Poetry by Kalpana

I was honored to be featured in the Poetry Monday column of International Psychoanalysis in February of 2018. Below is the introduction to me made by Irene Willis, the Poetry Editor.

"Namaste, everyone, as you look at this beautiful picture of our February poet, who has been in this country for thirty-one years. Her country of origin was India and her native language Tamil, but her primary language is English. The greeting, as many of you know, is given with the hands pressed together and a small bow, meaning the recognition of the divine in another person.

kalpana asokWhat better time could there be to recognize the soul in every human being than this, when the world is talking and thinking about immigration and when much of that talk has been less than generous and even hostile? But here, with Kalpana Asok, we have someone who is kind and grateful, as we will see from her poems and the story of her life.

Growing up in India, Kalpana studied for a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology and also English Literature and a second language for two of the three-year program. After moving to the United States, she resumed her study of biology, receiving a Master of Science, and later went on to receive a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. She now works as a psychotherapist in the San Francisco Bay area, where she has had a practice for over twenty years.

This is a first for us – not only the first time we have featured a native of India, but the first we have featured someone who has not yet published any poetry at all. A first collection of her poems, however, is forthcoming from IP Books, probably later this year. Another book, Whose Baby Is It, Anyway? Inside the Indian Heart, is also soon to appear. This, she tells us, is a collection of short essays that speak of the Indian culture in ways particularly relevant to psychotherapists and others who may have occasion to work with and want to know more about how the Indian family system impacts each individual.

Although she hasn’t studied poetry formally, for the past two years she has been part of a weekly writing group conducted by writer Thomas Ogden, working on and sharing her poetry with them. This is similar to the way most poets begin, many continuing long after they have begun to publish.

Both because of the graceful simplicity of her poems and their content, we are proud to present the three poems below by Kalpana Asok."

Irene Willis, Poetry Editor

Following is the selection of three of my featured poems.

Linden Walk

My name is
Bharat Desai

My name is
Pramod Jain

My name is
Arun Hebbur

My name is
Kishore Seshadri

Blue edged
White labels
A foreign way
To say hello

The stickers
lined up
stare back
from dresser mirror
impossible to see

behind them
even a street
called a Walk

My name is
Culp uh nah
I am here,
To stay
No one else claimed
Swept the sidewalk

Aunty Ji

A weekend walk
in the Big city
spring in my steps
in the sunshine
A day of freedom
just exploring

“Aunty Ji!”
Outbursts stranger
of happiness
races across his face
lasts a second
Wistfulness lingers
in the wave after

I slow smile
at his now radiant
“Namaste Ji!”
Take in
the pale
worried woman
at his side

My Namaste
my familiar
have jolted
out Real
Heartsick loss
finding today

Hope Died

One brown leather bag
Zipped tight-packed
Other of brown paper
Ready for journey

Baby welcome gifts
Some still wrapped
Others washed naked
Hastily folded goodbyes

Bushy in the bassinet
Eyes turned in
Soft silky hair aplenty
Find nurses’ sympathy

Will she be toddler
In a teenage body
Will the foster
Love her tender

wooden walkway leading to sandy beach