(On revisiting a dream)
I am alone in the house.
It is warm
but I feel cold.
The doors swing open across the years.
For someone who has no ancestral home,
who doesn't have
the long shadow of the past
to ruffle his hair,
homecoming gets distorted.
Time squints, space wobbles
and the visit, encoded as it is,
It is cold,
the windows are frost-smudged.
Counsel yourself, there's no one
else to do it.
remain dented where they are.
Let wind erode them, or time -
they are warp and weft of all erosion.
Come out of the house and write
(not hieroglyphs this time!)
It is cold.
Frost has smudged the windows.
Your hair is grey as hoarfrost.
A rundown house,
is a desolation.
A rundown house
perched on a live memory,
with me alone conversing with both
is a double desolation.
Twenty years ago when I took a look around
It wasn't there.
Someone now tells me at a reunion
the house is standing,
only new streets
interlock around it.
It's still there! That's nice,
one desolation gets sloughed off
It's only when reality slips by
like a sliding panel
that you realize
that the marvellous in the everyday real
has passed you by.
Seated on the hull of your boat
you lurch and tilt.
The horizon is the forest,
darkening leaf on darkening sky.
Slot your time properly
in the right caves.
The sea is the present
The forest is the future.
Speech is present tense
Echo is the future.
If you are talking of echoes
you are talking of walls.
If you talk of water echo
you are discussing womb walls -
come out of it.
Unsure on land
you take to the sea.
The skyline is a forest
graveled with white coral grit.
Whatever evil he suffered, he forgot
said Milosz in one of his poems.
Now that's a scrap of myth, isn't it?
And it is one thing to forgive
and another to forget.
I tried to put things behind me,
in the backyards of memory-clutter,
and went back to my flirtations with altitudes,
touched the Karakorams at Siachen,
touched - Hindi has such a lovely word for it, ‘sparsh' -
Nubra, the garden of the North
and slept in a tent at Tsomoriri -
the rocks brown, the lake blue;
I got hold of a scrap of a myth here
(at 15000 feet it's a good scrap to grab).
It was very hot, and a woman called Tsomo
riding a yak couldn't rein him in,
as the yak made straight for the lake.
She kept shouting ‘riri, riri', ‘stop, stop' in Tibetan,
but the yak went in and they both drowned.
The stars have flung
their net into the sea
Among the thrashing fish shoal
and the lassoed crab
look for me.
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Comments about this poem (Underwater Notes by Keki Daruwalla )
Still I Rise
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
A Dream Within A Dream
Edgar Allan Poe
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979)
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost