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TWO POEMS FOR AUTUMN by Janavi Held

During this years long warm Autumn I sorted through my photographs to make a slide show to capture the season...

This time of year, as the summer fades, a melancholy takes its place in my heart as I prepare for the cold of winter, as I watch all the fading green, the drifting leaves, dropping and rolling in the street, and scattering over well-kept lawns.

The first poem, My Poverty, also speaks of this season, as I grab onto the last bits of warmth, seeking the fading trees and flowers for inspiration to get through the cold season, when I feel impoverished without the blooming world of nature.

The second poem, Wardrobe, is a reflection on the silent hours of winter, and the contemplation that naturally arises from stillness. In this contemplation I observe my need to write of things felt and seen, as well as the unseen, those things deep in my subconscious, which can rule the motions of my life, this poem attempts to reach into those places to understand myself better. At the end of the poem, my thoughts dwell on the isolation of illness; an illness that feels like a long cold winter, where it feels that the sun has gone out.


(Click play on video below to hear Janavi recite her poems, and view her photography)

Aspen Vista by the author, Janavi Held


My Poverty
by Janavi Held

Incandescent with pathos
waiting on the silver trail
strewn with thoughts like rain.

Clay petals bloom
sorting out the womb of sky
and the human flowers
fully armed with remorse

dipped black in summer darkness
tattooed with blood
and the simple turbulence of the wind.

What might have been made from all this
is now dead.

The flame of shadows
wipes the forehead clean of fear
and space, space vast

and delighted to be so
keeps busy endlessly brandishing
the color of sun

and hatred makes the moon alone
drink people’s words at night.

And the tree stands perfectly illiterate
as I am drenched in worn thin letters

the tree holds on waiting for me to notice
yet they remain silent telling me nothing.

The self crowned kings
those flowers of all description
flock like birds gnawing at light

A shouting mountain
speaks its momentary truth
as it clings to the sky between the clouds

and the golden sun, beneficent and impartial
lays its light across the worthy land.

Just a little of this will suffice
my poverty.


Wardrobe
by Janavi Held

Clouds throb in the distant waking light
branches tremble
endless harmony with the heavy wind
pale, still light meandering
through this unending bit of cold
gradually does the light arise
not like the stagnant minutes of perception.

In watching I have unearthed time
resurrected the sweetness of the sun
I have been looking at the same thing
for an eternity
have made legends out of flowers
and the soft moving trees.
as the horizon, so out of control
is conceited by its own freedom
this vertiginous stretch
of anonymous land.

I would move in many directions
at once if I could stop feeling like a transparent midnight.
Instead I stand silent in the center of my thoughts
watching the clouds enter and move away
watching bridges built to collapse
watching the words claim space
reflecting on obscenities
like death and illness.

My wardrobe is made from
all these tattered thoughts.
Cast away from the living
I embody what no one
wants to know.



Janavi Held is the author of Letters to my Oldest Friend: A Book of Poetry and Photography. She has also contributed poems to two poetry anthologies, Bhakti Blossoms: A Collection of Contemporary Vaishnavi Poetry and GODDESS: When She Rules: Expressions by Contemporary Women. Two of her poems were shortlisted for the prestigious Hamilton House International Poetry Prize awarded by the University Centre Grimsby, and published in their anthology "Eternal". Janavi started writing poetry and wandering around with her father’s camera as a child. At the age of nineteen, she began practicing Bhakti yoga. She held a bachelor’s degree from Goddard College where she studied poetry, photography, and media studies. She passed away peacefully in December of 2018 after having battled a brutal illness. You may read more of her poems and view her artwork on her website here and Facebook page here


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