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3 poems by Leela Soma


it was dark, neither day nor night

a time between two worlds, 

two countries, borders, strange

like a road that does not exist, but

the memory so acute that it is like 

a knife wound neither bleeding nor 

healed, scarred for life.

Memory waxes and wanes clear today

triggered by a smell, sandalwood, ghee,

familiar, like the feel of fabric, then that image

floods back, stark, almost real, memory of that 

walk to the cemetery, the anguish

as he lit the funeral pyre of his mother.

White heat

Dazzling, blinding, sweat-encrusted bodies, humid

a veil of tropical rays draining into nocturnal depths

the aroma of stillness.



Scarce water,

Crops wither

The empty earthenware pot

on the dying firewood stove

the cries of hunger

deep into the brown fissures

as they await

the first drop

of the monsoons.

Power/ Ardhanarishvara

Androgynous, half male half female, split down the middle

synthesis of the Purusha and Prakriti male, female energies

its union the root of all creation, where opposites merge

inseparable, as instilled in our consciousness.

Or is it the progress of civilisation that subtly transforms

that synergy to inequality? The might over right

the female reduced imperceptibly

smaller, weaker


Note: Ardhanarishvara is a composite androgynous form of Lord Shiva and Goddess



Leela Soma was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow. Her poems and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies, publications. She has published two novels and two collections of poetry. She has served on the Scottish Writer's Centre Committee and is now in East Dunbartonshire Arts & Culture Committee.  Some of her work reflects her dual heritage of India and Scotland.


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