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    dots Submission Name: On a Train to Bihar, Chhath Pujadots

    Author: Santi
    Elite Ratio:    7.28 - 299/307/90
    Words: 101
    Class/Type: Poetry/Misc
    Total Views: 970
    Average Vote:    No vote yet.
    Bytes: 1038

       Chhath Puja is an ancient 4-day Hindu festival that celebrates & offers thanks to the sun god Surya. It is incredible & incredibly overwhelming. I need to write more about the experience.

    & let me know when you get sick of me posting!

    Make the font bigger!! Double Spacing Back to recent posts.

    dotsOn a Train to Bihar, Chhath Pujadots

    pitch dark, not a single star, the train moves
    swiftly on shiny rails, overwhelmed,

           it has never been so crowded before, squeezed
           among a dozen people on the bare floor

    all the cars, body odor, passengers,
    knotted limbs

           between two rows of seats
           in a forest of human legs, my knees

    entwined, no water, no food,
    can't move, can't sleep.

           touching my chest like an unborn baby
           curved inside a mother's womb.

    soon we will all be washed clean
    by the waters of the Ganges.

    Submitted on 2011-02-10 00:43:20     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
    Submissions: [ Previous ] [ Next ]

    Rate This Submission

    1: >_<
    2: I dunno...
    3: meh!
    4: Pretty cool
    5: Wow!

    ||| Comments |||
      There are several things I like about this.

    I like your format, like the guy said, it sits there and you get all excited because it's luminous like a poem should be. The fact that it's well ordered adds to that, excitement builds.

    I liked that the first time I read this it felt quite spiritual, but not spiritual, more like what was cramped and squalid was put back where it was meant to be, like a star is a star, it is meant to shine out in the sky.

    washing/washed. I always associate that with release from negativity, or conversely with negativity: it was a wash, he was washed- just burnt out. soul washed (really i could go on for hours). Anyway I dug that about this, i dig the idea of rivers and how the polish things down to essentials, like a boulder, like a body. And inessentials like a finger of bone or the bits of a pebble (sand).

    yes, i am wash obsessed. it's true.
    but i dug that about the poem, that there was this leeway for how you wanted to see it.

    i also dug that the wording of it, especially at the beginning, it could have been about the train: it seems like it's the train, like the train is a person and humanity is the clutterment.

    towards the middle of the poem i still get that same sense, but it's easier to let yourself think no, it wasn't about the train, especially when you are talking about unborn babies,

    another thought is that maybe the baby is the human cargo, life-water would be birth, in this case disembarkment.

    the pacing/spacing/phrasing. i thought it was all just lovely, and rather than blather about specifics, hopefully that's enough to say that yes, i felt it was good. nits, i don't really have any.

    I kind of love that I'm not sure, not sure exactly what the author's intentions are, i like that i have a sneaking suspicion that that's where you want me. &. if it isn't, then lie: say yes it was. :)

    In a lot of ways (because of the elusiveness, rather than stylistically) it reminds me of craig/raphael's work)

    yes. i do enjoy this.
    | Posted on 2011-02-15 00:00:00 | by Daniel Barlow | [ Reply to This ]
      you are very tardy. i do, i find i miss you, and it's probably not been 12 hrs.

    that's twice i've reviewed this and not left a comment.

    i'll be back to comment.
    (i thought i had already doneso)

    I like your font/format. how this sits on the page, and the words are not scrumpy and unmagiclike.

    brb soon

    *i'm not getting sick of it per se but you could mix it up a bit and throw in some bad ones.
    | Posted on 2011-02-15 00:00:00 | by theludus | [ Reply to This ]
    On a Train to Bihar, Chhath Puja II

    laying face up in the squeak, shuffle & rumble,
    a line of rivets joyrides the length of my spine.

    all around, voices talk the talk of the long waiting.
    a cotton sari bulges through slits in the seat above.

    this being human is a guest house, said Rumi:
    whoever shows up, be grateful, take them in.

    but what if you're on the floor of a third class train
    from New Delhi, twelve more hours to Bihar,

    when beneath us all, it's just metal on metal;
    hard sparks going off along a river of steel.
    | Posted on 2011-02-13 00:00:00 | by Santi | [ Reply to This ]
      An immediate thought: your opening stutters a little, I sort of hesitate over it as I read that second part to your first line; not a single star It's almost hitting a rhythm, so maybe just a little playing there.

