Tag Archives: Love

Writing Bhakti poetry- A first attempt

In our Indian Literature classes in College this semester, we’re reading a lot about the Bhakti Movement in India, reading the poems, talking about the poets, and diverging into various angles from here. My earlier post was about a Bhakti poem ‘The Paradigm’ that I really love, written by the Tamil poet, Nammalvar.

Our next exercise was to actually write a Bhakti poem. At the beginning it seemed impossible. We began by thinking what would be the craziest thing we would do if we were in love. No rules, no expectations, no holding back. It could be anything! What would you do?
There are a great many stories of what Bhakti poets did. They didn’t care about what the rest of the world thought of them, broke society’s expectations of gender, rules, and norms, creating their own relationship with god with no middle-man.

There is so much more to Bhakti poetry, and this post does no justice to the scope and beauty of Bhakti poetry, and the movement. Only reading about the poets, their lives, and actually going through the poems will give one a sense of what it has to offer, is my opinion.

I began writing, and within fifteen minutes, I wrote my first poem.
I wrote another one a few days after which I will post soon.
Here is the first:

Now

At this moment. here and now.
Nothing can stop me.

Not the racing bikes.
Not the barking dogs at my feet.
No, not even the staring passers by.

I won’t stop running towards you,
for nothing can stop me.

Not my parents, not my friends.
Not the rules, the codes and expectations.
No, not even myself.

I won’t stop running towards you,
for I know nothing else.

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I do not love you- A poem by Pablo Neruda

Here’s one of my best loved poems. I find Neruda’s work very deep, and there are so many layers to his poems. Each time I read a poem of his, there’s something new that I see in it.

(XVII) I do not love you

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

by Pablo Neruda

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