The chances are the dust from the hermitage
outside the city
be carried in the bowl of time. When close
to history the hair on the skin
moves to the light from the tunnel of past.
A monk goes to the forest
learns ways to live a hundred years. Covered
in meters of matted hair
he arrives at the large mansion, speaks of
the prince who renounced
kingdom, wife, child. Nails and bones
from his emaciated body
are stripped to cells of hunger and thirst.
Interned urns excavated
from burial site carry the scent of ripe pear
dimples of yellow-green
like sodden leaves during monsoon. I choose
a chamber to sit in silence
the open window and trunks of lined trees
the iridescent sky.
Is there a need to clean the floor, the sharp
whispers of the broom
in the quietness? The beaked Palash flowers
are ready to fall.
Birds with extended necks and throbbing throats
alert for flight.
Eyes cast down
I watch the pebble
honed to its simple tone
Watermarks of story blur
in waves of desires deferred
Thoughts never rise out of the lake
bees unwinged in the circle of a full life
Who can map the path of the breeze
fence the clouds shifting over the hill
Logos is a headless tree
waving into the starless night
Silence spelled like the absence
It is believed in the town that the sun directs its light into the well
staining pearly radiance at the curvature where she aims the spittle
He mapped the channel of the dribbling silver by holding her body
blue grey like the spent rivulet draining into the dry mouth of delta
A green snake taken in the mouth stirs under the tongue of moon
the cobra ascends from her groin fans out hood of desire in her breast
When pain colors like oleander she knows the blood flows in reverse
from the tip of the finger to the dying throat of the flower rasping for breath
The last time I saw him he was saluting the sun, his head a hive of memories
he did not know she was crouched over the fire as a last act of supplication
One hand on the slab of shoulder, the other cupped over her ear he called
into the empty house, primeval cry razed down the structures of language
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.
Time holds her like a hand at the throat
when brass pot goes into the mouth of a well.
Words hang to the rope, distended into sounds –
slurps and gurgles that surface through saliva
poured into a glass on the table. Clear water
decanted of desire, fire of longing. As the sun
slices her face in the shadows of warmed bricks
phlegm threads in the food she brings out
slowly, laboured like this poem- words chunking,
spasmodic, taking her breath away in the effort.
Silence cannot be shredded
by the noises of birds,
each picking through the forest
a life its own.
It’s an effort to sit on the bark,
draw signs in air,
watch vapour from river rise
in a breath.
Light in sharp slant slices water.
In between rocks
time drowns, day silences
in deliberate chants.
* Vana, in Indian languages, means forest.
Sun in the field throws no shadow
it consumes the earth in its energy
the day pulsates in stillness
the way dreams leave no noise
the centre of chamber is radiant
and atoms jostle in muted excitement.
Poem A Day
Inspired by the line ‘mind is bright, clear of sound’ from ‘The Cold Mountain’ by Hanshan.