The Pretender

One day you pretended to be

Strong;

One day you pretended to be

Brave;

One day you  pretended you could

Know;

One day you pretended to be

 Me;

/

That day you got broken

In every place;

That day every demon

Took notice of your face;

That day you knew how great was

Your ignorance,

And yet you refused

To stop pretending;

/

And as you healed,

You found strength;

And as you met your demons,

You made friends with fear;

And as you learned,

You grew honest;

And thus you summoned

Me:

/

You, who were so

Fragile,

Who used to be scared

Of her shadow,

Who felt unworthy

Of knowledge,

Played me with such

Deadly abandon!

/

I have come,

And I’ll always protect you,

Be for you a shoulder

To lean on;

You’ve made it so

I could not leave you –

Mine are the eyes

That you see in the mirror

The Red Hibiscus

I give you
One last gift
From the heart –
/
A wild flower
The color
Of blood;
/
For my beautiful words
All turned out
To be false,
/
The mad thoughts in my head
But played games
With us both,
/
And my hands and my feet
Had a plan
Of their own…
/
There’s left in me but one
Piece of magic
And truth –
/
With the rest of me rotten,
It finally
Bloomed –
/
So at last I can give you
The gift
Of my heart –
/
This wild flower
The color
Of courage and love

Summer Storms

Come, summer thunderstorms, and shield me

So not a pair of eyes could see

My eyes that are becoming lightnings

Burning through darkness from within!

/

Roar, oh night thunders, like the times are ending!

Lost in your voice, I’ll freely chant my prayers:

I cannot have the silent overhear them

Because the silent would die of fear;

/

The sea of truth, which from me guards my memory

For it is much too turbulent to swim in,

Rise up tonight in waves uncontainable!

I’ll drink you whole and thus will give you peace;

/

Oh rain, the skies’ tears of release,

You will not hurt me, don’t hold back, I plead!

Fall bravely from your heavy clouds, fall gladly

To taste the air, the earth, and the human heartbeat;

/

Come, summer thunderstorms, and hold me!

You are my solace from the world

Of lowered eyes, of the voices quiet, of hidden truths,

Of tears not cried

Atop a Mountain

How have you been

Atop the Mountain,

Beating through winters

And through springs?

/

I have been well,

But you without me –

Without your heart,

Without a dream?…

/

I have been nothing,

You must know it:

A shadow of myself,

A ghost;

/

The pain that took your place
In my chest

Reminds me every day

That I’m no longer whole;

/

I’m sorry but

I couldn’t take you

To walk with me where I

Have had to walk;

/

You were too big,

Too wild, too dazzling,

To step down

To my present world;

/

I left you

On the highest summit,

In the place that’s your home

And my home,

/

And with an empty chest

Descended

To live a life

That’s not my own;

/

But I can’t bear it

Any longer;

Without a heart,

How can one be?

/

Won’t you return to me

And save me

From the smallness

Of my thoughts and feelings?

/

You know too well

I cannot help you:

You have to come for me

Yourself,

/

With your hands lift me,

Like a mountain,

Rip your chest open

And put me back there;

/

And if you fail,

You will forever

Wander about

The shadow world;

/

But should you make it,

You’ll again be

Somebody

Of a Heart deserving

The River of Time, Part III

IMG_0786
Pilgrims on the Ganges in Varanasi watching the evening prayer ceremony on Dev Diwali

I must have seen this river before,

Running its course since ages long gone;

Its banks, I sense, have many times watched

My different shapes and thoughts turn to naught;

/

How strange it is to stand on its banks

With a new face and memory lost,

Starting afresh while feeling as odd

As an old man in a little boy’s clothes;

/

I’m blessed to have such short memory:

To recall all would burden the mind

Too much for it to still soar when hope

Shines

Just out of reach, like the day’s first light!

/

Yet, if I see this river again,

I pray I may remember my selves –

All of them: men, and women, and ghosts,

So I could cease to hope, and instead, know