Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Ode to Kamini

[One of my very early poems. I'm a bit embarrassed to reproduce it, but hopefully you'll like it nonetheless. Please excuse the bombast...]

Ode to Kamini

What a bright day it is! An afternoon so sunny!
The amber earth seems all drowned: it’s been drowned in honey;
The world as a picture, no motion, not a sound,
Not a caw from the crows: silence all ‘round.
A shadow near the window moves silently:
It glitters and glimmers mysteriously;
A network of shade and light skipping to and fro, to and fro,
On the glassy tiled floor of the room;
Like little black and white marbles
Chasing each other in endless circles.
Kamini’s leaves are swaying in the breeze;
Holy light—graceful bright—through the dancing leaves.

I can see the tree now, though it's hidden from view,
As I have seen a thousand, ten thousand times before.
Its old coiling roots in the loam,
Moist and snug and living.
Its gnarling, snarling trunk
Like a stoic bears the cracking heat of summer
And the passion of the monsoons in equal measure.
Its branches and twigs and twiglets bear its leaves,
Whose shadows dance cheerily now;
Even now as the Sun makes its downward bow.
Oh! those leaves, glabrous glamorous leaves,
Oiled by tropical silt,
As fine as the softest silk.
And there were once flowers,
Clinging together like luminous fire-fashioned gems;
Such pure delicate satinwood blooms,
More bright white than milk.

Ah! Those delicious blooms, that delicate bouquet
Seeps into the sitting room at dusk;
Awash in that sensuous sea of scent were we
During the rain-time rhapsody.
Such stormy weather! Where’s a poor bird to go?
The sobbing sparrow looks hither and thither and lo!
Finds safe refuge in the Kamini tree.
Chirpy-chirrup cry the sparrow-folk in glee
As they make a feast of satinwood fruits;
Round like a pea and as red as a dying star,
The dainty dish for sparrows, near and far.

Dripping raindrops drippling off the leaves
That glisten and shine in the ethereal glow of a solstice moon.
How tender are then those fruits, that flower,
Pearly bright after a sharp monsoon shower.
But alas! Summer’s reign is past, and now begins
Autumn: a decorous decline in things.
Now the fine friend bears neither fruit nor flower:
Unornamented, patiently awaiting Spring’s amorous embrace anew.
A sudden gust shoots through the whispering boughs
And a single withered leaf of that darling tree
Flutters in through the window—
Brushing my hand it falls
Rejected to the floor.

How fragile its sturdy boughs and trunk seem then!
A mere nothingness, a speck of insignificance,
That may as soon die than live,
Enthralled by its very roots to a brutal earth,
Subject to forces superior to its own.
O! Then where would I find you again?
Your shining leaves and glittering blossom?
Your gleaming fruit and birded bosom?
The shadows would no more be a-dancing on the floor,
And when I would open the garden door,
Your familiar form which I have seen a thousand,
Ten thousand times would be no more.

No, my love! You shall for a spell be mine—
Always a pleasure to see beauty so fine—
For we cannot cheat Death, but perhaps beguile Time.

Haiku for friends

Calm before the storm
Take a kite and feel the wind
Lift me up and far.


Good friends one needs to
Live sunny days with, but most
to share my brolly.


Green leaves of summer,
The worm's metamorphosis
To love and to die.


The clouds are crying;
I don't need silver linings
For I love rainbows.


Before the crows' cries
In secret light ere dawn glow
The magic is gone.