Two Poems by Swati Moheet Agrawal

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Prose Poetry

1

What You Missed That Day You Bunked Gazala Teacher’s Class

Miss Gazala explained how to stand still and watch the wind tickle the trees – a reminder that the world always has been, and always will be, worthy of wonder. She reiterated that the ability to cherish the little joys can be cultivated to break the trance of busyness and inattention.

Miss Gazala implored us to look at sunflowers dangling their heads at dusk, to pay it some heed so that nature’s peace flows into us and we have a remnant of satisfaction.

She explained, with her signature blend of wisdom and wit, what literature does for the soul! She implored us to read Mrs. Dalloway, Madame Bovary, Middlemarch, The Great Gatsby and Anna Karenina.

Miss Gazala explained how to find meaning in the repeated rituals of domesticity and motherhood –feeding the baby, changing diapers, putting the baby to sleep, how doing the dishes can be a form of prayer. She narrated the story of a child who took her first steps and tumbled into her mother’s loving arms.

She emphasised that we are not here to be physically attractive, and that our purpose is love people, read good books, listen to great music and discover beauty in the world, and create it if we cannot find it.

Miss Gazala explained how rain has the power to hypnotize, how living with regret is a part of adulthood but not allowing it to consume you and living your best life is the way forward.

She said no matter how clever we are, sometimes, we must lose.

Miss Gazala recounted her experiences to make us understand that there are flaws in every human connection and that we’re essentially out here on our own.

She said there are many reasons to treat each other with great tenderness.

Miss Gazala took questions on how to give light so that the darkness disappears of itself. She said in her darkest hours what saved her again and again was some act of unselfing – turning away from herself; directing her attention outward, on to the world.

Miss Gazala asked us to pay attention to the glimmers that make life liveable because the little fragments mattered: lighting a candle and watching the flame dance, biting into a ripe fig, pressing a wildflower into the pages of your favourite book, watching your baby fall asleep, watching the sun go down, the skyline at dawn, she said if we love something, we must let it grow.

Miss Gazala insisted that “I Am” is a complete sentence.

She asked us to preserve our epiphanies for later reflection. She reiterated that everything comes back full circle, and a pure heart always has the last word.

After lunch, Miss Gazala quoted Julia Hartwig’s famous words – “The most beautiful is what is still unfinished – a sky filled with stars uncharted by astronomers, a sketch by Leonardo, a song broken off from emotion, a pencil, a brush suspended in the air.”


 

2

Art – Giving Depth to the Banal

Have you ever seen dust drifting back and forth,

like flecks of gold, in the light of the sun streaming

through your window?

Ever noticed how the shadow on the asphalt grows longer as you walk beneath the streetlights?

Observed the interesting patterns scattered hair strands make on the bathroom floor?

Intricate patterns of a spider’s web?

Dappled clouds?

A firefly dancing in the dark?

The way a mother rocks her baby to sleep?

It’s about finding art in the mundane. Discovering beauty in the most unexpected places.

A golden moon in a deep purple sky

Daisies growing in the cracks

Sunflowers nodding and dancing in the breeze

A hand embroidered quilt

Vintage china

Latte art

Swans nibbling on a piece of bread

Rain drumming on a corrugated tin roof

Mist filling the valleys

Pigeons huddled together on a windowsill in the monsoon rain

An owl hooting in the treetop

A ladybird resting on a wild rose

A hibiscus in full bloom

A line of ants trudging along the edge of a table

Dew on antirrhinums

Deodars cloaked in a mantle of white

The night sky tremendous with stars

A peacock preening itself under a tree

A grasshopper reclining on a leaf

A caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly

How much more interesting life becomes when you learn to

uncover the extraordinary within the ordinary. When you pay attention and appreciate the beautiful delights

of the day.

Everything around gains new resonances, new meaning.

A new lease of life!


 

About the Author

Swati Moheet Agrawal is a mother, poet and writer whose work has appeared in Muse India, Setu, Active Muse, Kitaab, The The Alipore Post, Mad Swirl, Nailpolish Stories, Café Dissensus, The Pangolin Review, Paragraph Planet, Modern Literature, Sledgehammer Lit, Thimble Lit Mag, Potato Soup Journal, Rhodora Magazine, Friday Flash Fiction, Ariel Chart and The Criterion among other literary magazines and journals.