The Power of Poetry in a World Gone Wrong

Exposing romance, rape and suppression in 21st century India

Blog Gauri

IT is not often that a modern author or poet is compared to English metaphysical classicists John Donne or Lord Byron… but this is one such occasion.

And it is even rarer for the new writer that English is her second language.

But a 23 year-old Indian woman is making her publishing debut with an incredible story of romance set in a society where women are degraded and abused daily.

With her first novel Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Saumyata Bisht has joined Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai and Anita Nair as a new and powerful voice for women in the Indian subcontinent.

Although written as a novel – a vehicle to protect the identities of people she knows – Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is a gripping insight into a world rarely seen in the West.

At times the book reads like a brilliant work of romance, and in places is poetic in a form that Donne, Shelley or Byron would recognise. Above all else it is a tale of purity, love and romance in a world gone wrong… almost Blakean in its beauty as an innocent young girl is corrupted by men into a world of experience.

And somehow, through the use of her own poetry, Saumyata taps into a vein that is at once beautiful but also searching for the truth about the world she lives in.

How would the cedar have its fragrance?

The pines their cones?

The marigold its orange?

The goddess Kasar her purity?

The River Kosi its depth?

How would winds blow?

The kafal ripen?

The Harela bring harvest?

How would the birds sing?

The leopard leap?

The Himalayas be at rest?

What would the world be without you?

What would I be without you?

How would the sun shine?

How would the night prevail?

Without your smile,

Without your eyes,

Without your being?

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Chapter 3)

 

Blog Saumyata 3

 

Saumyata Bisht: a passion to tell a true story

 

Saumyata is the daughter of a college principal and a native Hindi speaker, but since early childhood taught herself English and immersed herself in English literature, while slowly observing the suppression and abuse of fellow Indian women.

She sees herself as a writer, a poet and a storyteller rather than a campaigner or activist for emancipation.

Yet it is deep indignation at the society in which she was raised, which ignites her storytelling passion.

“There’s no denying that we still are grappled in the webs of patriarchy,” she says.

“Women are still expected to follow a certain path and protect her ‘sacredness’.

“Most girls are uneducated and even falling in love with a man from a different caste is considered a sin, for which punishment is severe.”

“The beauty of life, the purity of love, the rawness of nature and subtle nuances in the human character warms my spirit and moves my pen to capture them,” explains Saumyata.

We just breathe, until someone takes the breath away.

Our hearts just beat, until someone makes it jump.

Our blood is just thick water, until someone runs the warmth of love within it.

Until then we are just flesh and blood, dragging ourselves through the years… because everyone does.

But suddenly meanings change, the world is a different place and you are a new person with dreams on your back and you live your life running to catch them.

Suddenly everything is so beautiful.

The sun has more orange and yellow, the winds are softer and the sky is telling stories that you have never heard before.

Suddenly, god has left a piece of heaven for us to see.

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Chapter 2)

 

But Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is much more than just a poetic romantic novel.

The love, romance and beauty is splintered with abuse, rape and degradation, murder, pregnancy and childbirth, in a style that is impossible to ignore and hard to put down.

And it exposes the ongoing power of the Hindu caste system, which keeps the poor in poverty while the rich remain all powerful.

It explores in depth the enforced sanctity of virginity before marriage (so-called being ‘Sacred’) and then the absolute desolation of a woman’s sacredness by rape and violation – often by a husband, uncles and friends of the husband. And women who become untouchable if they fall in love with a man from a lower caste

Everyone was everywhere

Moving

I was there

He was there

Still

Everyone was everywhere

Talking

I was there

He was there

Silent

I saw him

He saw me

I blinked

And everyone

And everywhere

Meant nothing

I looked into his eyes

He looked into mine

Seconds

Minutes

Hours

I was there

He was there

Lost

And everyone who was everywhere

Knew nothing

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Chapter 4)

 

“Many girls from rural areas are married early,” explains Saumyata.

