ceiling falls
lends a wall
to lean against
and wait for sky
to lower its gaze
over hair spread out
like tentacles
porcupine skin
 gouged out eyes
choked throat
sound echoes in mouth
squishes over tongue
reflecting moon

skull’s smile
through hollow bone
reminiscent of cold lips
hardening moss over stone
fossilised crevices

there is always space
in the empty


(c) Farzana Versey

+A reading of this poem is available here


  1. While there appears some consonance between the title of your piece, "Void," and your concluding lines, "there is always space / in the empty" -- an encouraging, hopeful sentiment to be sure (also somewhat commiserative, indeed consoling) -- I am prompted to want to interrogate its apparent premise by pointing out, somewhat in keeping with the aphorism, "nature abhors a vacuum," that there are some -- a certain school of interior decorator, for example -- who see in an empty space an invitation to fill it with some sort of knick-knack or gee-gaw. :)

    That said, I found "ceiling falls / lends a wall / to lean against" in some sense evocative of a trap door -- whether to an attic or basement godown -- "lean against" followed by "and wait" (leaning -- to one side, and perhaps with crossed-arms -- certainly does convey a sense of waiting) suggesting no small expectancy or anticipation "for sky / to lower its gaze" -- a lowered gaze, on the one hand, conveying a meek acceptance; on the other hand, a *lowering* gaze conveying some increasingly critical notice -- "over hair spread out / like tentacles" . . .

    There's more, but perhaps others may wish to comment?

    As always, Farzana, I find your poetry sublime. :)


  2. Mark:

    Thank you! I have meshed two ideas here - one of void as something to be filled and one of hollow/ness. Both are not mutually-exclusive. What we fill spaces with may be hollower than the vacant space.

    The sky lowering its gaze is most certainly keeping a hawk's eye vigil over hair tentacles. I hate giving out the images in my head, but they sprouted from tree, roots, branches, dew...osmosis. (The image was a subtle giveaway!)

    The skull/fossil=still life. Still, life? There is no empty...


    I have uploaded the voice file, if you are interested :)


    PS: Don't see anyone else commenting, unless you manage to drag Al out!

    PPS: Those trying to play agony aunt, cut it out. I've said it before, don't get personal or imply bullshit. If you don't understand/care about poetry, you can say so instead of...forget it...

  3. Some days FV, you are full of verse.

    To your PPS - poetry, if it is of any value, to the the reader has got to possess the intensity and indeed the depth - and that can only come from from the core - so yes it is very personal, or else why bother.

    I liked the poem the first time, the second time, I liked it even more. Now I know why, the first time, my mind locked on to the porcupine skin, the gouged out eyes and the chocked throat. The blue reflecting moon released it on the second reading as it meandered through the fossilised crevices, then freed by the empty in the space. What a trip.

    1. Anon:

      Yes, I do have verse days, and worse ones. Many thanks for joining me on the 'trip'.

      I see that you are the anon who enjoys poetry...and art. (Okay, that's not difficult to fathom.) So, we know that poems are like light and shadow, with each new reading they reveal a different shade.

      Re. your comment on the PPS, most certainly all poetry is intensely personal, even if it is about political/social issues. I also imagine a reader will bring her/his interpretation to it based on another set of personal reasons.

      PS: did you listen to it? Did you respond to it differently in the reading and listening? Just wondering...

      My nit is with seeing the poet in a personal light without the 'culpability' of accepting one's own personal reasons for the conclusion. I do not allow that, especially if there is no elucidation on a one-line summation of the poet, and not the poem.

  4. Farzana,

    >>(the image was a subtle giveaway!)<<

    Indeed. It did and it didn't giveaway; which is, of course, what makes it subtle. I did make the connection to palms (*before* viewing the images accompanying your performance of the piece -- nicely done, btw, there was a particularly . . . well, "parched" quality to your delivery, emphasizing of a dryness oftentimes associated with empty regions, the palms fronds then suggestive of either an oasis *or* desert island), but I made it through what I took to be a fish-eye lens rather than a bird's-eye view. To me, the fronds then appeared as a stand of flagged palms reaching for the sky, with the perspective more from ground level -- or indeed, from beneath rising seas . . .

