Dr Niamh's Children's Books

Childhood Imagination Sows Seeds of Future Brilliance

The Wednesday Corner Featuring: Reena Prasad

It is my great pleasure to welcome to the plum tree, Reena Prasad aka Butterflies of Time. I am a willing fan of Reena’s poetry. I do think her exceptional. She writes with such richly laced imagery, passion and feeling. This is Reena’s Wednesday Corner in which she tells us a little about how she writes her poetry, whilst introducing us to one of her favourite poets: Chandrakant Sheth. Many thanks for your great post, Reena. 

Poetry – an extension of life

By Reena Prasad.

As a child, a handwritten diary had been a tolerant, reliable friend
and secret companion in whom I confided my deepest fears and feelings
as also my dreams of an alien world of my creation. Poetry to me
continues to be that diary-an extension of myself. I try to enter a
poem as unobtrusively as possible and let it lead me on diverse paths
because a regular, studied effort is beyond me and because I want to
remain open to novel ideas and refrain from judging or comparing it.
Poems with staying power attract me more. I have a book of poems by
Thomas Hardy filched from my brother when he left the nest and to this
day I continue to read many of those poems that I loved around twenty
years ago.

A good poem has an ability to cause a sudden change or to enhance the
feelings or mood I have at the time of reading. I know poems that make
me sadder when I am sad and happier when I am happy but the ones that
stand out are those that can make me smile through my tears or weep
when there is nothing really to be sad about.

I am an emotional reader—the shape, the form, the genre is less
important for me than the content of the poem and its ability to flip
me over. But having said so, let me also confess that my love for
words, their resonant sounds, their extraordinary ability to contain
emotions, their beauty when arranged in an original turn of phrase so
that they soothe, tease, provoke and dance on the tongue and in the
heart while reading is also a great factor.

I love it when “a poem is the thing it states, it is the love, it is
the history, it is the rose, it is the battlefield, the experience,
the action, the landscape, the loves, the lives and is lived in the
poem, not otherwise.” ( Kathleen Raine)

A poem must bring something new, some gift that I can cherish, some
longing , some “ Sehnsucht “- a word I discovered recently and awaken
memories that are not really mine but that seem familiar and create
new exhilarant worlds within, making me want to explore them on my
own. Tall orders perhaps yet there are innumerable great poems being
written and each one carries a secret little nugget of truth and
wisdom within it that causes wonder and awe and makes the present
moment a little more special and says something more than what it
seems on the surface.

Let me share a translated poem by a Gujarati poet Chandrakant Sheth.


Selling the sky

I once had been to a narrow lane
to sell the sky.
The residents of the narrow lane
took me for a lunatic.
I was made fun of,
I was manhandled,
I was pelted with stones.
My clothes were torn off.
They tried to make me unclench my fist.
But could the sky ever be in one’s fist?

Poor people of the narrow lane!
They don’t know
that the sky could never be kept
in one’s pocket, in a carpet bag, or a trunk, or a fist.
I was merely going to lift their drooping eyelids
and show them the sky!
They were going to get the sky free!
The selling of the sky was but a ruse!
But the residents of the narrow lane—
they drove me away
and went to sleep,
burrowing their faces deep in their pillows.

Once again I dragged myself
and kept hoping that the sky will be sold
tomorrow, if not today,
and kept breathing deeply, with determination.
Well to begin with
these residents of the narrow lane
and, what’s more, the selling of the sky—
the transaction
couldn’t possibly have been over that soon.

(*This one has an Indian/Gujarati context and refers to the people in
the narrow lane who have no idea of the vast blue sky and who
understand life only in terms of doing business i.e. buying and

All of us who are here reading this are blessed. We have the ability
to see a bit of the sky.


About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com

20 comments on “The Wednesday Corner Featuring: Reena Prasad

  1. A great write – just for the Kathleen Raine quote it is worth it. The Gujarati poem is also exceptional. The whole article is worth perusing with delight and keenness.


    May 15, 2013

    Thank you Niamh for the wonderful words in the introduction. I am delighted to be sharing a part of me with all the friendly people here.
    Thank you Ampat Sir. 🙂


    • ontheplumtree
      May 15, 2013

      Reena, your poetry is wonderful. Thank you for all you do for poetry and for other poets also.


  3. Panjami Anand
    May 15, 2013

    There is much poetry in the world and it is something within each being that draws out poetry with what one identifies with. And how can there be a dearth of anything in this world for each one wants something different. No matter how cross am I or how cutting the twinkle in my eye is out of mirth, there is something about Reena Prasad’s writing that appeals very deeply to me. I sink into the emotion of the core of the poem that gives new shape to mine. I couldn’t agree more with this beautiful excerpt on poetry. God Bless.


    • ontheplumtree
      May 15, 2013

      Thank you, Panjami. Lovely to see you here. And thank you for your great comment. I am certain that Reena will be delighted with it.


      May 15, 2013

      Thank you Panjami. That is a lovely comment coming from one of the most sensitive poets in my friends list.


  4. Uncle Tree
    May 15, 2013

    Good points! Great post!
    And a wonderful blessing in the end.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Reena! 🙂


  5. Pingback: The Wednesday Corner Featuring: Reena Prasad | BUTTERFLIES OF TIME

  6. Jamie Dedes
    May 15, 2013

    A lovely post. Reena is always a joy.


    • ontheplumtree
      May 15, 2013

      Jamie Dedes. It is lovely to see you here. Many thanks for your comment.


  7. Zeenath Ibrahim
    May 15, 2013

    Reading your poems has always been a rich experience, takes me to a totally different world… which always has something new to offer and which never fails to tug at those heartstrings. This article is equally delightful and appealing. Thank you for sharing your musings on poetry, and also for that wonderful quote and poem.


    May 15, 2013

    Thank you Keith 🙂 Uncle Tree for your words of support!
    Thank you Jamie – You are a great inspiration to me! Lovely to see you here.
    Thank you Zeenath. Love you and your comments too!


  9. Patricia Tilton
    May 16, 2013

    I loved the post. I could relate to it — I am an emotional reader and writer. Reena, you have such a gift. Inspiring poem!


  10. the secret keeper
    May 16, 2013

    It is a wonderful poem that you chosen. But you words are what draw in my attention, also. Poetry is like a living, breathing diary of you life and the existence of all experience. One part is emotional, the expression of feelings. But if one is to open their mind and release their thoughts in honesty, it reveals the secrets that are contained in all of us, hidden away. To sell the sky, I read over and over, if one didn’t know that the sky is free but you must look up and it changes as we do. What the poem conveyed evaded me but suddenly I saw the sky in my mind. Whether I see what the poet sees is not the point to me but only that I see. That I notice what is there for me to see and to share it. I don’t think I can be wrong or right, I just am.

    Reena thank you for your own words as well as the poem. It is all very beautiful and insightful. Jk


      May 16, 2013

      Thank you Jennifer, you are a great inspiration to many i am sure, the way you take out time and really give the writer the attention their writing craves. That was an excellent feedback and what is important is that the poem touched you in a unique way that only you could feel. Once out in the open, a poem must do that-find its own place in the readers heart. TY again.


  11. the secret keeper
    May 16, 2013

    TY Niamh for presenting such gifted poet in Reena. Her words flow so smoothly. And I do like the poem she chose to infiltrated our sense. Reena did a great jb and Niamh you magic is at work finding someone so talented for all of us to enjoy and to be enlightened through. (I broke the rules in ending the sentence before this one.. You can tell Shawn on me, Niamh, if you so wish.)


  12. thiskidreviewsbooks
    May 16, 2013

    What a wonderful poem!


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