“Many more are beaten by their husbands and his family. Rapes happen, but are silenced. Only the brutal ones find some light, but most rapes are never even mentioned.

Call your gods

Run your hands

On the beads

Place a curse

Mother

He hasn’t gone

Raise your hands

Tighten your fist

Take your swords out

Father

He hasn’t gone

 Flesh

Is tearing

Blood

Is draining

Murders

Are happening

Inside me

Liberate my spirit

Place a curse

Bring the swords out

Take Him away

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Chapter 8)

The book’s poetic Magnum Opus is a piece entitled Call Me Sacred, I am a Woman. A poem of sheer brilliance… but you will have to buy the book to read it.

“Wishes that are crumpled, the voices that are silenced, they stir an indignation in me and provoke me to write,” says Saumyata.

“Sometimes my poetry is in the pity… other times in the anger.

“I just want to speak for the silent, shout for them with my words.

Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is certainly a life and death work, and given a chance this story may well begin to enlighten millions of people around the world.

  • Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is set for worldwide publication on Amazon on 10th January… watch this space for more information.

 

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The Summer of 1976

Walking the dale in the morning

To where water babies play

The peewits are meandering

It’s just another day

The heat haze

The dry earth

A rebirth

A summer of one thousand years

 

The darkness of noon is high

Across the old soot stain

Everybody looks to the sky

They’re all expecting rain

The heat haze

The dry earth

A rebirth

A summer of one thousand years

 

But the sun beats down upon all hope

The cowslips are in bloom

Tumbling scree along the slope

Turning to evening’s gloom

The heat haze

The dry earth

A rebirth

A summer of one thousand years

 

Parenthood

You sit by his bedside

And read him to sleep

You kiss him goodnight

And let him count sheep

You tidy his room

And fold up his clothes

You tip-toe to bed

And count your own woes

 

The evening darkens deeply

The shooting star

That shines

Above

You do these things so freely

As they reflect your own true love

 

You wake him at dawn

And brush his blonde hair

You wash his small face

And see him downstairs

You watch as he eats

And check his school bag

You put on his coat

And write on his name tag

 

The morning lightens meekly

The pale sun

That shines

Above

You do these things so freely

As they reflect your own true love

 

You stand by the school gate

And hear the bell ring

He rushes to meet you

And you hear the birds sing

He walks by your side

And talks of his day

He looks up and smiles

And wants so to play

 

The afternoon brightens sweetly

The golden sun

Descends

Above

You do these things so freely

As they reflect your own true love

 

Fans United Will Never Be Defeated

AA Wrexham 3

Ken Richardson’s fire

Stoked the Doncaster ire

It only took a spark

To ignite his moment in the dark

 

They can’t understand

In their money-grabbing hands

When they try to steal our game

They are all the fuckin same

We will not be tamed and seated

Fans united together

Will never be defeated

 

Bill Archer made a killing

From his crooked Goldstone shilling

But the battling Seagulls now fly

Under a blue and white sky

 

They can’t understand

In their money-grabbing hands

When they try to steal our game

They are all the fuckin same

We will not be tamed and seated

Fans united together

Will never be defeated

 

Alex Hamilton’s wrecking ball

Swung the Racecourse call

As the evil ball came down

Wrexham’s fans saved their ground

 

They can’t understand

In their money-grabbing hands

When they try to steal our game

They are all the fuckin same

We will not be tamed and seated

Fans united together

Will never be defeated

 

Roland Duchatelet’s sleight of hand

Unites the Valley stand

The fans now deal their own CARD

As they clear him from their yard

 

They can’t understand

In their money-grabbing hands

When they try to steal our game

They are all the fuckin same

We will not be tamed and seated

Fans united together

Will never be defeated

 

Karl Oyston sues football fans for fun

But his regime is now undone

Under the famous Blackpool lights

Here come the Tangerine Knights

 

They can’t understand

In their money-grabbing hands

When they try to steal our game

They are all the fuckin same

We will not be tamed and seated

Fans united together

Will never be defeated

 

