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Unposted Narratives — Four Poems by Yashasvi Gaur

Nov 27, 2019

Yashasvi Gaur presents four of her poems under the title of “Unposted Narratives.” Each of the poems, although unique and specific, maintain a common thread in what the poet calls “an attempt to trace some fragments that could allude to aspects of Homelands.” The poet writes in a versified response at “times of distress” when “art transcends as a voice of dissent, dirge, and rebellion.” Here she offers solidarity through the poetic voice, while recognizing that “the continued imposition of the Indian government and its people on the Valley is ruthless and forceful.”

Introduction

Yashasvi Gaur presents four of her poems under the title of “Unposted Narratives.” Each of the poems, although unique and specific, maintain a common thread in what the poet calls “an attempt to trace some fragments that could allude to aspects of Homelands.” The poet writes in a versified response at “times of distress” when “art transcends as a voice of dissent, dirge, and rebellion.” Here she offers solidarity through the poetic voice, while recognizing that “the continued imposition of the Indian government and its people on the Valley is ruthless and forceful.”

In her own explanation, the poem “Conversations” is “an imagined dialogue between two lovers from different lands and the attachment that results with said lands.” The poem is followed by “Beauty and Sadness,” according to the poet, is a collection “of opposing and collapsing imageries joined toegether to form a disintegrated whole,” with the title being inspired from Yasunari Kawabata’s work also titled “Beauty and Sadness.” The third poem, entitled “Hands”, is “dedicated to women falling prey to every failed system/peoples/government” and as such, it is “an event of coming back like a ‘shinx’,” parallel to the verses of poet Meena Kandasamy when she writes “My Kali kills. My Draupadi strips…” Finally, “Postponement” is about “waiting to be free, a call for ‘Azadi’” in the land “where orchards with people and their rights.”

Conversations

I asked him,
Would you love me one day?
More than you love your land?

He said:
My land is a palimpsest of struggles.
My soil is an unequal blend of sweat and blood,
Blood spilled to fight the fascist regime,
Sweat poured to resist the rulers.
My land is love.
No, it's not a song of glory,
It's a thread of folksongs
in a language you won't understand.
It's a swell of throats, parched and powerful singing of a thirst for freedom.
It's a crop sown by farmers.
My land is a struggle.
My land is a dirge.
It is my mother and my lover.
Tell me, how can I love you
more than I love my land?

 

Beauty and Sadness

(i)
Beauty and sadness;
a fragment of your breath,
lingering in my memory
An autumn grief,
swept by unexpected rains.

(ii)
Beauty and sadness,
Slow induced silence.
A whispered tear
lost in the air like
broken histories

(iii)
Soft parched skin
flakes on the skull of a new born
The dryness, the beauty
Coalesced death in birth

(iv)
Beauty and sadness,
A taste in my mouth;
infusions of your love.
Blended, not merged
A relationship like ours
Beauty and sadness;
a lost memory
infringement of wars

(v)
Your arms on your deathbed
a dead tree bearing tiny flowers
Are you the dead tree,
or the struggling flowers?

(vi)
A torn skirt, a slit throat,
my fingers yearning for yours.
Beauty and sadness;
like Darwish celebrating the beloved's
essence in his mouth
"Like a festival", he said
"Like a war", I say
Is this a festival in war, Rita?

 

Hands

They tell me that I'm growing,
Eyes pinching and brooding.
Like a tiger hunting,
Like a hawk craving.

They tell me they want a taste of me.
Hands reaching down my throat.
Trying to conclude with measurements,
pinching my skin and rippling my will to live.

Beasts, hunters, police
Governments, brothers,
lovers, uncles, cousins,
Hawkers, teachers, drivers,
Employees, loved ones?

They tell me they are worried about my body,
Wanting me to be their momentary mannequin
They want to excavate desire from my skin
My rooted, subtle, soft, violent
Desire.

My mother told me
my body belongs to no one.
My mother tells me my Body
belongs to no one.
Not-even-me

Self, where's my self?
The fish tank devoid of water.
The body devoid of desire.

So I come back,
Back to excavate my desires
From this ruthless world of yours.
So I come back
Fire on my tongue and flowers in my hair
So I come back,
Back to hunt you down.
Back to burn them.
So I come back,
Naked, exposed, undesirable
hair on my body like an animal
Sweat on my skin, clusters clinging fearlessly.
So I come back
to tell you
that mouthful desire you tried to gulp down is fire, that desire is a sphinx.
That desire, my beloved men
Is my answer to your inhumanity.
It would kill you;
Slowly, harmlessly, painfully.

No, I'm not any artist's ink
Nor any writer's muse.
I'm my own,
I belong to the forests full of fire
You burned down years back.
I didn't drown,
I persist, we persist.

 

Postponement

The day recedes,
We sit and wait for the morning of freedom
We sit and wait for the morning of freedom
Father's broken glasses, replaced with a fresh one
Amma's torn sari replaced with a patchwork
We sit, and we wait
Until the clocks disperse,
And the little chickens in our backyard grow into roosters
The transitions in time multiplying our culture and strengthening our will to be free.
We were born to the Jhelum,
And we die in the Jhelum,
But no one can stop our voices to be born again.
Our children will find the freedom,
our pens will find a sheet of paper
to write our pain in the history.
For this pain will soon be replaced by war,
An innocent war which we keep on fighting in our hearts.
For you will go back, once you see
that we aren't tired, and we'll never be.

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About the Contributor

Yashasvi is a research scholar in Jadavpur University in Kolkata. Although based in Kolkata currently, she yearns for a ‘home’ and a lost sense of belongingness. Literature and insanity keeps her sane while she remains deeply embossed in poetry, pain, and pleasure. Coming from Bikaner, a small town in Rajasthan explains her long lethargic battle to smash and stand tall against patriarchy. Travelling places and swapping apartments taught her about the bitter truths of life. She is among those people who linger for finding meaning in the little things. Writing is like breathing for her, which she explains ‘sometimes come out in fragments, while sometimes like an incessant puddle of emotions after a long hefty morning run’. She writes about simple arenas of life and how it unfolds into myriad philosophies. Her writing contains a dialectic relationship between what we are and what we want to be. Her last short story was published in an anthology by Half Baked Beans.

“Remember, remember
13th of July,
Martyrs of Kashmir
and their sacrifice
who bore witness
with the crimson skies
Heroes of Kashmir
who paid the price.
Remember, remember
13th of July
Remember, remember
13th of July.”

—from: 13th of July, MC Kash

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