The old poet met her on the dawn–bright lawn
Where the grass grew a gorgeous green.
With emerald eyes, she eyed the sky
And everything beyond the welkin.
Approaching her aged eight self,
He asked in one old and worn out voice,
“Child, why brood here you, when you
Could’ve been with your toys?”
Her limpid gaze, I recall still;
Her voice was harmony in discord.
“There’s so much hatred all around", voiced she,
“Want to know if there’s an existence of God."
At length I watched as they sat and talked
Evoking affection, camaraderie and glee.
The wisdom of calling old age, the second childhood
Was once again made clear to me.
“What’s your favourite colour?” , she asked –
A pool of polyphony in her voice,
And thus the little lady sat right beside him
When she could’ve been with her toys.
The old poet looked up at MY supposed abode
His mouth curving in poignance deep;
“I could tell you the colours I like”, he smiled,
“But you won’t understand that which leaves my lip.”
AND THEN THE POET BEGAN :-
“I love the colour of the crystal rain
That embraces the ecru earth,
And the colour with which each death
Stands compensated by a birth.
I love the colour of the Niagara Falls
When sunbeams through it are shining,
And the indefatigable lilac lily
That withstood the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombing.
I love the colour of the puny pea plant
When through the earth its first leaves shone,
And the celebration of justice and revolution
When each Hitler or Mussolini is overthrown.
I love the colour of the sleepy moonlight
Kissing the frosted window panes,
And the patriotism tinged impassioned blood
Fighting for India’s independence.
I love the colour of the maple, oak forest
Blushing at the onset of fall,
And the wronged East and West Berliners
Breaking the Berlin Wall.
I love the colour of the Aurora Borealis
Cascading through the Polar Night.
I love how the Black, Brown and Yellow
Still fight for equality with the White.
I love the colour of the scarlet lava
Spilling with fiery rage,
And the common consciousness that prevents
A 3rd World War from being waged.
I love the colour of the UN flag
Fluttering proud and high,
And how the reformed insurgents
Renounce their guns without a sigh.
I love the colour of the new
That begins with every ending,
And the colour of the hallowed hope
That raises those that are bending.
I love the colour of humanity
That preserves the human race.
I love...... O dear my child,
Why see I tears on your face?”
“O Sir, don’t stop please!”
She said in a pleading voice,
“I’m right so glad that I’m with you
Instead of being with my toys.
The colours that you call dear
Have coloured my crestfallen mind.
Now I ask, what sounds, scents and touch
Did your favour find?”
The old man’s words brought tears to MY eyes
And the clouds wept with ME.
In the twilight drizzle , they both sat
As the old poet again began to speak.
“ I love the sound of the sea , my dear,
When a storm approaches the shore,
And when a thousand vanquished voices
Resound in a common uproar.
I love the sound of the lovely nightingale
Singing its solitary song,
And when the temple and church bells
Mingle with the Aajan and Buddhist gongs.
I love the sound of the mangoes
Falling in the Kalbaishaki rain,
And how the words of Socrates
Defied a death induced by poison.
I love the sound of the Big Bang
Which created our universe,
And when in its maiden attempt, the Mangalyaan
Roared away towards Mars.
I love the sound of the falling apple
Which helped discover gravity.
O Child! I love how ‘Inquilab Zindabad’
Resounds in Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
I love the sound of the mountain winds
Caressing the fir and pine cones,
And the voice of Alexander Graham Bell
Speaking through the first telephone.
I love the sound of the sacred chants
Which aim to unite two souls,
And how the supposedly ill-fated Croatians
Cried when Madzukic netted a goal.
I love the sound of the Brahmaputra
Refusing to be checked by a dam,
And how the Cold War and its military blocs
Cowered down before Nehru’s NAM.
I love the sound of the lion’s roar
Befitting the king of the jungle,
And how the cave-trapped 12 Thai boys
Didn’t let their spirits get crumpled.
I love the sound from the infinity scale
That doesn’t entertain the human ear.
I love the sound of ....... O, dear child,
Why rolls down your cheek, a tear?”
“O Old Man, your impelling words
Are as sharply pointed as chisel.
You teach me well through colours and sounds
How good fights to replace the evil.”
The old poet’s words satisfied ME-
It was a satisfaction like no other.
I smiled and the sky smiled with ME , in a
Rainbow beautifying the now clear weather.
AND THE OLD POET CONTINUED –
“I love the scent of the Shiuli flowers,
The jasmines that in the winds wave,
And the children lighting incense sticks
At the Vietnamese mass graves.
I love the taste of the Italian Cappelini,
Swiss chocolate and mauve French grapes,
I love the taste of the Satyagraha, when
Gandhiji fasted for 21 days.
I love the spirit of the refugee teens
Growing up without parental care,
And how the Hong Kong based democracy fighters
Resembled those in Tiananmen Square.
I love the touch of my long-dead mother
Kissing my forehead in my dreams,
And how the mighty ocean seeks forgiveness
At the feet of the tsunami victims.
The old poet rose from his seat
And drew the sweet child close,
“You know, dear girl, this whole wild world
Is very much like a rose.
There’s sweet beauty and dulcet fragrance
And also the pricks and thorns,
But I’m right so glad that I met you;
I’m no longer the erstwhile forlorn.”
I looked down and smiled upon them
As they contentedly parted ways,
I knew that never the child and the poet
Would forget this rendezvous of today.
The little girl went running to her hut
And into the arms of her mother.
“You know”, she said, “I met God today
And HE’s as old as my grandfather.”
Likewise the old man, alone on the roof
Realized the change that had been wrought.
“I’m favoured to have met God in person,”
Said he, “But SHE’s much younger than I thought.”
And I, the CREATOR, laughed merrily away
Watching over MY creation from afar,
While the darkling sky reflected MY laughter
With a billion brilliant stars.