Culture & Society

Poems Of Optimism And Resilience

Simrita Dhir explores optimism and resilience in three reflective poems. In her poetic landscape, memory and song; motif and colour; vulnerability and quirkiness, diversity and stories converge to reinstate hope and affirm possibilities


Poems Of Optimism And Resilience

“Lime Shaved Ice in a Cone”

after Jeffrey Bean

Is like holding summer in my hands

Like white sand settling into my hair

Like being 24 again and swimming in the deep Pacific

Like the waves tickling my toes

Like obliterating the unpleasant

Like starting afresh

Like loving

Like kind words

Like growing plants

Like yellow birds on palm trees

Like remembering the dead

Like missing the living

Like tearing up in the rain

Like being brave

Like holding hands

Like you are going to make it across

Like I am going be make it through too


Like everything is going to be okay

Like an inviolable promise

Like thank you

Like a big hug

Like the sun on my face

Like tangy strawberries bursting wild in my mouth

Like the memory of Grandma’s breakfast potatoes

Like reading a Nikki Giovani poem

Like swinging to a Harry Styles song

Like meeting Rembrandt in a dream

Like perennial youth

Like becoming all that I was ever meant to be

Like striving to be right


“Hey you, Harry Styles”

One Direction was a one-of-a-kind band—

All of its members spunky with vibes distinctly their own.

Together they created a mood—tantalizing, charismatic, inspirational,


Their songs drawing crowds, redefining love, affirming hope.

When the band broke up,

I cried, of course, I cried.

It was, after all, a phenomenal band.

As the guys began pursuing solo careers,

I took to cheering them all on,

rooting most fondly for Niall Horan—the quintessential rock star.

But this poem is about another member of the band—the newly minted legend.

Hey you, Harry Styles— how you have risen to be a present-day wonder—thinker, poet,

folksinger, master of surrealism, commentator on man, culture and world.

You are the real deal of the day—incisive, inclusive, versatile—you knit a universe together,

Your songs celebrating quirkiness,

Attesting vulnerabilities,

Hailing truth.


“Inside a California classroom”

Inside a California classroom,

We gather from the length of California and from places far beyond—

New York and Fort Lauderdale,

Calgary and Melbourne,

Madrid and Damascus,

Tehran and Kabul,

Beijing and Kolkata,

Havana and San Salvador.

Myriad narratives crisscross the space,

Evoking memories and long journeys,

Truth and timelessness,

Ancient wisdom and new realities.

Always, always, I notice how our eyes are different yet same—

Playful like the upside-down river that cuts through old town,

Deep like the ocean down the road,

A shared humanity binding us together like glue.


We are all stories,

Our stories are us.

(Simrita Dhir is a California-based academic and novelist. She is the author of acclaimed novels The Rainbow Acres and The Song of Distant Bulbuls.)