The Number 19

My loquacious heart yearns for the flowers of love to sprinkle from stars; 

Like poetry from the tongue of a mythical Angel; 

And for verse to drip, like the sky which cries. 

I suddenly see her, supine, magnificent, on an empyrean float.

She rises and walks towards me on an orb of Light; 

Like a divine dream, her speech and gait lyrical. 

She holds my hand and I am led towards cathedrals of affection;

Metaphorical minarets and alcoves of love; 

Where rose petals lie scattered to ward off temptation. 

Sombre grey waters flow like an elegy, and are transformed by her touch. 

I felt colour for the first time around her. 

We would dream together under purple clouds of rapture and her sensuous lips lit the torches of devotion. 

She always referred to the number nineteen; in cryptic code that cajoled me to confusion. 

One evening, staring into ponds of reflection, I noticed her features staring back; 

Her countenance expressing contentedness. 

She rose from puddles of contemplation and sat beside me. 

Smiling, she told me the meaning of love, happiness, loyalty, commitment and the number nineteen. 

We slept under azure skies that night, alongside translucent waters that reflected a predestined tomorrow. 

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The Past

I last wrote a letter to my past. 

I believe it was a time of torrid trepidation, individual self-reflection and apprehension regarding my future. I was unemployed, devoid of confidence and knackered by the incessant cross-questioning of extended kindred. And the dreams, or rather the ideals I had set for myself were failing to come to fruition; and I was, in a nutshell, lost. 

I embarked on an expedition for the Himalayas and found in that barren landscape a solitude; unmatched by any of the spiritual literature I devoured and used as a palliative escape towards mental calm. The tranquility I so ardently and passionately searched for, I later found to lie in the lesson of love, and in the humility of a parable my mother encouraged; that only the best would come to me. 

Shortly after my return, I met the girl of my dreams one rainy afternoon and she rescued me from my own darkness, guiding me like a beacon towards a freedom then unknown. Reinvigorated by her comforting touch, I would lie ensconced in her abode, drinking the nectar of clarity she so generously provided. 

She pasted this letter on the wall above my desk. It acts as a daily reminder of where I come from, of the obstacles I once overcame, and of our love that gives me a profound courage to dissolve my past perturbations in to mere words on a browned page.

The Panther

Find me there, yonder by the great tree; the only tree, for that is where the first rays of the new rising Sun shall kiss thy face in the morning. That is where the sound of the langur is heard; that is where the stream flows and shimmers like a thousand sapphires; and that is where the panther is seen every evening at Moonrise. The panther is the Moon’s child and is like no other creature you would have seen dear friend, for you are from the other side of the country.

She is of a black darker than night; blacker than the abyss which I have seen, and with eyes so fierce, yet gentle, comely, attractive and benign. I have always gazed at her from atop the tree, yet she peers through my ivory veil and watches me watching her; observing her drink from the sapphirine stream; nectar like from elixirs encountered in a dream.

Her gaze perplexed me, for there was never any emotion in that gaze. A gaze so ghostly, oblique, ephemeral, expressionless. She would always come at Moonrise; when the pale light shone, and brought life to all that was crepuscular; the light itself the artist; painting nocturne landscapes with its brush dipped in cosmical black ink.

* * *

The forests are quiet now; destitute and bleak; pungent with the stench of blood from the abominable extermination. They came; chopped down our trees; raped our pastures; curtailed our quietude; set ablaze our home; and slaughtered our mother. They came; armed with machetes; with guns; with a thousand knives; and a monstrous brutality.

* * *

The panther has roamed these forests since the birth of time; melding with shadows. With the onset of them however, who have destroyed and terrorised her family; she disappeared, vanished, vowing never to return till they themselves learn of the pitfalls of their acquisitiveness; learn of their greed; and of those sadistic pleasures they derive from dominating nature. Till then; she has vowed to stay hidden in infinite depths; concealed like ancient truths and divine secrets.

It has been a thousand years since I last saw her.

Notes from a Dream (Circa 2015)

We were in a bookshop overlooking blue hills; the late afternoon sun giving the hillside an extraordinary sheen and texture. I was in the wildlife section as usual, and my uncle was calling for me from the other end of the shelf; he had found what I was looking for. He lived in a town located on the edge of a vast forest, animals everywhere; the birdlife rich and mammalian fauna thriving. This was one of the primary reasons I would visit. I come from a big city far away, so my appetite for nature was never quite satiated.

Exiting the shop, purchased book in hand, we made our way back to his jeep. It was parked near a path that led to the municipality’s dam, a concrete structure in the middle of the forest. With ample time till uncle’s high tea, we ventured in for a wander. The tree cover shaded us from the sharp Sun and with each step, the fallen dry leaves and twigs on the forest-floor cracked under our heavy steps/ treading. Streams of light fell through the canopy shaped like little golden islands. As we trudged along, making our way up a declivitous slope, I stared in to the shrubbery gazing at the many critters that existed along its fragile branches. A light sweater was required being on the hills, and many a time the excess thread from mine was caught, entwined in some outstretched offshoot that somehow seemed to reach out and stop me in my tracks.

