Submitted by Pappal Suneja

Winning Entries Announced: Poetry Competition, 2nd Cycle – Responsive Poems

India Architecture News - Aug 23, 2020 - 16:44   4052 views

Winning Entries Announced: Poetry Competition, 2nd Cycle – Responsive Poems

Architectural Poetry Competition, 2nd Cycle floated by Architectural Journalism & Criticism Organisation announces the Winning Entries.

Theme described for the Competition was;

Responsive Poems 

We respond to the world and weather. We respond to ourselves. We respond. We.

Brief: Creativity should evolve between tradition and modernity. As a tree sheds dead wood on its own, we evolve with respect to time, space, and people. Change is desirable and unavoidable - beneficial or disastrous. Technology is at its brilliance, yet, we crave for a safer world with sustainability and resilience - a balance between Humanity and Nature. A Resurgence of the traditions, to which we are the first signatory for comprehending our diversity and portraying ideas in a unified approach, is what shall aid in creating today’s much needed Responsive Environments.

‘Collegians’ Category

The 'Citation Award' goes to ‘The Return’ by Anaf Elamkulam

I walked across the long bridge,

Gazing in awe, bright eyed and keen,

looking for proof for people once been.

As my somber steps crunched the autumn leaves,

I found myself engulfed, by awe and intrigue.

Before me stood the cities of yore,

massive scrapers, out of concrete and ore.

Bustling with life ages ago,

now they stand amidst the forest below.

Patches of green, amidst the broken windows,

creepers and bushes growing every floor,

trees so green and luscious, blocking every door.

These concrete jungles, they stood for years,

adored by its owners, in their hearts held dear.

Structures of might, structures of weight,

structures they thought, invulnerable to fate.

Towers that spiraled, towers that loomed,

an industry once, that bellowed and boomed.

They thought they could win, these people with pride,

a pact with nature, they could not abide.

They failed to adapt; the earth took no more,

until they were just, a cautionary lore.

Here I stand watching, a sight to behold,

we shall be better, or so I’ve been told.

The air once fumes, no longer deadly,

the trees once lifeless, dancing with medley.

The sky once grey, now a limitless blue,

the grass so green, moist with dew.

Let us fix our ancestor's mistake,

live and let live, for the planet’s sake.

I fly back home, a million miles,

awaiting my people, with eager smiles.

Perhaps we can return to our heavenly abode,

back to our planet that we once tore.

The sun over their faces, cast a light so blue,

so brilliant in colour, so bright in hue.

Perhaps we shall finally learn from our ways,

adapt we shall and prolong our days.

'Special Mention Award' goes to ‘(De) Construction’ by Zeenat Khan

This poem

is not a cubic closed room,   is an elegy on open courtroom.

is not gilded monuments made by many hands, is sweat of hands before mowed and sowed in desert land.

is not on wonder of world, white marbled Taj Mahal, is wanting to remember the names of hands like Taj Mahal.

is not a circular dome of laws engraved with injustice, is a wounded womb of tongue grieving for death of justice.

is not petroglyphic lies scratched on dead rocks, is musical hum of air wanted to touch everyone.

is not stately church or minàr of mosque, is demanding justice for snatched church and fallen mosque.

is not a silent four walled classroom, is wanting to discuss the architecture of Hope.

is not traveling time to places and era named after kings, is walking downstairs to dig out names of numbers killed by king

will not mop the blood from master's marble floor, is wanting to investigate the address and root cause.

is not a prism, nor a building of American dream, is wanting to erode the layers of division from prism.

is not the walls of binaries, of black and white, he and she, is wanting to raise the rainbow edifice of colours and pride.

is not torturous police room or high walls on border, is wanting to become home of uprooted, exiled, and migrants.

is not chandelier of metaphors, lustre that blinds eyes, is smoke of voice, fire that settled down just in throats.

will not stop till façade of door, till just front room, will take you from long gallery to dead end of kitchen floor.

is not panegyric for voiceless sculpture of women in home, is a hammer to break the glass ceiling over our hair in air.

will not stop till circumference of oppressor’s architecture, will peel off white wash of lies, shadows of colonial walls.

is saying, Don’t just read the blocks of words slept across, is saying, dive in space, inside abyss, river, sea of voices.

do not climb the mountain of rhythm like Sisyphus in vain, peep in the mouth of mountain, the volcano of dissent.

