“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Evolution of the Poem, 'Falling'

How facetious it would seem to assume what I write in the form of verse are poems! Though a collection has been published and well-received by the readers and several poems further on, I still hesitate to bracket my verses as poems; to be honest, I am embarrassed.

I write this in order to find an answer to the queries of my friends Anil and Insignia ( I wish I knew her real name – how comical it is to say – Oh, Insignia, you make me so insignificant, Oh, I love you, Insignia! J ).

You never know how a poem takes birth. It begins, sometimes with a thought, a vision, a gush of words in one’s mind. Before I started writing I had always wondered how these people write poems! It had seemed so impossible. I have written a poem, Words, (My travels, My life: Words) which kind of says how poems are born in me.

It has been raining in Trivandrum so heavily for the last few days. My old mango tree in front of my house sheds more leaves than usual when it rains. Yesterday when the rain had quietened for a while, I stood outside and looked at the fallen leaves and thought, oh, I have a quite a job tomorrow sweeping them up. ( By the way, I love sweeping – for more than one reason – ;) Anil? ). I watched a leaf falling, gently, slowly, dying. That set me off thinking on death. I got back inside the house and started typing out the words.

Death, let it be the last thing in our life or let it be a passage to another; either way, it is inevitable. And I thought of the leaf falling, seemingly without any care. Then I suddenly remembered the unforgettable photo from 9/11. I have looked at it for long, thinking of that man, on his fall to death, what must have he been thinking, waiting, in those few seconds to the final THUD on the ground. I realized that I could connect these, the falling man and the falling leaf and my own preoccupation with death.

The write-up by Tom Junod which I have given at the bottom of the last post is one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces I have read till date. Wish I could write like that! You have to read it carefully, if possible at least a couple of times, and chew on it. My poem is complete only with Tom Junod's Falling Man...

But tell me honestly, did you like the poem? Until I know that, like the purpose of life is living, that of the poem would be left hanging in mid-air!


Balachandran V, Trivandrum, 06.10.2010


  1. You know why I asked that question? I have written few verses which I have categorized as "Poems". Verse flow when you witness something; or when there are ebb of emotions.

    You could not have definitely witnessed someone falling to death!! Thats why I wanted to know what it was. Now I know it was a leaf from your mango tree. :-)

    Your poem - I so loved it. Its not the end of life; but beginning of a new stage. The leaf is happily accepting its fall and is ready for the next stage. Beautiful sir.

    You should gaze more often when it :-)rains.

  2. OK. I got to do it the other way round. Read the evolution of the poem first, and then the poem. Either way, I must say, those verses together form a beautiful poem...the optimism that you have chosen to see in a falling leaf! I like it :)

  3. The preface comes after the matter. And that has developed curiosity in us the readers.
    First the falling man- his posture has some kind of arrogance- a kind of
    feel of a diver doing a triple somersault into the pool. The write up is magnificent. Simply magnificent.

    As for the poem its i quite a wonder how feelings, emotions and ideas evolve.Well written Balan.

    Again solitude ....., that is what made the difference ?

  4. @Anil: The write-up is so good, isn't it? I felt like watching a butcher, cleanly carving off the flesh to reveal the bone... It takes an extraordinary writer to do that...

    Solitude ? No, yes, no, yes !!

  5. @Insignia: The old mango tree has appeared in a few more earlier poems of mine! To me it is the symbol of all nature - so resilient, yet so fragile! Both the mango leaf and the falling man seemed to be celebrating the final act of living... It is that sense of freedom that makes the difference, you see.
    Glad you liked the poem, B!

    @RGB: Thanks, but compared to the write-up, my poem is nothing!

  6. Read both the poem and ‘making of the poem’. Simple and beautiful.

    I particularly liked the lines
    “ Bidding goodbye to the ants
    Who looked surprised
    And the Woodpecker, looking guilty”

    I could imagine the expressions of the ants and the woodpecker. Subtle, yet powerful, very.

    I could picture you ‘sweeping’ and the light-bulb glow and quickly running back and typing out these thoughts.

  7. @Sreejith: Welcome! i am happy that you could visualize the ants and the woodpecker, because I too did, when I wrote it! :) You know those red ants which are so alert, aggressive and seemingly highly intelligent? They rule the Mango tree. They have a way of looking up at you, waving their antennae and ready for a fight, any time! And the woodpecker, the way it tilts its head and glances up and down?
    I am so happy that you mentioned the particular lines!
    Glad you liked the poem. Hope I will be seeing more of you!


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