Sunil Sharma is Mumbai-based senior academic, critic, literary editor and author with 21 published books: Seven collections of poetry; three of short fiction; one novel; a critical study of the novel, and, eight joint anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism, and, one joint poetry collection. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award---2012. His poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, in the year 2015. Sunil edits the English section of the monthly bilingual journal Setu published from Pittsburgh, USA: http://www.setumag.com/p/setu-home.html For more details, please visit the blog: http://www.drsunilsharma.blogspot.in/
A painter in the house of a fishmonger
Once upon a time in a tiny space soared a spirit; mixing the dull with sublime and undaunted by the closing walls of a one-room structure that mimicked a patriarchal home, or almost a replica of old power games played out in unequal homes.
And a gruff owner who sold fish and came to lodge a female, a secret artist, thus changing forever the place-history and personal micro-narratives involved, in an otherwise, forgettable drama of small lives.
There, in that shack, another might have felt confined and slowly wilted by poverty and neglect but not Maud Lewis
who re-discovered her talent for colours and lines
and painted all the rough surfaces available to her fingers, bent with arthritis.
Through cards, flowers, animals, birds and meadows she could
transcend a limited world of bias and poor opportunities denied to women
Maud gradually found some comfort in a cold household, turning it into a living museum where fluttered the butterflies and cats and snow rushed in, on the once-drab walls, inner-outer, her imagination and memory producing stunning works that beckoned.
… a call from the White House changed the sordid situation and made the everyday figure into a cult.
The natural scenes---vibrant and cheerful are now folk art's unique heritage!
The woman, once abandoned and ridiculed became a world-famous painter that caught everyday realities, in strokes and lines full of exuberance, life and vitality.
Few stories with depressing beginning could have such a fairy-tale ending!
from the vantage July evening of 2018, a home battered by winds and rains of Mumbai, a continuum gets formed between varied times and geographies,
a moment of renewal of past in the present contexts different merg seamlessly
artworks ferry the distant viewer back and forth across a strange life-journey.
Muse-like Maud talks posthumously to an Indian artist to convert the ordinary into extra-ordinary via words or paintings!
The autumn of a soul
Still benumbed by the loss! Things happened so fast.
One being becoming a memory a garlanded and framed photograph!
Within an hour living became dead a full life stopped!
The voids opened up deep within painless mind---in shock!
After the 13-day mourning pain returned memories became a Mother that cared and cried with your every fall and smiled at your uneven victory march!
A walk among the shadows
...and i will take care and walk softly inside the lurking shadows on a country trail
lit occasionally by a wandering moon shy as a maiden revealing an earthy face but once that too---fleetingly
…and hugged by gentle trees and lulled by a murmuring river watched by the spirits of the nightly forest as our guardians in that un-mapped region
i will walk softly, un-afraid, holding the hand of my brother in those landscapes grim.
The room is as it is except the departed
her absence lingers on much like the fragrance of roses in an empty basket!
in death we discover own mortality
the face, leathery and pale turned into a mask inscrutable body, stiff amid mourners some genuine others, official. With breath gone forever. Mystery, unsolved.
Leading to meditations on godhood and the beyond
The pain the loss shrink the criers. Finally, life takes over--- what a brutal dualism!