Songs and Poems of Love and Theft

September Song

Boots and bottles and a telescope reel

No-one knows just how I feel

Sitting blindly by a Catherine Wheel

I open my arms to you

 

Write me a song to sing all day long

Catch me a tune to howl at the moon

Watch me waltz on a silver spoon

I open my arms to you

 

My golden daughter does what she oughta

Reading medical books with whisky and water

The words get longer but never shorter

I open my arms to you

 

The breakdown came, the breakdown went

Forty-four years they were paid and spent

I’ll pack up my shoes and buy a new tent

I open my arms to you

 

The sun still warms the September air

The grass is green and the day is fair

I look at my life with barely a care

I open my arms to you

 

The fox it will run and the bat does fly

The poacher stares at the empty sky

Time it passes with no reason to cry

I open my arms to you

 

 

Redemption Song

I stand here amazed

Lost in your gaze

Emerging from hell

In a delicate shell

You came and you saw

Just like the law

I gave you my soul

And it made me feel whole

 

One life

One chance

One kiss

One dance

 

I asked for some time

Tasted your wine

Looking to the sky

As the comet passed by

You came and you saw

Just like the law

I gave you my soul

And it made me feel whole

 

One life

One chance

One kiss

One dance

 

You waltzed by the moon

At the dark of the noon

Standing so still

My glass yet to fill

You came and you saw

Just like the law

I gave you my soul

And it made me feel whole

 

One life

One chance

One kiss

One dance

 

 

Tortured Blues #2

And now that it is over

He could sit and count the cost

Wondering if she’d changed at all

And realised what they had lost

He was standing in the driving rain

Water filling up his shoe

She was lying on a snow white bed

Hair and face were all askew

Tortured by the blues

 

He found shelter in a small café

Writing hymns and poems on the wall

She slipped close by and cursed at him

They were both heading for a fall

Outside the booths were filling up

Minstrels and waiters in the queue

He stopped nearby and filled his cup

The last romantic of the few

Tortured by the blues

 

Their breaking up was a tempest storm

Promises and words were said in vain

She withdrew from the human race

Neither one could take the strain

He drowned himself in red wine

Street lanterns burned green and blue

Once their love was something fine

Now it was split like cracked bamboo

Tortured by the blues

 

Another year had passed by slow

His young face was lined with pain

She lay wrecked in a juniper bed

They both had to start out again

But all the while he was alone

Clinging to an old church pew

Women came and lovers went

The howling wind it ripped right through

Tortured by the blues

 

 

Willow’s End

I’ll wait for you where the Willow bends

Where lives and deeds make no amends

Branches and leaves punctuate the sky

Life races quickly

And the grey gulls fly

Talk to me, talk to me, we have such little time

We drift this way and pass sublime

And sip our cup of blood red wine

 

I’ll wait for you where the fenland breaks

Where time releases our past mistakes

Branches and leaves punctuate the sky

Life races quickly

And the grey gulls fly

Talk to me, talk to me, we have such little time

The day it breaks and shadows fade

Into a life of light and shade

 

I’ll wait for you by the wooded glen

Where lovers search for the souls of men

Branches and leaves punctuate the sky

Life races quickly

And the grey gulls fly

Talk to me, talk to me, we have such little time

Turn and face the tangled weeds

Forget the curse of forgotten deeds

 

I’ll wait for you on the old brown moss

Where the water birds don’t count the cost

Branches and leaves punctuate the sky

Life races quickly

And the grey gulls fly

Talk to me, talk to me, we have such little time

Clouds of oblivion blow around my head

As we creep still closer to the living dead

 

I’ll wait for you where the seas cascade

Where life and death are not betrayed

Branches and leaves punctuate the sky

Life races quickly

And the grey gulls fly

Talk to me, talk to me, we have such little time

Then drink to me at the graveside brae

And pray together for the passing day

 

 

