Special Feature, exclusively for Different Truths.
pleasing to look at
fluid and graceful in motion
to be revealed
they say so
the curve of the spine
the lift of the neck
I am female; your gender, your life, are your own; I do not define you …
like you, I define myself — with choices and actions
…across the ages, I have had sisters
whose choices have been taken from them
… if my choice to act is taken from me
I will choose another response
— alive inside, where you cannot follow … ever
… so much, which could have been, lost …
conjugation of a verb
next to each other,
- Bacha Posh
Free myself of isolation chains
all obscurity surrounding my mind
the walls that deny existence
open now the entrances of liberty
let me be a self beyond the curtains
that blinds all light, dampening the spirit,
for a bird is about to die!
I will gladly hide my soft curves
while the fresh air hits my face
with the flavor of danger
the sting of manhood
ruling the world.
*bacha posh – dressed up and disguised as a boy.
Refers to a cultural practice in which a daughter is sent off into the world as one of the boys.
©Luz María López
I am dying inside
Darkening one corner, then another
One piece at a time
The web of scar tissue,
Creeping further, covering more.
The ache, intrinsic,
My bones melt.
What ails me, what hurts?
The questions tumble
The tears spill,
The wet tracks…silent answers
In a language familiar…yet not.
Subtle slights fight inattention
For their day in the sun
And I am no more
Just a shadow
That waits for a drop of sunshine
To unfurl, to claim
That which is my destiny.
Is not in your eyes,
But in my own glance,
And it’s more important to know
If I find myself
Is not in being
Connected to you,
But in being myself
And in your accepting me
The way I am!
Is not in my body,
But in my soul,
And before I can learn
To love you,
I have to learn
To love myself
Fully and completely!
© Neelam Saxena Chandra
- Black Drops
She can still see you
her dreamed world
she gave up dreams for love.
On her cheeks,
the black drops of ink –
the rain of the soul.
with tears she wanted
To drown out her longings,
but she is unable to lose the memories.
like a camel with its water,
and so she –
carries the weight of the past.
Translated by Artur Komoter
She is a woman
And able to do any task
Cooking cleaning laundering
Taking care of her children
A single mother
Taking care of her aged parents
Walks and talks fast
To the point
As she is on a schedule
Wanting to show the world
She can successfully.
Then why the world
Looks down on him?
She is a woman of courage
Strength, vigor, and compassion.
For God’s sake
Leave her alone
To live the way she wants!
She is strong enough
To shoulder all
What she has to
And does with a smile
And gratitude to God
For making her strong
She has no complaints
Walks with her head held high
Ignoring the remarks
She is a woman
To be adored
To be respected
To be loved!
- Forever Free
Tonight my Womb died
Shrunken shrivelled corpse
And all the flowers died within me.
My womb and the flowers decomposed together
Letting out one silent yelp
And a rotten stench…
Tonight I liberated myself
From every bond that held me dear
Now I had no fear
To march ahead
I am a tree trunk made of deadwood
My leaves are shed
When you killed my girl in my womb
I vowed not to die but to march ahead
Beyond fear beyond care beyond one’s self
To set her soul free
May my Girl live forever in me
- For Sale – A Poem
(From a Dalit woman)
I eat rats
and my skin is tawny;
I hold you gasping
in between my thighs, shrieking
till a dead woman;
My cheeks are hollow,
my eyes bulge
I wear the kohl of cremation
the water resides in me,
yet my breasts dry from a menstrual pause
I abjure, the mockery
on my itchy skin, age-old
I eat rats
My skin creases, there’s a
story behind my sagging breasts
stories that sob in my vagina, the effortless ones
to wallow in your lust and dust scraped effigies
there’s no blood on bridal beds for me
I am sentenced for life
these blank and ugly blotches
on my skin, are a concession to
the caste I wear, the skin I bleed.
- The Immaculate Widow
Doused fire – singed pyre
Within; yet to be seen.
Pristine yarns, ballads of woven hymns
Embrace slender, supple spirits
moonlit silver arms
Look not yonder, commands stoic,
The ghat – the mute witness – to residue burn
Frolicking are the ones
Whose whites glow, laced with reds
Caught amidst turmeric and penitence – an adieu, shouldn’t it suffice?!
Pacing footsteps on cold stone walls
drawn along verisimilitude halls…
There’s the well for one to dwell –
How else does one dunk the bucket and pull out one’s self!
Alas! White, I don
By whose norms one contemplates alone
Sudden so stark
Ebbed and surged with the mighty pall
Stowaway memories on fraying shelves
Pull up the garb
Cover sanity with grace, utter not; utter disgrace!
Lost cause on an emotionless refrain
When did Gardenia lose essence?
Such fondness for the Jasmine trails on tresses
Tonsured perfection now instead
Eyes weary dare not ask
Hidden gold in lemon blooms
The breeze carries the fragrance next door
While White remains in a silent uproar
Why now to voice a thought?
Scattered about are the jasmine buds
Devoid of henna – now in plain
Palms awash – saffron in milky stain
- A Dreamscape of Sugar Coated Concerns
Amidst the heat and weight of lauding
Glories of Women’s Day;
Contemporary realities of life
It’s unchanging configurations
Of thought, emotion, sound, and word
Remain muzzled beyond repair.
