Days and Nights (Hirakud, Sambalpur Feb 2009)


There is a line of light that traverses the hill

And bisects the valley below.  All day

The sun looks down at this amazing sight

Where hill meets valley and breaks

The fall of light and shade.

Purple, grey, brown,

And blue the hill radiates the ray’s fall.

Until night wipes out the light and blossoms

With the nightjar’s quivering wing.

Many flowers bloom and fall, many-petalled

And bright and dull.

In the valley some are heaped

And piled on the breeze’s reckless swing

Some lie awake all day all night

For the rain-priest’s ritual shower

And an unknown traveler’s dusty tread.

Water, huge and wide on this one and only shore

Lies open-eyed under a vacant sky.

A large bird floats silently by

Slowly drawn into the slanting line of sight.


All hills are the same. All valleys too.

A boy once eager to learn and know fled home

And the oft-trodden pathway of his fathers

Enchanted by the design that drew him close

To a huge hill’s heart, listening, shivering

Figuring a new will and being from the stony self

He heard the huge heart, felt the rhythm

And seeped into its very being.

A god’s large self.


This large water can hide nothing

It always reflects itself in the sky

Sometimes not knowing

Where it ends and sky begins

Or where they both end.


Daylight breaks shivering

Over the crude shoulders

Of the cold hill.

Night is like a towel

Thrown over the flames of the sun.

What is there to choose between?


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