This poem wants to transcend, to touch architecture of sky, to break into air,

to become vestige of life in the chest of those who silently cried,

“I can’t breathe”

Certificate of Appreciation_1: 'Aren't we tired?' by Chelsea Guimaraes

Aren’t we tired?

Of living in the constant wonder;

Of when will it happen, the next disaster?

Is this what we always desired?

To exploit until our planet has expired?

To continue to conquer,

And continuously behaving like the monster!

Can we take a minute, to acknowledge,

our positions of power, brainpower, horsepower or manpower

it’s like we always have to devour

everything good, new, or bad we encounter…

The privilege we have must retire!

Because soon, it will backfire.

But fear not,

For there are those of us,

Who fight for a cleaner, better, greener world;

Who think, create and innovate against the mold;

Who do not fit in, sunk in, or get pushed into a fold.

We are the ones that can’t be sold;

We are the ones who don’t need to be told;

We are the ones who chose to be bold.

And let’s remember.

We, are called upon to respond;

In the name of those who care and those who don’t,

In the name of those who can’t and those who won’t.

We, are called upon to go beyond;

Because we, have a duty to be strong.

Straight forward, never going along;

Always looking, searching, and questioning what went wrong.

And as we,

The designers, inventors, creators and problem solvers

Are responding to the realtors, contractors, and developers;

How are you responding?

Are you just going to keep on talking?

Or better yet, act like everything is so shocking?

Because for the sake of we,

Is time for you,

to start evolving, and problem-solving.

Certificate of Appreciation_2: 'Key Stone' by Ali Hasan

In our thoughts

We crave to connect,

to understand and be understood

(Latter more, former less);

like birds, flying from window to window,

perch to perch.

In our story

Faith, once our guide,

now more logic, more rhetoric.

Bars our temples, and we, like cats,

yawn in pizza living rooms.

In our habitat

Life is pattering off,

‘Chalta hai!’ hazes our clocks

Gen alphsaur unheeding the surround,

is neither in touch with emergence/

nor transformation of matter.

Our renaissance

With less peephole perspectives,

and more harmony of senses,

like fishes flowing through waters,

Our existence be a garden of many colours.

Our north

Through our evolution, we shall climb

in search of fruits of growth.

We need to remember our beginnings.

Only then the wisdom becomes,

an elixir which is dripping

like rain from the roof.

‘Open’ Category

The 'Citation Award' goes to ‘The Essential Architect’ by Sucharita Hazra, Practicing Architect, Bengaluru.

Builder of Spaces, Master of Light

Tamer of Wind, Wielder of Tech

Let us speak of an Architects’ might.

Taller houses can learn to breathe,

blink at the sun, and move with the wind,

Shades that shelter from rain akin.

But houses for all is what we need

Blood, sweat and tears of millions

Destinies to feed.

Builder of Spaces, Master of Light

Tamer of Wind, Wielder of Tech

Tell us all of an Architects’ might.

Challenged greatly by society at large

To shepherd a vision, two decades apart.

People and planet both are hurt.

Draw lines between an answer and response

Like burying the hatchet, not clearing the air.

There is much more to do, than we dare.

No one solution is right as a rain,

No less than a tightrope walker

Is this sort of game.

The forest floor may ask for sun,

The farmers’ field may thirst of rain,

The city dweller needs wifi,

Those have a roof, may need a fire

The concrete fields need to gargle and spit

while roads of tar need air to breathe.

Builder of Spaces, Master of Light

Tamer of Wind, Wielder of Tech

Response is all Architects’ might.

Holler to preserve whats old

Or dig out clean energy gold

People are at the true center of all.

Different people, different strokes

Different place, Different Popes

But an architect knows all the ropes.

Builder of Spaces, Master of Light

Tamer of Wind, Wielder of Tech

An Architect’s vision is her might.

'Special Mention Award' goes to ‘Hamartia’ by Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla, Poet & Teacher, Mumbai

Journey deep into your soul once in a while

walk along your consciousness on a rainy day

It’s worth a thousand books.

