TWENTY FOUR HOURS
You be a beggar or a great monarch,
Renowned intellectual or a pious sage.
You maybe in youth or you in old age
An insect you may be or a high soaring lark.
God, the great Owner, is impartial one,
He has no favorite, partiality eschews.
So without fail He every day renews
And hours twenty four denies to none.
You use them as you wish or as you may,
In sacred service or narcotic haze;
In laziness or in creature blaze.
He takes no notice gives them every day.
But just remember, listen, take account
That every moment, in the end does count.
Two steadfast but unhappy constellations,
CASSIOPIA, Great Bear, though composed,
For tracing the pole star by calculations,
Yet in this common purpose are opposed,
In method and position; And likewise,
My fears and my hopes are contenders,
For you, my love, though in this exercise,
Are ever emulating, starry wonders.
Where hopes are shining brightly and ascending,
Then fears plummet, shamed and unloved;
When fears see the hopes fast descending,
They shoot upwards, but you remain unmoved,
Like pole star by the constant tribulations:
Of these two wandering steadfast (most unhappy)
A LLULABY FOR RASHAMI
You woke up in the middle of night.
Who stole your sleep, my lamb? May I know?
What demons did you, in your slumber fight
That sweat has broken on your lovely brow?
But will you tell me, What has woken you?
The cold of hills or desert’s scorching loo?
Or did you see your favorite golden mare,
Who saw you creeping tip-toe and then bolted?
Or have you seen a worrisome nightmare,
That you were, from your sleep, so rudely jolted?
The fairies and The demons have now vanished,
Somebody, this your mare, shall be caught,
But demons will be killed and mare caught,
You go to sleep, my lamb and worry not.
On Poonam’s Growing Up
Your youth and with it care, thick as thinness
Have jarringly intruded in your play,
And every pore of papa hurts and grieves,
But this is what this life is anyway;
And why this life is so? I can not say:
The branches harden and the rustling leaves,
Will shed their brownish hues and one day,
In green attire spend their lovely eves.
I also had a doll and I am mad,
That youth and care came only yesterday,
You were my doll and I am very sad
take you far away.
You lost your doll of rags to youth and care,
But I am going to lose you Poonam dear.
IN PRAISE OF PRESENT
Let future come, O! as it might.
In darkness hidden or with dazzling light,
And let the past remain buried deep,
Below the dormant hopes’ rising heap.
And let no past or future touch your brow,
And all connections with them disavow,
And live in present moment unsubdued,
And never on the past or future brood.
O! if you, with your present rightly cope,
And do not in the past or future grope,
Then unobstructed you will make a name,
For caution doesn’t ever win the game .
And only those who plunge in raging waves,
Can live like kings and not like cowering slaves.
Tales behind the wrinkles on your face,
Are known to me in intimate details,
And hide no threat or burden some menace,
Or indicate no anguish or travail,
And right below your folds of wrinkles lie,
The passage of the years, tell the truth
But sparkle in your eyes blazing forth,
Is telling me a story of its own
And on your loving lips, the lingering mirth
Has with the fleeting moments deeper grown.
And I shall thus remember you forever
In every living gesture or rendezvous.
PUNNINESS OF MAN
The quake its epicenter outward sends,
To rectify its kinds is not to break,
Our ceaseless march to our mortal ends,
But just to make us do a double take
And dwell upon our puny littleness.
To understand the larger scheme of days
It has its own methods to address
That loves to stop us in our errant ways
Then just to see that we do not mistake
Its microsecondal shocking in our stride,
It sends the after shocks in its wake,
Around its epicentre far and wide.
The puniness of man is thus reveled,
Which would have otherwise remained concealed.
ALL I CAN DO
So many little things remain undone,
Which needed doing, but I did not do.
And hence with concentration one by one
I count them and my undoing’s I rue
So many words of thanks and compliments
Which should have given pleasure were unsaid.
So many times due to arguments
The letters were unopened or unread.
The answers were unwritten unrelayed
What weakness hampered me and held my hand
That countless little debts remain unpaid,
By all ill-ominous winds, I have been waylaid,
All I can do is to forget this and try
To undo my undoing’s by and by.
Unfulfilled expectations fill the mind
Encumbered with a gargantuan dread,
Of fearsome fear of nascent words, unkind,
Out pouring from the crannies of my head.
