Friday, June 25, 2021

A bowl of frangipani

Last week, for the first time, I attended a poetry workshop.

I've always dreamed of enrolling into an MFA programme, of living on campus once again and of soaking my days and nights in poetry, literature, reading, writing and reciting. Years of waiting for the right time when the children are old enough, when I have enough money, when I'm not working rolled on and on and brought me to Doha, Qatar.  I've lived here for over a decade. My children are adults now. They don't need me any more. I quit my job four years ago to pursue writing full time. And if I really wanted to, I'd be able to gather sufficient funds to pursue my so called dream. But. But. But.

Isn't assigning some life goals to dreams more attractive than putting them into plans? Plans are concrete. Dreams are fluid. Plans push you to do something about them. Dreams don't have any such requirements. Plans are realists. Dreams are romantic. 

There are many who plan and achieve and become successful. Then there are a few like me; the ones who let life's flow guide their plans. 

In my experience, at least, life's flow has a wonderful rhythm. Unknown to me, it syncs with my dreams and together they guide me into spaces where poetry lives, in pastures where words roam free, into orchards where all trees are ripe with fruit of ideas and creativity and suddenly, I am left executing plans that I never had the courage or the discipline to make.

That's what happened last fortnight. Sonia, a dear blogger friend, shared information about a poetry workshop on zoom.  I logged on. And promptly entered a live MFA class -- the kind I had imagined in my dreams:)

It was an hour long session.

One of the exercises involved looking at a picture of an urli (bowl) filled with frangipani blooms.

Below are some of the poems that came to the page that day.

I'd love to know which one holds your attention.


In a bowl 
I know my limits

On a branch
I'm free


Refugees for a day
plucked from our birth-branches
You arrange us
so beautifully.

(Inspired by Rumi's words)

Reflected in the water
of this urli,
I see 
the East before my birth
the West after my demise


Captured for a day,
you held us prisoners.

You called us beautiful.

You murdered us
for your pleasure.

The photo above was clicked in 2017. 

The photo below was made yesterday.

Wishing you all a fragrant weekend.

Stay safe.

See you soon.


  1. Hari OM
    How wonderful to be connected into a group which helps expand the dream and build the plan! I adored your differentiation of these two...

    You asked for feedback: for once I struggled a little with these verses... but my eye kept going back to the first. So I guess that works the best, but I kept wanting to debate how much freedom was there being 'chained' to a branch versus floating in a bowl. Which could, of course, mean the verse was doing work at making the grey cells spark!

    the Rumi inspired one was lovely - but somehow ignored the key component of flowers. Two and Four were a little to literal, for my taste - others may disagree! YAM xx

    1. Thank you dear Yamini. I can always count on you to read me--really read me.

      I'm going to read the poems from a distance now--the distance of another's glance.

      Come to think of it, the branches too hold flowers prisoner in a way. But they're more like mothers that nurture for without them where would the buds bloom?

      Loving the class-extension via this post. This is turning out to be a study group;) Ha! I can dream. Cant's I?

    2. ...absolutely!!! And I like the reconnection of sustenance from the branch that would be deprived or at least depleted by being in the bowl... Yxx

  2. Beautiful photos! I guess my favorite is the first one, but I was surprised with the dark side of the poems ;)

    1. Thank you Frederique.
      Now, you've seen my dark side too :)

  3. Hey Arti. Thanks for sharing these beautiful poems with me. I had every intention of joining one of those hour long workshops but did not make it in the end. The urli session seems to have been an inspiring one.
    Of the poems on the page, the first one held me the longest. It has me pondering for longer. But, the last one felt like something I would say:)

    1. Thank you Namratha:)

      The first one seems to be the popular one.

  4. Arti, am sooo happy for you ! I love the para on dreams, life goals, plan & so resonate with that thought too!
    About the poems like all others here, the first one caught me for the longest, because in the tree its free in its original form & in its natural way…no matter how we respect it, offer it to god or decorate it, for the flower its cut off from its roots! , 3rd was too deep, 2& 4th was definitely dark ! Interesting is that, how u churned different flavors from one bowl frangipani!

    1. Thank you dear Vidya.
      It's the magic of the session, I think.

  5. Hello Arti! So glad to read this post and know that you enjoyed the workshop. Let me join the club of dreamers with you. I love to dream. Plans can go wrong but dreams continue to flow ceaselessly. Loved all your creations but the one inspired by Rumi has my heart. Would love you to paraphrase this one in another post.

    1. So glad to be in the company of fellow-dreamers:) Thank you Sonia.

  6. Hello Arti! The dreamer have always been the ones who steal hearts. The frangipani image brought me here. That is an interesting workshop you mentioned about. And the verses have a tinge of displacement. Something I quite liked, different yet similar. Note: I am not a poet but an admirer of art.

    1. Thank you for visiting and for commenting Srishti:)

      So glad to see you here.

  7. This sent my imagination swirling:
    In a bowl
    I know my limits
    On a branch
    I'm free
    Arti, the colorful bowl of frangipani released your imagination to experience spacious vistas. Oh, to have an elixir that invokes such freedom at will.
    Your plumeria photo is almost a twin of mine that I recently uploaded as a background photo on my kindle. Comforting to know such beauty exists all around the world.
    Best of luck with your dreams and your plans.

    1. Dear Gail,

      Your words have made me smile so deeply and warmly that they feel like a hug to me.
      Thank you for visiting and for sharing.

      I'm travelling at the moment. As a result, I haven't checked my blog for a few days.

      Gladdens my heart to think that like the Olympic torch, poetry lights up our imaginations one line and one reader at a time.

      Have the most wonderful day.

      In gratitude,



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