Friday, August 27, 2010

designed patterns

with a cone in right hand,
I watch the henna flow,
creating patterns on my left palm
those intricate designs
tell a story on my palm
I squeeze it carefully
to prevent spurts on patterns
when it dries out,
I scrape it with a knife,
loving the dark ochre shade
apply henna oil to set it
morning comes, I wash it
admiring the designs

I watch the world of sunset
on my palm, kiss it slowly
spread it in front of my eyes
and let the patterns engulf me
I think of those dances
which were so easy
each of my steps so carefree
my dress flowing around me
I come back to the present
smell my palm
each finger gyrates
my other hand holds still
watching its twin go crazy

hand out, palm upwards,
henna is a great story teller

30 comments:

vivinfrance said...

This is a wonderfully exotic take on the prompt, to my European eyes. I'd love to see a photograph of the results of your labour.

Stan Ski said...

You must be an expert - you described it so visually.

nan said...

Great use of the prompt. I could see the designs, because as Stan said, you described this so visually, even someone whose never designed with and set the Henna could see what you were doing!

barbara said...

Thaanks for this. I thought all those lovely henna designs had to be drawn by someone else. So, does the adorning right hand never complain at being bare?

Mary said...

Beautiful poem, written from true experience. As Viv said, I would like to see a photograph of the results of your labor also.

Diane T said...

I know how important hands are to people from India. An Indian man one time gave me a gift of water in my hand (no water actually) and I'll never forget how that felt. I drove around for days afterward, wishing I'd made love to him. The feeling of those hands from India!

gautami tripathy said...

Diane, I never thought I would have a response like yours. You made my day!

:D

Rallentanda said...

Ah, the alluring magical subcontinent. Another life time ago for me.

rbarenblat said...

What a wonderful poem! I have delicious memories of the times when my hands have been painted with mehndi. I love I watch the world of sunset / on my palm...

Ramesh Sood said...

Hi Gautami, Yes, Henna is a great story teller.. you are immediately transported to some most wonderful moments.. well done.. lovely poem as usual..

And about your comment regarding books...I just wrote that because of mention of Ullysses by you.. nothing else.. but glad to see your love for books and that you can move out of your comfort zone to read.. I salute your spirit Gautami and was happy to see a long comment.. a rarity from you..

Derrick said...

Exotic, as Viv said, I know the patterns are intricate but don't really know the storytelling behind them.

Systematic Weasel said...

Wonderfully crafted! =)

-Weasel

Elizabeth said...

I'm totally ignorant of what you speak, yet catch the deep sense of reverence your words depict. And because of that I want to know about the practice and the obvious beauty you find within it. Is there some way I can learn more?

Elizabeth

flaubert said...

Gautami this gave me goosebumps, simply beautiful! I am right now sitting in the meeting room with a man from Banglore India and he has explained the story of how this is done for the woman when she is going to get married. Fascinating!
Pamela

cyclopseven said...

Henna carries the intrinsic designs, waiting for the pristine glory of beauty to manifest on someone's hand or perhaps feet.

angie said...

oh, that is such a beautiful poem. it transported me right out of this living room -- into the sun, into dancing.

Rachel said...

This is my favorite one of yours that I've read so far. Mmm, that henna smell.

EKSwitaj said...

I love the way the conclusion ties this piece together.

irene said...

A sensuous piece about henna painting..never tried it myself.

Tumblewords: said...

So beautiful! I'd love to learn more about it. And to see pictures of what you saw...

twitches said...

I watch the world of sunset
on my palm, kiss it slowly
spread it in front of my eyes
and let the patterns engulf me

Love that part best!

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Christine said...

What a beautiful poem, and a window into your culture for this American. "Watching its twin go crazy" was so sweet to me!

Tilly Bud said...

You had me there with you; I could see you doing it.

Pam said...

Your poem took me back to college when I hung around with girls from Jordan and they would apply henna on my palms with such amazing patterns. Thank you for taking me back to that place and time.

Wayne Pitchko said...

no kidden....well described and written Gautami....thanks for this

Linda said...

I am captivated by your detailed description and would love to see a picture.

Cynthia Short said...

So lovely...I wish there was a picture of your hennaed hand to go with it...

Francis Scudellari said...

I really love the detailed descriptions and the joy of the piece... it's infectious.

Fay's Too said...

Universe, Woman! I love the way you arrange words!