    Rising seas or lowering sky, take your pick, seemed the inference. :)

    >>PS: Don't see anyone else commenting, unless you manage to drag Al out!

    As one who was climbing palm trees almost as soon as he learned to walk, I have confidence Al may yet discover the lungi as ideally suited for shinnying-up palm trees. Of course, one has to unwrap it first. :)


    1. Mark:

      I recorded it on the phone for fun. Must have been thirsty, therefore "parched":-) But, I think it worked with the subject. It was only when I transferred it to the laptop - basic netbook right now - that I used what I had and chose the 'look'.

      You've conveyed it better than I can. But, I was fascinated with the way the sliver between the fronds could look when I first took the picture.

      Let's just say where the horizon meets, sky and sea become one. Parched in/with the oasis!



      I've already declared you a poet. No exit now.

      About being away, it's fine. Just confirm your presence occasionally. Cannot afford to lose a budding versifier to organic chemistry.

      PS: What is it about you and clothes? Sarees, lungis...get into them tuxedos and walk the red carpet.

  5. Hi FV, Sorry for going awol...will catch up with all your writing and poems. However, being an ignoramus in all things lit., I only see images in my head when I read your poetry, like a wacky cartoon with the music/soundtrack turned down. Will try to grok the interpretations that you and Mark are talking about ...always a tough climb for me up that hill. :-)

    Mark, Well, if only I had the talent to climb up them trees like those lungi wearing cats that do it with much ease and aplomb -- truly admirable...it is on my list of things to learn how to do...at least, I can secure a lungi enough without a belt nowadays, so I am 10% of the way to my goal. :)

    Also, will read, grok, and respond to your and FV's response on the FoE thread and her post on the same....things have fallen out of my tiny head because of all the lessons in organic chemistry the past week. (too much spare time in my hands, clearly) :)


  6. Yes I heard the poem, but once. I didn't have the courage to hear it again. Someday I might, perhaps than I will have the words.

  7. FV, I heard your audio recording of the poem...you seem to be gently caressing those words as they leave you...mellow is the word I want to use.

  8. Sometimes I get poetry and sometimes I don't...I did not get this one. But there is weight in the telling of it I feel...

  9. Al,

    You wrote:

    >>I only see images in my head when I read [Farzana's] poetry, like a wacky cartoon with the music/soundtrack turned down.<<

    :) Well, some poets do indeed appear to preserve a certain something (style, theme, subject?) that oftentime does seem fairly consistent from one poem to the next. Shakespeare's sonnets come to mind:

    Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye
    That thou consum'st thyself in single life?
    Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die,
    The world will wail thee, like a makeless wife:
    The world will be thy widow, and still weep
    That thou no form of thee hast left behind,
    When every private widow well may keep,
    By children's eyes, her husband's shape in mind . . . .

    By and large, however, it is not something you can easily put your finger on (or, for that matter, "wrap your mind around," as they say). The expression is exaggerated -- oftentimes breathlessly so -- and indeed very much like a cartoon (or carricature, perhaps).

    One of the Anons is waiting for the words. Meriam gets it sometimes; sometimes doesn't. For those times we do "get it," can we be certain we truly have gotten it -- notwithstanding the poet's assurances? Evaluating the words of your response, how can the poet be certain you've got it?

    I like Meriam's, "But there is weight in the telling of it I feel..." :)


  10. Meriam:

    That's why I think poetry is precious - writing and reading it. There is no space for half-measures. It works or it doesn't for different people.


    Mellow...'lowered gaze'... how else?


    Fears are reflectve or reflexes. I think I know what it means...


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