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Poem: Peaceful Water, Crashing Water

Hari Narayanan and Sujatha Vijayaraghavan

Peaceful Water, Crashing Water

Water, water, friendly water,
Water, water, crashing water,
You look immortal ‘til you crash,
on rocks, and die like smoking ash.

Crashing on man-made barrier of boulders
Wave after wave rose to assault
The temple hewn out of a rock
Standing firm more than a thousand years
Submerged by the tsunami and emerged again
To command over the crashing waves

Water, water, dead still water,
Water, water, peaceful water,
though you appear in a hundred places,
You have no less than a thousand faces.

Rain laden grey clouds billowed overhead
Hot and thirsty we clutched our bottles of Aqua Fina
Pure water drawn from natural springs
Deep down Mother Earth

Water, water, crashing high,
You will soon come falling from the sky,
Water, water, low and still,
What is the next hole you will fill?

Like the Quality of Mercy from heaven
Droplets fell cool and soothing
Gentle showers, then a drizzle and a downpour
Drenching us to the skin

An imminent hurricane centred just a few miles away
We raced around sculpted rocks that turned into waterfalls
Water pouring from above, water roaring down the rocks
Water booming on the shore
Young and old we stood on the timeless scene
tasting a drop of eternity.

- A poem by Hari (Age 10) and grandma Sujatha (Age 65)
(Won first place in the EPA's Rachel Carson
“Sense of Wonder: Water” poetry contest 2012)

This poem was a collaboration between a famous grandma - Sujatha Vijayaraghavan and her young grandson.  Sujatha Vijayaraghavan describes how this project came to be. 

"In December 2011 our family with all my grandchildren visited the Rock temples and sculptures at the Heritage site of Mamallapuram on the seashore near Chennai, where I live. Even though the sky was overcast it was hot and humid. Soon the weather changed and we received warnings of an approaching hurricane .The sea was rough and there was a heavy downpour. My grandson Hari, who lives in Boston, chose to recapture his impressions of the day in this poem. He and I discussed the experience in detail. He sent me three stanzas with rhyme  and I interspersed my lines without rhyme, as an echo of his sentiments and imagery. We both enjoyed our first collaborative effort. Later we collaborated on a project that won an award in the EPA's Rachel Carson "Sense of Wonder: Water" poetry contest.

Since we live on different continents, Hari and I collaborated on this project through phone conversations, video conferencing, and email. First, we discussed the setting since we have both enjoyed nature together on several occasions. Hari then emailed me three stanzas of a poem, with rhyming lines. I interspersed my lines without rhyme, but as an echo of his sentiments and imagery.  It was thrilling to explore a shared experience through poetry with my grandson."


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