The Lotus Under My Feet

Uncertainty hovers in the air
like the morning drizzle that fails to touch the earth:
pinpricks disappear into the trees,
the neem tree gathers these slants of silver lights
                                                 into her bosom.
                                                          
You       chopped      the        tree
because you could not see the sky, you stood there
pointing fingers: the same ones leathered with age
grasped mine in desire.             I saw the tree fall:

the severed arms reached to the sky.
Tell me how is a tree different from the sky?
Desire of an older man cannot be mistaken for affection,
the heat of the afternoon singed my soul leaving charred traces
where you touched. I saw the sun descend 
                                          to strike you. 
                                                                                  
                                                                      At the beach
the waves kissed my feet, the sky was Constable’s peachy one
too tranquil for my tropical horizon.
I felt hollow like the water wash: on that clear day
I accosted you for breach of trust.           And I turned away.

The water lay like an unfurled carpet that I stepped on:
where I walked lotus bloomed.

                                                  Beyond the hills
the Kaveri a clear shimmer of mercury,  
but downhill sullied she flows to the sea
where I stand on my lotus to welcome her.  

(Kaveri is a river that rises in the Brahmagiri hills of Kodagu, runs through
the Deccan plateau across the two South Indian states of Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu to enter the Bay of Bengal.)

‘Pink Lotus’ : acrylic on canvas by Christian Biener

We Write Poems

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7 thoughts on “The Lotus Under My Feet

  1. Uma, I followed your narrative, such a lyrical imagination of desire, betrayal and it’s great how you reflect the feelings in nature.

  2. Your poetry is always so rich in description and emotion, Uma. I particularly like:
    “The water lay like an unfurled carpet” and
    “the Kaveri a clear shimmer of mercury”

  3. it’s hard to imagine this as coming out of a prompt, and especially one so prescriptive.
    I’ve no way to connect with your central narrative, but the statement “Desire of an older man cannot be mistaken for affection”, so flat in comparison to the precise description, left me stunned.

  4. Uma, This is stunning, lush piece. You brought me to India, and I thank you for that. This is inspired, “The water lay like an unfurled carpet that I stepped on: where I walked lotus bloomed.”

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