Culture & Society

An Autumn Garden, A Hill Trail: Poems By Gunjan Joshi

Gunjan Joshi writes two poems for Outlook

Snowdon, Rev. William Gilpin, 1724–1804, British, undated, Gray wash with pen and brown ink

An Autumn Garden  

Oh tranquil morning of autumn mild! 

Thy leaves are ripened for the fall.  

The cool hours of day begin slowly, 

And dew-drenched fallen leaves shiver.  

Are they alive, dead, or in between!  

Or is it just nature’s way   

Of keeping other creatures mystified. 

A waft of freshly mowed grass, 

Rises in the air and strokes, 

The bare branches of sleepy oaks. 

Is he fetching vigour for rebirth! 

Or is weary from its long life. 

Thy emulous flowers are dead too, 

Some are flowering even in their fall.

Everything seems to be a transition. 

The cool languor of evening, 

Is dizzying and tranquil too.    

With dead flowers and leaf detritus, 

Resting mindfully on soil that,     

Precipitate slowly into humus and love. 

Thy falling petals are joys that I pursued, 

While leaves are my melancholic moods. 

A Hill Trail 

A narrow hill trail is coiled around, 

The shoulders of a mountain.

Like a child embracing her mother.

As travellers step on its ferny floor, 

They hear a long trill of whistling thrush.

A deep romantic chasm lines the trail, 

It is treacherous yet intriguing. 

The sounds of bees and butterflies, 

Are only sounds they hear!  

These insects have become berserk,

As they have found their fair plunder. 

The snow clad peaks bask in sun, 

And observe these landforms solemnly. 

Perhaps silence is their only language. 

I come back to my house in afternoon.

To write as my unfinished phrases, 

Are shaping into a poem. 

The geraniums of my garden, 

Soak all the sunlight to brave, 

A very cold winter night.  

The soft incense of pine hangs in air, 

And cedar is bearing cones profusely, 

As if in love with half-dead life. 

A villager skilled in wildlife, 

Acquaints a land surveyor,  

With the species of those mountains,  

The surveyor then declares,  

That the forest has abundant conifers. 

An unkempt porter grimaces at this, 

In penury and ignorance.   

The hill trail will turn into a road now, 

Everyone looks hopefully at the forest, 

As if it will bring them all contentment, 

If not the promise of peace. 


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