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A Dive Into The Past

So unexpected was the meeting
It was in the dim candle light
Of a city restaurant that I saw her
How time had etched its marks on her
The long dark curly hair
Has turned all white
The even set of pearly teeth
Now discolored with missing gaps
A weeping willow with gnarled branches!

Did she recognize me?
Her searching eyes registered
A limp awareness
Soon I saw her cataract eyes shining
In unclouded recognition!

My memory like the arm of a crane
Lowered to plough up the hard crust of the past
And rose with heaps of broken rubble
I nosedived into the past
To the little village
Where, as children we ran round
The long necked shady trees
Until our little heads went dizzy

Stealing behind the tall grass
How I would suddenly yell out;
‘The thief is in hide
Come and track me if you can’
Forcing on her an arduous search,
All the while giggling at her vain efforts!

How we ran after the ripe mangoes
That fell in ones and twos
When the winds shook the fruit laden boughs
And how we quarreled over the yellow ones
Like mongrels over a piece of bone

I remember once when the drizzle
Suddenly strengthened into a heavy down pour
With thunder and lightning accompanying,
How we ran dripping and frightened
Seeking shelter in the empty cow shed
At the backyard of a house,
Clasping tight to each other!
She was then a little girl
With springing feet and dancing steps
Naïve and naughty with all mouth and ears

But as time skipped by
She kept a safe distance
No more I saw the former ebullience in her
In its place, a quiet reserve settled in
The chatterbox no more opened her mouth
To my questions, her answers were mono syllables
My efforts to walk by her side
Always ended in futility
Either she would quicken her gait
Or lag behind at snail’s pace
Seeing me somewhere,
She would walk away with eyes down cast
But I always noticed a faint smile
Lingering on her curved narrow lips

Around it, I built my dream castle
Where she reigned as my dazzling queen!
I am not sure how it was with her
One day even without an abrupt goodbye
I had to leave my hometown to an alien soil.

For long, she came, sailing in my dreams!

After a couple of years when I returned
To the land of my childhood
The mute witness to my unuttered passion
I knew from a close friend
That she was forced into a marriage
Much to her Consternation!
She is reported to have confided to someone
That she hoped the ‘thief who stole her heart
Would one day, come out from hide’

We met again
We heard each other’s cracked voice
And stood so lost
Unable to recollect all

Much water has flowed down
Under the bridge

And we float in the rush of currents!

Submitted: Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Edited: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I don't know if this can be called a poem.. but be assured, though long, this can be read like a story. To appreciate this better, you have to know the culture and the background of a land like ours. Even falling in love was regarded as a taboo then and arranged marriages were always preferred to love marriages. So even if a girl or a boy feels a special attraction towards someone, it would be kept a secret. It was a time when mobile phones or internet were not available... not even a land phone. So there was no easy means to communicate! Besides, a shy girl was regarded as more feminine!

Comments about this poem (A Journey to Bethlehem by Valsa George )

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  • Nika Mcguin (2/23/2014 4:28:00 PM)

    I'm starting to find that these are my favorite kinds of poems. The kind that tell stories, the kind that are honest. Maybe its because I'm really nosey lol. Anyhow, I really enjoyed this, though I might not understand all of the customs it still transcends culture. I also relate to the growing apart theme, as it is something I've experienced and continue to experience. And in my case, like this one, its growing apart from someone you've known since childhood. This is beautiful, thanks for sharing.


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  • Savita Tyagi (1/30/2014 11:58:00 AM)

    Beautiful story poem. Running after falling mangoes! A time of life never too far from my memories.

  • Om Chawla (1/29/2014 12:31:00 AM)

    A beautiful narrative and I liked reading the same
    I am amazed at the comments of Mr. Richard Tripp. How could any body be so disrespectful to womanhood.
    To say the least, his comments are obnoxious and utterly in bad taste.
    I am in total agreement with Ms. Valerie Dohren and Mr. Dinesh Nair.

  • Valsa George (1/19/2014 11:34:00 PM)

    Hi Elena
    So glad to receive a comment from you after a long interval... that too in such glowing words! I am so thankful to you for your lovely words of appreciation, Elena! !

  • Elena Sandu (1/19/2014 7:58:00 PM)

    It is a poem my dear friend, one of the most beautiful that I have read! Actually it is even more than a poem, to me feels like a magic pair of wings able to fly not only between different parts of faraway land but different times! Amazingly beautiful, loved it, thank you for share dear Valsa!

  • Valsa George (1/19/2014 6:50:00 AM)

    Dear Hazel and Asadullah....

    Please don't relate to me all that I write..! ! As poets, we write mostly using our imagination and observing life around! !

  • Deepak Kumar Pattanayak (1/19/2014 3:20:00 AM)

    Poetic reminiscence...............very well composed............I am very much touched................thanks for sharing............

  • Md Asadullah (1/19/2014 1:29:00 AM)

    Old memories came to life when you saw your old friend, I can relate to this one, Yes mam it can be called a poem, story in form of poem, I liked it very much :)

  • marvin brato (1/17/2014 4:13:00 PM)

    Narrative poem this is... with a painting of memories of the past that filled our childhood with friends! Nice story -poem, thanks! I can relate.

  • Hazel Durham (1/16/2014 9:10:00 AM)

    Travel back to your childhood days and your great friend, with such innocent times, how much life has moved swiftly on, with such beauty of your words, that capture moments of childhood joy forever! !

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