Christmas was coming. There were memories and the presence of a teal tweed coat to contend with, worn mostly over blue wool. This time there was a soft warm and roomy black coat as well, so the dull red velvet figure-hugging skirt and top with a toning patterned scarf in feather-light chiffon prominently displayed in the shop window could not be resisted. Skin-toned tights and calf-length black suede boots with a slight heel completed the ensemble. Matching lipstick, a string of grey pearls and a black leather clutch-bag were the perfect accessories. A splash of Chanel Number Five and she was ready for the dinner party where a clinical psychologist matched wits with a New York stockbroker, a Radcliffe graduate sat next to an art photographer from San Francisco, and even the potatoes were of an obscure species from Portugal. The snow falling steadily outside the window completely justified the choice of dull red velvet, as did the exotic food on the table and the level of conversation she found herself participating in. She secretly thought the baked Portuguese potatoes tasted like rutabaga, and blushed when she found the dessert matched her dress. Bluestocking Among Swedes and Portuguese Red velvet cake
Pensive Passage (Year-end Sonnet)
Soft light that is reluctant to depart And let of an old familiar year Prized warmth earned by the aching slowing heart That views the falling night with sinking fear No more the comfort of a touch that’s near No more the husk of one beloved voice No more the eye that may unbidden host a tear No more the hush more precious for the noise A cold green day will dawn and ask for poise And slowly become tinged with assured gold Wishes will come mandated with set joys Nor stop to ask what one old heart can hold New years arrive unbidden cold untold And yet the real mysteries don’t unfold
Amita Paul, a WE Green-Heart Awardee 2022, is by profession a retired bureaucrat but at heart a poet and a teacher. She writes , mostly poetry, in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi. Her recent poems are featured or are forthcoming in anthologies and journals and have found a place of honour in many an online poetry writing forum this summer. She was awarded the NISSIM International Poetry Award (First Prize) for 2019, for Excellence in Writing and her contribution to Indian English Poetry especially through a new genre called Tapestry Poems, by the jury of The Significant League , a Creative Writing group on Facebook. On 22 January 2020 , the TSL Jury announced the award of the First Reuel Prize for 2020 for Non – Fiction to her for her Experimental Prose plus Multi – Media Anthology , ‘ The Saaqi Chronicles’. Destiny Poets, Wakefield, UK declared her Poet of the Year ’20, and also Critic of the Year ’20. Her poem View From A Porthole, was acclaimed at the National Poetry Writing Month site. A selection of her poems feature in an anthology Impressions & Expressions edited by Amita Sanghvi, July ’21..