The painted girl at the till
Accoutered in smart black trousers
Fitted blue shirt and cherry pink lips
Smiles dully at the customers arriving late
Buying frenzy of clothes and accessories follows
She could never afford to wear
Her salary having too many claimants
Wiping lipstick, heavy makeup, untying styled hair
Cinderella dons her ordinary shalwar suit
A late shift followed by a long commute
She cooks and cleans for a family
Full of quarrel and scorn.
The faded child bride
Heavily pregnant with the third
Leaves her two infants
Unattended on the sand pile
Two tall rows of bricks on her head
She squints at the high rise building taking shape
Reaching the summit
She shies away from the clutches of the hirsute overseer
A salty trickle wets her cheeks
Unable to dream the impossibility
Of a safe home of her own.
With such knotted skeins in life
These women on the margin
Go unheard, unseen
The sugar coated concerns
Pushing boundaries on red-tape files
Without meaning, what they should mean!
- And I Testify
Whither away all the trees once they hibernate in water
and your heart withers away,
the heartbeat pendent on the highest offshoot…
When the eyes of the sky fall into the water
I came to know that green is more akin to the pain than the black
and that unforgiveness was what was oozing out of that crock
I counted how many times the scorpion whirled towards the ashes
inside the circle of scarlet flame
The golden daffodil under the naked tree
the purple hyacinth falling out of my hair,
the lace on the weaving loom,
would it know how hard it is to be cleansed from the scarlet?
while carrying the fire in your palm…
Here I am,
in the shadow of your countenance
in the silence of flowing nothingness
And I testify…
that the cracks in my walls
can only be plastered with solitude
one must die like a dead tree leaning on a river bank,
close to heavens, far away from you
One must die…
- She: a dilemma/a solution
Those thousand existing twinges
Her irresistible giggles redressed.
An affable warmth roused, with
Blazes of her eyes…
In the total chaos, in endless havoc
Her perfervid self-rested…
She possessed a soul that ran
Deeper than a black hole..
Inheriting a cosmos of her own.
She stopped for everyone
But waited for none…
As simple as an understanding
As complex as a paradox
….The World wasn’t ready for her…!
©Monika Ajay Kaul
- Middle East
It lulls the history on its feet since it gave birth to it,
it combs louse from its hair with human ribs
Skirts of the cities are scattered by desert winds
over stone courtyards, mosques, ancient squares,
vaulted streets which always lead to one another
A smell of ground coffee, spice, and gunpowder
roasts on same coals:
sands cover the blood, but cannot wash…
Names of God written to the desert
are savagery, ignorance
Children are born and die
famine is their destiny, diarrhea is their fate:
grudge does not make a wish…
In the desert night
cold, belief and family consensus
warm up backing in one another:
even if they are killed, Bedouin felt
does not penetrate blood …
The women are bought and sold
in exchange for a camel
They are circumcised from life:
their faces are tattooed to men,
hearts are harvester…
- Then, Why?
Sometimes in my father’s garden
I am a charming flower
Nurtured with lots of love and care.
Sometimes I’m a sister,
Sometimes a loving daughter,
Sometimes I am a wife
And a caring mother,
Love my family more than any other.
Then why this gender inequality
Why this dominating gesture?
Have you justified
Have you thought ever?
Why this domestic violence,
The curse-like dowry by some
Wake up! O, woman!
Know thyself and your nature,
Patience and tolerance are your
Utmost power, don’t let it be exploited
By some other.
Stand upright and get ready to fight.
To live an independent life is your right.
- Bounded Freedom
Which attire to wear? Today, I am being celebrated,
The day is a sunny one, the skies so deep
The clouds so milky!
Why, if I could, I would have sat on the green grass
In a shady spot somewhere on the slopes of a mountain
And I would have indulged in loosening up my tight armor
So as to be myself for a while;
A child mesmerised by the gurgling of river water
A child enchanted by the freshness of the soil
A child ecstatic at the imagined shapes of clouds
A child connected to the soul of the Universe
A child, simply!
But since the society has its eyes glued on me,
I have to stand by my wardrobe
And choose which attire to wear
For even if, on this day, I am being celebrated,
I have to hide my real self
Yes, I have to show that I am strong,
having no needs, ready to abide,
To fight even and to be a painting hung on a wall
Meant to be admired by one and all!
Even in this advanced age,
I feel not free to be
Rather, I feel that I have to show
Yes, show that I have no tears when I cry in hiding
Show that I am not weak when fear rules over me each night
Show that I am confident when I am ridden with anxiety
Show that I only have to give when I am, in fact, thirsty
Show that I am fierce when I crave to act as per my softness
Show that I am abiding when I only wish to tolerate with a smile!
Which attire to wear? Wish I not to attract sinful glances over me
Wish I not to seem too sissy, wish I not to seem slutty
How to abide, how to breathe, how to thrive, when
During my celebrated day, I feel not free to be the woman that I am!
- Paragon of Love
Women love to see a man’s soft, sensitive side
As a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on,
The smile that proves the parent to a sigh
The quietest need, by sun and candlelight
We’ve walked on this earth many times together
Age makes us translucent; it is too wide-awake,
Woman’s love entices all
Let us fill the earth with the fragrance of love
Something not everyone knows – how to love
It is the only thing that makes sense
Women are the paragon of love and power;
Like lightning’s that precede the mighty storm.
