Poems by Hema Rangaswamy


a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

Wherever I went his gaze followed me
my every breath,
my every movement,
was shadowed by his ubiquitous eyes.

He became my second shadow
whenever I met his eyes
his eyes passed eloquent messages

I could understand love
but, why sympathy?
I became his shadow soon
at one point of time
our shadows enjoyed each
other’s company

“Why?” I asked him
he did not reply
“How?” I enquired
he shrugged his shoulders
beyond ‘whys’ and ‘hows’
our magnetism blazed

One day he asked me
“Are you willing to come with me?”
“I will travel to the ends of this
world to be with you”

He smiled,
“Will you come with me out of this world?”

Slowly the truth dawned
now I understood his sympathy

He was my messenger of death.


a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

Eyes portray their owner’s traits
they possess an identity of their own.

Some eyes have fathomless depths,
that veil unrevealed mysteries.

Some eyes scorch you like fire,
to weave a web of enchantment.

Some eyes betray secrets,
to conceal pent up emotions.

Some eyes wander without a goal,
that makes you shiver with disgust.

Some eyes sheath an inner glow,
that lights up without electricity.

Rarely I encounter a pair,
gifted with warm empathy.

They mirror an untarnished soul,
that peeks out through their eye windows.


a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

“What are you doing?” people enquire me
“Who are you?” I enquire myself
Known faces and false smiles

everyone a stranger

All keeping safe inside their
own boundaries and barriers

Their eyes probing deep
prodding for secrets

Dispensing quick advice with ease
masking their false facades

Sometimes, my reflection in the mirror
seems to be the strangest of all

I smile at the mirror
wondering if it looks false too

I feel disgusted by my smile

Line of Control

a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

Line of control – a slender line
stating boldly “You do not belong here “

A step ahead and you are alien
tears kiss the cheeks
more often than a creasing smile.

A thin bondage nurtured
lies crudely broken.

One more gruesome war
enters the blood sodden pages of history
– of war and fears
– of blood and tears
deeply etched forever.

Time heals everything – to a certain extent
but, never a misplaced trust.

The Vase, abandoned

a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

The market was crowded
people arguing in shrill voices.

I picked up a beautiful vase
I heard a voice crying,”I saw it first”,

Admiring the vase I turned
my smile vanished
he too, lost his voice.

Time stood ticking by
bringing back old memories.

Our eyes linked painfully
passing eloquent messages.

“Mummy!!”, my daughter
tugged at my saree
“Darling!”, crooned his wife
we came back to the present.

I placed the vase down,
without looking back at him
we parted our separate ways.

The vase lying untouched,
abandoned by a couple of lovers.

Lonely library

a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

Blazing rays of sun
Beat on the brazen earth
I run quickly to take cover
Inside the decrepit library

Perspiration soaks my dress
I pin up my wayward hair
Weaving my way through shelves
Library had a sole occupant

He was jotting down notes
Unperturbed by my intrusion
Rubbing his spectacles to and fro on his nose
I stood under the fan
Its noise making a mockery of silence
I felt a pair of eyes on my back
The sound of scraping chair
Intuitively I make way for him
Disinterestedly I looked at him
He removed his glasses and
Sent a long, sensuous look at me
His eyes were sheer magic
They left me dazed
I dropped slowly to the floor, spellbound.


a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

I still remember those beautiful days
that remain as fresh as a new leaf in me

The day we built castles on sand
Rushing to shield them from waves

The ice-cream we shared on a rainy day
that brought spasms of cough

The breakfast we prepared together
cracking every piece of cutlery

The old melodies we listened to
humming off key in unison

The aimless fight I had with you
shouting behind each other’s backs

The streak of rainbow we saw
sighing disappointedly when it vanished

The way you taught me everything
and left me to tackle the reins

Your memory lingers everywhere
like pages of book that turn in wind

You may not be with me now
but, your caring ways soothe me
bringing fresh tears now and then.


a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

Yearn to catch that special, special smile
only for me across a million eyes

An urgent comforting nod for me
accepting things as they are

The livid fury that dared anyone
to cross swords with me

A quick pat on my bent back
when my insides twist in agony

Exasperated anger that managed
to hint at my faults silently

A mischievous grin that reassured
the beginning of a truce

A pillar of comfort offered gently
when my hope turns to despair

What would I have done, Dearest
save for thy presence besides me.


