The Day asks

How do we live?

Rough

As tree bark, weathered

With no illusion.

 

The day has no wings, but it can fly,

A clear sky with no worry.

But sometimes,

It gets dark early,

 

Hours pass like years

And the years come back, trembling.

Like moments, when voices speak from walls

Ask the same question.

 

Despair, keep loss and sorrow to yourself

Let me run, without consolation

Free as wind, without fear of 

Victory and defeat.

 

The forest spoke this morning.

Make it shine, make it yours

Toss and twirl

A fortune around your fingers.

 

The coin is all you get.

Turn the coin into colour.

 

Advice from an elder

 

He isn’t well today.

But not unwell.

Find a girl for him,

A job.

Family and work will cure him.

 

The daily jostle

Leaves no room for dreaming.

Love brings no flight.

The hard mountain climb cures all ills.

A mad world, he will know, has no room for more.

 

His malady? They say a god inside him.

Soon they will want him, fight on their side

Shoulder the world. Muscle way in.

The gods need a hand.

They have been at it, so long.

 

The best remedies are the simplest,

Walk all day, in thin air, on two legs,

Carry head on shoulders,

A cool head is summer wine.

The world is god’s playground, the rules never fair.

 

Let him learn the rules too, how to break them.

Wisdom won’t buy him a glass of milk,

His eyes do not stream salt of earth,

Just a mountain of pain runs through him,

His pain, only his own.

 

The world too is no prison, but his mind.

Let him make peace with it.

Stop running wild.

Stay out of trouble.

Sometimes, be happy.

 

Mostly, everyday humdrum will consume him

Keep the boat sailing,

Wheels rolling, hands working.

Even temper is a fine burden to carry.

Shrug it off? And go where?

 

Head-walk? Leg-fly? Blind-see?

Burnt by sun?

Lanced by thunder?

His own mind cries twice, halt halt, but nobody’s listens.

Deep is all dead, empty.

 

But there are days when the well of creation overflows,

Voices echo, offer bounty.

Beware of all tricksters.

Happiness is empty outside.

Haven’t the gods given eyes to see?

 

The ruin too, sometimes, is treasure.

The vase fills with childhood,

The pitcher with cool water

The creel brims fish

And oceans carry love from faraway.

 

The cliff is not always precipice, point of no return

Hope wanders in, like a cloud.

Words do touch feeling, and

Fleeting is the memory

that sometimes finds distance.

 

Yet, sometimes, the pitcher is empty.

Words run dry.

Life and hope can’t find each other.

There is no place to go,

But ice cream still comes in a cone of happiness.

 

Chew on it, take your time.

Time’s burnt edges, a sun going down

Leaving us all in shadow.

The river slakes earth

Thirsty with summer, before clouds come,

 

Leave us wanting more, more, more.

Tell him this too

Where we started, where we are going.

Before the heat rises in our eyes

and tells us there is no going any further.

 

About the Poet:

Poetrywala has just published Amlanjyoti Goswami’s collection of poems, River Wedding. His poems have been published in India, Nepal, Hong Kong, the UK, USA, South Africa, Kenya and Germany, including the anthologies, ‘40 under 40: An Anthology of Post Globalisation Poetry (Poetrywala) and ‘A Change of Climate’ (Manchester Metropolitan University, Environmental Justice Foundation and the University of Edinburgh). His poems have also appeared on street walls of Christchurch, exhibitions in Johannesburg and buses in Philadelphia. He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.