As my skeptical mind wonders
How many out there can really write
Versus how many think they can
And make you and me believe it
for our brains don’t understand.

Damn, I think I just rhymed
That’s not how real bards do it.
Rhyming is for dilettantes; ne’er for them auteurs
Because modern poetry
is not about rhyme
What it also isn’t about
is reason.

It’s not conventional, for convention is passé
As long as we are the same kind of different
But of a different kind, all the same.

Some lines are excruciatingly long, like the never-ending brook, a meandering rivulet, the labyrinth of thoughts, an abyss of bad metaphors
Others, short.

It’s about variations in the lengths of its various lines
For variations give
it form.
And form, character.

sentences like these
make for complete
lines. An odd break

(Also, every ‘here’ need not always have a ‘there.’)

An enveloping verb, an earthy adjective
Incongruous phrases
like “my colorless solitude.”
With a hint of pathos – melancholy to be precise,
And a paradox thrown in
For what can be more telling, than the sorrow of a smile?

Just vague enough
as you wonder if it makes sense
Yet, teasing with apparent profundity
so you hesitate to call out its absurdity,
Out of fear – fear that it’ll show
you’re not nearly as intellectual, you know

Besides, something so dark and vague must have to do
with that arcane thing
they chose to call…“Life.”

Do I have it all covered? Do my lines represent me?
Or does my verse only make it worse? (Sorry; just had to be pathetic, you see.)

Arcane, noir, vague check.
Profound, paradox, pathos check.
Form check. Character check.

So it is, in all its depth and profundity
And unnecessary redundancy,
My poetry, a glimpse of the real me
A hint of aura, a touch of mystery.
The dark side, the light side, and all things I believe
myself to be. Exactly
like how you believe yourself to be.

You and I, we’re not so different, don’t you see?
But for the fact
that one of us
writes terrible poetry.

112 responses to “AN ODE TO MODERN POETRY

  1. hi where are you please revert back!

  2. To the funniest lady in the Indian blogosphere, you made us laugh and cry and think hard, and then you disappeared mysteriously from your blog and twitter. Robin Williams comitted suicide today and I couldn’t help thinking how ppl who are a power house of wit and talent and spread laughter are the ones who are quite sad. Hope all is well with u, I’m sure you’re fine just bored of blogging but pls reply to our comments some time.
    Hope you’re still blogging somewhere as a new personality. Twitter still misses you. Pls come back we’re tired of non-intellectual humour :(

    • Lmao she is fine man. She comes on fb now her posts are there. She purposely doesn’t reply over here J all cool.

  3. 2 very annoying ppl on my fb feed are killing us with their “deep” internet shayari. Can I please sneak this brilliant poem in the comments? ;) Now any poem I read on teh internet reminds me of this one, thanks :P Why did u stop writing ra? :( u were one person who could be deep without being “deep” :p

  4. Cynic in Wonderland

    Hello! Saw you commenting somewhere and I realized what a bloody long time its been. How you doing??

  5. I had to read twice to understandd it fully, but now I’m laughing at your keen observation and hats off to the cheeky but witty way you presented it! It’s so true, I already know 2 “poets” who keep spamming my fb feed with their profound poetry. Shared this hoping they read it and take the hint! :D

  6. Gauri, I wonder why I haven’t seen any of your writing for a while. I keep coming back hoping to see new lovely, witty words here, but am disappointed. The disappointment lasts an embarrassingly short while though as your archives entertain me no matter how many times I read them.
    Very much hope all is well with you.

  7. Hey I heard you’re visiting India. Will you be there for INK 212? Would really love to meet you, can arrange for a meet up too, there are others who want to meet you too. Pls email me. My name is in the email :)

  8. G,

    I read a beautiful piece in Aaina few weeks ago and was blown away by the author’s magic with words. It reminded me of a blog I used to read who’s author could also spin the same magic but had stopped blogging. And then I remembered from the blogger’s Twitter bio that she used to live in the same city as me, and had the same first name as this Aaina writer……..and a little bird (named google) told me there cannot be 2 linguist gauris in one place with the same hold over their readers with sheer words :)

    So happy to finally meet you and put a face and voice to your writing!! Hesitated to ask about your blog that day but can’t resist now. It’s nice to see you’re the same pleasant and quick-witted personality in real life :) You seemed to know quite a lot of people so I guess you don’t remember me (esp. I hope so if you’re angry that I know you now!!). But you were wearing black jeans with a white& black top, and black scarf with silver lines and chic silver earrings ;) (proof that I met u!)

    I knew about ykb for many years but I bought tickets the first time for me and my mom-in-law and convinced some other friends solely because of your article. Thought you should know that.

    Don’ stop writing please. Your thoughts are very valuable it’s unfair to not read them. Btw I loved the show and was glad I went! Was sitting 3 rows behind you.

  9. The Time-Traveller


    It’s exactly one year since you wrote your last post, and exactly 2 years since you wrote your Athe post. Both my favourites. All of last week I waited patiently counting the days so I could post today :-) I woke up before my alarm rang this morning out of excitement (I’m not joking!!)

