Wondrous India

My career took me several times to India. A land of magnificent colors, beautiful people, and simplicity beside urgent modernity.  I was honored to share meals and meet relatives of my students, visit holy places, and experience this wonderful culture. 

Wondrous India

Stone mosque bathed in light,
waits in glistening dark sea
an icon of hope.

Cities teem and swarm
with cars parked beside oxen,
new challenging old.

Low tide finds boardwalk
revealed through waste and debris,
pilgrims’ path to prayer.

Land of paradox:
harsh realities mar the
exalted sublime.

Pristine white heron
scavenges beside children.
Innocent dwellers
of this land called India.

Written for a writing prompt to write in a “series.”  I decided to try my hand at a series of haiku within one larger poem. I found the aspect of “hiding” the haiku form a challenge. To have the sense of the poem meet the reader, rather than the form itself. UPDATE:  

16 thoughts on “Wondrous India

  1. BarbaraK aka fiddlbarb May 26, 2015 / 12:21 am

    The flavor of the culture is so eloquently shared through your haiku and photos. Spectacular!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 26, 2015 / 2:28 am

      Thank you Barbarak. India is truly beautiful in so many ways. In so many countries I’ve visited, the globalization is so advanced that the old ways and old visages of culture are disappearing for modern technology, high rises, and global brands. India’s markets, the saris, the mosques, the marigolds, the colors….my hope is that it remains testament to this wonderful culture.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BarbaraK aka fiddlbarb May 26, 2015 / 2:50 pm

        Amen to that. One day I hope to visit that part of the world.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Alka Girdhar May 26, 2015 / 2:06 am

    These are very selective photographs presenting only one-sided view. Poetry is good.
    Indeed this earth is now ruthlessly dominated by clever humans, and oxen or other animals have no right to stand next to a human machine called car. Amazingly ugly sight…

    That makes me wonder if I too should take pictures of the seamy side of all the countries I ever visit. I end up clicking only the beautiful and modern rather than the filth of… whatever and where ever I go. .


    • lillian May 26, 2015 / 2:20 am

      I fear somehow these photos have offended you and if that is so, I apologize. I believe these photos show the beauty of the country: the family unit walking along the sea, the beautiful colors, the pilgrims at the mosque, the amazing Gate of India (an architectural icon), the wonderful face of the vendor. I believe the oxen beside the autos are representative of India struggling with the forces of modernity next to the old ways. This is life – the dignity of the revered animal with the modern machine at its side. The disappearance of the sari is something that would diminish a beautiful aspect of this culture so I truly appreciate the saris’ beauty. The only photo that shows the paradox is the beautiful mosque at low tide – the debris on the sea’s floor. And to me, the sight I saw of which I write, was the beautiful pristine heron beside the young child, both searching for their own sustenance in the tide pools – both beautiful and innocent dwellers of this wondrous India. I loved the country, its people and its culture. To show the modern buildings in the big cities, the buildings that look the same everywhere you go, would not show the cultural identity. Nor would showing the big malls with the global brand stores that are now everywhere in the world. Showing the local markets, whether it be in Italy, Malta, China or India, is to me, far more interesting and again, indicative of the culture. The photos, for me, as well as my words, try to represent the culture and the country’s beauty and its struggles.


      • Alka Girdhar May 26, 2015 / 3:25 am

        Please don’t apologize. I was not really offended. You took good pictures from your side, and they are very much the real pictures but obviously these are not the only pictures that represent true India.

        Generally, the whole world media tries to portray India as some exotic land full of garbage; full of poor black children with runny noses, then there are snake charmers, cows and what not running around the land that is only meant for humans.

        Every culture and belief system is different. Ancient Indian culture and scriptures respected cows for various reasons. This got too far and excessive cows do hang around there. For us humans they make an offensive sight. But as such only we humans define what is right and what is wrong.

        We great humans love to cut and eat filthy cows, pigs, lovely turkey, hens and their chickens. We enjoy eating their filthy lifeless inner body parts after it is being roasted and marinated.
        But these animals have no right to stand next to our polished car.

        Sorry for the offensive language. But I abhor the sight of piles and piles of beef and meat in the supermarkets where I have lived for 20 years. For me, that too is disrespectful for God’s living beings.


  3. lillian May 26, 2015 / 3:33 am

    I thank you for your visit to my blog and for your candid reply.


  4. AnnMarie Roselli-Kissack May 26, 2015 / 10:10 am

    Morning, Lillian.
    I normally don’t read other comments – it makes me feel a tad voyeuristic – I couldn’t help but see the above comments due to length. It is an amazing thing, writing or even drawing and recreating images through our eyes. I understand what you were doing here and your words are perfectly placed with the imagery. We express ourselves as we live our lives through our personal experiences. We all have different memories and how we express them is due in part to how we came and continue to experience our own lives. It’s when painters all look at the same model and nothing about what ends on the canvas is similar…their eyes, their filters….
    This was a lovely piece of writing.
    I understand well the reader’s concerns and interpretation. She’s coming from a very personal place. But your personal experiences are from your eyes and heart. You gently expressed this viewpoint/yours in comments.