©Dr. Brajesh Kumar Gupta “Mewadev”
I am unwanted right from the womb
Disparaged for my gender
Born by chance and undesirable by will
Tagged as an albatross to humanity
Discriminated for the attributes that make me, me
Over generations, I had to prove my worth
But still, I am not the loved one
Again and again, I’m killed in the womb
Suffocated to death
Seldom given a chance
To catch a glimpse of the heart that yearned to see me born
For she was burnt for bearing one
Coercing her, want me no more
For she foresees the pathetic situation I would be in
Cursing the day she bore me and me born
But, would this all change for good
Not peripherally but deep down
Pray the day comes when I am not loathed as a piece of meat
Or despised as a vulnerable and a recessive trait
But accepted as a human and not identified by my gender
For I want neither to be superior nor dominant, but a human first
I want humankind to look at me and wonder
And to ponder if it was the right thing, whatever they did and do
For I cannot forget or forgive, the gruesome atrocities
That scarred my existence for decades
Why do they forget where they come from?
The humiliation the womb has to bear, to bear
Does it even matter to humankind, what it feels like not to matter anymore?
And to be called a petticoat or a skirt all the more?
18. Her Melancholic Tale
Under the night sky with fluorescent heavenly bodies
Poignantly, she tells her tale
The tale which only I could perceive with ear
An excruciating one, which unveils the world around
Peeping through the window,
Saw tiny tots romping with glittered silica
Agonizingly said, – why can’t she?
The morning hours with loud vociferation
Of temple’s edification allure her
Even les enfant with barefoot and uncombed hair go
Agonizingly said – why can’t she?
At sweet sixteen she wore the veil
And the Vermilion bangles
Standing in front of a mirror,
She glimpses herself as crowned czarina
But those foggy nights
Made her image to despair
And suddenly fell the crown down
Foggy nights with dewdrops of dowry
Shove her to enslave in her own realm
Her harrowing tale made me cry inside the dark
Am the ephemera of my mom’s womb
I crave to stop those scary scissors
To oust me from my unborn home
Femininity that goes unaccepted, remains unforgiving
vengeance of Kamakhya in the month of Ashaad
The Brahmaputra devoid of ichor
corroding muliebrity till it shrivels into a vestigial flicker
Decades later, when lovers celebrate your womanhood
you fail to find beauty in yourself
no matter how long you gaze at the mirror
reflecting your glistening nakedness
after vigor of copulation
Half-hearted attempts to love what you could not accept
do nothing to assuage the annihilation
you fostered in the pit of your womb
sown by the discontent of your mother at your birth
reiterated into a receptacle of guilt
that outweighs rings of smoke you blow
by rolling joints of any self-esteem accrued
despite waging an endless war with hirsutism
We don’t always get to choose our battles
certainly not those that start with
a blade wedged against our necks
but end them we must, with Shakti striding atop
Femininity that goes unaccepted remains unforgiving
20. Mothers of the world
When I was a little girl, wearing frocks of lace,
My mother infused in me, love and grace.
When I grew up to be a mother,
Tried to bring, Love and laughter on my daughter’s platter.
Now as a grandmother, I try
To bring courage, compassion in my grandchild.
How many hats do we often doff
As daughter, sister, wife, grandmother and more.
The beauty that I behold now, close to my heart,
Is that of my mother, crossing eight decades and eight springs.
With her toothless smile and dim lit eyes,
Wobbling with a stick, taking tiny steps,
So dependent for all her basic needs.
Waiting…waiting and waiting, silently
When her prodigy finds time in busy schedules.
She is not just my mother,
But an epitome of all mothers in the world,
In their twilight years…calling a cuckoos song!
Who shall now become the beacon of strength?
A pillar of strength to assure and hold their hands!
Believe it or not; they are the sunshine and goldmines,
That the fabric of society, today stays intact.
Today they are here, tomorrow will be gone
So here’s a salute to all the mothers in their twilight years,
Salute to that woman who educates the society,
Salute to that womb that gives birth to the girl child,
Salute to the girl child that grows,
To shower love to humanity,
And the world to evolve.
21. A Unique Creation
She is the incarnation
Of beauty and to her nation
Ascends to the destination;
No doubt, a unique creation
Of God, in jubilation.
A woman is the loveliest flower
Decorated in our delightful bower
Sprinkling everywhere the sweet scent shower
Standing against the time’s power
With strength in an unfavorable hour.
Having strong will in her heart
With zeal and pride for her part
Facing the tempest’s strike she converts
Into greenery the panting desert
Defeating it in its dangerous sport.
With her knowledge great
To our hearts she emancipates
From time’s unbearable weight
Keeping our path straight
To the Goal Ultimate.
22. The Woman in Me
I asked the woman in you and me
What makes the contentment of thee
Your soul deeper than the depth of the ocean
Your tolerance, Wider and
Higher than space not in motion
You have treasured the beauty
Forever brimmed with duties
You are the unarmed warrior
Made by God the saviour
You take sufferings and pain
Yet all your sacrifices in vain
I asked the woman in me
What makes you tolerate
She smiles with the tears
Winning all the fears
My loving lord
Has bestowed in me
His divine blessings of love
Forgiveness and compassion
To make this world living
Full of passion.
23. Hide and Seek
In the darkness, his fingers can see.
They fast track the hidden skin.
