Alien World

Words float
like fluff in a sky
hovering out of reach

from the velvet expanse
they taunt my inability
to grasp their altered form

Their foreign tongue leaves me
in an alien world with no map
to guide me back home

© 2021 All rights reserved, Uma Venkatraman

A Wrinkle In Time


With a patient hand
on a once smooth face
Time draws wrinkles
that a smile teases into crinkles
like ripples on a still lake

With a smooth stroke
on once dark hair
Time paints some white
that stands out bright
like stars in the night sky

With a delicate flick
on once fair skin
Time dabs on some dots
liberally sprinkles spots
like paint splatters on the floor

With a gentle tug
on once firm flesh
Time lovingly moulds
soft pleated folds
like slept-in silk sheets

Ravages of age
or the gifts of life
Once etched they remain
A work of joy and pain
by an artist called time

© 2018 Uma Venkatraman ~ All Rights Reserved

Heartbreak – a villanelle


For this is how the heart breaks
A falling bough shatters the ice,
To give every piece its own ache

Broken bits float on the frozen lake,
Splintered shards that tell no lies
For this is how the heart breaks

Never any noise does it make
As jagged edges slice old ties
To give every piece its own ache

Through long nights stars stay awake
Watching how the moon cries
For this is how the heart breaks

No matter the many lives at stake
At every turn unkind fate tries
To give every piece its own ache

In terror does the world quake
And shudder as love dies
For this is how the heart breaks
To give every piece its own ache

© 2018 Uma Venkatraman ~ All Rights Reserved

Fall Into Darkness


Oh, to fall softly
into satin-shrouded darkness
beyond light’s grasp

Oh, to be subsumed
into smoky caliginosity
of tenebrous depths

Oh, to escape into
night’s inky embrace
unfathomed by day

Oh, to live in
obfuscous splendour
untouched by luminosity

Oh, to be a Cimmerian
plunged into ecstasy
in an obsidian land

© 2018 Uma Venkatraman ~ All Rights Reserved

When Chance Holds Such Allure


As dusk falls
desire lingers, seeking
the glow of the setting sun
to illuminate our path
You check your steps
wary of crossing
into the dark

But the stars have
aligned for us this night
Look, the bashful moon
shrouds its captivating face
in gossamer clouds
The dark casts
its velvet cloak over us

So let the last vestiges
of resistance melt away
Let’s surrender
to passion’s lure
Why hesitate for
even a moment
when chance holds
such allure

© 2018 Uma Venkatraman ~ All Rights Reserved

Slow Down


There was a time
when life wasn’t
a high-powered car
zooming down
soulless highways

It was a gentle meander
along leafy lanes
breathing in the aroma
of fields and flowers

But now it zips along
at top speed
on the cold tarmac
of expressways
that go nowhere
making no stops
in a mindless existence
breathing in fumes
that poison and suffocate

If life could just
reduce speed now
take its foot
off the accelerator
get off the expressway
drop a gear or two
coast down the bylanes
wind down the windows
admire the view
stop a while
have some fun

If only life could just
live a little

© 2018 Uma Venkatraman ~ All Rights Reserved

That Word


Sometimes the search
for that perfect word is elusive

That word, a sulky sun refusing
to shed its blanket of cloud

That word, a crack of lightning
distilling all your anger

That word, a raging river
encompassing all your frustrations

You dig deep, as though
carving a grave
deep enough to bury
all your grief
entomb every shred
of misery to find
that perfect word

You rummage in the
deepest recesses
of your mind to find it
cast off several choices
like dresses that no longer fit

Finally, weary of searching,
on the verge of giving up,
the bulb suddenly lights up
in your very own
eureka moment

It would befit the occasion
if you ran down the street naked,
shouting it out loud



© 2018 Uma Venkatraman ~ All Rights Reserved

Master Of The Game


It was an exceptional
game you played

Reeling me in just enough
to keep me hooked

But not so close
that I struggled

You scattered just enough
bait to tempt me

But not so many
that my hunger abated

You said just enough
to make me feel special

But not so much
that I took it for granted

You were a puzzle
I thought I had solved

But you were gone long before
I saw the whole picture

© 2017 Uma Venkatraman ~ All Rights Reserved

One Moment In Time


One moment is all it takes
for the scales to fall
from unseeing eyes
Like a snake moulting
you shed the skin
of countless untruths
masquerading as the truth

Finally you strip
from your bones
the pretence of the person
you never were
a role you played for so long
you never realised
when make-believe
became true
burying the real you
under a life you fashioned
out of a lie

But that one moment
set you free
One moment creating
the divide between
who you thought
you were
and who you can, at last,
let yourself be

© 2017 Uma Venkatraman ~ All Rights Reserved

Still A Believer


I’m tired of soppy love songs
entwined hearts & red roses
pimpled young things
drooling over each other on the train
trying to merge into one another
as if there’s no space in the carriage
for two more bodies

It makes me sick
You could say I’m embittered or cynical
Some measure of truth in both
I’ve gone through that phase
I can’t see how anyone could emerge unscathed
Perhaps some escape with superficial burns
My scars run deeper

So I can do without protestations of fervent ardour
grandiose gestures that mean little
Share my silences, listen to what I don’t say
we’ll see if our definitions match
I still believe in love
just not the way I used to

© 2017 Uma Venkatraman ~ All Rights Reserved