    The sonics and subtle rhyme in that first stanza and as you ease into your first italicised stanza are lovely: how you start off all hard ts and chs and then move into alliterative s sounds, with a softer more melodic feeling; how that fits in with the idea and movement of a train- the almost-rhyme in overloaded and crowded. It's a lovely start.

    Pitch dark, too- I dig how abrupt that is. It feels so immediate. And compels me to continue.

    It has never been so crowded before/...on the bare floor- again here with the rhyme and the rhythm. It shows care for the craft. Daniel would dig it.

    I'm thinking that maybe repeating crowded is unnecessary.

    I like the transition from knotted legs to my knees. It's pretty perfect :)

    You're sticking to your rhythm well throughout, and it is reminiscent of a train; no water, no food, can't move, can't sleep. And I'm liking that can't sleep, where eat would've been more obvious and less startling.

    And how your last two stanzas tie together: so we have a womb and the ganges, and the idea of rebirth. They're very harmonic, attuned to one another.

    And again with the womb/soon, though I'm feeling that a connecting word between the two would be helpful, here, so I can really relish the sonics of that; and to keep up the rhythm, or provide a smoother transition from the rhythm through to the ganges, where you break away from it, where it becomes a little softer.

    Thoughts thoughts.

    This one's evocative, and startling in its vividness. It's a vibrant piece, yet there's an element of quietness brought in by your italicised stanzas; and an indication of loneliness, but softly.

    How you bring in the idea of rebirth with a softening of your rhythm is cool, and I like the balance of a mother's waters and the waters of the river. And the idea of a blessing, something like faith or religion, but not too hardcore about it.

    I hope you don't mind my nitpicking. I thought this was fabulous.

    | Posted on 2011-02-10 00:00:00 | by AlyRose | [ Reply to This ]
      this is amazing.
    as already explained tonight in a previous comment i havent had much to do with words or english for a few months so rambling round this website tonight is just blowing my mind.

    you have taken that to whole new levels.

    i used to be a fan of trying to mix and mangle ideas to make two poems out of one and one out of two etc etc

    youve done it flawlessly here.

    i understand the cramped conditions you speak of here. i moved to ethiopia and married into a most wonderful culture though catching taxi's after dark is still not something im a fan of...
    in an 11 seater van i have managed to occupy a space [not a seat] with 23 people, 2 chickens and one goat.

    its rather miraculous anyone gets anywhere at night time haha!

    it sounds like a really inspiring pilgramage and i hope you gained from it everything you hoped to and more.
    this is a wonderful piece of writing
    | Posted on 2011-02-10 00:00:00 | by Someones Epiphany | [ Reply to This ]
      This might be completely unrelated, but my parents are from Bangladesh, which is right next to India. And I've been to Bangladesh a few times so I can kinda relate to this. The public transport is like -whoa- but I wouldn't know from personal experience. My family is more 'higher' class and we have all sorts of luxuries like private transport, like cars. And I don't mean to come off snobby when I say that. I say it like... you know?? Uhh I am a self centred snob, amirite? Yes. Gah.

    But I never thought that that kind of public transport could be portrayed in pretty words. I mean. Well. In a poetic way. I like the snap shots you get between each stanza, it's really insightful to how you felt and in contrast to what's around you.

    And it must have been an amazing experience too! Wow. That must have been phenomenal.

    Anyway, this comment isn't helpful at all, but I thought I would share my thoughts...

    I like this, by the way. (:

    And pfft, no, don't stop writing. You're one of those people on this site that inexperienced n00bs (like me. You know, those people that think they can write, but are like really just... terrible. <--that n00b is me. Me and only me. Yup.) go to for inspiration.

    Take care,

    | Posted on 2011-02-10 00:00:00 | by EshyFishy | [ Reply to This ]

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