Book Review: Sivakami Velliangiri’s How We Measured / Time Book Review by Gopal Lahiri (Poet and Critic)

Book Review: Sivakami Velliangiri’s How We Measured

Time Book Review by Gopal Lahiri (Poet and Critic)

Book: How We Measured Time

Author: Sivakami Velliangiri
First Edition: 2019
Poetry Primero, Mumbai (India)
Price: ₹ 200.00
ISBN 978-93-82749-92-9
Tel: +(91) 22 49235008 
E-mail: info@paperwall.inFinely Drawn Poems

Sivakami Velliangiri’s debut poetry collection ‘How We Measured Time’ strives for a quiet prosody that reflects the reverse journey to the childhood. What first draws me to read this book is the voice, which sounds like the poet in a meditation melting in nostalgia and sharing her experience with the readers.

Fluent and forceful, these poems push the boundaries between the prose and poetry and tend to take the form of short streams of stories with nuanced statements, to unpick themes as ordinary moments of life. Her words balance shimmering imagery with prosody so that ideas are underlined instead of obscured.

Most of the poems in this charming collection, offers a spilling forth of life rooted in memories in ways that yield to the particulars of imagination. Here is a poet who is a keen observer of things which are unheard or unnoticed.


They do not know I lived here once.

Everything is in colour, bright and focused.

My mind scans for nooks and corners. (Visiting)

The noted poet Keki Daruwala has rightly pointed out ’the poetry is rooted in nostalgia, memories rooted in the house and the mill compound she grew up in. and yet there is no sentimentality attached to it. There are moments when the poetry is uplifting.’

The houses sit the way they were—concubines.

The trees have grown; crowned brown giants.

I search for the doorsteps where we sat

shoes left carelessly outside. (Visiting)

In fact, almost all her poems represent her restlessness with prosaic forms.This is clearly a considered choice. It’s one of the reasons they form such an inspiring atmosphere letting the images ascend while the pace remains unhurried. Her writing become at times imposingly charming.

Those glass spikes that

once prismed the rays of the sun

now preserve their mottle.

Piggybacking me, Amma carefully stepped

between those glass spikes; she then vaulted over

to the marsh, waddled amidst the paddy fields

without so much as a scratch. (The Great Compound Wall)

There is no tedium, no preening twists of the rhetoric yet the light touches of the anecdotal details and recoil of the words in each line capture the spirit. She is nearly peerless in her ability to capture the character, ambiance and textures of the locales.

In this house I had graduated to two rooms:

A study in the front, eight by eight that let in

That fragrance that burst out of pineapples

Ripening, and a sleeping room on the terrace,

First time, first floor, with a balcony.

The sky-a half hemisphere. (A Fistful of Amargil)

Though some lose their way in the play of strange suspended images, several poems here evoke a feeling or concept with alarming exactitude. The poet aims to portray bygone days and the life as it is in all its diversity and uniqueness.

She brings a calm and restrained tone, and stoic style to her reports oncharacter portraits, addressing history and culture in poems that combine rich images and deft use of form.

There was so much beauty

You knew something would come flying into the room

And shatter its blood on the writing table,

Like that parrot-a disarray of green feathers (The Two Windows of my Room)

Sometimes the poems are vivid and compelling. The poet weaves words that run through her delectable verses with easy order and graceful rhythm. One can feel as if he or she is an integral part of the poem.

We measured time with lunar calendar.

A fortnight-the waxing moon, the waning moon (How We Measured Time)


We swore ourselves to secrecy in

Daylight, pretending to forget

Frog-croaks from the no-see world

Which she told me was real (So, on Full Moon Days and New Moon Days))

Her free verses come across most successfully because of their simplicity, their ordinary plucking, their raw elements. There is no denying that the poet has an ability to tap directly into love, desire and darkness, something she does with rare artistry.

sitting in a cane chair

minus two front teeth

eyes popping out, (File Photos)


in a black frock with a white rose

in a white frock with a white rose

a chubby girl in silk zari skirt

looking at the photographer with full open eyes (File Photos)

Such writings have the immediacy of personal experience. It’s a style that strengthen the poet’s strengths, which include storytelling — she is wonderful at borrowing narrative into anecdotal poems — and the skilful association of words, sentences and stanzas.

