the burden of ghosts

how much burden do the ghosts of everyday scars
         carry?    the faint smell of their nonpresence is

all it takes to weigh down their mourn     theirs
          is the past and the circle    theirs is the next

day and the next rounding off the circle      the scars
          of nonbeing go about their childlike ways

tracking noons fearing the thought of the coming
          dark and the next     & the weight of it all - 

In gorges, dragons voice age-old explanations.
In pools ten hundred feet deep, you hear them.

Cruel waves keep strict accounts, drinking
blood to nurture children and grandchildren,

but without ancient Kao Yao’s gentle justice,
feasting on prison-drowned spirits is empty.

Something there, mystery haunting darkness,
the futile talk of ghosts goes on and ever on,

gorges hearing cascades cry lament, gorges
mourning widowed gibbons. There’s nothing

human in the sound of gorges, gorges where
blades of churning water slice at themselves,

and now, sage hearts all hidden away here,
who marshals these bitter and drowned pleas?

- Meng Chiao, from Laments of the Gorges

the loneliness of Meeraji

what seeks the would of war, the hallowed gorge1 &
           spill of light in want of
           light?2    the seethe that seeks

the feel of night      furiously free, joyously I3
          seek alone the crux of
          flight    who seeks the should of war?

Who can welcome laments of the gorges,
gorges saying What will come will come.
- Meng Chiao, from "Laments of the Gorges"

I hear it singing, / I sit up, awake. / It is a mountain rising, / lovely and immense.
I see myself / in the shine of it / and I want light.
I am full / with greed. Give to me
– Linda Hogan

maiN hooN aazaad —- mujhe fikar naheeN hai koi
aik ghanghor sakooN, aik kaDi tanhaai
mera andoKhta hai –
– Meeraji

parable illegit

protector of secrets1, harbinger, truth-in-stain 
      as the scream that wills 
      as a parable illegit as a mountain-stone
      rolling threads of incomprehension
      So that in the depths of the darkest night
      The sun shines forever a

tell us that story again2, of the flow and its night
      as the sandgrain that wills
      as a parable illegit as a mountain-stone
      rolling waves of inconstancy
      So that in the depths of the darkest night
      The sun shines forever 

worshiping love alone3, subsisting in subsistence 
     alone, so that in the depths 
     of the darkest night, the sun shines 
     forever - harbinger, truth-in-stain
     parable illegit as a mountain-stone, I,
     sandgrain, subsist, scream -

qudrat ke puraane bhedoN may jo bhaid chhupaae chhup na sakay, is bhaid ki tu rakhwaali hai

– from ‘haraami’ by Meeraji

So that in the depths of the darkest night
The sun shines forever

– from ‘Songs That Cannot Be Silenced’ by Hien Luong from Vietnam

puraani kahaani may kya lutf aae, hamay aaj kis nay kaha tha — puraani kahaani sunaao

– from ‘aik thee aurat’ by Meeraji

jo chaahay reet ki baat kahay, hum peet hi ke matwaalay haiN

– from ‘haraami’ by Meeraji

Gratitude lost

Used to be the bird settled down on the green you sowed, its chirp saying thanks    Gaia glad    now when it perches on some green, there is a riddle for the sky - and you - to solve    how can the bird even speak to the sun's flare with such flutter?    Gaia spins an urgent tale    no sooner has it been said than the words are felt futile   then forgotten

koi kahe ye kis ne kaha tha, keh do jo kuch kehna hai
meeraji keh kar pachtaaya aur phir kehna bhool gaya

who said say what you have to say?
I said, regretted, then forgot to say


3 ways of looking at Meeraji

  1. The classical is weight as well as fetter, the gravitas choking the possible
  2. Meeraji (1912-1949) can most aptly be described as a “tragic” poet, where the tragic is silent on the joy infusing his song
  3. i. The guardian of the past is calm / standing fearless and firm on earth
    ii. magar ye maazi ka paasbaaN pur sukoon dil se / zameeN pe ik be-niyaaz andaaz may hai qaaim
    iii. Father fear, can you calm the
    — possibility of fear,
    — the child alone in the knowledge of fire,
    — the woman quiet as the burn within rages without?


the storytellers tail

when you spin the tale, the x-axis meeting the why of forlorn metastasized asymptotes of utmost hubris, the storyline mutates into song mutates into symbols that retch out meaning from the shell that numbed as it echoed –

when you tiptoed on the storytellers tail ouching the eastern spirits sense of unwantoncy, the tarred streets cried for old ground compelling the poem to tend to the low – the burn of roots & the crafting of impossible syllable –