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Nisheedhi's Nature Poetry


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Nature Poetry

Nature Poetry

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  • 1. Nisheedhis Nature Poetry Nature Poetry nisheedhi
  • 2. Nisheedhis Nature Poetry Nature Poetry nisheedhi
  • 3. This file was generated by an automated blog to book conversionsystem. Its use is governed by the licensing terms of the original content hosted at Powered by
  • 4. ContentsHouses 1Tree 2The power of knowledge 3Hampi rocks 4Morning images 5Morning walk 6There will be no rain 7Morning at the Palm Hotel,Vizag 9The parijat flowers 10Moths in the first rains 11This festival 12Our childhood 14Tonight 15The blade of grass 16The Dam 17Corners 18
  • 5. Winter shadows 19Borra caves 20In the blue mountains 21Flowers 22Our Parijat tree 23A night in the Topslip forest 24Our cuckoo friend 25Twitter 26On a boat in the Ganga in Kolkata 27The Ambhir lake 28At the Park Hotel on the Vizag beach 29This September 30Our Pipal tree 31The Palm Trees in Our Village 32The moon 33My sister 34At the Kumarakom lake resort(Kerala) 35
  • 6. Midnight music 36A train journey through Kerala 37The sea 38Hail 39Morning in Hyderabad 40Moths in the first rains 41The Wind 42A gust of wind 43There is defiance in the air 44Images in the morning walk 45Thinking poems 46The tree pretends to be alive 47The afternoon sounds 48Unspent spring 49Women in the afternoon 50Our village home 51The hillock with a hole on the top 52
  • 7. HousesHouses we think of, in sun and rain-Those houses which live, cheek by jowl,With maternal mango trees of summer.Their shadows paint their white canvas.In monsoon the houses are painted greenIn delicate taffeta of luminous moss.The squirrels climb the tree lookingCuriously into your bedroom window. 1
  • 8. TreeIt had stood there bare and brown and stone deadAnd waved in the breeze pretending to be alive.Evening birds had still been sitting on its branches.Yesterday it became a mere image in my mindTwo axes did a fine job in the day and from balconyI now have uninterrupted view of the blue sky. 2
  • 9. The power of knowledgeYesterday evening, as on all days,The banyan briefly dallied with riverIts tiny fruits floated on the watersGlistening in the sunlight like rubiesThe woman-bather, while disentanglingFlickering stars of pieces of driftwoodFrom her floating amavasya-like hair ,Took no notice of the fruity overtures.The last ferry did not bring him hereNor did the five ‘o clock circular trainWhich disgorged people in sweaty bush shirtsOnto the dusty Bagh Bazar platform .The mongrel got up from its disturbed sleepSniffing at the coal-smell left by the trainWent back to its sleep under the cement bench.The beggars on the river steps ate theirEarly dinner and retired for the daySomehow they had scintillating knowledgeThat nobody was actually expectedOn the train or by the ferry that dayOr for that matter , on any other day. 3
  • 10. Hampi rocksThe evening swapped the orange skyFor a silver-lined cloud in tatters.The rocks had sizzled in the day;At sundown their fever subsided.Their blazing orange desires ebbedIn the nucleus of their inner being.Time had burnt them to perfectionBeyond the pale of a petrified self.Their sun-smell touched the bushesQuickening life in their brown limbsAs the sun sank behind world’s edgeTheir shadows vanished in the sky. 4
  • 11. Morning imagesThere the parijat flowers lie on the earth ,Their faces in the dust, feet to the sky.Someone’s cut flower creeper still fillsThe air with previous night’s fragr’nce.On the hills ,from a balcony ,a dark womanLooks down as if expecting the milkman.There a man is up in arms against the sun.A w’man froths at mouth with toothpaste.Words remain,as many scraps of memory.An image or two vanishes in the wilderness;Its fragrance stays as unrealized poetry. 5
  • 12. Morning walkThe night moon turned pale at the sight of aSignificant sun, rising after nights of low rain.There a car comes laden with rich ripe people.A heavy auto-rickshaw overflows with body parts .With the winter round the corner, the monsoonSays goodbye from the dried up street puddles.We see the last of the frog carcasses on th’ road. 6
