The Forest

And the forest grew thicker

With each step that I took,

And the howling grew deeper

Of the ghosts and the wolves

As I danced off the path

With my eyes on the moon,

Wild with joy, full of fear,

Not sure whether blessed or doomed;

/

When night clouds hid the moon

From the eyes of my mind,

I reached into my chest,

And my heart as a light,

Beating loud, burning bright,

I took into my hands –

And it showed me the forest

Like no other light had;

/

When the first morning rays

Touched the leaves of the trees

In the forest of time,

Which had enchanted me,

I remembered myself

And walked back to my world,

But since that night I know

What’s a dream, and what’s not

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

 

 

 

The Bucket List

I should have gone to touch the ocean

And watch the golden sun disk rise

Above the line of the horizon

In this one life at least one time;

/

I should have let white winds embrace me

Up on the sharpest mountain peaks;

I should have dared Saharan heat to melt me

As I chased after desert ghosts and visions;

/

I should have learned forbidden spells and curses

And in my heart reforged them into prayers;

I should have fought, not run, from battles;

I should have bled, and won, and lost;

/

I should have easier abandoned

Those who would waste a second of my life,

I should have easier surrendered,

And watched with calm the passing of my hours;

/

I should have doubled and returned

Each smallest gift I have been granted;

I should have used up every breath that

I did not know the worth of till tonight;

/

Tonight it is too late to travel

To see the sun spread wings over the sea;

Tonight’s no time to climb a mountain

For tonight it is monsoon season;

/

Tonight all desert jinns are sleeping

A sleep no human can disturb;

Tonight no witch, no ghost, no demon

Need teach me: by myself I’ll learn

/

That fights are only for the living,

That blood, victories and defeats

Are merely clouds, forever crossing

The skies above the river Styx;

/

I fidget in my empty pockets:

What little that I had is gone;

All I have left is but two coins

To pay the ferryman Charon

Too Bad/Too Late

I will return to where I left you

And in your place find my regret;

I stepped aside to let you

Fight your battle,

And ran away

Because I was afraid

/

And now but cold ground’s quiet whispers

Speak unintelligible words,

And rain before my eyes

Paints pictures

Of your heart

Getting mixed with dirt;

/

I’ll stand and watch, I’ll stand and listen,

I’ll stand and wonder, how on Earth

My weakness

Could have forced me to abandon

Someone I loved

At their monsters’ mercy;

/

Now I will never know for certain

If you have lost or you have won;

I won’t have witnessed

The despair, joy and courage,

With which, I’m wanting to believe,

You fought;

/

I will come back to where we parted

When I am wise, and strong, and brave;

Too bad –

If that’s ever to happen,

To save us both

It will be much too late

To Hold

I know, you will not recognize me

For it was ages ago

That for a day we said good-bye, and

For a lifetime each other lost;

/

I wear my age upon my face now

And hunch under the weight of time,

But you are just as I recall:

As beautiful as spring in prime;

/

My dreams like autumn leaves have fallen

Upon cold ground for all to tread,

While yours, it seems to me, have blossomed

Like flowers in a fresh bouquet;

/

How you have lived I want to ask you

As in my hand I hold your hand,

And at this moment – turn back time, and

Stay by your side, which I once abandoned;

/

Then, today would we walk together,

Laughing at our private jokes?

Would my world, you, be small but happy?

Would I for you be a good home?

/

In vain I wonder, for my choices

I made a lifetime ago,

When for a day I said good-bye, and

Lost my beacon in an array of storms;

/

They left me crazy and disfigured,

They tore my flesh and broke my heart;

I cannot even recognize me

When, swiftly as they come, the hurricanes are gone;

/

You walk on by, and I’ll keep walking –

Must be, into another storm;

I wish you love, and light, and joy, and

In the lifetime to come

/

I wish to ask you how you lived and

In my hand yours again to hold