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The Bharatanatyam Dancer

This is a poem about the internal conflict between pride and shame when coming from a culture which is seen as strange by some and looked down upon because its different and how choosing to feel pride regardless, and valuing your homeland sometimes takes a lot of courage in today's society. There's also a little bit about navigating through feelings of belonging to a particular place and how much you do belong although thats not as fleshed out. The poem is framed through a Bharatanatyam dancer, which is one of the classical dances of India. Constructive criticism would be very much valued!



One sole flat,

hard against stone.

Planted there.

Root of the root.



The other arches, a lost swan,

its brown neck, with a golden anklet is adorned,

it extends, hovering for a delicate moment, and then is gone,

receding behind swathes of saree, coloured the same rose as sky, when the crowning sun rises to dawn.



I sit watching

in shadow.

Her heels strike

with every strange beat,

arms dart between positions,


as two snakes on the attack,

mehndi red,


The blood of the kill.




Not a war-cry but...hummed sighs,

echoing from rain-kissed lips, the bansuri's waterfall call.

The blood of our ancestors course with her         every dip and rise;

their tormented, stolen cries, gently consoled as they see her there, centre-staged, standing tall.

this is so beautiful! while reading i felt like i was watching the dance, your writing is so vivid and i think the way you broke up your lines and varied their lengths adds a lot to it. i love the ending, it really brought everything home. you conveyed your message very well. i don’t have any criticism, i just wanted to let you know i really enjoyed this 🙂

Thank you for your kind words!

I'm from tamil nadu and i was delighted to see someone writing about bharatnatyam!! this poem was just STUNNING, you romanticize the art so well; i have so much more adoration for the dance form rn!! thank you,, keep on writing 🙂


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