Ask Amma

Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category

On Not Paying Attention to What “They Said”

In Art, Poems on 11 April 2016 at 4:30 pm

At the 4th annual conference of Swashikshan, the India Homescholers Association, children got the opportunity to work with the Space Theatre Ensemble from Goa, and all of us were treated to a show by the children, followed by performances by the teachers: Andrea Pereira, Heidi Pereira and Katheeja Talha, and the director, Hartmann D’Souza.  They were not so much drama as dramatic performance of poetry.   They vividly brought the poems to life.   One of the poems was “They Said” written by Uma Narayan who is a Philosophy Professor at Vassar College.  The Hindi version is called “Aisa Kaha Unhone.”

I tried to upload this earlier but with the internet speed in India it would have taken all day and slowed down all other internet activity till done, so I never got around to uploading it.  Now having at last uploaded it, I came across this article about a young girl named Hilde who perfectly embodies the spirit of the poem.  She writes and edits her own newspaper and recently faced criticism, very much along the lines of “They Said.”

More about Hilde later.  First, listen to the poem:  “Aisa Kaha Unhone.

Read the rest of this entry »

Amma Dudhu: A Farewell Poem

In Field Notes, Poems on 14 December 2015 at 2:42 am

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least two years and beyond for as long as mother and baby wish.  The benefits of breastfeeding do not disappear at a specific age, but rather continuously prepare children physically, intellectually and emotionally to digest what the world has to offer, literally and figuratively.  Curiosity, experimentation, illness, growth spurts and adaptations to circumstances will prompt children to modulate breastfeeding and eventually outgrow it.

And how do you say goodbye?  In this guest post, Divya Singh, Amma to 3½ year-old Navya in Portland. shares her story along with a poem. 

Last week, my 3½ year-old and I said bye-bye to our breastfeeding relationship on a very happy note…wanted to share this for Ask Amma.

Here’s how it worked out-
Read the rest of this entry »

Invitation to Anna Prasana

In Poems on 21 June 2014 at 1:20 am

Stories from our mothers’ and grandmothers’ times routinely remind us that daughters faced constant hurdles in the not-so-distant past, even in families that today rejoice in the birth of every child, boy or girl.  It is then refreshing to find this poem written in 1938, by parents in Kolkata who celebrated the birth of their daughter at a time when such hopes and dreams were normally reserved for sons.  The poem appears in A Space of Her Own, a riveting collection of essays by women writing about their lives in the historical context of their mothers and grandmothers in 19th and 20th century India.

Annaparasana.jpg

Artist: A Manivel

Unspoilt and tender like freshly opened petals,
Our darling baby girl, forever, smiling, forever matchless,
Sparkling with the purity of a morning-showered flower
You’ve stepped into our home and lit it up with joy. Read the rest of this entry »

Arise, then, women of this day!

In Art, Call to Action, Poems on 11 May 2014 at 8:05 am

Let us rouse ourselves once again with the urgent proclamation of Julia Ward Howe for peace on earth, responsible society and solidarity among women. 

Mothers’ Day Proclamation: Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870

Artist: Emeka Okoro.  From Fine Art America

Artist: Emeka Okoro. From Fine Art America

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, Read the rest of this entry »

Following

In Poems on 5 January 2014 at 11:55 am

Following my meditation on the implied reader of the if-then statements proposed in Dorothy Law’s poem Children Learn What They Live, I recognized that the doubt I encountered as a child, peering into the gap between the apparently interlocked puzzle pieces reached to the heart of inference itself. 

Only much later I found my kindred spirit while reading Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations.   Read the rest of this entry »

Children Learn What They Live

In Poems on 29 December 2013 at 4:06 am

Dorothy L LawIn 2014 it will be 60 years since the poem “Children Learn what they Live” appeared in the Torrance Herald, a local newspaper (tell the kids what a local newspaper is).   The author, Dorothy Louise Law, a “counselor, lecturer, instructor in family life education,” wrote an advice column in the paper.

Growing up, I used to pause before a small paper posted our refrigerator.  The title was “Children Learn What They Live.”   Never wondering who wrote it or how it got there, I used to ponder some of its logical propositions.   Read the rest of this entry »

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