poetry · Poetry Reading

Birdies Read Poetry at British Council – November Session

The theme for the poetry reading was ‘BIRD’ and guess what? Three birds turned up. All females. Ha! Ha! Maybe, the male birds just did not feel like writing about the birds and the bees I guess.


We tarried a while before beginning our poetry session. And when we knew that the others could have been delayed or might not come due to other engagements we started off with our reading. And you know, when women get together they can bring the roof down. It is a different fact that the roof legally belonged to the British Council Library and we could not attempt such an act.

So, we tried hard to keep our poetry chatter as subdued as possible.

But then, birds of a feather flock together. And flocking birds don’t lie low. So, we just went about our business of reading, writing poetry and indulging in some healthy criticism on how to make our poems better.

So, here goes…

Pankajam Kottarath, a poet with many books to her credit read out her poem. It reminded me of the times I studied Keats and Shelly in school. It had a feel of times gone by.


Just  quoting a few lines for you from the poem,  I Know Why The Birds Sing.

“Perched on trees by the rivers’ rim

dazzling in robes of ornate hues

rainbow wings and glossy bills

gushing notes you sing in tuneful voice

like a midnight choir from afar

to awake me from ardent dreams.


In the wilderness of woods,pankajam-bird

in the silence of wastelands

you sing to flowers wild

like a fragrant vile

with a beating heart

for nature to hear your secret ails.”


I know why the birds sing.

Sivakami Velliangiri, poet and poetry activist for the past 30 years read out her poem, Jade. Such a sentimental poem, it was touching to say the least.


“Two hand-hatched eggs confined

to space-less cage like Andaman cellular jail;

wing span stubbed,unable to throb

unused cholesterol , into my care, on my lap

meant to sing in the Silent Valley

deserted by your mother parakeet at Moolimangalam

a lightning bruised topless coconut tree,

you were meant to eat grains, fruit and chilli

not a paste of dhal rice that blotted your throat-insides

too weak to breathe, even to hop on the ring you lay yourselfsiva-bird

on the floor of your cage. When I rushed from the Airport

there were a hundred parrots already on the telephone wire;

my children had you cold in their arms.

You came, stayed with us, finished your Karma

then left us with emptiness.”

Finally, I read my poem titled, Soaring In the Skies.


“How much higher can I fly.

There will be a dawn

when I shall have to fly low

when my tired flapping wings will slow.


The feathers in my wings, faded.

the colours in them jaded

no longer resembling my earlier self

I close my tired wings.


Perched on a shaky branchshail-bird

reflecting on memories

of an era I cannot savour anymore

I shiver in nostalgic pain.


My birdie mate beside me sits

pecking, healing my worn out body.

Looking towards him with gratitude

I ready myself to soar the skies once again.”

We are meeting again next month. Those interested, please do come. The day and date will be put up at the earliest. The theme for the next month is ‘Edges/ Edges’. Write a poem based on the theme or if you wish to read out a poem written by some other poet on the same theme, you are welcome to share the poem by reading it out to us.

Until then, be good and stay blessed.

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