Fall

 

It was a whirling dervish

That perked my senses

When sight and sound, scent and touch,

In abundance, assaulted me .

When cool air had begun

To nip my sun-warmed nose

And I hugged my jacket

More tightly to my body;

The tree branches had begun,

Already, to be denuded!

 

All around me,

There was a shower

Of yellow, gold,  russet and crimson

Giving a Holiday

To the verdant hues;

They sprinkled the earth

In ever-changing patterns!

 

The fresh-cut grass tingled my nose,

And the fallen leaves scented the air

With ripe sweetness;

The leaves danced

To fall in gentle circles

And in a gentler rustle

When they became stiffer with dryness

Until wet with occasional rain.

 

It is Fall,

Nature seemed to shout

When furred creatures hurried

To seek shelter

In hollows and niches;

The comical squirrel

Was flustered with eagerness

To carry more nuts than it could,

Its cheeks bulging enough to burst,

In anticipation

Of a prolonged winter

When earth is bereft

And is smothered

In snowy blanket.

 

There was a dawning sadness

In waiting for inaction

Of the leafless moments

When soporific woodlands

Prepared for a long slumber!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

My Self

When, in the sand, I picked my way

In an endless search

For something I might have lost

While growing into my septuagenarian status,

I found that I never lost it.

It walked with me like a shadow

Although I never knew it.

It never set its feet before me,

But hid behind me

Waiting for me to turn-

Waiting for me to find it.

 

It was ME I had to find,

My Self – my being!

 

In the vagaries and bustle

Of a life that meandered

Through social nothings,

Pointless pursuits

Of the known and the unknown,

Tangled in baseless relations

And all the turmoils-

Both internal and external-

Of a war-torn world,

A society inked in race and class

And gargantuan cupidity

Polluted by a political miasma

That wafted in to sunder everything

Rather than link,

My Self hid as a permanent shadow.

 

Walking by the sea shore,

I was called back to my self;

All the broken shards

Of the nomadic mind

Collected themselves

In the sheer beauty

Of a color-drenched sunset,

The sparkling silvery waves

Laced with the froth and fizzle,

The pleated verdant fronds

And the cascading golden flowers

Of a languishing coconut tree,

In the seductive fragrance

Of a jasmine garland

In the braided hair of its nubile wearer,

In the silky unfurling of rose petals

In the bridal bouquet

And many more!

 

Cymbals and harps

Sang in unison

And bells clanged

In joyous clamor

Just to proclaim,

Myself.

 

 

 

 

Heirs of the Earth

They are the silent ones,

The ones without voice’

the ones without power,

And the ones without sting.

 

Words cut like rapiers

And they have no shield;

Words thrust, but no one parries;

Words strike, but no one feints.

And there is no riposte.

 

Who is clever enough

To sharpen wit to fence back

And who is aggressive and vicious

To hurl back diatribes?

 

They suffer around us,

The silent victims;

They are the lambs

That go mute

And soundless to slaughter.

Not a  single bleat escapes

Their closed lips.

They have no retaliation!

 

They are tender and mild;

They are soft, meek and humble;

They are the angels

Without flaming swords.

 

Patient as the earth,

They endure without malice

And without rebuke!

In mute bearing,

They are always there,

Unnoticed, in the wings.

They are always waiting

For ever at the beck and call-

Always down to the earth,

These heirs of  the earth!

 

 

 

 

Green of Hope

Time is tired,

Trees are fatigued,

And the year is nearing the end;

The leaves have shed green

And have donned

A conflagration of colors

Only to be dwindling

To mute hues of grays and browns.

 

The nights are lengthening

And stars are brilliant;

But days have diminished

Into brief periods.

 

The nude trees stand sentinel

But to what end?

No one knows!

The bare branches

Stretch in supplication;

Again, to what gain?

 

The birds have fled;

The animals are drowsy.

White has shrouded the land

And held it in a freezing vise.

 

Men huddled

Around tiny fires

For light, for warmth

And waited…

Keeping hope alive

By tales of former times

For the green of grass .

 

 

FACES

All around me, faces zoomed,

In and out, up and down, left and right!

