Teji Sethi - Moss Laden Walls

Like the moss that grows in the wall crevices of old temples, abandoned homes, and burial places, these poems have the scent of poetic dampness in them.


Haiku, the simple three-line form of Japanese poetry, has been seen from various of perspectives — to convey an aesthetic image, appreciate nature and transience, and accept death in ourselves and everything around us. Haiku brings us the birth and end of each moment. Everything is stripped away to its naked state. In Japanese aesthetics, imperfection, impermanence, and incompleteness are defined to express the beauty of arts.

Moss represents one of the characteristics of wabi-sabi, adding simplicity, calm, age, and stillness to nature. Moss-laden Walls is a collection of haiku and senryu, which deal with every facet of life.


three years gone…

starched turbans

in your wardrobe

long to be




as I learn to take things in my stride


What binds this rosary together is that, subtextually and textually, it characterizes itself as such. The scope of the substance Sethi gifts her readers with in moss laden walls is impossible to pin down, fix, or delineate—memory is everything, after all, everything an individual, her kith kin and communities have touched or imagined. Rivers, forests, wind and wit (that vehicle of the human being’s travel transformation and transpositionings) run through the verses, carrying written word and reading consciousness across time space and scales of feeling. But in the end, it is they that encircle the whole: creations of her craft, they bind the one she speaks to in a kaleidoscope of deeply personal meaning as surely as the finite, physical pages of the book contain her sea of joy in sorrow. The poet is the rosary.


A nutritionist by profession, Teji Sethi transitioned from micronutrients to micro poetry. She now loves concocting a mix of emotions through her short verses. Charmed by the brevity and beauty of Japanese aesthetics, she started writing and researching Haikai (Japanese) literature.

Teji’s bilingual poems in free verse and haikai verse have found home in numerous reputed national and international journals and anthologies. One of her poignant creations on the throes of Partition of the Indian subcontinent, titled ‘kapaas ke phool’ was awarded by the Partition Museum of India in 2019. She has authored and edited five books of poetry.

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