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International Soil Day: A Poetic Journey Through Devrai Art Village

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Soil day

Celebrate International Soil Day(5 Dec) by exploring the enchanting combination of poems and photos created by me, Jhilam Chattaraj. Enjoy the artistic fusion of words and visuals that capture the essence of this special day.

Ekphrastic Cinquain Variants

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” 

                                              ― John Muir

Late October, when the skies were alive with divine music, I resolved to explore silence —   in the hills of Panchgani, Maharashtra. Parijatams, sunflowers, purple wreaths, bulbuls, hummingbirds, and bees surrounded my humble guest room in Devrai Art Village. Little did I anticipate that a short stay would fill me with radiance and poetry. Devrai Art Village is a Panchgani-based non-profit initiative that works towards sustaining indigenous art and craft. Rock Dhokra — organic casting is their uniqueness. They train local Adivasi artists to innovate and make a wide range of products — ‘from pure art pieces to utility items, infusing art into everyday life’. 

In Devrai, the mythic red soil, the black stones born of lava, and the rustling bamboo leaves echo tales of ancient culture, art, and civilization.  The mountains are angry all around the world — crashing down upon human greed and desire. But in Devrai, cliff songs are still and steady — nurturing the modest life of craftsmen and reviving man’s connection to the soil. Artist and poet, Mandakini Mathur is the Chairperson. Devrai means the ‘sacred grove’; it is an invocation to the divine to bless the land with fertility and hope. 

On International Soil Day, I share with you seven Ekphrastic Cinquain Variants, inspired by the beauty of Devrai Art Village. 

Soil day

 

Colours
of Satara
illume the noon’s fixed flow.
Petal songs — moist, crisp — claim the heart’s
window.

 

 

Soil day

 

Rock-egg
ripens in brass
wombs — Dhokra vines preserve
the soil’s art— metal-mothers of
Devrai.

 

 

Soil day

 

Jade vines,
arched in prayer
sing Mandakini’s* song.
Heat affirms soft-clawed artistry—
earth’s nest.

*Artist and poet Mandakini Mathur is the soul of Devrai.
She is known for her deep knowledge of plants—both rare and common.Soil day

Durga’s*
art enshrines lone
leaves — ceramic maps — brass
beats trace a lover’s swift cadence —
deer-musk.

*Durga Dattaray Pardeshi is a resident artist at Devrai Art Village.
Her specialization is in Metalwork Enameling from JJ School of Art, Mumbai.Soil day

 

 

Birds clear
war skies — they freeze
into stones on water.
In Devrai — bloodless beaks nurture
sun homes.

Soil day

 

 

 

Souls arch
to karmic light.
Bodies break into leaves.
Wind baths clean ancient wounds — Devrai’s
blessing.

 

Soil day

 

 

Darkness
drops on the hill.
Everyone leaves for home.
I drink coffee, alone — cosmic
stillness.

 

 

 

 

 

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