that plant on my desk

it stood on the shelf in its plastic pot
among a row of plants you could buy
for a few dollars, you know, in ikea
where i was browsing that late evening
looking for things for our new place
we’d moved again

leaves like stars
some with five points, some six
fresh new green
maybe five inches tall
stems twisted to a plait to make a trunk
or just to make it look pretty

i thought, oh that would look
nice, in my corner by the computer
and without thinking much
i paid the few dollars
picked it up
along with a white ceramic planter

five yearlong summers have gone by
the usual ups and downs of life
failures, fears, wait for joy
cold cough sneeze, mounting weight
once a week – or less – amid all that
a little water for the plant with starry leaves

sunlight pours in
through the glazed window all day
right by my side stands the little plant
now it spreads its shade over me
the plaited trunk has taken on brown
plant? or should i call it a tree

what keeps it happy
what makes it grow
all i give it is a bit of water
and only when i remember to
the soil hasn’t been turned in years
no fertiliser, no nothing

is there something
it knows that we keep missing

the green is now a little mottled
the star tips catch a bit of brown
perhaps the roots choke in the tiny pot
but the new leaf is lifting its head on a node
the inches keep adding
and reach for the sun

where is my sun, i think
looking at the tree
wonder if it’ll some day
tell me
there’s knowing
in every vein patterned leaf

in every brown and woody branch
in the roots taking hold in the tight
embrace of dry old earth
in its gentle nod and shake
as it speaks to the breeze
or calls to the ants

what keeps it happy
what makes it grow
is it desire
or something we still can’t name

it’s all been here much before me
meeting the wild winds, getting to know
the way, whirling through time
writing stories of skies oceans galaxies
sentinels of history
voyagers of untravelled worlds

on a shelf in a shop
i saw this plant and now it is a tree

the other day, i thought i’d move the tree out to the balcony, it’s become too big for the desk. spent a restless few hours after that. finally, brought the tree right back to its spot by the computer. i may have imagined it but i could feel its disquiet, and it seemed to be talking to me, telling me to bring it back. in a form of communication i couldn’t understood, but something was getting through. strange. very.

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  • Reply
    Lalita Arya
    March 4, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    indi, I love this poem about the plant on your desk…it’s deep, meaningful and it’s wonderful how you relate it to life. i have a great respect for plants & trees. Was watching the documentary Planet Earth = Episode that told about Trees and was amazed to learn that there are trees on our earth over 4000 years old. they seem to last forever if we humans do not interfere with their natural way of living & growing. So thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    indrani robbins
    March 4, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    hi, lalita. thank you so much. so glad you read and enjoyed it. i have a thing for plants and trees, actually the entire universe of flora… 4,000 year old trees? stunning. sometimes i think trees are far more evolved than us. they have wisdom and knowledge of the universe, they don’t need to talk, they don’t need to move… they’ve gone beyond that. i feel something around plants or when i look at flowers that i can’t quite explain. so good to know you feel deeply about plants and trees too.

    • Reply
      rhea sinha
      March 5, 2019 at 12:55 am

      me too guys. there is something restful and invigorating standing anywhere with even a bit of green.

      and Indi di how smoothly you captured this “personal” things and were able to without fuss share it here. Sometimes I have a thought and I want to write about it, but pause thinking is there anyone who wants to share it. Can I write a whole article on it? I woder and more often than not drop the idea. And here you are leading the way 🙂 . Thanks for the inspiration. And give your plant lots of love from aarwen who likes to write in green font.

  • Reply
    indrani robbins
    March 5, 2019 at 8:31 am

    hi rhea, thanks for reading. did i? smoothly took the personal to the unknown reader out there? i’m happy. thanks for saying that. i wonder often if anyone is even remotely interested in my thoughts… but if the feeling is strong enough, i just go ahead and write it. you never know, i think, what will interest whom. this medium makes me want to write this and that too, the process by which a reader comes here… the mood in which a reader views an online thing… maybe the restrictions in the mind are less, maybe they’ll involuntarily feel things, connect with my feelings, add their own thoughts to the thoughts my words convey… look forward to your writing.

    the plants are happy aarwen writes in green. they send their swish and sway to you. the frog said hello too.

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