The Dancer on the Sill

“Is it true that you can steal portraits from nature as well?”

She did not immediately acknowledge the question, but continued to stare intently at the raindrops breaking off the window sill. I had the unsettling feeling that she could see something that I was clearly missing. I followed her gaze, resting my eyes on the very edge of the window. The rain was breaking into a hundred different miniscule rubies and sapphires where it touched the concrete, shining in the light borrowed from the low flame of the hurricane lamp. Indeed, there seemed to be a fatalistic beauty in it all, with just a sheen of hope to delude the unsuspecting daydreamer.

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More than meets the lie

Untruth, once said, is a burden:

On my mind that must keep track
Lest it should lose itself wandering
In the wilderness of imagination;

On my heart that must beat louder
To drown the cry of conscience
Till it chooses to speak no more;

On my eyes that must keep open
Against the weight of shame
That pulls them to the ground;

And on my truth that had to be hidden
Because it was not good enough.


You asked me today
What I would write about you if I ever did.
If I could paint you, you would know.
I wish my words could paint your mind
As the oil colours the canvas of cloth.
I wish you could see what I see.
I see a rising sun,
Red with shyness,
Trying to hold back her brightness,
Embarrassed that the world can see her.
I see this rising sun,
Aware of her potential for brilliance
When she ascends the young firmament of receding stars.
But she is afraid of doing so. Not so early. Not now.
She does not show that she likes
When people appreciate her beauty.
She enjoys it and becomes redder.
And her redness, the innocence of her reservedness
Spreads slowly across the wet canvas of the sky behind her;
Clouds, dark and ominous, start getting silver linings.
The things that were scary, are now in better light.
She does this without knowing it.
She feels that by lighting up the sky,
She has somehow exposed others around her as well:
Exposed to the eyes of people
The eyes that criticise beauty as much as they condone it.
But she also knows deep down that it is her destiny
To rise one day to the zenith of this firmament
And once there, resign herself to full brilliance.

Resign herself is what she thinks of it.
Pride is what she needs.
She bows her head and hides her face,
Hoping the darkness of her hair is cover enough.
She does not know that when those eyes open
And stare directly into the eyes of mortals,
It is no less beautiful than a sunrise
For they are too brilliant to look directly into.
And poets, unlike painters, can only draw
Inspiration from nature.
They lack the vision of originality.
And so they have to reduce a picture
To a metaphor, an imperfect parallel. A glimpse.
I am incapable of painting better than this.

“Here, drink.”

“Can I have a look at your work?”

For a long time now, I have dreaded that question. For me, my writing is private. It is not meant for those who do not know the context and so I choose very carefully who sees my words. And yet, if you know me well, you would know that I have tried in the past to overcome this dread, that this page that you see today is not my first blog. I have, in the past, started and abandoned three of them. Each of these blogs has a story of its own and each has quite an independent share of my writings on it. I will not migrate my work from there, though. They belong there, crystallised in the amber of time. But I will tell their stories here. Continue reading