Appa ironed my convent blue pinafore,

Combed my hair into two plaits,

Knotted two ribbon bows,

Polished my shoes with a hundred strokes

And cycled me to the Holy Angel’s Convent. (House Father)

Sivakami has given a lot of effort learning how to let a nostalgic moment unfold slowly across a poem, and she’s wonderful at it. She ranges in her work from the brazen to beautiful, from the expansive to the intimate.

More to the point, it raises the need of the stimulus, a familiarity forged by all pervasive connectivity without losing the quietly explanatory tone and expression, the radiant clarity and intelligence and revelling in freedom all round.

I wanted to sing about carats but carrots,

Yes, I remember the arc of flying jewels

In the dawn sky.

Sometimes even dusk. (Carats and Carrots)

Srilata Krishnan has pointed out, ‘In a voice that is fresh and unassuming, Sivakami uses the lens of memory to look back on a childhood that appears, in retrospect, almost surreal.’ The lustrous words reveal the creativity in every phrase. The book is saturated by the sense of nostalgia. I find some of the poems are well made but less distinctive, rest are shining. She writes to find the silver of truth even in plastic mongoose within the framework of childhood.

Further away, green battery eyes flickered-a hawker

Sold plastic mongoose at dusk, ‘keeri, keeri pillai. (The Mongoose and Marina Beach))

Most of the Sivakami’s poems are rich in observation, imagination and memory. She builds something lovely and durable from those memories of childhood.

John Drew has precisely said’. The poet has recaptured a rural Tamilian childhood world in perfectly rendered English: no wasted words, every line honed, each vignette falling just so, good to read’. The poet knows that by telling stories in poems she can reach out to the readers perhaps more easily. In the process the readers can make sense of our world, can connect with the past, to heal and celebrate in a seamless manner.

One day Amma peeped in: an oil lamp swirled,

Rose a little and swirled more, as if

The resident Kuttichatan prodded it up

With a stick. How could the sane verify?

What the insane see? (The Manjalikulam House)

Sivakami Velliangiri’s debut poetry collection ‘How We Measured Time’ is refined, witty and profoundly moving; laced with old hurts and gripping anecdotes. It’s a book that changes its reader for the better. It encompasses rural aromas, sprawling vistas and tiny tender moments of childhood.

The cover page design is praiseworthy. And surely, the poetry lovers should grab the book at the earliest.