They pose and fly and fly and pose
like a very busy bee.
With unquenchable hunger, they rummage
under the blankets for an oasis to drink.
Their thirst ends when they get as hot as matches lit.
They obey nothing but the flesh. Delusions grow big!
An old new game: The awakening of the sleeping bud
or simply the new version of bedtime hide and seek.
A stallion with no bit traverses the meadow nightly.
And a butterfly whose flight is cut short.
Over a lava river, her wings will fall.
Tomorrow we will play more, daddy exhausted grins.
Tomorrow we will play when mom is asleep.
The girl inside me is torn to pieces.
How much more will be broken before the break of dawn?
A scream clogs her throat.
There is no one, no place to go.
The silent scream echoes in her bedroom,
It echoes in the closed windows, in the distance,
it is carried by the wind.
It echoes in the hopelessness and hollowness
in this busy modern world.
Can you not hear her cry for help?
It echoes, echoes all over the world and deep inside me!
© Zulma Quinones Senati
24. Burning Issue
A gullible girl.
She firmly stands at the time
when life seems the futile whirl.
Her agile eyes shine
like a seashell pearl.
The Coral reef of warm sea
like her lips smiles.
Smiles, after seeing
some known & unknown faces.
She feels herself
with a glimpse of joy.
But an unexpected fear exists.
Her expectancy of faith diminishes.
Diminishes, from the brutal society
if just for a while.
Suddenly, I stop my muse
to work on the same –
Why some of the girls become a puppet
of cruel hands??
By wrapping my depressions in an envelope,
I sent it to the sky to find my creator…
The wish was, at least, He should read what a woman thinks
This waiting for His reply was not at all painful,
I was satisfied by my action, that I could raise my voice.
In the womb of gliding moments,
Over the blank canvas that He gifted,
I am rewriting the history
Of our all hidden achievement.
Besides us, the woman,
Earth would not be earth,
Love would not be love,
Relations would not be relations.
I am proud to be a woman
26. A woman in a Cell
A bare belly or the short dress
Whom do you call hot, I ask truly?
Retired arms click ‘sexy’ without even conversing
Did you read her, from her shaped belly?
Or did you just imagine her with you?
What’s natural for you when you feel nothing.
You just see the small part of her entirety
Did you dance with her to drink the tunes?
Or did you just slice your thoughts into the part called ‘hot’?
Tick tick tick, muscles seldom relax after seeing her
Reluctantly they step on a mature arm but get scared
Scared of the how similarly a mature and young mind thinks
As if the picture is meant to feel the desire of lust
Did you pluck a rose for her?
Did you read a story to her in a silent library?
Did you walk miles with her towards the setting sun?
Did you thrill her by singing your mother’s song?
Did you solve for her the puzzles, invisible in the picture?
Did you stop her from stepping in wrong arms?
Did you click the same words with a hot cup of tea?
Did you slide off the lust to show your love?
Then what makes you feel that you have the word ‘hot’
In your scattered vocabulary?
Several lenses mould together to make her a voice of femininity
And you figure out the revealing part synonymous with ‘hot’
Should I laugh at the scarcity of your education?
Or should I feel pity for the face that you bear now?
27. Dear Woman
When will you break your silence
When can we hear the story
Of the things you’ve seen,
Of the winds that have blown
When will we hear your tale,
The secret of your magic game
The shape of a daughter and then of sister
The shape of wife and then of mom
And then again completely formless
How much we want to hear your magic
How much we want to read your poetry
How much we want to see your dance
Please reveal to us the story
The secret of your private art
Epitomised love and beauty
Made for us to be adored
Many days they shine for us
But too often they’re ignored
The more we let them in our heart
The more we open our mind
The more love in our life
All of us will find
28. An Ode to Womaniya
I will not conform to your ideals
I am a married woman
But I love ogling at good looking men
I love my drinks when they are mixed well
And I love riding a Harley!
I will not conform to your ideals
I am a mother of two
But I enjoy my sexuality and my desires
And express them the way I want to
I love my body, stretch marks, scars and moles
I will not conform to your ideals
I am a working woman
But I enjoy housekeeping too
I do it not because I’m a woman
But because I’m proud of my home
I will not conform to your ideals
I am a wife
But I will decide when someone can touch me
Caress me and make love to me
And I will do it on my terms
I will not conform to your ideals
I am a daughter and a daughter in law
But I will not give in to everyone’s whims and fancies
I will stay firm in my choices
And I will do it out of respect for myself
I will not conform to your ideals
I am a sister and a sister in law
But I will not be bullied
I will speak my mind openly
And I will not give a fuck if you disagree
I will not conform to your ideals
I am a woman
I cannot be expected to fit
I have way too many hands
And way too many heads
I am a woman
And hence I cannot conform
I am gentle, yet strong, at will and might
I am quiet, yet my voice can reach across oceans
I am meek, yet I can stand my ground
I am warm, yet I can freeze hell over
I am calm, yet I can be the tempest
I am soft, yet I can plough a field
I am a woman and I cannot fit into any ideal!
Yes, I can be Sati,
I can be Sita too!
But only and only if I want to be,
Not when you dictate the terms to me!
And why should you?
