Category: Creative writing.

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

And the fog

s l o w l y


upon my mind’s window


How personal can public writing be? No matter how close we are at relating and sharing our personal experiences, writing our impressions of the life around and inside us, there is a constant self demand of depersonalizing oneself; a persistent fear of sounding stupid, senseless and sentimental. In the process of looking for the thickest veil to shadow the indulging self ego, any artist is at danger of becoming insincere to his/her emotions.

Personal experiences and emotions emanating from them act as primary impulses that trigger a chain of thought, but how much emotion actually remains in the final product varies from one artist to another. And how the intensity and amount of residual emotions determine the quality of the creation is an enigma.

When people read poetry they have a natural inclination to relate the writer to the persona in the poem. To argue otherwise, seems to me fighting a lost battle. The difference in the relation of the writer to the poem needs to be taken far beyond the superficial and literal connotation. The question “what made the writer come to this vision?” seems more pertinent than taking the vision to be an exact manifestation of the writer’s experience. But the question remains, is the creative product still a reflective of one’s personality, emotions and experiences? And if it is, how far can it be a study of the writer’s life and personal traits?

Writer’s personality, if not directly reflected in the work, determines the process of the creation of a work. A reserved, self-seeking, introvert person is more likely to look for ‘objective co-relatives’ and other artistic equivalent to share his/her personal experience, as compared to a gregarious, and outspoken individual who will find the use of literary devices an unnecessary interruption in the communication of his/her first hand experience to the reader. The latter technique will produce a much simple form of poetry, though intense for a particular set of emotion and audience; in contrast to the former method where poetry takes a much complex and multiple narrative forms, opening itself to a fresh interpretation with every reading.

Similarly, writing poetry in oneself is another phenomenon where the writer enacts his or her creations, unconsciously.  How often does it happen that we come across a work of art that speaks to us despite the absence of a shared experience?  Such works stay in our sub conscious and if intemperance ensues, it leads to the work’s manifestation in one’s life. The overpowering emotion transferred from the art object rests in the recesses of the mind in search of a first hand experience. F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have lived through the plot of one of his novels. This is as if a writer can foresee the impulses, which are likely to be taken over in reality, in his/her moments of creative frenzy.

© Copyright, Tina Rathore.

I Keep a Journal. I began writing one when I was pretty young. Don’t quite remember the year. But that wasn’t a regular thing with me. In fact I soon realized that I wasn’t the diary writing material. Updating it everyday was one huge task and even today; I just can’t get myself to doing one thing for a long period of time. I always realize the futility of the task even before it takes any considerable shape. Now, I know I am possibly born with that trait and if old habits die hard, congenital ones are immortal.

That’s why when I read my entries the other day they sound to me utter trash. I often have the urge to flush it right away. I never did it but once. One evening I heard a rumor going round the hostel. “There’s a real nasty girl in the room at the end of the corridor. You’ll go crazy if you hear her story, what a…” a friend hushed to me when I asked what the matter is. Her room mates had sneaked her diary and the truth was out, whatever it was.

That night I shred every paper of my pink colored diary. It had a tiny lock which I kept as a souvenir. Today when I sit back and think about its content, I feel so distant from that person who was so scared to spill her secrets, of what? homesickness, praying god to give her hair like Rapunzel when she wakes up next morning, wishing the school to catch fire so that she’s called home, to turn into a little girl and realize that all this was a dream.

That’s the beauty of keeping a journal; you can read your thoughts after a period of time and see how at every next phase in life you have grown from what you were. Better or worst, for me, is still a matter of comprehension.

Journal Keeping has its fun. But I never like reading my past entries. Today when I read them I see how posts over the years gradually shift from personal to impersonal, from transient understanding of issues to much deeper and complex visions, from outburst to creative writing.

There were a lot many things journal keeping did not offer me, so I gave it up for good and one day suddenly, poetry came to me. Poetry writing is a very strange experience, very unlike journal writing. Now I know if I hadn’t left journal writing, I would never have written poetry.

Poetry writing is an automated process, a semi conscious event. It takes life from unknown impulses which come as a spark. It is a sudden flash when an amalgam of varied emotions comes to play which had not found a form yet. It is when images conjure up writing themselves. Journal writing doesn’t offer that. It becomes less of a creative writing as we put our feelings in primary form. We write what we think, feel and perceive. While poetry is much more than simply jotting down our perceptions, it is when our experiences ripen over time; our understanding of an event takes a different hue, takes a color of all other events in our life and surroundings and becomes an amalgamation of different images, experiences, taking a shape of its own.

Journal Keeping doesn’t allow experiences to ripen; it becomes a record of transient feelings over which we grow as time passes, while poetry takes a much complex and variant form that takes different meanings with every reading, years over years. Journal writing is something we make happen to ourselves, poetry happens to us.

© Copyright, Tina Rathore.

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