Poems by Devika

A Solitary Sun

a poem by Devika

Dig runnels into my heart, Grief,
Let all the agony flow;
The pool of Life is deep
And into it must go
All that the Sacred Ones teach:

Give me a measure for sorrow
A cup to apportion pain;
Let me drop by drop deal out,
Today and yet again,
Another flagon of tomorrow:

I cried because I felt alone
As a leaf dropped
And drifting with the wind;
Till on the wind
I found reprieve, unknown:

I have the wind to speak to,
A pool rests in my hands,
In my heart a golden solitude,
And in my soul the Sun stands…

Standing Still : Dharma

a poem by Devika

I watched the Tree
day after day,
growing from its little seed-
A cataclysm set it free
in silence
from its prison in the seed-

Its tender shoot
wavered up
through the rough dry soil-
Ready to move through
unknown space,
undertake unknown toil-

The sun was bright
its heat and glare were new-
The night was known
as the womb from which it grew-

The parched spell
lasting long
taught the Tree resilience-
The solitude around
lay waiting
sharing its silence-

And when the monsoon came
wet, cold, welcome,
Slaking months of thirst-
There was a pond around
the Tree
which hadn’t been there first-

When the puddles dried
in warmth
after the rain had passed-
There were sprouts
around it,
perhaps this was called grass-

So quietly the years
of growth
of finding Self went on-
Till one morning
a wayfarer
in its deep shade sat down-

A gentle sigh went
through the leaves:
My Purpose was ordained-
Now I know what lay
in my sap,
what seed contained-

I simply grew, instinct-led,
no thought
of outcome or recompense-
I felt the sky, the soil
the rain,
the solitude, silence-

Absorbing into me the whole
in fragments
when each came my way-
Observing, accepting,
not judging
the prospect of each day-

I am an Old One now
and watch
the little ones around-
Fighting the elements,
seeking reasons,
freedom from this ground-

And wonder if I was right
or are they:
or is there a right or wrong-
Was it always like this,
or am I
still groping my way along?

My Inner Land

a poem by Devika

I tell myself I do not hurt,
Not any more, not again;
When Life finds a new scalpel
To test the margins of pain-
This surgery is intended
To heal me, I tell myself;
But how often must I survive
Every anaesthetic table-
Let me scream out my agony;
Why must my eyes run dry?
Who has placed this moratorium
On my need to cry?

For too long there has been no respite,
For too long there has been no rain-
The harvest in my soul has garnered
Even the husk, not merely the grain…

In God’s Hell

a poem by Devika

Let my silence write
into the sand, not stone,
the tired disgust of being Man-
Of sharing this earth
with you and you
who have killed your fellow man-
And pain for those
you have not killed
but left a festering life-
To seethe in anger
despair and fear
waiting to take your life-

I am no saint, not I,
I left my trail of wounds-
But none for which my God should die
and I be left alone…

My Recipe for Life

a poem by Devika

Into this cauldron let me throw
A few slices of childhood,
Slivers of young laughter,
Dreams that line the sky;
Then follow it with questions
Diced into different shapes;
A few adolescent agonies
Over which tears never dry;
Now in goes all the turbulence
Of a shredded youth,
And add assorted spices
Marinated in days of grief;
And let the fire simmer
Into the later years,
Sprinkle over it the wisdom
Of the dried mature leaf-
Stir into it resilience,
And the sauce of faith,
The gravy can be thickened
With trust that does not move;
I add a dash of hope here,
A little pinch of work,
And serve it hot for two
With a garnish of love!


a poem by Devika

How do I lay my love down
in the dust for you to tread upon?
How do I let my heart lie
open to rain and sun and sky?
How do I tell you today
you hurt me so deeply yesterday?
How do I gather the rags
of dignity into my tattered bags?

Answer me, love, for I am reality:
Strength, not fragility.

I make no promises easily,
that come from realms of fantasy.
Truth stands by itself
seeking no pedestal, no shelf.
Do you accept this love of mine
without the gloss and the shine?
Will your heart arrange
to accept mine without a change?

Answer me, love, I am your soul:
Unfragmented, integral, whole.

Virtual Reality

a poem by Devika

Why do you force my heart
to make boundaries,
to draw fences non-existent-
These lines you dig
into the waters of my life:
Futile as foam-flecks-
Why stretch barb wire
that differentiates you and me,
Enclosing me into camps
my conscience rejects?
I feel the pain arrowing in your chest,
the drag of sighs in your breath.
If that is reality
then what is this-
Which says I must delight in your pain
and call it Victory
and Righteousness?
Death must be right
or it would not be-
But is it mine to bestow?
Does it carry the colours of Victory;
is my hand right, or yours?
When you and I and this plot of land
are all reduced to silence?
Give me the answers:
You who know the limits of your ignorance,
and can believe a rarer world
exists in you and me
Unbounded by our little laws
claiming divinity, waving flags:
Virtual reality?

