A Leaf by The Nightfall

A leaf by the nightfall

A leaf by the nightfall

Fallen by the wayside like a sheaf by the nightfall,
The sea of love has withered on the reef by the nightfall.

Happiness will travel only one way with her footsteps,
The dust will settle deep like a grief by the nightfall.

A moment wriggled free from the canopy of memories
to be trampled by the stampede like a leaf by the nightfall.

For eons I had concealed my longing from a legion,
The coffers were plundered by a thief by the nightfall.

When paupers of wisdom turn merchants of reason,
Lunatics will be hallowed as the chief by the nightfall.

Uma you have nurtured your wounds like blossoms,
It is but an illusion, and a belief by the nightfall.


  1. This is beautiful Uma Shankar. I don’t know why but your ghazal painted a picture of the mother who birthed me years ago but the umbilical chord is still intact

    1. That is an enormous compliment, Shubha. The ghazals allow me to gravitate closer to the soil of the land. Perhaps I was able to pass on the feeling to you.

  2. Not just a Ghazal but an ode, a lament, a threnody… Each couplet is a falling leaf stripping the tree bare, yet making something beautiful. It is wistful and full of longing. I like it very much.

    1. Thank you for the poetic compliment. Loss and lament are integral to a ghazal. The glowing evaluation assures me I am inching closer to the spirit of the format.

      I loved the imagery you have drawn in your comment.

  3. This line will stay with me for a long time.
    When paupers of wisdom turn merchants of reason,
    Lunatics will be hallowed as the chief by the nightfall.

    It is happened for eons. In indian context this is the reality now

    1. Isn’t that true about most places? When I think of the Bolshevik movement of Russia, Nazism of Germany, or the Cultural Revolution of China etc., it is not a pleasant aftertaste I am left with. And yet, you do have a point about our own motherland. We have had an alarming cast of netas. We are also adept at bastardisation of history.

  4. This is beautiful, Umashankar. Yu have granted me a wonderful introduction to the Ghazal as a form. Your words have saved that “moment wriggled free from the canopy of memories” from the fate of the leaf’s relegation to obscurity by nightfall.

    1. Mine is but a humble specimen, Kate Katharina. These small packets can deliver like grenades. I am happy it could touch you in a special way. Many thanks for stopping by.

  5. I haven’t listened to many ghazals while growing up, Uma. Somehow only a few of them truly appealed to me, and the rest (applauded by many) sounded boring. But the depth of your ghazal-poems makes me want to go back and explore that world.

    1. Like every other art form, there are many more pretenders than practitioners of the trade. You might need to do a bit of exploring but once you have found the oasis, there shall be no looking back. I consider myself lucky to have kindled your interest in ghazals.

  6. A gazelle of a ghazal (not that I know ghazals or gazelles for that matter) beautiful with graceful movement written from a lustrous inner eye
    lovely imagery, Uma 🙂

  7. Uma, this is so beautiful. Such emotions evoked: I felt longing, despair, urgency. I also felt compelled to recite it aloud, such is the power of the rhythm and the imagery. I always enjoy your writing and this offering has become one of my favourites.

  8. This is beautifully written, Uma. Blend of art and craft – deep emotions captured without throwing to wind the form. I like how you have maintained the rhyme scheme. From other comments, I came to know this is Ghazal form.

  9. Why are we comforted by others’ pain and grief? Surely we do not wish them any pain or harm. Perhaps it is this selfishness to not wish to feel alone. This is truly lovely, and also painful. I am sad, but I am also comforted.
    I hope this makes sense. I find it difficult to convey.

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