  • 13. There will be no rainThe sky is deathly paleWith no birds and fluffy cloudsThe cold flows from clamminessNot out of possible silver rain-Pearl-white and smoothBut not encouraging emotion.Monsoon floods loom likeImminent possibility and thenThe ocean’s belly may becomeThe seat of a violent stormBringing wind at high velocityAnd rain lashing my awning.From the road the lake shimmersBlue and crystalline, with darkFigures of cormorants on the rocksProtruding in the middle of the lake.They hang above the edge of the rockFlapping their restless wings.Trees brood on the edge of the lake;Their shadows gyrate on the ripples.Then suddenly the sun breaksThrough the gray cloudsPainting their edges in goldThere is lightness in the air,Cool breeze and scattered clouds 7
  • 14. There will be no rain after all. 8
  • 15. Morning at the Palm Hotel,VizagSix A.M. the crimson orbBursts from the sea’s vastnessA red-and-white old lighthouseWith patches of chipped-off paintAn apparition of a coconut treeWith its frond struck downBy last year’s lightning. 9
  • 16. The parijat flowersThere someone picked up parijat flowersFrom the earth where they lay in dustWith their ghost-white faces downTo the earth , their red feet to the sky.The man’s back bent over the earth as ifHe wished to smell them straight from the earth.The parijat tree looked on unconcerned.The flowers now belonged to the earth. 10
  • 17. Moths in the first rainsThey appear from nowhereAnd at the dead of the nightEmbrace their shadowsOn the frosted glass and die.The window-sill is carpetedWith their transparent wings.The garden walk is strewnWith innumerable carcassesOf their one-night glory. 11
  • 18. This festivalWear your soul on the sleevePaint the roadside bushes redCatch the grass-hopper by wingsMake it hold a tiny pebble.When the fly sat on your noseIt was celebrating monsoon.Think of the fly’s perspective.You are a mere nose, a surface.This festival let your hair downRoam the countryside in bare feetSniff the rain-smell on the earthSpread your tongue to catch hailScoop them up and feel them meltIn your enclosed finger-spaces.Those red velvet insects from the earthLive only for a few transient daysTake them into palm to feel them crawl;Fear for the fragile velvet of their backs.This festival, catch the cow by its uddersGently coax them into thin silvery streamsFeel the milk flowing on puffed up cheeksBut leave some nourishing milk for the calf. 12
  • 19. Stand under the guava tree after the night’s rainShake its trunk to let the raindrops fall on you.Lie on the open ground facing the unlimited sky.Take in its fresh mint breath of the blue skyClose your eyes and see tiny fish-worms swim.This festival, squat on the shallow riverbedWith its cool water touching your happy chinLook at the far mountains over the waterFind them shaking as if the end of the world.Stand on the sea with the waves beating the shoreYour feet sinking softly into the wet brown sand.Sit on the cement bench in the garden of your houseAnd watch the shadows slowly emerge from its walls.Climb the wide-spread banyan on the lazy river bankAnd jump from its branches into the currents below.This festival celebrate being alive, being aware. 13
  • 20. Our childhoodIn those days, consciousness flowed unbroken;What went on in minds stretched to the horizons.The mountains had no blue veil of secrecyAnd the lakes seemed pure and crystalline.The vegetable creeper bloomed in backyardIn yellow flowers that seemed like many moons.We knew there would soon be plump gourdsOn our thatched roof basking in the autumn sunWe would watch them growing every morning.The afternoons were red-hot and weary.The smell of charcoal in our kitchen stoveSomehow connected to our daily lives.We dug patches in our garden thro’ the dayAnd when dusk fell we planted little beansJust under the skin of the soaked earth.We had not slept the whole night waitingFor the miracle of the sprouted seeds.We had covered the tumescent guavasWith white cloth against marauding squirrels.We watched them grow bigger and biggerHour to hour , morning after morningAt night when the jackals howled at the moonWe lighted our winter fires of dry twigsAnd stood with our cold palms against the fireAs giant shadows played on the compound wall. 14