Drifting

You drifted in from nowhere

On the breath of a southerly breeze

Your face now haunts my dreams

Like golden butterflies in the trees

Your eyes pierce my soul

And your fragility tears a hole

So I reach out

To touch you

But struggle

Stupidly

You know me

Yet

Heaven is a place

That dreamers want to see

And sometimes you may find

An occasional angel

 

 

Redemption Paradox

She was the rose of Sharon from Paradise Lost

The scent of peach blossom beneath the Conquerer’s cross

I told her about my own agony and the driving rain

She told me about the year when her innocence was slain

Was she a girl or a woman, I can’t say which

From one to another she could easily switch

My Kether, my Abbadon, my redemption

 

We went to a place that our friends could not reach

We learned from the lessons we both could teach

She looked into my soul through the clothes that I wore

And told me without words that she knew the score

Was she a girl or a woman, I can’t say which

From one to another she could easily switch

My Kether, my Abbadon, my redemption

 

Our lives they were ruins and her heart was a snare

We both had to run and leave hate to die there

I hear my voice crying, “Help,” and she echoes back

But it’s only the silence as the darkness does crack

Was she a girl or a woman, I can’t say which

From one to another she could easily switch

My Kether, my Abbadon, my redemption

 

 

Empathy

Beauty is a painted veil

Its colours are skin deep

Love is just a holy grail

Fading grey while you’re asleep

 

Don’t look away, I’ve drained the cup

And life’s race is all but run

Thinking of you when the sun comes up

To finish where I begun

 

Magic sparkles in the night

And laughter fills your dream

Hope dances in the morning light

Drifting away on an urgent stream

 

Don’t look away, I’ve drained the cup

And life’s race is all but run

Thinking of you when the sun comes up

To finish where I begun

 

Life it seems to crawl away

Drowned by rivers of blindness

Curtains shutter the brand new day

Floating on a sea of kindness

 

Don’t look away, I’ve drained the cup

And life’s race is all but run

Thinking of you when the sun comes up

To finish where I begun

 

Time lingers on the ocean’s edge

To where the soft winds blow

High up to that golden ledge

Looking back on what was left below

 

Don’t look away, I’ve drained the cup

And life’s race is all but run

Thinking of you when the sun comes up

To finish where I begun

 

 

True Love Never Dies

The sky dawns grey

The branches they sway

Your beauty it knows no bounds

Our eyes they still meet

And your lips taste sweet

The brute is running from the hounds

 

By rivers of blindness

My love is pure kindness

We’ll drink another cup when we meet

It’s the cutting of fences

To sharpen the senses

That linger in the fireball’s heat

 

So come with me quietly

Dance with me slowly

This time is for us both to share

This true love will never die

For the sky does not lie

The evil of man will be laid bare

 

So bang the drum slowly

And play the harp lowly

You know the song in my heart

In the turning of twilight

In the shadows of moonlight

You can show me a new place to start

 

 

Shades of Abandoned Love

I can feel your hand upon my knee

Deceived once more by the clown inside of me

My head tells me it’s time to make a change

But my heart still screams I love you, something strange

 

Love was found

Rekindled

And then lost

Sitting here trying to count

The cost

Of an abandoned love

 

Everybody’s wearing a disguise

To hide what they’ve got left behind their eyes

But me, I can’t cover what I am

Wherever the spirits go I’ll just follow them

 

Love was found

Rekindled

And then lost

Sitting here trying to count

The cost

Of an abandoned love

 

I’ve given up the game, I’ve got to leave

The pot of gold is only make-believe

The treasure can’t be found by men who search

Whose gods are dead and buried deep within the church

 

Love was found

Rekindled

And then lost

Sitting here trying to count

The cost

Of an abandoned love

 

We sat in an imaginary place and we kissed

I asked you please to cross me off your list

You looked at me with a smile upon your lips

Your heart it heaved towards me in another script

 

Love was found

Rekindled

And then lost

Sitting here trying to count

The cost

Of an abandoned love

 

One more time at midnight, near the wall

Put aside your unspoken fears and your shawl

Please come out from the dark room where you sit?

