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Alliteration Poem – by Nadia and Renjith
The cat’s charisma was contagious,
Climbing up the cupboard, all courageous.
His confidence coupled with creativity…
She couldn’t control herself, caught off-guard by her curiosity.

Alliteration Poem -Rohini and Muneera

Castle Alliteration

Castles are curiously creative and have crenalated cast of character.

Castles quietly keep coffins and corpses, yet incorporate a classy, capricious and capable character.

Castles carry a culture quite clumsy and cluttered.

Castles in clouds however, collapse ‘coz cloud castles can’t carry confetti

A BWC Creative Workshop Exercise

Secreted from the underbelly of the moth caterpillar called Bombyx mori, it sat in suspension for thirty-five days, a single filament one and half kilometres long. The cocoon was plunged into a hot bath to loosen the glue that held the threads together. Then it was cooled so that this thread could be unravelled. The caterpillar died in the process. That fine single strand of silk, for which a life was sacrificed, then joined three other martyrs to form a thread of one of the finest, most prized fibres in the world.

It shone in the light with a gentle glow, blushing as each of its minute three-sided faces caught a sunbeam that exposed its lissom length and supple sinews. It glowed as a moonbeam caressed its tresses. And it stretched in pleasure almost to its tensile limit pleased at its own resilience as one of the strongest natural filaments in the world. Its pride was short-lived.

Before it could revel in its own existence, the thread was trapped. Caught and wound into a skein. Then, enslaved in a ring, the yarn was packed off to a fabled land, Turkey. Here in the dyer’s harem the skein lost the innocent cream of its youth and was plunged into an indigo dye.

The indigo whispered its own sad story of capture, beatings and torture. The two strangers in a strange land wept and embraced each other. As their tears mingled the indigo imbued the silk with the softest, most beautiful hue of sorrow – blue; the kind that shines bravely in the sun and glistens pensively in the moonlight.

Today, a three denier thread of that silk waits suspended, rigid with fear, as a lady’s fingers clutch its neck and aim to push it into the oval eye of a sharp metal spike. At the last moment the thread flinches and dodges the eye of the needle.

The lady looks at the thread, then gently slides it over her tongue. The wet muscular rough appendage arouses an old memory – the glue that once held each strand tight and safe in that cocoon of the Bombyx mori caterpillar so long ago. The recollection makes all three deniers cling to each other now stiff with anticipation as they fly through the eye of the needle. It is threaded.

And the slavery of the silk is complete as the metal spike pulls all three strands together through the squared fabric to form a blue daisy in the lady’s embroidery. The silk sighs as it succumbs to its eternal punishment, forever bent, never free to flow and dance in the light again except in minute parts of its length as it weeps across the tapestry.

“Found a young man yet, miss?” he grinned as he said the same words every day to the pretty young girl who’d come and share the only bench in the park with him at exactly four in the afternoon.

“No! Don’t be silly, I don’t want a young man!” and she’d shrug as she harrumphed herself on the far end of the bench and look at the book she’d always bring to read. A few minutes would pass and then quietly, “You say that every time.” The exasperation had almost always left her voice by the time she said this.

“I know,” he replied cockily, “just wonderin’ an all.” That too was his stock reply and at this point he’d reach down and pull up a blade of grass to chew on.

After this odd greeting they’d usually just sit in silence, she with her book and he contemplating the sky, watching the geese as they flew north forming that beautiful cursive vee across the heavens.

Ah, spring! Beautiful. So much hope. The sky that special shade of blue. The clouds powder puff white. The sun, a promise behind the clouds. And the cherry trees with their buds straining at the sap.

Summer came and not much more was said. He still had his blade of grass and she her book. The cherry trees had long lost their blossoms and their branches were laden with fruit.

She always left first, at exactly five o’clock, looked at him and said, “Good evening then.” In the 1950s there wasn’t much else that a young woman said to a strange man whose name she didn’t know. And he’d raise his cap to her in silence.

The leaves on the trees changed. The geese could now be seen flying south. The sun was as fitful as a fever and the winds sent chill messages down his neck and up her skirt. It was half way through November and as in previous years she said her last “Good evening then.” And he raised his cap one last time before the next spring when this little silent communion would start again, he with his,  “Found a young man yet, miss?” and his grin, she with her “Don’t be silly,” and harrumphing as she sat on the bench.

She’d grown more slender and dressed more smartly. Sometimes she wore shoes with a slightly higher heel now and in the springtime she’d sported an elegant tan Macintosh with a bright red cap and matching lipstick. He was much the same. The reliably cocky grin. But the hand reaching for the grass now had sinews and was tanned. She glanced sideways at him, but still didn’t say anything and then there was that comfortable fifty minutes they spent not saying anything to each other at all. She with her book he with his blade of grass.