You do not own me…
For I am my own master you see,
Uniquely created by the creator,
Not to be shackled,
By you or your societal norms,
Problems! You are welcome to stay with them,
Ah! Let me tell you that I have problems too,
Problems with the way you look at me,
Drool and salivate at my physique,
I have a problem when you have a problem with my mini skirt,
Or my drinks; or even if I at times flirt!
If you are free to do as you will,
Do not you see that so am I
Being a woman does not make me any less,
In fact, I am much more,
Much more than just this body, the boobs or vagina,
I am the woman who has stepped forward,
Reached the moon and the stars,
I am the queen who creates and can also destroy,
Remember, I am the mother who brings you forth into this world,
So let me be, just let me be,
Do not penetrate deep into me, do not hurt me more,
Lest I pick up the cudgels for myself
And you are then transformed into dust, just mere dust!
©Madhumita Bhattacharjee Nayyar
Waving gracefully with wanton winds, her sails drape her womanhood, as she nurtures love, braving tempests that rattle her engorged bosom,
On and on she buoys herself with relentless tides of moons, waxing and waning with seasons that leave her ageless, in a polarized chasm,
Mermaid bewitching she floats a dream in the eyes of Kings and beggars alike who desire to crown her and later dethrone her resilience, with their patriarchal dictum,
A vessel sleek is she cutting through choppy seas, leaving a wake of constructive chaos creating gems in depths of oceans you cannot fathom,
Nestling an entire earth in a creative saga oh woman, never to be drowned, auctioned, beached in the whirlwinds of the microcosm or the microcosm.
Hovering over creation she drones a hymn of a universal hum in a language transcending realms of disparity, beyond a schism,
Outshining every star on the horizon there she stands triumphant like a beacon, letting light pass through her heart prism,
Outpouring like a fountainhead her emotions rule her in vibrant colours, as she paints her life with spontaneous enthusiasm,
Drowning all her pride she swallows grief and injustice caused to her till like a tectonic plate she shifts, her sob causing a quake in a spasm.
31. A Far Cry!
Is that a statement of a state of affairs?
Or a questioning cry that wails about the hypocrisy of human nature?
Every moment makes me feel less of a woman,
More of a prey that vultures brutally wish to feed upon.
Every walk outside, an open invitation to molestation of my insides.
My emotions ramble on, muttering, grumbling, lamenting,
Pleading for justice in an unjust world.
Know not which yuga we reside now in (does it even make a difference?).
All I can call it is The Dark Age where the womb is torn apart
To satiate lust, where a woman no longer a mother, sister, wife
But a creature, an unending black hole taking in hurt, savagery, strife.
Draupadi, Sita happened not very long ago it seems.
Their modern-day versions play the same roles again and again.
No girl child safe to celebrate a day just for her breed, her gender.
Broadmindedness of lifestyle today performs an autocorrect
Of thoughts, perception, of interpretation of life itself.
What seemed a value, a principle restricted to word on paper.
Sex no longer a beautiful union, a breeze that slaps gently against your face.
Semen balloons used today to celebrate.
A misleading expression.
A slander to womanhood!
A woman is a flower
To be watered only with
Tender hands of affection
She is the soft dew
Of dawn’s promises
A woman is a blessing
Rich with the assurance
A woman is a sweetness
Filled with the alluring
Charms of giggles
A woman is all it takes
To know love
A woman is all it takes
To know heaven…
And her little hands again banged
on my car window.
She had the bunch of flowers still
clutched close to her heart.
And just the other day you bought
those wildflowers from her.
Softly touched my blushed skin
with their stalks.
She was happy too.
She had smiled at the money earned.
I smiled too, for the love
your flowers brought.
A whiff of fragrance.
It again wafted through the north wind today.
I rolled the windows down as my car came to a halt.
She stretched her hands out, looking for you.
Her smile vanished.
The seat by me was empty.
Her eyes met my vacant ones.
She tore the petals, her head bowed.
A teardrop trickled down on my lap
Where you had put the wildflowers
that day and made love!
I often have a dream
of a woman in white
with yellow flowers in her hair
I think they’re daisies or sunflowers
I don’t know for sure
she stands atop a mountain
or is it a hill? I’ve no idea
sway at her feet
she walks the edge, her arms stretched
a ballerina taking centre stage
for a final swansong
I think I know her, but I’m not sure
her eyes are the same as mine
I think, or am I mistaken?
I stand rooted
my petrified arm dying to
or myself, I don’t know.
© Rita Bhattacharjee
I went with my daughter to get
her a tattoo for a present.
She chose a rising wave
breaking free of a box…
and I thought that’s great,
because you know, mostly
men get to ride the waves
oblivious that women are drowning
in work and housework, and
children and parents.
Things that have a strong emotional undertow
just pull you in. I felt every scrape
of the needle on her tender,
translucent skin, searching her
face carefully for pain,
ready to kill the tattoo artist if he made a mistake
stepping out to hyperventilate
smoke a strained cigarette,
fervently praying that SHE
breaks all the boxes, that she
rides the surf better than I did.
I try to think what tattoo would
hold meaning for me, if I could
let a needle draw my faith upon
my body. I’d probably get Kali,
broad hipped, wild-haired, wide
bottomed the way real Goddesses
are, with a wheatish complexion,
but not at all homely.
I’d like to have her
dancing upon my wrist,
laughing the way a Goddess laughs
when she has killed all her demons.
A beer in one hand,
brandishing a ladle in the other,
fingers of the third prancing across
a keyboard to write a song.
