Seduction of Shakunthala

Dawn shook up and woke

With the sweetness of birdsong;

Crystalline  spray of cataracts

Stippled the verdure on the banks

Where Malini sparkled in mischief

And washed the footpath

Of golden grains of sand

Mingling with polished pebbles.

 

Shakunthala yawned and stretched

And saw, with unexpected lassitude,

The morning sun peeking

Through the thatched eaves.

There was something in the air,

She mused without concern

And whiled away lazy moments

In anticipation

Of another humdrum day

In the hermitage.

 

At the threshold, she stood

At life’s ephemeral  moment

Like an unworn gem,

Like an unkissed bloom,

Like an unplucked new leaf,

Like untasted honey.

And unsung melody.

 

Though nubile, innocent she was,

Incognizant of the wiles

And worldly wickedness,

Living sheltered among sages!

 

The breeze was beckoning

And friends were waiting;

Down the footpath, she walked

Towards Malini’s shore,

Her heels digging deep into the sand

Marking her trodden path.

 

Some tremor tugged at her conscious self,

But she turned without thought.

She lifted her foot into her palm

As if to check for some unknown thorn!

 

What devious moment prompted her

To look towards the cluster of saplings?

Watching her with intent gaze

Was a resplendent creature,

A predator, albeit a king.

Facing that knowing look

Was the undoing of innocence.

There was no thorn in the sole,

But the disturbing tremor continued.

Two pairs of eyes met

In time old mating

And Shakunthala was lost

To her hermitage irrevocably

When she drowned in the eyes

Of the worldly wise monarch.

 

 

 

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Looking Into the Horizon

As the waves roar in your ears,

As the foam kisses your feet,

As your toes wriggle into the sea-soaked sand,

As your nostrils quiver at the smell of brine

And as the salty breeze caresses your cheeks,

Look beyond the horizon

And see the wide expanse of a world

That does not pinch and pierce your imagination

And wrinkle your life into waning lines!

On A Spring Morning

The rain-washed grass glistened

In the pale morning sun;

The dew drops scintillated

Sending radiance through prisms.

 

The road serpentined along the banks

Of the  curvy Mohawk river

Which washed the foot rests of the bills

And mountains of the Adirondacks.

 

The lambant light of the early sun

Shone on the green-fisted valley

And the greens danced in varied vestitures

Starting with nature’s first green of gold

Sprinkled on mint greens and lime greens

Of the newly sprouted leaves

While the dark green of the conifers

Stood sentry to the vista of the Valley

And smudged into the crowns of distant peaks.

 

The river flows in an  arabesque

Of lines of movement and placid reverie,

Sluiced by the water gushing from open locks.

The reflected greens and shadows

Is a palette of varied values.

 

A paean of joy rose up in my breast

To exalt this feast of green glory and sunshine,

Full of promises to be fulfilled.

 

Homage to Annie

On the wings of fancy,

I travelled to Paradise,

Adventured in Arabia,

Climbed Olympus

And sparkled in fairy dust-

Timeless gifts

Of untold pleasures,

More precious

Than diadems and gems-

All showered from one

Whose voice is a memory

And whose gentle smile

Is pressed between pages

Of pensive recollections.

 

I stood in front of a name

Etched on the wall of monuments

And the face swam in front

Of eyes swimming in tears

And yearning for a look, a voice,

Or a smile!

 

I could not raise a sound

To pay homage to that voice

That stilled for our times;

My eyes could not open

To see those eyes bent in kindness

And the smile that blossmed

Perpetually, never wavering,

Never skewed in complaint,

Always taking in the arrows

Shot by life’s crossfire

It is the benefice

And benediction

Of my todays!

 

 

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Lily of My Heart

Lily of the valley

Spins not, weaves not-

But outdid Solomon in splendor!

 

Lily of my heart

Toils and strives;

The sweat of brow

Glistened every moment.

Yet, She outshone in splendor,

The beauty of her soul

Outshining the beauty of her surrounds.

 

There was the smile

That coated her days.

No complaint crossed her lips

And no whining marred

The music of her voice.

 

Lily sang out in dulcet tones,

Her life scripting the lyrics.

She provoked no one

And caused no turmoil,

But quietly bid farewell,

Ending her painful sojourn

On this land of travails.

