Two Poems by Leela Soma


On the Empire pink- washed map
Edged by blue Bay of Bengal
My dad’s Madras, golden-sanded beach
Yet Seussian in my mind, a landscape
In black and white of a tapestry hung
With fragments recorded in Brownie
Camera shots of the dying days of
The Raj. I try to cross to that world
In pages of books imagining the
Poetry of their lives, of the hunger for
Freedom, the burden of their grief
The potpourri of emotions, Dad’s life
King Emperor George V1 Rupee coins
The British suits to work
The impeccable English
A calligraphic writing
Playing cricket and tennis
Mount Road, Elliot’s Beach
Higginbotham Bookstore
Reels of Laurel & Hardy
Black & White silent films
Screened on 35mm projector
Life of hardship and happiness
The washed pink city coloured
New in saffron, white and green
Born again, an Independent India.


Snaking around, confused,
green on brown
Gnarled, convoluted,
sculpted by nature
carved by wind and rain
seeking the sun
a scission, chiselling its way
braided- twigs
through the welter
reaching for the skies
for its existence
its own patterns
in a language unique
every leaf, branch its own code
a deep mystery
rooted in the
prosopography of a tree’s life
no bark with circles
survival etched
in its slant.

Leela Soma was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow. Her poems and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies, publications. She has published two novels and two collections of poetry.
She has served on the Scottish Writer’s Centre Committee and is now on East Dunbartonshire Arts & Culture Committee. Some of her work reflects her dual heritage of India and Scotland. She was nominated for Pushcart Prize 2020.

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