Gopal Lahiri

Setu, June 2019

Poezi nga Nehat JAHIU

Poezi nga Nehat JAHIU
Emrin deshën të na ndërrojnë,
Të mos e flasim dhe gjuhën tonë,
Në gjuhë të huaj në shkollë të mësojmë,
Shkronjat nga abetarja jonë ti harrojmë.
Shkollat na i mbyllën nën dry,
Me dhunë brenda s, na lanë për të hy,
Harruan se edhe nëpër fusha e e ara
Do të shkruajmë në fletore me lapsa.
Do të kthejmë çdo vatër në shkollë,
Gjuhën e nënës kurrë s, do ta harrojmë,
Gjuhën tonë e din zogu, e din bilbili,
Që aq ëmbël me te këndoi poet Naimi.
U pikëllua pranvera
Kur ia prishi bukurinë furtuna dhe era,
Edhe zogjtë na u dëshpruan
Kur sot cicërimën atyre ua ndaluan.
U pikëllua vera
kur ia përzunë shqiponjën nëpër kreshta,
Edhe dallëndyshet na u pikëlluan
Kur nga foleja sot i dëbuan.
U pikëllua vjeshta
Kur ia dëmtuan dhelprat rrushin nëpër vreshta,
Edhe lumi sot ecën i pikëlluar,
Se ujin në burim ia paskan turbulluar.
U pikëllua dimri, qan me lot
Kur acari lulet e saksisë ia ngriu sot,
U pikëlluan edhe delet, qengjat e mjerë,
Kur ujqit në kope u trokitën në derë…
Kënga e zogjve është ngjyrë ylberi
Si rrezja e diellit kur lëshohet nga qielli,
Është magjike kur kënga e tyre dëgjohet,
Kur vet nga zogjtë ajo kompozohet.
Kënga e zogjve është si puhi e lehtë
Kur këndohet nëpër pemë- nëpër fletë,
Është e bukur kur këndohet në çdo stinë,
Kur zogjtë vet ndërtojnë të bukurën rimë.
Kënga e zogjve është si valë deti,
Si varg i bukur që thurr poeti,
Është e bukur, e dashur, një mrrekulli,
Kur këndohet pa censurë në melodi…
O kohë e pa kohë,
Pse fëmijët që në djep na i lodhë ?
O kohë që sillesh rreth e rrotull,
Pse edhe zogjtë shumë na i ke lodhur?
O kohë e pa kohë
Kështu shumëkush nuk të do,
O kohë, kohë e turbulluar,
Mos vallë na je tërbuar?
O kohë e pa kohë,
Pse bëhesh si ulkonjë?
O kohë, që sillesh vërdallë,
Pse dikujt i vë vulë në ballë ?…
Mbi krahët e dallëndysheve
Kërkoj pranverën time,
Kërkoj sofrën shtruar,
Sofrën tonë bujare.
Mbi krahët e dallëndyaheve
Kërkoj të ulem, të pushoj,
Kërkoj të shuaj etjen time
Në djepin e ëndrrave të mia.
Mbi krahët e dallëndysheve
Kërkoj të shoh qetësinë time,
Kërkoj të përqafoj qiellin e kaltër
Dhe të puth rrezet e diellit tim.
Yjet në qiell natën ndriçojnë,
Rreth e rrotull hënën e rrethojnë,
Kur ngre kokën – të shikojnë në sy,
Thua se vështron ndonjë mrrekulli.
Është mrrekulli, është kënaqësi,
Kush s,i do ata, kush s, i ka zili,
Në prehrin e vet ata i mban hëna
E i përkëdhel, si fëmijën nëna.

TE EXTRAÑO… / Poema de Irene Zarza

Poema de Irene Zarza



Te extraño aunque de mi ya nada creas
nada de mi conserves…pero entiende,
que éste amor es latente todavía,
no entiende de olvidos…te extraña….
en mis sueños dormida, me despierto y te busco.
De como te extraño; que No imaginas…

No sentirte que estás, no oírte tus respiros…
recordar, cuando querías mis besos,
más recuerdos me trae, más son mis ansias,
cuando te sentía en mi latidos… tenía tu abrigo.
Saber que no has oído amor …
te he repetido que ¡te amo amor mío!.

Aunque estemos distantes, tu sabes cariño…
mi corazón siempre estuvo con esperanza.
de tenerte en mis brazos dormido.
Cada lugar, te veo conmigo cada cosas estás.
En cada instante y… no te he tenido…
¡¡¡Que será, cuando estés y, después te hayas ido!!!

@Dertechos autor Reservados@.

To the lady of The Festival / Poem by Sehma Helaa

Poem by Sehma Helaa


To the lady of The Festival

All in all, let’s cherish the lady of the festival,
Hand in hand, we gloriously join the band
we perform, we sing, we write in English 
In a Muslim, Arab -speaking land

To she, who has believed in the power of Art
To generate positive vibes and settle love in every dry heart

Looking for creative and artistic minds
Among the learners, amid the teachers,
she usually finds,
That unrelenting spark of creativity
Entangling learners and teachers
in more than one activity

we zealously respond to the appeal
Making from our festival a big deal

To she, who has spread her generous wings
willingly making us embrace our artistic strings

we got English out of the ordinary classroom
To the arena of creativity and artistic bloom

Students are eager to take part
Grinning to every heart, happy to be smart

They want to participate more than once
A three – day glee without a trance
Telling the whole country
we are making from our performances a deity

Mrs sharfi eagerly rewarded them
Believing that they are Tunisia’s gem

She strives to reward us too
with thankful tongues, we say God BLESS you

Expressing our deep thanks to Mrs Sharfi 
july 2019 sihem cherif



Ta lạc vào hoang mạc
Nơi khô héo tình người
Cỏ cây không đâm chồi
Hạt mưa không rơi tới

