Well, I’m back this week, and for the very first time on this blog, with a poem! As those of you who are visiting from my Instagram profile may know, I used to post longform poetry on there. However, once I realised that Instagram isn’t really the best platform for poetry, longform in particular, I decided to turn this into a sort-of poetry blog where I can post that stuff! However, I still post my shorter poetry on a more frequent basis there, so you can go check that out too.
Okay, I’m done with the self-promotion XD
I encountered a lovely, thought-provoking poetry challenge on Instagram recently, in which one of the prompts was ‘roots have songs’. So here is a poem-in-a-poem-in-a-poem kinda piece that I wrote about the various things that I think define me as a person (which here, are my ‘roots’) based on Antonio Vivaldi’s violin masterpiece Four Seasons.
Basically, my process consisted of listening to each part of the song separately, and write down what sort of feelings it elicited in me, and turn that into one poem about something that defined me. Granted, some of the pieces ended up taking a very different turn, but his piece was the ‘root’ for each and every one of them.
Before I start, I’d just like to thank the hosts of the challenge, @lipstickandmiracles and @annesparrow for the inspiration 🙂
You can listen to the song here, maybe even while reading the poem to get the whole experience 😛
Four Seasons: Vivaldi
— because roots have songs.
s p r i n g
— your childhood.
there’s something that comes with reminiscing
the days you were a child— a kind of stinging sorrow
that’s a result of blissful buoyancy.
— the hours you spent with your friends
in the rain, dancing like the leads in your favourite movie,
jumping in the puddles, hair plastered to your face,
face towards the sky as you held your mouth open,
waiting for the raindrops to fill it;
but those raindrops had a will of their own
and they always fell into your eyes;
but now, you’d never do that because who’ll
pay for the ruined shoes that you spent half your salary on?
— the day you wrote your first sad song,
riddled with adjectives and alliterations
and all the melancholy metaphors
your favourite poet used; when you sang it
to your best friend, it made her cry,
and you, it made you beam with pride
but now when you try to sing that song
your voice cracks and your words slur
because you’re too used to keeping
your thoughts to yourself,
your words to yourself.
— the week when your parents were away,
so you ate twenty candies a day, unaware that
twenty years later, you’d end up being diabetic.
s u m m e r
— your home.
every time you feel like your home isn’t
your home anymore— that’s when you need one
— the time you were excited to go on a fifteen day vacation abroad,
but by the eighth night, you were tired of the beaches
and the fancy restaurants, and all you wanted was
to go back to your lifeless town in the middle of nowhere,
full of drab people you never understood,
sleep on a cot that creaked, a bed that was unmade
and eat boiled cabbage that your mother somehow managed to burn.
— your first night in your college dorm, when you said
to hell with independence and being an adult;
all you wanted was to go back home
and hear your mother scream at you all day
(do the laundry, stop playing your music so loud,
water the garden, don’t stay holed up in your room all day).
— the walls of your room which were once the canvas
for the masterpieces you drew as a four year old—
stories of princesses in pink and dragons dousing
the men who came to save her in its deadly fire,
pirates who sailed the seven seas to find an
ancient treasure which would bring them
peace and glory and gold;
the walls of the room which you then got repainted
as a teenager, to remove any trace of your childish naivety,
because you denounced the stories
of princesses who couldn’t save themselves,
and wealthy chests that they claimed would be an answer
to all of life’s problems, and in their place
you put up posters of your favourite bands—
bands that sang cynical songs about broken hearts
and broken minds
(all in all you’re just another brick in the wall);
and now when you visit your parents for
a week in six months, you stare at the bare walls
of your room, traces of the posters you tore out
the day before you moved out of home, still visible,
(just another brick in the wall)
and laugh ruefully about the phases and fancies
you had as a teenager.
f a l l
— your f
death and decay comes before rebirth
the same way faith comes before betrayal;
before every rise comes the most terrible fall
(and the falls that hurt the most are the ones
in which you betray yourself to the world).
— when you hated looking at yourself in the mirror
for those two years, because your parents had
told you all your life that you were the most beautiful child,
but you couldn’t fathom how chubby cheeks ridden with pimples
and eyes the precise shade of grey as a tombstone
could ever be beautiful.
— when all your life you were taught to proclaim what you feel,
embrace what you believe—
and then you entered the real world where you learned
that it’s better to keep quiet and move with the herd sometimes,
pull your fur coat tighter ‘round your waist, put your head down,
let your hair down on your face and live the rest of your life
as a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing.
— when you learn that there are some things
about us humans that are simply broken beyond repair
and that nothing can save us from ourselves—
for what is even the noblest of revolutions
but a product of the human philosophy?
w i n t e r
— a part of you that you never knew.
they say that you, you are made up of the universe.
it is perhaps merely a statement to stroke your ego,
but if it’s true, there’ll always be a part of you
that you’ll never know.
— the time you earned your first ‘salary’ as a seven year old,
selling artwork in your neighbourhood to earn, just enough
to buy yourself three candy bars and a bottle of juice, but
when you saw a homeless man sitting
outside the grocery store, you pushed the coins into his palm
without a second thought and walked away
before he could take a look at your face
(or the tears that threatened to slip out of your eyes).
— the time that you told your mother you hated her
and shut yourself in your room all night,
even later, when you heard her cry for two hours straight—
because she refused to pay for a ticket to your favourite band’s concert.
— and every single time you kept your mouth shut
when you should’ve used it to scream out loud,
but oh what if it’s really nothing and you end up crying wolf—
besides, if it’s really as bad as you think it is,
someone else who sees it’ll say something
(is everyone in this world really blind, deaf, dumb
and every single time you said something when
you knew you should’ve kept your mouth shut—
but oh what if you end up seeming blind, deaf, dumb
because every single person in the world
can’t be wrong, can they, (and you’ve been taught all your life
to stand up for what’s right).
. . .
. . .
. . .
Well, that was my paltry attempt at being poetic, haha. That aside, a lot of things I mentioned here stem from personal experience. If you feel like you had some of these experiences as well, leave a comment telling me which ones! Also, do tell me which of the four parts was your favourite.
Thanks for your time and patience this week, lovely reader! Already can’t wait for the next Sunday 😛