All the new words would be free, Made and struck from minds as fair As the ancient morning of the air And the oldest evening of the world. - Richard Ebehart


The page is ancient like that morning which awakened me and read me that new poem when I dipped the toast in the chai, the crunch of it made me realise I am alive while my eyes lingered on those words which danced like the numbers.


The evening is old the news is stale now, I avoid the numbers which I see in the clock and cook the curry, grateful for the craziness of life and and for quietly surviving the chaos. If you see words here its because I am alive and can’t hold the poems still.


The page is ancient

but my soul is still new and this poem

again helped me to walk back home and

you read about a poet trying to breathe.


Priyanka is the poetry editor of Literary Impulse


A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

I love walking in parks. Whenever I walk in them, I feel sad. Don’t ask me the reason, though. Even I don’t know how when I walk on the concretized round and round lane around a public park, or I sit on its green and brown turf, a solemn sadness washes over me. I see the world with an inner eye, a new perspective.

To be honest, though, I don’t know if ‘sadness’ is the right term. May be rather than giving a mere signifier to it, I should use more words to describe my emotions. Whenever I walk in a park alone, a queer emptiness befalls me- a trance I enter. I become sad. Or should I call it ‘melancholy’? There are many words. But I will use a common denominator- ‘sadness’. Because somehow, it is what explains my state most accurately. For me, it encompasses the entire range of emotions.

Parks are human-made replicas of nature. No. They are not even replicas. They are versions of what Nature wants us to do- what a human being desires. There is a conflict, which is perhaps most apparent in the art of topiary. Human beings make everything an art. Like - creating beautiful shapes out of privet or myrtle or holly. An elephant, a conical pattern, a sphere. Parks are the artful renditions of what humans can produce out of Nature. They are a living example of what it makes human, human. Is that why they make me sad? I don’t know.

Children are playing their little games, running behind each other. Elders are sitting and thinking. And adults-like me- are walking or jogging, or taking care of others. A dog is chasing a kid. A kid is chasing a dog. Maybe the entire world is a park. Yes. And don’t you agree? The world, as we know, is nothing but a park. An ugly park. But one.

People are so relaxed when they look alive. Unlike malls or hospitals or railway stations where they have a motive in mind, an agenda. You can really see them when they are in parks, look into their minds. I enjoy looking at people’s faces. Their shapes and forms can tell a lot. I like to guess what is in their mind from the expressions on their faces. How they react when they spot me looking at them. What their profession is. How they live. What they think about life. This, you can say, is my hobby. And I like it. I like it when I get lost in deep recesses of their thoughts and echoes. Moments like these provide me with the time to think. Time dilates when you are sad. Yes, that makes more sense. When I feel sad, I visit parks to give myself some time, so that I can feel sad and think.

---

One such day I was lying on the ground, on the wires of grass, under a glorious sun of February with hands over my eyes thinking about a myriad of things, which came and went away, like images in a movie. I was alone, as usual. And people were enjoying- playing with balls or talking and joking with each other, absorbing the warmth of the mild February sun, living what is life. A particular group caught my attention- grouped in a circle. One of them was lying with his hand over his eyes, like me. Another reading a book, her back on the back of another. And then my eyes fell on a girl. She was pretty. I started observing her more intently.

She had high cheekbones, and a fair skin with a rosy hue that glowed under the soft cushion of sun rays. She was laughing. Perhaps a boy in the group had cracked a joke. There were others, but she was laughing the most… even clapping her hands. Maybe the joke was a real nice one. Or maybe she was high with February sun.

I changed my line of sight. To a boy who was not laughing as much as others. He was quiet. Perhaps he was like me, with jet black hair and jet-black eyes. There was a sadness in them. And he was looking at the girl. The girl I mentioned before. I shifted my gaze to her. She was still laughing. A little milder now, though. Maybe she was oblivious of being watched. By the boy. And by me.

I opened my bottle and took a sip. I always carry my water with me. I don’t like to drink from outside. It gives me a sense of security. I am not free. But who said I want to be? I want to choose my chains. Maybe this is freedom?

The girl was quiet now. She was looking at something, something I couldn’t catch. The ground? Nothingness? Something was on her mind. I tried to look closer. There were lines of concentration on her forehead. I tried to listen to the group’s conversation. They were talking about someone, laughing. But the girl was relatively quiet. Relative to what I could expect from her previous behavior. I changed my attention to the boy. Now he was laughing like a crazy person. And then it occurred to me that the girl was looking at him.

I think they were in love. But too afraid of people around them to relay this to each other. I think they were too afraid of each other - to understand that they were in love. I was sad. And I was happy. Sad, because it gave me happiness. Happy, because I feel sad when I am happy. When you see an example of quiet love, you do not know what you feel. Quiet love is the purest.


Nachi Keta is a neurodiverse writer from New Delhi. His work focusses on mental health, oppression and the absurd in social and personal.



A stolen Kiss, Ron Hicks

The smell of her skin parched on his body, Over the bullet wounds that hold his tattered memories.

She waits in the alleyways of Paris,

looking up to the sky — every time a plane passes by.

The young boy beside her follows her gaze, unaware.

Time has undoubtedly slipped past, parting hearts.


He left home seeking an end to the violence

Never expecting to find love in an unknown land

Chosen to lead an elite group of fighting pilots.

A few bold souls in Nieuport 11’s crusading

Against those mighty German zeppelins.

They locked antlers amidst the grey clouds

Jousting bullets mid-flight,

Her voice ringing in his head, amidst the flutter of the engine

“I’m afraid you’ll die.”

He watches helplessly as his mates go down

— in a trail of smoke

He whispers in the wind

I’ll be back for you, I promise.”


A solemn oath he could never keep

His hiraeth to return to Paris was fierce,

To find her and hope that somewhere down those alleyways,

She’s waiting desperately for him.

He searched endlessly, but he never found her

With nothing to go on, he returns home

To a ranch a thousand miles away


The smell of her skin parched on his body,

Over the bullet wounds that hold his tattered memories.

The world sleeps as he meets her in his dreams.

Her tired eyes open slightly,

He says,

“Can I be close to you for a moment

and if I can’t.

I’ll see you again in heaven, Lucienne.”

She closes her tired eyes.


This piece was inspired by the movie “Flyboys,” which depicts a group of young Americans who volunteered to join the Lafayette Escadrille (French Air Service, L’Aéronautique Militaire) during World War I. A truly nostalgic and beautiful film which I thought captured the theme of hiraeth.

This piece was selected for the Hiraeth Anthology of Literary Impulse conducted in October 2020. Read the other pieces here.