Go ahead trust your Archangel Gabriel

winged angel of miracle and prosperity awaits you

He is standing on your right side,

listening to your hushed baritone,

How many more days? you ask

How much longer should I await freedom?

How many more windowesque sunsets should I bask in?

Does he have ears this virus and tiger’s teeth?

You know about the man-eating tiger

from the district of Sinhagad,

they traced his pugmarks and caught him last evening,

‘Don’t you ever get tired of being selfish’ asked the angel

‘You took his home and uprooted his family

serving him amuse-bouche of Stockholm syndrome.’

A thousand years will go by and another thousand

in complete madness

until then live behind the caged window

meditate and eat your pride.

Certificate of Appreciation_1: ‘Losing Humanity’ by Priyanshi Shah

When I was a kid,

I used to travel with my dad,

And I remember the chaotic city,

Where no stars were noticeable but colorful lights,

Where no trees were visible but tall building,

Where no rivers or valleys were evident but ponds or lakes,

Where no one is smiling but full of people all around,

Dealing with anxiety, depression, and chaos,

Children running here and there,

On the busy roads,

Trading balloons,

Poor mother waiting for children and an alcoholic husband,

Sleeping with an empty stomach.

And I wonder why are we suffering?

Why are we so inhumane?

We have evolved so much,

That values and ethics,

From our ancestors is lost,

We have evolved so much,

That respect and care,

For one another is lost,

We have evolved so much,

That sharing knowledge and understanding,

Replenished with opportunities is lost,

Evolution brought change,

And we are sitting and watching it.

Being Inhumane,

It just takes one hand to help another hand,

It just takes one idea to bring change,

It just takes oneself for standing responsible,

It just takes one approach for humanity,

It’s time to be responsive for ourselves and future eras.

Before everything is lost, as lost is lost.

Certificate of Appreciation_2: ‘A Tale for a Builder’ by Sucharita Hazra, Practicing Architect, Bengaluru.

The story of architecture

Starts inside the womb of a rock

Devoid of light, and only one door.

Unmoving and tall, against all odds

A shelter from sun, rain and draughts.

The smartest, not strongest

Humans ventured into nature

Gathering fruits, leaves and all he could digest

And sometimes meat, from animals bested.

Thus went on the human, on foot, but still little in stature.

Until the sharper cerebrum

Caught light in the weaver's nest

Or a tree top of the flying cuckoo

An eagle's home or woodpecker's hole

In woven spindles of thread where spider's roam.

Quick with the twigs and wood and fallen stones

Man built a shelter with whatever he called his own

He gathered villages for young and the able.

Thus civilizations were born

When man learned to grow grains and corn.

Sharpening his axe, like his brain, He bested evolution,

as he bested rain and all elements of nature.

Bringing glory with plunder

And joy with bricks, shelters grew bigger

Larger than caves on mountains yonder.

Leaps and bounds the hunger for knowledge grew,

And borne out of that hunger was cities hubris and the crew.

Glittering and blinded by a new mistress

Called industry and her offspring technology

Man ravished the planet anew.

Man’s pride now swaddled larger than his stature

He waged a war against his future.

The complexities of civilization going unchallenged

Forgetting much more complexities of the ecosystems

Residing within the bosom of Amazonian nature.

To restore balance, we must return again

Learn diversity, resilience the secret of coexistence

How the forests house billions of flora and fauna,

Yet man struggles with a few of his kind,

Be it with morals, or be it for clean water fine.

Jury Panel for the Competition was comprised of

Rochelle Potkar, Fiction Writer & Poet, Mumbai

Prof. J. Subramanian, Architect & Executive Director, STUP

Pappal Suneja, Design Researcher & Architect, Germany

Sangeet Sharma, Architect, Author & Poet, Chandigarh

Sanan Verma, Architect, Planner & Poet, SPA Delhi

Parichita Mohapatra, Architect, Urban Designer & Poet, Bengaluru


For more updates, visit the Instagram handle of the Organisation.

Head Image © Saurav Bavalekar

> via Architectural Journalism & Criticism Organisation