  • 21. TonightTonight you shall climb your roofTo lick jellied moonlight and catchFlickering asteroids falling from the skyTo put them one by one in shirt-pocket.When you walk in murky paddy fieldsYou shall be taken for a willow-th’-wisp.Along the mud tracks the thorny bushesShall wear a black veil of moonless dark.You shall peep into the dark steep step-wellAnd lower the metal pail tied to the ropeTo gather pieces of a spectral moon. 15
  • 22. The blade of grassI cannot focus awareness on the winding roadThe distant hill is covered in a blue hazeThere is all-around oblivion felt in my unbeingOnly the other day I was a blade of grassToday I cannot wave in the mountain breezeUprooted from my mother I do not know my beingLike that hill covered in a haze of forgetfulness. 16
  • 23. The DamThen, at the dead of the nightThe waters rose and swelledTo the high mud embankmentAnd spilled over to the village.The mountains calmly looked onWhile a flying chariot-in-flamesHad sheared their edges smooth.The river swelled with prideAs rain poured into catchmentsIn the rugged mountain ghats.The river is now bound within banksTamed by men in plastic helmets.There is no excitement of spate.It is now so much brown sandAnd thin streaks of shallow water.These days funeral fires rageOn the sun-baked river-bed.On the annual festival daysThousands of merry- makingPeasants and townsfolk, alike,Congregate on the brown sandTo celebrate their God’s birthday. 17
  • 24. CornersLight poured through the corners;A gentle breeze blew over them.The corners had their own soulThey were sleeping in half lightCreating own silhouettes.The jasmines whisperedThrough soft jellied moonlight.Their fragrance held’us in thrall.Our old til’d house had its cornersSoft and purring like our kittenThey cast such fine shadowsDusky, deep and mysterious.We looked into our abandon’d wellTo fathom the depth of its cornersThe water there was a mere shadowShadow of a reality that once was. 18
  • 25. Winter shadowsThe shadows were liquid and sensuousDense in the core, undefined in the edge.They were not like the morning shadowsWarm and expectant under the April sun.They were not like the afternoon shadows,Stentorian shadows striding behind you.They touched your heart, tingled your skinTousled your hair and teased your mind. 19
  • 26. Borra cavesIt is as though I was there the other dayOnly they have grown bigger and tallerAnd their inner spaces more cavernous.That time I tried writing pretty picturesOn their scraggy walls in stunning huesTo mark leafy arrivals of the silver oakAnd jackfruits sitting heavily on the bark.I drew lovely pictures of charging bison.Our tribeswomen danced dimsa all nightAs we drank cup after cup of palm wineAnd our dappu beat in rising frenzy.Aeons ago I saw this very mountainGurgling to form a gigantic gas bubbleThis very bubble hides the parchmentsOf my ancestors’ glorious history.They all went beyond the mountainsNever again to return to our land.But I can still see all their dark spectersIn the cavernous womb of this mountainClinging to the moss-laden roof upside down.They shrieked out the secrets of the other-worldAnd of life beyond the mountain-peaksThat piled, one on the other, on sunny days.(Stalactite caves dating back to the pre-historic times , somedistance from Vizag) 20
  • 27. In the blue mountainsIn the blue mountainsPassions do not rise highThe mountains gently shakeShimmering silver oaks offThe wind in their hair.These matronly mountainsSquat pretty in the valleysWearing their best velvets .The air here is tea-fragrantAs magical woman-fingersPluck two leaves and a budTo hurl into baby-baskets .There is no anticipation here.Time but hangs lightly ‘tweenSips of tepid C.T.C. tea .(in the tea gardens of Coonoor) 21
