Monday 7 February 2022

Three Superb Poems by Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia - (Amita Paul)


The Coincidence Trilogy of Pastiches




( Cento- Pastiche ) 


If I but thought that my response were made

To one perhaps returning to the world,

This tongue of flame would cease to flicker

But to you, Eternal Wanderer, let me confess 


This : Admirer as I think I am

Of stars that do not give a damn,

I cannot, now I see them, say

I missed one terribly all day.

Recalling things that others have desired—

Are these ideas right or wrong?

For indeed it is the rarest coincidence 

In a life composed so much of odds and ends, 

To find a friend who has, and gives 

Those qualities upon which friendship lives.


Now that is at least one definite false note

Though I am prepared for all the things to be said, 

 Or left unsaid

I for one would never ever essay 

What I have heard hysterical people say

“ If equal affection cannot be,

Let the more loving one be me.”


Never, from one end of the year to the other

From April 

When by the whiteboard houses lilacs are in bloom

To August

When broken violins play in afternoons 

To October

And bowls of peaches lie on polished tables 


For December 

And the midwinter Spring 

Of January

Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown 

With snow like cherry blossom on dark boughs 

And the coincidence of not a single leaf 

But skies of cloudless blue and brilliant sunshine

Doomed to melt 

In March 

That comes in roaring

Much as a raving autumn shears

Blossom from the summer's wreath;

Beauty is condemned to death. 


For loyalty is very nice 

But I’m not made for sacrifice.


And youth is cruel, and has no remorse

And smiles at situations it cannot see

I’m older now, have many a recourse, 

But I smile, of course,

And go on drinking tea.


Dear shadows, now you know it all,

All the folly of a fight

With a common wrong or right.

The innocent and the beautiful

Have no enemy but time

( Coalescing Elioit Yeats

Auden to create this rhyme


All over a cup of tea

Pastiche or Tapestry 

Or plain Patchwork, like a quilt 

Free of worry, free of guilt ) 


For it is the thought that counts 

And that by coincidence 

Suits my purpose and recounts 

What for me takes precedence 


Self love alone gives me strength 

To hold off chaos at arm’s length

About suffering they were never wrong,

The old Masters.




( Allusion - Pastiche ) 


Is it , then, just a coincidence thing : 

My buried life, and Paris in the Spring?

To have a bowl of lilacs in the room, 

The smell of hyacinths coming into bloom : 

Does it mean to you what it means to me 

To be sitting with you and drinking tea ?

No, no, my friend, you do not know 

What life is , you who let it flow —

For you are still young, and spreading your wings: 

You still have to learn a great many things. 

And yet— was I wrong when I thought you and I 

Could have become better friends by and by ?

Our love for Chopin, your summer residence

This year in the North, was it coincidence ?


She says this, and I listen, and I leave: 

Is that Polonius plucking at my sleeve?




( Imitation : Pastiche ) 


I shall arise and go now, and go where I feel free, 

A place for happy coincidence made, 

A place to experience serendipity, 

Where I once lived and worked and daily prayed. 


I know I shall have peace there, for peace comes sweet and slow, 

Dripping like honey from the thought- bees’ wings, 

Lending to mind’s landscape a golden glow,

While in contentment softly the soul sings. 


I shall arise and go now, journey one night one day, 

And arrive home upon the Satluj shore, 

Whose waves I always hear lapping away, 

Within my being, and stay there evermore.



Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia is one of the various pen names used by Punjab-born, Patna-based retired Indian bureaucrat Amita Paul , for her original writings in different genres, in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi, featured in various anthologies, journals, and online poetry writing forums. She was awarded the NISSIM International Poetry Award for 2019 for her contribution to English Poetry, and the Reuel International Prize for 2020 for Non-Fiction for her Experimental Prose plus Multi-Media Anthology, ‘The Saaqi Chronicles’. Destiny Poets, an International Community of Poets based out of Wakefield, in West Yorkshire, UK declared her Poet of the Year 2020, and also Critic of the Year 2020, and further chose one of her poems as a Highly Commended Poem for the Year 2020 on their website. The same three distinctions were conferred upon her for the second time consecutively in the Year 2021, an unprecedented coincidence. Her poetry is regularly featured in the e-magazine GloMag and it’s biannual anthologies published from Chennai in India, while her prose work in Hindi has found pride of place in Doaba, a prestigious literary journal published from Patna, Bihar, India.

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