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Poems by Nelvagal Nalini

Incense Maker

>From light to night,
In the shadows of her hovel,
Covered in palm and husk,
She rubs and rolls the dense, gray
A drop of heady oil now and then,
Shaping and pulling, folding and twirling
Until it yields like a repentant child.
Rows of black soldiers
All on rattan sticks waiting
For tomorrow’s Sun.
Then, dried and brittle and bunched,
(Like Crusoe’s days),
They are to burn,
Singly, each
Scenting some serene God.
The God in all His wisdom,
Partakes of this curling scent,
And sends to the palm and husk hovel
Poverty, with peace and content.


This is my earth.

With a night sky of Prussian with diamonds

Where I stand. Has yours?

My earth drapes me with a perfumed

Wind as I stand in the warm summer

Rain. Does yours?

My earth embraces that struggling

Weak seedling I cast away,

Nurturing it into a giving banyan

Does yours?

My earth gives martyrs and sinners that

Same safe final home

Forgiving, forgiving. Does yours?

Her moods change with the seasons

Loving, laughing. Yours too?

Then it’s our earth! Our one!

Not that fragmented, muddy, war

Stained, trampled, bloodied, mess!

Puppets All.

They dance and they revel,
Sweet emotions driven
By the play of an Unseen Hand;

Like the thunder and rain ,
And Every and All,
Puppets in Nobody land.

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Biographical sketch: As a practising gynaecologist in urban India,I am touched by the lives of the women I meet.

Nelvagal Nalini recommends:

Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore

Reason: A book about true love ,physical or spiritual, as the reader interprets it. The fluid beauty
inspires me to further a search for my higher Self.

Recommendations for writers:

Poetry is best while in that emotional space, where, the theme is a visual experience in a kind of virtual reality.


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