Journal : One Scorching Afternoon

… The Memory of Fullness

In that distant town since long lost

Among quarters low

Abathe in winds hot …

The Sun was ablaze

The noon poured fire

And sage mothers

Shut the doors

Downed all windows

And early retired

I lay …

Watch and fidget

That face asleep

Kindness incarnate

Breathing, chest amove

In peace

A hand of love on me

My mother stern

Still voicing concern

That I do not burn

In the inferno

Raging outdoors.

So there I lie, restive

Fiddling festive

Tuned in…

To calls from the Sun

The friends imagined

At games in coppice

In the streets empty

Small spaces free

Under the flaming tree …

But I lie, squirm anxious

Conflicted immense, restless

Between her soft care

The reposing heart pure

Being lined

In her countenance

In the weight

Where her arm rests

With affection

And holds me back

From the world manifest

And God… it is

My mother stern

Still voicing concern

That I do not burn

In the inferno

Raging outdoors.

And there … as I lay

She rolls over

Fading from me

Her magic arresting

Even as my empathy

Happily resonates

With yells beamed in

From the god loving

Who keeps bright

The illumined sights

Among friends in grove

In spaces curious

The flaming “gulmohar”

And all the games

We play under…

Like a loadstone out there

Drawing the wild in me

Causing me to rise

With care extreme

From the mat cool, of straw

Under house cat’s stare

That freezes me dead

Half way through

With a glare that said :

“Are you sure ? Is it fair ?”

But I am far too rushed

By crow calls

That seem so anguished

While still half raised

On an elbow, I chase

My mother’s forgiveness

And bow my spirit

To her small form

How devotedly tall

With rules I well knew

From her sharp blows

By the very arm

I still felt on waist

That tender embrace

Settled serene

And radiating grace.

Hung for ages thus …

Half raised, with feline Probus

My hovering thought

And her stare intense

Before I resolve the variance

Beseech the powers

On-high, for cover

Longing prayerful and deep

That moved the breath

I had held in me

Now certain and free

I decide to reap

My happiness, the mirth

In bright outdoors

Amidst the heat

Among the gods

And the trees

Along forlorn streets…

I stand full height

See the cat depart

And tip-toe carefully

To open the door

And close cautiously

To meet the glory

With a silent yell

The cool out there

On the hot steps

With a heart pell mell

On a muffled start…

I latch back the gate

Touch fondly

Its weathered face

Watching thoughtless

Sensing the bond in place

Before gliding away …

Merry, merry, below

The Flamboyant’s faith

Moving songs of joy

Tingling mottled shade

On gnarled roots bobbed

Like ancient stays

That umbrella bright red

Blooming welcome heartfelt

Between the sun and earth —

A mighty fine mid – day…

I stoop in wonder

Of the streets yet bare

And readily oblige

A scorching wave

And pick up to peel

An unopened bud

Pluck out a stamen

Lock its bobhead

With another proud

To force a war

Of tugs and scars…

But the thought sudden shoots

‘ Where are they, bandicoots ?’

Now collecting the pebbles

I imagine possible feuds

And squat at last

On one exposed root :

‘ Where are they ?’ I dilate

Sketching lines on ground

Crisscross and straight…

Feel the ball, just then

In my trouser pocket

Bump it hard on earth

See it rise to zenith

And catch it on the trot

In one happy swoop …

‘ The game’s on elsewhere !’

One step, then two

Into howling blare

Past houses silent

My raging despair

‘ Implore the parents, shall I ?’

No, that wouldn’t be fine

I feel, bare feet on grass

By the tar road, sparse

Build a sprint for the lark

Glowing fire on my back

I cross the road as it meets

The molten pitch, which sticks

Searing the sole, brisk

I jump over quick

To foot-eroded bricks

On the side path

And launch a canter sudden

Hearing the jingle, anon

Of marbles pocketful

The top unstrung

Spinning, it’s ecstasy

On the run

Swishing the ball mid – air

The baton perfectly swung

Lo ! The kingdom’s come…

The full view gladdens

Green grass, trees mum

And tall coconut palms

Sway to music pleasant

Wide open spaces

Fragrant and cool

A littered drain far

Falling to pieces

The algae on it thick

And dark

Of slithering snakes

Grown huge in the park.

The little king I am

Now free, not a sham

In sun and deep shades

My own escapade

Gained well in time

Constraints untied

At somersaults happy

Below a tree, helping

A girlish weed crushed

Looking over my own bruised knee

Always with an eye

For the pythons of the drain

Calling, aiming, punctuating

With hoops and jumps

Ha – ha – ha…

Times great extend

Till another arrives gleeful

Hailing cheer, wild prattle

Dancing, singing close

Holding warm to pointless laughters

Under a heavens mild

Suppressing a smile …

*    *    *

The illumined momentum of the melee

Today reveal truths

Simple, yet unsurpassed

Glowing undiminished

To this day …

The mother essence of life

That Shangri – la !

*   *   *       *   *   *


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