Poetry

The Eclipse Above the Kurukshetra

Each time Sleep takes my hand;

It douses me forcibly in the very same dream.

Thrashing around and flailing my limbs;

Unable to escape I am.

Planting my feet firmly

Upon the marshy river-bank;

I gaze up at the golden Sun.

Oh, but what is this I see?

The Sun smiles down not at me;

For it has left the morning sky.

Where did you go, O flaming orb?

Leave me not;

For, in your absence;

I sink deep into the mud.

“Help!” I yell;

“Why should I?”

Replies a voice;

Saturated with rage.

Pushed head-first into the flowing waters

By a pair of arms;

“Please, no!” I cry;

Beseeching the unknown one.

“I will aid you only when

Your bloodied body is cleaned.”

The unseen voice speaks.

Shocked, I stare at the serpentine stream;

Only to find streaks of red

Being washed away from me.

“Will my purification

Continue forever,

O Unnamed Castigator?”

“Yes, it shall;

For your sin is greater than any other.”

                  ***

Waking with a start;

Panting and sweating;

I depart from the realm of dreams;

To reality I return.

A nightmare I witness now;

One that is real and true.

Ah, if it had been but a dream;

I could have cast it off;

And let it fly away with the wind.

“Oh, help me, I beg you!”

The man pleaded;

Crouched on the ground;

Failing to extract his chariot wheel.

“Have you forgotten, O warrior:

That I happen to be a king?

Pulling up a wheel out of the mud;

Does such an action befit me?”

Smirked I;

As I lazily watched him try.

“Please!” The man begged;

His eyes hurt and red.

Turning away, I said;

“Why, you do it, O mighty one;

You, of all people, easily can.

Son of a lowly charioteer;

What good are you;

If you are inept;

At your own trade?”

“Will you not help me;

O charioteer of mine?

Are you not my precious comrade;

My partner, my trusted guide?”

He entreated for a third time.

“Know your place, fool!

No ally of yours am I!”

My tone unconcerned and cool.

That humiliated face of his;

Was the final expression

The man threw at me;

Before his head left his torso;

Due to the efforts of two cowardly men.

                  ***

Each time Sleep takes my hand;

It douses me forcibly in the very same dream.

“Are you the golden Sun;

The one that vanished;

From the sky?

O magnanimous Karna;

Forgive me not;

Do promise me that!”

“Oh, but how could I do so;

Great Monarch Shalya?

For I refuse none; turn nobody away.

This humble black Sun;

Who stands before the king;

Hereby frees you;

Of your sin;

For the light-less Moon you are;

He who caused an eclipse.”

   ***

                                                               ~ Dibyasree Nandy

                                                                     Kolkata, India

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