Let me feel your love once more before you abandon it

 

Love was found

Rekindled

And then lost

Sitting here trying to count

The cost

Of an abandoned love

 

 

Coloured Memories

It was in another lifetime

When we walked together

On the moss

Hope it stretched before us

Beneath the Southern Cross

 

Blue, the sky explodes above you

Green, the leaves they dapple free

Brown, the earth beneath our feet

Black, the colour of the mud

 

It was in another lifetime

When we talked together

In the woods

Laughter it sang so sweetly

The wine it tasted good

 

Blue, the sky explodes above you

Green, the leaves they dapple free

Brown, the earth beneath our feet

Black, the colour of the mud

 

It was in another lifetime

When we danced together

On the green

Our feet moved so swiftly

Your beauty could be seen

 

Blue, the sky explodes above you

Green, the leaves they dapple free

Brown, the earth beneath our feet

Black, the colour of the mud

 

It was in another lifetime

When we drank together

In the yard

Words they flowed so freely

Written upon a card

 

Blue, the sky explodes above you

Green, the leaves they dapple free

Brown, the earth beneath our feet

Black, the colour of the mud

 

It was in another lifetime

When we laughed together

By the lake

I told you that I loved you

Was that my last mistake?

 

Blue, the sky explodes above you

Green, the leaves they dapple free

Brown, the earth beneath our feet

Black, the colour of the mud

 

 

 

A Handful of Rain

I was drifting in from nowhere on a prayer and kiss

Life passed me by, 34 years I had missed

So how did this happen and when did she come?

Like Louise in the attic of Dylan’s radio hum

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, you don’t know how to buy it

 

She came from nowhere and she carried my name

Talking to a banana in her wild childhood game

Mercurial mouth and missionary times

Lost in a dream of music and rhymes

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, you don’t know how to buy it

 

She captured my heart by words in the mist

Still waiting in line for her geranium kiss

Floating ‘cross the airwaves from time gone by

Tracing blood on blood to the fog on the Tyne

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, you don’t know how to buy it

 

Insomniac cat now dancing on her bed

Sixty miles away morning sky’s turning red

Sleepless in Seattle ghostly figures at my door

And words that trip unconscious from phone to the floor

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, you don’t know how to buy it

 

She holds my hand in a dream undercover

Tracing Patti and Frederick asleep she’s my lover

Under a southern cross she casts the years unspent

Matching I for eye for a back broken and bent

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, you don’t know how to buy it

 

So how did we meet and where do we go?

On a boat on a river we meander and flow

But my darling you have me for time to come

I know I have found you and found my home

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, together we try it

 

 

Comfort Zone

She cuddles up beside me

The log fire is burning bright

I whisper that I love her

We’re settled for the night

 

The music plays quite softly

Our glasses both half full

Her head it rests upon me

Warmed by old lamb’s wool

Love is

Love is

Love is

Love is just a pretext for a better place to be

 

A fox slides through the hedgerow

The owl hoots a new refrain

The wind it howls like thunder

And suggests a chance of rain

 

The new moon casts mad shadows

Across the placid pond

The air it is enchanted

From the doorstep and beyond

Love is

Love is

Love is

Love is just a pretext for a better place to be

 

A half familiar key change

A riff that sounds so blue

Guitar music fills the air

It was made for me and you

 

You searched for love eternal

Now tell me what you found

A passage of lost time

And we are homeward bound

Love is

Love is

Love is

Love is just a pretext for a better place to be

 

My golden ring shone brightly

As I hit that long lost chord

It held our love so tightly

When the final lyric poured

Love is

Love is

Love is

Love is just a pretext for a better place to be

 

 

Vision

Your face

Your voice

Your eyes

Your hair

I sense you here

And everywhere

The sun

The rain

The night

The day

My love for you

Does not decay

 

 