  • 28. FlowersThese flowers spoke nothingWaiting for indifferent lovers.Their soft colours climbed the sky.Their existence was close-endedBeing closely trapped in th’ sun.Drinking moon-beams, they want toFly like birds in the higher zones. 22
  • 29. Our Parijat treeOur parijat had dropped all its flowersAt night when we were fast asleepThe tree had found its flowers too lovelyToo fragile ,to itself, to keep.The flowers ,their tender faces all downcast,Fell one by one on the earth to weepWith their orange feet to the sky, their facesTo be darker by the sun ,sad and deep.The (Parijat) tree is sometimes called the “tree of sorrow”, becausethe flowers lose their brightness during daytime; the scientific namearbor-tristis also means “sad tree” (Wikipedia) 23
  • 30. A night in the Topslip forestAll through the stillness of the nightThe wind howled in the bamboo clumpThe bamboo bushes danced in raptureIn the inky darkness our searchlight beamedOn shadowy forms of giant-sized bisonTheir luminous eyes stared in unconcernThe creatures of the wild refused to appearA night safari was just not their idea of fun . 24
  • 31. Our cuckoo friendIn early spring our mango burst into flowersAnd filled our verandah with fragranceAs our swinging feet touched the sky.By May mangoes appeared in the foliage.Then, one dark night, when we were fast asleep.The monsoon came with fierce wind and galeSpoiling the kid’s fun and promises of fruit.We blame this entirely on cuckoo friendWho brought in premature rains this seasonBy his persistent musical supplications. 25
  • 32. TwitterMy birds twitter constantly;Their colors refuse to climb the skyAmid scattered sounds and sunrays.My mornings are many-hued skiesRising from treetops of birdsongs. 26
  • 33. On a boat in the Ganga in KolkataNear the Babughat the Ganges woreA splendid necklace studded with imagesOf inverted candle lights under the bridge .The flickering flame of the lanternIn our boat refused to dance to theWinds death-tune in the inky darkness.Near the jetty stood a dark monstrosityBrooding in unillumined lon’liness .Its cavernous stomach ache’d withThe darkest secrets of the high seas. 27
  • 34. The Ambhir lakeFrom the road the lake shimmersBlue and crystalline, with darkFigures of cormorants on the rocksProtruding in the middle of the lake.They hang above the edge of the rockFlapping their restless wings.Trees brood on the edge of the lake;Their shadows gyrate on the ripples. 28
  • 35. At the Park Hotel on the Vizag beachThe coconuts with their weathered frondsAt times obtrude on your consciousness.They stand resolute but gently shakingAlongside the abandoned lighthouseWhile the sea is unmoved and smiling,Where it reaches out toward the far sky.A pretty puffing steamer pops upLike it is part of the un-human seaLike the hordes of the feverishly flyingDragonflies on the fringe of the blue seaThis red-tiled canopy structureMakes a last-ditch vainglorious attemptTo merge seamlessly into the sea-scapeA small wicket gate with rusty hingesOpens out into the sea’s expanse .The red-and-white lighthouse is now a ghostWhich has lost its licking orange flamesYou may stand on its top and wave your scarfCommand the ghost ships to rise instantlyI know you come here thrice each yearTo rejoin the broken splinters of your self. 29
  • 36. This SeptemberThis air is still crisp and there is promise ofExcitement on the leafy floor of the forestAs the mongoose scurries among the yellow leavesTens of thousands of zany butterflies of many huesHave burst out of the bushes on the Tirumala hillsStriking the stunned panes of the passing cars . 30
  • 37. Our Pipal treeOur moss-laden backyard wall played hostTo hundreds of creeping-crawling creaturesA little Pipal with thick-green conical leavesSpread its roots in its entrails leaving a crackThe widening crack soon became homeTo a wild creeper with tiny red flowersThat set our entire backyard sky ablazeThe Pipal grew quickly in horizontal spaceLittle blue birds from far lands visited the treeHundreds of big busy black ants crawledAll the way to its top dangling in the airOur proud Pipal swayed, blissfully unawareThat its burgeoning growth brought havocIt is a matter of time before the crack widensAnd the bricks give way spelling its doom . 31