a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

The night was romantic
the breezes were gentle
the blossoms were whispering secrets to the wind

The sight of the moon was intoxicating
the sands gleamed white in the subtle dark

I was walking beside the ocean
with the white waves caressing my feet

Moonlight highlighted the beach
deeply engrossed in some thoughts
I bent down to gather a smooth pebble

a shadow distracted my thoughts
I looked up as if in a trance
There was he,
with his windblown hair and laughing eyes
he disarmed me with a melting smile

He slowly took my hands to his lips
a hot flush ran over my body
a sensation startled me
it was not the feel of his lips

The sight of me at the bottom of my bed.

So what?

a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

So what, if people shake your hands and
cut your throat with the same smile

So what, if your friend forgets kinship
and becomes your arch rival in life

So what, if the gods conspire against you
persistently bringing your efforts down

So what, if there are men carrying vengeance
to seek you out in the dark

So what, if a short stumble you made
makes you the laughing stock of the day

So what, if the whole world is hot on trail
avidly watching every mistake you make

Ugly hands of life may pull you down once
Wheels of time will push your dollar up

Nothing permanent stays in this vast earth
Except the changes that oil the machine of living.

Every time

a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

Every time I gaze at you
I lose a vital part of me
Shouting for recognition
Demanding your love in return
a soothing touch,
a feathery glance,
an electrifying smile
Anything except this cold silence
The wall between us
growing high with every step
we pass each other
warily regarding the other’s look
as to who will break the ice
exchanging false smiles
turning swiftly to hide the hurt
the knife of your refusal
twisting deeper with your neglect
this heart lying forsaken
growing desolate day by day.

Rain drops

a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

Rain drops slither down roof tops
sprinkling water drops all over me
I open my umbrella and venture outside
a shuffle distracts my attention
my fleeting eyes rest on a pair of
smouldering eyes like black diamonds
waves of magnetism shroud the air
the guy held out a hand for umbrella
I sway waveringly – my poise altered
I hand over the umbrella to him
our hands touched a slow fire cruised
down my veins and set fire works ablaze
we walked in unison with rain as the sole mate
time stood still and every step was a memory
all we remembered were snide looks
sneaked through wet lashes and
some occasional brush of hands

A beautiful house loomed ahead
distracted ,I move away from his restraint
I stopped and looked at him
he took his hand inside his coat
handed me a solitary rose shining with dew
my heart rose in a rush of euphoria
my smile made him off guard and he grinned
slipped a ring on to my finger
I went with him – the man of my future


a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

Plethora of smiles

a smile of apology
a smile of guilt
a smile reeking of falsity
a smile daring to fight
a smile of awkwardness
a smile of belongingness
a smile to seal relations
a smile to severe ways

your face might have carried
all these and more

some false, some cruel,
some painful,some mirthless,
some for the occasion,
some for the relation,

the only smile I can recall
that brought warmth to me

the smile I had as a baby.


a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

You comb your wet hair in the sun
tiny drops clinging on your tendrils
fall on me like rivulets of rain
I try to capture them fast
but they dry very soon
just like your mercurial love
your comb brushes strand by strand
pulling, weaving in a harsh motion
I feel as if I am punished
you glance down at me
comb poised half way in shock
hurriedly walk inside to recover
few wisps of your hair
fall gently on my face – valueless
like my unrequited love.

My Child, Forever

a poem by Hema Rangaswamy

It feels like yesterday
that I gave birth to you.

All my pain was forgotten
when you made a small whimper.

A beautiful creation – so tiny
wriggled in my hands.

Slowly, the bud developed petals
blossoming sweetly every day.

You snuggled in my lap
went to sleep holding my fingers.

Even in your deep sleep
your tiny hands seeked my warmth.

You took your first step before me
hands spread to maintain balance.

And, your steps moved on
to conquer me and others.

Now, after so many years
you tower over me.

Your hands now guide me
when I am learning to step out.

You watch over my each step
and I recall your tiny steps.

You have become my guide
and taken the role of my mother.

your hands still seek me in your sleep.

I know that you will always be my child.