Unuttered grievances infest the heart.
Unjustified complaints remain unsaid.
Relationships galore before they start
Upend frustrations and turn up dead.
The soul is all confusion, body tired,
Emotions listless, senses insensate
These are the times when someone is required
To yank me out of this unhealthy state.
To hold me in a comfortful embrace,
And let me weep and still not lose my face.
Come drain the cup and let me fill it more,
And drain it once again and have a treat.
My store of love is full for you. The store
Is my waiting for your lips and I repeat:
When you need love, my love, to me you come
To quench your thirst and deaden all your cares
Of ifs and buts. Be one with me, handsome,
To forget life’s why’s and when’s and where’s.
If you can forgive- one thing I recommend,
Be one with me and give me all your love.
For I can always die for you, my friend;
No alibis would crumble my resolve.
For without you, my love, I am not I,
But with you, Earth is mine and so is sky.
It was a day when nothing seems to work
And everything appears out of place,
Inexplicable, fitful fears lurk,
And made us feel so meaningless and base.
But at that moment SHALOO came along,
She asked me,” Tell me papa, what is wrong?”
And saying this, she jumped into my lap.
And much before I spoke or did she snap.
And told me Papa, something is amiss,
You look so grave and funny, sad and cross?
If mama is annoyed. then let it pass,
For she is vulnerable to a kiss.
I felt my tension ooze from every seam.
How little things release the pent-up steam.
ESSENTIALSThe loving unpremeditated kissThe hidden caress in a friendly voice,Abundance of a lover’s selfless bliss,The journey undertaken by own choice.The granite in unmitigated hope;Determination in determined toil,The firmness of the feet on the slope,A loyal friend remaining ever loyal;The courage of adolescence in travail;Refusal to accept the dire defeat;The grimness of the brave when they fail;Reluctance in the gait in retreatAre real stuff that make the human dreams;Are nurseries of all the lofty schemes.
TEARSomething there is about a withheld tear,Something much important yet unsaid,Some message undefined and unclear,Some urgent missive unheeded, unread.Something there is about a tear unshed,A vibrant sentiment unexpressed,Or like a lethal wound which has bledAnd filled the ins and outs are neatly dressed.Or feeling inexpressible by words,A saber which has not been yet unsheathed;An acidplaying havoc with innardsLike toxic air inhaled and unbreathed.There is something about an unshed tear,Which may be full of promise or of fear
STAR-KISSED DEWAh! There is something magical, divine,In the crystal, first born, star-kissed dew.Alike untested, untouched super wineOr virginity not yet broken through.The night is done but dawn has not yet dawned.The day is in but sun has not yet risen.The leaves are all dew-laden, newly spawned.The time is like ethereal plantain vision.Soon the sun will rise and drops of dew,Will turn into a leafy rivulet.And this process without much ado.The surface of the Earth will be wet.Something there is, I often find in youThe fragile virginity of newborn dew.
SANNASAROn good earth’s jagged face this lovely spotDevoid of human footprints, habitatOf beauty, virgin–like, so sensuous thatIt leaves me all enraptured, overwrought.Then I thus feverish on this paper jot,Eulogies to this place in haunting verse,And with its spotless virginity converse,And punctuate with pause, dash and dot.This breathless, undulating, heady place,I visited once. It lives in memories,I think of it and when, with noiseless graceIt hurtles me into daylong reveries.My memories are mares and SANNASAR,Is like a sharpened, stinging, tapered spur.
BACKWARD TRAILI harbored thoughts of loving you but now,The worldly things have stolen my attention.The trapping of success which bestows,A feeling of being there, love and passionConcern me not the least. All desireOf loving you has vanished. Every poreIs continuously burning in the fireOf living and thinking of you no more.But sitting in my decorated room,With trophies I have won, I can feelA fearful feeling of impending doom.And frantic spinning of the Time’s wheel.Then feelings follow love’s backward trailAnd all possessions looks so cheap and pale
LIFE IS FAIRMy love for you is undemanding, simpleAnd you are hidden, in me, as desire.And when you smile, your deeply etched dimple,Starts, in me, a leaping, flaming fire.Your love is simple undemanding too,Like the liquid murmur of the river,On which you ply the lover’s sleek canoe,And like the river, is abundant giver.Enough is what we give and what we get.Of, what we give and get, we are fond.No hopeless hopes, we cherish or abet,No reaching for impossible beyond.And as you comb and braid your lovely hair,I look at you and feel that life is fair.