  • 38. The Palm Trees in Our VillageThe palm trees cogitate in groups,Just as our mild-mannered cattle do ,Casting their dark brooding shadowsOn the limpid waters of our paddy fields .In the sowing season their shadowsTickle our women’s delicate feetSubmerged in soft knee-deep slush .When our fields are shorn and brownOur palms proudly sport golden fruitThis male one in the shadowy cornerSports no fruits , only leafy extensionsWe love it all the same for its shade 32
  • 39. The moonThis season our backyard coconutsHid it under their swinging frondsBehind our asbestos-sheeted shack,Its presence marked by the pale shadowOf our cow swishing tail on the insectsIn the backyard’s lonely darkness.The cow looked in the water troughGiving out a low plaintive moan.Her eyes shone through the nightAs the rope of the pail seemed to move.Actually it was a mere water snakeThat had made the well its home.Our hibiscus stood mute by the well;Its flowers went gray by the moonlight.Tiny flowers bloomed on the creeperThat had climbed our red-tiled roof.Their fragrance filled the night air.It was as though it was the moonThat smelled good in our backyard. 33
  • 40. My sisterThe flowers bloomed in our unkempt backyard;My little sister clapped for their quick’ning.The pumpkins grew fat with glowing texturesShe asked why our palm had withered like that.Her water –snake shed his scales on the fence.She scooped out a handful of the soft earth,Made it into tiny balls and quickly caughtA grasshopper by its wings and made itHold the balls, one by one by its tiny legsThat was a milkmaid carrying milk-pots.When the season came of the butterfliesShe counted the cocoons and watched themBreak out one by one as winged wonders.Our coconut lost its frond in lightning.This season wild flowers have grown all over.Noisy cicadas from invisible crevicesMade exquisite music for us at dusk.But there is now nobody to count those cocoonsWhen the butterflies will finally emerge. 34
  • 41. At the Kumarakom lake resort(Kerala)While poetry struggles for beauty-wordsWind and water hold sway over senses.The green of the coconuts gains controlOver the shimmer of the boats and stillness.Houses are nature in red tiled stature,As are tall golden boats which are housesDevoid of vulgar city crowds who comeTo burp on oiled foods and play loud music.Modesty prevents houses from showing upAbove unending horizon of coconutsTheir shadows merge into the brown walls;Their corrugated tiled roofs have rain in themCollected painstakingly in monsoonTheir patches become first green, then gray. 35
  • 42. Midnight musicMidnight music is the rising oceanCalled by a reddening of the moon.Midnight music is the pipal leavesPlaying the wind’s exotic hill musicAs its fingers touch the spiked leaf-ends.Midnight music is the invisible cricketSinging from the dark silence of the bush. 36
  • 43. A train journey through KeralaA sea of coconuts smothered, sultr’ly,The most unwilling moss-painted houses.The banyan raised its feet high enoughFor hundreds of creepy monsoon-creatures.The journey then began in silver rainWaiting for streaks of golden sunshineTo crawl through upright areca nut tree barks.As the telephone wires went up and then downA floating bird quickly froze in the sky.First the coconut fronds ran to the hillsThen the chilly plants went red in the face. 37
  • 44. The seaThought heralded a boatful of laughterIn spray-powdered and sprinkle-diffusedFroth seething with white salt and marine blueAs though the sea horizon heaved inMusically many-colored and soundSteeped in musty dead -and-dry fish smell.A boy walked away from the sea-sunAnd idly prancing about beach crows.Vasco Da Gama’s stone tablet stood mutelyIn history’s powdered rock and beach sandAnd broken –colored flying old boat masts.At the corner glistened wet sand and treesTheir shadows partly falling into the seaTheir dark hair hid in red rag agenda.These white buildings sat idly in history’sTiled canopies witnessing communism’sCapitalist fortunes and flight to oil lands.Their French windows hid beauty and dramaIn the shadows of jaded mosquito netsHot pepper creepers snaked all the way upThe statuesque teaks standing tall and proudIn the slush coconuts proudly stood thereSpreading dark hair in the moonless nights.Here, rain happened quickly rocking moistCoconut fronds hiding hairless sea-eagles.(A poem which happened on the Kapady beach in Kerala) 38
