Updated: Jun 18
Merry Roses, I got something to ask. How are you calm? There’s risk in blooming, Do thy stamen fray? Nasty kind may pluck `fore you even bask. Hasty wind may smack, All florets down. Yet you sprawl among lush Chlorophyll pack, balancing sanity, Dotting each second in pseudo-eye, No fear in thy stench, of falling apart. Damn! You’ll fall apart. Why do’ye chirp? Greeting garden ‘good’ morning. Ye’nothing, Y’all trifle into dust – reality, Chills run down yo’ back? Nothing bothers thou? Why are I in ditch? Meek bud I is. So, Sugar stranger, sing ballads of beau, Who walked out of danger. Merry roses, will.. You balm my petals, to unshrink and grow?
Poet’s Note: Poetry is one of the most serene forms of artistic expression. I wrote this in April when it became impossible to cope up with my depression and anxiety. The narrator of this poem is a paranoid girl who has lost sense of reality due to the pandemic. She has become so reserved that she is unable to perform her day to day activities. She asks how other people are ‘calm’ in such a situation? She compares them to ‘merry roses’ who ‘sprawl’ among ‘lush chlorophyll packs’ (cushioned in their homes). These people are able to maintain their ‘sanity’ and there is no ‘fear’ in their demeanor about death. ‘Dotting each second in pseudo-eye’ purports the act of capturing every trivial thing in camera (‘pseudo-eye) and putting it up on social media. She says that the Corona-virus (‘nasty kind’) may ‘pluck’ (shorten) your life [be]`fore you even bask.’ It might be floating in the ‘hasty wind’ that will ‘smack’ them in no time. She is worried about the ‘risk’ factors involved in doing anything (there’s risk in blooming’). The fear of catching the Virus is so strong, that it pushes her to believe that the world will end soon (‘trifle into dust’). To her, no hobby, no joy or hope (‘greeting garden good morning’ and ‘chirp’) make sense anymore, because she is adamant that death is inevitable ( ‘-reality’). She is surprised why people aren’t frightened, and why she is the only one in the ‘ditch’. She compares herself to a ‘meek bud’.
Nonetheless, she doesn’t lose hope entirely. A part of her wishes to let go of this negativity and use this time to ‘unshrink and grow.’ For which, she asks these ‘merry roses’ to ‘balm’ or soothe her anxiety by narrating stories (‘sing ballads of the bieu’) of the recovered patients and resilient doctors ‘who walked out of dangers.’ Asking for help is the most difficult step, the three dots after ‘will’ signifies her hesitation for the same. However, in the last line of the poem, she finally overcomes her reluctance to seek help from ‘sugar strangers’ whom she barely knows. It takes a lot of courage to voice out your distress, it might seem frivolous to not be able to manage your stress on your own, or to even acknowledge its presence. Covid-19 Helpline India is making an effort to erode stigma around mental health by providing emotional support during pandemic. We are here to listen to everything you have to say, the only thing that you have to do is- REACH OUT TO US. Our ‘sugar strangers’ are committed to help you navigate through these storms. A lot of us are the ‘meek bud[s]’ like the narrator of the poem.Nonetheless, each one can be a ‘merry-rose’ too.
Poem and Note by – Sanjana Nagar Artwork by – Gayathri Nair