A gun in the fourth just to be safe
but held out of the way of harm.
In her fifth hand, I’d have a bar of vanilla soap,
and of course, a book of stories
in the sixth hand, for in the end
we are all just stories.
Kali would hold up one hand in warning,
or perhaps just to hail a
cab, and the last would be kept free
for caresses and comfort,
This would be ME, who has
killed all her demons,
she who scoffs at all the petty lures
of insecure Gods,
she who is done with meting out
justice, and now wants to
let the wind dance in her silvered hair.
36. Woman’s Vital
Far from weak, she barges ahead with strength
Not as a ship caught in a storm that would struggle
But as a star in the darkness at length
Amidst daily chores that seem a juggle
Kids robbing most hours, she complains not a bit
Unceasing her focus on family,
At home a master, at a job she submits
Dynamic, seems like robot accomplished
As king treats her man pleasing him no end
Dazzling beside her spouse, swanlike beauty
Intelligent, inspiring she contends
Exceptional, vital, she stands mighty
Efficient in all fields, in air, sea, land
These days, in world affairs, sense her presence,
Deserves special respect each woman
The world would cease to exist in her absence
- The Unapologetic Dance
Sometimes she gets scared,
Of the erupting lava of truth,
Gushing out of her being,
The threatening burst,
Collapsing the rigid structures around,
And she shudders and stops,
To avoid the fingers pointed,
Covers herself with every possible layer,
Silence, Submission, Subjugation,
To alienate from Chameleons,
Who distort everything that’s good,
She ever believed in,
That world of intellectual hypocrites,
She sneaks into alternate realm,
A world of her love,
Where they say what they feel,
Then and there,
All travel light,
They dance and yes they fight,
A world of absolute nakedness,
Where there aren’t any veils,
An ecstatic tribe celebrating the now,
A world where they don’t measure,
Her worth, her big trunk,
Where they don’t measure,
The length of her skirt,
Her claim to be an heir,
The days, years and her lifetime,
Where she flows careless being a waterfall,
Not knowing which river she merges into,
She just flows and dances,
Ecstatic, being unapologetic.
©Meenakshi M. Singh
In the bargain of life, it’s their lot to give,
And yet be grateful for being allowed to live;
For the female foetus dies before birth
And the girl child quietly fades from earth.
As a mother, mistress, wife, and maid,
For the pleasure of man, she’s made.
From acid attacks, stalking, and rape
How do these hapless victims escape?
Many a Gayatri, Gunjan, Gauri
Have been sacrificed for dowry.
With her man, she toils and earns
Yet, for spending power, she yearns
Nutrition for childbearing she needs,
Yet, the choicest meal, to him she feeds;
A barren woman they quickly replace
For, many are waiting to take her place.
And if daughters are all, that she delivers
In disgrace, she hides, cowers and quivers
Each breath is beholden to his breath.
For a widow’s life is worse than death
What amazes is, the acceptance of might,
The reluctance to rebel put up a fight.
But women, by and large, have no choice,
For those like me, who raise their voice
To question mothers-in-law and misters,
Fare worse than their submissive sisters.
But the last ounce of strength I’ll gather,
And whip the horses of my will to lather.
If I can light a flame in but one woman
I’ll consider my work on this earth, done;
For when I falter and fall, others will rise
To carry my torch, towards a new sunrise.
©Different Truths Poets
Michele Baron, world-traveler/Fulbright Scholar presently living in Kyrgyzstan, published A Modest Menu: Poverty, Hunger and Food Security, in Poetry and Prose, in 2015. A World Bank/Urgent Evoke-2010 top-ten-finalist, she develops outreach projects, writes poetry, prose, and non-fiction, is an active musician, painter, artist and “full-time” mother of three school-aged children. She has a self-illustrated book The Dreaming Rugs awaiting publication.
Luz Maria Lopez a published poet, narrator, translator, editor of four international anthologies and advocate. Luz María López’s poetry has been translated into many languages and published in world-renowned literary magazines and books. She leads the “World Poetic Front Defending Women’s Rights” (WM) and is Intercontinental Director for World Festival of Poetry (WFP-CED). She is an international traveller participating in many Poetry Festivals and Literary Congresses. Received the Khatak Literary Award 2017. She is the editor of “An Anthology of Poems on Autism Awareness” (Different Truths). She is from Puerto Rico, The Caribbean Island.
Harshali Singh is a New Delhi based Member Judge at the Consumer Forum, an avid reader and a passionate Painter. Her Book ‘A Window to Her Dreams’ was launched in 2016. She has also been featured and interviewed by various e-magazines. Her poem and story were also published in the recent edition of ‘Unbound’ magazine. She is a trained Occupational Therapist from the Institute of The Physically Handicapped. She, as a teacher trainer conducts workshops to enhance proficiency in advanced teaching methodologies.
Neelam Chandra is an author of thirty-three books, is a record holder with the Limca Book of Records for being the author having the highest number of publications in a year in English and Hindi (2015). She works as Joint Secretary (U.P.S.C.).She has won an award in a poetry contest by American Embassy, Premchand award by Ministry of Railways, Rabindranath Tagore international poetry award, Freedom award by Radio city for her lyrics. She was listed in the Forbes list as one of the most popular seventy-eight authors in the country in 2014.