SELF RESPECTMy lips were parched with thirst, when I sawA crystal watered river flowing fast.I crawling went to it with heave and hawMy dried up soul—to its waters cast.But nearing it, well- willed to sorrows drownI noticed on its surface ripples danceAnd manifold its impish charm enhance.To me but to look like irritated frown.On my arrival peeved and disturbed,I sat then on its bank’s though mortified,Deliberately all my cravings curbed,And on its banks thirsty died.With open arms, the doors that don’t receiveI enter not- Oh! life , I take your leave.
IMPROVISE OF SILENCELeave your restless wanderings traveler, hark!And quieten clamorous voices from within,Which rise. O! listen, be attentive, keenAnd what “Viyogi” says, O! traveler, mark.O’er burdened with the word we call success,Which world proclaims so loudly. UnderneathThe very loudness lie some sounds. BeneathYour breast is harmony within access.So reach for it and listen, pay homage.Not hurtling go to problems in bad taste,Be patient, silence can with ease manageAll calamities which lay humans waste.When you are faced with problems and carnage,In silence meet them; not in clueless haste.
CONSOLATIONThis world so full of such like wonders isThat soulful verses, words of mine et all,My loves, my deep desires, longed for bliss,Are like some child’s illegible scrawlOn walls of life. And every port and stateHas once been visited by some sailor past,Who lived and died with gusto. And all great,Unrivalled statues by late sculptors cast;And every verse that matters has been writ;And every battle has been lost ere won.At heaven’s crowded gate repenting sitThat herein also I am the late one.But one great consolation I have got,I wrought with love, whatever I have wrought.
PATNI TOP RE-VISITED WITHOUT HERTranquil, peaceful, calm, in solitude,Birch and pine and fir trees stand in truce,And when some vagrant wisps of wind intrude,They sway and sigh and whisper. I deduceThat mighty storms all wrathful, flashing, rueHave gnarled majestic trunks of sturdy trees,And bent them double, made them rough and crude,Though now they brooding stand in apparent peace.Love, when I met you first, the woody lanesWere the same. These everlasting veterans areBedecked with beauty of some fitful peace,And stand in silence bearing aches and pains.But where are you? Your absence leaves a scar,What wrinkled, twisted, lifeless woods are these?
VISIT TO PATNI TOP WITH HER
When hand-in-hand in lovely woods we roamed,Of pines and firs and birches so serene,We hugged and kissed and laughed; and now en-tombedIn memory lies this happy scene.Was every nook and corner by us combed,What heady moments, what wild vagrant moodWas ours. This love-laden aptitude,By lisping whispers of these veterans groomed.Though gnarled by roaring winds, they brooding stand;Time-honored, leafy cushions at their feet;And pointed needles skywards in the air,We hid in their shadows hand-in-hand.You whispered this to me in that retreat,“All things are lovely when my love is here”.
MY DAUGHTERSThree fairies while asleep, while awake,Three restless souls. These my daughters are.And when engrossed in writing, for my sake,They hold their restless questionings. And barTheir hushed breathing, every sound is stilled,But when I lift my head or leave my pen,The muted silence is so quickly killed,That cacophony breaks out there and then.They query, what I wrote, what about,And ask the meanings of the words,These fair extensions of my soul, no doubt,Are like the fluttering, singing, chirping birds.I answer them and wonder, that one day,They would, their youth attain, and go away.
AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITYMy time had come and I was not so keen,To leave this world-for, with all pomp and frill,I had enjoyed its pleasures – and unseenWere still to be enjoyed. Many stillWere trails which beckoned me with impish charm.So I engaged old Time in deep debate,To slacken Him me thought would do no harm,And on some problems make him speculate.I said “To hurry is a brazen waste.”He looked befooled; I added with a nod,”And if you must, then slowly, slowly haste.”He chuckled, told me “Move with a prod.”I didn’t argue, weep or make comment,For Time, the hunter, brooks no argument.
Enchained to a stranger and handcuffed
(As every man in life does feel some time),
I felt. My every query is rebuffed
So stubborn is this stranger in his prime.
And my afflicted mind in barricades
Of ignorance does fumble and argue,
Embarks upon its silent, fruitless raids
And shadows as realities I construe.