Ta lạc vào thế giới
Leng keng mùi kim tiền
Không còn chút nợ duyên
Cho một lần gặp gỡ

Giữa hoang mạc tâm hồn
Ta thấy mình bở ngỡ
Chuyện có cũng thành không
Như nước chảy giữa dòng

Tình người là hoang mạc
Ta đi trong cơn khát
Cháy bỏng cả tâm hồn
Ta đi tìm ốc đảo

Giữa hoang mạc mênh mông
Trơ trơ buồn hạt cát
Ta mơ một dòng sông
Đi qua miền biển rộng

Giữa hoang mạc mênh mông
Chực chờ bầy thú dữ
Ta về lại cánh đồng
Mặt trời khoe tia nắng

Ta bỏ hoang mạc buồn
Và những điều chưa nói
Ta không quen lừa dối
Ta chỉ thích hoa hồng

Ta về từ hoang mạc
Ru lại dòng sông xưa
Chim bồ câu hong nắng
Giữa đại ngàn nở hoa…


July, 31/2019

Poezi nga Dodona Qose

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Poezi nga Vasil Çuklla

Poezi nga Vasil Çuklla   Silens Pikojnë lotë agimet. Ngjethur, kërkojnë dritë. Diellit të plagët,  ia vranë horizontet. Dita, mes përshpirtjes, u nemit. Drita e qorruar, mbet varur, majëhonesh. Siç varet flamuri gjysëmshtizë në ditë zie… Përthellë shpirtit, në të … Continue reading

Нгок Ле Нинь, Вьетнам / Перевод с английского Рахим Каримов Рахим Карим

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HIRI I ERZENIT (Në vend të një homazhi poetik në kujtim të studiuesit dhe profesorit shqiptaro-amerikan,ish Editor i Diellit, Peter R. Prifti, i cili la amanet që hirin e trupit të tij ta hidhnin në lumin Erzen…) / Poezi nga Namik Selmani

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Poezi nga Adem Xheladini

Poezi nga Adem Xheladini   Atje larg… Ti sonte fle mbeshtjellë me pelerinë prej yjesh Hëna shkëlqimin ta vjedh fshehtas nëpër natë Çastet përballë që me ëndje tenton t’i gërryesh Në tel violone jeh kënge, më ngjan në serenatë Ti … Continue reading

Brenda Mohammed (Trinidad)

Brenda Mohammed (Trinidad) Author Brenda Mohammed is from Trinidad in the Caribbean. She is an award-winning, best-selling, multi-genre author, and poet, who has written twenty-one books. Brenda is a former Bank Manager of a leading International Bank in Trinidad and … Continue reading

Poezi nga Ramiz Kuqi

Poezi nga Ramiz Kuqi



Stina u vesh me lumni
Nis udhëtimin e vet në vargje
Shpresa e thyer
Po hyn në kullë lumnie
Më prit
Ëndrra ime atje në Jug
Ku dielli e shiu takohen rrallë
E vjeshta
Zverdh shpejt gjethet nëpër degë
Lypsarët enden me pelerinë
Mbi supe
Rëndon qielli
Për një copë bukë
Më shumë se dje
Pas tundjeve Atdhe!



U tret nëpër rrugë
Si hije
Fëmijë bonjak
Pa kasollë mbi kokë
Shtrat i përgjumur
Nëpër stinë
Kush ta mori buzëqeshjen
O varg i kryqëzuar?
Një gotë verë desha ta zbraz
Të shdërrohej në lumë
Si zjarr i pashuar!
Një ëndërr…



As vargjet poetike
Netet e gjata
Fjalët e shkruara pa thonjëza
Deri të një pikë centrifugale
Sa presje fjali dëshirore
Deri të Ura e Gurit
Pritje të gjata imagjinare
Nuk i bashkoi
As metafora e mallit
Sa larg kanë ikur
Si dallëndyshet mbi Bardhan
Ti që bashkon ura e ura
Harta të grisura shekujve?!