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triveni spotlight: 13th July 2023

triveni spotlight A FEATURE EVERY ALTERNATE DAY! hosts: Kala Ramesh and Vidya Shankar GUEST EDITOR: Nandita Jain Mahajan, July 2023


the temple bell stops

but I still hear the sound

coming out of the flower


Matsuo Basho

Tr: Robert Bly


the sound of bells held in a book lily-of-the-valley


Thank you for giving me an opportunity to present my selection. Though the task of selecting haiku for Triveni Spotlight was very difficult, I found it very rewarding. I spent several hours going through poems available in the public domain and those from books in my personal collection. I read and re-read, shortlisted again and again paring down the list till I could do no more. It was a sheer joy to read such fantastic works - my heart is full ... so happy.

I tried to keep the poems different from what other guest editors had selected earlier. However, there is bound to be some repetition. I found myself leaning towards old Japanese masters like Basho, Issa, Shiki, and Ryokan but equally drawn to women poets like Chiyo-ni and Rengetsu. The simplicity, charm, and timeless quality is what pull me to their haiku. What a picture they paint! And, the space between what is said and what is unsaid. So many different interpretations which helped me connect to these poems.

Amongst the contemporary poets, I found myself opting for those that tugged at my heart. The poems span longing, sadness, hopelessness, hope, love, and gentleness. These are those that I could read over and over again, especially at dusk, when my mind is quiet and at peace. And then, something interesting happened. I realised that I could pair the masters with the contemporary - similar thoughts and subjects but different treatment. I hope you enjoy this selection. Nandita Jain Mahajan


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What a unique and refreshing way of handling this month's triveni spotlight selections! Watch out for this space, every alternate day, dear readers, you are in for a real treat! Thank you, Nandita. We are waiting to see the month unfold. _()_

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26 Comments


Ashish Narain
Ashish Narain
Jul 17, 2023

Both great poems, but what makes the combination even more interesting in how both authors have used the connection between the visual and audio cues, but so differently. In Basho's, the flower is unnamed- but the sound of bells immediately brings to mind a flower shaped like a bell, waving in the wind. So sound creates an image of the flower. Was it a Lily-of-the-valley? In Wendy's poem, on the other hand, the flower is named and its the image of the flower in a book that is used to bring the sound of bells to mind. I would not have appreciated the two poems quite the same if i had read them individually. Their juxtaposition makes them both shine…

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Jul 17, 2023
Replying to

Beautiful comment, Ashish.

Nandita has excelled in this idea of bringing two poems and how they interact with each other - bringing in a wholeness, and completeness when viewed together.

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Aparna Pathak
Aparna Pathak
Jul 16, 2023

Wonderful!!

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Padma  Rajeswari
Padma Rajeswari
Jul 16, 2023

superb pairing of bells...


beautiful ku

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Mallika Chari
Mallika Chari
Jul 15, 2023

Both the poems are ringing merrily!!

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Vani Sathyanarayan
Vani Sathyanarayan
Jul 14, 2023

Loved both the ku that you've paired together. It invoked so much of joy within me, especially the second one. Thank you for these.

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