  • 45. HailNow the rains are here ,balls of snowWe catch them in our palms readyOnly they are slipping through the spacesWe cannot hold our fingers togetherAnd our white- clouded glory fizzles soon. 39
  • 46. Morning in HyderabadThe morning slowly dries wet clothes,Dripping, they smell of blue detergentThe house there wakes up bleary-eyedHesitating shadows emerge from the wallsA varnished gate, the midget of a womanOn the concrete bench, in the gardenMeasuring the length of her shadow. 40
  • 47. Moths in the first rainsAt the dead of the night, they embraceTheir shadows on the frosted glassThe window –sill is carpeted with wingsOur entire garden walk is strewn withCountless carcasses of one-day glory.Last year the weather was warmNowhere was the monsoon in sightThese creatures crouched under the earthWith half-sprouted wings for take-off.This season it is entirely differentThese are long wet nights followed byRich raking of their gossamer wings. 41
  • 48. The WindThe wind blew in our direction, shadows playedIt is the eyes that lacked the answers, in the contrastAt the eye of it all I knew my borders when the sun blazedThe morning sun went quickly, the noon would soon comeThere was wind in the hair, my thoughts fell into the skinWhen everything happened nothing actually occurred.Up there the cosmic egg flickered beyond the treesThe blue emitted golden rays in the silky clouds thereAs if I could collect all that in my past canvas bags.Yesterday morning a little bird shrieked on the wireMy garden was full of them and below the wiresMeanwhile the loops continued endlessly in my mindWhile the summer season seemed to be undecidedWhen the monsoon would begin in the salt water and hillsAnd journey across mountains and windy coconuts.My words are silly giggling girls playing in the moonTogether they do not sing but hum like the pipal leavesWhen the wind comes from across the the distant hills. 42
  • 49. A gust of windThe night advanced slowly castingIts ominous shadows on our facesOutside her house the neem tree shookBy the gentle tug of a dreamlike windRustling through its autumn leavesThe sky rumbled vaguely in the distanceSilver lined clouds dissipated in the hillsThe wind fizzled down in the stillness. 43
  • 50. There is defiance in the airA girl in white stands in a far corner of the roadHer right pigtail defiantly slung on her left shoulder.There, bleary-eyed moms stand impatiently waitingFor yellow buses to take kids to reluctant schools.It had rained heavily last night on the neredu treeThere was violent wind and violet rain from the tree.The puddles under the tree were violet with ripe fruitsMashed under walking feet in rain water and mud.The woman takes the white dog out for a walkBut the dog pulls her sideways for sniff-sniff.Apparently the dog has fiercely independent views.An old man with his lungi duly tucked above the kneesIs dragging the bawling brat grandson into the house .The three year old is defiantly dragging grandpa away.He does not see eye to eye with grandpa on all issues.(Events in the morning walk) 44
  • 51. Images in the morning walkIn the morning walk, images slowly filled the pocketTo be emptied , on return, on to the home computer.Two outlines of men sat in the middle of the roadTheir faces turned up and their hands hurled into the air.Chicken waited timelessly in the coop with death in the air.On the other side of the road long shadows from treesPlayed kindly with the kitschy colors of storied buildings.Plastic pitchers of red and green waited at the roadside tapFor their turn to fill water along with bright red polyester sarees.In the corner of the road burnt a heap of dead neem leaves ,Their gray smoke ascended slowly to the electric wires. 45