In meek allegiance wounded it retreats
Subservient, humiliated, in dismay,
To lick its wounds but in a flash it meets
The truth and then in wonder turns to say,
”In vain I struggled, made impassioned plea,
It, all the time was I, enchained to me”.
Unhindered by the limits of the language,
Unlettered poet, ignorant of script,
And alphabet, was this medieval sage,
But he his date with his destiny kept.
The language was his maid, meter slave,
And metaphors and similes balls of clay,
He kneaded them and wondrous outlines gave,
And on posterity holds ascetic sway.
To him ‘Vyogi’, Thakur** pay homage;
And Arjun Dev ji* followed his mystique.
His all- pervading shadow on this age,
I find in whatever poetic works, I pick.
Extractor of great song from worldly noise.
I wish, I had your felicity and poise.
Time, Old hunter, dexterous and adroit;
Like raw novices does not run or rush,
But stalks the prey with patience. On the quiet,
It moves and huddles in the bush.
The prey, oblivious of approaching doom
Thus hides and feels from danger safe and sound;
And likewise humans, when in limited room
Of understanding, complacency bound
Forget this wily hunter, who his self
has noiseless made to catch them unaware.
He finds them easy prey, engaged in pelf
And petty squabbles over land and ware.
It noiseless, deathless, endless, quietly moves
In plains and deserts on pre-destined groves.
BAREFOOT IN THE DEW
Perhaps the sky was, not yet really blue,
Or may be, I was merely out for fun.
Perhaps, I had nothing else to do,
To celebrate the battles joined and won.
Perhaps, it was wind, the way it blew
Or may be, it was the absence of the sun.
Something there was, I neither know nor knew:
Some unsaid thing, when all is said and done!
I did it! Why did I do it? I, for one,
I neither have an inkling nor a clue
When in the middle of my morning run,
A patch of grassy meadow crossed my view,
I do not know if others did it too?
And yet I walked barefoot in the dew!
A TRUE FRIEND’S ADVICE TO BEAR HER LOSS
How true that grief can never bring her back,
why curse luck, wail her loss, berate
Her earthly absence? why not fill her lack,
By thoughts of moments spent with her?
Ah! fate Has taken her. You say, “All grief is black”,
It smears sacred moments spent with her,
You sympathise. Your presence in a blur,
Unsettles me and huddles in my shack.
I all anew bewail her grievous loss,
And ache and burn. My heart unheeding grieves.
How true is what you say but still my dear,
I try to banish grief but cannot pass.
And you, yourself are wiping with your sleeves
Your eyes, though telling, not to shed a tear.
One stolen moment from the worldly cares,
One wanton thought, one lone unhurried cruise,
One sensuous smile that beckons and ensnares
And lingers balm – like on some bleeding bruise.
Is dearer than all wealth and all repute
Which labored effort wins and men possess,
Indulge in ostentation and compute
The cost with genuine pride. Nevertheless
They find that all this ruthless drive has failed
To satisfy some vague but restless need,
One whispering melody which goes unhailed
Is irreparable loss to us indeed.
One longing kiss that lessens stress and strain
Is pregnant with more pleasure than all gain.
Keep perspective balanced fisherman
That you are tiny, sea is large and vast
And though in wonder look and see and scan
But keep the sails securely tied to mast;
And from its bowels earn your daily wage:
A piece of drift-wood, clump of drifting weeds
Will meet your needs. So let it mightily rage
And churning in its madness meet your needs.
Oh! just remember that your bold forays
Are pranks of children on its mightily breast;
And all the tempting sands on beachful bays
Were boulders once- now broken down to rest.
So humble; humble go and cast the line
To catch a fish or two on which to dine.
It hurts, it hurts and sorely tortures me,
Whenever bitter truth, this message sends,
When we account for world’s inconsistency,
The list is headed by the names of friends.
Strangers have no power to create life
The island of privilege in plot,
They cannot hurt us deeply or placate
The deepest injuries of the heart.
To count them out of life is easy, but,
What pains us gravely, gets under the skin.
And what accounts to an unkindest cut
Is torment gifted by our kith and kin.
Where love is deepest, hurt can deepest be.
For, to our hearts, the strangers have no key.
I am out for nothing, you may think.
My actions are ill reasoned and ill thought.
My aimless life is hurtling to the brink
Of nothingness. Believe me, It is not.
