The River of Time, Part III

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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

 

 

 

Mother Night

I need to see your real face, Night;

Don’t wear your thick makeup of candlelight

Or reassure me with the ticking of the clock

Counting seconds in fear till the arrival of the morning;

/

I dream to speak to you in your tongue

Of heavy silence that makes tears fall,

When from the darkest corners of the lives forgotten

One’s every demon into their lap crawls;

/

I wish to rest my head against your chest,

Not watch you cautiously through windows and walls,

As if from freedom in a self-built cell

Locking myself until another tomorrow;
/

I want to love you like you do me,

And yet how can I with this plastic toy of a heart?

I want to know you like you know me,

And yet how can I with this mad clown of a mind?

/

At dusk I put all my past doubts to sleep,

Turn off the lights in my old home

And go back to you, Night, for you feel to me

Like to a prodigal daughter – her first Mother

To Remember

You, for whose wrongs I live in torture,

I wish I knew your name, at least;

I’m not you wife, I’m not your daughter –

You are whose soul lives on through me;

/

My hands are mine, my hands are yours,

And there were thousands before us;

Our own hands shaped and broke the world

With them we clung on and let go;

/

My voice is mine, and yet at times

It speaks in tones and tongues unknown,

To people just like you, long gone,

Trying to make peace with their ghosts;

/

And with my eyes on quiet nights

I see not dreams but recollections;

That life was yours, but it is me

Who keeps its skeletons and treasures;

/

Paths which my feet sometimes tread on

I recognize, and feel exhausted:

I’ve walked on them as you before,

And just like me, you were so lost then;

/

As I depart, with him I’ll plead,

With him, who’ll take from me the burden

Of all the wisdom and the ignorance,

Of all the love and all the hurt,

/

I’ll plead that, at the very least,

By him my name may be remembered,

So he can call to me and ask me of my sins

For which he must atone forever

The Sky Burial

Dark clouds of lead and wrathful winds –

The ever-hungry vultures of the summit –

Have gathered

Around me

/

With claws of ice they tear though every thing:

My flightless mind, my flesh, immobile,

They rip in pieces

And pieces

/

And from across the world I know you watch

What you love disappear into the gaping

Mouth of a dream,

My wildest dream

/

For but an hour turn away, and nothing will be left:

The sacred birds will vanish, their wings – the skies – blood-red;

I am the dying dusk

You’re looking at:

/

I’ve burned this day,

But many more are yet

To come

A Million Deaths

There is nothing to fear
But my self;
There is nothing to loose
But its chains;
/
There’s no power
I haven’t possessed;
There’s no weakness
I haven’t made mine;
/
There’s no bed, where I can
Rest and sleep –
I’ve been a toy of dreams,
Wild and vain,
/
All my life, all my
Million lives;
And a million of deaths,
Which I died,
/
Never taught me
That I couldn’t keep
Anything; that I would
Become rain,
/
Rain,
That’s naught
But the new life
Of clouds

‘Clouds are the past life of rain’
Thich Nhat Hanh, Understanding our Mind