    Happy Tuesday

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 26, 2015 / 11:55 am

      Thanks AnnMarie. It is all a learning process….these things called cyberspace, blogging and of course for me, writing poetry. I am really wondering here….there are 100+ views, only 8 visits and 3 likes. Again, this is all so new to me. Only 27 of the views are on Wondrous India. Do you understand the statistics part of WP?
      Sadly, I love this poem…..the form, the words, the country, the people. No problem about reading the comments — that is all part of this. I did post one more comment from her this morning….which I had to approve for it to be seen. I thought it only right to allow her opinion be shown.
      So we move on…..I’m afraid others will not respond now and that their perception of the poem will be affected here, but again, as you say….it’s what happens in this world of creativity all the time. We stand in galleries and comment freely about a work of art (not that I am creating works of art — that is your venue and so many others who paint and draw and do amazing things). It goes back to my About and the power of words to affect perceptions and actions. Yes, your Paintbrush Reply statement is so true. We do paint pictures with our words.
      So, we move on.
      Nice to share my cup of coffee with you this morning. I sure could use another smile face from you! 🙂


      • AnnMarie Roselli-Kissack May 26, 2015 / 3:04 pm

        Hi there, Lillian.
        I’m trying to be more diligent with my WP time. I’ve been at too much lately – and as a result – my art has been taking a backseat. I’m trying to only WP in the morning then again in the evening ’round post time (which constantly changes for me). Having said this, I read your comment while waiting on line at grocery store and I had to respond. You seem a bit down. Don’t be. I’ve been at this WP a bit more than a year and ‘off’ comments will come. We never expect them, but nonetheless they are there. The world is filled with so many people, so many extrapolations on life’s spin…we couldn’t possible hope to speculate. What is certain, some of what we create will be interpreted in a light we can’t prepare for. Whenever this happens to me, I always remember the blog is worldwide. But I also remember, the blog is worldwide – I mean – for the amount of people that do read from all over the planet – it’s quite amazing so many are gentle readers… I focus on that. Don’t let this comment, early on, challenge your spunk and enthusiasm 🙂 You were honest and respectful to publish the comments and believe me, that alone speaks miles to your artistic integrity and style which you have in spades.
        I often find myself preparing for the folks that just don’t like my art or my writing and say so. And I must remember they don’t have to like my work. It’s okay. The only time I should have a problem is when I don’t like my work. And the reason I began the blog was to get into a regimen and improve and keep my ‘crap’ 😉 in one place. You know most times when I’m working I play music. My husband and I have very different musical tastes for the most part. Whenever I play Mario Lanza – who I absolutely adore with an over-zealous passion, my husband cringes 😉
        You know, I have five siblings. We are all just about a year apart (mom was busy for awhile and we were all born in different states – my dad was in the FBI). My sibs and I couldn’t be more different in so many ways. I’ve got an artist sis in Brooklyn, I PhD sis working in a conservancy, a brother in the FBI, another who refound religion is deep into conspiracy theory and has a Masters in Engineering, another sis who works in gov contracts for the disabled… my parents are Republican…. I’m telling you this, because though we’re all over the place politically, religiously…we manage to get along. And we all came from the same place. I should understand my sibs better sometimes and I don’t..
        I think of them often, when I respond to certain folks…
        So chin up, Miss and carry on.
        As far as the stats and such. I don’t pay attention to them, I can’t. I think knowing numbers might hinder my thoughts and what I’d like to create. I’m really here in my own little world having a good time…trying to improve my art and writing as I go and meeting grand people like you along the way 🙂
        There is a ton of info on WP. If you simply Google what you’re looking for, WP has loads of easy-to-understand info. In the very beginning, I read some of this to get a handle on what the heck I was doing. I do remember 1 visitor can look at your site and count for many views. But read you’ll catch on quick bright lady, as I recall you’re a PhD correct!
        You have a beautiful Bostonian day!
        🙂 🙂 🙂
        extra smiles for you
        now it’s back to the drawing table!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Alka Girdhar May 27, 2015 / 11:43 pm

    Hi Lillian,

    You didn’t have to take off the picture that went so well with your poetic lines:

    “Low tide unearths a
    boardwalk through waste and debris,
    pilgrims’ path to prayer.

    Pristine white heron
    scavenges beside children.”

    Now that you have deleted the picture, your readers will think I was utterly terribly wrong, and that there was nothing offensive in the pictures.

    Truly speaking there wasn’t anything unsavory in that picture. It represents the total truth, so what if it is the seamy side of India. One should learn to face and digest the truth. Moreover it went very well with your beautiful poetry, so you can let that picture be there.

    Otherwise if possible you can take off all my comments too, in fact delete the whole discussion.

    But again, it’s up to your. Whatever you deem appropriate.




    • lillian May 27, 2015 / 11:49 pm

      Back in. And I continue to reiterate, to me, India’s beauty is in her culture and her people and I treasure every moment I spent there, every student I had from India, and most especially, their parents and people I met in India, who took me into their homes and shared with me their lives and their traditions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alka Girdhar May 28, 2015 / 12:05 am

        Thanks for sharing the experiences that you had with your students and their parents. But you don’t have to reiterate. Sorry if I made you feel that way, that you have to give explanations to me.

        Are Indians warm and hospitable? Yes they are. It’s the poor non-materialistic Indians, rather than the rich ones, who are happier. Well, at least going by their smiles. But there are enough hooligans too. Actually, there are good and bad people in every country. And of course they can do with better general cleanliness, that’s for sure. Huge projects are going on in that direction too, so it’s a matter of time.


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