Pieces of earth I gathered
breathed into clods of clay
till roots grew from my palm
branches clenched my breast.
Like a mother I lactated
nerves tips loosened with sap.
As flowers burst into colours,
seeds tugged me. But the cycle
terminated when the sky
declared water is earth.
इदमापः प्र वहत यत्किं च दुरितं मयि ।
May the water cleanse me.
(Apah Suktam, Rig Veda)
The gut knots in loops of metal strings,
muscles tighten around my bag of seeds
as rain batters on the glass that trembles
first, then shakes in a shattering threat.
The night is drained of colours, sedimented
like dark silt. I stretch my arms like octopus –
everything falls away from grasp , only
night dust that I carry in the cracks of skin
as the roof over my head blows away and
water rises to my knees, hips, shoulders,
jaws, mouth, nose , eyes that break into
light bright, metallic, psychedelic where
noise includes silence, and darkness light.
*’Apah’ in Sanskrit means water.
The flower changes colour
every cell mutates, energy shifts
into the space beyond sun lit morning
to dreams that fail to levitate
There was never a flower.
No colour. The river of light
scavenged forms, peeled away names,
took me down from the peg of my body
Dye in the fabric is the song
of a bird, also the pine that breathes
vapours into a forest – the cones prickly
in a mind nonexistent
The ink dries on an empty
page. Words like fish bones
on a plate taste like grey mist,
salt of a wave in an ocean
ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते
पूर्णश्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
That is Whole. This is whole. Whole begets Whole.
Take Whole from Whole, indeed Whole remains.*
~ Yajur Veda
I so fear the sky that will fall into a stupor of dream
as it happened the night I found land disappear –
just like that, a gaping hole caved under the feet.
What held me in place, why did I not fall into crater?
The way I stay firm the jasmine bush holds ground,
ivory flowers in amber light, hollow of dark throat
divested of stamen as if in curse. At the periphery
of vision two neon butterflies orbit each other from
beginning of time like moon and earth shadowing/
mirroring. Are they tiring, will Brahma close eyes
for a day: end of a kalpa? Lake in earth’s core fills
like saucer of milk when moon eclipses. Life ends/
commences. Wholeness comes from it self – half it, empty
it – Wholeness remains it self regardless of moon and earth.
Purnam – Wholeness
Kalpa – a day in the life time of Brahma, which is 4.32 billion human years
* The sloka from Yajur Veda is the quintessence of Advaita philosophy.
There was a time we shared our world with animals
swam with horses in the seas, manes covering
our bodies when we pulled along the marina for coitus
muscles tensed, eyes sky blue the colour of our seeds.
I birthed the universe: body the dawn, eyes the sun,
mouth the fire I stoke in my kitchen, spit of grease
thick on foil – offerings made to the gods. They licked
their lips satiated. I am death, hence two faced life.
Half a seed stirring with desire, fathered the other half –
Prajapati, the God, man as in male, my mirror, lover
coiled around me. I shuddered. There was no speech. No
words. Those were times a question became an answer.
Who? Prajapati did not know, so asked. That is him. Who.
The aromatic roots in a tangle,
tug deep through breasts to ochre
space between ribs. Is earth same as
soil? Time differentiates one from
other. Drum beats as sand decants
into crevices between molars to hairy
growths drawn tensile down jaw line
where Y of vocal cords silence at throat.
He is dumb from holding fire in his mouth
and could as well be dead, despite the fire:
not because he has no words,
he will have no kingdom if there is no fire.
The priest knows it, mumbles incantation to Agni,
offers ghee to the potent heat searing the tongue.
What feeds the fire, is it words or ghee,
or the word ghee uttered by the priest?
Fire rolls out of the sealed mouth,
as man to woman, word to desire is wedded.
The word births history, colonizes earth,
marks boundaries and draws maps.
Story softens brutality, so does poetry,
holds god’s attention to syllables and declensions
while the fire scorches the grass. Stubbles of flames
fanned by wind unfurls, licks acres of river plains.
Pathways open as forests are razed and animals burnt –
a blighted day when a word can rule the God of Fire.
Source: Satapatha Brahmana (700 BCE)
The story of Mathava in Satapatha Brahmana narrates the eastward movement of the Aryan tribe from the banks of River Sarasvati to regions near River Sadanira, present day Ghagara. It is a document of conquest and expansion mythologised in a story.