    Hope it inspires you to write one more post on March 10th :-) I can’t wait till next year. Yes, some of us are still waiting for you to write again :-)

  10. YAY, I’m 100th commentator on g’s blog!!!!! I come and read this poem so many times, but just today I saw there were 99 comments! Congrats on your century thanks to me ;) Now hope this comment stays on top forever!

    -Sachin (not my real name, but only God can do a century!)

  11. Happy new year, g. I don’t know where you disappeared and why you stopped blogging, but one of the top things on my wishlist for 2012 is that it brings you back. You’re one of the wittiest writers and the most wonderful, down to earth human being as far as I’m concerned. God bless.

  12. This is my first visit to your blog, I don`t know your name yet but have a feeling that I will soon enough. I`m not sure whether to appreciate the honesty or the symphony that you so abstractly create or both. I`m a terrible poet and can`t write about anything much more than the intangible, love. But since I`m here and as any hungry `writer` waiting to be read I`ll leave a link to something I wrote sometime back

  13. I came to tell you to come back and read your Ode to modern poetry again after so long and started laughing. Then went to read your twitter post and just got hooked into all your posts again. (yes I read all of them A-Z, made my day!)

    When someone tries to be funny on Twitter I still wonder what you would have replied or tweeted if you were still there. Just come back g, seriously. You’re still missed. At least start writing again? :(

  14. Saw your blog mentioned in the last issue of Femina :) Congrats! And just saw your article in the latest issue too! Are you going to write regularly for them? Lovely, hilarious article as usual, very g-style humor :) Keep it coming. Looking forward to the next!

    • And of course forgot to add, LOVE your blog, it always makes my day! The ode to modern poetry is hilarious….u said what everyone wants to say ;)


    • Haha, heck no; wouldn’t want them to close shop! That was just a one-off (well, two-off) thing. If I knew someone would be reading, I’d have been more careful :P
      Thanks for the nice words, Sahitee! -g

  15. Late to the party, but revelled in every word and hair-pin bend of it!

    What happened to Gridflock? Is it thriving under a new banner somewhere in the tubes I can’t find?

    You may not remember me, but don’t think me a ‘seducer’ :-) I was plain distracted; now back for a second innings of the pure delight that your blog is.

  16. Oh.. found you :) I was wondering why the tumblr feed was inactive. Then I saw the Twitter account was gone too!! :(
    Well… while I’m totally not inclined to haunt/stalk you in the real world, I really liked your writing. They were different and you were in my “must read” and “fun” category in by blog reader. So please forgive my attempts to hunt you down.. :) and please keep writing too..

    • +1 Why did you leave Twitter? :( It was one of just 4 ppl I followed in my pvt list, felt really sorry to see you go :( I’m not a stalker either, but as @siddharth above says please keep writing here at least. +100 to your writing is different. btw which tumblr feed? You have another blog? Whats the link pls?

    • Siddharth, Dhananjay,
      Thanks, that really means a lot. Twitter, I had my reasons, but I do intend to write here. Didn’t realize anyone other than the usual 4 suspects read the Tumblr blog.Thanks for letting me know! :-) -g

  17. Ugly Shoelace

    Oh jeez! Look who has posted something new on the blog :D. So glad to read this.

    I am a little too late though because I had exams :(

    • The good thing about my blog is you can be very late and still be reading the latest post here ;) Glad you stopped by :) -g

  18. Come back, g!



  19. Truly good poetry… Love this – A hint of aura, a touch of mystery. :D
    BTW if u r interested in reviewing, check out this link

    You win great prizes for writing about ur fav hangouts in here! Happy Blogging!

  20. Poetry usually makes me run
    a mile. This too would have so done.
    I am glad I stayed to read for it was
    terribly well-spun.

    Apologies for my awful verse; I won’t insult you by saying I was inspired by yours! You make writing seem almost effortless.

    • Don’t sell yourself short
      Your verse made me snort
      I’m glad you stayed too
      And it’s important this line doesn’t rhyme.

  21. so, i love your blog… i JUST started my own…its very different from this obviously… but do give it a look if you’d like to… i’d love to hear what you thought…
    PS – have only shared it with a handful of people thus far… so all kinda tips would be lovely!

  22. Frankly I saw a poem first and ran away. Then I thought I’ll at least see what’s there because your tweets and other posts are so clever and witty. ROFLOLed you are truly pure genius!! *bows* Just amazing!

    • Heh, what I can say, if I were you, I may not have had the patience to stay back and “see what’s there.” Thanks for not being me ;) -g

  23. Went through your archives, loved your blog.
    Your way with words is brilliant and so is the humor.
    Also, Cryptic Crosswords : Thank you. :)

    • Went through your comment, loved your patience!
      You way with praise is generous, and means much.
      Also, the kind words: Thank you :)

  24. Wow! You’re brilliant.

    I need to read more poems from you.

    • The day I dare to write “more” poems is the day this one will come back to mock me. Or is that precisely what you’d like to see?! :O -g

  25. this is a charming verse! not even close to bad poetry…

    made me smile, think and even a little more!