There are happy faces,

Gleaming and smiling,

Chuckling and guffawing;

Then, then are the  sad ones,

Gloomy and long,

Teary and sobbing.

Some are kind,

Some are amused,

Some are angry,

Some are petulant,

Some are caustic,

Some spouted vituperations.

But, these are alive

With thrum and thaw

To spill out

For us to see and behold,

For onlookers to be filled

With awe and yearning,

To be touched

With gladness

And cupful of sadness.

Faces speak

Without a word,

Faces reach

Without a hand,

Faces call

Without a voice

Faces reject

Without a shrug.

Faces demur,

Faces frown,

And the faces smile;

Then the world straightens!

 

 

 

 

The Beckoning

It is always the sea that beckons,

Always waiting for every return!

Going home is to go back-

To feel the sand and the sound,

The light and the shadow,

The motion and stillness

Of the abundance that is the sea.

The siren call of the Arabian Sea

Starts with the low murmur and rumble

Of the gentle waves and splashes

Cresting to the crescendo

Of the lashing and crashing

Of the monster waves of the Monsoon.

 

The sea calls me every time

And she waits for me every time,

Cocksure that I will make the time,

Time and time again,

Every chance I was given!

 

I picked my way gingerly

Over the edgy rocks of the sea wall,

A recent creation to ward off the sea 

That keeps creeping forward.

The sand was still there, diminished,

Allowing the tree line to close in!

Did the trees move

Or the excess sea water

Of an unwanted universal heat

Extend its borders?

 

Sandals were so cumbersome

That I tossed them away with abandon

And splayed my toes into the dry sand

And let the grains trickle through

To feel the delight of little touches.

 

But, that is not enough!

The salty brine is still waiting

To splash and soak and dampen.

I inched forward

In delectable longing.

Ah, the first touch is always novel!

The froth swirled around the toes

To wink away abashed

While the salty breeze caressed

And fondled the sun-kissed cheeks.

 

High tide is coming…

I ventured, yes.

I slowly stepped forward

And dug my waiting toes into the wetness.

The waves rushed in and wavered

And receded in haste,

As if ashamed to go any further

And regretting the forward boldness .

But, my soles and heels dug in,

Not to falter in the hasty back-flow

Of the roiling sea.

 

The air was heavy with salt and moisture

And was scented with the briny damp.

My clothes clung to me, waterlogged and salty,

Abrading with the cluster of grainy sand.

 

Foamy crests rose higher and higher

And the water rushed up the sand

Trimmed with lacy froth on scalloped edges.

There were shrieks in the beach

When the water sucked the sand

From under the feet and tried

To topple the upright onlookers

Struggling for a foot-hold.

 

The waves rose with shimmering crests

That sprayed and spewed in reckless abandon,

Settling down to simmering motion

That glittered in the slanted rays

Of the descending sun.

 

The day is waning  and nearing  closure

While the slanted rays of a westward sun

Garnished the waters in pearly tints

That outshone the reds and purples,

The gold and orange, the salmon and shell pink.

The riotous hues marveled in their abundance

And bathed the sea and the sand

While the golden globe transformed

From fiery ball to red orange

And began to cast a pall over the beach

While dipping lethargically

Into the clean circular end,

Finally to submerge completely,

Leaving just the debris of the light

In meager portions to outline the people

Who were leaving, desolate in their loss

Of the glory of the sunset.

 

Another day has come and gone

And the pall is lifted from my heart

As I thrilled at the magnificence

That the sea has showered

And the sun has shared!

Day is done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Stream

CThroughout the year,

The stream flows,

Often in fits and starts,

Passive and turgid,

But mostly in tune

With climes and seasons.

 

In wintry mornings,

In the limpid light

Of a pale sun,

The stream lies sluggish

With chunks of ice

Floating listlessly

Or lying in wait

For the dormant life

To revive and breathe again;

Dry leaves and dead branches

Lay crisscross

Amid brackish water,

Reminders of spent lives.

 

Then life blows in

And spring sprouts green gold

Which peep out

With first life

Of thoughts shaking off slumber.

The stream awakens

In gurgling movements

That swirls over

The debris of last year

And moved like  a slithering fabric

Of light and shadow.