Eliza Segiet, a Jagiellonian University graduate with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, she completed postgraduate studies in Cultural Knowledge, Philosophy, Penal Fiscal and Economic Law, and Creative Writing at Jagiellonian University, as well as Film and Television Production in Łódź. Her published poetry collections include Love Affair with Oneself; (2103), Thought Mirages (2014), Clearances (2015), Cloudiness (2016) and tandem (2017).
Sarala Balachandran was working with an import-export organisation in the administrative department for 38 years. She retired eleven years back. Married, with two sons aged 43 and 36, she took interest in writing recently. She writes free verses.
Ipsita Ganguli, a Hotelier by profession who believes in offering memories to her guests~and the charm of being a tiny part of the stories of their lives. A student of the myriad experiences that life holds out and believing that there is never any stop to learning. Above all, A people’s person relishing a connect with a variety of lives. Ipsita writes because She Must. Because there is no other way for her.
Deeya Bhattacharya was born at Durgapur, West Bengal, and did her PG in English Literature and a Graduate in Education from the University of Burdwan. Her poems and articles have appeared in several National and International journals, websites, E-zine, besides several anthologies. Member of Poets International, She has read her poetry at quite a few fests. She teaches English and Poetry at a State Government High School.
Mamta Joshi did her post graduation in History from the University of Allahabad. She writes short stories, reflective essays, prose pieces on everyday life in national dailies and international e-magazines. She writes with equal ease in Hindi. For over two decades, as a teacher of English in college section at SMC, Allahabad, she has been interacting with young minds, understanding their pulse and in turn being savvy on technology, fitness, fashion, humour and rumour too.
Nevin Koçoğlu is a Turkish poet , journalist , human rights and environmental activist. Lives in Ankara , the capital of Turkey. Graduated from Public administration. Currently studying Sociology , also the owner of the Vahittin Bozgeyik poems price. Owner of three books with poems translated in many languages. Took parts in international festivals and in poetry presentations. Poems has been published in international anthologies, also for many years working on building village libraries around the country.
Monika Ajay Kaul was born in the Breathtakingly Beautiful Vale of Kashmir, she had her schooling done there. A Post-Graduate in Business Management from New Delhi, an Academician by profession.She is passionate about writing poetry and short stories. An avid reader, mostly biographies and autobiographies of World Artists and Writers. Currently a full-time toiling mother. Besides writing, she is a painter too. Giving wings to her imagination through Beautiful Colors and Wuthering Words. As she has rightly put it into words, “Give wings to your imagination..and let your ingenuity fly..!”
Hilal Karahan is a Turkish poetess, writer, translator, mother and medical doctor (1977, Gaziantep/Turkey). Her professional poems, stories, interviews, articles about poetry have been published in various national and international poetry-culture- literature magazines since 2000. She has joined to many collective books, bilingual poetry almanacks and found in organizing committee of international poetry festivals. Her poems and selected poetry books were translated into many languages.
Sumana Bhattacharjee is an English poetry writer from Kolkata. She born and brought up in city Kolkata. She graduated from Calcutta University with honours in Bengali Literature and completed Secretarial Practice under G.T.T.I. She worked as an office assistant in a Private Ltd.Co. Right now she is working as an administrator of 3 online poetry group and she is a founder of a group. Her poems have been published in several anthologies and blogs. Some of her poems have been translated into Spanish. Poetry and music are her ultimate passion.
Anoucheka Gangabissoon is a primary school educator in Mauritius.She writes poems and short stories on a wide range of subjects.She publishes regularly on online poetry sites and manages her own poetry blog.She has published a collection of poems in print, in her country, titled “Awakened Fancies.”
Dr. Gupta has mentored many and also assisted many in unleashing his creative potential. Through his talks, seminar presentations, creativity workshops and personal interactions, he has popularized many new concepts in management and leadership. Some of his articles publish in “We The Power” and “Green Plant” magazines. His thesis on “Treatment And Glorification Of Love And Sex In The Novels Of D. H. Lawrence”. His first book of poetry “The Rain” has published by Onlinegatha Publication of Lucknow.
Sailasree Potay is an educationist. She loves travelling and adventure with friends. Loves to read and meet people to understand their struggles and successes, which she truly cherishes. It helps her to better herself. Above all blessed to be a woman, a mother of two loving children and a partner to a loving man, who dares to show her the mirror.
Priyanka Priyadarshini is a poet from Odisha.
Nalini Priyadarshni is the author of Doppelganger in My House (2016) and co-author of Lines across Oceans (2015).Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and international anthologies. Her forthcoming publications include ‘Sacred Women in the Anti-violence movement: Anthology’, Caged Bird Magazine and ‘Your One Phone Call’.
A Graduate in Psychology (Hons), Kiren Babal has a flair for writing both in English and Hindi. She has dabbled many a shade with creativity. Be it doing plays in AIR, teaching in schools, theatre, writing scripts, short stories for children etc, the focus remained in keeping her hobbies alive. To her credit, she has 13 children books, Five Anthologies in English poetry.
Born in India in 1981, an award-winning poet, Alok Mishra has been writing poems since a very young age. He is a teacher by profession. He loves to write poems replete with divinity and romance.
Aarti Mittal is a homemaker. She is passionate about teaching in school, as she loves being with children.She loves to live and write simply. A simple person with simple thoughts and words, her religion and caste are humanity, love, and compassion.
