Amanda Basaiawmoit’s poems of love

Poet: Amanda Basaiawmoit

Poetry Editor Ananya Guha’s note: Amanda’s poems hold a direct, conversational and chatty style about love, relationship and belonging to a place. They uphold the self-confessional mode of poetry. The consciousness of belonging to a megalithic culture. In her short poems, haiku-like she compresses emotions in a unique manner.

How to write a poem?

Paint with words.

Make them feel.

I was told.

But,

where do I find words?

In my foreign tongue

Words that flow deep like a river.

And if i find them

How do I conjure images

To rise from words

And become apt metaphors.

 

As I share

The How’s

You will learn

Why I write

What I write

And uncover a naked truth

One that unnerves me

 

Well-

I write

inspired

by rare blossoms

From the gardens of poetic friends

 

I write

imagining

a sweet lie

Like the kisses of my first crush.

 

I write

feelingly

baring my heart

Hoping words touch lives.

 

I write

to speak

With words as sound effect

That one might hear

 

I write

For those silenced

To give voice to their words

I write

with confidence

Without fear of censure

To state untold truths

 

I write

At least I try

Though what I write

May not ‘disturb the universe’

Yet I write

And do so

With Hope.

~

Just a matter of choice

 

Life dealt me a fine hand

He gave a King of hearts

While I ran after the  black Joker

Who changed colours.

 

 

~

My Thief

 In broad daylight

You stole

Myself from me

No longer me- I’m yours.

~

Soul searching

In existence, in love, in conversations

Tucked neatly in living corners

I look for dictionary meanings

In the pages of my life.

~

 

A Writers block

Twenty six foreign alphabets

Limited vocabulary

And I’ve run out of a language

As words dance in my throat.

~

 

Memories

It’s Winter

Misty Sohra roads

Welcomes with open arms

The fog kisses my skin

And I am reminded of love

And lost lovers.

~

 

Untitled Chapter

Without you….

Never understood what that meant

When having you all the while

Without you….

Now resounds likes echoes

In an empty wilderness

For you came not just in name

But made your presence felt

You brought endless joy

Added a new name to a new role

But when I bade goodbye for good

I looked at my palms empty

And understood the gift of life

Life beckoned moving on

but life was not the same

And as such it hurt

With you out….

Now, I’ve learnt to be

Without you.

Holding on to memories

Each day praying that we meet

When times end.

~

 

Shared Stories

As a family from megalithic age

What stories do these stones tell

Entering the stone colony

I note each mark, each grate

As you live up to your name

Mawbynna you script

In silent unseen words

A people’s story of shared lives

 

Here, in the back of beyond

Housed in odd groups

The Mawkni in the centre

Like a guardian angel

Gathers us close

While neatly hewn

The Mawkynthei urges us

To huddle in the unfamiliar hearth

 

Then, the towering tall

Unwraps our collective history

Voicing out through orality

I find myself drowning in the past

In a mortals’ words that weaves

The memory of a crossover

and reverence for ancestors

Or marks the reign of might

And remembrance of a king.

At the navel’s point

You shell your words

Under our feeble prayers

Of how you stand a testimony.

To a tribe’s legend

Of how we axed our ties

And shadowed the world.

 

Today the many places

who take your common name

Much like I take my mother’s

Reminds me of our ties

A tie as old as time itself

Silent stones in your script

You engrave

Our shared stories.

~

 

Mei

The lines criss crossing

Your hands, your face

Meet and separate

Mapping your journey

Bound to my life.

A constant reminder

Of immeasurable love.

 

I recall childhood

Magical moments

When your warm embrace

And sweet kisses

Cured sickness

Dismissed fears

It is in your warm touch

That I learnt what love felt like

 

I remember the cold winters

When huddled in the hearth

Your scattered words

Danced to the tune of a poet

Weaving stories of yesteryears

Bringing imagination to life

As you strengthened my roots

And I learnt to speak

In your tongue

Before adopting a foreign one.

I now know mother

That is what love sounds like

 

In life’s journey Mei,

You sport a smile

Sneered at sorrows

Each line that now I see

Are unspoken words

Of how you braved the storms

To give us warmth

As you dared to dream

The impossible dream

Lifting me up

To be your image

Showing me

what being a mother meant.

