Interpreting a parable I had just read,
I come to a precipitous halt.
And thought how you would decipher it.
Or with a crafty smile,
You would have agreed to my discernment!
My life has always been a stage,
In which characters played their part and left.
But never had any character loved another,
The way you love everyone,
Modestly and powerlessly!
With you, I could descant about
Nietzsche, Steinback, Chekhov or Mary Oliver!
You first revel in their realist rhetoric,
And then profess earnestly,
That others feign to read while I truly read.
In another act of my life’s play,
The entrance of my heart is shut.
In the vacuity, an arid desert develops,
Stretching to miles and never-ending
But you appear like a distant oasis,
And both my medium and subject!
On the horizon in the evening,
My hills parley with the setting sun.
Beseeching the less intensity of sunlight,
As its cool blanket of forest cover,
Is now tattered.
I meander homesick for old hills.
Where pines, cedars, and oaks
Grew in abundance,
And where ferns swayed with life,
As their branchlets gracefully kissed
Water of a vagabond hill stream.
Lack of rain now have led to
Forest fires which ate up,
Pheasants, predators, pines, loam, and leaves
In death my hills now have become,
Stalagmites of barren soil!
I didn’t know what I was looking for,
In its woods,
May be a shy mimosa leaflet or a fawn!
Frisking from the moist understory of chestnut,
But all I see was a pile of dead shrubbery,
Rising ominously like the Third Reich.
(Gunjan Joshi is a Delhi based editor in a publishing house and a literature critic. Being an ardent nemophile and bibliophile, bliss for her is psithurism emanating from cedar trees, reading a classic hardback in a quaint coniferous forest, and historic art forms anywhere.)