1 Sep 2011

Lost flowers

Flowers decorate our gardens
Alleys, abandoned lands
On the ten glorious days starting with Atham
It’s the jewel on the courtyards of our homes

I remember the buzz in the mornings
To pluck the mist filled flowers
To create floral layouts of joy
Striving to create something different
Every day, with whatever flowers available
I’ve seen kids visiting homes
Collecting flowers with exuberance

Now , they get it from market
Preserved flowers at exorbitant prices
Grown and cared just for us somewhere else
Far away from our culture and our lives

This makes me wonder!
Where did we bury our flowering plants?
To stop it from blooming in our little spaces
It takes a few minutes to water
But, its more easy to buy colorful flowers
These aren’t our flowers which decorated our lives
There are more residential associations than residents itself
Yet nobody got time to raise flowers for the kids
When they got time to organize all kind of silly events

Acres of farmlands are laying barren
Yet nobody wish to grow flowers for ourselves
We have outsourced that right to our neighboring states
Youth have time to squeeze money from people on streets
In the name of non-existent arts associations for onam celebrations
Yeah, they don’t have time to raise silly flowers bearing our culture

People have time to queue up infront of liquor outlets
They have creativity to create layouts with empty bottles of liquor
But, raising flowers is waste of time, as it gives fragrance
So fresh and exotic than the much priced rums, brandies, beers and more

We create new limca records for floral arrangements every year
To show how much we care about our onam
An event of glits and glamour for flowers for media 
But, I wish they could see use the colors and flowers of our lives

The big floral layouts on the street, sprouted by the active youth
It was part of our lives, now it’s on the wane
As salt filled , artificial colored layouts smiles at us
I wonder, even they have abandoned our flowers

When these tv channels shower our eyes with the floral extravaganza
Even they forgot our roots and our flowers
They can sell ads for showing prices of flowers
Just like, they do with any other sensational news

Government pays huge bills to organize events
To show the world our onam celebrations
But even they don’t realize we celebrate onam at the mercy of others
Our king is welcomed with dead flowers from afar
It speaks the language of another culture to him
What if he stops visiting us one day?
Disillusioned with his welcome!

Anybody care!
Sorry, we are busy, shopping flowers at trade fairs!

images: thanks to rightful owners!

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Anonymous said...

Hi Nithin,

As I posted my piece to the Critique and Craft linky ahead of yours, I'm going to try and offer constructive criticism on your poem. I'm in no way good at this, or really well versed in formal poetry in any way, so I hope you will forgive me in my attempt :-)

Firstly I really love the colourfulness of your post. It is visually striking and the media conveys much of what you talk about in your poem about the festival of Onam, and the loss of the "real" links between the community and meaning of the festival. Admittedly, being foreign to India, I did have to do a little research :-)

My first criticism though, I arrived at without finishing reading your poem, and that criticism is that it is too long for me. It's not the length per se, but the length combined with the subject matter (not that the subject matter isn't interesting, for it is). I'm more used to reading lengthy poetry in more epic or general narrative guises, but that's just me. 55 lines is more than I'm used to.

Having said that, after reading your poem, and the 400+ words, I did get a feeling of satisfaction, in what you wrote. You convey your take and "grumbles" about how others enact onam celebrations very well, and I felt the disappointment carried well in your words. I do feel though that it is possible to convey all that much more succinctly.

The conversational style, I think, adds to the length unnecessarily. For example, the opening line of the fourth stanza "This makes me wonder!" is for me superfluous. Asking the question in the following line is enough to tell the reader that you are wondering.

Another example might be the opening two lines of the 6th stanza. Is it necessary to tell us that people queue for liquor bottles? The two lines could be combined like "people creative with queued for now empty liquor bottles"

There are other examples but as the write it is up to you do decide if and what you might want to make more concise.

I did enjoy your piece. It was moving overall, and with revision I think it could be stronger and more powerful.

I hope you find the comments constructive and sorry if I've been too petty :-)

Nithin R.S. said...

Thanks for your effort to give a realistic insight on my poem. Thanks for reading. well i didn't wish it to be this lengthy.. but to cover various aspect of this lingering issue of flowers..i needed more examples..well..i will keep your suggestions in mind while i write my next poem. :)

Claudia said...

hey nithin, you gave us a beautiful overview and some insight into the rich flower tradition of your country. this was a very interesting read and you were tackling different aspects because you want us to get the whole picture.
poetry usually is more about taking one aspect, one detail, one spark and then wrap the words around this. most poems are not meant to give the big picture but to convey one emotion, one tiny detail and make this very visible for the reader. i really enjoyed the read and i love what i have learned but think you have material for ten different poems in this...but they can still be written, right...? hope that was helpful and as always just my humble thoughts..

by the way, i enjoyed pervagus' comment, some good thoughts in there

Anonymous said...

I love your effort and I love how I was engaged it. Thank you.