I am out for, not yet, thought of schemes
Like how to carry water in a sieve,
Like how to tap the elfin sap of dreams,
Like how to learn to laugh, unlearn to grieve.
But if you find it hard to so believe
The choice is yours, I for one,
Would even say so much as by your leave
That you may let me think, it can be done.
For you are welcome to your own belief,
But leave me to my fun or to my grief.
The day I looked up from its base, the cliff
Appeared to be, highest peak of earth.
Unconquered, unencircled, beau as if,
Admiring its own Hottentotish girth.
Me thought, to climb and conquer it was hard
But as my wish to do something was strong,
I started climbing yard by fearsome yard
Because I think inaction to be wrong.
Yard by dangerous yard as I climbed,
Uncounted higher cliffs came in view
I felt my urge to climb was rightly timed Because
with sense of déjà vu I knew.
I wondered climbing, as the air cooled
How easily can the ignorant be fooled
When some unpremeditated want,
Superior to all needs and circumstance,
Confronts me shinning, then to it I grant
Unhindered passage. Let it then advance.
Like panthers are when wounded, though adroit,
So forgetful of skills and mindless cause,
Such havoc that they let the foe exploit
They spring upon their foe without a pause.
And all substantial things I ever did,
And every lilting song I did create,
Were all achieved when I was by it bid,
To follow it O God! and I reiterate.
That in its rare appearance I exult,
And love its buoyant movement and tumult.
I live surrounded by my worldly wares,
In wealth reside; this very fact I rue,
And look at all possessions. Furtive stares,
I throw at happiness but find no clue
To win one heady moment free of cares;
And feel it melting on my parching tongue;
To sing all lyrics that are still unsung;
And frolic unperturbed like mating pairs.
I see one laborer, then in genuine mirth,
When breaking stones, one moment he espies;
He wipes his perspiration from the eyes;
When sees his love and rolls on dusty earth:
My every moment with such pain is fraught;
I know that love is wealth, wealth is not.
FULL – THROATED SONG
How sad but true that unless grief is told,
Unnoticed, hidden in the heart remains,
And unless man is vocal, open, bold,
It feeds upon its vitals, daily gains.
Such strange hold on mortals, young and old,
So says ‘Viyogi’. And this slimly fiend
Enfeebles, sucks blood and leaves behind
A shell, but still it keeps the strange hold.
So beat the drum of grief, O! loudly beat,
In forceful tones embark upon the world
And let it soaring fly along the breeze,
And tell its woes once and then repeat.
And always keep your flag of pain unfurled –
No peace ‘Viyogi’ in the silence sees.
I happy happy like a fiddle fit,
Pirouette and to the beat of pleasure hum,
And throw my arms around you to submit,
To hurting hugs. And now that you have come,
No harm to tell of loathsome agonies ,
Which tortured and tormented your beloved:
To see the mynas kissing on the trees,
And I so lonesome – unkissed and unloved,
To write the letters filled with ironies,
Of circumstances, tear them up and blink,
The tears away to hide the miseries,
Lest you may not so cowardly me think.
But nestled in your arms,
I admit I don’t remember pain – not a bit.
Ambitious men, unbridled power seek,
How luckless, fatal wish is this not know,
Alexander, son of Philip, mighty Greek,
Did rise from dust and into dust did go.
And likewise Akbar and almighty Rome,
For fleeting moments, they, their fate belied,
With loud, defiant, warlike beats of drum,
But unfailingly in the end, they also died.
And great Ashoka’s bones now buried lie,
In the Ganges, under heaps of mortal bones,
And into dust are turning by and by,
All kings and sparkling scepters, priceless thrones.
So men, who seek unbridled power must,
In time, by Time be trampled into dust.
TEMPLE BELLS OF JAMMU
Oh! temple bells of Jammu pray roll on,
And from my feelings echoing, then return.
This life is rough and tough and really stern,
So for the sake of harassed self toll on.
I, humbly humbly on you now call on,
Be ringing, tolling, pains to assuage,
And keep me company for my earthly age ,
To have a chance to manage and toil on.
Oh! like the days of yore, I falls on
Your sweetest notes to consultation give
And agonized soul, a bit relieved,
To make it thus survive and stroll on.
Oh! temple bells of Jammu, pray toil on
For when I hear you, all my doubts are gone.