Poetry Reading at British Council -August session

poetry reading images

A pleasant evening, the first Wednesday of the month, time for the regular schedule nay tradition of Poetry Reading at the British Council Library. It is something we poets in Chennai who are part of this religious poetry readers group look forward to every month, especially for the ones who come from afar only to read and savour poetry for what it is.

The theme for the month was Euphoria, already set by Vasanth Dev during last month’s Poetry Reading session.  It is not a compulsion that one should write or read a poem on that particular theme but it makes the session more interesting when one gets to read and hear different perspectives on the same topic.

Geetha Paniker was already there when Sivakami Velliangiri and I arrived.  As we got comfortable Paniker Sir also arrived. This time it seemed that many of the regulars were caught up with work but were kind enough to let us know about their forthcoming absence with regret simultaneously promising to definitely make it the next time.

I was asked to read so I started off with my poem titled, Euphoria.


The moment

between my father removing his hands

from my cycle, letting me free

and the high that I  experience as I fly

like I have biked all my life!


That one insane glance

at the white shining statue

of the Lord in the temple;

Unexplained tears

from famine like eyes

flooding completely.


The sensitive sensation

of holding a part of me

in my arms.

The emotion of ecstasy

as my child fills his stomach,

milky protein pouring

into his tiny mouth.


The literary orgasm

that I experience

as I relish a poem

from deep within.


Geetha Paniker then read her poem, Untitled which ravished the soul completely so much so that each one of us saw different meanings in it.

On the wings of a mystic retreat,

my soul flutters in an enigma,

heart erupts into a million sparks.

I am held captive in the twilight,

to the charm of the enchanting moon,

intoxicating me to a trance.


The whisper of the waves

mesmerize me

in mystical  silence of the night,

bleeding core finds its vicinity

soul seeks comfort

in sanctum of the ocean,

as a magical feeling opens within me,

releasing warmth and energy.


Being in the moonlit beach,

I breathe life for a moment,

the flawlessly shimmering waters,

reflect euphoric poetry,

from the depth of the ocean.


Sivakami Velliangiri read her sweet poem titled, Para-Gliding Over The Pattaya Sea. Only she can write such kind of poems!

I’m eager for a take-off, my husband frowns
I think, well now he is afraid of losing me.
What about my sari, what if it lifts up?” he asks,
Men, they have queer thoughts and worries.
I am not bothered, but he is conservative
so I borrow a churidar from one of the girls
wear it under my skirt. First of the women
in the team to take off; a matron hoists me up,
supple hands, then I am in midair high up
without my spectacles to see the sea. My fingers
might get the cramps, I think of my children
I hold on to dear life.

when my son sees my photo
on the coffee mug.
Back home, he said it was a photo trick.


Finally, Paniker Sir read out a poem in Malayalam written by Achutam Namboodri which he had successfully translated into English giving it the title, Within The Family.

I shall quote just a few lines since the poem is long.

“Release me from this cage

let me fly about freely in the sky.”


Is my daughter singing

what she learned in her text books

in the voice choked with sighs?


The electric flow generated

when those sweet sacred moments

touch the inner core of my heart,

lights up the whole world.


When the magnetic forces

in the milky-ways of the present

shower compassionate care on the small, small flames

rising like bud-shaped folded hands

in the ocean of tears

the infinite shades of imagination

swoon in the aroma consequently generated.


Two hours of poetry reading had passed us by leaving us with just enough time to read a few poems by other poets and fixing the theme for the next month.

What I particularly enjoy about these poetry reading sessions are that they are totally bereft of any ego hassles. We read. Other poets re-read. Improvisations are suggested. And poets are open to healthy literary criticism. What else is needed for creativity but to stretch its arms and embrace the warmth of others!

That’s all for now for this month from the Poetry Reading Circle at BC.

Will share more poetry moments with you next month.



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