Nostalgia Poetry

The house that let us go

                                           By Geetha Ravichandran

The house that let us go

The goat would sneak in through the fence

and chew up a bunch of honeysuckle flowers.

But we had to open the gate

to show it the way out,

as it would bleat on — clueless.

The rose, just didn’t want to grow there,

and had to be given doses of strong coffee

till it was coaxed to put out a single bloom.


The brood of banana trees

thrived, although neglected

and would anyway end up on the plate,

as a boring meal.

The mangoes appeared every summer

but were so sour,

that they had to be pickled and put away,

even the fruit thieves would have none of it.


There were seven coconut trees,

planted at an auspicious hour

their great fronds, grim and ghostly

in the sticky, brooding night air.

It was the jasmine that climbed up a trellis

blooming every evening,

its fragrance –lilting like a melody,

that made the house special.


But still the house was a trap,

in which we were buried by expectations

of well-meaning parents.

The sharp-tongued women next-door,

peered over walls and ticked us off

for playing cricket on the streets.

Escape we did – vaulted to freedom,

fuelled by our whims, aided by liberal market winds.


Now, the old squat house, built on a shoestring,

has been gobbled up by a sleek building

and a cosmetic patch of periwinkle flowers —

graveyard flowers — as father would say,

is the only product of the soil.

The beauty, that we had barely acknowledged

now appears in streaks of memories.

We are gentler, when we breathe free. 



What have you done to the room?

A row of silver and another of golden lights

glittering through a wooden panel,

in manic eagerness to welcome me,

shelves filled with a display of a fleet of ships,

as if to jolt my memory to the spells of sea-sickness.

Where are my plants by the window,

my low chair and the filigree silver peacock?


So many things I love,

have been swept into a mound of dust

and with it go my carefully crafted thoughts

of putting aside, the quarrels of the past.

Nothing has really changed,

it has only disintegrated into a bigger mess.


And then suddenly, springs the fragrance of white lilies,

stuck hurriedly in a vase, looking thoroughly sheepish.


There is promise in the morning air,

as I sit down to drown my thoughts

in calming breaths, when you come up

attempting to mask your boss -of –the- house stride

and as your first compromise,

to the worthy goal of joint-decision-making

ask helplessly- ‘This bottle of medicine is empty,

shall I throw it out?’


Geetha Ravichandran is a bureaucrat, presently posted in Mumbai. It is writing, that she most enjoys doing. She has written contemplative articles for Direct Path and middles for Deccan Herald. Her recent poems have appeared in Reading Hour and Mountain Path. One of her poems has been included in the recent anthology, Hibiscus published by Hawakal publishers.



5 replies on “The house that let us go”

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