Saturday, December 5, 2009


From inside the locked wooden cupboard
Our landlord had abandoned
In a corner of the hall
Right against the wall
Everyone often heard
Something sinister
Sometimes a whisper,
A scrape, a sniffle, a him or her
Especially on a cold night or a deserted hour.
All who were called in, well
Had a story to tell
"Must be the landlady's sister's spirit!
The one who hanged herself, desperate!"
An elderly lady said, as if with envy.
Children hoped aloud for a genie
That would fetch them, grateful
The dark shop halwa, by the plateful
Before they would let it fly
With a reluctant goodbye
Like they did the dotted butterfly
They caught the other day
As it lay drunk or dreaming on a flower.
"Let's open it and find out, what's in there!"
The curiosity getting the better of fear
The key was fetched and someone flung the double doors open
Older children standing guard with raised makeshift weapon ---
Younger ones, ready to run, by the door ---
What a blow! What a letdown!Nothing was there! Nothing but air!
Not even a note with a curse
Leave alone an imp or spirit or worse.
And worse --- the noise stopped abruptly after
It was heard no more
Though we wished we could, once more
And kept our ears open
Wanting to be shaken
Out of our wits, again.
Though we begged the cupboard to speak
Wanted it to squeak
Implored it didn't look right
It didn't budge, just stood quiet.
Somehow, it didn't seem fair
That the cupboard was bare
That someone didn't care.


P. Venugopal said...

reads like Edgar Allan Poe!
where did it go?...
Prabhakar, i think you should work on this a little more, most preferably in the dead of the night when the ghosts are out on their nightly rounds. read a bit of Poe before reworking this. this has the potential to be a stunner of a poem. you are lax here and there, i cannot pinpoint where. but you can do it. go into it with all the fear you have felt.

Prabhakar said...

Venu, when we opened the cupboard there was nothing inside. Maybe the origin of the mysterious sound was elsewhere. The direction of the wind made it look as if it emanated from inside the cupboard. we actually started missing it. Isn't life like that, bare at the end signifying nothing. I love the night too much to believe in ghosts though our childhood has been spent in fear of them. Ki. Ra. observes in a novel that ghost sightings stopped after electricity came to the town. Even UFOs have turned out to be the unmanned aerial vehicles.
But the narrative poem would have been better in the traditional format with rhyme and metre. Obviously that is not my area of expertise. This poem stands on the last three lines, and the theme is again appearance vs. reality.

Prabhakar said...

I've done some revision. I don't know if it works.

P. Venugopal said...

It certainly works, Prabhakar. Beautiful read. Yes, the last three lines is the crux. Even with fear we look for some kind of fulfillment!!!

Scribbler said...

Maybe, it was HOPE which made all the noise. When there's nothing left, you're sure to find... :)

keep it rollin;)

Prabhakar said...

When you stay with reality, what happens?