The Moving Finger Writes

On the windswept dales of limestone Karst

See Emily play

A romantic farce

Heathcliff searches

For a Wuthering lust

The window glass shatters

And life returns to dust

But true love never dies

As the darkness fades to light

My soul is yours to keep

Bill Burroughs is writing tonight

 

My love she sleeps in Cham

In a bed of Norwegian wood

My heart is buried somewhere

Under Dylan’s old Milkwood

 

On the melting tarmac of Kerouac’s road

The sun now rises

On Sal’s paradise load

Dean Moriarty sleeps

His heart trips a beat

Life it slowly creeps

But true love never dies

As the darkness fades to light

My soul is yours to keep

Bill Burroughs is writing tonight

 

My love she sleeps in Cham

In a bed of Norwegian wood

My heart is buried somewhere

Under Dylan’s old Milkwood

 

On the frozen streets of forgotten Oslo

Knut Hamsun he tries to write

But his words are just a show

As the hunger eats within

From Kafka, Joyce and Camus

Their life is full of sin

But true love never dies

As the darkness fades to light

My soul is yours to keep

Bill Burroughs is writing tonight

 

My love she sleeps in Cham

In a bed of Norwegian wood

My heart is buried somewhere

Under Dylan’s old Milkwood

 

On Woody’s slow railroad train

The hobos beg for dimes

His broken voice remains

In Bob Dylan’s homage song

His tune plays ever onward

Bound for glory all along

But true love never dies

As the darkness fades to light

My soul is yours to keep

Bill Burroughs is writing tonight

 

 

Siren

Salt spray

The crashing waves

The sound of thunder

Can you hear it?

The ocean so deep

Your eyes shine

Your face, your smile

A vision shared to keep

I’ll keep it with mine

The siren of my dreams

I can never forget you

Old bathetic fool

I know that fate is cruel

I ought to forget it

Yes, I know it’s true

I’ve seen what love can do

But I don’t regret it

My voice chokes

I can no longer sing

I love you… but

I can see what’s happening

I must now admit it

Unrequited love

A tsunami from above

I have to accept that

Now within your coral sea

You swim so deep

And don’t need me

We’re both safer without it

Is that really the case?

If you were in my place

You never would doubt it

The mermaid of my dreams

I’ll never forget you

Can you hear the siren screams?

I’m glad that I met you

Old bathetic fool

Who has broken every rule

I tried to resist it

Though it’s all in vain

I’d do it all again

I’d give my world to you

Just to relive one minute

By your side

I have to admit it

As I fall in love

Your presence I breathe for

And I am not mistaken

So I think of when

And turn to sleep again

A lot was meant

But nothing was taken

 

 

Beyond Dark Eyes

I am sat here alone and writing

The midnight moon shines on the temple gates

They’re drinking wine and talking

And my thoughts they all now separate

I live in another world

Where pain and death are iconised

My life is strung with traitor’s pearls

And all I see are dark eyes

 

I think of you sleeping so far away

Hear you breathe sweet innocence

Your face it fades into darkened grey

But your words now enter my inner sense

I can hear a desert drum

Beating beneath the poet’s disguise

Four riders watch as they come

And all I see are dark eyes

 

I was raised to be discreet

For all life’s intended purposes

They tell me revenge is sweet

Against my enemy’s twisted vertices

But I feel nothing for their game

Where beauty goes unrecognized

All I feel is heat and flame

And all I see are dark eyes

 

 

Future Comfort

Sweet gentleness

Your name is life

It surrounds my being

Cuts like a knife

Cascades and unfolds

In all that I do

The love that surrounds me

And the friendships too

 

I watch the rain fall

And the winter does grip

But your warmth it envelops

So nothing will slip

Risk and perspective

Valour and pain

Is marked here forever

Though death does remain

 

So fear not my love

As we walk up that road

Stronger than ever

Let me carry your load

And we come now full circle

To the top of the hill

And hold hands together

Brave blood to spill

 

For love is not blinded

And neither is truth

As my tale unfolds gently

Our own fountain of youth