We emerged in to a clearing when an asphalt road crossed our path. It was a road taken by plantation workers of a tea estate not far off. Upon crossing this road, we reached the dam. A long narrow lane connects one end of the dam to the other, leading in to the dense wilderness for miles thereupon. By the forest stood a quaint hut with a thatched blue roof where a watchman resided. The door was padlocked but the area seemed well maintained. The watchman presumably slept here overnight and returned to the comforts of the town during the day.

There was a sheer vertical drop on the waterless face of the dam. A giant squirrel, fawn in colour, gripped the vertical bark of a massive tree, clinging effortlessly, almost floating in mid-air. She was so close that I could practically reach out and touch her. She hardly flinched, still as stone.

As dusk inevitably drew near, the trees became agog with a noise so distinctive of this forest. An overpowering silence did gradually pervade however, creating an eerie tranquility. Walking along the river heading East from the watchman’s hut, we were enveloped by a strange coolness. The temperature progressively dropped and all was quiet, motionless. Ahead, the forest grew darker, quieter. Every now and then I felt as though I was being watched, looking over my shoulder ever so often, finding nothing. The once flourishing forest now seemed barren, desolate and unwelcoming.

We halted, standing idle peering at the water, mesmerised by its emerald-like verdant shimmer, the final rays of daylight reflecting microscopic clusters of algae. I sat down, my uncle standing. We hardly spoke, hushed in solitude. The stillness was unique and it refreshed me. I temporarily forgot where I was till I stood up, noticing the rapid emergence of nightfall. We had no torches and had come unprepared.

As we returned, I, marginally ahead of my uncle froze and gestured for him to stop. Like snowmen we regarded what lay before us. In the clearing of the watchman’s compound lay a leopardess and her two cubs. They looked healthy, the cubs playing whilst their mother eagerly surveyed the cover towards our extreme left. We decided to make ourselves scarce and crouched, slowly lowering ourselves inch by inch avoiding any sudden movements that would otherwise attract unwanted attention. Just then, a large male black panther appeared. I was beaming with uncontainable excitement. My uncle and I exchanged looks; a combination of utter fascination and bewilderment. A curious sense of unease transpired within me then – no deer, langur nor bird had made any alarm calls and the forest mysteriously remained mute.

I mistakenly adjusted my footing and clumsily snapped a twig under my weight. The panther, now also sitting, immediately directed his attention towards us, scrutinising the odd, rather round figure of my uncle and me squatting in the distance. His amber eyes penetrated the thin veil of confidence I still possessed.

I shivered.

A slight flip of his tail and a subdued hiss and growl followed. Thereafter, a startled leopardess eyed us and we met the couple’s gaze. We sat motionless. Fortunately, as objects of interest, we were barely passable and altogether boring, for the couple diverted attention to their progeny.

I had to squint ever so often to maintain focus. The panther was now almost invisible, melting in to the engulfing blackness of twilight. The family stood up and ambled along the path which led towards our jeep! Their footsteps were muffled, soundless like ghosts. We steadily arose and followed them, maintaining a safe distance where we could still make out their shapes in the darkness. It was odd that neither of them left any pug-marks. The sandy surface they occupied lay unblemished. The cubs cut right towards the road leading to the backside of the plantation. The parents followed, but the panther intuitively turned back for one final glare. His eyes like fireflies watched our incapable figures saunter awkwardly, inexperienced.

We waited.

It was now entirely dark and the cats were nowhere; they had vanished, evaporated. In the distance I could faintly see the glow of some light. The Moon was full and by now, shone radiantly, helping us navigate back towards our path. We scrambled downhill. Although we seemed to move in an opposite direction to the felines, we nevertheless felt an oppressive sense of being examined from afar. The forest remained static, almost paralysed and uncharacteristically drained of emotion. With every step, I looked right and left, but nothing was apparent, even the leaves appeared undisturbed. It was a windless night.

Approaching the end of the path, the familiar sight of tarmac and the jeep were immensely comforting. As uncle started the car, I imagined shadows in the undergrowth of protective parents shielding their young. I dreamt of strange apparitions and forest phantoms that night.

Rainbows

The flower may fall,

Like coarse sand in an hourglass,

Or the wind may howl,

Like the wail of dying wolves,

But the rainbow shall continue to shine,

Alike a thousand divine orbs,

As beacons of light,

In what was once a forced darkness.

Mother Earth

I gaze at an ocean of stars, 

Seeking comfort in the pulpit of a rose petal bed. 

Dreaming; streams of infinite flush like rivulets, 

Casting open my system within. 

My longing for love; chaotic in a calm forest,

Is but filled with trivialities. 

I search for the singularity of all truths in her silence.

Infinite Light

To face God I must ascend stars,

Walk Moons,

Swim through Darkness,

And reach Paradise.

But I tire of travel.

I would rather look inwards,

Within my heart,

To find Her soul, 

Merged with mine.

I am with Her as much as She is with me.

After all,

We are but projections of Her,

Her Light, 

Her Beauty, 

Her Infinite Source.