Lily Swarn

Love Is…


Does Love even exist ?
You often scoffed at the word 
Smirking at cuddling youngsters 
Looking askance at lovers looking deep into each other’s eyes 
You giggled at Heer Ranjha and Sohni Mahiwal’s tragedies 

Watch the sun embrace imminent death each dusk 
Hear the brooks whisper about being lost in the ocean 
It’s vast expanse opening up for each little stream 
Estuaries and bays hugging the chilling winds 
Watch the moon fade away on dark nights 

Love can wipe the frost from a steaming mirror 
Love can fight all the nasty demons for you 
Love knows instinctively what knowledge can’t teach you 
Love let’s you eat their favourite fruit even if it’s the last one on earth 
Love is !

Had He Eaten ?


How are you ? Have you eaten , rested ? 

It’s either a mother who asks you this 
Or else ,the one who cares .

Sometimes they need not speak 
It’s in their eyes ,those loud question marks 

Written in dialects of oozing love 
Painted with dyes or organic colours 

Block printed like Gujarati Ajrak 
Or Sanganeri from Rajasthan ,

Painstakingly etched with 
Kalamkari from Machhlipatnam

Pure vegetable tints 
With no toxic chemicals 

Her eyes open, her ears alert 
The thud thud in her rib cage 
Hardly letting her breathe 

Was he sleeping ? 
Should she call him 
To check if he ate ? 

Was it too early 
To start worrying 

She covered the dishes 
As well as her nightmares 
With delicate beaded doilies 
Of translucent net

Who asks her this question 
Is my question ? 


(Prompt inspired by the title of Menka Shivdasani’s poetry collection)

Amorphous without focus 
No structure at all 
Just frazil on a choppy sea 
Your treacherous love 
Balancing on the foaming froth 
Dashing on the thrashing cliffs
Heaving like a curvaceous bosom 
Thundering on the blackening clouds
It won’t accumulate or settle 
Just like frazil on a choppy sea 


Prompt - Of Minds and Treasure Chests
#CeWoPoWriMoWE April 28

I keep my love for him padlocked 
Safe in the cavernous old chest 
Neither Burmese teak nor Kashmiri walnut 

It’s those sepia tinted letters 
Carefully concealed beneath sub conscious layers 
Of the busily ticking mind 
Those are the living soul of my treasure chest 

My loyal slave 
My crafty mind 
It pickles and embalms his love for me 
It serves it up on moonlit nights 
It camouflages my tears with quivering smiles 

I prance across the trembling bridge 
To put a fresh lock on it 
The clasp is rusted as are the nails 
But the perfumed whiffs of his love remain 
In the crushed petals of dusty roses 

A Soldier’s Epistle


I don’t write them any more 
Those painstakingly inked heartbeats 
On an inland letter of a strange sky blue 
Or receive those fancy first day covers 
Envelopes with a character and an attitude 

The endless waiting near the letterbox at the gate 
For the postman in his faded khaki uniform 
Wobbling precariously on a rickety bicycle 
Peering short sightedly through thick glasses 

Snatching it from his weary hands,hiding under the staircase 
And devouring all the words ,mincing them like keema to gobble up 
Each love brushed syllable ,each visual painted in blood ,each tear drop 
Distilled liquor,from male eyes that rarely bother their lachrymal  glands 

Letters that were life giving breath ,holding me tightly ensheathed 
In layers of chenille,cuddly soft,protective messengers of emotions 
A world lay between those neat cursive writing lines in royal blue 
Reassurances that you would be home from the line of fire soon 

You nod sleepily in your armchair now, grunting in monosyllables 
Gazing unblinkingly at the overused television screen ,a snore escaping 
Your quivering moustaches;Do you remember the letters you wrote me 
From icy pickets,stench of kerosene ,sound of Chinese songs in your ears 

Khushaamdeed Love

You can’t ever go wrong with it 
Can you ? 
After a severe drought of feelings in life 
Or a deluge of rivers soaked in brine 
After a punch in the sore guts of the heart 
Or a vacuum where he had lived inside your being 
After the chill of bone shattering winters of despair 
Or a mercurial moon hanging in a terror stricken glow 
It’s Love that heals hearts in May 
It’s love that keeps your mists at bay 
It’s love that tickles cherry blossoms to sway 
It’s love that wards off all your grey 

Lily Swarn, multilingual poet, author, columnist is a gold medalist ,university colour holder, radio show host and Peace Ambassador. A Trellis of Ecstasy , Lilies of the Valley, The Gypsy Trail and History on my Plate are her highly acclaimed books in different genres . She has won over fifty international and national awards and her poetry has been translated into over 16 languages .Her Urdu ghazals are put to music .