Tikuli Dogra – WE ICWP Prize ’20. WE Glowing Aesthete Prize ’20.

Broken Lives

In the stillness of the old house
my fingers leave traces on the
dust-shrouded sepia of broken lives—
their names only half remembered—
parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins—
in the courtyard of our ancestral home,
or surrounded by vast areas of snow
that now weigh heavy on my heart
as I close my eyes and find a dream

in which the mist of old memories
veils the far distant hills and
bare trees that stand transfixed
like bleached skeletons,
their summer songs exorcised
the grey of sorrow clouds the sky
I recall a bright wood fire blazing
fragrant with the scent of my homeland
making figures like themselves
to celebrate the coming of new snow

but that was before innocence was lost
and the snow turned red with blood
as their sculptures gradually died
and vanished from sight forever
in the years since I last saw snow fall
winter has become a grisly metaphor
for the loss of life and hope
and things that will never be again 

First Published In Dissident Voice, a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice. It is also included in her second book of poems ‘Wayfaring' 


two a.m. on Delhi’s post-rain Sunday
I try to wash away the sleepiness
from my insomnia laden eyes
pick a fresh sheet of paper
spread clean water till its sheen's
like fresh snow on a sunny day
clean and load the brushes with colours

drop and watch in wonderment
as the colours bleed and waltz
into the white stillness
the ripe colours of autumn,
a drop of sea, the harvest fields,
the washes of sunsets layer after layer
and a moon laid on lake waters

a tender breath of green
a river filled with apparitions,
here now – then gone
wet roads winding around echoing hills
the crisp autumn breeze
floating across the valley
steam rising from a coffee left at the deck
my eyes closed I feel the calm glow
of lights at the water edge
the silent shadows
the peace of the submerged river banks

I dip my brush again as the pigeons rise
followed by the squirrel
and the upstairs neighbour
pounding fresh ginger for morning chai
the trees rise, the day rises
night slowly walks towards summer morning
First published in Cafe Dissensus Everyday,the blog of Cafe Dissensus Magazine – We Dissent 

Tikuli Dogra is a Delhi based internationally published poet, fiction writer, artist and blogger. Her poems have appeared in many renowned print and online literary magazines. Her short stories have appeared in various anthologies like Silence is White & Le Zaporogue. Her collections of poetry, Collection of Chaos, Wayfaring and Duetsa book of collaborative poems with James Goddard were published by Leaky Boot Press, England.

She blogs at tikulicious.wordpress.com