  26. haha Way to go. No words really lol…

  27. Yes, one of us
    writes terrible poetry
    and it is certainly not you

    I really loved your style and enjoyed reading your ode to modern poetry

    • I wouldn’t trust the poet in me. But the good news is I’m aware I don’t make a great one ;)
      Thanks for the kind words, Vikram.

  28. Haha this is so you! As always, bang on, observant, truthful and hilarious! In short, very ‘G’-nius!
    Why don’t you write more often!

  29. Excellent… Sharing on FB :)

  30. Excellent, and I’ll have to say ouch too.

  31. Guilty as charged! Only one of us writes not-terrible poetry. You, Brilliant read. Have even shared this link on my fb.

    • Don’t be guilty; just keep writing in your honest voice, without any pretense :)
      Thank you for sharing, Rukmini. -g

  32. Why the apology in the end ? Or does the reader write terrible poetry ??

  33. Wow. Just wow.

  34. Some lines are excruciatingly long, like the never-ending brook, a meandering rivulet, the labyrinth of thoughts, an abyss of bad metaphors
    Others, short.

    ROFL. Pure genius, this whole poem. Kudos!

  35. At a time when poetry from “friends” are forced upon one’s eyes, this is quite a brilliant piece that thrown at their faces to show that one doesn’t care. Don’t be surprised if the traffic to this post surges over the next few days. :P
    (I am sure this post has been getting a lot of traffic anyway)

    • Did it occur to you that it could perhaps be a piece thrown in as a plea to save good poetry, to show that one *does* in fact care? :)

      Thanks for dropping in :) -g

      • Never crossed my mind. But then, with the number of budding poets out there, all attempts to save it would be like trying to clean a room by pouring water on its outer walls. :D

      • As they say, “just work your way inside” :-) -g

  36. brilliant!

  37. When it comes to you, odes seem even. Heh

  38. after a long long gap, ur finally back !
    ekdum jhakaas :D

  39. I read this poem and felt
    that the ode couldn’t have been better than it was
    but then I reflected and saw
    that it is better than it is.
    (not nearing your masterful stroke, but I try).

    • “Better than it was” makes it “worse than it is.”
      So little do you know, you did, in fact surpass it ;) Thanks for reading :) -g

  40. I wish I had written that
    And I would if I could
    And I could if only my
    Head wasn’t made of wood
    But even if it wasn’t
    I strongly do suspect
    I couldn’t come up with such brilliance
    I bow deeply in respect.

    • Oh c’mon now, let’s be fair
      The whole world knows about your flair
      With just your head made of wood
      If you could be so good
      You’ve contradicted yourself right there! :P

  41. Wonderfully sums up all my feelings about most of these internet poets! I feel that comedy is in a way the opposite of poetry.

    • Glad you liked it :)
      Just read your post. While I may not agree with the first paragraph (I do like poetry when done well), you raise some insightful – not to mention hilarious -points. Comedy done badly is clearly identifiable as bad. Poetry, not so much – well, certainly not without second guessing yourself ;)

      PS: That cartoon is just priceless! Couldn’t help noticing there’s a guy in the first box and a grumpy woman in the second :P (Admittedly, that makes it funnier).

  42. Pingback: News You Can't Use!

  43. Ouch, you rip us wannabes apart :)

  44. Superb. I read a book that had a lovely passage on how paradox can be used to feign wisdom. ‘Sadness of a smile’, ‘Joy in her tears’, ‘Pain in his laughter’ etc. Just one of the many points you eloquently punched a hole through. :)

    • Thanks, Rohan. What can I say, sometimes it’s the hole that makes some things complete ;)
      Would love to know more about the book. -g

  45. Fantastic! Refreshingly different :-)

  46. Are you making fun of wannabe poets like me?

    • Who be-th I to make fun of thee
      when the wannabe is actually me?

      Darn, I’ll never get this. But to answer your question, I try :P


  47. You’re the master of the #meta :)

  48. Someone once said that ‘The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say”. Think it applies to you :)

    • That’s one way of looking at it. Another is “Who will bell the cat?” ;) Thanks, Mansi. That’s high praise :) -g

  49. Read a poetry till its last line after a long long time. Brilliant work!

  50. In a better world we would have an army of slaves to relieve you of whatever it is that you do when you’re not writing.


    • :)
      This was a test post to see if you’d really run those errands you promised – or am I still going to have to do it myself? :P

    • tongue-in-cheek

      neo and gauri,
      In a better world we would have an army of slaves to bring you both back from wherever you have disappeared and make u start blogging again. We were talking abt your chemistry on twitter the other day, your tweets were just awesome esp your leg-pulling & comebacks to each other. You both vanished around teh same time, now its time to pull yr legs and make a comeback together what say? ;)

  51. Speechless (as usual).

  52. Respect.

  53. so brilliant! hahaha

  54. super duper likes …… :)

  55. Hahaha! Excellent as ever. Had me a rather poetic moment a while led to an epiphany:
    Such joy on seeing this blog updated.

  56. Super.. :)

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