Zulma I Quiñones Senati was born in Yauco, Puerto Rico. He studied at the Catholic University of Ponce, Puerto Rico, where he completed his Bachelor of Education in 1970.
Durgesh Verma is working with the NGO, ‘Sparsh…Touching Lives’, at Varanasi, as a president. This year, he has participated in national workshops on ‘Role of Higher Education in the Development of Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship in India’ in Institute of Management Studies & ‘Development Dialogue 2016’ in Swatantrata Bhawan Auditorium, B.H.U., Varanasi. His compositions are published in the USA, Canada and Australia.
Saroji Pattaya is passionate about writing. In her leisure, she loves to read and write poetry and short story. She has published poems in Odia language in publications called Barshare” and Haji jaithiba jhia”. “Anterleena” a Odia movie on autism has been made on the basis of her short story. She is now working on a fantasy novel in English and Odia. She is shortly going to publish[Self publishing] her first book of poems in English. She received ‘Sudhansu Mohan Puraskara’ ]Rajdhani Book Fair Award during the year 2011, for ‘Barshare’.
Kabir Deb was born in Haflong and completed my schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Karimganj. After that completed his Graduation and Masters from Assam University, Assam. Poetry has been his passion and a hobby from his childhood. He wants to change the society with the power of poetry. He believes that society can destroy the most destructive force in the society and create a better tomorrow.
Rina is an accomplished graphic designer with a strong knowledge of Adobe software, visual communication, multimedia scripting, human-computer interface, and also the knowledge of 3D animation and production techniques. Creative, resourceful and flexible, able to adapt to changing priorities and maintain a positive attitude and strong work ethic. Passionate about art, not only practising it but also spreading, appreciating, and learning it. She is currently situated in Singapore.
Madhumita Bhattacharjee Nayyar writes in Hindi and English. A poet, blogger, life-skill counsellor, healer, a social commentator, she works with women and children. She started her career with the media, moving on to the perfumes and cosmetics sector. She wrote and edited for the MEA, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, and various other Universities.Her works have been published in various national and international magazines, newspapers, web magazines, journals, anthologies. She is an avid animal lover too.
Geethanjali Dilip celebrates life through her soul’s expression in poetry. Her first published anthology is ‘Between Moms and Sons’ co-authored with Aakash Sagar. She contributes poems to many online pages and communities on Facebook. Her pages on Facebook are Alcove ATMA and Geethatmaa. She heads Zone Francophone, a French Coaching/ Teaching centre at Salem, India.
Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance writer, editor, content writer, book reviewer and poet. A postgraduate in Journalism and Mass Communication, she has 20 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio, television and the internet. Her poems, short stories and articles have been published in leading magazines, journals and e-books apart from featuring in anthologies. A daughter, a wife and a mother, she is the eternal optimist. Faith, friendship and family make her life complete.
Edidiong Bassey is a Nigerian.A Lawyer, Poet, Writer and Teacher.He believes in using literature(poetry) as a tool of social engineering. He is the author of ” Unbound Echoes”, a collection of poems and has contributed to some journals and anthologies of poetry amongst whom is ” A BOUQUET OF VERSE” volume 3.
Saheli Mitra is a journalist, blogger and internationally published poet and author. She is co-partner and founder of Talespin Media. Her poems have been published in several national and international printed and online anthologies. Her debut novel Lost Words was an Amazon bestseller. Her shorts stories have featured in printed collections like “Half Baked Love” and “Knitted Narratives”. She primarily writes on women issues. She also runs her Nature Group called “To Trees with Love”.
Rita Bhattacharjee is a communications consultant with extensive experience in managing corporate and internal communications for companies across diverse industries, including non-profit organizations. She is the co-founder of Mission Arogya and Arogya HomeCare and has recently relocated from the US to India to channel her skills towards social entrepreneurship to increase awareness and reduce disparity in public health.She also writes poetry, some of which have been published in reputed international journals.
Businesswoman, curator of handlooms, poet, writer, and erstwhile doctor. Payal Talreja practices everything except her involuntary ‘profession’. She claims that words chose her and are now her weapon of choice because an activist born will stay silent for no man. A wanderer, a voyager, she’s happy to slum it or luxuriate in any life experience. She crafts poems and fiercely feminist essays and will assume her ‘Chandi’ avatar to ‘write’ any wrong.
Sunila Khemchandani, a double graduate from India, now based in the Canary Islands, has several poems published in international English anthologies like Synthesis – Duet Anthology, Umbilical Cords, Aquarelle -Wall 6, Selfhood, etc. Her poems have been highly recommended. She’s a winner of the Reuel International prize for Writing and Literature, 2016, for fiction and best annual poet, 2008, in poetriesonline.com. Her anthology, ‘The Virtual Reality’ with seven poets awaits its release.
Meenakshi M. Singh is an author of three books Soulful Symphony, Aawaz and I am Enough. She is also the founder of creativeHappiness and SheTheShakti Inc. – Woman Empowerment Center, an IT professional, theater actress, mentor, mother of twin daughters and a home maker. She is conferred with the much reputed Karamveer Chakra Award, REX Global Fellowship, Magicka Women’s Achiever’s Award, Pride of Women Award by the Aagaman Group and the SashaktNari Parishad — Pride of Nation Award for her contribution.
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