My new poem’s title may suggest a light touch but in essence it’s a meditation on life, dotage and mortality.
I hope my effort at versatility makes the grade and engages you all.
I’m an old man,
entitled to cracks of time.
My body is a stilt over my former mass,
my spirit a rap on the very sprightly colours of my glory days.
My eyes are mere empty circles,
My mouth sealed with questions too many.
This is one of those days,
I stroll down the map of my age,
the ground is much too harsh to put aside thorns.
The morning gives me hope.
trickle of sunlight from up north
silver skies’ forecast of drizzle
bluebirds pitching their best melodies against a cackling of ravens.
Solitary branches rustling,
of paper thin leaves blowing,
to the tempestuous music of the wind
The wind revealing itself with its invisible tresses.
Then the alchemy of dust sweeps away its cloak on my tombstone,
carrying it to the lap of my supine cemetery.
I turn to my grave.
The letters etched within this mute bedlam
The sole dedication that decorates its crest below -AMOUR
Love was just too impertinent a word to find place here.
I wave in the direction of my neighbours,
nestled within their beds,
as I look at the tent to which I would withdraw, moments from now.
My dear grave, so neat and ghostly.
This is one of my precious days,
an upstanding spirit allowed to inhale the essence of life.
This is not exactly a floral playground
But now I have nothing much to spare.
Not the silver tongue to launch commands
Or the mutiny in my veins which chased love and affection away.
The desire to retire with pride,
tending my station of grand motives, now laughs at me,
with barely concealed sarcasm.
The master,defiant and hot blooded once, is an outline,
an incarnation among elements who lies among broken ribs of his graveyard.
The compass of my humility, earned in deathly exile,
sits pretty over my chest cast of stone.
The cemetery is my kingdom of stillness
It hosts a carnival of sleep
A bouquet of longing
The seat of mortality
Embrace of wild flowers and bushes, sending kisses of consolation my way.
I shudder to watch two lovers consummate their passion in pitch dark.
For they are phantoms in the pale moonlight.
Taking me back to the ballroom in 1926,
when Mary waltzed like the breeze into my arms,
whispering her sincere protestations.
I called her primrose
but hardly let her innocent flush hurt my ego.
I hear too the tolling of Church bells
The soft hisses of temple chants,
just like my mother’s rapt affections,
where she prayed for my heart to grow fonder,
for a life much too joyful to ignore.
Men’s voices, well,
they remind me of my nimble father’s sincere charms,
a poet’s heart showering rules of silent virtue on my being.
Alas! the thunderclap of my early prime put them to shame
whisked me to a lonely balcony,
of dreams that now lay like scattered bones.
My mother cries at my grave,
with the same holy glint for my soul.
My father lets me honour every word of his poetry with silence,
prompting him to choke with regret and despair.
Mary, she’s a wilting flower
She never met another man,
or opened her heart to happiness again,
since the cold wintery dawn when I let her beauty get smashed.
Bodies flit and go,
cry hoarse over my neighbours’ departures.
But they never meet me.
For I am the sole wanderer
The man who did not live to bend too close to earth’s motherly stroke,
The one who chased butterflies and ambitions,
is nothing but dead,
alive in the broken memories of those who wished to receive his stare of affection once.
The crickets croak.
The wet mud shivers.
Snakes coil around my home.
The grave still owes me my last breaths.
NOTE : Above is the picture of the Residency in Lucknow, my hometown, the site of inspiration behind this poem. This poem is also taken from my Wattpad poetry collection WHISTLING CHIMES.