And if today, I am a good mother

I owe it all to you.

 

You

Taught me

Unconditional love

And that sacrifice

Meant giving up your love

For the sake of loved ones

You

Taught me

to nurture my passion

And hold on to my dreams

You believed in me

Even when I stopped

Believing in myself.

You

Gently reminded me

To submit to the creators will

You mother, taught me

to look at the stars

enjoy the blue skies

and everything around

But to never lose sight

Of the ground I stand on.

~

 

(Fe)Male

Your first cry of existence

Marked you a burdensome being

Becoming the unwanted gift of life

Your whole life

A shadowed existence

That marked your unworthiness.

Until that red letter day.

When with ironic tears

They bade you good riddance

As you willingly left your familiar hearth

To care for a lifetime-an unknown

Bound by fetters of tradition

You give up your own identity

To assume another’s as your own

With each passing day

You lose more of yourself for others

Your offspring’s are not yours

But amongst these very unknown

Your each sacrifice becomes worthy

Of its true meaning

Daughter, Sister, Wife and Mother

I salute you all.

~

 

Untitled

I wrote this for you

You all who are born

But yet to blossom

I dedicate this to the many

You all who have eyes but cannot see

You all who have ears but cannot hear

Blind and hard of hearing

Over these many years

You’ve perfected this art

And now are silent spectators

Watching the blame game

I wrote this for you all

Who silently watch for each line to unfold

And if you’ve begun

Search deep within each tear and yourself

To find answers

That explains why

Why is it that only children die?

I need to understand why

Well why, I ask the you all

Why does your silence

speak of untold truths

And repeated lies

But to you

You who have died

I offer you flowers and prayers.

~

 

The unending story

Of words

In paper

In thoughts

In speech

In songs

Some read

Some felt

Some heard

Some even touched

These words

Have lived and grown

Old like a shadow

Of sunny days

In our memories

In our hearts

In our minds

In each of us

Till we pass them on

As experience

Adding to them

Our own touch

Making them new.

Words,

You encapsulate

The essence of life.

But fail to capture

In words your own worth.

~

 

I’m a nocturnal poet

Not a lonely one

But one in love

With the silence of the night

 

I’m a nocturnal poet

Insomniac- I agree

As words inked in black

Are colours of my life

 

I’m a nocturnal poet

One who fails

To see apt metaphors

In the sun, moon or stars

To express love

 

I’m a nocturnal poet

For whom the twilight

Welds stranger truths

Seen in our naked bodies

A reality of true love.

 

Im a nocturnal poet

But not dark

My goodnight

Like goodbyes are greetings

For the crimson horizon

That arches ever further into the distance

Greets us again and again

Like Hello’s

~

 

Magical Senses

Alone

And in time I journey

To a place where

I see, I feel, I hear, I taste and smell.

Discovering a new world

Of permanence in absence.

 

I see magic

Pictured in a smile

One that builds bridges

Spreading simple joy

That money cannot buy.

 

I feel magic

In a poet verse

As his tune weaves

An emotion into a feeling

Building strong connections

 

I hear magic

In hushed whispers

That usher revolution

While my mind’s ear paints

A picture a world I long for

 

I taste magic

As longing memory

Makes me salivate

Of home cooked meals

Spiced with mom’s love

 

I smell magic

In a new born baby

Uniquely identifying

It’s pure innocence

Before it’s lost in time.

 

But Time slips away

And with it I lose the moments

In the fragility of life

Nothing remains

Only time and memories of time.

~

 

Rableng

At the start of my journey

To find myself

To find peace

I took the road to nowhere

I reached Rableng

Where stood a structure

Towering over nothingness

As a lone witness

In that solitude

Seeing patterns and designs

Drawn over the earth

By a lone man

Who sang his garden song

Seeking blessings

As he moved inch by inch

Row by row

For the seeds he sow.

Here in Nowhere

I reached not the end of my sojourn

But travelled full circle

And found meaning

And if you have like me

God be praised.

~

(Amanda Bashisha Basaiawmoit is an Assistant Professor, Department of English, Shillong College).