Summer. Autumn. And another spring. She came back. He waited for her now with a tightening in his stomach of anticipation. Afraid she may not come. A minute past four and she was there with her constant book and her equally reliable, “Don’t be silly, I don’t want a young man.” His relief. The blade of grass. The sky. The geese.  All was right with the world.

It was the middle of June; four on the clock plus forty seconds and her feet came tapping down the path to the bench. No book in her hand.

His stomach did a turn, but he continued as always, “Found a young man yet, miss?” only the grin didn’t come so easily and when he forced his mouth into a smile, it didn’t make it to his eyes.

She sat down on the park bench, no harrumphing, it was a smooth elegant movement, he’d never noticed that before. And she looked at him, “Yes,” she said as she searched his eyes. And he, clenching his teeth, bunching his fists. Long moments before he hoarsely whispered, “Why miss I wish you luck then and may you find happiness wherever you go.” The words almost caught in his throat and he couldn’t think why he had any right to anything more. But she’d come to tell him and that was enough. He could live on that.  When he looked up she was gone and there was nothing but a blade of grass on the bench in the space that had once been between them.

He picked up the grass and threw it. It blew away on the summer breeze. The sun mocked him and the cherry trees waved farewell. How dare the sky look so blue! He kicked the bench it skewed groaning to the side. He flung his cap. Then picked it up. Threw himself on the grass and allowed himself to weep. When he arose it was exactly five o’clock.

Summer passed. Autumn and another spring, so many springs. Why did he come back here every day after work at exactly four o’clock in the afternoon? Other people shared his bench, but it wasn’t the same.

The colours faded from the park around him. His eyes had grown dimmer. His cocky grin had disappeared only the blade of grass he always picked up and chewed. His nut-brown hair was streaked with silver and his memories strayed to other years. He was unaware of those around him and now even his coming to the park bench seemed pointless and yet he always returned.

“Silly ol’ man,” he could hear the children say as they walked past. And then one day late in November the sky had turned a steely grey, but the rain hadn’t started yet, when a lady from the city turned up and sat next to him. She had a book in her hand and wore those horn-rimmed glasses that all the fashionable ladies were wearing now in the late 1970s. Her dark hair was pulled into a bun and heavily streaked with silver. He peered at her cautiously then looked away. It couldn’t be, no, she was so slender and slight and this one, she was smart but a lot heavier.

Then she whispered, “Did you never find a young woman, then?”

And it was his turn to say, “Don’t be silly, I don’t want a young woman, I only ever wanted you.” And the park bench creaked as she bent down to pull up a blade of grass.

How can I, who have seen so many summers, sunsets and sunrises, laughter and tears pick one memory from my kaleidoscopic life to write about? I pick one and the kaleidoscope turns bringing together different shards of glass, creating a new memory altogether, not the one I first sat down to write about. But I must hold this magical mutability still or else it will all break down and like this “too solid flesh may melt and thaw and resolve itself into a dew.”

So, abandoning Mr. Shakespeare, I address this daunting task of sifting through a life of chaff to find some seeds to share, to plant and hopefully to grow. Forgive me, if every now and then the kaleidoscope takes over and we go haring off down a path an uncooperative neuron may choose to chase because a word, a change in the light, or a forgotten taste awakens yet another memory.

Well then, here goes: Me sitting with a freshly sharpened pencil in my hands, a clean half white half red eraser on the table next to me and in front of me the empty, open page of my exercise book. The task – homework. Fortunately for me, it’s English homework and the pleasant assignment is to describe a rainy day. Now, I love the rain. Not an insipid drizzle but a good thundering monsoon rain. Angry black clouds clashing their heavenly cymbals with a chorus of smaller kettledrums setting up a regular percussion, interspersed with brilliant flashes of lightning. But this is April in Delhi, north India where the heat is setting up a practice run for some serious scorching yet to come in May and June. So it’s pretty hard to get in the mood to describe a rainy day. At the time I was eleven years old and didn’t have as many memories as I do today to draw on. So, in order to recreate the image I set my chin on my hands to imagine this wonderful scene.

I close my eyes and picture the coming of the storm. In my mind’s eye I can feel the little wisps of wind as they carry the message to the tops of the trees. Next I see the gradual darkening of the sky, the strange other-worldly light that portends this grand theatre of the heavens. I can actually see that first enormous flash of lightning as it rips the curtain of clouds with its brilliant white sword to announce the arrival in all its majesty and God-like grandeur, the hero of the show: Thunder. I can almost hear this amazing loud noise and in the sweltering heat of an April afternoon in Delhi I shiver until I actually feel a resounding clap on my back. This is all too real and I shake my head as I awaken from this daydream.

What greets me is some real thunder. My mother, who at that moment appeared to me as a screaming banshee. Wild eyes. Flaming tongue. “You’ve been sitting here for half an hour supposedly doing your homework and you haven’t written a word!”

I look down and sure enough, there it is, that pristine sheet of paper in my exercise book, untouched, unmarked. It is then that the page shows its first few drops of rain – my tears.

August 2021

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