Gray

Oh, the winter enters so quickly

That one forfeits the sight of color,

Leached away from life and limb

In its gelid cold and frigid hold.

Varied grays enshrouded the sky

With clouds pregnant with dense vapor

Above the gloomy landscape

Of gray-barked,  skeletal trunks

Of leaflets trees with spindly arms.

The slate gray lanes stretched ahead

In never-meeting parallels

Bordered by sepulchral white lines.

Conifers stood sentry in charcoal gray

Speckled with previous flurries.

What is ahead in my road, but Gray

That stole away all vitality?

Or do I see pearly white streaking

Through the gray-mantled sky?

The Tapping Girl of My Days

Into my days, the girl stepped in;

She tapped and tapped

And brought rhythm to my days.

She tapped on Sunday

And the Sun shone brighter.

She tapped on Monday

And the Moon cast silvery light.

She tapped on Tuesday

And kept Tyr from waging war.

She tapped on Wednesday

And the patch-eyed Wodin smiled.

She tapped on Thursday

And Thor flung his hammer.

She tapped on Friday

And Freya came to the house.

She tapped on Saturday

And sent misfortune’s Saturn away.

For the rest of my days,

Let her tap away my days.

 

Children’s Laughter

Like the blissful songs of morning birds,

Like the joyful voices of singing cherubs,

Like the silvery droplets of the wooded cataracts,

And like the tinkling of silver bells,

Children’s laughter reached my ears and soul

And I welcomed it as parched earth during drought

Soaked in the first drizzle of the Monsoon rains,

Refreshing and rejuvenating,

My ailing heart with its plethora of aches,

Torn memories and fruitless dreams .

I woke to the plays of my grandchildren

And shook of my lethargy and doldrums

To face living another day.

Could It Be Love at First Sight?

I gazed

Into twin pools of amber

Fringed by curly long lashes

And drowned.

The black flecks in the pupils

Wrought mischief around me.

It was just my first glance;

I was enticed and enthralled,

Feelings churned up and around.

This was NEW!

Heart palpitated

And shook with doubts

Of unreadiness

For the tumult,

For the havoc,

For the surges and ebbs,

And the unchatered realms.

What is this, queried self,

Tremulous from the first attack

Of love at first sight.

Love in Spring

I breathed love

In Spring’s fragrance

When cherry blossoms showered

Soft white ovals

On my palms,

On my hair,

On my lashes

And on my nosetips,

Feather-touching

With the flutter of gentle breeze

When I walked on cushioned softness

Under my feet, on the white carpet

Which smoothed the green spikes

Of the meadow grass.

 

Panacea

Grief has a way of showing up

When least expected.

One may be

In the middle of muddled thoughts,

In the middle of celestial imagination,

In the middle of frenzied activity,

In the middle of mundane packing

Or in the middle of old missives.

 

Grief raises its head

Unprovoked, uninvited,

It’s tentacles gripping,

Giving intense pain

And vivid longings.

 

Grief colors my thoughts

In my daily routines;

It enthralls my spirit

And I am a captive, helpless.

 

I seek relief

From entrapped feelings

Of what has gone before

And what will never happen.

 

I search for alleviation

In fantasy and romance

And found faux panacea!

Love’s Presence

Love is a conundrum:

I pondered and ruminated

On a pensive afternoon

And plucked daisy petals to answer

Loves me , loves me not” question.

The gentle balmy breeze

Of the mild midsummer

Snuggled close to me

And wafted soft breaths

Towards my cheeks,

Caressing tenderly,

The wisps and tendrils of hair

Touching and soothing,

Leaving lover’s kisses.

The warmth brushed my skin,

Comforting me, engulfing me-

And I felt love beside me.

 

 

 

 

Love and Life

Love and life shook hands

And squeezed the grape of ecstasy to a pulp.

The ecstasy passed in a twinkling,

But the purple stain is left behind,

The stain of memories that linger

To the distraction of mind and soul.

Tangles

Thoughts unravel

In moments of loneliness

Or, is it in solitude?

Days have become droplets of time

Crashing into the ones before

With no thoughts given

To any meaning or certitude.

 

I breathe clouds,

Suspiration fogging life’s mirror.

Clarity has escaped

And there were no answers.

Is it a vacuum I exist in

Or, am I in the woods

On meandering paths

Blocked by brambles

Of tangled memories-

Some sweet, some bitter

And some bittersweet.

Where is the half-remembered youth

With its amorphous hopes

Which never furled

And withered on the wayside?

Dreams became fettered

And looked askance at love

That germinated

At odd moments

And flourished at random

To melt like feathery flakes

On nose to leave damp spots

To nurture in drought years.

In the twilight, the memories  twinkled

But the smudged lines obliterated

Crystalline memories

And left one baffled,

Reaching for the tangible,

Something to hold,

Something to feel,

To sustain a life left rudderless.

 

Seduction of Shakunthala

Dawn shook up and woke

With the sweetness of birdsong;

Crystalline  spray of cataracts

Stippled the verdure on the banks

Where river 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 an unsung melody,

*And untasted honey.

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.

 

 

* Kalidasa