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Half-inch Poetry

Reluctant footsteps
at my door
should I ask him in?


Unfinished poems
at my bedside
I will miss evenings like these
smell of virgin rims


Unfinished bedside poems
to pause,


is to end


I write
to remember
to forget


I live life
life lives me
Both lives-
are they mine?


A thousand
inside me


Last Night
I made a wish to
a flickering bulb
far away

Sky was thick with black clouds.


Time and Time Again

Puppets by John Martindale@

the Shake
speare stage
is set

other handker
chief mischief

other harm
onized madness

yet another
war over
poetic justice

The Trojan Battle
The Lankan Army
Henry’s politic-o’-love

yet another
agni pariksha
pyre sacrifice

same questions
same answers

– of love
that lasts

Copyright, Tina Rathore

My mother always says, “It would be difficult growing up, but you must.”

“Don’t Grow up … There are too many rules and restrictions” –   Hugh Hefner

“It was then that I declared, resolved, and determined that I would never under any circumstances be a politician, much less a grocer; that I would stop right there, remain as I was–and so I did; for many years I not only stayed the same size but clung to the same attire.”

Oskar Matzerath, the protagonist of Gunter Grass’ The Tin Drum recounts his third birthday when he decided to “stop right there”- in that moment of time and space, in that year. Oskar willingly stops himself from growing above the age of three. His unwillingness to grow during the times when losing innocence was vital for survival justifies his resolution.

We too, like Oskar, have moments of personal insights when we wish we could keep the day to ourselves and stop where we are. The feeling gets stronger with every passing year and often a part of us resolves not to grow. While we confront every next birthday that marks another year gone, we choose not to keep track of numbers anymore. B’days become redundant, uninvited, burdensome.

Growing up is difficult, I agree with mother, but why “must” we grow? Can we not seize a part of ourselves, and keep it entirely to our own?  And as we keep losing ourselves in the process of ‘growth’, can’t be become less careless about things we have and want to have?

Time grows; and grows fast. In the moment of (in)decisiveness of growing and not willing to grow, we are huddled into the mechanical process, often losing track of ourselves. As we grow, years appear to shrink and days pass by like a freight train. When I was a kid, every single day seemed a thousand years long; every year, a light year apart. Every moment offered a life altering vision, every experience was life itself, and every other person appeared to gift something irreplaceable. Every day was a birthday.

Sometimes, while sitting on my favorite childhood bench, carelessly observing the surroundings with overburdened eyes and reading the daily newspaper, I suddenly hear the chirping of birds and the distant dog barks, the rattling of kitchen utensils, unexpected chuckles of my grandmother, and the sound of a silent wind, and for a moment, I am in the time which I thought to have left far behind,  I am a child patiently imbibing the world around me, listening to the careless sounds, at peace with myself and the world.

Such fraction of moments, which get rarer with age, are life altering; they bring upon a realization that time is stagnant, and so is the world, and we are growing up, and growth is taking away everything that was once beautiful. In that moment of time travel, I want to be like Oskar- stay where I am; seize time and care no more about losing it; retaining innocent vision and watch the world outgrowing its apparel.

With another birthday, I am not sure whether to take heed of my mother’s advice and resist my irresistible passion for immobility or succumb to my world that refuses to grow beyond this year.

Painting by Debra Hurd @

day I

bailed out


clouds held back your tears
thunder outcried you
lightning hit flashes
in your eyes
sky wore
of your skin


Will you

come out
play with me
raise castles of wet clay

I am
in memories
of days
that never were.

Copyright, Tina Rathore

Listen to Aram Saroyan’s Crickets

Aram Saroyan’s poetry may evade any poetry enthusiast reading for a coherent meaning in and between the lines. His one-line poems may seem outlandish and vague to many. When I first came across his oeuvre, I was stuck by the idea of communication through symbol; and they called it poetry.

Poetry, it is.

No matter how much we like to enjoy an art form without delving into its intricacies, It is true, that its impact grows manifold when we relate, understand and “lemon squeeze” it. We are constantly, consciously or unconsciously, on a look out for a meaning.

When I read Aram Saroyan’s poetry, I couldn’t put my mind to rest until I could decode the symbol, people call poetry. If coding decoding is poetry, as someone at would like to call “code is poetry” ( being technically challenged, I would refrain from commenting on the quote within the implications it is used at, allow me to take it vice versa), then the best way to enjoy it is to deconstruct the Derridian signifier-signified of the symbol. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring critical tenets to poetry, no matter how sacrilegious it may seem. Everything, afterall, is a quest for meaning.

Being an avid pessimist, I yearn for meaning in nullity; nihilism in reason. I guess that’s the reason why Saroyan’s poem (never mind if you think it isn’t one) Crickets drew me to its depths. A one-word poem running repeatedly until the end of the page, it runs beyond an ordinary understanding of a regular poem. If you read the poem, you are likely to shrug and conclude: this is nuisance! It doesn’t make sense.

I agree, it doesn’t. Yet, I insist it does.

The poem holds in itself a moment of epiphany. It occurs as a spark when you suddenly, for a fraction of second, pull down your hand-me-down glasses and see the world with your own vision. The recitation of the poem makes the experience unforgettable.

Crickets are the symbol of hope. They chirp monotonously after the rains, and even amidst the mundane ear itching sound, there is a message of rain. There is a meaning in recurrence, in monotonous chirping, in every chirp which may sound the same but is different. The rendition of Aram Saroyan’s Crickets is a reflection of that meaning. Every next word, even if it is the same, comes to life as an independent entity with its own meaning, as you hear it.

The poem is an art form of Nietzsche’s philosophy of ‘eternal return’- the belief “that this life as we live it at present, and have lived it; we will have to live it again once more, and also innumerable times; and there will be nothing new in it but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh, and all the unspeakably small and great in our life must come to us again, and all in same series and sequence, and that “the recurrence will recur ad infinitum.”

It is this recurrence that would occur ad infinitum, that is reflected in the poem. Nietzsche asks “Isn’t such a recurrence where you cannot change anything a burden?” With this poem, Saroyan answers that if at all it is a burden, it can be made bearable by opening ourselves to the possible visions of the world, in and about us.

Copyright, Tina Rathore

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