At my own risk

a poem by Devika

The Salesman looked tired
his eyes showed surprise,
was this the piece you wanted?
And at such a price?
It’s been on this dusty shelf
for a long, long time;
They normally take those,
the ones tested and tried.
There will be no discounts, you see,
no bargains are allowed;
why don’t you move to that counter, dear,
the one where there’s a crowd?
That is where they all go,
because there are warranties:
things like comfort, happiness
and togetherness guaranteed.
And this one has a tag attached:
it says At Your Own Risk-
You had better move over, lady,
where business is more brisk!

I took the piece and cradled it
between my broken palms;
it glowed and trembled in my hands
as if a life was born-
It spoke of pain and grief and death
it spoke of hurts unnamed;
It whispered that in its heart lay
deep fires untamed
Which I could not contain today
nor tomorrow douse;
It told me to be very sure
for it might burn my house-
And leave me naked, burnt, lost,
without a friend around,
but I would never be the same
as before this gift was found!

In hesitation and fear I turned
to find the Salesman gone-
He forgot to tell me that
on touch it was my own!
The Gift has burnt me deep inside,
it’s broken every chain,
It has lifted me to sublimity,
regardless of the pain-
I wanted then to shake it’s hold,
but it wouldn’t move-
I hunted for its name and found
that it was called Love…

Into your House

a poem by Devika

I need a spoonful of folly
to lighten this daily dose
of achievers-
Something seeks simplicity
away from the intellect
and its postures-

There are silences inside
which long to be heard;
Stillness felt by the spirit,
untouched by the herd…

When I am in Communion,
leave my solitude be
with itself-
Don’t seek to jostle it
with the ‘I’ that clutters
your shelf-

Give me a faith beyond
inner conversation;
Bring me the insights
of another Visitation…

Disrobe this Spirit before
it enters Your House,
in humility-
Mantle it with Your light,
for it has reached

Into Myself

a poem by Devika

This rivulet of Life,
a little stream,
trickled into Being
for purpose unknown-
A few dry patches,
cobbled beds,
some rocky patches,
then mighty grown-
White flecked,
red churning,
sparkling blue,
green reflections deep-
A piece of sky,
some rainbows there,
cloud softened
tree patterns creep-
Meandering through
the faults,
and crashing past
jutting rocks of Time-
Seeking ever,
unsure of banks,
its Mate, the Sea,
to find-
This rivulet of Life
to significance grows,
Finding itself and its Mate,
Into Itself it flows…


a poem by Devika

These wounds ache, the new ones,
next to the old scars you healed-
I seek places of solitude
where I can lick them, concealed-
I am not ashamed of these,
endowed with a fierce pride
Of a belonging beyond comfort,
Beyond an ego destroyed-
This is not destruction:
it is a rising, phoenix-like,
From ashes holding embers still,
alive, ready to ignite-
What were You who came to me
in the stillness of evening;
Walking through the corridors
of silent communion-
I have sought so many answers
and found so many lies;
You came as Truth and lay beside
my conscience and my sighs-
You, the answer, the question, You-
did my thoughts find body or Yours?
Did You seek me or I You,
Or did the Flood take its course?

My Silent Tune

a poem by Devika

When did I notice
how dispensable I am,
how little I truly matter-
Who are the people
who stand up for me,
who fight my little battle-
Where do I go
if neglected I feel,
if disappointment tinges my life-
Whose shoulder do I rest
my weariness on today
when beset by inner strife-
Whom do I ask
about nebulous fears,
about cares which have no name-
How do I cry
when the heart dies,
drowned in an excess of pain-
Why do I seek
excuses for those
who seek to open my wound-
When I will sing
where harmony abides,
a song set to my silent tune-

The Heart of a Seed

a poem by Devika

You speak to me of non-violence,
You speak to me of peace,
You speak to me of utopia,
Do you truly think it is?

How many lives have we lived,
How many millennia gone,
How many wars and battles old,
What changes undergone?

Where go the dreams shredded,
Where hopes mauled lie,
Where nostalgia withers,
What makes hearts die?

There is a place for violence
In the heart of seeds,
A breaking forth, a tearing,
A rupture that bleeds-

And then emerges a newness,
A life is born in pain,
A raw, tender shoot struggles
To find a name again…


a poem by Devika

Standing on the brink of solitude
I wonder if I should drown or swim-
There are possibilities I must explore:
Perhaps I should swim ashore,
Onto the sands of your dreams
Glinting in the distance, inviting;
I am tempted beyond reason,
Beyond the fragments of reality-
And then I look into the pools
Of isolation swirling at my feet,
Drawn into their silent depths,
For here too you abide-
How welcome would that drowning be!
The search for you has ended here-
At the brink of this Infinity
Where you have melded into me-
Where silence is the speech I seek
Memory my companion,
My currents have flowed
Into this sea,
Into you…

With You

a poem by Devika

When I am not with you
I am like smoke curled around your hearth,
Living in yesterday’s embers,
With promise of fire tomorrow-

When I am not with you
I am like the breeze around your house,
With memories fluttering down,
And the shoots of tomorrow-

When I am not with you
I am the whisper in your heart,
Speaking of gentleness gone by,
Holding the tenderness of tomorrow-

Was there a time ever without you
When I am with you forever…