Feelings begin to churn,

Up from long wait,

To the full life of summer

When greens wax to lushness

And torrents of emotions

Seethe  in full strength.

 

The gentle stream chortles

And rushes out

In froth and laughter

With the strength and noise

Of life’s calls

Which spell out

Churning passions

And wayward thoughts.

In the fullness of summer,

The stream’s flow is intense

And floods break out

In tumultuous fuss

To break out in excess

To submerge the roads

In roiling waves.

 

Time passes and passions cool

After trees are decked

In fiery shades

Till leaves let go,

One by one,

Their holds on trees

To descend in submissive landing.

 

Life’s currents slow down

And the turbulence is paced down

With the subsiding stream;

The dormant life of freezing time

Is gently creeping in

And the vivacious stream

Enters a reflective retreat.

Winter’s slumberous stillness

Ventures to keep in check

The roiling passions

In a temporary vise

To play the reel of seasons

Once again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desert Lives

Living in the desert,

In a matchbox house

Like any other in the block,

The changeless life

Could have smothered

And suffocated life

While power lines strung across

Long row of spindly crosses.

That mutely bore witness.

 

But the large expanse above

Changed in phases

With the ascent of the sun.

The clouds gathered

And dispersed,

The colors seeped and blended,

And the skyscape bathed

In the scorching heat!

 

The sparse greens

Stood up tired and dirt clad;

They squeezed out

Some rare colors in spring

And decked out the dirt bowl.

 

But the heart of the watcher

Thrummed with every speck of life.

She saw life burgeoning

In every new blade,

Every new fledgling,

Every rare blossom

And every withered petal

That fell back into the desert

From whence it came

To give credence

To the submerged life

Present in the vast dreariness,

Watched over

By the rugged mountains

Which ringed in sentry form

Around the precious lives

That weathered the adverse climes,

Keeping death at bay.

 

The mountains watched gravely

The sturdy humans

Who ventured

Into the stark boredom

Of the housing development

Just to survive

And carve out separate lives

With a surviving spirit kindled

With the sights of beauty and vigor

Of all the lives that pushed up

And survived

To breathe new life.

 

Such are the rugged,

Such are the mundane,

And such are the sublime!

Death took too many

Did death take so many

That the crowded headstones

Vied for space and leaned

And stood in awkward silence?

Do I see an empty space

Across the aisle in the pew?

At the Thanksgiving table,

The numbers have certainly dwindled.

Fewer Christmas cards arrive

And I did not notice!

I shop less and

On the tree skirt,

The pile has diminished.

There are no guests

And the table is not laden

The food has lost its flavor

And the kitchen has turned cold.

The once riotous garden

Is in disarray today.

No constant gardener

To poke and pry and

To warn the plants and flowers

To be be on the lookout

For the expectations!

Weeds encroached in abandon

For the Reaper gathered the custodian.

Unabashed, the wilted leaves drooped

For want of care and love

Of the one who paid them homage.

Death had already crossed my threshold!

 

 

Man Unbound

“Let there be Light”  and the words echoed.

Across the vast; brilliance spread

In swathes and streams and sparkles

And the world awaited in anxious hush.

Then, in living visions,

The world came to be.

Good and innocent, the novel creation

Ambled in happy contentment,

With no wrinkles, cracks, or fissures

To upset the silky existence.

But, alas! The world did not stay still

And the darkness crept in with fangs bared.

The serpent hissed, “Eat the fruit”,

And promised Divine knowledge.

The woman obliged and

Evil seeped into the world and marked the doom.

Iniquity entered with the knowledge of the fruit

And the serpent chortled with glee.

Summer sped from the land;

Hail and lightning thundered across

And the ravenous lion eyed the lamb.

The woman fled in shame

Which chased the fruits of her womb,

Now bound, to destiny’s doom.

But, the Word was pronounced

And the Word made flesh ;

The  promise.was the fruit of the Womb!

But amidst the evil, rose the crossed tree

To redeem the perished with the promise

Of the fruit of the Womb.

The Lamb of God hung on the cross

To rise  in splendor and glory.

The light shone again upon the world

And the woman’s offspring was unbound.