 

Ariyilla ( I Don’t Know)

Eliot sings

Between echoes

Of memories

And the stars

Laugh to dust

In a hollow heaven

When loneliness brushes

Cold doubt.

Needing another’s soft hand

In the dark,

Remember to climb ahead

And feel the warmth of love’s colors.

How peace abides

Incredibly at odds

Against history!

Sometimes the aftermath

Of furious tornadoes are

Covering puddles

And peacefully bleak mud.

But, I still do not know

Whither I go,

Where to rest.

The birds have trees

And the rodents have their holes.

I still seek

My zones and home

To find my pillow

To rest my head

In the wake of fulfilment.

Departures

So sudden it was

That so many left

Without even a goodbye,

Leaving voids

Not to be filled

By anything around.

 

Young or old, family or friend-

Into the sunset they walked.

 

And I was bereft, shedding tears

And dreaming dreams

That never happened

Or will never happen,

Seeking for a presence,

Reaching out

For what wasn’t there.

 

Crowds came in and out

Filling gaps in life,

But no one filled

The void in my heart.

 

More and more, I wallowed;

Loneliness knocked at the door.

I chose to let it in

And it clenched my head;

Pain entered without a welcome!

 

I groped in vagueness,

But found no hold.

I kept slipping

Into the vortex of grief.

 

But gentle memories

Tugged with insistent affection

And kept the edge of sadness

Stay open for the head to stay up

Without sinking into wild despair.

Gentle Mary

Gentle as fresh showers

That drizzled softly,

She walked the earth,

Delicately suffering,

Mute and deep in her affections.

She loved dearly and surely

Without the panoply and display.

Wishing to be remembered,

She gifted tokens and symbols

Of timeless values

Of affection and memory.

 

Though delicate as a sapling,

Her porcelain skin gleaming,

Quietly and steadfastly,

She trod her path

Filled with thistles and thorns,

Pebbles and boulders.

 

Angelic in demeanor,

Her mien in peace,

She endured like the earth;

When the trumpets sounded

And the last notes faded

She left us her gentle presence,

Always in loving memory

Of the caress of her hovering spirit.

 

Funeral of Baby

Sorrow filled every crevice

To watch the face that shone with life-

A face that laughed and eyes that crinkled,

Spoke words that cut like rapiers

In sparkling wit

And showered love with abandon-

Now stilled in the grip of death!

 

Amid the flowers and religious scapula,

The body lay lifeless,

All energy drained and all wit rescinded,

The eyes, for ever, closed.

 

She did not open her eyes

To comment drily, insouciant as always,

At the show of grief, some real and others not so.

 

A lively brain is stilled for ever!

I, for one, cannot help

But shed the tears that flowed ceaselessly

At my loss and everyone else’s  too.

It was my dear misery

To have lost all that love

And precious care

That I received,

Without stint,

Throughout my life!

 

Wait is Over

When? The sand queried

In gravelly voice;

When? The parched paddies

Gasped in dust-choked whispers;

When? The coconut leaves rustled

In brownish dryness, forgetting greens;

When? The grass mustered

Enough strength to shape the question;

When? The people raised eyes

Seeking solace for seared souls!

 

Thunder rumbled

And broke the dust-smothered silence,

Yet there was no water

To slake the thirst,

To drench the earth,

To wash the dust,

And to grace with life

The world

And the spirit.

 

In the dusty nave,

The faithful knelt or stood

And raised their hearts in devotion

While their bodies sweltered

And droplets trickled down their backs;

The ceiling fans whirred above

To dry the salty sweat;

The smoke spiraled above the waxen candles,

In their decorated candlesticks.

The aural spokes of the monstrant gleamed

Around the exposed Host,

Reaching out with Divine presence.

 

But the sky had darkened,

With clouds pregnant

With aqueous droplets.

The air was redolent of the wet,

Nostrils prickling with anticipation !

 

In the midst of Litany,

The dewdrops condensed

And came down in arrays

That turned to instant rain.

 

The parched land soaked up

In a sigh of relief

And the scent of new rain on sand

Rose up in ecstasy.

The water darkened the sand

And the devotees felt the waft of coolness

In the midst of Adoration.

They rushed out in relief,

Spirits soaked and bodies revived;

Land felt slaked

As were the spirits

When feet dug into wet sand

And leaves gleamed,

Washed of dust and grime.

 

Spirits thirsted

And bodies parched.

But, the wait is over.

Solace is at hand!