  • 52. Thinking poemsThinking poems are autumn-fallingIn criss-cross patches of golden sun,Actually these are pallid ghostsPulled out of unlit eastern skies. 46
  • 53. The tree pretends to be aliveWe have seen lightning and a burst of thunder.The monsoon is finally here on our fragrant earth.The tree leaning on our balcony is facing streams of waterOn its brown back without any leafy protests.Two blue birds which come to it some timesContinue to sit on its brown branch for a whileAnd shout their songs against the blue sky.The crow keeps its caws going on the branchAnd continues to announce arrivals of guests.The tree is a stump standing in the earth and the airPretending it is still alive but the blue birds still call.The guest -announcing crow still caws in its branches. 47
  • 54. The afternoon soundsA lonely worker chipped away at the neighbor’s roof ,A leaking roof between the sky and my neighborWhen the sky poured torrents of rain on his head.The hammer-beats echoed in the hollow afternoon ,Interspersed by a yellow-black bird’s tireless notes.The notes came from our dead standing brown treeWhich was still hosting beautiful yellow-black birds ,While awaiting final execution by the municipal Axe. 48
  • 55. Unspent springIn the lagoon birds sit in threes,In black and white complacency,On sticks as though they were thereBy somebody’s design, not surelyOf the government tourism bosses.These are the golden ships with mastsFloating about in unspent springWhich is my wealth for this season.An ebony body is etched againstThe amorphous green of coconutsThe moist green that spills all overMy camera lens and luminous monitor.It is the body that is ridding the lagoonOf the water hyacinths on the boatFor stomach and more stomachs.A little white girl crawls all over the grassBehind the sinuous coconut treeChasing the white-leaping rabbitAs though she came out of storybook.In the evening a flute plays high notesOn the sun-gold of the boat’s headAnd a tabla in a red shirt shakes headIn perfect musical agreement and nod. 49
  • 56. Women in the afternoonThe afternoon sun was warm and bright in the blue skyWith bales of white cotton clouds piled one on the other.The eyes are heavy with sleep amid intermittent soundsOf women’s laughter from the street and crow-caws.In our childhood our eyes were heavy with sleep in the afternoonWith alternate sounds of pounding of rice and crow-caws. 50
  • 57. Our village homeOur home was soft corners, diaphanous shadows,A ghost-home tamarind tree of dark midnightsThat used to shed many tiny leaves and bird-twigs,A well deep in darkness and shrieking night crickets,A wet coconut rope slithering on its stone rim.The water shivered on its perked up surfaceAt the dark touch of the dimpled metal pail.The pail got pulled up quickly spilling waterTo the banana which squealed with green joy.The thorny fence wound its way in the moonlightQuietly disappearing in the hillock without trace. 51
  • 58. The hillock with a hole on the topWe squatted in our river, our heads above the waterAnd our folded legs firmly on the bottom sand-bed,As the bottom sand pulled away we held on to the bedAnd looked over the waters, toward the far reaches of space,Toward the triangular hillock with a hole on the top.There was long ago a circular monastery where the hole is.The water here smelled good, as we took it to our lips.It smelled of the distant mountains of Orissa, our river’s home.Our ears echoed with the boys who jumped into the water.The brass pitchers of the women on the other side came floatingAs they were filling with brown muddy water till their rims.Beyond the brown stretch of waterless river were the boatsThat stood waiting for the passengers returning from the fair.Some times we played under the cashew tree on the hot sandsThere were yellow fruits, on which hung kidney-shaped nutsYellow fruits half-eaten by the birds, that smelled so fragrantMom says don’t eat the fruits which are not good for your throatBut mom, said we, they are so fragrant! So delectable! 52