Culture & Society

Poems: Of Thank You And Summer

Simrita Dhir writes two Thank You poems and a poem about Summer, celebrating family and friendship, seasons, melodies and colours

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Woman reading a book Photo: stock photo

That Green Hard Bound Book

The book had a hard bound green cover

It sat in your study

The title read ‘Anton Chekhov’s Short Stories’

I was in middle school

On a lazy autumn afternoon

I found the book or the book found me

Every story hit hard,

Characters and plot lines circling in my mind for days

As I waited for the school bus in the morning and the girls around me giggled about boys,

I began nodding evasively,

My thoughts jerking me back to the stories,

sending me pondering over morality and perception, opinions and ideals, love and expectation

Some days, I wondered if I had read the stories a little prematurely perhaps but

That didn’t hold me back from rereading the book

‘What do you think of the book,’ you asked me one day

There was a lot that I wanted to say, many questions that I wanted to pose but I chose to do the teenage thing—say a disyllabic word

‘Something,’ I said and waved my hand

You arched your brows and let it go

The truth was ‘Something’ implied a lot of things—

the book changed me—

I became aloof and kind

Eager and reluctant

Brave and cautious

Independent and constrained,

The dichotomy at the heart of it is still as bewildering as it was back then

Your green hard bound book comes to stare at me at uncertain times

Thank you for letting me read it,

for inspiring me to seek a different way of being

Summer is a poem

In my mind

It’s always summer

I am wearing a sun dress and

Slurping on lemonade

Sunshine on my face

Sand in my hair

Why must I crave June in January?

Is it a latent wish to

Fast forward to goals,

Conjure euphoria before its time,

Slide prematurely to new realities?

I haven’t an answer

Jacaranda blooms unfold in my head one bud after another

Rippling forth in irresistible symphonies

Swiftly changing hues from

Lilac to lavender to violet

A purple promise circling the air

Summer is a poem after my heart

Belated Thank you

You said I reminded you of women in a particular set of paintings from a particular period in history—long-haired, feminine, imaginative

You meant it to be a compliment

Of course, you did, but conceit had the better of me

I didn’t agree, convinced as I was then that I was one of a kind

Today someone else likened me to the women in the paintings and

Mellowed as I am by time and seasons, I smiled and lapped up the adulation

A bunch of wild pansies winked at me from the sidewalk

I leaned over them and whispered you a belated ‘Thank you’

(Simrita Dhir lectures at the University of California, San Diego, and is the author of acclaimed novels The Rainbow Acres and The Song of Distant Bulbuls.)