Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Bhai- Phonta (Brother's Day)


Come late autumn

Golden heart of the paddy field

Sways in joy

Has that moment arrived

When the beloved brothers

Sitting in a row


Reverently receive

The sandal paste mark

On their forehead

By the sisters’ little fingers

Of the left hand?

Chanting of the old rhyme

Of Yama and Yamuna myth*

Makes a stronger bond

Prayers of safety, success and long life

Woven into Mother Earth’s

Paddy grains and grass shoots

Are showered on their crowns

Sisters’ blessing they are

Among wisps of fragrant smoke

From the incense sticks

Blowing of conch shells

Brass oil-lamp holds

The flame of faith

Among siblings, cousins

Sisters hand them the special dishes

To sweeten their mouths

Gifts of love are exchanged

Young ones touch the elders’ feet

Mothers melt in the warmth of love

Shared by their sons and daughters

The whole day is a celebration of love



*According to Rig Veda, Yama and Yamuna were twins (brother and sister) born to Surya (Sun god). In their earthly incarnations, Yamuna once longed to see her brother and invited Yama to her house. When Yama, the god of death visited his sister, his sister prayed for his well being. The other legends regarding the origin connect Vishnu, Krishna and Mahavira.
However, according to folklorist and social historians due to various societal changes with the advent of agriculture, the sisters began to pray for their brothers’ safety, well being, and success. The bhai phonta festival is rooted in that social practice: Wikipedia


Posted for dVerse Poetics: Oh Brother!

Sometimes It's Time

A serious moment for the ant is*

When it finds a morsel of food

And charges towards it

To store it for future use

Unlike the foolish grasshopper

Who becomes a lifeless stick

In the European winter


A serious moment for the cuckoo is

To lay eggs in the crow’s nest

And be relieved of the responsibility

To rear up the fledglings

Unlike the foolish crow

Who takes all the trouble from nesting

To bringing up to unhappiness


A serious moment for the mosquito is

To suck blood without getting killed

A serious moment for the chair is

To take a sitter on its lap

A serious moment for a river is

To meet another at a confluence

And be one and flow


What is serious for man is

To take time for a new beginning

To follow a dream

Even risk taking a less trodden path

To listen to time’s call

And respond seriously

To make a man of man



This poem is written in the vein of Kenneth Koch’s The Boiling Water that begins like this:


“A serious moment for the water is

When it boils….”



Posted for Mary’s prompt Sometimes It’s Times @ Poetry Jam