Poems by Kashiana Singh



Praying these days

do you pray with mind or heart?
do you bow your head or bow your soul?
do you drape a scarf, wear your Sunday best or adorn a skull cap?
does it matter?

what does your praying voice ask for?
what does your prayer music thank for?
what does your prayer book say to you?
do you think about it?

when did you last feel ecstatic in His will?
when did you nourish good by words not deeds?
when did you last love like a sacred salutation?
will you try?

where do you stand when you gaze upwards?
where do you go when you need answers?
where do you find yourself dancing in abandon?
could you search?

why did you turn away your dervish?
why did you bookmark humans?
why did you draw lines that cut through the pages of life?
can you pause?

today, you awake frightened, startled
and sleep afraid, cautious
today, you question virtue in others
and are suspicious of your own
today, you hide scars
and defend vulnerabilities

what if tomorrow?
you make an effort to unlock the cages?
and let the tears run free?
prayer by prayer

Canvassing at borders

Where do the contours of the earth start to change?
Why do men create laws that defy our cosmos?
When do dreams alter their expressions?
Which country owns motherhood rights?
What is the dichotomy of a wall?
How do you explain separation to a child?
Where can a farmer establish citizenship?
Why does equality not become a dwelling place?
When does the sky draw murals that mirror maps?
Which dead spirit is bound by immigration rules?
What do the remains of the dead look like in your land?
How will security be monitored when birds run free across borders?



My birth land
presided over by chatter
buzzing streets with humans
colliding into each other
like poorly punctuated sentences

god beneath gods
temples within temples
mosques beside mosques
alleys inside alleys

choc-a-bloc with colors,
crayon stubs, faded pencil shades
hoarded wisps of pigments
dyed wool in a basket
from many lives worth
of knitting projects

myriad landmarks, loitering at corners
and showing up in centers of cities
vendors emerge with miscellaneous ware
peddling patience through the day

food in flavors that compete
a discerning experience of tastes
moments juxtapose against minutes
with an intriguing intensity
proven traditions mocking rebellious chaos

each city embellishes the map
fulfilling a role on the patchwork design
cinematic Himalayas fold into serpentine rivers
elemental monasteries disappear into photogenic ghats
conventional gardens take on ornate palaces
coastal sands break into alluvial soils

collective personalities manifest themselves
into a collaboration of local vibrancy and variety
settled into the craft of daily life
each day a giant musical production
excelling in multifaceted performance

suspended harmony across the skyline
charming even when dishevelled
teases you with her jangling anklets
forlorn, yet regal in her acceptance
resplendent like the peacock plume
she stays the mysterious muse


About the author:

Kashiana Singh, 51, is a management professional by job classification and a work practitioner by personal preference. Kashiana’s TEDx talk was dedicated to the topic – Work as Worship. Kashiana used her fascination for writing and teaching as life hacks to find the hidden moments of worship in daily tasks, chores, and duties. Her poetry collection, Shelling Peanuts and Stringing Words is written as a participant and an observer. She is from India, now lives in Chicago and bridges the miles by regularly etches her thoughts on her poetry blog – kashiana.wordpress.com