Words on a sill

A dear friend’s childhood friend told me a tale of how the two of them would talk to each other from their house windows although the windows stood skewed (i.e. weren’t facing each other). I thought there was something poetic & romantic about 2 little girls conversing without being able to see each other.

A day or two later, I was discussing shop with a colleague & listening to her challenges. When we were done, I still wanted to keep the conversation going & hence, asked her what she did in her evenings. She said she liked to read & write. Write? Write what? Poetry, she said. I was pleasantly surprised. I asked to read her poetry. She promised me her works & then proceeded to recite a verse from one of her poems (about how wind teaches the waves about the shore). I really liked it. I asked her if she published her poems online & she said she didn’t.

Later in the evening, we were chatting over digital media when I abruptly took the conversation like this:

There are these 2 girls

They live in houses with a little alley between them

Their windows don’t face each other

But they talk to each other

Without seeing each other’s face

No clue about their age

Or appearance

Or family backgrounds

Or anything

But they become very close friends

Then one of them vanishes

No idea why

And the other girl continues talking

Because she feels that it’s these conversations that will bring her friend back

And if she stops, her friend won’t return

— Would you like to compose a poem that this little girl writes for her friend?

She agreed to do it & wrote the following in about one sitting.

NeelamPoem
Woh Ajnabi Dost Meri — That unknown friend of mine

I don’t know whether I should translate it, but here is an English poem written to the same theme (with the title as this post):

Yet again, lightly perched

Squinting in the early sun

Worn filigree syllables

Of words spoken to none.

These weren’t unechoed;

Once, they held hands

With a trembling voice’s

Articulate strands.

She told me of worlds

Spoken in outlines, for me

To fill with hues I tore

From my mind’s chatoyant seas

On dark nights she shone

Faceless phaseless moon

Whose whispered stories

Eclipsed my fear’s tunes

We braided words & whims

To carve worlds neither saw

She painted me into a dream

And I, her, into a yearn raw

Now my words ‘twixt our windows

In a lone pirouette unheld

Her voice that clasped them in their fall

In my heart as an echo, dwells.

Yet today, lightly perched

Squinting in the early sun

Wishing her words would take mine

And into the forest, run

This too was written in one sitting & has been shared here merely to include the reader in the joy of composing poetry across languages, across souls.

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